The .30-30 rifle is one of the most storied caliber firearms in history. It is said to have helped win the American West and has been on the good and bad side of skirmishes since it was invented.
First introduced in 1894 by Winchester, the .30-30 quickly became popular among ranchers and lawmen—as well as outlaws—due to its ability to simply get the job done. It was the first sporting cartridge loaded with smokeless powder, making it especially deadly in fights where a rifleman would need to conceal his position as much as possible.
These are the best 30-30 Rifles
- Henry 30-30 Lever Action
- Winchester 1894
- Marlin 336
- Marlin XLR
- Mossberg 464 SPX
- Henry All Weather
Despite being more than a century old the .30-30 has remained one of the most popular calibers in the United States, and for good reason. Most .30-30 rifles are known for exceptional toughness and ability to maintain accuracy even after taking a significant beating in the field. These qualities are the main reason this rifle is carried by big game hunters in bear country and nearly everywhere else across the North American continent.
Not only that, but the 30-30 is generally associated with the lever action rifle… Most of us would consider lever actions to be pretty cool weapons.
Best 30-30 Rifles
While today’s .30-30 rifles are similar to the ones used in the late 1800’s, there are significant improvements that have solidified the .30-30’s place as a true American favorite. Here are some of the best .30-30 rifles on the market in 2020.
Henry .30-30 Lever Action Rifle
Coming in at number one for best 30-30 on the market is the Henry 30-30 Lever Action Rifle. This is your classical western style rifle with a whole lot of pop to it. It’s mainly designed for hunting Whitetails, but you could get away with hunting other large game in America with it.
It’s made of premium steel and features a walnut stock. What’s cool about this 30-30 is that it’s got a hammer on it, of which you have to pull back to shoot. To make the rifle safe however, Henry designed it so that if you drop the hammer without pulling the trigger, it won’t go off.
Speaking of pulling the trigger, the Henry 30-30 Lever action rifle has a very smooth trigger. There’ll be no jerking or anything that might throw your shot off. It’s crisp and clean.
Overall, this is a really solid 30-30.
Winchester Model 1894
Our list of the best .30-30 rifles wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Winchester Model 94 rifle. It is one of the longest running production models of any rifle on the market and there are still plenty of reasons to own one of these in 2021.
With 20 inches of barrel length and 6 chambered rounds, it’s easy to see why ranchers, lawmen and plenty of other characters chose to shoulder this lever action in the later days of the American West. Is is still a great hunting rifle? Absolutely.
While this is every bit the classic model .30-30 that you’ve probably seen in movies and elsewhere, that doesn’t mean that it’s short on functionality.
You can trust the brand behind the model 94 whether you are taking this deer hunting in Michigan or Elk Hunting in Colorado.
- Classic look and feel
- Highly durable
- Compact and easy to store or pack
- Reasonably priced
- Spent cartridges are ejected from the top of the receiver
- Mounting a scope is difficult
This gun is a great choice as a gift for any history enthusiast who loves the American West. It’s also a solid go-to lever action that has stood the test of time and still remains relevant more than a century later.
Back to the classic look and feel of the .30-30 rifle, the Marlin 336 has earned its reputation as one of the most popular rifles among United States hunters over the past few decades.
Featuring a length of just 38 inches and weighing in at only 7 pounds, this lever gun is one that can be easily carried or packed. It is crafted from stainless steel, but still offers good durability that .30-30 rifles are known for.
This rifle has all the right components for someone who wants to have enough firepower to take down just about anything they draw a bead on while also not taking up too much room.
- Compact design
- Affordable price
- Great balance
- Not as accurate at longer ranges
This is probably the perfect hunting rifle for a youngster just getting into the sport. It isn’t overly large or bulky and still packs just the right amount of punch to take down most big game animals in the United States.
Marlin is a brand that’s known for making accurate, yet extremely tough rifles. The Marlin XLR might be the best .30-30 rifle on our list, but it all depends on just what you need to have in your rifle.
This model sports an absolutely beautiful wood grain pattern with chrome finish that means this rifle is certainly not short on looks. The Marlin XLR is perfect for using as a brush rifle when you need plenty of firepower trekking through dense forests, or it could be mounted with a capable scope to serve as a reliable deer hunting rifle.
That being said, this is a very cool looking rifle when you rock the iron sights…. And can be just as accurate with practice. Iron sights are very fun when shooting in the 100 yard range.
Throughout this guide, we’re talking about some pretty heavy hitting rifles, however, the Marlin XLR is one of the best 30-30 rifles for the money, hands down.
Featuring a 24-inch barrel this lever action is capable of hitting targets at more than 300 yards in the right hands. While it is a tad heavier than other top lever action 30s, this one is not short on performance. If you could sum up the Marlin XLR in one word, it would have to be tough.
- Exceptionally well-made
- Modern feel with a classic look
- Great accuracy
- Made for rugged terrain
- Slightly more expensive than others
- Chrome barrel might be hard to conceal at times
The Marlin XLR is designed for toughness and can withstand just about anything you want to throw at it while still being able to deliver on accuracy. This one is certainly one of our top picks.
Mossberg 464 SPX
Our list of the best .30-30 rifles takes us from the classic look to that of one that might look like it came from 100 years in the future. The Mossberg 464 SPX offers a distinct tactical design that’s focused on delivering results and accuracy.
This lever gun resembles some of their modern shotgun models, but just because this one doesn’t look the part of the classic .30-30 doesn’t mean it should be overlooked. For some, this rifle offers a more comfortable feel than the typical .30-30.
Featuring a shorter, 16.25 inch barrel, the Mossberg 464 SPX might be more suitable for other purposes instead of hunting. With an overall length of just 34 inches, this rifle might be a great selection for someone needing a tactical gun that is not short on firepower.
- Compact tactical design
- Affordable price
- Highly customizable
- Lacks the length needed for superior accuracy at long range
- Overall appearance may not “look the part”
- Slightly less durable than other models
The Mossberg 464 SPX is certainly a break from traditionally-made .30-30 rifles, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look into it’s capabilities. If you need a compact rifle that a scope can be easily mounted on, this one might just be what you’re looking for.
Henry All Weather Lever Action Side Gate
Another must-have name on our list of the best .30-30 rifles is Henry Repeating Arms. Their Henry All Weather .30-30 Win Lever Action Rifle is among the absolute best on our list for a number of reasons.
It certainly lives up to its All Weather name as this rifle is rough and tough, and ready to go just about anywhere you want to take it. Featuring a moisture-protecting coat and chrome exterior finish with a stainless steel barrel, the Henry All Weather is a true workhorse of a rifle that holds up to the test.
With a 20 inch barrel and great balance, the Henry All Weather truly earns its spot among our top .30-30 rifles. While it isn’t the longest range rifle, it is still deadly accurate at closer ranges (within 300 yards).
- Great balance
- Rugged design
- Well-made for any environment
- More expensive than most models
There are plenty of reasons why people love the .30-30 rifle and this one encapsulates just about all of them. If you’re looking for a solid .30-30 that will take a beating and stay on target, this is it.
Related: Best .308 Rifles Ever Built
What to Consider When Buying a .30-30 Lever Action
In reality, you probably should have gotten one of these guns yesterday…
Just kidding, but they are pretty fun to shoot.
A couple things to consider when getting a new lever action rifle like this is the brand behind the gun. You know that you can trust brands like Henry and Winchester, but you don’t want to get caught with a lever gun that doesn’t have a working lever action.
Getting a high quality rifle should be your first concern.
After that though, you should always consider the price of the gun. There’s no real reason in buying a gun well out of your price range if your not going to be able to afford ammunition for it!
Unless you’re into the true classical look of the western lever action rifle, you’re probably going to want to get a scope as well. And to be honest, scopes can just as much as the gun, if not more.
Another thing to consider is the length of the rifle. A shorter 30-30 is going to kick a whole lot harder than a longer one. You’re also likely to get better accuracy with a longer barrel. It’s just the way rifles are…
But on the same token, a short rifle is going to be more maneuverable and easy to carry around. Or shoot out of a blind…
It doesn’t matter which way you go, just consider what you will be using your rifle for. If you’re going to be hunting in the mountains with your gun, consider going longer… if you’re hunting close quarter in the woods, maybe a shorter rifle is the ticket.
Best 30-30 Rifles Conclusion
Overall, the lever action .30-30 rifles are pretty cool. It’s hard to deny the sheer rugged beauty of such a gun…
No matter if this is your first 30-30 rifle or your 3rd, you’ll never get sick of seeing one of these laying in your gun rack.
They’re powerful weapons with a good range and look awesome.
Hope this post helped you out! Good luck!