Educate me on Levergun Ammo choices for hunting

This is a discussion on Educate me on Levergun Ammo choices for hunting within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; As most of you know, I bought my first Lever Action Rifle yesterday. After fondling it extensively last night and practicing working the action, I've ...

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Thread: Educate me on Levergun Ammo choices for hunting

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    Educate me on Levergun Ammo choices for hunting

    As most of you know, I bought my first Lever Action Rifle yesterday. After fondling it extensively last night and practicing working the action, I've come to the conclusion that this will be the first of many Lever Actions that I buy. There's just something cool and nostalgic about it that I'm really liking.

    I bought this gun for deer hunting, and I'm am completely oblivious as to the proper projectile to use. So I need suggestions and experienced opinions on what will/should work best. I've been reading up on my choices and not sure if I should go with the Flat Wide Nose Hard Cast, Semi Jacketed Soft Point, Semi Jacketed Hollow Point, Jacketed Hollow Point, or the "newer" LEVERevolution stuff made my Hornady.

    Will be using a 24in barreled gun in .44Mag if that helps. I'd like to find a good hunting round and get the gun sighted in for that specific round. I don't reload(yet) so I will need suggestions on Factory Ammo right now. Once I get set up for reloading I plan to get a 45-70 for sure.

    That's all for now I think. If you guys know anything else I should know fill me in. This is a new platform for me and I want to learn all I can.
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    VIP Member Array Kilowatt3's Avatar
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    Well, I'm not exactly Clyde Beatty or anything, but I do enjoy hunting hogs with my .30-30. I use 160 gr. LeveRevolutions exclusively. Never had a hog take more than two steps after a shot, and I've taken home a hog for every shot I've ever taken at one.

    Inside about 75 yards, I doubt that the LeveRevolution has much of an advantage over a traditional flat-nosed .30-30, but the higher velocity, flatter trajectory, better energy retention, and controlled expansion give it a definite edge at longer ranges.

    I also carry LeveRevolutions in my hunting sidearm, although I've never shot anything with it. It's a .44 Mag Redhawk, loaded with the 225 gr. LE's.
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    Distinguished Member Array DingBat's Avatar
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    they do make .44 loads specifically for rifles. Slower burning powder mainly.

    not sure of brands/weights/availability as of the moment. Little surprised to hear there is LeverRevolution ammo for .44 mag. not-sure what the deal is there.

    I have shot deer, elk, coyote, all with my .30-30 marlin, all with old school RN's. I have never even bought a box of leverrevolution, not cuz I don't like it, ciz I can't find it.
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    I would try a few different types of factory ammo or work your own load. I have a 30-30 that will group Remington Corelokt like a dream, but the LEVEREvolution is all over the place (results duplicated by two other folks, so it's not operator error ). I've had no issues with 150 gr Jacketed soft points for deer and have taken elk with the 175 gr. Despite the fact that the 30-30 is too little gun to knock down an elk, or so I've been told.
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    Here is one article on heavier cartridges for the .44mag: Is the .44 Magnum Becoming Overweight?

    A number of discussions exist over on the Cast Boolits forum (different site).

    Keep in mind that some folks find that the carrier/cycling timing of their lever-action rifles needs to be tuned a bit in order to handle heavier cartridges. (I'm aware of this on the Marlin 1894 platform, though I don't recall reading the same thing on the Rossi 92.) Might be worth speaking with the folks up at Wild West Guns (in Alaska) about any tuning or changes in a Rossi 92 .44mag they'd recommend. They typically deal with bigger iron, but they might well have a recommendation or two. The gunsmith David Clay at DRC might be another great resource, though I'm uncertain whether he's still in business.
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    Distinguished Member Array DingBat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobcatSig View Post
    I would try a few different types of factory ammo or work your own load. I have a 30-30 that will group Remington Corelokt like a dream, but the LEVEREvolution is all over the place (results duplicated by two other folks, so it's not operator error ). I've had no issues with 150 gr Jacketed soft points for deer and have taken elk with the 175 gr. Despite the fact that the 30-30 is too little gun to knock down an elk, or so I've been told.
    lets see, I've taken 5 cows and one 4x4 bull with 170 grain corelokt generic ammo in my .30-30 in the last decade? granted not a single one was outside 100 yards, but none ran more than a few feet, none seemed to think it was too small a cartridge...

    Heck back in the day guys were killing black bear with .30-.30 loads that can't hold a candle to todays modern loads....

    EDIT- if some fool NEEDS a 300 WSM to take a cow elk, and that elk is less than 300 yards, he's a crappy hunter. sorry. yes I said it.
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    VIP Member Array Kilowatt3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DingBat View Post
    ...Little surprised to hear there is LeverRevolution ammo for .44 mag. not-sure what the deal is there...
    LeveRevolution is available in about 10 different calibers, including .357 and .44 Mag. Just about any popular caliber you're likely to find chambered in a lever gun, up to .45-70.

    Quote Originally Posted by BobcatSig View Post
    ...I have a 30-30 that will group Remington Corelokt like a dream, but the LEVEREvolution is all over the place (results duplicated by two other folks, so it's not operator error )...
    My Marlin 336 will hold a pretty consistent MOA with the .30-30 LeveRevolution, and I've got crappy eyesight!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kilowatt3 View Post
    My Marlin 336 will hold a pretty consistent MOA with the .30-30 LeveRevolution, and I've got crappy eyesight!
    Interesting, because mine is an old Marlin 336 as well. Just goes to show that every gun can be a little different.

    Just to clarify, I wasn't trying to say anything bad about the LeveRevolution, just pointing out that the one rifle I shot it with didn't like it as much as some cheaper stuff.
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    I've had good results with 240gr JSP WWB. Its accurate in my lever action 96/44 relatively inexpensive and readily available everywhere. I'm sure some good hand loads might maximize the performance in a carbine. Good luck!
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    I LOVE lever guns. Shot near 100 deer with mt .444 Marlin which is near the same as the 45/70Gov't. Both were excellent for hunting in the woods where 100-150 yard shots were max. Most all were 1 shot kills. I favored the 240 gr SJSP (semi-jacketed soft point).
    My first deer rifle was a Ruger .44Mag 5 shot semi-auto carbine around 1969? Used the 240 gr SJSP, but always went with a double-tap with that one.
    I had friends who shot Black bear with the 240 gr SJSP & was always one shot, but shooting a Black Bear is about as much sport as shooting a fire-plug... they just stand up & look at you.

    Oddly, I never owned a 30-30, they just seemed to wimpy to me.

    Since leaving the Great Lakes Wilderness area, I use a .300 Win Mag with a 180 gr Wnchester X SJSP since the shots are longer.

    I sold my levers recently, but if I ever got another one it would definitely be in .308 as it is plenty adequate for anything in N America.
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    I dont have a lever gun buit I do have a single shot 44 mag from new england firearms. I have taken several coyotes, a handful of groundhogs, several farm pigs, a very large heifer and a friends horse. ( it broke two legs in a fall while we were camping on his property. had it with me for coyotes.) I use hornady XTP 300 gr and it has performed very well for me. The 44 mag is not a long range gun per se.... mine is sighted in at 100 yds. I have no doubt in its ability to drop medium size game at 100 yds either. The heifer was culled from my friends farm as part of herd management ( freezer filler). She was somewhere in the 75-100 yd range and fell with one shot. It was an almost perfect shot, through the shoulder, both lungs and resting right behind the far shoulder blade. Two steps and it was over. 44 mag on a 800 lb animal.... i will take that any day of the week.
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    So far I'm leaning toward a plain old SJSP. All the pics of recovered SJSP Ive seen so far have shown real consistent mushrooming. Might try the LEVERevolution as well, but SJSP is the front runner currently.
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    When I was reloading for 44mag, I had 3 standard loads worked up. Two with a 240grn Keith style cast bullet and one with a 240grn Hornady XTP.
    I took deer with both pistol and carbine using the 240grn XTP with no problems at all.

    Never tried the LeveRevolution in 44mag, but it seems to work well in my 45LC Rossi carbine. Haven't used it on game yet, so no experience to pass along there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobcatSig View Post
    Interesting, because mine is an old Marlin 336 as well. Just goes to show that every gun can be a little different.

    Just to clarify, I wasn't trying to say anything bad about the LeveRevolution, just pointing out that the one rifle I shot it with didn't like it as much as some cheaper stuff.
    And so far, my 336 can't do better than about 6 inch groups at 100 yards with 150 or 170 gr soft points, regardless of brand. Williams receiver sight, Wild West trigger and smoothed action... this gun is a work in progress!
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    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    And so far, my 336 can't do better than about 6 inch groups at 100 yards with 150 or 170 gr soft points, regardless of brand. Williams receiver sight, Wild West trigger and smoothed action... this gun is a work in progress!
    Iron sights, free standing?

    Never shot less than 2" groupings with a 2.5 scout scope on mine, so long as I'm doing my part. But that's at a bench, not standing.
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