History of the Winchester .30-30

The Winchester .30-30, commonly referred to as a “saddle rifle”, known as the Model 94, first appeared in August 1895, around the time when firearms and ammunition manufacturers switched from black powder cartridges to smokeless powder cartridges. The rifle was originally known as the “.30 Winchester Center Fire” or “.30 WCF”. Designed by John Browning as a lever-action repeating rifle, it quickly became one of the most famous and popular hunting rifles of all time. It originally debuted as a black powder variant before the barrel was strengthen to a nickel-steel combination

The trusted saddle rifle in its scabbard.

Its design uses a barrel or tubular magazine, rather than a conventional box magazine…the famous second barrel located underneath the primary barrel. Therefore, because cartridges are loaded end-on-end inside the magazine tube, the bullet is generally a blunt nose variety for safety considerations. These bullets are also rimmed and do not work well in a traditional box magazine.

Modern ammo. Notice the blunt time and rimmed cartridge

In the name, the “.30” designates the caliber, while the “-30” designates the early 30 grain smokeless powder charge. It is a very popular hunting rifle in both Canada and the United States. Deer and bear hunters like it because of its light recoil of just 10.6 foot pounds of felt recoil at the shooter’s shoulder compared to the more popular .30-06 and the .308 cartridges, thus preventing flinching. It is also preferred by hunters because it is light and quick (to reload). The rifle is good for about up to 150 yards, and is not recommended for long distance shooting across wide open spaces.

Opening Credits of “The Rifleman”
Holding his rifle at his hip, he rapidly reloads as he fires

Called the “saddle rifle” it got that nickname because it carried well on horseback. It is seen in just about every Western movie and TV shows. You can see the “repeating” action in the opening credits of the Rifleman TV series, in which Chuck Connors holds the gun at his hip and rapidly reloads his trusty rifle.

History of the Winchester .30-30