Federal Power-Shok .30-30 Ammo: Hits With Authority

At some time or another in our youth, most of us have likely played “Cowboys and Indians.” In doing so, we needed to have a trusty lever action rifle. How many Western films have we seen with John Wayne wielding the trusty lever action? Or Chuck Connors in the series The Rifleman. Those guys shaped the minds of many youths back in the day. Sadly, one has to wonder how many of today’s youth would even recognize those names.

Fortunately, though, even most of the youth (and everyone else) these days would easily recognize a lever action as being a “cowboy gun.”  In fact, it would practically be un-American to not like a lever action!

Despite its origins in the Old West, the lever action still rides in the squad cars of some police departments even today. Despite more modern weapons being available, the older lever gun still has a lot to offer.

Lever actions offer a very fast cycling action for quick follow-up shots, which is one of their best virtues. They’re also usually short and light, making them easy to handle. The flat sides of the receiver make the lever gun one of the thinner rifles available. Their light weight makes them easy to carry. Because they’re short, they can be maneuvered well in tight quarters, whether that is a hunting blind, a tree stand in the woods, a patrol car, or a dwelling.

For the same reasons that the police sometimes use these rifles, the lever action also fits the bill well for the average citizen to defend life and limb with. I know a number of people who toss one in their vehicle when they’re out and about. The slim, light profile lends itself well to riding in a vehicle. Whether it’s protecting the ranch from predators such as mountain lions, dispatching a wounded moose, or repelling miscreants who just kicked the front door in, the lever action is up to the task.

These days, we’re seeing some lever action training classes available, which further cements the fact that people are taking a fresh look at the older lever gun. They’re willing to invest time and money into learning how to run it more efficiently, which speaks volumes.

Lever actions are becoming more popular for self-defense again. In the Wild West days, it was a given that they were the most efficient arms for the task. They’re compact enough to work around cover. It appears that we are coming back to our roots. (Photo: Jason Stimmel)

In the legal system, a lever action will be seen as more benign than something with a long, curved magazine. On top of all of that, lever guns come in an array of calibers. .22 Long Rifle, .357 Magnum/.38 Special, .44 Magnum/.44 Special, .45 Colt, .45-70 Government, and .30-30, among others.

History of the .30-30 Cartridge

The .30-30 made its debut in 1895, being one of the first cartridges to enjoy the advances of smokeless powder. At the time, its nearly 2,000 feet per second muzzle velocity was considered to be a real screamer. Nowadays, that’s slow for a rifle bullet.

The .30-30 has been used on a huge variety of game over the last century, and was even favored by Teddy Roosevelt.

Pennsylvania hunters who go after white-tail deer have been happily using it since before dirt was invented. For the close confines of the thick woodlands that PA is known for, the .30-30 works as though it was explicitly created for those conditions. For 100 to 200-yard shots, it’s perfect.

Part of its popularity is the fact that so many of our ancestors have used it. The other part is that it works as well today as ever. I believe the combination of nostalgia and the effectiveness of the round are the main reasons for the allure. Many people enjoy using tools from long ago that are effective for tasks in our present day.

Marlin 336 with federal .30-30 ammo
Marlin’s 336 has been a mainstay for many hunters for decades. It just works! Coupled with Federal’s Power-Shok .30-30 ammunition and a Buck 113 Ranger folding knife, it’s a great package! (Photo: Jim Davis)

Federal Ammunition 150 Grain Power-Shok

Federal Ammunition is no spring chick, either, having been opened in 1922. That’s 101 years of producing some of the world’s top ammunition. Whether it’s for duty, hunting, defense, competition, target shooting, or any other activity, Federal has a round for it. Actually, they’ll have several rounds for whatever task you might dream up. I’ve used Federal ammunition on duty working for my agency and can report that I never experienced or witnessed any issues with it in all those years. Considering how much of that ammo we used, that’s saying quite a bit.

Recently, I had a chance to wring out Federal’s Power-Shok 150 grain Jacketed Soft Point Flat Nose loading in .30-30 caliber.

Federal Power-Shok .30-30 150 grain Jacketed Soft Point Flat Nose loading in .30-30 caliber
Federal’s 150-grain Power-Shok Jacketed Soft Point Flat Nose ammunition is one of the more popular rounds for medium game. They hit with authority. (Photo: Jim Davis)

Federal states that these bullets are suitable for medium and big game. 150 grains is certainly a large enough bullet for deer and similarly sized game. It’s probably a little light for bear, but might be able to pass in a pinch if the bear happens to be not large. I’d certainly feel comfortable using them on white-tail deer and other similarly sized game.

The listed muzzle velocity is 2,390 feet per second. At 100 yards, it’s listed at 2,019 feet per second, and at 200 yards, 1,686 feet per second. The maximum range I’d count on using these rounds at is 200 yards, given the amount that the projectile drops at distance. Realistically, this is a 200-yard cartridge, for the most part. Used within realistic limits, it works beautifully.

These rounds have a flat point so that they can be loaded into the tubular magazine of a lever action without the danger of setting off the rounds in the magazine.

Federal emphasizes consistent, accurate ammunition. The bullets feature reloadable brass cases and non-corrosive primers. The Power-Shok 150 grain load isn’t a flashy, whiz-bang, new round; it’s been on the market for a while and has a proven track record. In fact, I’ve been using this particular load for a number of years.

How does this .30-30 ammo perform?

I ran through a few drills because I just can’t resist the speed and maneuverability of the lever action. It handles so well, it’s beautiful! Recoil on the Power-Shok 150 grain rounds is about average with other similar loads from most manufacturers. It’s certainly not excessive, especially when compared to other, more power calibers such as the .30-06, for example.

In the past, I’ve gotten good accuracy with this round. On this particular range session, I was clanging some steel targets and not going for group size. Suffice it to say, this ammunition is plenty accurate for steel or game animals. Out to 200 yards, and perhaps even a bit farther, this load will give shooters all the accuracy that they need in the hunting field.

As expected, this ammunition has always fed reliably through my Marlin, which is important, especially if dangerous game such as bear is in the area.

Jim Davis aims .30-30 lever action rifle
Recoil was not bad and accuracy was good in the Marlin 336. (Photo: Jason Stimmel)

With the 150-grain Power-Shok being such a popular load in my area, there is plenty of feedback as to how it performs in actual use. Everyone I’ve spoken with thinks highly of it, as it drops deer reliably with good shot placement. As long as deer are hit in the heart/lung area, they usually don’t go very far (if at all) when hit with this load.

In Summation

Federal Power-Shok 150-grain Jacketed Soft Point ammunition is one of the more popular loads for the wildly popular .30-30. It’s a winning combination that will be loved for some time to come, just like it has been in the past.

At the time of writing, this ammunition sells for $34.99  per box at GunMag Warehouse. It represents a good buy for solid ammunition.

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