View Full Version : 12 gauge or 30-30 or 44 mag rifle

06-30-2005, 12:18 PM
Here's my thinking -
A 12 gauge with low recoil buckshot has about 1700 ft. lbs. of energy at muzzle. A 44 mag rifle is about the same. A 30-30 has around 1800 ft. lbs., so they're all pretty much equal.

Recoil in a 12 gauge is 23-50 ft. lbs. depending on load. 30-30 or 44 mag are 11 ft. lbs.

On paper, looks like the rifles win out - less recoil, faster shot recovery, same power. And, you can reach out to 150 yards or so with the 30-30. The lever guns are also lighter.

My conclusion - use scatterguns when there's a fox in the henhouse. Grab a rifle for self defense, even close-in stuff.

Let me know if I'm thinkin' right on this. I know shotguns have a reputation for ending fights right now but looks like the 30-30 or 44 should be equivalent. Am I missing something?
Thanks guys.

06-30-2005, 12:22 PM
I know shotguns have a reputation for ending fights right now but looks like the 30-30 or 44 should be equivalent. Am I missing something?

Yes, you're missing something if you only focus on muzzle energy. So much more goes into the equation.

If the expected engagement is from 0 - 30 feet, is fast moving, where both you and the BGs are moving, the shotgun wins out. Everything else says "rifle."

Rifle: not sure what, if any, advantages there are in using a pistol cartridge rifle. Certainly no ballistics advantages.

06-30-2005, 12:54 PM
The "thudy-thudy" has been getting the job done for a hundred years.

The M94 is a 19th Century Assault Rifle.

Wear a glove on the left hand for the heat and keep you thumb nail trimmed short for reloading.

The lever-gun will do some amazing things in the right hands.

Skip the pistol caliber rifles.

06-30-2005, 01:25 PM
+1 to the priciple expressed by dgg9.
Near = shotgun
Far = rifle
Where exactly the line b/t near and far, is up to the individual.

Rex G
07-01-2005, 12:50 PM
I agree with the shotgun=close range and the rifle=longer range concept. A rifle can of course handle short range encounters, but the advantage is with the shotgun. The older threads cover this quite well; Gabe recently wrote a really good one on the shotgun, and there have been recent threads on rifles, such as the one on tactical lever rifles. FWIW, I do not just sit and dream about this stuff; I carry an 870 in the front seat with me while on big-city police patrol, while I am allowed to carry an AR15 in a case, in the trunk. (The rifle can only be deployed under a narrow range of conditions, whereas deployment of the shotgun is discretionary.) Fortunately, I work night shift, where 40 yards is a VERY long shot. I see little use for pistol-cartridge rifles except for close-range woods hunters who just like them a lot, and those who shoot competition which calls for such weapons, such as the old-western-styled action matches. I have no disagreement with such folks, and if they want their competion or hunting rifle to double for SD/HD, that is certainly OK. BTW, my non-police social-encounter rifle is a Browning BLR, a box-magazine lever rifle chambered for .308. Just to make one thing clear: The shotgun is GREAT for human targets within its effective range, is my FIRST choice for use against human adversaries within the 0-25 yard window, and not a bad choice at slightly longer range. Read Gabe's thread on the shotgun; I totally support everything stated there, except that I do like slightly tighter patterns and use a Vang-comp barrel.

Rex G
07-01-2005, 12:58 PM
I agree with dgg9; do not be overly concerned about energy. A projectile needs enough energy to enable it to penetrate to the important bits. Permanent wound channels are important; a shotgun can make multiple wound channels with one shot. Highly motivated human opponents can of course absorb a tremendous amout of damage before ceasing their actions. History records amazing performances after hits by all types of weapons.

Steve Camp
07-01-2005, 02:38 PM
The only other point yet to be re-iterated in this thread is performance against armor-clad assailants. The only weapon of the three listed that will take down soft body armor wearing BGs is the .30-30. Neither the 12ga or the .44mag lever action would have taken out the madman in Tyler, TX this past spring. (Well... maybe the 12ga could have taken his legs out from under him, but wouldn't have penetrated his vest(s).)

If you can only have one, I'd recommend the .30-30 for all around SD use. Otherwise, get a shotgun for the close-in work as has been mentioned.

Of course, disregard my comments if you never think you will ever have to engage a BG wearing body armor.

07-01-2005, 03:06 PM
Got a BG in Body armour? Hit the legs and head. Or better yet take a couple of seconds and pop a couple of slugs into the gun.

IT all depends on the distances youthink you will be shooting at. Short range get the Sg....longer ranges go for the 30/30.

07-04-2005, 12:26 PM
Thanks guys. I was hoping to save the money, but looks like I'll have to get that Wilson Scattergun Technologies piece.
Oh well, there's lot worse things to spend $900 on. Nopw if I can just convince my wife that every gun is a need and not a want.

Rex G
07-04-2005, 02:30 PM
I am happy with a stock Parkerized 870P, to which I have added a Surefire forend/light. I forgot how much I paid for the 870P, but it was less than $500, and the forend/light was $200. The 870P is the police 870, not a cheaper Express, and it is smooth in operation. That is less than $700 so far. The next time I order from Brownells, I will probably buy a better follower, and perhaps a Vang-comp extended safety, although being a southpaw with long guns I rarely use the safety button, preferring to release the action when going into low or high ready, and closing the action when pointing the gun at a target. (I did install a Vang-comp barrel previously worn by an earlier 870 Marine Magnum, but as has been discussed in another thread or two here, that is an optional feature that suits my particular LE situation.) If someone gave me that $900, I would still have $200 left, which would buy most of a nice pre-owned lever rifle. ;)

07-08-2005, 06:50 AM
Dont discount the lever carbines to much. My .44 mag is actually a "rifle" but it puts a 240 grn JHP downrange at 1900 FPS. My .357 is a carbine and it puts a 145 STHP downrange at 2200 FPS. Yes my first choice is my AR or 870, but my .44 get carried more because for me it is more versatile, on 4 or 2 legged critters. and easier to replace if need be.

Michael Biggs
07-20-2005, 07:27 AM
No experience with the 30-30 or 44 but...

I really like my M-870 Express, and attended 4 shotgun schools (Farnam/Hackathorn/Paul Abel/OKC Sheriff Dept) plus had USAF SP training to better understand it.

Advice: Learn to use what you already have. Each weapon is definitely capable in a seasoned person's hands. If you do not presently own one or more visit your local range and test run other shooters gun options, if you can first.

I also recommend the Ruger Mini 14, hard hitting, short & manuverable, lots of rounds, minimum recoil, easy operating, sometimes as cheap as the others and surprise may not overpenetrate target, contrary to popular beliefs.

Review Gabe's Rifle & Shotgun books!!!