I shot my first deer with a 30-30, but have since changed to a 30-06 for more power. The 30-30 is a great gun, but I prefer the ol 06.
I shot my LAST
deer with a .30-30. (Usually I use a 7mm-08 in a Remington Model 7.) As old as I am (insert wrinkled smiley here with long white beard), it's surprising that I had never shot a deer with a .30-30 until this year. My younger brother passed away in Alaska back in March, and I now have the old Westernfield (Marlin 336 clone sold by Montgomery Ward) that he used to hunt deer with when he lived in PA.
My brother always wanted to play a part in me getting a bear, so I decided to use it on a bear hunt. I put a new scope on it, contacted Federal to get some advice on the best ammo for bear, and took it to Ontario back in August. (Federal recommended the 170 grain Fusion.) I didn't even see a bear, but decided that I'd hunt deer with it in PA during the firearms season.
On the second day I shot a small doe. It was late in the day and I was crossing the creek on my way home when the deer got up in some brush on the other side, about 70 yards away. I hit it broadside in the middle of the chest cavity, breaking two ribs. There was no exit wound, and I found that the bullet entered sideways (probably had hit some brush before getting to the deer), then angled back through the abdomen, broke the hip just below the ball joint on the off-side, and came to rest under the hide.
I recovered the bullet when I skinned the deer. It mushroomed very well and the 170 grain bullet still weighed 161 grains (if I recall correctly.) That's very good performance from a .30-30. I don't like loading and unloading it, and I'm not fond of pulling back the lever rather than just flipping a safety off, but I like carrying the gun and I think I'll try to buy it from my brother's wife.
I made most of the deer into jerky and I'm eating some of it right now. [:D]