The .30-30 Winchester/.30 Winchester Center Fire cartridge was first marketed in 1895 for the Winchester Model 1894 lever-action rifle. The .30-30 (or “thirty-thirty”), as it is most commonly known, and the .25-35 were offered that year as the United States’s first small-bore sporting rifle cartridges designed for smokeless powder. Since its introduction, it has been surpassed by many cartridges in the long-range shooting attributes of speed, energy, and trajectory, yet remains in widespread use because of its practical effectiveness in forested hunting situations.
The .30-30 is by far the most common cartridge shot from lever action rifles. The .30-30 is substantially more powerful than the Magnum handgun cartridges (e.g., .357, .44, et al.) also often paired with lever actions, and produces that energy with mild recoil. While its old rival .35 Remington produces more muzzle energy and recoil, the .30-30 will often retain more terminal energy. The .30-30 is not commonly used for extreme long-range shooting across wide-open spaces, but modern innovations in ballistic tipped bullets for leverguns have moved the long-range capabilities of the .30-30 somewhat closer to parity with higher-velocity cartridges. In any case, a hunting-specific advantage of the .30-30 over those cartridges is that it leaves lower volumes of spoiled (destroyed or bloodshot) venison after a kill, leading to less wastage.