Few things are as exhilarating as shooting .30-30 Winchester from a lever-action rifle. With more than 100 years of history to its name, this cartridge has been in countless deer camps--where state law allows it, of course. Aye, there’s the rub. Unfortunately, many states are limited to “straight-walled” cartridges, which don’t have a neck. Winchester took a crack at solving this problem with its 350 Legend some years ago; however it left hunters in those restricted states a bit underpowered. Back in full swing, Remington has introduced its first cartridges in eons, the 360 Buckhammer, and Henry Repeating Arms stepped up to be the first company to chamber it into a rifle.
At this year’s SHOT Show Industry Day at the Range, I had a chance to fire Henry’s H009G-360BH, which is the spitting image of its steel receiver .30-30. With its luscious matte-black finish and American Walnut furniture, its classic styling is reminiscent of the lever guns our grandparents took hunting. It also features a handy side-gate loading mechanism that works in tandem with the iconic Henry front-loading tube to give you extra options when afield.
On the range, I was able to shoot it side by side with a nearly identical .30-30 rifle to get a comparison between it and the new .360 Buckhammer cartridge. Starting off with paper targets, I fired a 170-grain .30-30 Win., followed by a round of 180-grain .360 Buckhammer. After noticing a lighter recoil of the .360 Buckhammer, I asked the folks at the booth if it was a specialty target load ... to which they assured me it wasn’t. They also informed me that it produced more energy than the .30-30 Win. sitting next to it. With that, I placed a round of each onto a reactive steel plate and saw an immediate difference. When compared to the .30-30, the .360 Buckhammer nearly knocked the target off its hanger.
I thanked the guys at the booth for their time and was made aware that several other .360 Buckhammer rifles were about to be rolling off the lines to offer shooters further options, including threaded barrels. With any luck, they’ll be sitting on dealers’ shelves just in time for deer season!