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30 Carbine Ammo: The Forgotten Caliber History of 30 Carbine Ammo Explained
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Published 2 months ago |
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In the late 1930s, the U.S. Army was searching for a better warfighting tool for their ammunition carriers, machine gunners, mortar crews, and administrative and communications personnel. They wanted something with more range and power than the M1911A1 .45 ACP pistol. The M1 Garand, though a fine rifle for its intended purpose, was too large and heavy for this task. Henry Stimson, the U.S. Secretary of War, ordered the development of a lighter rifle for this need in June of 1940. The M1 Carbine rifle was developed as a result of this order, and the M2 Carbine rifle followed soon after.

The U.S. military used the M2 Carbine in wars from World War 2 to Vietnam. The rifle did not fare well during the Korean Conflict, as it was known to function poorly in the cold. Even worse, bullets from the .30 Carbine could not penetrate the Chinese and North Korean soldiers' heavy winter clothing. Even with these limitations, the U.S. military continued to use the M2 carbine until replacing it with the M-16 and its variants in the 1970s.

Winchester developed the .30 Carbine according to Army specifications. Some of these included: the caliber must be larger than 0.27 inches and must be effective out to a distance of 300 yards. Edwin Pugsley of Winchester took their self-loading .32 Winchester cartridge, turned the rim down and used it as the base for the new cartridge. The rimless case held a round nose .308 caliber bullet, which was like the military issue Full Metal Jacket ammo for the .45 ACP. The ammo from the first production propelled a bullet weighing 120 grains at 2,000 feet per second.

To a moderate degree, civilian shooters have adopted the .30 Carbine, using it for small- and medium-sized game including coyote, fox, and javelina. Several rifles and pistols have been chambered for this cartridge. Aguila, Federal, Magtech, Remington and Winchester are some of the more prominent manufacturers to offer .30 Carbine ammunition today.

The .30 Carbine is a cartridge that functions as a sort of jack of all trades. The bullet is large in diameter, travels at a moderate velocity, and is effective for hunting most game of small to medium size. Many rifles and pistols are chambered for .30 Carbine and come in a variety of different action types. The .30 Carbine generates mild recoil, and is adequately accurate – two features that make this cartridge a great choice for new shooters or those who want a fun centerfire cartridge for plinking.

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