History of 30 Carbine Ammo

Discussion in 'M1 Carbine' started by ammodotcom, Oct 22, 2020.

  1. ammodotcom

    ammodotcom G&G Evangelist

    At first glance, the relatively straight, rimless case of the .30 Carbine may lead unknowing shooters to believe the ammunition was designed for a pistol. Afterall, it looks more like a handgun round than one made for a rifle, but that’s not the case.

    No, the 7.62x33mm round was created as a light rifle cartridge originally requested in 1938, and would eventually become the most produced small arm for the U.S. Military during the Second World War.

    The .30 caliber cartridge features a round nose lead bullet with a diameter of 7.62mm, or .308 inch. The slightly tapered case has a neck diameter of .331 inch and a base diameter of .354 inch. The case has a length of 1.290 inches and an overall length of 1.650 inches.

    Designed by Winchester, the ammunition features a small rifle primer and has a maximum pressure of 38,500 pounds per square inch (psi). In its original form, .30 Carbine ammo has a 110 grain full metal jacket (FMJ) bullet that reaches a velocity of 1,990 feet per second (fps) and an energy of 967 foot pound (ft·lb) force.

    Although it’s most often referred to as the .30 Carbine, shooters may also come across the ammo labeled as:
    • .30 M1 Carbine
    • .30 SL (where SL stands for self loading)
    • .762x33mm
    • .30 Cal ammo
    • .30 Cal Carbine ammo
    • M1 ammo
    • .30 ammo
    The Development of .30 Carbine Ammo

    It was 1938, and the U.S. military had received a plethora of reports from the field. The M1 Garand rifle, the standard long-gun of the Armed Forces, was simply too cumbersome. It was large. It was heavy. And it got in the way of soldiers, impeding their mobility.

    The Army needed a carbine, something that proved to be a better warfighting tool, specifically for its ammunition carriers, machine gunners, mortar crews, and administrative and communications personnel. It needed more range and power than the M1911A1, the Army’s standard issue .45 ACP pistol, and it needed to be lighter than the M1 Garand.

    It was this need that led to what has become known as the “light rifle project.”

    Finally, in June of 1940, then US Secretary of War Henry Stimson ordered the development of a lighter rifle. The request included that the carbine weigh five pounds or less (which was about half the weight of the M1 Garand rifle and Thompson submachine gun) and fire a bullet with a diameter of at least .27 caliber. At 300 yards, the bullet should remain effective and have a mid-range trajectory ordinate of 18 inches or less.

    While different firearm manufacturers set out to create the new weapon, Winchester was contracted with the job of creating the ammunition.

    Edwin Pugsley, a designer at Winchester (and, irrelevant to his ammunition career, the inspiration for the Addams Family character, Pugsley), took the self-loading .32 Winchester cartridge, turned the rim down, and used it as the base for the new cartridge. He fitted the rimless case with a round nose .308 caliber bullet. Like the military issue full metal jacket ammo for the .45 ACP, the lead bullet was covered in copper.

    The ammo, from its first production, propelled a bullet weighing 120 grain (gr) at a velocity of 2,000 fps. The first 100,000 rounds were head stamped with “.30 SL” for self loading.

    This lighter bullet, which contained more modern powder than its predecessor, traveled 600 fps faster and was 27 percent more powerful than the .32 Winchester self-loading ammo.

    From .30 Caliber Ammo to M1 Carbine

    While Winchester was focusing on .30 Carbine ammunition, the company was also working on its Model M2 Rifle chambered in .30-06 for the military. Because of these projects, the firearm manufacturer didn’t provide a prototype for the U.S. Ordnance Department’s “light rifle project.”

    Even though multiple carbines were tested, none of the prototypes made the cut. Some failed in accuracy, while others didn’t come close to meeting the requested five-pound weight limit.

    Army Colonel Rene R. Studler, who was also the Chief of Research and Development of Small Arms, convinced Winchester to modify its current project, the .30-06 Model M2, and scale it down for the new .30 caliber cartridge.

    Winchester did. And 13 days later, the company showed up with its prototype. It was a success, and the M1 Carbine was officially on its way to manufacturing.

    Initial Army testing began in August of 1941. After proving its effectiveness, mass production of the M1 Carbine began. And over the next few decades, over six million M1 Carbine firearms were manufactured.

    Although Winchester created both the ammunition and the firearm, they weren’t the top producer of the M1 Carbine. On December 8th of that same year, the U.S. military joined the war in the Pacific. Three days later, on December 11th, Germany declared war on the U.S., entering the nation into the European battle. The country was officially a part of World War II.

    Entering into the war meant more guns were needed – more than any one gun manufacturer could create. Industries all over the country set aside their products and started providing weapons the military needed, including the M1 Carbine.

    The Inland Division of General Motors was the top producer of the light rifle, Winchester the second. Other notable M1 Carbine manufacturers included IBM, Underwood Typewriter Company, and Rock-Ola Manufacturing Corporation, which was made famous for its jukeboxes.

    The M1 Carbine was issued to infantry, machine gun, artillery, and tank crews, paratroopers, and line of communication soldiers. The semi-automatic Carbine was issued with a 15-round magazine and featured a wooden stock.

    The M1A1 Carbine was made specifically for paratroopers and featured a folding stock and a leather cheek piece. Although the stock wasn’t as strong as it could be, the M1A1 Carbine provided a compact and easy-to-carry firearm for airborne units.

    Continue reading 30 Carbine Ammo at Ammo.com.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2020
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  2. noelekal

    noelekal G&G Evangelist

    Good stuff.

    I love the M1 Carbine and its cartridge.
    BigEd63, mdj696, K75RT and 2 others like this.

  3. Outpost75

    Outpost75 G&G Evangelist

    Another historical note is that the profile of the .30 M1 carbine FMJ bullet was based on that of the US .30 Pedersen cartridge (Auto Pistol Ball Cartridge caliber .30 Model of 1918 or .30-18 Automatic) used in the Pedersen device, simply increasing the bullet weight from 80 grains to 108.
    Ten Man, Huey Rider, K75RT and 2 others like this.
  4. ammodotcom

    ammodotcom G&G Evangelist

    That's really interesting – I'll tell our author and see if she wants to update the article! Thank you!
    jwrauch and K75RT like this.
  5. noelekal

    noelekal G&G Evangelist

    I'm probably the only person in the world who admires, prefers, and actually uses the M1 Carbine over the AR 15.
    mdj696, jwrauch, Ten Man and 2 others like this.
  6. Outpost75

    Outpost75 G&G Evangelist

    You can tell your author that I was informed of this by the Col. William S. Brophy when he was with Marlin Firearms Company. Marlin was one of the original manufacturers of the Pederson device. I was permitted to view microfiche aperture cards of the original drawings and correspondence with the Ordnance Dept. The auxiliary chamber which fit into the Mark 1 Springfield rifle was the first use of what later became known as "Microgroove" rifling.

    Remington Arms in Bridgeport, CT produced the original Pederson ammunition and had the bullet forming dies, but because they were purchased and furnished by the government, Remington did not retain them after the war, and but they were retrieved and sent to Springfield Armory for safe keeping.

    When the .30 SL cartridge was first tested by Pugsley initial experimental handloads used the 80-grain Pederson bullet. It was determined almost immediately that a heavier bullet would be required to meet the Army's ballistic requirements, so a longer jacket draw was substituted and the Pedersen dies readjusted to produce the now familiar 108-110 grain carbine bullet. Early M1 carbine ball an d tracer ammunition prior to 1943 used either Hercules #2400 powder or IMR4227. Western developed its own Ball propellent WC295, which was slower-burning and more dense, being able to attain the Army's desired velocity within pressure limits and the Ball powder was standardized in 1943.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2020
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  7. Outpost75...you never fail to bring more information out on several areas...Thank You!.
    jwrauch, blaster and noelekal like this.
  8. Outpost75

    Outpost75 G&G Evangelist

    As a young officer I had some great mentors who have since gone to their rewards, but I do my best to keep the torch burning.
  9. jimb2

    jimb2 G&G Evangelist

    Time for my pet peeve! The M1A1 carbine was designed for AIRBORNE, not for paras! Glidermen were issued it too. My father was 82nd then 101st. They were issued the M1A1 carbine too. Why does everybody seem to ignore those brave men who flew into combat aboard those flimsy kites? You would think they didn't exist!
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