ⓘ .30 Carbine. The.30 Carbine is a rimless carbine cartridge used in the M1 carbine introduced in the 1940s. It is a light rifle round designed to be fired from t ..


ⓘ .30 Carbine

The.30 Carbine is a rimless carbine cartridge used in the M1 carbine introduced in the 1940s. It is a light rifle round designed to be fired from the M1 carbines 18-inch barrel.


1. History

Shortly before World War II, the U.S. Army started a "light rifle" project to provide support personnel and rear area units more firepower and accuracy than the standard issue M1911A1.45 ACP handgun, and weigh half as much as a M1 Garand rifle or the.45 Thompson submachine gun.

The.30 Carbine cartridge was developed by Winchester and is basically a rimless.30 caliber 7.62 mm version of the much older.32 Winchester Self-Loading cartridge of 1906 introduced for the Winchester Model 1905 rifle. The.30 Carbine uses a lighter bullet and more modern powder. As a result, it is approximately 600 feet per second faster and 27% more powerful than its parent cartridge. The.30 Carbines relatively straight case and the rounded nose of its bullet led some to believe it was designed for use in pistols.

At first, Winchester was tasked with developing the cartridge but did not submit a carbine design. Other firms and individual designers submitted several carbine designs, but most prototypes were either unreliable or grossly off the target weight of five pounds. Major Rene Studler persuaded Winchester that the Winchester M2.30-06 rifle, a design started by Ed Browning and perfected by Winchester engineer Marshall "Carbine" Williams, could be scaled down for the.30 Carbine cartridge. The result was the M1 carbine.

The M1 carbine was issued to infantry officers, machine gun, artillery and tank crews, paratroopers and other line-of-communications personnel in lieu of the larger, heavier M1 Garand. The weapon was originally issued with a 15-round detachable magazine. The carbine and cartridge were not intended to serve as a primary infantry weapon, nor was it comparable to more powerful intermediate cartridges later developed for assault rifles. The M2 carbine was introduced late in World War II with a selective-fire switch allowing optional fully automatic fire at a rather high rate 850–900 rpm and a 30-round magazine.

The M1 and M2 carbines continued in service during the Korean War. A postwar U.S. Army evaluation reported that "ommanders noted that it took two to three engagements at least to settle their men to the automatic feature of the carbine so that they would not greatly waste ammunition under the first impulse of engagement. By experience, they would come to handle it semiautomatically, but it took prolonged battle hardening to bring about this adjustment in the human equation."


2. Development

U.S. Army specifications for the new cartridge mandated the caliber to be greater than.27, with an effective range of 300 yards or more, and a midrange trajectory ordinate of 18 inches 460 mm or less at 300 yards. With these requirements in hand, Winchesters Edwin Pugsley chose to design the cartridge with a.30 caliber, 100–120 grain bullet at a velocity of 2.000 feet per second 610 m/s. The first cartridges were made by turning down rims on.32SL cases and loading with.308 caliber bullets which had a similar profile to those of the U.S. military.45 ACP bullets. The first 100.000 cartridges manufactured were headstamped ".30 SL" for "self-loading".


3. Civilian use

The popularity of the M1 carbine for collecting, sporting, and re-enactment use has resulted in continued civilian popularity of the.30 Carbine cartridge. For hunting, it is considered a small-to-medium-game cartridge. With millions of surplus M1 carbines still owned by civilians, the round continues to be used for these purposes.


4. Handguns

A number of handguns have been chambered for.30 Carbine ammunition. In 1944, Smith & Wesson developed a hand-ejector revolver to fire.30 Carbine. It went through 1.232 rounds without incident. From a four-inch 102 mm barrel, it launched the standard GI ball projectile at 1.277 ft/s 389 m/s, producing an average group of 4.18 inches 106 mm at 25 yards 23 m; the military decided not to adopt the revolver. The loud blast is the most oft-mentioned characteristic of the.30 Carbine cartridge fired in a handgun.

In 1958, the short-lived J. Kimball Arms Co. produced a.30 Carbine caliber pistol that closely resembled a slightly scaled-up High Standard Field King.22 target pistol. The Ruger Blackhawk revolver chambered for the.30 Carbine round has been in the catalogs since the late 1960s. Standard government-issue rounds clock over 1.500 ft/s 460 m/s, with factory loads and handloads producing similar velocities.

Plainfield Machine Corp. made a.30 caliber pistol from 1964 to 1983 named the "Enforcer". While similar to the M1 carbine, it lacked the stock, thereby making it a handgun. Sold to Iver Johnson in 1983, the Enforcer continued in production until 1986. Other handguns chambered for this cartridge include the Thompson-Center Contender.

Plainfield Machine produced M1 carbines from 1960 to 1977, when they were bought out by Iver Johnson Corp, who has manufactured them at least until a 50th anniversary model in 1993. The Taurus Raging Thirty and AMT AutoMag III were offered in.30 Carbine.


5. Comparison

The.30 Carbine was developed from the.32 Winchester Self-Loading used in an early semi-auto sporting rifle. A standard.30 Carbine ball bullet weighs 110 grains 7.1 g; a complete loaded round weighs 195 grains 12.6 g and has a muzzle velocity of 1.990 ft/s 610 m/s, giving it 967 ft⋅lb f 1.311 joules of energy when fired from the M1 carbines 18-inch barrel.

By comparison, the.30-06 M2 cartridge for M1 Garand rifle fired a ball bullet weighing 152 grains 9.8 g at a muzzle velocity of 2.805 ft/s 855 m/s and 2.655 ft⋅lb f 3.600 joules of muzzle energy. Therefore, the M1 carbine is significantly less powerful than the M1 Garand. Another comparison is a.357 Magnum cartridge fired from an 18" rifle barrel, which has a muzzle velocity range from about 1.718–2.092 ft/s 524–638 m/s with energies at 720–1.215 ft⋅lb f 976–1.647 J for a 110 gr 7.1 g bullet at the low end and a 125 gr 8.1 g bullet on the high end.

As a hunting arm, the M1 carbine is approximately the equivalent to a.357 Magnum lever-action rifle.30 Carbine sporting ammunition is factory recommended for hunting and control of large vermin like fox, javelina, and coyote. However, the game laws of several states do not allow hunting big game with the.30 Carbine either by name or by minimum muzzle energy required.


6. Chambered weapons


  • Alpine u.s. carbine
  • Excel Arms X30R
  • Southern Gun Company La-30
  • M1 carbine
  • Armalon AL30C
  • Chapina carbine
  • IMI Magal
  • Hezi SM-1
  • CEAM Modele 1950
  • Marlin Levermatic Model 62
  • Cristobal carbine
  • Thompson Light Rifle
  • Universal Arms.30 carbine
  • Garand carbine
  • FAMAE CT-30
  • Franchi LF-58
  • Taurus Carabina CT-30
  • Hillberg carbine
  • Olympic Arms AR-15


  • Taurus Raging Thirty
  • Kimball
  • Ruger Blackhawk
  • Excel Arms X-30
  • AMT AutoMag III
  • Universal Enforcer


7. Users

  • Taiwan Republic of China 1950s–present
  • Cambodia 1967–1975
  • Greece Hellenic Greek Air Force until mid-1980s)
  • Dominican Republic 1950–1990
  • Indonesia: Used by Indonesian Armed Forces in 1950s-1960s
  • United Kingdom WWII Lend-Lease
  • France WWII lend-lease, First Indochina War and 1954–1962, Algerian War. Manufactured as the Modele 50 pour Carabine cartridge.
  • Germany German border guard, some police forces and German Army paratroopers 1950s-1960s)
  • Brazil
  • United States 1940s–1970s, armed forces and some law enforcement agencies 1940s–present
  • Japan National police reserve 1950–1989
  • Philippines Post-WWII
  • Mexico Police departments and security forces
  • Bavaria 1940s–1950s, border guard
  • Norway Norwegian Army 1951–1970, with some Norwegian police units until the 1990s
  • Nicaragua 1960s-present, police and border guard
  • South Korea 1950s–present, reserve force
  • Israel
  • Italy Carabinieri, as of 1992
  • Vietnam Captured batches
  • South Vietnam 1950s–1970s
  • Austria 1950s–1970s, Austrian Army and police
  • Suriname?–present, army
  • Thailand Locally known as the ปสบ.87
  • Liberia
  • Ethiopia
  • Netherlands 1940s–1970s, army and police
  • Malaysia


8. Cartridge types

Common types used by the military with the carbine include:

  • Cartridge, caliber.30, carbine, ball, M1. It came in cartons of 50 cartridges.
  • Cartridge, caliber.30, carbine, tracer, M27. It came in cartons of 50 cartridges.
  • Cartridge, caliber.30, carbine, grenade, M6. The grenade blank was used with the M8 rifle grenade launcher. It came in cartons of six cartridges. Cartons issued in metal ammo cans were made of plain pasteboard, while individual cartons were sealed and waterproofed with a wax coating.
  • Cartridge, dummy, caliber.30, carbine, M13. This cartridge was used to safely teach loading and unloading the M1 carbine to recruits.
  • Cartridge, caliber.30, carbine, ball, high pressure test, M18. This cartridge was used to proof the carbine and its components at the factory or an army arsenal.

9. As a parent case

The.30 Carbine was the basis for Melvin M. Johnsons.22 Spitfire, necking the.30 Carbines case down to a.22 caliber bullet, for a conversion of the M1 carbine.

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