.30 Carbine

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.30 Carbine (7.62×33mm)
30 Carbine.jpg
.30 Carbine cartridge
Type Carbine
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service World War II–present
Used by See Users
Wars World War II
Korean War
Vietnam War
Production history
Produced World War II to 1950s, present (civilian)
Variants M1, M6 (Grenade)
M13 (Dummy)
M18 (Heavy, High Pressure Test) 152gr
M27 (Tracer)
Parent case .32 Winchester Self-Loading
Bullet diameter 7.62 mm (nominal, 0.308 in actual)
Neck diameter 8.41 mm (0.331 in)
Base diameter 8.99 mm (0.354 in)
Rim diameter 9.14 mm (0.360 in)
Rim thickness 1.27 mm (0.050 in)
Case length 32.76 mm (1.290 in)
Overall length 41.91 mm (1.650 in)
Case capacity 1.3640 cm3 (21.050 gr H2O)
Rifling twist 1:20"
Primer type Small rifle
Maximum pressure 265.45 MPa (38,500 psi)
Ballistic performance
Bullet weight/type Velocity Energy
110 gr (7 g) FMJ 606.5 m/s (1,990 ft/s) 1,311 J (967 ft·lbf)
Test barrel length: 457.2mm
Source(s): Winchester [1]

The .30 Carbine (7.62×33mm) is the cartridge used in the M1 Carbine introduced in the 1940s. It is a light rifle round[2][3][4][5] designed to be fired from the M1 carbine's 18-inch (458 mm) barrel.


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 caliber handgun at half the weight of the 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.[6] The propellant was much newer, though, taking advantage of chemistry advances. The cartridge's relatively straight case and the rounded nose of its bullet led some to believe it was designed for use in pistols.

4.6×30mm, 5.7×28mm, .30 Carbine

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. Maj. Rene Studler persuaded Winchester that the Winchester M2 .30-06 rifle, a design started by Ed Browning and perfected by Winchester engineer Marshall Williams, could be scaled down for the .30 Carbine cartridge.[7]

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 WWII 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 on the weapon's cold-weather shortcomings, and noted complaints of failure to stop heavily clothed North Korean and Chinese troops at close range after multiple hits.[8] An assessment of this rumour that the M1 carbine has difficulty penetrating a heavily clothed target produced a result contrary to the rumour during testing at close range during warm conditions.[9]


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, Winchester's 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 that of the U.S. military .45 ACP bullet. The first 100,000 cartridges manufactured were headstamped ".30 SL".[10]

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/medium-game cartridge, of marginal power for deer-size game.[6] Even in long-barreled carbines, military-style full metal jacket projectiles do not expand as easily as soft or hollow point. In addition, the high sectional density of the projectile causes the bullet to overpenetrate. Soft-point and hollowpoint cartridges are considered to be more effective for hunting and self-defense,[11] and are offered by Winchester, Remington UMC, Federal Cartridge, and Hornady ammunition manufacturers. The .30 carbine cartridge is suitable for the same game and personal defense uses″ as the .32-20 Winchester, .327 Federal Magnum, and .32 Winchester Self-Loading cartridges used in rifles and handguns.

Many M1 Carbine users have failure to feed malfunctions which are primarily caused by poorly produced civilian made magazines. Users find US military surplus 15 and 30 round magazines to be far more reliable.


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 a large 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 M1 Carbine cartridge fired in a handgun.[12]

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 feet per second (460 m/s), with factory loads and handloads producing similar velocities.

Plainfield Machine made a .30 caliber pistol from 1964 to 1983; it was named the Enforcer. While similar to the M1 carbine, it lacked the stock, thereby making it a pistol or 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, Taurus Raging Thirty, and AMT AutoMag III.[12]


From left: 8mm Mauser, two 8mm Lebel cartridges, .30 Carbine compared to WWII rifle rounds

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·lbf (1,311 joules) of energy; fired from an 18" 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) giving a muzzle energy of 2,655 ft/lb (3,600 joules).

The .30 carbine was developed from the .32 Winchester Self-Loading used in an early semi-auto sporting rifle; both rounds are comparable to the .32-20 Winchester round used in carbines and revolvers. .30 Carbine sporting ammunition is factory recommended for hunting and control of large varmints like fox, javelina, and coyote. The game laws of several states do not allow hunting big game (deer, bear or boar) with the .30 Carbine either by name or minimum muzzle energy allowed.

With millions of surplus M1 Carbines still in civilian use, reproductions made in the 1960s and 1970s, several other manufacturers making their own .30 carbine chambered rifles and pistols, including recently released M1 Carbines made by Auto Ordinance and Inland of Dayton Ohio. Several modern .30 Carbine hollow point and expanding bullets in various weights from companies such as Winchester, Hornady, Magtech, and others, making the .30 Carbine round a suitable choice for personal defense and small game hunting for many users.

Chambered weapons




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, Grenade, M6. The Grenade Blank was used with the M8 Rifle Grenade Launcher. It came in cartons of 6 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.
  • Cartridge, Caliber .30, Carbine, Tracer, M27. It came in cartons of 50 cartridges.


  • .30 M1 Carbine
  • 7.62×33mm
  • .30 SL

As a parent case

The .30 Carbine was the basis for Melvin M. Johnson's .22 Spitfire, necking the .30 Carbine's case down to a .22 caliber bullet, for a conversion of the M1 Carbine.

See also


  1. Winchester Ammunition
  2. Ian V. Hogg; John S. Weeks. (2000). "Rifle and machine gun ammunition chart". Military Small Arms of the 20th Century (7th ed.). Krause Publications. p. 407.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "CARTRIDGE AND CHAMBER DRAWINGS CENTERFIRE RIFLE" (PDF). Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Rimless cartridges, Calibres of rifled long centre fire weapons for rimless cartridges". Commission Internationale Permanente pour l'Epreuve des Armes à Feu Portatives (Permanent International Commission for portable firearms testing) (C.I.P.).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "30 CARBINE 110 GR. FULL METAL JACKET". Winchester.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 Barnes, Frank C., Cartridges of the World, DBI Books, 1975, 1989.
  7. Larry Ruth, M1 Carbine: Design, Development & Production, (The Gun Room Press, 1979, ISBN 978-0-87947-023-4
  8. S.L.A. Marshall, Commentary on Infantry and Weapons in Korea 1950–51, 1st Report ORO-R-13 of 27 October 1951, Project Doughboy [Restricted], Operations Research Office (ORO), U.S. Army (1951)
  9. "The Box O' Truth #8 - The Rags O' Truth".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[self-published source]
  10. Schreier, Konrad F., Jr. (1990). Winchester Centerfire Automatic Rifles. ARMAX: Journal of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Vol. III(1): p. 36.
  11. Massad Ayoob (May 1996), "Self defense sales sluggish? Try rifles and carbines", Shooting Industry<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. 12.0 12.1 Cumpston, Mike, "The .30 Carbine Blackhawk: Ruger's Enduring Dark Horse", Guns Magazine, December 2001, San Diego, Von Rosen Publications.
  13. 13.0 13.1 "CARABINA - CT 30 - Calibre Restrito". Retrieved 9 October 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Hogg, Ian (1989). Jane's Infantry Weapons 1989–90 (15th ed.). Jane's Information Group. p. 216. ISBN 0-7106-0889-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Jones, Richard (2009). Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009–2010. Jane's Information Group. p. 898. ISBN 0-7106-2869-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • S.L.A. Marshall, Commentary on Infantry and Weapons in Korea 1950–51, 1st Report ORO-R-13 of 27 October 1951, Project Doughboy [Restricted], Operations Research Office (ORO), U.S. Army
  • Cumpston, Mike, "The .30 Carbine Blackhawk: Ruger's Enduring Dark Horse", Guns Magazine, December 2001, San Diego, Von Rosen Publications