.30 Carbine

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An ammo blast from the past would definitely be the .30 Carbine. This round is one that’s popularly and use has really fallen since its inception but is still being manufactured and used in a number of firearms.

The first .30 carbine cartridges were made by simply turning down rims on the .32SL (.32 Self Loading) cases and using the projectiles from the .308 round.

This gave the round a similar profile to the .45 ACP bullet that the US Military was using but the .30 carbine has twice the amount of muzzle energy as the .45 ACP.

.30 Carbine Overview

.30 Carbine is a rimless centerfire rifle cartridge that is used primarily in the M1 Carbine and was introduced in 1942. The original intent of the round was specifically for the M1 carbine.

30 Carbine Ammo

The 30 Carbine cartridge is still in production today and is made by a number of different manufacturers including Hornady, Remington, Federal, Tula, and more.

The round was originally manufactured by Winchester but upon its adoption by the US Military, many other manufacturers began making the cartridge.

.30 Carbine History

The .30 carbine round was originally released in 1942 and is a direct result of the US Army’s “light rifle” program which eventually produced the M1 carbine.

The Army required a cartridge greater than .27 with a range of 300 yards or better out of an 18-inch barrel.

With these requirements, Winchester made a .30 caliber cartridge with 100-120 grain bullet with a velocity of 2,000 feet per second.

The first 100,000 of these Winchester cartridges had the headstamp “.30 SL” with the SL standing for self-loading.

The .30 Carbine round was in active military service in the United States from the 1940s to the 1970s.

According to some sources, the .30 Carbine is still in active military service in some countries, including South Korea and Taiwan.

.30 Carbine Purpose

The 30 carbine rounds purpose was to create a round that had a range of 300 years or more from an 18″ barrel and be shot from a light rifle that was being developed, the M1 carbine.

.30 Carbine Performance

The military used the M1 carbine during WWII where many soldiers complained about the carbine’s lack of stopping power.

30 Carbine Headstamp

This was likely due to two major factors. First, the round was known to punch through its target rather than tumble or expand on impact, even with a soft tip or hollow point rounds.

Second, the enemy during WWII was known to be under the influence of amphetamines giving them almost super human-like abilities.

In long-barreled rifles, full metal jacket bullets don’t expend very well and not nearly as well as a soft tip or hollow-point bullets.

The bullets themselves are often known to over-penetrate.

The .30 carbine round is used for hunting small to medium-sized game but isn’t extremely popular hunting round and is more directed toward collectors and hobbyists. The 350 Legend is a newer straight-walled hunting cartridge that is far more popular in 2022.

Guns that Shoot .30 Carbine Ammo

The most notable gun that shoots .30 carbine ammo is the M1 Carbine.

The .30 carbine cartridge is still pretty common in the US since over 6 million M1 carbines were made during WWII.

The M1 Carbines were solid in mass after the war often for as little as $20 each. This made the M1 incredibly popular with gun owners in the US.

Currently, the only company producing modern remakes of the M1 carbine is Auto-Ordnance and it, like the original, is chambered in .30 Carbine.

Some other firearms have been made to shoot .30 carbine such as the Taurus Raging Bull and the Ruger Blackhawk, both of which are revolvers.

.30 Carbine Ammo Price and Availability

.30 Carbine is one ammo that is still relatively easy to find.

Due to the M1 Carbine’s popularity in the sporting and collecting circles civilian demand for the .30 carbine cartridge is still relatively high.

While this ammo isn’t widely used it’s still readily available and still in production from some of the major manufacturers around the world.

Sportsmans Guide will often have .30 Carbine ammo for sale. Also, Lucky Gunner is known to have a decent selection of .30 Carbine ammo in stock.

.30 Carbine FAQ

Are 30-30 and .30 carbine the same?

No, the 30-30 is a much different cartridge than .30 carbine.

30-30 is a popular hunting cartridge that is rimmed and bottlenecked.

Is .30 carbine the same as 300 Blackout?

No, .30 carbine is much different around than .300 AAC Blackout.

While both of these rounds are 30 caliber they are wildly different in that 300 blackout is a necked down 5.56 round and the .30 carbine is a neckless round.

Is .30 Carbine effective?

The .30 Carbine round was made for the M1 Carbine which was 8 inches shorter and almost 5 lbs lighter than the larger M1 Garand which was chambered for the more powerful 30-06 caliber.

It had a much longer effective shooting range than the .45 ACP pistols that were carried by support troops.

The round caught a bad wrap during the Korean War, where the M1 Carbine and the .30 Carbine cartridge saw most of its wartime use because troops stated they would shoot the Korean and Chinese troops with no effect.

As it was mentioned earlier it was likely due to poor shooting or other influences, such as amphetamines, that made the Koreans and Chinese seem like they were unphased by the rounds.

Michael Savage
Michael Savage

Michael is the President of Lynx Defense and an avid gun owner and outdoors man. He's passionate about helping find the best bang for your buck and helping others learn about firearms and the industry as a whole.

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8 Comments

  1. I have a WW2 relic carbine and a modern copy carbine (M1 carbine that is). Both are reliable with old magazines but not so much with modern mags. Not sure why. They are both fun to shoot and can give you tight patterns up to 100 yards. I enjoy target shooting these carbines because they are light, accurate and powerful enough. They fit your hands very well and have a light recoil. If you buy an older carbine, be sure to have the barrel checked out by a professional. Most older ones have had a LOT of rounds put through them over the years – both in combat and in target shooting. Did I mention they are fun to shoot ?

  2. I have multiple M1 carbines , Garand’s , AR’s and many others . Love them all but the Carbine is special to me as my father was in the Korean War and I have a picture of him holding one . Funny as I bought him a Grand for Father’s Day years ago . Sadly he has passed and I got it back .
    Anywho , love my carbines and they all shoot great . I , unlike many I have read about have not had many of any magazine issues to speak of . I have a variety of them ranging from GI to KCI and sone unknown . Even the 30 rounders seem to run fine but hear others having issues . The big problem is ammo . Yea you can find it 2023 but the prices are just outrageous and I’m conserving what I have for now . I wish PSA would add it to their ACC LINE of ammo and if the price was reasonable o bet they would sale a ton of it .
    That said if they would make an AR chambered for it I’d add at least one to the collection .

  3. I purchased a Plainfield circa 65-66 sometime back. It’s been gutted over the years with replacement US surplus parts so that the bolt and stock are probably the only parts from the factory intact. It’s very reliable with decent factory ammo. Iron sights tight group at 100 yards. For anyone who wants a nice light HD rifle with a good round that looks like rodent control to others, a good option that doesn’t look AK or AR.

  4. THE 30 CARBINE; AND THE M1 CARBINE THAT FIRES IT; ARE STILL VERY RELAVANT.
    SMALL AND LIGHT WEIGHT, THE M1 CARBINE, AND 30 CARBINE CARTRIDGE, MAKE A GREAT PERSONAL DEFENSE WEAPON.
    PERSONAL DEFENSE RANGE IS UP CLOSE, TO ROUGHLY 100 YRDS.
    THIS WEAPON AND CARTRIDGE STILL WORKS WELL !

  5. I shoot both 5.56×45 and 30 carbine. Seemed like the perceived recoil was similar. I chronographed each of my loads. My 55gr, 5.56 round velocities
    we’re running about 2730. My 110 gr,
    30 carbine rounds were running about
    1940. I calculated the muzzle energy
    and they were almost the same! Interesting. Of course the 30 carbine
    velocity drops quickly after a couple
    hundred yards where as the 5.56 is
    still makes power out to about 500 yards.
    So at close range they are about the same, as far as kinetic energy is concerned. Just saying…

  6. That’s basically what the paragraph is saying:

    “The .30 Carbine round was made for the M1 Carbine which was 8 inches shorter and almost 5 lbs lighter than the larger M1 Garand which was chambered for the more powerful 30-06 caliber.”

    No one is arguing that the .30 Carbine is less-powerful than the .30-06. But being less-powerful than the .30-06 doesn’t make it “ineffective.”

  7. Is .30 Carbine Effective? “…M1 Garand and more powerful.” Nope. Garand is chambered in the 30-06 cartridge, which is more than twice as powerful as the .30 carbine load!

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