Monday, August 22, 2005

.30 Carbine Defense Ammunition

The M1 Carbine is one of my favorite rifles. It is, in my opinion, and excellent choice as a defensive carbine for civilians due to its reliability (in USGI form, anyway), nearly nonexistent recoil, light weight, and excellent handling. .30 Carbine FMJ Ball is not a great choice for defense though, because it fails to take advantage of the round's ballistics and penetrates too much. (See for example, some of the testing done in the Box O' Truth.) But a good expanding load turns an M1 Carbine into the ballistic equivalent of a semiauto .357 Magnum rifle, which is nothing to sneeze at.

Yesterday at the Rally Point Shoot, I got the chance to speak with Mike Shovel, Sales Manager for Cor-Bon. I asked him if CB is working on defensive ammo for .30 Carbine. He informed me that they are.

The Cor-Bon .30 Carbine load is being developed around a Barnes X-Bullet (solid copper HP). I've seen the Internet rumors about a PowerBall .30 Carbine but apparently they're going with the Barnes. The final load will probably have a 100 grain bullet going about 1800 - 1900 FPS. What's proving difficult is getting it to feed reliably in the M1, which wasn't designed for anything but Ball. They currently have no estimated time-to-market, but are working on it.

Currently, the three most commonly available expanding loads for .30 Carbine are Remington's 110 grain jacketed soft point, Winchester's 110 grain jacketed hollow/soft point, and Federal's jacketed soft point. Of the three, the Remington performs the best in ballistic gelatin tests with Winchester placing second. The Federal JSPs apparently perform like FMJ Ball.

Jim Cirrillo, formerly of the NYPD's Stakeout Squad, has written in the past that the Winchester load performed very well in actual shootings. He's said that it puts the bad guys down about as fast as anything else.

So far the only soft points I've put through my Underwood M1 have been Magtech 110 grain JSPs. Unortunately, I had several failures to feed with it. The Magtech ammo was clean but seemed a bit underpowered, compared to the RA-52 Ball I subsequently shot.

When I had an Iver Johnson Carbine back in the 1980s, I did some handloading for it using Speer 100 grain half jacket "Plinker" bullets, doing about 1800 - 1900 FPS at the muzzle. They were reliable but less accurate than 110 grain loads, especially at 100 yards.

A correspondent has reported handloading Remington 110 grain JSPs to about 1900 FPS on top of WC820 powder (surplus H110). (I won't post specific powder charges, check a reloading manual and carefully work up to maximum loads!) He's noted that it's reliable, and of course with those number it should provide good terminal ballistics.

Perhaps less interesting, I also ran 50 rounds of Wolf .30 Carbine through my Underwood M1 yesterday. It functioned fine, although this is obviously a very limited test. I've generally had good results with Wolf in .223, 7.62x39, and .45 ACP, so I wanted to check out a potentially good practice load in .30 Carbine. I'll put another couple hundred rounds of Wolf through the M1 before I sink any money into a case, though. I did have one stovepipe with the gun later, but it was RA-52 Ball that came from a sealed can I bought from Ammonman a couple of years ago. Go figure.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'll believe it when I see it.

The M1 Carbine has room for improvement...

I have doubts that the GI Carbines can ever feed anything other than ball.... reliable.

The M1 Carbine and Ruger Mini 14 both leave the door open for some serious marketing adventures.

Bobby Kuzma said...

Your mileage may vary with the Wolf ammo. I've had fairly serious problems at the range with it in my AR-15. It seems that after a mag or two, the lacquer softens and the cartridge gets stuck in the chamber.

Bernard Molloy said...

I have had great luck with both WW HPs and RP SPs in my Quality hardware. Hundreds of rounds with zero failures from 30 rounders. The mags are either early pattern WW2 30s, or my recent SEY 30s. In my gun, thee POI is withing an inch of the LC53 stuff I also shoot.

I personally dropped a deer (200+ pound blacktail buck at 75 yards with a single heart-lung shot) about 12 years ago. It was a WW 110 HP. It ran about 20 yards and dropped eader than Hogan's goat. The exit wound looked identicle to the 30-30 exits I have had.

I carried this gun for years as a trunk gun as a deputy. I know a Postal Inspector that took out a bad guy that was shooting at him. One shot in the Ten-X, and he stopped shotting forever.

Rick said...

I have a GI M1A1 that I love. I've never shot anything but ball through it, but it's never failed me, either. I just bought one of the mid - 80's IJ .30's w/ collapsible wire stock. A little harder to get good groups, but I didn't buy it for groups on the one way range.

Anonymous said...

I shot a friends M1 carbine 40 years ago. Just got my first MI .30 cal carbine 3 weeks ago (Universal). Then I bought another last week (Iver Johnson). Now I need to buy ammo. Waht do you suggest and is there an inexpensive, good value place to buy?

Dave Markowitz said...

Remington, Federal, and Winchester all make good FMJ ammo. I like the Remington JSPs for expanding ammo.

Shop around the various online retailers for the best deal, e.g., Cabela's, MidwayUSA, and Natchez Shooters Supply.

Anonymous said...

My older brother bought one of the .30 carbines back in the late 60's. I used it once to varmit hunt and quickly found that it wouldn't knock a good sized coyote down and keep him there.

Dave Markowitz said...

What kind of ammo on the 'yote? I wouldn't be surprised with that kind of result with ball, but the JSPs provide similar wounds to .223.

USAGI said...

If .30 Carbine did not put down a 'yote - then one thing is sure - the 'yote was NOT hit by the bullet.

gyrene said...

Bought a M1 carbine from a gun show. It's a new rifle made by Auto Ordinance. Using the Aguilla ammo, had no problem staying in the "10" ring at 25 yards offhand. And, I've never been really good in offhand.
Also, never had a misfire, or misfeed in 500 rounds.
Haven't tried to take anything down yet (amimal, etc)

Anonymous said...

I am a big fan of the carbine - have a had a Universal for 15 years that grandpa gave me. Just picked a late issue Erma that has an exceptional stock and is very clean and crisp. I have had good luck with ultra-cheap Tula ammo (I think it is less than $12 a box from Dirt Cheap) and the standard reloads and surplus from gun shows. It looks like speer gold dot and sellier and beloat are making .30 carbine now as well. The S&B boasts the highest ballistics of the rounds I've seen, but I have not shot any of it yet. The best gun to use for defense is the one you are most likely to hit the bad guy with - love shooting my .40, but at 50 yards, I'd gladly give you my .40 and take you down with my .30 in a hurry. Also G-dad killed an 8 point buck with the Universal in the early 80's one shot drop.

DaveS said...

I have put down coyotes from 75 yards with ball ammo. No problem with a neck shot.

Anonymous said...

I have put down four deer with mine. I also used one in Vietnam. About 12 to 14 less communists around.
Do not belittle this little rifle.
I have two. One on my side of the bed and one on my wife's side.
Our routine is, "if you hear or feel someone is in the house then reach for the carbine, put it on the door, remove the safety, and put your hand over to see if the bed partner is there." If the partner is there then put finger on trigger. I don't care about your opinion on this issue, and this is the way she and I have done and rehearsed it for over 39 years.
Our lighting will make anyone stepping into the door way highlighted.
Soon as the shape shows up in the door put three or four rounds in it.
Keep the door covered and go see who the bastard was.
Too much is made of the ballistics on paper of these guys and especially .22's. I started killing deer with a bolt action .22 when I was nine years old.
My cousin who thought keeping score was fun last had us at him over 200 deer. Me at just under 100. All with .22LR.
I also killed one with a.222 mag and four with a 30-30.
Two points in this.
First. The weapon servers quite well in WW-II, Korea. Many of us in Vietnam used them and were pleased with them.
When the M-14's and M-16's were out of ammo those of us with the Carbine's usually still had several hundred rounds.
Second point. I never killed a single animal in my life for sport. They were all for food. Yes I am aware that rim fire weapons are not legal for deer in most States, including where I live.
We were very poor and .22 was all we could afford to spend on and deer, squirrel, turkey and other game was our main staple.
Yes we were that poor.
Running water was the water falls in front of the house.
Electricity didn't get there until the early 1960's.
Finally drilled a water well for the house in the 1970's. Put in a septic system for sewer about the same time in the 70's. Finally no freezing your butt off in the out house.
These small guns are killers, If you can shoot.
I'm amazed at the skills I see missing when I shoot with some of my big city boys who tell me all about their big deer hunt etc. You know. Deer stand 25 yards from a feeder using a 12 power scope with a laser dot on a 300 H&H mag to shoot a little white tail deer.
Now boy that's hunting isn't.
As far as I'm concerned its an ambush and should be illegal.