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30-30 Winchester WCF


Introduced in 1895, along with the 25-35 WCF, the 30-30 Winchester (30 WCF) was the first commercial smokeless-powder cartridge.  It was chambered in a special version of the 1894 Winchester that used a stronger, nickel-steel barrel and was specially proofed for higher-pressure loads when compared to the original 1894 (blackpowder) chamberings, 32-40 and 38-55 WCF.

As the first widely successful 30-caliber sporting cartridge, the 30-30 can rightly be viewed as the progenitor of all modern 30-caliber sporting cartridges, which is no mean feat because 30-caliber has long been, by far, the most commonly used bore size for big-game hunting worldwide.

The 30 WCF was an impressively modern bottlenecked design based on the case used for the 38-55.  Winchester’s choice of 30-caliber was almost certainly a direct result of its deep involvement with the manufacture of 30 U. S. Army ammunition.  Using at least some of the tooling used in making bullets for the 30 U. S. saved money.

While the 30 U. S. Army round might not have been the first cartridge to use a 0.308-inch bullet, it and the 30-30 were the first widely successful cartridges to use that bullet diameter.

Original 30 WCF ballistics listed a 165-grain bullet at 1965 fps.  Propellant developments through the subsequent 130 years have allowed continuous improvements in ballistics.  Hornady now offers a 160-grain load listed at an amazing 2400 fps.  With the right bullet and good shot placement, the 30-30 is perfectly adequate for elk and smaller species with shots inside about 200 yards.  While it can be used by a skilled marksman to cleanly dispatch larger species, it is and always has been ideal for those hunting typical whitetail deer.  This is no small compliment.

As with all cartridges used in guns with a tubular magazine, a properly applied crimp can smooth and ease chambering and a crimp is critical to lock the case mouth into the cannelure and thereby prevent recoil and chambering forces from driving the bullet into the case.  In some instances, a roll crimp might be the best option but the Lee Factory Crimp Die usually does a better job and the crimp it applies will not damage a cast bullet as chamber pressure drives that from the case.

The text associated with the cartridge description reflects opinions and conclusions of the author, M.L. (Mic) McPherson. Lee Precision and its employees do not necessarily either agree or disagree with any of his comments. We present these with due deference to his recognized expertise in the firearms field. His acumen extends to handloading and all aspects of ballistics - internal, external, and terminal.
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