The .30 Remington Story:
Back in 1895 the world’s first commercial smokeless cartridge was introduced, the .30 WCF; soon to be called the 30-30. Instantly popular and long outliving its contemporaries it has survived two world wars and many economic crises. Many attempts have been made to “improve” this classic. One such attempt was the .30 Remington (the .25 Remington was released at the same time). Introduced in 1906 and designed to be a rimless version of the 30-30 it succeeded and was a popular for a long time, finally falling into obsolescence in the late 80’s when factory ammunition was discontinued.
This is not the end of the .30 Rem however; in 1983 in the wake of the infamous Miami shootout the FBI was seeking a more powerful cartridge with which to arm their agents. After some experimentation they took a look at the powerful 10mm championed by Jeff Cooper. After only a short while they noticed that many agents really didn’t like the stout recoil and loud bark of the new round. So a new venture was afoot and in 1990 the answer surfaced…the .40 S&W. Simply a shortened version of the 10mm its was slightly less powerful but still effective and designed from the beginning for law enforcement. The FBI liked the new cartridge and adopted it.
The ink had hardly dried on the FBI’s new contract for pistols and ammo when another .30 Rem grandchild was born. In 1994 the sizzling new .357 SIG was announced. A .40 S&W case had been necked down to hold a 9mm (.355 caliber) bullet and in doing so created a monster. The .357 Sig can replicate the classic .357 (.357 caliber) Magnum ballistics with certain bullet weights (but only because it’s a high pressure cartridge, unlike the .357 Mag). I am sure that the new rounds was called the .357 Sig and not the “9mm Sig” in order to play off the established popularity of the powerful revolver round. This spicy little number has found a home with many police departments and is often used for concealed carry. After all this activity the .30 Remington had to wait a few years before being used again, this time as an actual rifle cartridge.
In the world of AR rifles those who are unhappy with the 5.56 or .223 power capabilities are always seeking a bigger piece of brass to feed their hungry guns. If you move up the size to .308 however you now have a heavy AR-10 instead of the light and responsive AR-15…what to do…what to do…oh wait! I know! The .30 Remington is right between the .223 and .308 in case diameter lets use that! That’s what some spec ops guys said when they got together between 2002 and 2004 in the development of the 6.8 Special Purpose Cartridge (SPC). Turns out they too wanted a bridge between the 5.56 and the 7.62 in a AR platform and they created a nice little round that does just that. Why 6.8? Well the 6.5mm bullet is a magical bullet that has a ballistic coefficient that was blessed by the gods, and consequently any gun firing this bullet might as well be shooting lasers. Unfortunately the 7mm kills slightly better(that is if 6.5mm dead is any less deader than 7mm dead...). So they split the difference and called it 6.8 which handily is the same diameter as the .270 Winchester which has a wonderful track record and is responsible for countless dead deer all over the U.S. of A.
So next time you shoot your modern guns firing young cartridges just remember the old .30 Remington and thank it for letting us cut up, shorten, neck down and do all sorts of horrible things to its body; Because without it, the FBI would have had to choose between the 9mm or the .45, (we KNOW that neither of those actually work), the military would still be stuck with the 5.56 (oh wait THEY ARE) and we couldn't get our jollies by plinking with the 10mm or .357 Sig.
Actually…thank the 30-30…Winchester really DID get it right the first time.
Last edited by alaskabushman; February 7, 2013 at 04:20 AM.