Skip to comments..30 Carbine handguns
Posted on 05/25/2014 5:07:20 PM PDT by kingattax
The .30 Carbine is one of those conundrum things. Its in practical effect if not in actual fact a handgun cartridge, actually, a magnum length one. It has the same case length as the .357, .41 and .44 Magnums. But, it has no case rim which would make it work far better in revolvers than it actually does.
Yet it was definitely developed as a short rifle or carbine cartridge. Many people think with regards to its performance as a carbine round it was no great shakes. But there are mitigating circumstances regarding its military performance namely full metal jacketed bullets.
Before World War II someone in the American military hierarchy studied Germanys World War I wound reports and was amazed at how few were caused by .45 caliber projectiles fired from US Model 1911 semi-autos and US Model 1917 revolvers.
Therefore began a movement to develop a short rifle to replace handguns. Until well into World War II, say about 1943, US soldiers and Marines serving as members of crew served weapons teams, communication specialists, NCOs and officers were issued handguns.
The idea was these men were not supposed to fight with small arms, but just in case needed a weapon to protect themselves
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I own an Automag III in .30 Carbine. It is a real hoot to shoot and always draws a crowd at the range. The muzzle blast is awesome!
I have a Ruger Blackhawk in .30 carbine.It’s a decent handgun for woodchucks.
I got a great buy on a new Ruger single action in .30 carbine around 1986 in Dodge City, KS. It was acceptable as far as accuracy and probably power were concerned but it had a terrible muzzle blast and was really loud.
I sold it to a fellow employee who actually liked it. Probably should have looked at reloads to tame that blast.
My Father who carried a Garand in WWII said everyone wanted a carbine but they were not allowed to have them.
BUT: Excess muzzle blast = wasted muzzle energy, alas!
Dad has some sort of “rolling block” pistol that shoots .30 carbine. Not sure of the model or name though. It’s a single shot and the trigger guard is a lever that opens the breech.
Pretty cool pistol with interchangeable barrels for lots of cartridge sizes. Some crazy guys shoot .30-30 and such from them I am told.
The concepts of “rifle cartridge” and “pistol cartridge” have never been static, not even in terms of velocity, bullet mass, and kinetic energy. When the US 30 Carbine cartridge was introduced in 1941, the king of the hill was the 357 Magnum, for which only a few thousand handguns - all revolvers - had been chambered. And the 30 Carbine still produced more than 10 percent more kinetic energy.
Today, factory cartridges like the 454 Casull and 500 S&W produce as much energy as a 30-30; the 460 S&W equals the 308 Winchester.
The military still defines the max effective range of a handgun as 65 ft. Cavalry charges went by the board no later than 1914, and the type of hand-to-hand combat where a handgun might be useful rare. Far better, went military thinking, to equip troops whose job was not front-line infantry assault (some 80 percent of all in uniform, during the Second World War) with an arm of greater effective range than a handgun, but lighter and less powerful than the rifle issued to footsoldiers. Thus the personal defense weapon (PDW) was created.
The handgun’s limited effective range (range within which probability of hit 50 percent is or greater) is due almost entirely to human factors, s it was instantly apparent that the PDW had to take the form of a shoulder arm: a rifle firing a cartridge of less weight and power than the standard rifle round.
Armsmakers had for generations prior to WWII been developing composite small arms, where a shoulder stock was attached to a handgun. Samuel Colt made and sold attachable stocks for his military revolvers in the 1850s. The first semiauto pistols, hitting the market in the 1890s, were equipped with stocks and touted as ultra-long-range guns. The Borchardt pistol and its better-engineered variant, the widely known “Luger,” both had stocks. Mauser’s C96 “Broomhandle” was given a stock that was hollowed out to do double duty as a holster, and given sights graduated to over 800 meters. FN’s P35, better know today as the “High Power”, was produced in a shoulder-stock version and equipped with long range sights.
When the US War Dept Ordnance Corps made public its first request for proposal for a PDW, several US Gunmakers responded with handgun variants. Colt’s put together a Government Model variant with a long barrel, extended magazine, and an attached stock.
Attempts to modify existing weapons came to naught because the Ordnance Corps insisted on simplicity of maintenance and ease of manufacturing (good ideas, as it turned out). All the handgun adaptations lost out because all were based on designs and production technology of at least two generations earlier, results were costly, slow and tougher to fix.
Some have claimed the the US 30 Carbine was an assault rifle, but that is not the case. Every time it was pressed into such a role results were pretty poor. Cartridge historians have noted that its max pressure standard is remarkably mild; if the upper limit had been permitted to equal typical rifle rounds of the 1920s, kinetic energy would have been much higher and our respect for it that much greater (see the reference book _Cartridges of the World_).
The life of the 30 Carbine Cartridge in the civilian world has been lackluster at best; the sole justification for the round in non-military use was the availability of inexpensive surplus ammunition, which ceased to be a factor decades ago.
Some users hoped a gunmaker would produce a companion handgun to fire the same ammunition as the military surplus rifles, or commercial offshoots, but results have been very spotty. It is possible to develop accurate loads for Ruger’s 30 Carbine Blackhawk, but results when they are fired in an actual Carbine are not very encouraging. And if one loads MIL STD rounds into a Blackhawk, the bullets won’t slip forward because they are cemented in, but the accuracy is terrible, and blast & flash are frightening.
AMT did produce some innovative guns, but hardly any of them were reliable or durable. Their 30 Carbine autoloader was a perfect example.
Marlin did offer its Model 62 lever action rifle in 30 Carbine and some other centerfire calibers (256 Win was one), but the production run was short, and it cannot be considered anything more than a collector’s item today. Some specialized single-shot rifles and the swap barrel for Thompson-Center’s Contender pistol just about complete the rest of the story.
Got an email back from dad. He says it’s a Remington Rolling Block.
Friend had one and it was louder than my 44 mag!
With “rifle” ammo 30 cals, a great amount of the powder burns out in front of the pistol.
Don’t see any positives with this combo.
I had one of the T/C Contenders in 7x30 Waters- basically a 30-30 case necked down to a 7mm bullet. It was accurate, but I had to sell it to buy my 1911A1. I will say that the chamber on that gun was so tight, the fired brass really didn’t need resizing at all to reload it. The case neck didn’t have any room to expand at all. I would love to have another Contender, but it’s got a few other things ahead of it on my list.
Never shot a .30 Carbine pistol. Don’t like “barkers” particularly. The .22 Mag is one, the venerable .32-20 is another, and the .357 Sig is loud, although it isn’t much hotter than the .38 Super, which is a great round.
Did you write this post?
I’ve heard that TC barrels are available in .45-70 caliber.Fire a few rounds then consult an orthopedic surgeon to repair the damage!
I'm going to guess that was because the cartridges used rifle powder, and thus needed a longer barrel to completely burn. Reloading and working out a suitable loading using pistol powder might have tamed the beast.
Think I would be better off slamming a car door on my hand a few times rather than touching off many rounds of .45-70 from a pistol.
I doubt there have been any Remington Rolling Blocks made in about a hundred years. It is possible that yous is a reproduction or more likely someone put a new barrel on it.
It would have probably required some action work in addition to being chambered for the little carbine round. The rolling block was chambered for the fairly high pressure 7mm mauser which is rimless so it clearly could have been done.
“The idea was these men were not supposed to fight with small arms, but just in case needed a weapon to protect themselves “
Why would you give a guy a crap gun for “emergencies” when, in an emergency, he would desperately need it to work right ?
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