Military Ammo: .30 Carbine

.30 Carbine Ammunition

The .30 Carbine Cartridge was developed specifically for the M1 Carbine and does not work with any other U.S. military weapon. Although the Carbine cartridge has considerably less force than the .30-06 rifle cartridge, the .30 Carbine cartridge and M1 Carbine are a lightweight and flexible combination, allowing the soldier to carry a lot of firepower in a small package.

Loading .30 Carbine ammunition at Davidson Truck Terminal, Baltimore, MD, March 1943
Loading .30 Carbine ammunition at Davidson Truck Terminal, Baltimore, MD, March 1943.

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.30 Carbine Cartridge History

.30 Carbine round

In September of 1941 the new Winchester-designed M1 Carbine was adopted for use by U.S. forces. The light weight M1 Carbine (as well as the M1A1, M2 and other models) were manufactured in large numbers throughout World War II and were used in all theatres of that war and in Korea in the 1950s. Winchester also designed and supplied the unique cartridge that went with the weapon, the "Cartridge, Caliber .30, Carbine".

This cartridge is not used by any other U.S. military weapons except the M1 Carbine family.

.30 Carbine Cartridge Characteristics

The military ammunition is a straight-case, rimless design with round-nose bullet weighting 110 grains. Overall length is 1.65 inches. The muzzle velocity is measured as 1,990 fps.

This cartridge is sometimes confused with the .30-06 round fired by the M1 Garand, because of the model M1 in the name of both the gun and ammunition. Here is a comparison of the two:

  M-1 Garand .30-06 M-1 Carbine Cartridge
Bullet weight 174 gr. 110 gr.
Bullet shape Pointed Round nose
Muzzle velocity 2700 fps 1900 fps
Effective range 600 yards 300 yards

Both are FMJ .30 caliber bullets, but that's about the only similarity. The Carbine round is closer to a pistol cartridge than an infantry rifle. Recoil energy is very light at 3.8 ft. lbs. in a 7 pound carbine.

Packaging of the .30 Carbine Cartridge

The M-1 Carbine family utilized detachable 15 or 30 round box magazines that could be refilled anytime needed, unlike the en-bloc Garand clips. During World War II, M-1 Carbine ammo was issued in ten round stripper clips, packed into six-pocket bandoleers. Each pocket held two stripper clips, in a cardboard sleeve, for a total of 120 rounds per bandoleer. Typical markings on the bandoleeer would read, "CAL. 30 Carbine Ball M1 10 Rd Clips LC 13328".

Carbine ammunition was also packed in boxes of 50. Both boxes and bandoleers were put into sealed cans, metal ammo boxes and wood crates.

U.S. Military .30 Carbine Ammunition Types

  • Cartridge, Caliber .30, Carbine, Ball, M1
  • Cartridge, Caliber .30, Carbine, Grenade, M6
  • Cartridge, Dummy, Caliber .30, Carbine, M13
  • Cartridge, Caliber .30, Carbine, Ball, High Pressure Test, M18
  • Cartridge, Caliber .30, Carbine, Tracer; M27

Box of 50 .30 Carbine rounds

Case of .30 Carbine Ammunition

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