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Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by wabryan1, Sep 13, 2009.
Why was the .30/03 case shortened to turn it into the .30/06?
C'mon now, guys. Someone must know this.
I checked my books. I know when they changed. I know why they changed bullet weights from the 30/03 to the 30/06, why they changed again to the Caliber 30 M1, and why they changed again to the Caliber 30 M2. But as to why they shortened the case, I got no answer. Got an idea, but no proof.
Thinking, maybe, when they went to the 150 grain spitzer bullet from the 220 RN, because of the so much more ogive that was too small in diameter to fit in the case neck, they had to seat the bullet out longer, which made the cartridge OAL too long to work in their new Springfield rifle. Shortening the case neck allowed them to seat the bullet back far enough that it would work through the magazine.
I'm not saying this IS the reason, but it's a good theory, ain't it?
It is the easiest thing in the world to find answers to questions like this. We use a thing called the Internet along with things called search engines. Give it a try.
It may have what you need.
Maybe I missed it, but I read that Wicki article. Says they shortened the neck, but does not say WHY they shortened the neck.
I think it was because they reduced the bullet length, and changed to a a spitzer profile, and lightening it. I remember a powder change at this time as well as high temps were hard on the throat area of the chamber. I know tis is not the whole answer. I have a Gun Digest form 1959 or 60 with a artical by Townsend Whelen about this very change as he was shooting 1903 competetivly at the time. I'll have to get it out. Give me a bit, Kirk
1961 Gun Digest,
"Days of the Springfield" By Townsend Whelen
The germans has changed the 8mm to .323 and lighten the bullet to 154 gr. and were afforded a much flatter trajectory and a longer danger space than the 30/03 of the US. (We were shooting a 220 gr round nose at the time) The ordinance department ordered the change to a 150 gr. bullet at 2,700 fps. From what he states the throat of the chamber was way too far forward, even with the long neck the barrels would have to come off, and the chamber set deeper to accurately shoot the short bullet, so it was decided to shorten the neck of the case some as well. One thread was cut off and the barrels rechambered and head spaced back on their actions. Alpo, I hope this is what you were wanting to know. Regards, Kirk
You might just have a great theory there. I think you may just be right. Kirk
I suspect that the definitive answer will be found in "Hatcher's Notebook" by Gen. J.S. Hatcher. My copy is stored away somewhere. Hatcher spent most of his career at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD.
According to P. B. Sharpe "The Rifle in America" c1938 the 1906 cartridge case beck was shortened approximately 1/10" because the extra length was not needed for a nominal 150 grain Spitzer bullet.
I suspect and have read that there were other reasons, including that Mr. Maxim's machine gun had already proven its worth in battle. Machine guns do not like excessively long cartridges. If someone has a copy of "Hatcher's Notebook", see what he had to say.
Hatcher's is the book I referred to in post #2.
He says that the original bullet, in the 30/03, was a 220 grain RN at 2300 fps. 30/06 was changed to a 150 Spitzer at 2700. Commercial ammo companies loaded it with a 180 Spitzer for long-range matches.
Tables, at that time, said the ought six had a maximum range of 4700 yards. He couldn't get it to go any farther than 3400. In an attempt to make it go further, he was experimenting, using the 180 grain match bullets.
When we got into the war, we had no machine guns. Our boys were using the British Vickers and French Hotchkiss. The Vickers used a 174 grain bullet, while the Hotchkiss used a 198. It was found that these rounds had an extreme range 50% greater than the ought six. When the Germans would come up out of the trenches and start across no-man's-land, we would mow 'em down. Then our 1917s started showing up, with our ought six ammo, and we couldn't reach 'em. Our machine gunners complained.
Hatcher told of his experiments with the 180 grain bullet, and the Army started doing some serious experimenting with long range heavy bullets. It was finally finished in 1925. 174 grain boat-tail Spitzer at 2640 fps. Ball, Caliber .30, M1.
We had, at the time, 2 billion wartime 30/06 shells on hand, so they had to be used first. Issued to the DCM. Issued for training ammo. Finally, in 1936, all the WW1 ammo was used up, and they started issuing the M1 stuff. The range was too great. Rifle ranges that had been in use for 20 years were now too short, and their backstops were inadequate for this round. Plus it kicked too hard. So they said, "Make us up some more of that WW1-style ammo". Back we went to a 150 grain Spitzer, although now a boat-tail at 2805. In 1940 that was standardized as Ball, Caliber .30, M2.
He explains all that. Just doesn't explain why they shortened the case neck.
Kirk, from reading your post of what Mr. Whelen said, it sounds like we were expecting to get into a shooting war with Germany in 1905. Otherwise, why would we care that their ammo could shoot farther than ours?
I am starting harvest soon, so I have not much time to research this right now.....But at the turn of the century firearm development was changing fast. Black powder was no more, and velocity's of small arms doubled, as did range. The armies of the world were very much interested in the developments that were occuring at the time. The Germans got a nasty surprise the first time they went up against the french 8mm Lebel cartridge fired in a machinegun, and realized they could be shot at ranges they could not reach with their ammunition. So they had already tasted what a true long range bullet could do. I suspect the US was simply trying to develope there own long range rounds, not expecting WW1 and fighting the Germans.
So the US cut off the barrels, and deepened the chambers, shortining the neck of the case and the throat for accurace with the much shorter bullet, I am guessing here a bit, but I believe it was for accuracy. Long throat free bore chambers like a Weatherby rifle were not to be devolped for a long time. All in a quest for muzzle velocity, and flater trajectory.
Whelens artical goes on to describe the tin coat match ammo, metal fouling the velocity caused, "hard core" match ammo that you mentioned made ranges too short. It is a very good read on the rifle and the cartridge. Once more in the 1961 Gun Digest.
Old Gun Digests are a wealth of information, and I recommend adding a set to you reading library. The information is well presented, and unfortunately will not make it to the internet. They are available at many gun shows, and make a wonder reference resource.
Best regards, Kirk
I appreciate your time and knowledge.
Last time I looked this was the internet. Last time I googled something it sent me to a forum for the answer.
308 at my gate,if you don't know the answer to his question,why not hold off on the smart @%# responce.some of us are'nt computer savy premadonnas.I speak for myself.