A Look at the .30-06


After the .30-03, the .30-06 (or 7.62x63mm) was first introduced to the United States Army in 1906. It remained in use until the early 1980s. The “.30” refers to the caliber of the bullet and “06” refers to the year it was introduced.

The purpose of the invention of the .30-06 was to catch up on the lighter weight, higher velocity calibers that the warring European nations of the early 20th century were creating.

The European nations were adopting the pointed spitzer bullets thus throwing the .30-03 out of style, fast. The .30-06 was created with its neck shortened at .01 of an inch (2.54mm) and loaded with a case of 150 gr (9.7) spitzer bullet type that had a muzzle velocity of 2700 ft/s (823 m/s)

The M1903 Springfield rifle, that was invented for the parent case, .30-03, was modified to effectively fire the .30-06 round. The modifications to the M1903 Springfield rifle was the shortening of the barrel at its breech, resizing the chamber so the discharged round wouldn’t have to travel so far to the rifling, and scrapping the rod bayonet.

The .30-06 is most famous for being used in the M1 Garand and the M1919 Browning Machine gun during World War II.

U.S. Military Cartridge Types of the .30-06  (Brought to you by, guns.wikia.com)

  • Armor Piercing, M2 :This cartridge is used against lightly armored vehicles, protective shelters, and personnel, and can be identified by its black bullet tip. Bullet is flat base, weight 163-168 grains.
  • Armor Piercing Incendiary, T15/M14 and M14A1:This cartridge may be substituted for the M2 armor piercing round and is normally employed against flammable targets. The tip of the bullet is colored with aluminum paint. The M14A1 featured an improved core design and incendiary charge.
  • Ball, M1906 :This cartridge is used against personnel and unarmored targets, and can be identified by its silver-colored bullet. The M1906 has a 9.7 g (150 grain) projectile and flat base. Its jacket is a cupro-nickel alloy which was found to quickly foul the bore.
  • Ball, M1:The M1 has a 11.2 g (173 grain), nine-degree boat-tailed projectile designed for aerodynamic efficiency. Though it had a lower initial velocity, velocity and energy were greater at longer ranges due to its efficient shape. The jacket material was also changed to gilding metal to reduce fouling.
  • Ball, M2:With a 9.8 g (152 grain) bullet based on the profile of the M1906, this cartridge incorporated the gilding-metal jacket of the M1 projectile combined with a slightly heavier, pure-lead core. It had a higher muzzle velocity than either of the earlier cartridges.
  • Blank, M1909: This cartridge is used to simulate rifle fire. The cartridge is identified by having no bullet, and by a cannelure in the neck of the case which is sealed by red lacquer.
  • Dummy, M40: This cartridge is used for training. The cartridge has six longitudinal corrugations and there is no primer.
  • Explosive, T99: Development of a cartridge that contained a small explosive charge which more effectively marked its impact. Often referred to as an “observation explosive” cartridge, the T99 was never adopted.
  • Incendiary, M1917:Early incendiary cartridge, bullet had a large cavity in the nose to allow the material to more easily shoot forward on impact. As a result the M1917 had a tendency to expand on impact. The M1917 had a blackened tip.
  • Incendiary, M1918:Variant of the M1917 with a normal bullet profile to comply with international laws regarding open-tipped expanding bullets.
  • Incendiary, M1 :This cartridge is used against unarmored, flammable targets. The tip of the bullet is painted blue.
  • Match, M72:This cartridge is used in marksmanship competition firing, and can be identified by the word “MATCH” on the head stamp.
  • Tracer, M1: Tracer for observing fire, signaling, target designation, and incendiary purposes. The M1 has a red tip.
  • Tracer, M2: Tracer for observing fire, signaling, target designation, and incendiary purposes. Has a short burn time. The M2 originally had a white tip, but then switched to a red tip like the M1.
  • Tracer, T10/M25: Improved tracer over M1/M2. Designed to be less intense in terms of brightness than either the M1 or M2 tracers. The M25 had an orange tip.
  • Rifle Grenade Cartridges, M1, M2, and M3/E1: These cartridge are used in conjunction with the M1 (for the M1903 rifle), M2 (for the M1917 rifle), and the M7 series (for the M1 rifle) grenade launchers to propel rifle grenades. The cartridge has no bullet and the mouth is crimped. The differences between the three cartridges have to do with the powder charge and the subsequent range of the launched grenade. The M3E1 also featured an extended case neck.


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