170 gr. Boat Tail .30-30 made by Western Cartridge Co


Good morning,
Western Cartridge Company made some .30-30 ammunition with a 170 gr. Boat Tail bullet. I have a Western catalog dated 1941 which shows that variation.

Would anyone know when Western introduced that variation and approx when it was discontinued?

The patent number on the box is for “Anti Fouling Metal For Projectiles” dated 1922. Eventually it was named “Lubaloy”.

Thank you,


I can’t give you the exact dates because I don’t have enough Western Catalogs to help that much. However, I can, in the interim, open the date spread. The 170 SPBT bullet was not listed in my earliest catalogs from the 1920s. Unfortunately, my next catalog is September 23, 1939, and it IS listed in that Price List, under product number K1422C. It is still shown under the same product code in the Price List of January 2, 1942. The same product code is shown in the Price List of March 7, 1946, but in that list, it is shown only as a 170 grain SP Super-X, with no mention of whether or not the projectile is of boat tail design.

The last catalog (Price List) I have that shows the K1422C Product Code, and it and all of the ones I have between March 7, 1942 and it, is that of January 16, 1953. The December 15, 1954 Price List shows the 170 grain SP Super-X load, but now the product codes have changed, and the one for that load is 30303. The 30303 load is shown thru my last price list that is exclusively Western Brand, dated January 3, 1961.

I do not know from any personal experience whether or not the 170 grain SP Super-X bullet remained a boattail after they stopped showing that feature in the price list. One would think that if they changed the bullet design, they would have changed the product code, but that may not be the case.

Sorry I can’t be more help.

John Moss


John K…look inside both flaps…see if there is an ink stamped code…if so, post it and we can date your box…that will at least let you know when YOURS was produced…



Thank you very much for that information. We now know that it was made between 1939 and 1942 for sure and maybe up to 1946 or 1953. As luck would have it, I do have the 1954 Western Ammunition Handbook and the 170 gr. .30-30 bullet illustration shows a flat based bullet.

Interestingly, in looking at the Western 1941 Ammunition Handbook, I see that Boat Tail bullets were also offered in other levergun cartridges - the .25-35, the .32 Winchester Special, and the .32-40.

Unfortunately, the end flaps are missing. However, I do have 3 other boxes with the same graphics but with the standard 170 Grain Soft Point call out.
They all have the 30303 product code so based on John’s information above they would have likely been produced in 1954 or after.
The lot numbers are:

I also have a 110 gr. box with the same graphics. Just curious when that was produced - 10SC81

Thank you for your help.


I found a bit more info. The 1948 Shooters Bible lists the 170 gr. Boat Tail but the 1952 Shooters Bible does not. I don’t have the ones in between. Perhaps the cut off date was about 1950…



The .30-30 Winchester had 1 in 12" rifling whick would mean it wasn’t best suited to a 170grn bullet. Probably why they didn’t make it for very long. It wouldn’t have been all that accurate.


Vince - are you just referring to the boat-tail version of the 170 grain bullet. As far as I know, the .30-30 170 grain is still available and has been made throughout most of the production of the caliber. My .30-30, which is a Winchester 94 Carbine made in 1942, shoots 170 grain modern bullets - truthfully never pulled one to look and see if it was boat-tail, and I don’t load that caliber - just fine. My marlin Model 1893 Take-down is an old gun, and I only shoot cast lead loads I get from a very good friend and expert reloader, once in awhile for full-rifle caliber events in cowby action shooting). Of course when I say it shoots just fine, I am talking in the parameters of a carbine with iron sights (aperture receiver sight), 2-1/2" to 3" groups at 100 yards. It isn’t any tack drive, but then, they were never made for that purpose. I prefer the 150 grain bullets, which shoot about the same, but don’t kick as hard.

John Moss


Hello John
At a MV of around 2200 fps a 170 grain bullet is going to struggle to stabilise in a 1 in 12" barrel. The popular wisdom in match shooting circles is that you need a 1 in 11" minimum to stabilise the 165grn 7.62 Match bullets and these have a near ideal BC and much higher velocity. Many matchmen prefer 1 in 10"

If Western didn’t get their bullet design just right I could imagine a bit of adverse customer reaction put them off. I would say there is a bit of evidence that they had problems with the bullet design by the fact that it was boat tail. That is just a bit odd for a bullet with a big flat front designed to travel at low velocity. It smacks of an attempt to fix a problem.
Still, there must have been some reason they didn’t stick with it.


Hello Vince,
It could be that there was a bit more involved to produce the boat tail and since there wasn’t any real ballistic advantage at woods distances, and the bullet dies were in need of replacement, they decided to drop it for that reason.

Interestingly, I have fired pulled .30-06 172 gr. b.t. bullets from a 1/12" .30-30 and they grouped rather well…equal to the accuracy of standard 170 gr .30-30 bullets. I am not shooting at 500-1000 yards though.

The bullet design for the 170 gr. Western boat tail bullet is much more blunt than .30 cal. match bullets and thus, I am sure would have worked aok. Interestingly, I have had very good accuracy with cast bullets up to 220 grs. in weight in my 12" twist .30-30’s (Lyman 311284). The bullet is also a of a more blunt, round nose design and thus, more evenly balanced.

Thank you for your input.



The box you show in this thread states, on the back, “Western Cartridge Company, East Alton, Ill.”, so pre-dates 1946.

Your other boxes, if all after 1954 based on product code :
49LN3 = Dec 3, 1956
49MN31 = Dec 13, 1957
61PK01A = Sep 10, 1959, and A = made at New Haven
10SC81 = Mar 18, 1961



I have a 1952 Shooters Bible and it shows a Western 30-30 Winchester with 170 grain bullet. The product code is K1422C is shown as a 170 grain S.X. S.P. No mention of a B.T. bullet.


Thank you for the dates.

I have since found out that the introduction date was 1928. Obsoleted most likely in 1946 ot thereabouts.



There is no reason why an 11 twist will not stabilize any bullet fired in a 30-30. A 12 twist will stabilize even the long 175 grain and 190 grain VLDs used by many long range competition shooters.

I believe that the Winchester M94 is made with a 12 twist.

Some shooters will use a 10 twist as insurance (I do) but only for the long distances, such as 1000 yards and beyond, and when shooting at or near sea level. You can’t really over-stabilize a bullet so no harm is done.




I’m still not entirely convinced that a very flat nosed 170grn bullet with a BT would be all that stable at around 2200 fps from a 1 in 12 " barrel. The aerodynamics would be interesting to say the least and as the bullet slowed the buffeting from uneven air cavitation would be considerable.
My though process was that the flat nose would push the airflow further out away from the body of the bullet rendering the boat tail not only useless but actually a hinderance to accuracy. I also reasoned that the boat tail would make the projectile slightly longer than absolutely necessary and shift weight away from the back of the bullet where it was needed.

I was thinking in terms of a comparison with the Lee Enfield’s 174grn bullet which needed an aluminium nose piece to make it stable at 2400 fps despite having a reasonably good ballistic shape and 1 in 10" twist.

I was however just speculating on why the particular bullet that is the subject of this thread appears to have been discontinued after such a short life.

I guess we will never know for sure but its good to kick these ideas around and give it some thought. .30-30s are still made today with 170grn bullets and presumably they work all right but the logic behind this particular design seems a bit strange to me.




External ballistics is a science and while you can’t fool science, it does, sometimes, fool you. For example, a flat nose 170 grain 30-30 bullet, such as the Sierra #2010, has a Ballistic Coefficient (BC) of .205 at 2400 fps and above, but BC increases to .293 at 1800 fps and below. Putting a boattail on such a bullet may actually further increase the BC because it adds to its length.

Even though a bullet may be travelling at very slow speeds, it does not follow that it is unstable. Some bullets, even the very pointy ones, begin to lose stability at trans-sonic speeds while others, including some blunt nose ones, may remain stable until they fall to the earth. Otherwise we’d never be able to shoot at the extreme distances.