30-06 Recoil Tests (Sectioned)

Not every sectioned cartridge is going to be exciting. Here’s one that isn’t. As Lili Von Shtupp would say, “Oh how ordinary.”

280 grain bullet in a REM-UMC 30-06 SPRG case. That is one BIG bullet!


Why “recoil test”?


I have no idea. Chris P or someone who knows 30-06 can tell you.

For years this cartridge was said to be for shooting polar bears in Alaska, or some such story. Somebody (maybe it was Chris) told me about the “recoil tests”. That could be wrong too.

I have a whole box, made by Remington, with a Contract Number if anyone is interested in seeing it.


Ray–Yes, please post the box scan.


Do you know the weight of the bullet and the total weight of the cartridge?


Here’s the box.

Loaded round weighs 530 grains. I suppose that would be a good way to ID one without having to pull the bullet.


That contract number looks military in nature to my untrained eye. Do we know an era for these cartridges? I’m thinking post WWII for sure.

Man, I thought 180 grainers were real “thumpers” in an '06!

That load would be a real killer on both ends!


although originally thought to be a contract for USARAL (U.S. Army Alaska) for protecting military personnel and bases from large bears, the round in question is, indeed, a recoil test round. Remington factory documents indicate this round to be a contract for Springfield Armory designed to generate from 20 to 22 pounds of recoil in a 9.5 Lb. Rifle (In 1955, this could have been either the M1 Garand Rifle, or the M14 prototypes). Date of the paper work was June 2, 1955. The only document published that I know of deals only with the bullets, in a quantity of 12,000.

I do not know the actual reasons why Springfield wanted to test rounds generating this much recoil, but it is a fact that they did.

Reference: IAA Journal, Issue 442, March/April 2005, pages 118-119.

[quote=“JohnMoss”]I do not know the actual reasons why Springfield wanted to test rounds generating this much recoil, but it is a fact that they did.


To replicate the recoil generated when firing a rifle grenade ?

Armourer - having fired several rifle grenades from the M1 rifle, I think they may have more than 22 pounds of recoil! A lightweight .30-06 hunting rifle probably develops 22 or more pounds of recoil, I just am not sure. We never fired them from the shoulder, as shown in the movies. I guess it can be done, but the recoil is severe. We fired them with the butt in the ground alongside the right leg, allowing us relief from the recoil and also allowing us to center the bubble on the grenade launcher sight, which was mounted on the left side of the sock adjacent to the magazine-well of the rifle. It had an arrangement for sighting from the shoulder as well, but not as precise. We were not allowed to fire one that way, by regulation, at least at the time of my service. Even firing them along the leg wasn’t pleasnat. It put your hand and trigger finger at an awkward angle. I opened my finger to the bone on the front edge of the trigger guard firing one. First time in my life I had stitches. The range medic did them on the spot, so to speak.

Also, I think had they wanted to test for rifle grenade recoil, since rifle grenades for the M1 had been in service for years, they would have simply used rifle grenade firing for testing, I would think. That really doesn’t take into account the initial versions of the M14, which were still being tested then. They had at least a couple of versions at the Arctic test center at Fort Greely, Alaska, in 1957 when I was stationed there. I think they had finished all their testing on them by then, though. One was fitted with a squeezer type winter trigger. Interesting, as I know it was actually developed for the Garand, even though I never saw one on an issue rifle in 18 months in Alaska. You used to be able to find these triggers at gun shows, even though the troops didn’t seem to have them! Guess they didn’t work out so well!

I suppose it could have been a test for the M14 to see how well it took the stress of grenade firing. The first walnut stocks were somewhat fragile. I remember a lot of them breaking at summer camps in the Reserve after my active duty. We didn’t have them as cadre men - only the recruits from Ft. Ord, California, that we trained for two weeks of their basic training, had them. Our unit had exactly two, so that the cadre could familiarize themselves with the weapon and know at least as much as the recruits did.

On retrospect, it would have been cheaper to test rifles for grenade recoil with those rounds this way than firing that many expensive grenades. Guess we won’t know until someone with the rest of the documents either publishes them, or lets us know. Hopefully, the round will be covered in Volume Three of HWS.


You’re right that 22 pounds of recoil is an odd number for testing. It really isn’t very high. Most magnum cartridges will generate that much or more and the big African elephant slayers will run between 75 and 100 FPs.

22 FPs in a 9 1/2 lb rifle is about like a 300 weatherby.

Our military does strange things at times and maybe this is one of them. Let’s hope that Chris is awake and reading this. Maybe he can shed some light on it.


He’s awake but cannot add much.

In my book (published in 1997) I mentioned that it was REPORTEDLY for bear control. This information came from a then respected (now dead) advanced collector who gave me a box of them (like the one illustrated by Ray). He told me that he had been given the box personally by a guy stationed in Alaska who was issued them for guard duty in remote areas where polar bears were a risk. Subsequent info discovered by IAA member Lou B., proved this to be a completely incorrect and highlights the challenges of writing any book on cartridges. In 2005, I ran the new information along with the Remington Arms Process Sheet in the IAA Journal (issue 442, pg 18-19 - not pages 118-119 !) which John Moss describes.

There were also a series of heavy bullets loaded on Winchester cases (some headstamped WRA 53) - either loaded by Olin or using their cases. Bullet weights included 280, 300, 320 and 340 grains. I have no information regarding if these were internal Olin tests or were destined for Springfield Armory like those from Remington.

Isn’t a 280 grain bullet too heavy to be satisfactorily stabilized by the ten inch rifling pitch of a standard .30-'06 barrel? This to me suggests the business about generation of recoil makes more sense (relatively speaking) than shooting bears. JG

OK not grenades, bear in mind I’m clutching at straws here, heavy bullet to lower the velocity for use with suppressor or silencer ?

Chris is absolutely right when he spoke of the difficulty of writing a book on cartridges. I have finally started the text of what I hope will become a book on Makarov Pistols, Accessories and ammunition. I am only 15 pages into the text, and have revised areas of it four times in the last two weeks due to new information received; this after 15 years of compiling information on this subject. Just today, I received word of a 9 x 18 Makarov headstamp I had not yet seen or heard of.

Not only does the information coming in not cease, until the point that you have to simply write the damned thing and not worry about the new information, or simply give up the project, but you have to be able to separate myth from fact, an almost impossible task giving the subject matter, the amount of material, and the very strong opinions held on some subjects, often by pig-headed blockheads like myself. You know - “my mind is made up, do not confuse me with the facts.” You also have to be able to say, simply, “I don’t know why this …!” Hard to do for some of us, including me!

Heck, long-worded as usual. The point is, Chris’ book on .30-06 is an absolute must for anyone interested in that cartridge, or because of the large cross-over to other calibers, to anyone with a serious interest in ammunition.

Never mind that he has a hangup about Polar Bears - after all, he also collects .450 Revolver rounds. Heh! Heh! We love the guy anyway!


Writing for publication is rewarding and frustrating, at the same time.

I did a little writing back in the 1970s when everything was done on a typewriter. Every time something new was found you’d have to figure out how to incorporate it into your manuscript without typeing the whole damn thing over, again and again. You finally reached a point where you had to tell yourself to stop, send it to the publisher or printer and then forget about it and move on to something else.

Have fun.


Ray - how right you are. I have published a fair number of articles, mostly in cartridge Journals, although I did one for Gun Digest on Japanese Pistols years ago, and three articles for Shooting Times on various auto pistols. They were all typed, as were most of my early articles on ammunition. I don’t like computers, but they are great typewriters. The first thing put to paper for my Makarov book was a subject that falls about into the middle of the book. It was celar in my mind, and I wanted to get it on paper while it was.

I had written about half of my 9 x 23mm book when some information from my friend Manfred Knothe, in Germany, caused me to realize that the entire original premise of the book (which I will not get into rather than confuse the issue) was totally wrong. Some follow-up with Josef M

I don’t know if this could be helpful but in 2006 Woodleigh had commercialized a 240 grains/.308" bullet for the 30-06.This is intended for the big american animals.Ray’s round could had been served as example…