.30-40 Krag Riot Load

The current issue of the IAA Journal (Issue 458,Nov-Dec 2007) on page 44, shows a picture of of box of .30 Government (.30-40 Krag) 158 gr. Lead bullet “For Riot Use”

Randy Hedeen is quoted as saying " it as only listed for a few years.

It was first produced in late 1902 and is not listed in the 1902 catalog. I do not have a 1903 catalog, but it is listed in the 1904 catalog. The 1905 catalog shows the load name changed to “.30 U.S. Army, Guard”. The bullet weight is shown as 156 gr. Lead. I am sure this is the same round with a new, more acceptable name. Under this “New” name it is carried in the catalog to at least 1909. I do not have a 1910 catalog, so I do not know if it is still listed there. The 1911-1912 (combined catalog) which is now Remington-UMC no longer lists the Guard load.

So, to sum up the production of this scarce loading, It as called a “Riot Load” only in Fall 1902 to 1904. As a “Guard Load”, it is listed 1905-1909 (most likely until 1910).

Actually, this load was experimented with beginning in April, 1902. Some may be familiar with the Peters .45-70 “Riot” load with the knurled rim on the case. This, according to Peters catalogs, was also available in .30-40 Krag, although it is believed no cartridges were ever produced. The box and cartridge shown in Journal 458 is the UMC answer to Peters loading. Dr. Hudson worked with UMC in the developement of this cartridge. From the UMC ledger, June, 1902…“The name of these cartridges will be for “Riot Puposes” as Peters cartridges have Trade Mark for “Riot”” (Quoted verbatum). The 156 grain loading, replacing the 158 grain load in 1905, called .30 U.S.Army Guard, is exactly that, and duplicated the Frankford Arsenal load. FA soon changed to 177 grain bullet, seated more deeply in the case, as the 156 grain bullet tended to “fall out”. And, for some strange reason, REM-UMC made the 156 grain load as late as 1918. So when I was quoted as saying, “a few years”, that would be, 1902, 1903, 1904. The 30-158 was introduced as a new cartridge in the 1902 catalog and was listed as such up through 1904.

Why is it called “For riot use”? Would not a lead bullet kill someone? I am under the impression that one wants to scatter the rioters (with wooden bullets or BB’s, for example) and not to kill them. If the purpose is to kill, why make a different load? Just use regular Ball ammo.

Good question, Vlad…I’ve wondered about it myself…too bad we can’t go back about a hundred years and ask !!

I believe that the intent with “guard” ammuniton (the cousin of “riot” as mentioned above) was to provde a round with a much reduced effective range. While dropping a volley of rifle fire on the enemy at 1500 yard or greater was a wonderful option for some use, the thought of using the same rounds to shoot at rioters, or the guy stealing chickens from the commissary building was full of undesirable, unintended consequences. Hence the use of a much lighter weight bullet, with a much reduced powder charge, and distinctive physical features to be able to distinguish between the two.

After the Krag era, the M1919 Gallery practice load was designated for guard use (after being rendered obsolete by the switch to .22 caliber rifles for gallery practice.

Such was the logic in use at the time.