.30 Krag Experimentals


#1

Hi, All…Our good friend Mr. Meketa, with his recent postings of great info and photos of 1950’s vintage U.S. military experimental cartridges, has prompted me to include some of my own, from about 50 years previous. Robert W. Scott did much cartridge experimenting circa 1900 and here are some examples. Some were tested by the Ordnance Dept., but none were adopted.
From left to right in the photo:

  1. Scott Patent “duplex” load; known as a guard or riot load back in the day.
  2. Sectioned example of #1 above. As can be seen, the case neck is elongated to hold the bullets with a brass sleeve being swaged to the outside of the altered case to return the outer profile to original dimensions.
  3. Cartridge case for #1 and #2 above, minus the sleeve.
  4. Case with different length sleeve than “standard”
  5. Yet another different sleeve length.
  6. Elongated case for 3 bullet load (Would love to find a loaded example !!)
    Headstamps on all are W.R.A.Co. 30 U.S.G., with exeption of #6, which is U.M.C. 30 U.S.A.

#2

Randy

Great subject! Let’s hope we’ve started a trend - get more guys to post their favorite cartridges.

This is way better than 455 Revolver cartridges. ;) ;)

I never would have imagined a duplex inside those cases. Do you ever find the sleeves by themselves? I wonder if there were instances where the sleeve followed the bullets down the barrel?

Ray


#3

Ray,

The sleeves appear to be attached outside of the case. They couldn’t follow the bullets out of the barrel. Now they might be left in the chamber once the case is extracted, but that’s another issue entirely.


#4

Daniel

Good point. I was remembering the 1920s “Tin Can” ammunition where the bullet tore the case neck off and the whole thing went down the tube. That couldn’t happen here


#5

Ray and Daniel…Yes…the sleeve is swaged to the outside of the case…it is certainly possible that there were instances where the sleeve, due to the pressure of firing the cartridge, and/or friction due to extraction, was left in the rifle chamber. I do not know if Scott kept notes on his experiments…and if so, wouldn’t that be a nice find !!..Randy


#6

Any reports on the performance of the duplex loads? Seems to me that the reduced case capacity would limit the effectiveness of the cartridge. The sleeve is a very novel idea but I can see where there might be the chance for it to seperate from the case.

Very interesting stuff!

Any chance that there was an “AP” load in .30-40 Krag? My (late) Grandfather used to tell a story about when he was stationed in Louisiana during WWII. As he told it, he and some friends would draw Krag rifles from the armory and go alligator hunting in the swamps. He was very specific about being issued “AP” ammunition. I have to think that the details of his story got confused over the years and he really used a M-1903 Springfield, which would possibly account for the AP ammunition… Any ideas?

AKMS


#7

I personally do not know if any reports concerning cartridge performance exist. Some of these were tested at Frankford, and since they were not adopted for service use, I would assume performance did not meet expectations. Also, these would have been expensive and somewhat complicated to produce, as opposed to the guard loads that were adopted instead, which include the “Multi-Ball” (2 42 grain round balls) load, and, a bit later, the 156 and 177 grain lead bullet loads, as well as the 218 grain lead “Reduced Range” cartridge.
I believe the charge weight for the “duplex” load is about 32 grains of Peyton powder. The wads both under the lower bullet and between the bullets, as well as the lower bullet itself, were coated with black powder “dust” to insure the two bullets separated slightly from one another in the bore. So, this charge, 32 grains, is not all that much below a standard Krag loading, which, varying by powder type, is usually 36 to 38 grains, despite the “30-40” name. The early rounds were loaded with 40 grains or so, but, as smokeless powders improved, less was needed to achieve the same results.
I have not heard of any .30 Army service cartridge loaded with a true AP bullet, i.e., steel cored, hardened steel, etc., so it is possible that Grandpa was actually using .30-06 AP in a 1903, or, since much of the early Krag ammunition used CNCS bullets, possibly confusion arose concerning the fact that a magnet would attract, therefore the bullets had a steel core and were AP ??..Randy


#8

AKMS - Sounds like your grandfather was stationed at Fort Polk (it may have been “Camp Polk” then, am not sure). If so, I doubt they had any krags there in WWII other than perhaps in a post museum or something. It was a relatively important training post for troops going overseas, and they would have trained with at least the M1903 or 03A3, depending on the year, and during the years of our actual involvement in WWII, probably even more likely with the Garand, although they certainly would probably have had 03s for drill purposes, and maybe qualified on them as well. I forget what kind of troops were trained at Ft. Polk, or if they specialized in those days like they did after Korea (ie: Fort Gordon, GA - Military Police, Fort Benning, Ga - Infantry - Ft. Sill - artillery and later AD; Fort Monmouth and Fort Gordon - Signal Corps, Fort Knox - Armor, etc. etc.) We did a lot of firing with AP .30-06 even into the late 1950s and early 1960s, as it seemed to be in better supply than Ball M2. I don’t know why. I also know that the rifle teams shot AP for proactice, I guess because the bullet weight was closer to the Match Load’s 173 grain bullet, and therefore probably the trajectory and zero were closer for their match rifles. All I remember about the AP was that it kicked harder than ball, again I suppose because of the heavier bullet.


#9

John,

AP .30-06 was reportedly preferred over Ball during late WW2 and Korea, becoming the de facto standard issue for riflemen. Some have said the AP was more accurate than Ball as well.


#10

Dan, while I am aware that every rifle is different, I can confirm what you said about accuracy. Standard U.S. military AP will group about half the size as Ball M2 in my National Match Garand and also in my Beretta-made Garand (made for Denmark). I don’t recall in my Springfield-made service Garand, rebuilt in 1953 at Red River Arsenal, how it did. It has been a long time since I have fired it. I have never shot my 1943 service Garand. Have kept it as a single rifle collection simply because it is completely in its original form and was a duffle-bag bring back from Europe. Most collectors would want it - a little used, although certainly not terrible, but I like it. Shows some history!

Unfortunately, I ran out of AP .30-06 about three years ago, and all I can find now is corrosive. Nothing wrong with that, but I just don’t always have time to clean an M1 for three dyas running, beginning immediately after the range session. Sometimes it is a month before I get to cleaning anything but my Cowboy Action Shooting guns, which I shoot almost every week.


#11

Hi Randy,

           This is an extract from U.S. Patent No. 694,896 dated March 4, 1902 and assigned to Robert W. Scott (filled December 21, 1900).

           A rather fanstatic long neck variation is described but it's obviously related to those long neck/long case rounds of yours.


#12

Back to .30-06 AP, there was an US Army RDECOM “sources sought” notice just a couple of days ago for .30 M2 AP projectiles. I suspect they are intended for testing NIJ Threat Level 4 body armor inserts.

They estimate that they may place a single order of 500,000 to 1,000,000 projectiles (and possibly even more), with minimum regular deliveries of 10,000 projectiles per month.