Chinese .30-30 Steel Case


For Alpinehunter (see Lew’s Chinese .44 Mag thread). Here’s a new-primed-empty (NPE) Chinese .30-30 with a copper-plated steel case. As you suggest, the headstamp is in fact NIC .30-30. The case has two flash holes for its Berdan primer with a brass cup. I think Jim Bell, of Brass Extrusion Labs, Ltd., gave me this some years back. If you want it, you can have it.


Mel, this one should be copper washed rather than copper plated.


Copper washed and copper plated are the same thing more or less.



Thanks for that pic, just what I wanted to see.
I would love to accept the offer but unfortunately I am in Australia so even a primed case will cause problems with customs! I saw one listed in a local auction which prompted my question so there must be the odd example about over here.


[quote=“AKMS”]Copper washed and copper plated are the same thing more or less.


Not really, we discussed this in detail here before.


If some other collectors are interested. I can take some with me to the next Saint Louis show



I have the same case, are these rare?


EOD, please refresh my memory. I thought we discussed the difference between copper washed and copper clad.

How is copper plated different from copper washed other than the thickness of the layer of copper?



There are several methods for giving a coat of Copper to the steel. The Most common (Used in Russia–Soviet Union) is to Roll the steel and copper together under pressur, to effectively produce a Bi-(actually Tri) metal strip, before Punching out the cups and drawing the case. THis gives a case which has a copper coat both inside and out…a lot of USSR etc. cases were made with only one (outer) coat of copper; the Extractor cut is then Laquered ( copper cut away, at least for Rimless cases), and the Mouth is sealed with a lacquer as well.

The copper’s main purpose is to facilitate drawing the cases thru dies in manufacture; its anti-corrosion properties are minor ( Coppered cases rust just like other (laquered) steel cases.

The other method is the German “Galvaniziert” method, or electrolytic deposition of copper on the steel ( already used in the 1930s by the German Industry). IN this process, cases are made from steel and then when finished, given a Bath of Copper salts and an electric current , which deposits a thin skin of copper on both outer and inner surfaces of the case, including Extractor groove and Primer Pocket. It is a more energy expensive process than Rolling the steel with copper, and also costs in terms of strategic copper.
That is why the Germans went over to Bonderised & lacquered steel cases in 1940—and why the Czechs went on with this process in the Cold war ( and Russia has returned to it now).

These Chinese ( NIC…Norinco Industries China??) .30-30 cases look like they are “electrolytic coated” as seen by the complete coating of the extractor relief groove in front of the rim.
The coating will be very thin ( as an “anti-rust”) and probably will rub off in couple of passes in a tumbler or thru reloading dies. The “Rolled” copper on USSR cases tends to flake off after Resizing, or exposure to Moisture ( rust “flakes” off the copper from underneath).

Probably was not a viable Project, especially with “Berdan” priming…Boxer may be another matter, but with US shooters being wary of anything “steel” ruining their reloading dies ( another myth), the world’s biggest market would not support such a concept.

Nice photo.
Doc AV
AV Ballistics



Would the Russian “Bi-metal” manufacturing process apply to the zinc “Bi-metal” cartridges as well?


Leon, these are galvanized. Zinc is too brittle to be rolled onto something else.


Sorry to stray off topic but when it comes to metallurgy and fabrication I plead total ignorance.

So how is the “Zinc washed” Russian Silver Bear brand steel cases constructed?


Interesting conversation. The case is copper washed/plated or whatever on the inside too. Thanks for the compliment on the picture; however, it’s not a photo. It’s a 600 dpi scan with the case and headstamp combined into one JPEG. The two images were sharpened, aligned, and cropped in Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0. Both the HP 5650 scanner and software are old and obsolete, but still work pretty well together for cartridge images.


Anybody knows what are the auction bids for these cases?