Early 30-06


There is a thread on the earliest 30-06 in the old forum. Anybody remembers its name?



I don’t recall that thread but I do know that some of the earliest Cal .30 (30-06) cartridges had 05 headstamps.



Are you referring to .30-03 cases that were shortened to make the developmental .30-06 cartridges in early 1906?


Guy - Yep, that’s what I meant. I have one somewhere in one of my many cigar boxes.



I have lots of the altered .30-03 case .30-06 blanks with headstamps back to January 1904, but no .30-06 ball loads with the .30-03 headstamps. As production of .30-06 cases did not begin until September 1906, all three of the cartridges that started this thread should be altered 03 cases.


.30-03 brass was shortened and used to load .30-06 ball ammunition in addition to the blanks. I have such a fired case, dated some month in 1905, that came from a locale frequented by the U.S. army in the second decade of the 20th century. Jack



Have you checked those three cartridges closely to see if they are Cal .30 M1906? Sometimes it’s easy to mistake a Cal .30 M1903 for a 1906 at first glance. And vice-versa.



How do I go about .30-03 identification? 7.62x63 vs what? Here is a shot of two known .30-06 sandwiched between two “FA 5 06”.


Vlad: The .30-03 has a neck about 1/8 in. (3 m/m) longer than the .30-06, so the length difference is readily visible. Jack



Here is a Cal. .30 Ball, Model of 1903 (HS: FA 2 05) on the left next to a Cal. .30 Ball, Model of 1906 (HS: FA 7 13).

HWS Vol.1 indicates that in early 1909 there was an approval for Frankford Arsenal to break down 25,000,000 Model 1903 ball cartridges and the cases were to be modified to make Model 1906 ball ammunition. Model 1906 rounds headstamped before September, 1906 are the results of this recycling.

In general, I would think the projectile type (round nose vs. pointed) helps to nail down the ID along with the case length.



And now an un-educated question. Dave’s great pic of 30-03 and 30-06 side-by-side shows a very small difference between these cartridges. Why was the change made? Surely, no one thought of a need for heavier more penetrating projectiles before WWI when armoured vehicles were introduced.


Going by memory only, the M-1903 used the same bullet as the 30-40 Krag, IE a 220gr Round Nose.
With the change to a 150gr Spitzer type bullet, the extra neck length was no longer needed.


Any chance one can provide a comparison photo of a 30-01, 30-03 and 30-06 ?


EOD – I don’t have a 30-01 but here are some of the others.

Note: the M1906 Blanks with the altered 1903 cases were loaded as M1903 Blanks and after the change-over the mouths on these rounds were necked down so they would chamber in the new M1906 Rifles. Apparently there was a large amount of blanks in store and this was an easy way for them to be utilized. I used to have a box of these but I neglected to make a scan of it before I traded it off.


Phil, thanks for the great image!



Great group of early .30s there. The third from the top is interesting as it has a Sept. '08 headstamp (or is that a “2” ?!?) and a cannelured bullet. Would that perhaps be an example of the experimentals made to test the new cannelured bullet that was adopted as standard later in 1909?



Dave – I haven’t looked at these cartridges in years. The 3rd one down is F A 9 08. I just now examined it pretty closely and there are no obvious signs of it having been tampered with but it does have a cracked neck so I can’t swear that the bullet is original to the case. It weighs in the same range as the other M1906 Ball rounds I have (386.8 grains). All I know about it is that’s the way I got it (from where I don’t know!).


I found a picture of the label from a box like I used to have for the M1906 Blanks with the altered M1903 cases.


Here’s the comparison picture you wanted of the .30-01, .30-03, and .30-06. I have also included a developmental .30-01 with no headstamp and a grooved bullet.


Guy, thanks a lot! So can somebody explain the difference between the 30-01 and the 30-03?
I know the 30-01 has a smaller extractor groove but that can’t be all or?