UMC 30 Cal Waite Automatic/30 Cal Browning


I was looking at some old UMC material and there were two calibers that I didn’t immediately recognize.

[quote]30 Cal Waite Automatic:
Feb 1904 Made experimental lot of shells. There are made to Brown & Munsel chamber gauge. The piston for heads are not made by us.

Mar 1904 Order #X4354 J called for 100 shells not beveled heads.

30 Cal Browning
Mar 1904 Commercial making experimental lot for Browning. Bullet 64 Grs. Diam. 288 Mixt 1-6A. plain not grooved[/quote]

Any idea what these two calibers were. The 30 Cal Browning sounds like a pistol cartridge with the 64 grain bullet.



.30 Waite Primer Actuated rifle case

UMC made a series of auto pistol cartridges about that time, Lew, probably for Browning. There is one called the .26 Browning, with a 0.2585" bullet (measured at the case mouth) and one called .28 Browning 0.278" bullet (measured at the case mouth). Both of these are without headstamp, having the “U” copper primer cup. Another has a bullet measuring on the jacket portion .288. It has a half-mantel bullet, with a very thin rim of lead showing at the case mouth which is somewhat larger in diameter than the jacketed portion. I can’t get a measurement with a dial indicator because it is so thin. I don’t want to really clamp down on it for fear of damaging the lead, which would give a false reading if crushed anyway. This round has a rim diameter of 0.335", less than the normal 0.352-0.358" rim of the standard .32 Auto cartridge. The headstamp of it is U.M.C. .32 A.C.P. and it has a copper “U” primer cup. I have always assumed that thisis the .30 Browning.

The one mystery is that all of these rounds have a case cannelure, but the UMC entry reports the .30 as being “plain, not grooved.” Now, it is very possible they are talking about the bullet, not the case, in which case there is no mystery.

There is a fourth round, with REM-UMC 32 A P headstamp that has a .301 diameter bullet (measured at the case mouth) and is half-mantel, but of the “S&W type” with locking flanges of lead showing at rectangular cuts in the jacket. The rim of that round is 0.335", again smaller than a standard .32 Auto round’s rim and consistent with the earlier UMC product It has a nickel-cup primer with “U” and has a different extractor groove and bevel, and a longer overall length than the UMC round. It is not, of course, the round described in the UMC record.

As to what pistols these were made for, no help there. Probably prototypes of what was to become the Browning and Colt .25 auto, and the Colt .32 auto (I ruled out the browning with the .28 and .30 Browning rounds as they are probably too big for the .25 Auto pistol design, and too late for the Browning.

Someday I would like to spend some real time at the Browning MUseum, and see if I could get into their archives. There is a lot we still don’t know about this Great American inventor’s work.

John Moss


John, Your cartridge sounds like the 30 Browning. I’d walk right by it in a junk box!

Any hint what the 30 Waite might be. The comment on “the piston for heads” sounds like a headstamp bunter which was made by someone other than UMC. If it is a headstamp bunter, I’d expect a unique headstamp. Never heard of this cartridge.

There is almost nothing related to ammo or even the technical side of the guns in the papers in the Browning Museum. You probably remember when I visited a couple of years ago chasing info on the 7.65B cartridge. I specifically was looking for records and apparently almost nothing survives-or so I’m told by a guy who is the technical expert for the museum. They are actively seeking any old records that may still survive. I didn’t specifically ask about a .30 Browning pistol but I was interested in all the old pistols and this one was never mentioned.




Email from a friend:

[quote]Lew- Tried to answer your question about the .30 Waite cartridge on the forum but couldn’t get past the registration. Too Hi Tech for me.

The .30 Waite was a piston operated semi-automatic rifle. The cartridge had a 0.315 inch diam. piston in the base holding the primer. Just how this functioned is not known to me, but probably similar to the primer-actuated rifles of Pederson and Garand in the '30s.

Measurements from a case in the Woodin Lab. without piston are (I’ve never seen the piston):

Head diameter- .507"
Shoulder diameter .459" @ 2.125" from base
Neck diameter .334"
Case length 2.726"

Specimens with conventional .210" diameter primer are also known. It is assumed that they were for a modified primer-actuated Waite rifle. Both types are quite rare.

Hope this helps



The top one was our sale 11, lot 293 (with bullet) & the bottom (new primed empty) sale 4 lot 343
Note the rim bevel on the top vs the bottom


So the pictured cartridge and empty case are for the Waite? Jack




Pete: Thanks. It’s an interesting one. Jack


Jack you can go to & download our #11 catalog to see some more about it.