The .30R Blaser Rifle Cartridge
By Chuck Hawks
Blaser Jagrdwaffen GmbH is the German manufacturer of S2 double rifles, D99 drillings (three barrel shotgun/rifles), B95 and B97 combination guns (shotgun/rifle), K95 single shot rifles, and the innovative R93 interchangeable caliber bolt action repeating rifle. All but the R93 are break-open action guns. Because Blaser is heavily involved in the manufacture of modern break-open rifles, they have an interest in the development of modern, high pressure, rimmed cartridges most suitable for use in such rifles.
German ammunition giant RWS collaborated with Blaser in the design and 1990 introduction of the .30R Blaser rifle cartridge. "R" stands for "rimmed" in European cartridge parlance. The ".30" caliber designation, however, is from the British/U.S. school of cartridge nomenclature. Why Blaser chose .30, rather than the 7.62mm metric designation typically used for European cartridges of that caliber, I do not know. Perhaps Blaser had designs on the North American market when they named their new cartridge, or perhaps the English caliber simply seems exotic and desirable to European shooters, as metric calibers do to many American shooters.
The .30R Blaser is a long, magnum-esque cartridge that substitutes a rim for the usual magnum belt. The .30R sports a sharp shoulder and short neck, common (if unfortunate) attributes of modern design.
The .30R uses normal .308" bullets. This is good for reloaders, as there are a plethora of .308" bullets available. Not so good is the almost total lack of reloading data for the cartridge, at least in North American reloading manuals. RWS publishes .30R reloading data for European reloaders, mostly using European powders that are largely unavailable in the U.S.
RWS factory loads using 150 grain bullets advertise a MV of 3085 fps and ME of 3165 ft. lbs. RWS factory loads with 180 grain bullets feature a MV of 2820 fps and ME of 3190 ft. lbs. This makes the ballistic performance of the .30R Blaser nearly identical to that of the wildcat .30-06 Ackley Improved cartridge, which has had a small but loyal following for over 60 years.
The .30R Blaser is based on a big case that measures 2.68" long. It has a rim diameter of .531", a head diameter of .480", shoulder diameter of .441". The overall cartridge length is 3.8". To put those numbers in perspective, the .30R has a rim diameter like a belted magnum case, a head diameter 0.01" larger than a .30-06, a shoulder diameter identical to the .30-06, and case length about midway between the .30-06 and .300 H&H Magnum.
Its performance is also somewhere between those two cartridges. The .30R Blaser's 180 grain bullet leaves the muzzle traveling about 100 fps faster than it would from a .30-06, and only 60 fps slower than it would from a factory loaded .300 H&H Magnum case. It is, however, about 140 fps slower than the .300 Winchester Magnum.
It would be fair to say that any big game hunting you could do with the .30-06 Springfield, .30-06 Improved, .300 H&H, or for that matter the 8x60S, you could also do with the .30R Blaser. And vise-versa, which--along with a general lack of interest in drillings and combination guns outside of Europe--may explain the 8x30R's lack of popularity. The .30R Blaser is a fine all-around rifle cartridge, but there is no shortage of established rifle cartridges offering this approximate level of performance.
Copyright 2006, 2012 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.