The .30 Herrett

By Chuck Hawks

Back in 1972 Steve Herrett and gun writer Bob Mileck brought forth a cartridge for the T/C Contender pistol based on a shortened .30-30 case. The idea was to reduce the powder capacity of the .30-30 rifle cartridge to what could be burned in a 10" pistol barrel. Greater efficiency, less muzzle flash and recoil, with no loss in actual performance was the goal.

The .30 Herrett achieved just that. It is based on a .30-30 case 1.605" long. The shoulder is a sharp 30 degrees and the neck is .290" long. COL is 2.320". Bullet diameter remains .308". The performance of the .30 Herrett is identical to that of the .30-30 in a 10" barrel. T/C began offering factory barrels in .30 Herrett in 1973.

The sixth edition of the Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading shows that maximum loads for both the .30-30 and .30 Herrett using 150 grain bullets can achieve top muzzle velocities of 1900 fps. One .30 Herrett maximum load even achieves 2000 fps from a 10" barrel! Sizing is a critical step in forming .30 Herrett cases, so carefully read the text in the Hornady Manual regarding how to set the size die before proceeding.

The Hornady Handbook advises that their 130 grain Spire Point SSP bullet was designed specifically for handgun hunting velocities. 19.5 grains of H4227 powder can drive that bullet at a MV of 1800 fps. 24.0 grains of H4227 can drive the 130 grain bullet at a MV of 2200 fps. These Hornady loads used reformed Hornady brass and Federal 210 primers and were tested in a 10" Contender pistol.

While the .30 Herrett is clearly inferior to the .30-30 when the latter is fired from a rifle, it retains enough power to be satisfactory for small to medium size CXP2 game. Many North American deer have fallen to good handgun hunters using the .30 Herrett. At pistol ranges and with good bullet placement, the .30 Herrett can get the job done.

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Copyright 2005, 2012 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.