FIRST LOOK: The New .30 T/C

By Chuck Hawks

Hornady .30 T/C Ammunition.
Illustration courtesy of Hornady Manufacturing Co., Inc.

The .30 T/C is a short action (.308 length), rimless rifle cartridge that was developed for Thompson/Center by Hornady. It is a true .30 caliber cartridge with a case capacity slightly less than the .308 Winchester, which must make it very similar in size to Hornady's equally new, but rimmed, .308 Marlin Express. In fact, the .30 T/C looks much like a rimless version of Hornady's previously announced .308 Marlin. The promotional advertising for the two cartridges even sounds similar.

Hornady describes the new .30 T/C this way:

"Quite possibly the most technologically advanced cartridge ever developed, the new Hornady .30 T/C was specifically designed for Thompson Center's new Icon bolt-action rifle. Built on the premise of optimal ballistics, Hornady has perfected the balance between case volume, bore volume and burn rates for both the 150 and 165 grain offerings."

They further claim that the new cartridge, using their factory loaded 150 grain bullet, exceeds the muzzle velocity of the .308 Win. by 180 fps and the larger .30-06 by nearly 100 fps. The also claim smooth feeding, full magazine capacity, a short bolt throw, longer barrel life, full ballistic potential in a short action case, and a 15% reduction in perceived recoil. (My emphasis on the word "perceived.")

Here are the Hornady ballistics for the new .30 T/C.

150 gr. SST InterLock - 3000 fps/2997ft. lbs. @ Muzzle; 2772 fps/2558 ft lbs. @ 100 yards; 2555 fps/2176 ft. lbs. @ 200 yards; 2348 fps/1836 ft. lbs. @ 300 yards

Trajectory = -1.5" @ 100 yards; +1.5" at 100 yards, +/- 0.0 @ 200 yards; -6.9" @ 300 yards

165 gr. SST InterLock - 2850 fps/2975 ft. lbs. @ muzzle; 2644 fps/2560 ft. lbs. @ 100 yards; 2447 fps/2193 ft. lbs. @ 200 yards; 2258 fps/1868 ft. lbs. @ 300 yards

Trajectory = -1.5" @ 100 yards; +1.7" @ 100 yards; +/- 0.0" @ 200 yards; -7.6" @ 300 yards

One might wonder, what is the purpose of this new cartridge that is physically so similar to the .308 Winchester? We will explore that question, as well as others, in a subsequent article about the .30 T/C on the Rifle Cartridge Page.

Suffice to say for now that reloaders will not be able to achieve the claimed factory load performance of the .30 T/C, since the new powder formulation upon which this performance is based is not available in canister lots, and is unlikely to be released any time soon. For reloaders using available canister powders, the .30 T/C will inevitably fall slightly short of .308 performance.

The published facory load ballistics of the .30 T/C sound great, as far as they go. I can't wait to see when (and if) Hornady will offer a factory load using a 180 grain bullet, which I know that elk hunters here in the Pacific Northwest will want, for the new cartridge.

Note: There is a full length article about the .30 T/C on the Rifle Cartridge Page.

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Copyright 2007, 2010 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.