.30-30 Ackley Improved

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.30-30 Ackley Improved
3030 and Ackley.jpg
Comparison of the 30-30 Ackley and the original .30-30 Winchester cartridges
Type Wildcat rifle
Country of Origin USA
Parent Case .30-30 Winchester
Case Type Rimmed, bottlenecked
Bullet Ø .309", 7.848mm
Neck Ø .330", 8.38mm
Shoulder Ø .4", 10.16mm
Base Ø .4215", 10.71mm
Rim Ø .506", 12.85mm
Rim Thickness .063", 1.6mm
Case Length 2", 50.8mm
Full Length 2.55"
Rifling twist 1:12 inches (micro grove)
Max. pressure 42,000 psi[1]
Maximum CUP 38,000
Production & Service
Designer P. O. Ackley
Design Date see text
Ballistic Performance Sampling
Bullet Wt./type Velocity Energy
100 gr SP 2750 fps 1680 ft·lbf
110 gr HP 2610 fps 1660 ft·lbf
130 gr SP 2385 fps 1645 ft·lbf
150 gr SP 2270 fps 1720 ft·lbf
170 gr SP 2310 fps 2020 ft·lbf

source: Ackley

The .30-30 Ackley Improved or more simply the .30-30 Ackley, is a wildcat cartridge, one of P.0. Ackley's more popular "Improved" cartridges.

The 30-30 Winchester is one of the most popular sporting cartridges ever produced. It is the standard American deer cartridge, but its popularity is due more to the light, handy carbines that chamber it than to its ballistics. Many hunters have wished that the 30-30 had a little more oomph. The 30-30 Improved does just that by providing an additional 200 to 300 fps within the working pressure limits of the standard Model 94 Winchester action, which is 38,000 CUP maximum. There are various versions of the 30-30 Improved, but the Ackley version is the most popular. The exact date of introduction is not known, but was probably sometime in the early 1950's or perhaps even earlier.

The 30-30 Improved basically requires only a simple rechambering job. Cases are made by firing standard 30-30 Winchester ammunition in the Improved chamber, then reloading them. However, anyone who favors the Model 94 Winchester or Marlin 336 and wants more power than the standard 30-30 offers can simply buy one in 307 Winchester caliber. This makes the Improved 30-30 pretty much obsolete for new rifles, but it is still a good modification for older Model 94's or 336's.

Specs for the .30-30 Ackley
By removing almost all the body taper, by giving the sedate 30-30 a 40 degree shoulder and by moving the neck-shoulder juncture forward a little more than .103", the 30-30 Ackley offers the 30-30 Win reloader, 2+ grains of added capacity (about 5%), the shooter, an additional 200-300 fps; and in the process produces less bolt thrust, thereby working the brass less, hence requiring fewer trimmings and allowing more reloadings. The cartridge was developed by Ackley in the very early 1950s or very late '40s, from his Trinidad, Colorado gun shop.

The case capacities of the 30-30 Ackley vs the "unImproved" Winchester parent only differ by 2.1gr (of water, full case; 46.6 vs 44.5, 39.1 vs 37.0 with a bullet seated .400"). But it appears, because of the reduced body taper and resulting case-chamber-cling, the Ackley can be loaded to higher pressure levels but with apparent gun stresses associated with lower levels. Many Ackley proponents talk about achieving near 300 Savage performance levels (a 53.1gr full case cartridge). Other similar 30 caliber cartridges offer in powder capacities: the 30 Rem and 303 Savage, full case, 44.6gr and 44.3, respectively, much like the unaltered 30-30; the 303 Brit, 300 Savage and 30-40 Krag form another class, 52.1gr, 53.1 and 54.3gr, respectively; the 307 Win offers 56.3; the 30-06 68.2; the 300 H&H, 81.3 and the 300 RUM, 110.2.

The Ackley 30-30 cases are made by fireforming fresh brass 30-30 rounds in an Ackley chamber, and then trimming the case to length. Either light to moderate 30-30 hunting loads can be used, or specific fireforming loads (such as 12gr of GreenDot under a 125/130gr bulk jacketed bullet).

As a hunting cartridge, it is still only appropriate for 30-30 Win class game, though it'll shoot a little flatter. Of note: the Ackley, with it's large 40 degree shoulder, never seems to cycle through a lever action as smoothly as the long tapered shoulder 30-30 Win - on single shots this obviously won't come into the equation.

Nominal bullet diameter is .308", the same as the 30-30 Win. Reloading dies are available from RCBS.

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[edit] Notes

  1. Being a wildcat, there is no listed ANSI maximum average load pressures; but ANSI does list the 30-30 Win pressures as 38 kCUP and 42 kPSI.
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