Wheelgun Wednesday: Revolver Cartridge Spotlight - .30 Cal Revolvers

Doug E
by Doug E
Image credit: Ventura Munitions

Welcome to another of TFB’s Wheelgun Wednesday, where we discover all there is to the world of revolvers. This week we’ll jump back into our Revolver Cartridge Spotlight series, focusing this time on .30 caliber revolvers. This caliber hasn’t gotten a lot of love from revolver manufacturers, but your chances of finding a wheelgun in .30 caliber aren’t zero, let’s take a look.

Wheelgun Wednesday @ TFB:

Revolver Cartridge Spotlight - .30 Cal Revolvers

Our Revolver Cartridge Spotlight series stems from an overview where we looked at how many different modern cartridges revolvers have been chambered for ( see all 57). Of that list, we’ve thus far spotlighted .17 caliber and .22 caliber revolvers, which brings us to the next larger caliber, .30. For some reason, Americans love caliber .30, so why not include them in the world of wheelguns? In this episode, we’ll take at those .30 cal options, which, at the time of this writing involve .30 Carbine, .30-30 Winchester, .300 Blackout, .307 Winchester, .30 Rimfire, and one interesting honorable mention. For the cartridge specifications, I used Cartridges of the World by Frank C. Barnes and AmmoSeek.com.


For our .30 Caliber Revolvers list, the .30 Carbine has gotten the most attention from manufactures like Ruger, Taurus, Magnum Research, and Smith & Wesson. Having a “companion” cartridge that you can use in your rifle and your handgun isn’t a new concept, and Ruger capitalized on it when they introduced the Ruger Blackhawk chambered for .30 Carbine. Taurus also produced the Raging 30, and Magnum Research offers .30 Carbine as a custom option for their Biggest Finest Revolver. S&W was the first to introduce a .30 Carbine revolver when they chambered an N Frame in that cartridge in the hopes that the United States military would adopt it. You probably know how that worked out for them, but you can read more about that revolver HERE.

  • Year Developed: 1941
  • Designed By: Winchester
  • Parent Case: .32 Winchester Self Loading
  • Case Type: Rimless, Straight Wall
  • Bullet Diameter: .308
  • Neck Diameter: .335
  • Shoulder Diameter: .335
  • Base Diameter: .3567
  • Rim Diameter: .3598
  • Rim Thickness: .05
  • Case Length: 1.29
  • Cartridge Length: 1.679
  • Primer: Small Rifle
  • Grain Weights: 85, 90, 100, 110, 125
  • Velocity From Revolver: 1500* fps
  • (*depending on load and barrel length, see links for example)
Taurus’ Raging 30 made TFB’s Hot Gat or Fudd Crap Column
Ruger’s Blackhawk in .30 Carbine. Image credit: Ruger




For a time, lever action rifles seemed to be waning from the firearms market, but they’ve been making a resurgence in the last few years. During this return to classic lever action rifles, the .30-30 Winchester seems to be taking a back seat to the big bore options like .45-70 Gov. and .44 Mag, however, the .30-30 lives on, especially in Magnum Research’s BFR. It’s long been repeated on internet forums that cartridges with shoulders don’t work great in revolvers. However, from our list today it would seem that’s not always true, and Magnum Research, well, they researched, found the magic, and made it happen.

  • Year Developed: 1895
  • Designed By: Winchester
  • Parent Case: .38-55 Winchester
  • Case Type: Rimmed, Bottleneck
  • Bullet Diameter: .308
  • Neck Diameter: .328
  • Shoulder Diameter: .402
  • Base Diameter: .422
  • Rim Diameter: .502
  • Rim Thickness: .058
  • Case Length: 2.03
  • Cartridge Length: 2.53
  • Primer: Large
  • Grain Weights: 100, 110, 125, 130, 137, 140, 147, 150, 160, 165, 170, 175, 190, 300
  • Velocity From Revolver: 1800* fps
  • (*depending on load and barrel length, see links for example)
Magnum Research BFR .30-30 Win by Surv1v4l1st at Wikipedia
Image credit: Magnum Research



Why yes, Magnum Research does offer their BFR chambered for .300 Blackout! As you’ll see below, we probably have a winner for the number of bullet weights available in our Revolver Cartridges Spotlight series thus far. For anyone not yet initiated to the .300 Blk cartridge, it has loadings available in a wide range of velocities, with one end of the spectrum going for subsonic speeds to achieve a quiet, suppressed shot … from a rifle. While the BFR could certainly shoot any of the .300 Blackout loads, suppressing the Magnum Research revolver isn’t an option at this point in time, although we’d love for them to make that happen. Thus, sticking to supersonic velocities from the BFR would be optimal.

  • Year Developed: 2009
  • Designed By: AAC (Advanced Armament Corporation)
  • Parent Case: .221 Fireball & .223 Remington
  • Case Type: Rimless, Bottleneck
  • Bullet Diameter: .308
  • Neck Diameter: .334
  • Shoulder Diameter: .361
  • Base Diameter: .375
  • Rim Diameter: .375
  • Rim Thickness: .045
  • Case Length: 1.368
  • Cartridge Length: 1.78
  • Primer: Small
  • Grain Weights: 85, 90, 96, 108, 110, 115, 120, 124, 125, 130, 135, 140, 142, 145, 147, 150, 152, 155, 168, 175, 190, 194, 195, 196, 198, 200, 205, 208, 210, 211, 215, 220, 225, 230, 240, 265, 300
  • Velocity From Revolver: 2100* fps (110 gr projectile according to chart in link for 10 inch barrel)
  • (*depending on load and barrel length, see links for example)



The .307 Winchester was originally designed for lever action rifles, and to gain some advantage over .30-30. Since the .307 Winchester was designed with lever guns in mind, flat-tip bullets will be found in factory-loaded ammo (if you can find some), but the .307 utilizes .308 caliber projectiles so handloaders can use pointed bullets when shooting the .307 from a revolver. This article wasn’t really intended to be a commercial for the Magnum Research BFR, however, it really seems to be the hero and consequential theme of the day for .30 caliber revolvers. Since the BFR has such a long cylinder, it really lends itself to a whole host of cartridges.

  • Year Developed: 1980
  • Designed By: Winchester
  • Parent Case:
  • Case Type: Bottleneck, Semi-rimmed
  • Bullet Diameter: .308
  • Neck Diameter: .344
  • Shoulder Diameter: .454
  • Base Diameter: .47
  • Rim Diameter: .506
  • Rim Thickness: .059
  • Case Length: 2.02
  • Cartridge Length: 2.6
  • Primer: Large
  • Grain Weights: 110, 130, 150, 170, 160, 180
  • Velocity From Revolver: * fps
  • (*depending on load and barrel length, see links for example)
Image credit: FlipAmmo.com



This obscure cartridge and the Colt New Line revolvers that fired them can still be found if you’re looking for them, but the Cartridges of the World book states that the cartridge had disappeared by World War 1. The .30 Rimfire actually has two designations, Long and Short. TFB’s Sam S. documented his findings on this cartridge on TFB’s Rimfire Report, which you can read about HERE.

  • Year Developed: 1860’s (Short), 1873 (Long)
  • Designed By:
  • Parent Case:
  • Case Type: Rimfire, Strait Wall
  • Bullet Diameter: .286 (S), .288 (L)
  • Neck Diameter: .292 (S), .288 (L)
  • Shoulder Diameter:
  • Base Diameter: .292 (S), .288 (L)
  • Rim Diameter: .34 (S&L)
  • Rim Thickness:
  • Case Length: .515 (S), .613 (L)
  • Cartridge Length: .822 (S), 1.02 (L)
  • Primer: Rimfire
  • Grain Weights: 50-58
  • Velocity From Revolver:



The .30-357 AeT was commercially available, as was a Single Action Army revolver from Pietta. Although properly headstamped could be found, the .30-357 AeT sports a .30 caliber bullet in a bottlenecked .357 Magnum case. The specially chambered Pietta revolver featured an unfluted cylinder and was offered in 7.5 and 10 inch barrel lengths. You can find pictures and more information HERE, and HERE. Thanks to TFB’s Giorgio for bringing this one up!


I haven’t been able to make up my mind whether these .30 caliber cartridges were chambered in revolvers with the intention of being companions to the same caliber rifles, or if they’re being chambered in revolvers because they’re just readily available and can pack a big wallop from a small package. I suspect that it more depends on the intent of the end user. Either way, I’m glad these options exist and take full advantage of the strength of revolvers.

What do you think about .30 Caliber Revolvers? If you own one, let us know which revolver you have and what kind of velocities you’re getting, and how you utilize it.

Doug E
Doug E

Doug has been a firearms enthusiast since age 16 after getting to shoot with a friend. Since then he's taken many others out to the range for their first time. He is a husband, father, grandfather, police officer, outdoorsman, artist and a student of history. Doug has been a TFB reader from the start and is happy to be a contributor of content. Doug can be reached at battleshipgrey61 AT gmail.com, or battleshipgrey61 on Instagram.

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