March 2nd, 2008

Origins of 30 BR and 22 BR Cartridges

We received an interesting email recently from Daniel R. He was involved, some three decades ago, in the pioneering development of the 30 BR cartridge. In our 30BR Cartridge Guide, we explained how the 30 BR really started to take off ten years ago, when score shooters, such as Joe Entrekin, started using it with immediate success. But, according to Daniel, the 30 BR was really “invented” some 30 years ago. Daniel explains:

“I was interested to read that the 30BR has taken off finally in the benchrest world. I do however have a few tidbits to add to the true history of the 30BR cartridge. I believe that Keith Francis (JGS Precision) make the first chamber reamer for the 30BR in 1978 for me. I chambered my Hart 4A Heavy Benchrest bag gun and went off to an IBS early season 100-yard match held at Englishtown, NJ. Naturally I was the brunt of many jokes and sneers of my fellow benchrest shooters. I was shooting 140gr bullets that I made on short Sierra jackets in Homer Culver dies. The 10-shot aggregate was something in the low 3s (respectable heavy bench bag gun agg in those days). After that match I lent the reamer to a notable Pennsylvania gunsmith and many of the IBS hunter class guys had 30BRs within the next few weeks[.]”

In this photo, on left, you see a 30BR case after expansion. Note the ridge at the base of the neck. This needs to be removed via neck-turning.

Birth of the 22BR
Daniel was also an “early adopter” of the 22 BR cartridge, and he believes it can hold its own vs. the now-dominent 6 PPC case. Daniel writes:

“I believe that I was among the first dozen of benchrest shooters (other than Jim Stekl) to compete with the 22 BR. Jim and I had met at the IBS shoots in Johnstown, NY in 1975. I had Keith make me a custom tight neck (0.240″) reamer with a throat suitable to handle the Remington Match 52-grain bullets in 1977 and shot three 5-shot groups working up initial loads with Norma 202 that were 0.043″, 0.068″ & 0.017″! Like so many I finally let Doc and Ferris talk me in to shooting the PPC, but I came back to the little 22BR in 1989 and placed second in the NBRSA Championships LV 100-yard aggregate held at George Kelbly’s place against a sea of 6PPCs.”

22 BR Cartridge Diagram

22 BR cartridge print

Daniel reminds us: “This family of cartridges has come a long way from the days when you had to have a 4-die set to size and shape your hand selected 308 cases to get a working BR case. I can remember taking three weeks one winter to form and size the brass to campaign on the IBS and NBRSA circuits the following summer. Now we can buy them. I no longer shoot competitively, but I still have a few 22, 6 and 30 BR barrels for guns that I own. Keep in mind that there would not be any BR at all without the hard work and perseverance of one Mr. Jim Stekl (Mike Walker’s successor at Remington). If Jim had not fought so hard to keep this little cartridge alive it would not be here today.”

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