Educational Zone #112 – Interesting Firearms – The Ruger Blackhawk .30 Carbine

Many years ago, about 1970, when I went through the Police Academy, there was a guy there that owned a Ruger pistol in .30 Carbine.

After class one day, he took some shots at a Coke can on the 100 yard berm, and was hitting it pretty consistently. 

The pistol had a lot of blast and noise. I wanted one. But it was many years later before I finally bought one.

I recently found a nice example at a gun show at a good price and bought it.

It has been a lot of fun to play around with. 

Here it is.

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The .30 Carbine cartridge was designed for use with the M-1 .30 Carbine used in WWII. This fine little carbine was to replace the pistol for rear line troops. But as it was issued, it became very popular with the troops and was finally very widely issued to front line troops. 

The .30 Carbine cartridge was never manufactured with corrosive primers by US suppliers, due to the gas system on the M-1 Carbine. Therefore, as long as you do not encounter foreign manufactured .30 Carbine ammo, you do not have to worry about corrosive ammunition. 

The cartridge, out of an M-1 Carbine propels a 110 gr FMJ bullet at almost 2,000 fps. That is nothing like a real battle rifle, but it seems to have worked fine for a lot of troops. 

The 7.65 X 25 Tokarev is widely admired as a “good penetrator” and able to defeat some armor. Yet it pushes a 90 grain bullet at around 1,400 fps. The .30 Carbine out of a rifle is much hotter. 

There were rumors that in the Korean War, the Commie troops wore thick clothing that was frozen in the very cold temperatures and that the .30 Carbine had trouble penetrating this clothing. I disproved this in the post, Frozen Clothing and the Box O’ Truth, the round is not nearly as powerful as the .30-06, but it will easily penetrate frozen clothing. 

The .30 Carbine was not as effective for long range shots as the .30-06 M-1 Garand, but it wasn’t designed to replace that old war horse. It was designed to replace the pistol. 

The Ruger .30 Carbine doesn’t quite make the velocity of the carbine, but it will still push a 110 Gr bullet at over 1,400 fps with hot loads. That’s the same velocity as the 7.62 x 25 Tokarev, but with a heavier bullet. I handload the round with better bullets and it makes a fine varmint and hunting round.

Here’s a reload of mine between a 9mm Luger cartridge and a .357 Magnum.

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I load Remington for Winchester 110 gr. JSP (Jacketed Soft Points) bullets over a hefty load of WW-296 or H-110.

I use Remington bulk bullets for my reloads. 

It barks loud and is a screamer within 100 yards.

Sierra also makes a 100 gr “Plinker” bullet that can be driven to well over 1,500 fps out of a handgun.

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I have reloaded once-fired military brass, but decided to order a couple hundred commercial Remington cases. Being a rimless design, it headspaces on the mouth of the case in the revolver cylinder. Consistent length of the cases is very important to best accuracy. The cartridge uses the Small Rifle Primer.

The pistol is the Ruger single action, which is a very strong action. It has a 7 1/2 inch barrel. The sights are adjustable and once sighted in, hold a zero very well.

The muzzle blast on the pistol is “remarkable”. As one reloading manual states, “If you forget your hearing protection, you will only forget once.” Shooting it on a crowded firing line will cause other shooters to stop and look your way, just to see what the loud noise was. I hate that my range won’t allow night time shooting, as I bet the fireball would be impressive.

Cleaning a Ruger Single Action pistol is easy. You just open the loading gate,

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Push in the cylinder latch,

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And pull the cylinder pin forward.

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The cylinder will then fall out of the frame and allow easy cleaning.

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You want to keep the cylinders clean and dry on this pistol, as excess oil will result in “set back” of the case which will tie up the pistol.

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The cartridge works at slightly higher pressure levels than the .357 Magnum, and the lighter bullets can be pushed faster than normal .357 Magnum rounds.

The .357 Magnum works at 35,000 psi, while the .30 Carbine works at around 40,000 cup.

If a person does not reload, the best cartridge for this pistol (or carbine) is the Winchester (or Remington) Jacketed Hollow Soft Point.

(That is an unusual designation for a bullet, but it is what they have on the box.)

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Experts say this is the best factory loading if the round is going to be used for self-defense.

It would also be the best loading for hunting, if tissue destruction is not a concern.

Here are three .30 Carbine cartridges, the FMJ military round on the left, the Winchester load in the center, and one of my reloads on the right.

The Jacketed Round Nose could be used if the hunter wanted to limit hide or tissue destruction.

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et’s do some shooting.

Here I am shooting a group.

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Of course, the long and slow single action hammer drop doesn’t make small groups easy.

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Recoil is actually not very bad. The heavy pistol, along with the light weight bullet, makes recoil very controllable.

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Here’s a typical 6 shot group.

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Conclusion:
The .30 Carbine Ruger is a fun pistol to shoot. It is very accurate and barks loud. What’s not to love.

4 Comments on Educational Zone #112 – Interesting Firearms – The Ruger Blackhawk .30 Carbine

  1. I did shoot it at night. New Years Eve when all the neighbors were blasting stuff… Along with the loud report we were getting 6 to 9 inch flames. Nice pistol.

  2. rangerrick // May 7, 2016 at 9:33 pm // Reply

    I really enjoy the m1 carbine, best investment i ever made. To me, the cartridge is under rated my many, i load 100 grain hornady short jackets with 15.5 grains of h110 and get 2250 fps over my chrony, let me tell you, i have killed 3 deer with this load and its very impressive, exit holes are the size of silver dollars, and i get 1 inch groups at 100 yards. I really want the 30 carbine revolver to go with it!

  3. John lowe // May 11, 2016 at 6:42 am // Reply

    I have both the rifle and pistol in 30 carbine. Great guns, light weight and I only have to carry one type of round.

  4. WHAT?! No box and water spray? 😉

    It would be interesting to see the penetration results.

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