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Favorite Loads: Hot Off The Press .30-40 Krag

by Lane Pearce   |  January 4th, 2011 1

The .30-40 Krag (a.k.a. 30 Army) was adopted by the U.S. military in 1892. It was the first small-bore military cartridge adopted by the U.S. military.


The .30-40 Krag (a.k.a. 30 Army) was adopted by the U.S. military in 1892. It was the first small-bore military cartridge adopted by the U.S. military.

Early experimental loadings were composed of a 220-grain FMJ RN bullet and 40 grains of blackpowder, but that was soon changed to smokeless powder. In 1893 Winchester began offering the High Wall single-shot rifle chambered for the .30-40 Krag and, as such, became the first commercial U.S. arms maker to offer a small-bore smokeless-powder sporting cartridge. That was nearly two years before the smokeless-powder .30-30 Winchester.

The .30-40 Krag served the country well for a decade, and when military-surplus rifles became available to the public, the cartridge proved to be very successful with hunters. With heavy bullets, the Krag can be effective on elk and moose, and loaded with a modern 180-grain bullet, the Krag is an excellent deer cartridge out to 250 yards.

.30-40 KRAG
Case: Winchester
Primer: CCI 200
Max Case Length: 2.314 in.
Trim Length: 2.304 in.
OAL Max: 3.089 in.

Handloading the Krag can be tricky due to relatively inconsistent loading data. Special attention must be paid to working up maximum loads, especially in vintage Krag rifles. But as this project demonstrates, the results of shooting a modern rifle can be very pleasing.

The industry Maximum Average Pressure for the .30-40 Krag is 40,000 CUP.

Courtesy of Sierra

Lane’s Favorite .30-40 Krag Loads
Bullet Type GRS Case Primer Velocity
Winchester 1885 Saddle Ring Carbine, 16.5-Inch Barrel, Leupold 2-7X 28mm
Hornady 165-gr. InterLock SST IMR-4064 41.0 Win. CCI 200 2252
Hornady 165-gr. InterLock SST Reloder 17 46.0 Win. CCI 200 2294
NEI 165-gr. Cast RN w/gascheck SR 4759 22.0 Rem. CCI 200 1885
Hornady 180-gr. InterLock JSP H4831SC 49.0 Rem. CCI 200 2081
Hornady 180-gr. InterLock JSP IMR-4895 41.0 Rem. CCI 200 2235
Hornady 180-gr. InterLock JSP Reloder 15 41.5 Win. CCI 200 2279
Hornady 220-gr. InterLock RN H4831SC 42.5 Rem. CCI 200 1766
NOTES: Velocity is the average of 15 rounds measured 6 feet from the guns muzzle using an Oehler M35P chronograph.

  • Muskrat

    What load do you think would be the best/flattest shooting for this 16 1/2 inch barrel out to 300yds or so? I bought one of these and would like to work up a good all around load. So far 45 grains of 4064 IMR seems pretty good.(Hotter than these loads,but no presser signs) I cast bullets for most of my guns and would like a mould for this one as well. What would be better,180gr. or 200gr? I plan to use this gun for Wolves in Idaho,but I also guide hunters for Deer and Elk. Guideing you don't get a chance to shoot much,but I would like to be able to stop a wounded Elk if need be.If anyone has any ideas I'd like to hear them,Thanks.

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