30-30 Ackley Improved

Fire Arm






: Marlin 336

: 20 inches

: 1:12 inches

: 24 X

: 50 yards

: 10

Click for detailed 30-30 Ackley Tech drawing
Click on figure to access ANSI
technical cartridge drawing

A wildcat cartridge, one of P.0. Ackley's more popular "Improved" cartridges.

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 capacity 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 be the case.

Nominal bullet diameter is .308", the same as the 30-30 Win. The cartridge being a wildcat has no listed ANSI maximum average load pressures; but ANSI does list the 30-30 Win pressures as, 38 kCUP and 42 kPSI. Reloading dies are available from RCBS.

© Copyright Gregory J Mushial 1997-2003