Ammo Brief: The Arguably Odd .30 T/C


The .30 T/C was a great performer that never gained traction in the shooting world.

The odd saga of this .30-caliber:

  • The .30 T/C is essentially a .308 Win. shortened with a sharper shoulder angle.
  • Despite less capacity, it exceeded the .308's performance through light magnum technology.
  • Thought, when utilizing the same technologies the .308 performs just as well.
  • This left many shooters wondering what was the point in the first place?

The .30 T/C was developed by Hornady for Thompson/Center, and introduced in that company’s Icon rifle. Basically a shortened version of the .308 Winchester case with a sharper 30-degree shoulder angle, it has less powder capacity than that cartridge and yet, due to the utilization of light magnum technology previously developed by Hornady for other cartridges, it exceeds in performance standard loadings of the .308 Winchester and equals the performance of the .30-06 Springfield when the three cartridges are loaded with a 150-grain bullet.

Despite impressive velocities for its size, the .30 T/C is rather an odd duck, and this has raised questions among hunters and shooters about its existence. The Icon rifle was introduced with a short action and had the action been too short to handle the .308 Winchester, the .30 T/C would have made sense — but this was not the case. Not only is the short version of the Icon action long enough to handle the .308 Winchester, but that was one of the first chamberings offered in the Icon rifle. And, while it’s true that, in its factory loading, the .30 T/C delivers higher velocity than standard loadings of the .308 Winchester, it’s also true that light magnum loadings of the .308 Winchester from Hornady are just as fast. When both are handloaded with bullets of the same weight and to the same chamber pressure, velocity will be a bit lower with the .30 T/C, due to the smaller case capacity.

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the May 2018 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.

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