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.30 Remington AR

by Layne Simpson   |  January 4th, 2011 17

A .30 caliber cartridge designed specifically for the AR-15 platform.


Remington’s new .30 AR cartridge is the same length as the .223 and functions through the company’s standard R15, its version of the AR-15.

When Remington got into the AR-15 business in 2007, company officials made it clear that the new R-15 rifle was intended for hunting. At the time, that struck me as rather odd since the only chamberings offered were .204 Ruger and .223 Remington, both excellent varmint cartridges but a bit short on power for use on deer and such.

And since Remington had previously been involved in the development of an AR-15-compatible cartridge of larger caliber called the 6.8mm SPC, which is better suited for use on deer, I wondered why that chambering option was not offered. Little did I know at the time that an even more effective cartridge called the .30 Remington AR was on the drawing board.

When designing the new cartridge, Remington’s engineers started with the .450 Bushmaster case. For the benefit of those who are not familiar with the .450, it was a joint-venture development between Hornady and Bushmaster.

A pointed .30 caliber bullet of reasonable weight is longer than a blunt-nosed .45 caliber bullet, so to keep overall cartridge length compatible with the standard AR-15 magazine, the case was shortened to 1.530 inches from the original case length of 1.700 inches.

At its base, the .30 AR case has a diameter of .500 inch. From there it tapers forward to .488 inch at the juncture of the body and shoulder. Neck diameter is .342 inch, and the case has a shoulder angle of 25 degrees. With a length of .305 inch, the neck is capable of exerting plenty of tension on the bullet, a good thing to have in a cartridge designed to survive the rather violent trip it must take from the magazine to the chamber of an autoloading rifle.

An AR-15 rifle in .450 Bushmaster utilizes a standard .223 bolt, which is modified by increasing its bolt face diameter to a nominal .473 inch, which is the same as the .308 Winchester.

When this is done, the counterbore wall or shroud of the bolt becomes rather thin. This is considered a safe modification for that cartridge because it operates at a maximum chamber pressure level of 38,000 psi, which is the same as the .30-30 Winchester. But since the .30 AR is loaded to 55,000 psi (a bit higher than the .308 Winchester), Remington opted for additional case rim support. Engineers accomplished this by modifying the larger-diameter AR-10 bolt to fit the AR-15 upper.

The face of said bolt is commonly sized for the .473-inch rim diameter of the .308 Winchester, but Remington went one step further by opening it up a bit and increasing the rim diameter of the .30 AR case to .492 inch.

This, by the way, is a rather uncommon rim diameter. The only other cartridge I could dig up that shares it is an 1800s number called the .35-40 Maynard. At any rate, by the time the job was done, the only thing the .30 AR case had in common with the .450 Bushmaster case was a base diameter of .500 inch.

In case you are wondering why Remington went with a case rim diameter larger than that of the .450 Bushmaster, it is to prevent the use of a bolt built for that cartridge in an R-15 upper with a .30 AR barrel.

What we ended up with is a short, fat case of rebated rim design with a gross water capacity of 44 grains, about 10 grains less than the .308 Winchester case and approximately the same as the .30-30 Winchester case. But since the .30 AR is loaded to higher chamber pressures than the .30-30, it exceeds the maximum velocity of that cartridge.

For now, Remington is loading it with two bullets at 2,800 fps: 123-grain FMJ for practice and target shooting and 125-grain pointed Core-Lokt for hunting. The FMJ option is a member of the UMC family of economy-priced ammunition and is loaded with the same bullet loaded by Remington in the 7.62x39mm Russian. As for the other load, as Remington ads have told us for many decades, the Core-Lokt is the deadliest mushroom in the woods.

When either load is zeroed three inches high at 100 yards, it will strike about two inches above point of aim at 200 yards and approximately seven inches low at 300, where it is still packing upwards of 1,000 ft.-lbs. of energy.

Whether or not the .30 AR will eventually be offered in additional loadings remains to be seen, but in my opinion a bullet weighing 150 grains might just prove to be a useful option. My guess is it could be pushed along at 2,400 to 2,500 fps, placing the new cartridge in about the same performance class as the .300 Savage.

As I gaze into my crystal ball I also see the possibility of other calibers on the same case with .338, 7mm, .270 and .224 of interest to me. And while the .30 AR was designed with hunting in mind, it might be fun to see how it performs at medium-range paper-punching when handloaded with the Sierra 155-grain MatchKing bullet.

By now you might be asking yourself, why bother? Remington already has the R-25, and why buy a rifle chambered for a .300 Savage-equivalent cartridge when the R-25 is available in .243 Winchester, 7mm-08 Remington and .308 Winchester?

I can think of three reasons worthy of consideration. For one, the versatility of the R-15 is easily increased by switching out its upper for one in .204 Ruger, .223 Remington or .450 Bushmaster, an option that’s not possible with the R-25. For two and three, the R-15 is lighter and less expensive than the R-25.

  • Karl

    I went to Gander Mountain and looked for an R–15 and it was nice. Wanted one.The guys there told me not to mess with it that it is pretty much dead and tryed to convince me to buy it in a 6.8 spc. What is up with the .30 AR ? i need a "catch all" semi auto rifle for deer, hogs, target that is mild recoil.

    • master reloader

      Please don't listen to the gun "experts" at Gander Mountain. Take their advice in the context of who is offering it. In Northern Michigan where rifle deer season is an official holiday, the 30AR is alive and growing in popularity with DPMS upper receivers being a common purchase to move up to this fine cartridge. Most 30AR owners reload as the gun shops charge so much for the ammunition. Sierra 125gr SP and Hornady 110gr V-Max being the most popular bullets. Don't reload? Invest in some reloading equipment ( a Lee Challenger set will work just fine) and start enjoying what this great cartridge will do. The only 6.8 SPC rifles you see up here are for sale or on the shelves of Gander Mountain. When the 6.8 SPC was not adopted by the military, it fell out of favor fast.

  • monty

    I love mine its a great hunting rifle peaple shy away from it because the ammo is harder to buy at the local store you usually have to order it but its not that big of a deal for the weapon you recieve .

    • Karl

      Good .That is what I want to hear. I can order the ammo,I just have to plan ahead a bit and save brass for reloading at some time.

    • Keith

      Is there after market magazines available for the. 30 AR?

  • Karl

    I e-mailed Remington and they responded that they have discontinued all manufacturing of the .30 ar and the components.

  • Billy D

    I e-mailed Remington today and they said production will resume in April

  • J.Hamer

    DPMS makes both AR style rifles for Remington, don't know if they limit that caliber to just Remington but it might be worth a phone call.

  • Ranger Bob

    DPMS wants like $900 for just an upper. I've built complete guns for under $800. All I care to buy is the barrel, a bolt and the brass. I do want one in this caliber. Beter ballistics than the300whisper or 300 blackout..Remington needs to get on the ball and supply brass for the reloaders at a price under $80 a hundred. Right now they aren't even making any.

  • Ranger Bob

    Sure hope they see they have a great round for the consumer and we are willing to support a well made product. People are looking for work. What's the hold-up ? Necked down to 7mm., 6mm, and .224 it has wonderful possabillities if a .30 cal will do 2800 fps with a 125 gr slug. All in a lighter and questionaly cheaper AR-15 platform. Over an AR-10,that is. Midway USA has a .300 blackout barrel for $171. 1 in 8 twist to handle heavier suppressed bullets. Thinking about running a reamer in one and make my own .30 Rem AR. Just add an AR-10 bolt and open the face up to .492. Would like to see Shilen Barrel Co. make a barrel/bolt combo like they do for the .223 and .204 ruger. This round offers a lot for everybody to gain from. Would hate to see it pass by the wayside….."Remington". Just putting your name on it isn't enough. Support your efforts.

  • Ranger Bob

    All in a 55,000psi case too. That's the kind of stuff the military is looking for. And they BUY the goods too.

  • Gary Bisel

    I thought the 30 Rem . AR was a great concept !! I purchased 2 of them !! I'm very disappointed and frustrated that I can't find reloading brass and bullets !! At 20 bucks a box , well it's just not very economical !! I will sell both of these rifles if I am unable to find reloading ammo !!

  • Greg F.

    Have a box of these I purchased by mistake at a gun show. 30 Remington AR 123 GR. MC L30RAR1 if anyone is interested?

    • Drew D.

      I have A freind that recently purchased one that would be interested in them call me at 936-564-5948 THANK YOU

    • Matt Portch

      Would be interesteding in purchasing your ammo if you still have it, willing to pay a fair price and shipping. Matt (portm58@gmail.com) Thanks.

  • Mike M

    I own a Remington AR 30… It's true what the owners are saying, It is a great deer hunting rifle. If you look closely at the blogs here and other sites, most of the bad mouthing comes from non owners. I live in MI and I just got into deer hunting a couple years ago. Already I grow weary of the people I come across in gun shops/gunshows that feel obligated to come off like a jack ass towards me just because my knowlage is not up to par with thier's. I guess gun enthusiest and hunter's are polar opposites, because whenever I'm in the woods hunting and come across another, they are always polite and sportsman… Anyways, I know a gunshop not too far out that stocks this round. I bought 5 boxes last time I was in! Probably due to the fact that the owner owns one too. Also, production has temporarily stopped and will resume in April. that's why all things AR 30 are scarce right now. Owner's hold on to your Beast of a rifle, so it can grow in popularity and excessories. Supply and demand will grow, because it's a solid hunting product and people seem to want what they can't get…

    • LIBSUCK

      They probly haven’t shot very many Deer then . Ive hunted for 47 years . Hunting like Shootin takes Practice and Knowledge . Glad to see you took up the sport . And . GOOD LUCK . By the way . I was born and Raised in Dimondale . And shot Lots of Deer . With , Rifle , Shotgun , Pistol and Bow . Oh , Nice to meet you Mike . Now , Join the NRA if you can

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