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I am new to firearms and was wondering about ammunition specifications. What does the .22 stand for or 30-30? What kind of other measurements and numbers should I expect when purchasing various ammunition and what would those be referring to? Thanks
 

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specs

In the black powder days, cartridges were hyphenated, 44-40 (44 caliber with 40 grains of black powder), 32-20 (32 caliber with 20 grains of black powder).

It gave people a reasonable understanding of the power and chambering of the ammo.

The caliber was an approximation much as it is today. 44-40 was actually a .427 caliber. .38 spl is actually .357, .44 mag is actually .429.

During the transitional years (end of 19th century) when smokeless powders were coming into vogue manufacturers still used similar naming schemes. .30-30 was never a black powder cartridge but people "Understood" the relative power of 30 grains of black powder.

It can be a very confusing pile of information that long time shooters and reloaders have memorized. Generally the caliber is expressed as either land or groove diameter (groove diameter is usually about 1 thousanth of an inch larger) .223 actually uses a .224 bullet. .45 ACP uses a .451 bullet. .357 mag uses a .358 bullet

Get a loading manual and look at the specs for the cartridges. Start memorizing (there will be a test on this material at a later date).
 

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.30-30 was never a black powder cartridge but people "Understood" the relative power of 30 grains of black powder.
Actually, that is a popular misconception. The term 30-30 was coined by Marlin Arms who didn't want to use their competitor's name on their guns (30-30 = "30 Winchester Center Fire" or "30 WCF"). The -30 stands for the standard load of 30 grains of early smokeless powder, which was on par with IMR/DuPont's 3031.
 

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Then there's God's Own Rifle Cartridge, the 30-06.

A thirty caliber round, "30," adopted in 1906, "06."

Approved by TR himself. Too bad we don't have him today....
 
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