[pagebreak] Through the Years
If we search American cartridge catalogs back before 1890, we discover a dismal paucity of .30-caliber rounds: a couple of rimfire pistol calibers and a .30-30 Wesson (no kin to the .30-30 WCF), all long forgotten. Americans' taste in calibers was either for smaller bores, such as the .25s, or for .32s and larger. However, when Springfield Armory began experimenting with a new cartridge in 1889 (a consequence of France's 8mm Lebel, the first smokeless powder military cartridge), it hit on the .30-caliber.hen the chief of ordnance requested the commanding officer at Springfield to explain his choice, the C.O. reported it was completely arbitrary and, in his words, "not from any special principle involved," just an "even" number to work with. Thus, simply for the convenience of tool makers at Springfield Armory, the .30 was destined to become the all-American caliber-which, when you think about it, makes more sense than whatever impulse may have been the justification for several other calibers.