30-06 (Korean suplus) Vs 30-06 modern Pressures


December 5, 2012, 10:27 PM
It has been many many years since I did any reloading at all. And with age comes something that is sometimes called C.R.S. (Can't Remember Stuff) , I cannot remember if the surplus 30-06 ammo produces more pressure than say modern Hunting loads. Reason I ask is I acquired 600 +/- rounds of Korean surplus ammo, while I have two M1 Garand's I also have a couple of bolt 30-06 rifles. So if someone does not mind refreshing my feeble mind, which round is safe or safer to shoot from either M1 or bolt rifle.

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December 6, 2012, 02:15 AM
You can fire the Greek Surplus ammo in any bolt action rifle that's in good condition without worries. It is also safe for the M1 but not because of the pressures generated in the ammo but because of the pressure curve produced by the powder used. (reproduced by using 4895) That Greek Surplus ammo was being offered by CMP in M1 Garand clips as well as loose rounds in ammo cans. (only the loose rounds are still in stock)

December 6, 2012, 03:46 AM
Assuming that the ammunition.is still in good condition (NOT always apparent by outward appearance), it should be GTG. for both Garands and bolt actions.
As a general rule, US Government ammunition loaded at that time should be be safe for use in a Garand. Unfortunately, storage conditions can adversely affect how surplus ammunition behaves.
While US military 30-06 ammunition will generally have lower pressures than current production commercial loads, this is not an absolute. Improper storage conditions over the last six decades could have done anything from raising pressures to an unsafe level to rendering it totally inert.
US Army standards generally hold to a useful (safe) lifetime of 20 years for ammunition loaded with double based powders and 40 to 45 years for those loaded with single base powders.
I personally have a fairly large stock of Korean War era .30 Carbine ammunition (loaded with double base powder) and have had no problems with it at all.
Your Korean War surplus 30-06 ammunition is almost certainly loaded with single base powder.

December 6, 2012, 05:24 AM
I shoot both the Korean (headstamp KA) and the Greek (headstamp HXP) through my '03 Springfield (1918) with no problems....pretty accurate stuff.

December 6, 2012, 09:55 AM
Regarding the surplus Korean '06 and commercial hunting '06, a couple things. First, the pressure difference between them is insignificant, assuming the commercial ammo is not labeled as high performance. But, and this is important since you have mentioned Garand useage, you should not use the commercial ammo in your Garands unless the manufacturer states that it is safe for Garands, especially if the ammo has a heavy for caliber bullet. This is not because of the chamber pressure, which the Garand will safely handle and then some, but because of the port pressure which may be too high if the commercial ammo uses a powder with too slow of a burn rate powder. As to the surplus Korean ammo, there are basically two types: PS headstamped which is noncorrosive primed, and KA headstamped which is corrosive primed. I would not recommend shooting corrosive ammo in your Garands as you would have to clean your gas system as well as the bore. Shooting corrosive Korean in your bolt guns would make for much easier cleaning after shooting. Hope that helps.


December 6, 2012, 10:28 AM
You would hope that your Korean ammunition is OK. Given the number of Garands we gave to the Koreans you would also assume that when originally reloaded, the pressures were appropriate for Garands.

I remember the “Blue Sky” Garands that came in from Korea in the 80’s. They were beat to pieces, evidence of firing with rocks in the barrels, etc.

I have picked up fired Korean 30-06 and the brass seemed fine and I reloaded some.

There is one thing you know about surplus ammunition, it was discarded because it was beyond its shelf life. So the stuff is old, you don’t know exactly why it was surplused, because there are a number of criteria for determining shelf life, but it failed at least one.

What you don’t know about the past history of surplus ammunition is a lot more than what you do.

Combustion pressures will rise after high temperature storage.


Frankfort Arsenal 1962

3. Effects of Accelerated Storage Propellant and Primer Performance

To determine the effect of accelerated isothermal storage upon propellant and primer performance, sixty cartridges from each of lots E (WC 846) and G (R 1475) were removed from 150F storage after 26 and 42 weeks, respectively. The bullets were then removed from half the cartridges of each lot and from an equal number of each lot previously stored at 70F. The propellants were then interchanged, the bullets re-inserted, and the cases recrimped. Thus, four variations of stored components were obtained with each lot.

Chamber pressures yielded by ammunition incorporating these four variations were as follows. These values represent averages of 20 firings.


I believe hot storage over extended periods is the reason so many rifles have Kaboomed with Pakistani ammunition.

Incidentally, the Koreans are quite capable of producing good ammunition; due to insufficient industrial capacity in the United States, we are unable to supply the ammunition needs of our Troops in combat. The US military contracted with Korean firms to supply ammunition to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This is all well and good until the Chinese Navy cuts the sea lines.

We never learn, do we?

December 6, 2012, 02:22 PM
Thanks for the info, like I stated my C.R.S. makes me really ill with my self so that's is why I ask here . USSR Not shooting new commercial rounds in my Garand is what I was trying to remember. Guess its time to load my wagon up and start busting caps on about 100 rds then will let grandson clean the guns.

December 6, 2012, 04:46 PM
FYI- Both Federal and Hornady now load ammunition specifically designed for use in the Garand.

December 6, 2012, 05:27 PM
That is some eye opening data on heated propellants, SlamFire1, thanks for posting that.
Some people do not realize that leaving your ammo exposed to sunlight on a bench on a hot day can affect both pressure and accuracy under those circumstances, especially when using temperature sensitive powders like the older IMR line.


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