I do have some concerns. First and foremost, will I be able to simply swap an upper for the cartridge onto my current lower or will it require a whole new rifle? Second, will it be difficult to find magazines that will work with the cartridge? I would rather not complicate the magazine situation and ideally I'd like to use 5.56 magazines. Last, and these are all critical concerns, how available will brass for the cartridge be? If you can't get brass the whole point is moot. Of course there are other concerns, such as with appropriate bullets, ballistic performance, appropriate powders and primers, and so forth, but most problems with such concerns can be overcome or adaptations made.
Some background on the cartridge is called for here. Remington's engineers started with the .450 Bushmaster case, a joint project between Hornady and Bushmaster. The magazine depth (front to back) is the limiting factor in cartridge overall length (COL). A .30 cal bullet of usable weight being longer than the .458" bullet, the case had to be shortened from the original length of 1.700" to 1.530". The case head is the same size as the .308 Winchester. Due to the increased pressures of the .30 AR over the .450 Bushmaster Remington engineers used an AR-10 bolt head. Clearly, this is one change that might affect other things in the system. However, Remington increased the RIM diameter to .492". This was to prevent use of the .30 AR cartridge with a .450 Bushmaster bolt head which is considered to fragile to contain the much higher pressures of the .30 AR cartridge. With a case head of .500" we have a short REBATED rim case. Remington has this to say about their new cartridge.
Now for the first time, Remington® brings you 30 caliber hunting performance in a lightweight R-15 modular repeating rifle. Our new 30 Remington® AR cartridge produces big-game-dropping ballistics similar to the venerable 308 Win. with pressures perfectly suited to our lightweight R-15 platform. Comparable terminal power was once only available in the heavier AR-10 platform.
This cartridge is the ultimate synergy of our ammunition and firearms expertise, as its development forever changes the shape of both categories, creating a revolutionary new big-game hunting system. Our lightweight R-15 platform – its minimal recoil, rapid follow-ups, easy maintenance and inherent accuracy – chambered for a cartridge that will put down deer-sized game with gusto. This year’s offerings include the most trusted big-game bullet of all time, Core-Lokt, the pinnacle of polymer-tipped accuracy, AccuTip and an economical UMC loading. As a cartridge, the 30 Remington AR breaks new ground. In conjunction with our R-15 modular repeating rifle, it marks the beginning of a new era in the deer woods of North America.
|.308 Win, .30 Rem AR and 5.56mm NATO compared|
Is the upper installation a simple swap? The answer is yes! That is a big relief as this greatly reduces the cost of getting into the cartridge. Unfortunately it still isn't "cheap" in this regard with the least expensive upper asking $737.00 plus shipping for an A3 style flattop upper. I would personally prefer an A4 type upper.
Are magazines available? One of the concerns is that capacity is severely reduced being about 40% of that of AR-15 magazines. I.e. a 4 round mag is reported to be about the same size as the 10 round 5.56mm magazine. Well come to find out that one simply uses the 5.56 magazines and just as with the WSSM cartridges, 4 rounds will go in a 10 round mag. This means that the magazines simply don't have the capacity to make the rifle useful for tactical applications. That is a possible secondary use for me. I have read that the magazines for the WSSM cartridges must be slightly modified but I can find no reference to such requirement for .30 Remington AR usage.
- .30 Remington AR by Layne Simpson