We don't classify the .30-40 Krag as a small
bore cartridge today, but when the U.S. government dropped the
1892 and adopted the .30-40 it is easy to see why "it" was once considered
a small caliber. As is usually the case with U.S. military cartridges, the
.30-40 enjoyed a great deal of popularity as a big game cartridge long after
it had been replaced with the .30-03 in 1903. And for good reason; ballistically,
the .30-40 Krag and later the .300 Savage are practically identical. Of course,
the availability of war surplus Krag-Jorgensen rifles to civilian shooters
for $1.50 didn't hurt the .30-40's popularity either.
A number of sporting rifles were once available in the .30-40 caliber, including the Winchester Model 1895 lever action, Winchester Model 1885 single shot, Remington-Lee bolt action, and the Remington rolling block single shot. The only modern rifle chambered in .30-40 Krag is the Ruger No. 3 single shot which was available in this caliber during the 1970's.
One seldom sees a big game hunter toting a .30-40 Krag in the woods these days but that has nothing to do with its performance. Even today the old cartridge will hold its own with a number of modern day wonders and even is superior to some. A 150 grain bullet at 2500 fps is strong deer medicine and a 180 grain bullet at about 2300 fps would be fine for elk and moose out to 150 yards or so. A number of propellants work fine in the .30-40 Krag with H414, H380, H4895, IMR-4320, and W-760 leading the pack.
Source: Hodgdon Data Manual, 26th Edition
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