Ammo Review: Speer Gold Dot .30 Carbine

If only the Marines has Speer Gold Dot .30 Carbine ammunition in 1942…

We tested the Speer Gold Dot .30 Carbine load in a 1945 vintage National Postal Meter M1 Carbine

We tested the Speer Gold Dot .30 Carbine load in a 1945 vintage National Postal Meter M1 Carbine

In one of those enduring “after the fact” armchair debates, pundits both praise and condemn the performance M1 Carbine with standard .30 Carbine ball ammunition. While the rifle was handy to carry at about 6 pounds, and the operator could carry large amounts of smaller and lighter .30 carbine ammunition, reports persist of the rounds inability to stop charging enemy soldiers. The common element seems to related to multiple through and through hits of the small diameter, 2,000 foot per second projectile not providing enough “stopping power.”

Do these stories have merit? I don’t know as I wasn’t there. What I do know is that during our ammo review, the new Gold Dot rounds in .30 Carbine demonstrated astounding performance. That old M1 Carbine is now a very viable option for home defense or perhaps a car trunk gun.

Ammo Review: Speer Gold Dot .30 Carbine ammo performance

This particular loading of Speer Gold Dot projectiles appears to be more of a soft point design than a traditional hollow point design. The projectile is a 100 grain bonded bullet loaded to achieve 1,990 feet per second out of an 18 inch barrel. If all goes to plan, this would yield just about 967 foot pounds of energy measured at the muzzle.

We elected to test this load out of a National Postal Meter M1 Carbine originally manufactured in 1945. This particular M1 Carbine has been fitted somewhere along the way with an IBM manufactured barrel. Clearly it’s the ultimate in tactical office equipment! Even though it does not print stamps, we find it immensely practical for home use. It’s light, handy, and features a 15 round box magazine. And it’s more fun to shoot than most .22′s. If you don’t have an M1 Carbine, run, don’t walk, to your nearest dealer or gun show and get one. You’ll love it. And, it makes a great gun for younger shooters. It’s easy to handle and has minimal recoil. The iron peep sights are plenty accurate out to a couple hundred yards.

The Speer Gold Dot .30 Carbine ammo is a soft point design that expands beautifully

The Speer Gold Dot .30 Carbine ammo is a soft point design that expands beautifully

Function was flawless – as expected. We’ve found this M1 Carbine to be very forgiving in terms of reliability. It’s short-piston, gas operated semi-auto that runs clean and cool – much like the M1 Garand. The Speer Gold Dot .30 Carbine load is premium ammunition, and had no issues running consistently from this old battle rifle.

But what about accuracy? I had no intentions of even trying to gauge the inherent accuracy of a modern load like the Speer Gold Dot .30 Carbine out of a 67 year old battle rifle. What we did try was the clay pigeon 100 yard challenge. No worries there. The combination of M1 Carbine and Speer Gold Dot .30 Carbine load was up to the task of consistent hits all the way on those four inch targets up to the limits of our 100 yard outdoor range.

We did test velocity to see how it compared with the claimed 1,990 feet per second figure. With our Shooting Chrony Beta Master placed 15 feet from the muzzle, we measured an average of 2,088 feet per second with most recorded shots hitting the 2,100 feet per second mark. Impressive. And we always like to see products outperform their advertised claims.

At this velocity you can configure your rifle with the Gold Dot load to be very flat shooting from 0 to 100 yards. If you zero your sights at 25 yards, the bullet will be about 1 inch high between 50 and 75 yards, and will settle back to just under 1/2 inch high at 100 yards. So, for a target between 0 and maybe 150 yards, just aim dead on and your results will be close enough for government work.

Fun and games with old body armor

Speer Gold Dot 20 Carbine kevlar expansion.JPG

All of these Speer Gold Dot .30 Carbine rounds expanded AFTER passing through an old Kevlar vest

A new acquaintance from my recent outing to the Shooting Industry Masters heard about my obsession with testing ammunition through all sorts of tough barriers. After offering to refer me to a psychiatrist friend, he gave me an old, expired Kevlar vest to play with. How do you spell “FUN” when it comes to ammunition testing? K-E-V-L-A-R. That’s how.

Even though this vest was technically expired, it was still plenty effective. To verify that, we shot it with a Speer Gold Dot .357 Sig round from a Glock 31. The vest stopped this round cold. Even more entertaining was watching the energy dump effect of a 1,404 foot per second, 125 grain projectile stopping against the vest in about 2 inches of travel. The vest literally flew off the wet pack target backing and landed about 10 feet away. Wow. While the wearer would certainly be protected from bullet penetration, it sure would leave a mark!

Back to the Speer Gold Dot .30 Carbine round performance.

Just for fun, and not for any particularly practical reason, we placed the Kevlar vest over a trashcan full of wet pack. We figured it would be interesting to see how the projectile performed against a really tough barrier. Wet pack is a fancy description for pile of thoroughly soaked, and bordering on mildewy, newspaper. Wet pack DOES NOT smell attractive after a day or so of soaking. We then proceeded to shoot the Speer Gold Dot .30 Carbine ammo through the vest and into the wet pack.

Results?

Like virtually any rifle round, the .30 Carbine passed through the vest. We were less interested in the penetration, which is a given with a rifle round, and more interested in expansion performance after passing through a tough barrier. We measured the expanded bullets and found that most of them doubled in diameter, with some measuring .61 inches across. Now that’s expansion performance!

Closing arguments

Our only regret with this evaluation is that we did not have a .30 Carbine handgun to test. We’ll work on getting our hands on a Ruger Blackhawk chambered in .30 Carbine and post an update. That would be fun.

In summary, this round is impressive. It brings a whole slew of usefulness to that .30 Carbine you might have sitting in the closet. Home, car, or whatever. These rounds performed exceptionally well.

Our Rating

4 Nuns Four Nuns! We were shocked, in a good way, with this load. Full expansion after passing through a Kevlar barrier? Wow. This ammo gets our highest review score!

 

Comments

  1. Methinks that cute and cuddly civilian clone M1 carbine in my safe should join me on some hog hunting. More than enough for Edwards Plateau white tails and perhaps even axis.

  2. Very comprehensive ammo review. Thank you. I am looking forward to the handgun update, here’s hoping they can reduce the ball of fire muzzle flash. Gold Dot comes through again, I trust them in any caliber handgun and now add a carbine.

    • Thanks – we were actually just playing around with the whole Kevlar thing and were quite surprised by the results. I’m a big fan of Gold Dot projectiles as well. We have about a dozen different ammo reviews coming up with Gold Dots and the Winchester PDX1 lines – both bonded hollow point designs, so stay tuned!

  3. The 30 M1 Carbine has more energy at 100 yards than a 357 at the muzzle, and no one said the 357 was a slouch. The wives tales of the M1 carbine not being able to stop the bad guys was after the issue of the M2 full automatic in Korea. You didn’t hear any one complain about it before then.Watch the intro to Heartbreak Ridge and you will see two grunts hosing down the sky, not using their sights and firing on full rock & roll. I read a DOD report once stating the poor M2 Carbine performance as measured by 1200 to 2000 rounds to one casualty. Can’t kill them if you don’t hit them. Check out your M1 Carbine with jacketed soft point and hollow point. Use good magazines and I think you will have a premium stopper for yourself, wife or juvenile. Guys, please stop saying “I heard someone who heard someone say they overheard his dog saying about the M1 carbine and then overheard an old woman she thought someone once said the Carbine was a poor stopper. Either have experience or please don’t cloud the issue with ignorance and wives tales.We are interested in the truth, not hearsay and misinformation.

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  1. [...] about round. The Box O' Truth #36 – Frozen Clothing And The Box O' Truth – Page 1 Read here Ammo Review: Speer Gold Dot .30 Carbine personal defense ammunition, where it defeated body armor. I seriously doubt the "lack of penetration" stories. [...]

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