Illinois handgun deer hunting regulations restrict you to a cartridge case not over 1.4" long, 30 cal. or larger, and producing at least 500 ft/lbs of energy at the muzzle according to manufacturer's specifications, meaning it must be available as a commercial round. This leaves you with choices that severely limit the effective range at which you might be assured a successful shot, since most cartridges meeting these criteria are straight walled revolver cartridges not effective much over 100 yards and that is pushing it.
.30 Bellm Delivers Solid 200 yard Ballistics You Can Rely On At Distances About Twice What You Are Now Limited To.
The .30 Bellm, not to be confused with the .308 Bellm, is like its big brother also made from strong .444 Marlin brass. But instead of using the .444 Marlin case full length, .30 Bellm is simply a .444 Marlin case necked down to .30 cal with a 40 degree shoulder at a maximum length of 1.400."
In terms of performance, think of the .30 Bellm as the chubby little sister to the .30 Herrett. Velocities are quite similar, so checking ballistics charts for .30 Herrett or .30/30 WCF will quickly reveal the drop figures and energy levels you are interested in knowing about.
Two proven loads are now commercially available.
These two bullets perform great on deer and give you a good trajectory and plenty of energy for 200 yard shots.
Ballistics are the same or better than delivered by the standard .30/30, but in a small package that meets Illinois requirements.
At this writing the 3 original prototype barrels have been used for deer during the past 2 seasons and have collected deer up to 168 yards quite reliably. Two more barrels were shipped recently bringing the total up to 7 now in use, so you can see this is something new and this is your opportunity to get in on the ground floor and be ready for those long shots come January, 2002.
.30 Bellm is now on the approved list with the Illinois Fish & Game.
Commercial Ammunition is available from:
CNC Cartridge, Macedonia, IL. Phone: (618) 435-2855
New Custom Contender barrels (and complete guns) are available in 10 to 15" lengths from CNC Cartridge.
Supplies of stock barrels will be limited, so I suggest you contact me, Mike Bellm, to get on the waiting list for stock barrels now in process. Delivery of barrels and ammo will be primarily through CNC Cartridge.
I will also take your order for a custom Contender or Encore barrel made by Virgin Valley, chambered by me to .30 Bellm.
Rechambering To .30 Bellm
Any 10" bull or longer Contender barrel, factory or custom, currently chambered for .32-20, 32 H&R Mag., .30 Carbine, or .300 Whisper and having the stronger "stepped" barrel lug (as opposed to the early flat bottom barrel lugs) can be rechambered to .30 Bellm.
If you already have a .300 Whisper, its chamber is 1.4" long, and thus when I rechamber it, no change will be made to the existing throat. So if the throat is misaligned and it does not shoot well as a .300 Whisper, my chamber work will not likely help its accuracy. .30 Bellm will up the performance of your .300 Whisper barrel and give you a decent sized case with a rim on it that is much easier to handle in cold weather..... no more fighting that spring loaded extractor.
CH .30 Bellm loading dies are now in stock, both from me and from CNC Cartridge.
Formed, ready to load brass is available from me or from CNC Cartridge.
The following was posted on Graybeard Outdoors 6/1/01 and explains a little more about the .30 Bellm
The figures quoted are from rechambered 14" TC factory barrels, originally 32-20, .32 H&R Mag, and one .300 Whisper.
None of us have chronographed any loads from a 10" barrel as yet, though I do have a 10" here I am keeping as a "standard." When I get half a chance, I will chronograph some rounds through it..... but again, basically I expect to see nothing substantially different than what a .30 Herrett does in a 10" barrel.
BTW, un-tapered 10" barrels in .30 Bellm have a good feel to them, and I much prefer them over the tapered 10" factory barrels.
If you have a .30/30 barrel it does not lend itself to rechambering to the short .30 Bellm. Gotta start with a short factory chamber, one no longer than 1.4" (.300 Whisper for example), or start from complete custom.
Again, think of the .30 Bellm 1.4" as a short squatty .30/30 or .30 Herrett made from stronger brass. The .308 Bellm, on the other hand uses the full length .444 Marlin case and takes off where the .30/30 level stops.
.30 Bellm 1.4" lets you easily take those 200 yard shots you may have been passing up while armed with a .44 Mag.
Danny Campbell, owner of CNC Cartridge, was ranting again today about how accurate the cartridge is, but I had to pull him up short a little and point out that most any cartridge is accurate if properly chambered.
Like I explained to him, I am dialing the bores in usually to less than .001" runout when factory chambers commonly have .015 to .020" runout.
I am lathe boring the barrel true before going in with reamers.
Rim counterbores are bored separately and squarely to the bore.
Throats are cut separately, to minimum diameter, not overly long, and aligned with the bore. You may think all throats are aligned with the bore, but you are badly mistaken! Then again, most people don't even think about it.
Brass is neck reamed in a precision neck ream die I made. Necks and bodies are square, necks are almost as good as neck turned, and are reamed inline with the case body.
And to date, all ammo fired in Illinois has been loaded commercially by CNC Cartridge. So we are not talking about someone's special hand loads. This ammo is cranked out on Dillon 1050s in brass I provide.
Danny has done a lot of long range shooting with the cartridge, including shooting it on his prairie dog trips. Ie, talk to the man who has shot it extensively at long range. He was slow to warm up to the project, but after the first trip out with his barrel, it was pretty much a done deal.
Formed and reamed brass is $20 per box of 20. Loaded ammo is $39.95 per box. Reloaded using your brass, it is $19.95 per box.
That $39.95 box of ammo with "manufacturer's specifications" is your ticket to shoot your deer out to 200 yards instead of 100 if you are lucky.
The CH custom dies are $60.
Remember that any step lug Contender 10" round bull barrel, or longer, in .32 H&R Mag, .30 Carbine, .32-20, .300 Whisper, or similar chambers no longer than 1.4" can be rechambered to .30 Bellm and shot right away using CNC commercial ammo.
You do not have to be a reloader to have the best handgun cartridge going in Contenders for the Illinois handgun deer season. Just let me know if you shoot the Encore, and we can talk about having a barrel made.