.30 Bellm Cartridge and Barrel Test
Bellm’s advertising of the .30 Bellm cartridge states that it has “200 Yard Capability, Incredible Accuracy, a
Rimmed Cartridge for Easier Loading/Unloading on Cold January Mornings.” Following the testing of this cartridge and
barrel, which consisted of ammo provided by Danny Campbell of CNC Cartridge, Macedonia, IL, and a Virgin Valley Custom Guns
13” tapered Encore barrel chambered by Mike Bellm that I purchased off of Ebay, I can whole heartedly affirm Mike Bellm’s
claims regarding this innovative and unique little cartridge.
a bit of history regarding this chambering and the inception of the .30 Bellm: Up until last year, Illinois handgun deer hunting
regulations restrict one 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 any cartridge used for handgun hunting in Illinois must
be available as a commercially loaded round. Since last year, one may use any straight walled cartridge of any length.
leaves one with choices that severely limit the effective range at which one might be assured a successful shot, since most
cartridges meeting these criteria are straight walled revolver cartridges not effective much over 100 yards from conventional
The .30 Bellm advertises a delivery of Solid 200 yard Ballistics in a package that meets the Illinois handgun hunting regulations, with accuracy and performance that one can rely on at distances double and triple what
the straight walled revolver cartridges are capable of.
.30 Bellm is made from strong .444 Marlin brass. Instead of using the .444 Marlin
case full length, the .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."
The .30 Bellm is on the approved list with the Illinois
Fish & Game, and has been grandfathered in as one of only two allowable bottleneck rounds for Illinois handgun
hunting, the other being the less potent 300-221 or 300 Whisper.
can use the 375 Win or the 444 Marlin which are fast running out of steam at the 200 yard mark, yet the .30 Bellm easily goes
this distance with a much flatter trajectory and a great deal less recoil.
terms of performance, I have found the .30 Bellm to meet and exceed the stated performance claims! The .30 Bellm basically
a short and squat .30 Herrett. Velocities are quite similar, with an edge
in performance going to the .30 Bellm.
Here, left to right, are the 44mag, 30 Herrett, and .30 Bellm next to one another. Note how fat the .30 Bellm
is. That short fat powder column is what I attribute to it's accuracy, along with the fact that all .30 bellm barrels are
chambered by Mike Bellm
The 30 Herrett and .30 Bellm top view.
Two proven loads are now commercially available, both of which were extensively tested in my Virgin Valley Custom Guns blued 13” Bellm chambered tapered Encore barrel. I
used this barrel on a Blue Encore frame, one which I did a trigger job on and also installed Bellm springs on, and in
the process of this test I also used a walnut factory pistol grip and forend, the laminate pistol grip and forend in the pics,
and a custom Virgin Valley free floated forend. Also, two different scopes were used, a Burris 3-12 pistol scope and a Tasco Custom Shop Pro-Class 6x
30mm tube 40mm AO target turret pistol scope.
The CNC Factory loads are as follows:
.30 Bellm 130 gr. Soft Point
@ 2250fps & 1459Ft/lb from a 14" barrel.
.30 Bellm 125 gr. Ballistic Tip
@ 2307fps & 1475Ft/lb from a 14" barrel.
two loads and bullets perform admirably on deer sized game and provide excellent trajectory and plenty of energy for 200 yard
After testing in a variety of vamints and ferral canines, I believe that a performance
advantage can be had using the 125Gr. Ballistic Tip load, an advantage in terms of consistant "bang-flop" rifle
like terminal performance. Though the 130 Gr. Jacketed SP certainly performed well, it did not have the explosive
expansion and "bang-flop" of the Ballistic Tip. I believe that the 130 Gr. Jacketed SP loading would be a better
choice when going for game with heavier bone or when quartering shots are anticipated.
Ballistics of the .30 Bellm are the same or better than those delivered by the standard .30/30 Winchester, yet in a small package that meets the Illinois Handgun Hunting requirements.
of the factory CNC ammo in my 13” Shilen Virgin Valley Encore barrel were also quite consistent with factory
published velocities listed above, with a best velocity obtained being 2356 fps with the 125 Gr. load on a 97 degree
day this summer.
own hand loads performed similarly, and I found that I could not best the performance or accuracy of the CNC ammo by any significant
margin. Accuracy was consistently under an inch at 100 yards, with three quarter inch groups being common and consistant half
inch three shot groups when rested, bagged, and using a Burris 3-12 Pistol scope. Scope in the pics is a Tasco Custom Shop
Pro-Class 6x 30mm tube 40mm AO target turret model and achieved the three fourths in groups yet was easier to use in field
conditions than the Burris 3-12x.
cartridge has proven to be very consistant in velocity and accuracy both with factory loads as well as my own handloads, and
I have come to look upon it as a short, squat, handgun benchrest type cartridge. Alliant Reloader 7 appears to be THE
powder for this cartridge. My most accurate loads consisted of 27.5 Gr. of Reloader 7, Brass from Mike Bellm, and a CCI Large
Rifle primer. This load data is FROM MY BARREL & FRAME and for informational purposes only!
Do not use my data: ALWAYS work up loads from 10% below max. Contact Danny Campbell at CNC Machine
for published load data for the .30 Bellm.
Danny Campbell, CNC Cartridge, Macedonia, IL. Phone: (618) 435-2855