by Gil Paust Jr.
The infamous Remington Accelerator cartridge was introduced in 1977 in three different high-powered rifle cartridges: .30-30, .308 and .30-06. Remington seated a .22 caliber bullet inside a .30 caliber sabot, then seated the sabot in the mouth of the cartridge case. It was a great concept that didn’t work particularly well. The intent was to give a hunter a high speed varmint gun without having to go to the expense of buying a dedicated varmint rifle. Essentially, a .30 caliber rifles that fired a .22 bullet up to 4000-foot per second. In other words a .308 Accelerator could boast ballistics comparable to the .22/.250 round.
How it was envisioned to work was as simple as the sea is salt. When fired, the sabot holding the .22 caliber bullet zipped down the barrel and dropped to the ground immediately after exiting the muzzle. Due to the sabot having engraved itself into the rifling, the .22 caliber projectile rotated downrange. In theory. In reality, the .22 caliber bullet wasn’t stabilized and began to tumble after 50 or so yards. Some say the Accelerator was nothing less an abysmal failure. While others claim to have had no problem knocking off jack rabbits on a regular basis.
Another issue, Accelerator sabots, being plastic, left residue in the rifling lands and groove. The final nail in the coffin was histrionic anti-gun zealots who pronounced Accelerator Cartridges as “assassin” bullets. This for the simple reason they did not engrave rifling marks on the .22 caliber bullet, that would otherwise allow forensic experts to study their striae under a stereo microscope in order to trace a bullet to the rifle that fired it. Ultimately Remington yielded to government pressure and stopped making the Accelerators in calibers .308 and .30-06. The ill logic was that .308 and .30-06 could be chambered in “military” semi-auto and fully automatic rifles.
Production of vintage .30-30 Winchester, not considered to be as deadly, and less likely to be used in a violent crime, continued in production.
With all that in mind, and contrary to ignorant internet posts, know the truth, that Accelerator rounds are NOT illegal, Not in any state and not under Federal law. Accelerator cartridges remain available. Albeit supplies are drying up. The sabot (pronounced - sayboh) principle has also been applied to .30 calibre loads in .50 Browning rifles and M2 belt-fed machineguns. Moreover, reloaders can fashion loads using .30 cal sabots from EABCO, Know sabots tend to shoot high. So hold low.
|30-06 Springfield||.308 Winchester||.30-30 Wincester|
|55 grain||55 grain||55 grain|
|Pointed Soft Point||Pointed Soft Point||Pointed Soft Point|
|4080 fps||3400 fps|