The 7-30 Waters cartridge was originally a wildcat cartridge developed by author Ken Waters in 1976 to give better performance to lever action rifle shooters than the parent .30-30 Winchester cartridge, by providing a higher velocity and flatter trajectory with a smaller, lighter bullet. By 1984, Winchester introduced a Model 94 rifle chambered for the 7-30 Waters, establishing it as a commercial cartridge. In 1986, Thompson/Center began chambering 10", 14" and 20" Contender barrels for the cartridge.
Federal Cartridge offers manufactured 7-30 Waters cartridges—the Federal Premium Vital-Shok firing a 120 grain (7.78 g) Sierra GameKing boat-tail soft point flat-nose bullet at 2700 fps with 1940 ft-lbs of energy. It has a sectional density of 0.213. Hornady Manufacturing Company does not offer 7-30 Waters LEVERevolution ammunition which would allow the safe use of pointed, ballistically efficient spitzer bullets in tubular magazines.