American Rifleman - October 2016 - 22

READERS WRITE HISTORICAL The biggest advancement in precise, aimed fire before the American Civil War wasn't made to the rifle itself-it was made to the bullet. Ever heard of the Minié ball? Historical Perspective I BY MARTIN PEGLER y the early 19th century, the longarms being offered to the discerning civilian shooter had improved beyond all recognition compared to those then in military service. In Europe and America, the smoothbore flintlock musket had remained the preeminent longarm for several reasons. Firstly, and most obviously, was that of cost. Over many decades they had been issued in colossal numbers, and to replace them with more modern types was financially prohibitive for most governments. Secondly, while the rifled barrel was becoming far more affordable, it was still primarily the preserve of the sporting shooter, with little interest being shown by the military. After all, linear warfare was still the preferred method of fighting, and of what use was an expensive-to-produce rifled arm when speed of loading was still of greater importance than accuracy? Besides, actually teaching the common soldier to shoot properly would imply that he possessed a level of intelligence that was clearly unlikely. The regular soldier existed to carry loads, obey orders and, above all, not think for himself. Nevertheless, despite the military's requirements, technology marched inexorably forward, and within the commercial gun trade, firearm design and function continued to improve. By the late 1820s, percussion, or caplock, ignition was being widely adopted. Not only did it markedly improve the speed of loading, it no longer created a blinding, flinch-inducing flash just in front of the shooter's face. Of greater significance was that, for the first time, a caplock longarm could be carried loaded and primed almost indefinitely without moisture entering the priming pan, which could, and often did, render the main charge useless when it was most needed. Eventually, these advances could no longer be ignored by even the most obdurate ordnance boards, and percussion rifles began to gradually appear in arsenals across Europe. However, what was to eventually revolutionize warfare was not so much the method of igniting a musket, but the bullet that it fired. As so often happens, two near-parallel inventions by different men, expatriate German Henri-Gustave Delvigne (1799-1876) and Frenchman Louis-Etienné de Thouvenin (1789-1882), paved the way for the perfection of a new form of projectile that was to revolutionize the art of accurate shooting. Delvigne invented a system whereby the breech plug of the firearm was slightly smaller than the internal diameter of the bore, creating a narrow lip. When seated (with two or three hard blows), the bullet skirt deformed on the lip, causing it to grip the bore of the musket. He later improved the process by introducing a hollow-based conical bullet (a type already in production in England as a result of experimental work by Capt. John Norton and gunmaker William Greener) and, in an attempt to prevent undue deformation, Delvigne placed a wooden sabot in its base. just received the latest issue and was immediately thrilled with what I had to read. I was pleased to learn of the new Colt Commander, but most importantly, I enjoyed "Sniping: The Quest For Accuracy" (August 2016, p. 56) by Martin Pegler. It was refreshing to see a writer talk about precision shooting from the perspective of the cartridge-and an historical perspective, at that. Also, I loved Garry James' short "I Have This Old Gun" piece on the Lee-Speed, and I've been reading and watching Garry James ("Tales of the Gun") since high school. And, just as many people refer to John Browning as the Leonardo da Vinci of firearms, I, for one, consider James to be one of the da Vincis of firearm history (along with National Firearms Museum Curator Doug Wicklund). I first discovered the Lee-Speed in my favorite hunting memoir: The ManEaters of Tsavo. The author, Lt. Col. John Patterson, DSO, killed two vicious lions with this gun-a true testament to the rifle and the .303 British cartridge. Thank you for this issue. Keep up the good work. MICHAEL G. WILLIAMS, VIA EMAIL "Comrades" by Robert Gibb depicts men of the Black Watch 42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment of Foot during the Crimean War, a war in which the British employed the increased range and accuracy of the Pattern 1851 rifle-musket. 56 In Praise Of The .222 Rem. AUGUST 2016 AMERICAN RIFLEMAN AMERIC "Comrades" courtesy of the Black Watch Museum, blackwatch.co.uk The Enfield Pattern 1851 rifle-musket-as used by the British during the Crimean War (l.)-combined rapidity of loading and longrange accuracy. It was soon followed by the Pattern 1853 (above.) Rifle courtesy of the National Firearms Museum AMERICANRIFLEMAN.ORG AUGUST 2016 AMMUNITION .222 Remington Story The Though overshadowed by the .223 Rem., the .222 Rem. is a real performer that many shooters know little about-yet, for four decades, it held the record for the smallest five-shot group fired at a 100-yd. registered benchrest match. BY LAYNE SIMPSON I just read Layne Simpson's article "The .222 Remington Story" (August 2016, p. 60) about that venerable cartridge, and must say that, although I am 73 years old, I have never seen a better report on it. My first rifle was a Remington 700 ADL in .222 Rem. It was a transition gun that was fitted with a 722 24" barrel from the factory. I scoped it with a Bushnell 2.5-8X and went shooting. The accuracy was astounding with 50-gr. Remington softpoints, so I took it varmint hunting. My first trip yielded 39 groundhogs for 40 shots at ranges out to 300 yds. I shot the barrel out (about 1,000 rounds), and had it replaced with a Sako sporter barrel. Now this RemSak shoots sub-1/4" groups with factory 50-gr. hollow points. Eventually I started reloading and stopped at two loads with Sierra's 53-gr. hollow-point that produced around 2900 f.p.s., and I could no longer read the groups with the 8X scope, which was replaced with a Unertl 1¼" 14X Target. I went to work for Pete Dickey at Firearms Int'l and had access to Sako rifles and barrels. I had an L46 and L461 in .222 Rem. and scoped them with Unertl 2" 15X Ultra-Varminters. The .222 Rem. cartridge became the benchmark for all others I have used. So far none have come close to the consistent accuracy of old "triple 2." Thanks for the well-written, enjoyable article. It brought back some great memories. PETER VALENTINE, VIA EMAIL he .222 Rem. cartridge, designed by Mike Walker of Remington, was introduced in 1950 in that company's Model 722 rifle. The gun was only a couple of years old at the time, and it would soon be joined by others chambering the new cartridge. Sako, which began exporting its L46 rifle to the United States in 1949, added the .222 shortly after the gun's introduction. My early example in .218 Bee has the thin barrel typical for those rifles, but my 1952-vintage .222 has the optional heavy barrel for that caliber. Other rifles of both foreign and domestic manufacture followed, and finding an accurate one was not difficult. Among those I have shot through the years, Remington's Models 722, 700, 600, 788 and 40X ranked highly in accuracy, as did several Sako L46 and L461 rifles. The Marlin 322 built on the Sako L46 action was quite nice, but accuracy was short-lived because of accelerated The author's 1952-production Sako L46, chambered in .222 Rem. and topped with a Weaver K12 scope, is still accurate more than six decades after it was made. 60 AUGUST 2016 AMERICAN RIFLEMAN Photos by author AMERICANRIFLEMAN.ORG AUGUST 2016 Pete Dickey was also technical editor of American Rifleman from 1977 to 1994. -THE EDS. Model: CM9093 * 3.0" Barrel * 9 mm Shown with optional grip and magazine accessories www.kahr.com "Readers Write" affords members an opportunity to comment on material published in American Rifleman. Single-topic letters are preferred and may be edited for brevity. Send letters to: Readers Write, NRA Publications, 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, VA 22030-9400 or e-mail us at publications@nrahq.org. OCTOBER 2016 57 AMERICAN RIFLEMAN 61 http://blackwatch.co.uk http://www.AMERICANRIFLEMAN.ORG http://www.AMERICANRIFLEMAN.ORG http://www.kahr.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - October 2016

Contents
American Rifleman - October 2016 - Cover1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - Cover2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - Contents
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 3
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 4
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American Rifleman - October 2016 - C1
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American Rifleman - October 2016 - E1
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American Rifleman - October 2016 - MW1
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American Rifleman - October 2016 - S1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - S2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - SW1
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American Rifleman - October 2016 - W1
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