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

American Rifleman - October 2016

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
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 5
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 6
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 7
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 8
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 9
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 10
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 11
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 12
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 13
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 14
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 15
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 16
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 17
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 18
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 19
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 20
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 21
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 22
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 23
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 24
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 25
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 26
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 27
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 28
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 29
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 30
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 31
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 32
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 33
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 34
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 35
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 36
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 37
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 38
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 39
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 40
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 41
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 42
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 43
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 44
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 45
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 46
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 47
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 48
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 49
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 50
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 51
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 52
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 53
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 54
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 55
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 56
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 57
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 58
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 59
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 60
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 61
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 62
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 63
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 64
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 65
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 66
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 67
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 68
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 69
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 70
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 71
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 72
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 73
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 74
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 75
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 76
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 77
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 78
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 79
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 80
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 81
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 82
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 83
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 84
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 85
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 86
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 87
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 88
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 89
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 90
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 91
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 92
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 93
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 94
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 95
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 96
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 97
American Rifleman - October 2016 - C1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - C2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - E1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - E2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - MW1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - MW2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - S1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - S2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - SW1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - SW2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - W1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - W2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 100
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 101
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 102
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 103
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 104
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 105
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 106
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 107
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 108
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 109
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 110
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 111
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 112
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