Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Practical Dope On The .22 - By Fred C. Ness : or : This book has me sold on a Winchester 54 in .220 Swift!

 This next book review is going to cover a sort of obsolete and  not so obsolete topic of .22 varmint rifles and calibers. "Practical Dope on the .22" By Ness is a roughly 300 page volume originally printed in 1947 covering everything .22 caliber that was around at the time. Both Centerfire and Rimfire cartridges are covered here including but not limited to .22 short, .22 Hornet &  K Hornet, 2-R Lovell, .219 Zipper, .22 Savage HP as well as the .218 Bee. 

This book is a MUST read for anybody interested in early cartridge design and performance. The .220 Swift (which was only 12 years old when the book was published) is given rave reviews and some vivid accounts on its performance on larger game. Now, as it happens with most of these type of books the load data & components are LONG gone to us today. The book however shows the early struggles and solutions that the author and friends came up with to squeak every bit of velocity, accuracy and in the end performance out of their various cartridges of choice. The discussion on ballistics is intriguing and though all of it is still relevant today where applicable we have access to a good many more chamberings, bullets and powders that can take a lot of the work out of vying for that accuracy our predecessors worked so hard for. One thing that caught my attention was that Ness and company used graphite wads with their loads, these wads sometimes weighed as much as 55gr as reported in the book supposedly to reduce throat wear and fouling. I myself would not rush out to try it but if it worked for them they were on to something I guess but it died out as its not a practice we have today obviously. 

I highly recommend this book to those who have a any rifle in .220 Swift especially a Winchester 54 or a pet .22 hornet or K hornet they wish to read more in depth on than just the few pages offered in a reloading manual or a back issue of  "Hand-loader". The book is very thorough on all relevant aspects of precision .22 caliber varmint shooting that was taking place in the late 40' not expect to learn anything about your .223 Remington (invented in the 60's) or .223 WSSM (early 2000's) obviously. This book is purely for the Varmint/Target shooter of yesteryear in equipment as well as in heart.  I borrowed a copy from my local library through their inter library loan program as a copy was not available at my branch. An interesting note, Wolfe publications did the reprint of 1500 copies of this book my library has copy 311/1500 and the publication notation shows it was printed in 1989.  

"Practical Dope" is a great reference for everything .22 that was available in the late 40's. To the left and right.....future book reviews!

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