Cal 22 for Light Rifle, 7.62 MM Case


#1

Hello,

At an auction I picked up a cartridge that was described as “22 NATO US Experimental, 7.62mm necked to .22” (actually, it was my first auction and the lots I wanted went too high, and I did not want to go home empty handed, so this one was within my budget).

The cartridge is headstamped WCC (at 12 o’clock) and 53 (at 6 o’clock). It has a brass primer that is ringed in. The case is brass, bottlenecked, rimless, and apart from the neck diameter and shoulder, is same as a 7.62x51 case. (I know a picture of it is great, but sorry but I have not worked out the photbucket image thing yet).

The bullet appears to be an GM FMJ and attracts a magnet. I suspect it has steel core rather than a steel jacket becasue the magnetic pull is almost non-existent at the tip of the bullet. The bullet has a knurled cannelure at the case mouth. Some of the dimensions of it I measured are:
Bullet Diam approx. 5.66mm/0.233".
Cartridge OAL approx. 67.11mm/2.64".
Case Length approx. 51.64mm/2.033".

Does this sound like a 22 NATO experimental? Could someone please tell me a little about these cartridges or direct me to a reference or two? I was reading on Tony Williams’ website an article about assault rifles and their ammunition. In the article he writes “American experiments were made in the late 1950s of smaller calibres, such as .22/30 NATO, the .25” Winchester (6.35x48), the .25/30 NATO (6.35x51) and the .27 NATO (6.85x51), but these led to nothing." Would the 22/30 NATO be referring to one of these 22 NATO Experimentals?

Thanks for any info.
Ian.


#2


Hi Ian welcome
I too am trying to figure out photobucket,
This is what it should look like, I do not know the story on it though.
Its a great caliber, I made a rifle in it called the 22/243, great for ultra long range.


#3

And only as a side note, its not the first time it was done.
The first time that I am aware of, was with the 22 Krag in about 1892.

at.


#4

Ian

The cartridge that you have is the Cal 22 for Light Rifle, 7.62 MM Case. It has a 54 grain steel core bullet that is a homologue of the Cal .30 M2 bullet. It was part of the experimental Small Caliber High Velocity (SCHV) project during the 1950s.

Other 22 calibers in the series using that same case are one with a 50 grain lead core bullet (M2 homologue) and a 68 grain lead core bullet (M1 homologue). The latter was part of the SALVO I trials. (2nd from right in photo) There were similar cartridges in other calibers ranging from .18 to .27.

It is not technically correct to refer to your cartridge as a 22 NATO ( or the other calibers either) because the NATO cartridge did not exist until late 1954, and none of the experimentals were ever adopted by NATO. But, many collectors do call it that and it has become accepted by many as the name (not me). Likewise, reference to the case length in mm (51mm) is not technically correct, at least not in the US.

A good collectable cartridge. Not rare, better to say that it is not common.

Ray


#5

I have in hand at the moment a cartridge which is a .30/06 Dominion brass at 2.575", loaded with a .257 caliber bullet, with an COAL of 2.915. Could this be one of these types? I don’t know what to call this wildcat.


#6

Joe

It’s more likely a 25-06 or the earlier wildcat 25 Niedner. I’d have to see the cartridge to tell positively. There were also several wildcats of the wildcat 25 Niedner. Does it look like any of these?

Ray


#7

Thanks for the info and pictures Ray!! It appears to be the .25-06 Ackley improved.


#8

Joe

An Ackley cartridge is always a good wildcat to have in a collection. I’ve been known to collect a few of them myself.

Ray


#9

Thanks everyone for responding to my enquriy. Stevesummers, thanks for posting those images. My cartridge looks like yours but it does not have a red pr seal (although traces of what looks like red seal can be seen when a handlens is used) and mine does not have a crimp at the case mouth. I do not know if that is a concern or not. Ray, thanks for the info. I shall amend my notes and refer to it as the Cal 22 for Light Rifle, 7.62 MM Case. Thanks.


#10

[quote=“RayMeketa”]Ian

The cartridge that you have is the Cal 22 for Light Rifle, 7.62 MM Case. It has a 54 grain steel core bullet that is a homologue of the Cal .30 M2 bullet. It was part of the experimental Small Caliber High Velocity (SCHV) project during the 1950s.

Other 22 calibers in the series using that same case are one with a 50 grain lead core bullet (M2 homologue) and a 68 grain lead core bullet (M1 homologue). The latter was part of the SALVO I trials. (2nd from right in photo) There were similar cartridges in other calibers ranging from .18 to .27.
[/quote]
Hi Ray
Why the steel core bullet (54 grain) is it heavier than the lead core bullet (50 grain) if both bullet are M2 homomlogue ?

Michel


#11

Steve Summers - regarding the .22 Krag, there is a small entry in the Army Ordnance Reports of 1896, on page 89 and 90. “Instructions were received from the Chief of Ordnance, dated Janaury 4, 1895, directing that 250 cartridge shells and bullets, caliber .22, and 50 additional bullets be manufactured at this arsenal (JLM note: This is part of a report from Frankford Arsenal) after a design prepared at the Springfield Armory for testing an experimental rifle of that caliber.”

I don’t know if these are the components that were used to make your cartidge or not, but Plate 5 of that section shows a drawing, with measurements. for the “Cartridge and Chamber for 0”.22 Cal. Rifle" dated Frankford Arsenal, August 22, 1895. The drawing looks like the cartridge you pictured.

The quantity produced was very low, and all were bullets and unprimed shells so that experiments with different primers and smokeless powders could be made.

Unfortunately, I know very little about this cartridge, but in the group referenced in the report, they made only 250 “cartridge shells,” and 300 bullets. Of the bullets, 250 were 118 grains, 26 were 112 grains and 25 were 120 grains
That part of the report represents a discrepancy, as the three bullet weights shown and the quantity of bullets of each weights adds up to 301 bullets, not 300.

Interesting stuff. If they only made 250 “cartridge shells,” your round is pretty darn rare I would think. I remembered when I read them that I had seen something on the .22 Krag. A miracle I recalled it, since I haven’t read them for twenty years. Usually these days, I can barely remember my own name. HWS Volume I page 272 (lst Edition) has some of the same information, and do not mention any production above what the Ordnance Report 1896 reports. The ordnance report has a little more information than WHS regarding bullet diameters, velocities, etc., but the important historical stuff is all in WHS I. I just thought it would be fun to look it up in the Ordnance Report and see what that said. Soime readers of this thread will have neither reference at hand, so perhaps this is of some interest here for them.

John Moss


#12

[quote=“stevesummers”]And only as a side note, its not the first time it was done.
The first time that I am aware of, was with the 22 Krag in about 1892. [/quote]

Steve

Your 22 Krag cartridge did not go un-noticed.

So, I have to ask. Is that an original Cal .22 experimental? Supposedly, only 250 of them were made.

It looks like John beat me to it.

Ray


#13

[quote=“Maverick1112003”] . . .Why the steel core bullet (54 grain) is it heavier than the lead core bullet (50 grain) if both bullet are M2 homomlogue ?

Michel[/quote]
Michel

The first 22 caliber bullet was the 68 grain designed at Aberdeen under the direction of William Davis, and manufactured by Sierra. He reported that the bullet was, “. . . essentially a .224 caliber homologue of the obsolete caliber .30 M1 Ball. . .” He does not say anywhere that a homolgue was one of the design requirements. I get the impression that it just turned out that way and someone along the way decided to develop a homologue of the M2 bullet as well.

I don’t think it was intended that the bullets had to be exact holmolgues. I’m not even sure why they felt they had to be homologues at all? But to get back to your question, the difference in weight is the result of the design of the two bullets. The 54 grain steel core bullet is much longer. Looking at them side by side it is obvious that they cannot both be exact homologues of the Cal .30 M2. Maybe the longer one was meant as a homologue of the Cal .30 AP or Tracer?

Ray


#14

[quote=“RayMeketa”][quote=“Maverick1112003”] . . .Why the steel core bullet (54 grain) is it heavier than the lead core bullet (50 grain) if both bullet are M2 homomlogue ?

Michel[/quote]
Michel

The first 22 caliber bullet was the 68 grain designed at Aberdeen under the direction of William Davis, and manufactured by Sierra. He reported that the bullet was, “. . . essentially a .224 caliber homologue of the obsolete caliber .30 M1 Ball. . .” He does not say anywhere that a homolgue was one of the design requirements. I get the impression that it just turned out that way and someone along the way decided to develop a homologue of the M2 bullet as well.

I don’t think it was intended that the bullets had to be exact holmolgues. I’m not even sure why they felt they had to be homologues at all? But to get back to your question, the difference in weight is the result of the design of the two bullets. The 54 grain steel core bullet is much longer. Looking at them side by side it is obvious that they cannot both be exact homologues of the Cal .30 M2. Maybe the longer one was meant as a homologue of the Cal .30 AP or Tracer?

Ray[/quote]
Thanks for these explanations.

Michel


#15

To John and Ray, yes its the real McCoy, and I wish I could say it was “mine” even though it sets in my house and in my cartridge cabinet.

The owner no longer collects and I have been in negotiation strategies for about 3 years now, no kidding. The last time we talked about it I offered to trade at least 2 high dollar rifles plus?. I’m probably just going to pick up the phone and say, ok how much? I will send you a check and then take out a 2nd loan on my house. Mean time I might as well show it off a little bit.

I talked to Bill about it (he has two at the lab, one complete and one sectioned) he say’s there are probably only about 12 on our planet that he is aware of, if my memory serves me correct.
I have no idea what happened to the other 238 components that were made, and I don’t think anybody else does either.


#16

Steve - the other components are probably sitting somewhere unknown to anyone, or else long ago went
to the scrap heap, the fate of much experimental stuff. I was talking to Frank Hackley once about .45
Auto stuff from Frankford Arsenal, and he said for every experimental round collectors have, there were
probably a half dozen or more that collectors never saw, and were simply scrapped when the arsenal was
through with whatever the experiment was. Most factories are not “sentimental” about this stuff. Once the need
is gone, so goes the cartridges and components.

Am not surprised at the expected price - with rounds that one could only call “scarce” or worse, rounds that
are simply the first on the market from runs of thousands and tens of thousands, bringing prices anywhere from
five to a hundred bucks, the REALLY rare stuff is skyrocketing in price. I can’t count how many auto pistol rounds
I have had a chance to bid on, or buy, that I had to pass on because prices were over a thousand bucks or
multiples thereof (8mm Bergmann-Schmeisser, .45 Ross, 8.5 Mars, etc.).

Hope you get that one permanently.

John Moss


#17

Steve

You need to make a pact with the guy. In return for the cartridge you promise to keep a photo of him on your fireplace mantle, bring fresh flowers to his grave every week, and tell at least one person a week what a great guy he was.

If you don’t want to do that, give him my number. I’ll do it.

Ray


#18

Well we are off topic a little here, but,
I have to form a plan to explain to the wife “where all that money went” and a “photo on the mantle” won’t help a bit.
Where if I traded some guns for it, well that’s not "money"
Or I can wait it out and call it acquired inheritance (I hope he does’nt read this forum) Ha Ha.


#19

Also John, I lived near, Mr. Bob Olsen (before he pasted away)
He worked for Frankford Arsenal during WW2 and he told me the same thing as Frank did you, nobody thought any of that stuff was going to make any success, or be interesting to anybody in the future, it was just work.