SCHV Experimentals & Prototypes


#1

It’s no secret that many high ranking military and civilians in the Ordnance Department were opposed to the Small Caliber High Velocity (SCHV) program of the 1950s. They offered little encouragement and support and actually did what they could to sidetrack or completely de-rail the project.

The .222 Remington Magnum was the commercial version of a SCHV cartridge developed by Remington in cooperation with Springfield Armory. When Ordnance learned of the cartridge, the .224 Springfield, all further work was ordered to stop, the justification being that Springfield was not in the ammunition development business. It’s been said that Gene Stoner was not aware of the .224 Springfield cartridge and, had he known of it, he probably would have preferred it to the .222 Remington Special, which became the .223 Remington and the 5.56x45. Though now nearly obsolete, many today still think the .222 Rem Mag is the better of the two cartridges.

Winchester was invited to develop their version of a SCHV rifle and cartridge which they did. The rifle was the .224 Light Weight Military Rifle (LWMR). The rifle was a completely different design than the AR-10 and AR-15 prototypes, but the cartridge, the .224 Winchester was nearly identical to the Remington .222 Special. So nearly identical, in fact, that Armalite was able to chamber an updated AR-15 to feed and function with both cartridges.

Armalite had considerable pull within the Ordnance Department and Winchester saw the writing on the wall. In late 1958 they halted any further development of the LWMR. The rest is history. Below are 3 versions of the .224 Winchester cartridge, the original E1, the E2, and the uncommon steel bulleted E2.


#2

SCHV Experimentals and Prototypes

l to r

.22 Carbine
.222 Enewold/Stoner AR-15 prototype
.224 Springfield
.224 Winchester E2
.222 Remington Special


#3

Cartons


#4

Very cool posts, thanks for this.


#5

Nice post Ray. As I am fool for variations, here’s some of the .222 Special:


Headstamps are:

REM-UMC 223 (the next step following the name change)
REM-UMC 222 SPL
REM-UMC 222 SPL
REM-UMC 222
REM-UMC 222 (projectile appears not to have a knurled cannelure)
REM-UMC 222 SPL

Paul


#6

Paul

Nice lineup.

As I understand the progression of headstamps, REM-UMC 222 was the first of the three. Remington sure did like the “222” designation.

Ray


#7

Ray,

Thank you for another great post on US military experimental and prototype cartridges from the mid twentieth century time frame. PLEASE keep the info and pictures coming!!!

I hope the long awaited Hackley, Woodin, and Scranton, Vol. III will cover many of developmental projects involving small caliber ammunition during this time frame because, to say the least, with all the various projects it is a very convoluted information trail for the many cartridges developed during this time.

Brian


#8

Two of the earliest SCHV experimental cartridges. Left is the .22 Carbine designed by G.A. Gustafson at APG in 1953. Right is the .22 NATO designed by W.C. Davis, also at APG, in 1954. In 1955, Gustafson and Davis requested funding to develop an intermediate SCHV cartridge, firing a 55 grain boattail bullet at 3300 fps. The request was denied on the basis that APG was in the business of testing cartridges, not creating them. Remember those side-tracks I mentioned earlier?

Hmmmm. 55 grain bullet at 3300 fps. Does that sound familiar?


#9

A little more on the two SCHV cartridges shown above.

The .22 Carbine was a shortened .222R case loaded with a 41 grain FMJ bullet at 3000 fps. It was intended to be a light, high velocity cartridge fired in a carbine type firearm with greater range and accuracy than the Cal .30 Carbine. Tests were all favorable but the concept was out of sync with atomic-age thinking and it never progressed beyond the experimental stage.

The 22 NATO case was not really “designed” by Davis since it was nothing more that the experimental Cal .30 Light Rifle case necked to 22 caliber. But, Davis did design the bullet which was a 68 grain BT, a 22 caliber homologue of the Cal .30 M1 bullet. Fired at 3400 fps it was envisioned as a small caliber high velocity cartridge in a full size combat rifle. It was eventually chambered in a modified T48 and evaluated as one of the SALVO I trial cartridges. It disappeared from the scene with all of the other SALVO cartridges.

What I find the most interesting about the Gustafson/Davis cartridges is that they signaled an end to an era of military cartridge development. There was, no boubt, a lot of pencil and paper calculating, accompanied by a lot of head scratching. They were literally hand-loaded on RCBS presses in dies made in the APG machine shop. Bullets for the first .22 Carbine trials were Sisk 41 grain soft points. Test firings were actually performed by Gustafson and Davis on an APG rifle range. Imagine something like that today.


#10

Doing a little thread necromancy here,

The .222 Enewold/Stoner is the cartridge the first seventeen AR-15 prototypes were chambered for, correct?

I’ve never seen a picture of it before; I always assumed they were bog standard .222 Remington, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Is it as rare a find as it sounds?


#11

It’s really nothing more than the 222 Remington with a FMJ bullet loaded specifically for the prototype rifles. I got mine from a friend who was a friend of Mike (Mr Remington) Walker. I also got several other experimental cases and cartridges that came from Mike.

Ray


#12

Right, the case dimensions should be identical to the .222 Remington, but the bullet is not, and I’m inferring that the chambering is different (the throat should be much longer).

Not getting my hopes up, but I’d definitely love to add one of those to my collection someday.


#13

Mike Walker died five months ago at the age of 101. He was one of pioneers of rifle and cartridge development during his long career at Remington.

I used to shoot Benchrest with Mike when he came to AZ each spring to compete in the Cactus Classic tournament. At that time I had little interest in cartridges and so all of our conversations were about rifles and shooting. Later, when I started becoming interested in the prototype cartridges that Mike had worked on, I asked him about some of them but by then his memory had deteriorated and he was not able to recall most of the details. It was then that I mentioned this to my friend (also a Benchrest shooter) and he told me that he had many of Mike’s prototypes, and he gave me some of his duplicates. He died more than 10 years ago and I was able to get a few more cartridges from his collection but I’m sure many of them were destroyed. Of course, even worse than the cartridges, his knowledge, memories, and the history went with him.

Ray


#14

A true shame, to lose all those years of knowledge, and a friend besides.

My condolences, Ray.