IMPERIAL SPORTING UP TO .299"

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22-15-60 STEVENS

  

The following article is an introduction to this cartridge by it's designer, Charles H. Herrick of Winchester, Mass. {from SHOOTING & FISHING, June 17, 1897}: (By John T. Dutcher - From an old ICCA article done around 1987)

"This cartridge was born from the writer's desire for a .22 caliber straight cartridge of the same, or slightly more powder, than the .22-13-45 Winchester, and having the advantage over the latter of being straight inside; my belief being that no cartridge of the bottle-neck pattern could possibly be of as much all around value as a straight shell inside and with just enough taper outside to make extraction sure and easy.  I think this last statement has now become a cardinal principle among the enthusiasts, and I wish to predict a gradual change to the straight cartridge.

Shells straight inside have great advantages in cleaning, in extraction of primer, in seating a wad on a light load with bullet in mouth of shell, and in seating bullets on light loads with or without wads. It is a stronger shell mechanically, there is no shoulder to crack open, and one never finds the forward part of a shell half way up the barrel, as sometimes happened with a bottle-neck shel. That sportsmen find a straight shell best adapted to their needs is well shown by the appearance of the new .25-21-86 Stevens straight, which is the original .25-20-86 Stevens made up to conform to proper methods, and which will, among most riflemen, supplant the old shell.

I experimented until I found that for all-round use a load made up .22-15-60 was best. It will kill a woodchuck instantly if hit on or in front of the front paw.  My observations in this respect were confirmed by another rifleman who used practically the same load, .22-14-55, slightly less powerful, killing seven out of eight  'chucks hit where they sat. One that got away was hit in the pouch, and when so hit, it is considered practically impossible to stop them.

On gray squirrels the 60-grain flat point bullet does not tear too much to suit me, but if any rifleman wishes less execution, he can use a sharp point.  For an express load I shall use a regular 60-grain flat point mould with a core peg, making a hollow-pointed bullet of 45 grains weight.  This will make the load .22-15-45, with a long bearing bullet, and it should be very accurate.  One can guess that such a load would be very effective on 'chucks, and it's flat curve will be a great point in it's favour. The shell is very strong and will hold nitro powder nicely if one wishes to use it.

The results of my experiments were laid before the J. Stevens Arms and Tool Co., with the final result that this company make up a steel shell after my ideas and a rifle adapted to use it. This shell and gun were tested by both the Stevens company and myself, with the result that the work done was so fine the company determined to push the cartridge. The U.M.C.Co. got out the ammunition, which is well made and costs at retail $1.20 per hundred. I was well aware that to make this cartridge an unqualified success it would be necessary to have good tools for reloading same and a good like of flat and sharp bullets to meet all the conditions demanded by riflemen.

The Ideal Manufacturing Co., of New Haven Conn., kindly met my ideas, making up reloading tools in it's N°3 Special and getting out a line if flat and sharp point bullets, each cherry making weights varying from about 40 to 90 grains, as shown in .the ill¬ustrations.  I am sure both lines of bullet will appeal to sportsmen. They are nicely balanced and have deep grooves, which will hold enough lubricant to make leading, under proper conditions, an impossibility. This last point was given special care, and Mr. Barlow met my ideas exactly and is entitled to the thanks and praise of all enthusiasts for efficient help in making this cartridge a success.

The shell is 2 inches long, .226 inside, regular short, long, end long rifle diameter, and tapers .015 from head to mouth. The powder charge is 15 grains of FFG black powder.  Bullet is 60 grains weight, flat pointed, 1 part tin to 30 lead; lubricant soft as it is possible to have it. The barrel is bored .220 and rifled with a twist of 12 inches; diameter of grooves .226. I have frequently shot 75 to 100 shots, after which rifle was cleaned with a few wipes of rod filled with oiled cotton. If any rifleman wishes to learn any detail I have not covered, if he will inquire through this paper I will gladly answer same to the best of my ability."

According to the Stevens Company, they brought out this cartridge in 1896, predating 'Crimp's' article of 1897.

Mr. Herrick's incorrect prediction that cartridge cases would become straight, making the bottleneck cases obsolete was probably based on his belief that black powder would remain the primary powder.  Smokeless powders really began coming to the forefront shortly after the .22-15-60 was introduced and changed that premise however.

Apparently the .22-15-60 was another cartridge phased out about the time of the First World War.  Probably produced only by the Union Metallic Cartridge Company.

It can be seen that Stevens rifles and cartridges were primarily designed for small and medium game hunting and target shooting. They were well liked by serious accuracy buffs and woods loafers. In fact, there are no military or high powered big game rifles and cartridges in the Stevens line.