Working with the .219 Donaldson Wasp
Date: Oct 30 2018
When I was a young shooter, I had the privilege of hunting woodchucks on 300 acres of prime farmland in New York with my only rifle, a single-shot Winchester. However, my uncle gave me permission to invite friends from neighboring towns to come and shoot. Most of them came with heavy-barreled guns chambered for .22 centerfire cartridges of the day – you know the ones, complete with those classic Unertl scopes. A few came with the .219 Donaldson Wasp, a cartridge I was determined to chamber in a rifle years later.
To start, I took my Ruger No. 1 .218 Bee and sent it off to Bullberry Barrel Works. Since the .218 Bee uses nearly the same barrel twist, it was just a simple matter for Bullberry to recut the chamber and alter the extractor just a bit for the larger case.
If a Handloader is looking for a challenge in both rechambering a rifle and working up loads, the .219 is a good option. Striking the perfect balance between case size and powder charge, the Wasp is perfect to take afield for varmints or small game. Although it's labor intensive to make cases, I use the parent .30-30 Winchester case and RCBS forming dies (58024) to work up to the final Wasp dimensions. Then I use the regular .219 Wasp die set after the case forming is complete.
Fifty-two grain bullets shoot well from the Wasp, and with IMR-4064 (28.0 grains) as the prime propellant followed by H-4895 (29.0 grains), the best groups run from .750 inch (3,160 fps) to .875 inch (3,443 fps), respectively, at 100 yards. More information can be gleaned from Hornady’s Handbook of Cartridge Reloading 8th Edition of their handloading manual.
The .219 Donaldson Wasp was the precursor to several great modern cartridges of today and I, for one, am elated to have had the chance to try it out in a rifle of my own.