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That time Harry Pope and Frank Mann disagreed on alloy

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 8:09 pm
by mtngun
The Wolfe annotated version of Dr. Mann's "The Bullet's Flight" includes Harry Pope's comments in the margin. On pages 122-123, Mann discusses bullet alloy and concludes that pure lead is the most accurate alloy:

Unremitting tests, year after year, demonstrated that a pure lead bullet ... outshot all others.
Soft bullets ... did outshoot, when care was taken, any alloyed one.
Why will not the hard alloyed bullets which, it seems, should keep their balance better because less deformed, do better shooting and give better groups?

Harry Pope responds:
They do!
[Mann] always one ____?_____ and powder load. No search for best combination. When at Milford Jan 1914 I shot my 33/220 with 1:25 alloy .... Frank had never seen such shooting.

I thought it was funny that 107 years ago shooters were arguing about which alloy was best, with each side certain his alloy was best and the other guy's alloy was inferior.

Yet Pope and Mann remained good friends. Pope on Mann:
He was absolutely honest, and the greatest experimenter I ever knew. Nothing he ever said was untrue, and he tried everything. I still have a letter from him telling of getting 6,000 feet a second muzzle velocity. I don’t know how he did it. ... All of that would have been in his second book if he had lived to finish it.

Pope guaranteed that any of his muzzle loading rifles, with the exception of the 25 caliber, would shoot into 2 inches at 200 yards. ... Pope himself has one 200 yard target that shows 10 shots grouping within 5/8 of an inch, center to center.