Rahul Sharma (Editor)

.219 Donaldson Wasp

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Harvey Donaldson

Parent case
.219 Zipper

Place of origin


.219 Donaldson Wasp

Case type
rimmed, tapered, bottleneck

The .219 Donaldson Wasp cartridge was developed during the late 1930s by Harvey Donaldson, and is derived from the .219 Zipper case. Once popular amongst match shooters in the 1940s it has since fallen by the wayside in favor of newer developments. It is however held in high regard for its accuracy and is widely considered the grandfather of benchrest cartridges. Today the round occupies a niche in the falling-block rifle market.

There are in fact three notable versions associated with the Wasp name. The first, designed in the mid 1930s and today known as the 219 Gipson Wasp, was named after the gunsmith who chambered the first Wasp rifle for Donaldson. This version has a case length measuring 1.625" and was formed from rimless 25 Remington brass.

Donaldson shifted his experimentation to the 219 Zipper brass soon after the introduction of that cartridge by Winchester in 1937. By approximately 1940 Donaldson had lengthened the body of the Wasp case to increase capacity from around 24 to 28 grains of IMR 3031 powder - to see if velocity could be increased while maintaining accuracy. To Donaldson's delight, the larger case produced both higher velocity and superior accuracy. This development work is detailed in a series of letters written by Donaldson and collectively published in Yours Truly by Wolfe Publishing Company (1980).

Donaldson later lengthened the neck by about 1/32" so as not to encroach on powder capacity when using a graphite wad behind the bullet. This resulted in a case length of 1.750". This final design is preserved in a drawing on page 224 of Twenty-Two Caliber Varmint Rifles by Charles S. Landis (1946).

During the 1960s an even longer version appeared as a result of measurements referenced from the front of the rim instead of the rear. This design has a case length of 1.813" (1.750" plus 0.063" rim thickness). The same error has occurred on a number of other popular wildcats.


.219 Donaldson Wasp Wikipedia