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.22 Savage Hi Power


Long before Roy Weatherby developed his high velocity ethos, the Savage Company released their .22 Savage Hi Power. The Hi Power was not only designed for use on varmints but also, Savage hoped the cartridge would be ideal for larger medium game. Designed by Charles Newton and released in 1912 for the Model 99 rifle, the .22 Hi power fired a 70 grain .228 caliber bullet at a then fast, 2790fps. The .22 Hi Power was given the same mystical kudos as Remington's .222 that came 38 years later. Not only was it used on North American game but also Asiatic and African game. In an article titled The Neck Shot, written by Karamojo Bell for The American Rifleman in 1952, Bell wrote of witnessing a herd of West African Buffalo, shot by a hunter (not himself) using a .22 Hi Power. Within the article, Bell stated that 23 animals had been lung shot using 27 bullets. The West African buffalo is not however to be confused with much larger Cape buffalo. Further to this, the description given paints a picture of slow killing, with the animals milling around, goring at the ground as they slowly bled out.  

Eventually, evidence built up pointing to the fact that the .22 Hi Power was wounding far more game than it was killing. In the USA and UK, the Hi Power remained popular for some time for use on varmints and occasionally smaller medium game species but was finally surpassed and made semi obsolete by the .222 Remington. The Hi Power has however retained limited popularity in Europe for use in combination, break open rifles where it is considered adequate for hunting Roe Deer over farmland.



As can be expected, the .22 Hi Power is much better suited to small game than it is to medium game.  Nevertheless, the 70 grain bullet weight is well suited to smaller medium game weighing less than 50kg (110lb). On larger medium game, the 70 grain bullet weight is adequate for neck shots. The various range of 70 grain bullets are capable of penetrating chest cavities of larger medium game however death is usually delayed due to slow bleeding and can result in lost animals.

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Factory Ammunition.

Factory ammunition for the .22 Hi Power is no longer produced in the U.S however, ammunition is still available from European manufacturers. European metric designation for the Hi power is 5.6 x 52R. Sellier & Bellot produce two loads, a 70 grain FMJ and 70 grain soft point, both at velocities of around 2750fps. Norma also offer both a 71 grain Soft Point and FMJ at 2788fps. The soft point loads from both Norma and S&B tend to be rather stout, suitable for smaller medium game, but cannot be expected to produce deep penetration.


Hand Loading

  Brass for the .22 Hi Power can be sourced from Norma importers world wide. Along with this, brass can also be formed from .30-30 Winchester brass. The correct bullet diameter for the Hi Power is .227” which is unique to this cartridge. Normal .224” caliber projectiles can be used but accuracy is usually poor.
Recently, a small resurgence of interest in the .22 Hi Power in the USA has lead Hornady to offer a .227 “ caliber 70 grain soft point bullet for reloaders. This projectile is advertised for use on varmints only, though as suggested, is at least adequate on smaller medium game weighing less than 50kg (110lb).
Suitable powders for the .22 Hi Power include those of the Varget, ADI2208/4064 burning rate range.  Older Savage rifles can indeed be loaded to velocities of above 2900fps with a noticeable increase in terminal performance. As with any older firearm, reloaders should take care to observe for any signs of high pressure while developing such high velocity loads.


Closing Comments

  The .22 Hi Power is certainly capable of delivering similar energies to the .223 and .22-250 but lacks the choice of premium projectiles available for the .224’s for use on medium game. This cartridge is presented here purely as an insight towards the historical development of medium game cartridges. For the practical application of this cartridge on medium game, the reader is referred to killing techniques described in the .222 text.

Suggested loads: .22 Hi Power Barrel length: 24”
No ID   Sectional Density Ballistic Coefficient Observed  MV Fps ME
1 FL Norma 71gr soft point .195 .26 2780 1220
2 FL S&B 70gr soft point .195 .26 2750 1190
3 HL Hornady .227” 70gr SP .195 .29 3000 1420
Suggested sight settings and bullet paths   
1 Yards 100 200 250 300
  Bt. path +2.6 0 -4 -10
2 Yards 100 200 250 300
  Bt. path +2.6 0 -4 -10
3 Yards 100 200 250 300
  Bt. path +2.2 0 -4 -8.3
No At yards 10mphXwind Velocity Ft-lb’s
1 250 9 1993 630
2 250 9 1968 610
3 250 9 2175 745
Loads limited to smaller deer species with carefully placed shots. 70gr Hornady designed for small game, for maximum success avoid heavy bone. Trajectories given for open sights .5” above bore.

22 savage hipower final.jpg

  Imperial Metric 
A .506 12.85
B .423 10.74
C 14deg  
D .362 9.20
E .254 6.45
F 1.398 35.52
G .434 11.03
H 2.050 52.0
Max Case 2.050 52.0
Trim length 2.040 51.8
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