Experiments indicate that the fatigue limit of various drill steels becomes vanishingly small in the presence of water and other corrosive liquids. Therefore one must generally expect fatigue failures of drill steels in a great many field operations. However, it is theoretically possible to so choose the hammer impact speed of a percussion drill in order to maximize the total length of hole drilled before failure occurs. In this paper the existence of an optimum speed is demonstrated and it is shown to be comparable to presently used piston speeds. The influence on drilling speed and hole length of a number of other pertinent design features, such as bit geometry, hammer geometry, and steel properties is also established.