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.218 Bee

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  • .218 Bee

    Thought we should start our own thread instead of high jacking someone else s!

    I have not played with the 218 Bee in 20+ years. Good cartridge. I re-barreled a small Martini 1-14 twist.
    My notebook on loads for the Bee is lost, but do have a few in old loading manual.

    Cast bullet Lyman 225415

    2grs Bullseye 1200 fps 4.5 grs 1800 fps The 2gr load has more killing power than a 22 long rifle.

    3.7grs Unique 1450 fps 5.7 grs 1960 fps About 4grs was accurate.

    2.8 grs 700x 1310 fps 4.7 grs 1805 fps Never tried 700X

    I don't have notes on Jacketed, but the Lyman manual #39

    I used the loads listed.

    Did not like how 2400 acted. Used 4227 and 4198.

    I liked the 4198 as you could fill the case to the top and seat a 40 - 55 gr bullet.

    I used the 45gr and 50 gr with 13.5 grs of 4198. That was the starting load and top load

    listed in the manual. 45gr 3050 fps and 3050 fps 50 gr 2750 fps and 2750 fps

    IMR 4227

    45 gr listed 12 gr starting and 12.8 gr max 2553 fps and 2780 fps

    50gr listed 12 gr starting and 12.4 gr max 2600 fps and 2700 fps

    I think that 1680 or 8208 might work well. You could load enough 1680 to get high pressure.

    I doubt if you could get too much 8208 in a case, but it would be easier than 4198 to load.

    I use 8208 in the Hornet with a 63 gr bullet 1948 fps slow, but accurate.


  • #2
    Thanks for the information. I have several of the older Lyman books among my accumulation. It is interesting how they vary in information. No. 38 4227 45 grain jacketed loads list 14 to 16 grains for 2806 and 3166 FPM. Just a word to the wise to compare several loads and approach maximum loads in any publication with care.

    I am also using older Sierra and Hornady manuals for reference. My most recent load is 12.5 grains 4227 with a 45 Grain Hornet JSP. It does seem to perform well and replicates Seirra's recommended accuracy load.

    At present, I am wringing out the rifle, equipment and me, so I will probably stick with this load for a while until I am sure the other variables are more or less under control.

    I will be starting casting as well, I have the Lyman 225450 mold which I will be playing with.
    Jim H.


    • #3

      A lot of this I am sure you already know

      I recommend good information. Your choice of bullet is one of the harder ones to get to shoot accurately. Most spire point cast bullets do not work well. #225438 is one that is more forgiving. Casting these little pills can be exasperating any trapped dross. wrinkles, or poorly formed bullets will not be accurate. You need clean bullet metal at the right temperature for you and your mold. Near impossible to cast without tin in the mix, but if too much tin you tin plate the barrel and lose accuracy. I have not gotten the good groups with cast as I get with jacketed in the .22 calibers. I have been trying off and on for 50 years. Tried as cast bullets that I hand lubed and these seemed to shoot better. Pain to put on gas check and lube. Yesterday I finished a larger sizing die nearer to bullet size. Will give it a try when time permits. If you have not done so make a neck expanding plug. It is made to the size you need for a cast bullet plus there is a taper to slightly bell the case mouth.

      With the small cases Pressure climbs rapidly. Case brand and weight are very important. Primers can make a big difference. Generally slow powders for the fast loads work better.



      • #4

        FWIW the early day 22 barrels were sometimes .222 and .223 before arriving at the now standard .224. That may be the cause of the variation in early Lyman reloading data. The early IMR powders were good but there are some significant improvements that have come along. The Hogdon’s International Clays has worked very good in my .256 Win. It is very clean burning and the standard deviation was like 5. The Vihtavuori powders with their unique nitro-celulose would be another good candidate. I have at least one 218 sized bullet mold in a hollow point configuration. I may have some of the bullets. The small hollow point was the hardest bullet to cast that I ever did. It will probably take me a while to find the mold number. A friend that is more of a meat hunter than an accuracy buff bought some jacketed 218 bullets in bulk. They may have been Midway packaged. They were surprisingly accurate.

        Regarding Bob’s comments regarding the expander plug, The old Lyman Tong tools had an adjustable stepped expander. If you ever run across this tool in 218 try it. It is capable of loading benchrest quality ammunition.
        Last edited by Boucher; 07-06-2012, 05:07 PM.
        Byron Boucher
        Burnet, TX


        • #5
          The Lyman mold is one I aquired as part of a deal that included a 30 cal mold I wanted. Just thought I would give it a try. I do anticipate the problems mentioned with the small diameter and spire point, which might be why the previous owner basically gave it away. I will probably end up sticking with jacketed bullets for the Bee as they are still relatively affordable.

          I am more interested in 30 cal cast bullets in some plinker loads for a 30-40 Krag and 300 Savage I have been working with. I don't want to kill anything or destoy my shoulder, just have some fun at short ranges with these guns.

          Thanks for the tips on expander plugs, I will take a pass at making some. I am probably spending more time making reloading tools and such than anything else right now. When making sizing dies, do you bore them on the lathe or use or make reamers? I just made one for 25-20 and was able to open up an expanding reamer enough to make it work. Now have some 30 cals on the horizon and am wondering if I can get a good enough finish with a boring bar.
          Jim H.


          • #6

            I used a #1 reamer.228. Set in lathe and used a toolpost grinder to reduce to .226. Then I had to stone so that it would cut cleanly.
            After all this work I looked at one of our advertisers (Kodiak ) and found they have a good range of sizes, could have bought what I needed.
            Without the expander plug made for your bullet / rifle There is a good chance that you will ether or both shave the bullet or resize it as you seat
            it in the case.
            On the 30 cal. I would bore so it is concentric then ream to size. I understand about killing the body The 45-70 I made will shoot better than
            I can hold it. Painful on old injured body. If you just want to put holes in paper or tin cans you do not need high velocity. I have a few thousand
            165 gr Hornady boatail match bullets that I use in my FM2 in 30-30 with 23 grs of 8208 it is pleasant to shoot and will shoot .5 or less C to C at 100yds



            • #7
              I have shot many thousands of rounds of .223 downloaded to .218 Bee levels, for shooting ground squirrels.
              60 gr 13 gr Blue Dot 2600 fps 35 kpsi
              33 gr Vmax 15 gr Blue Dot 3500 fps 35kpsi

              The later will shoot sub moa in 22LR 1 in 16" twist barrels with the chamber reamed to .223.

              These loads will shoot out to 200 yards at 100 rounds per hour without getting hot. At more than 100 rounds per hour, I switch to 22LR out to 75 yards.
              There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self. -Ernest Hemingway
              The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.-- Edward John Phelps