Cast .22 in a contender.

  • Last Post 16 September 2018
Escalante posted this 16 March 2015

I would like to start casting for my .22 Hornet and my .223 Rem. Both have 10 inch barrels. Is there any bullet that will preform well in these two calibers? I know the 22's are hard to cast for. With the price of .22 LR. I think casting for the .22's is the way to go. BTW I have been casting for thirty years. Thanks in advance. Rich.  

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 16 March 2015

what twist in your 22 s ?

i had great luck with a 22 wcf and a 22 baby neidner in some high walls ... but only about 4 moa in my rem 222 and ruger 1 in 22-250 . all those results without extensive effort, and 45-55 gr cast bullets . i think it a co-incidence that the older rifles shot better groups ...

btw, 4 moa is still a fun plinking load at 50 yards standing ...

loads were with 4227 or unique ...although some early loads used 1204 ( g ) .


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gpidaho posted this 16 March 2015

I am only keeping a couple 22 rim fires the 22 center fires are more fun to shoot anyway. I have a 22-250 T/C Encore that I sometimes plink with using the Lee 22Bator bullet 55gr over 5.5 or 6gr Tite Group works pretty well in my 223s also. One is an eight twist, one is a nine twist and another with a twelve. Like Ken says “Fun plinking” GP

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John Alexander posted this 17 March 2015

The best cast bullet design for a 22 cf will depend on the twist.  If the 222 has the standard one in 14” twist I have had the best luck with the 415 design.  The Bator bullet also is reported to work well as gpidaho has noted.

If the Hornet has the standard 16” twist neither bullet may work.  The newer (longer) Lyman 415 design would not stabilize in my 16” twist Bee but the older (shorter) 415 shot well.  At any rate you will be limited to very short bullets that are the equivalent to shooting 85 grain bullets in a thirty caliber so don't expect squirrel rifle accuracy.

If you are lucky and have a 10” or faster twist as some newer 22cf do you can get really fine accuracy with a well fitted bullet similar to the NOE70 RN.


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Escalante posted this 17 March 2015

Sorry about not providing twist rates. The Hornet is 1 in 14. The .223 is 1 in 12. Hope this will provide the information needed. Thanks in advance again. Rich.

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Dale53 posted this 18 March 2015

My .221 Fireball barrel on my TC Contender shoots extremely well with the 225415 (from my particular mould) using Hornady gas checks ahead of 4.0 grs. of Unique. I regularly got 1/2” at fifty yards off a bench. My bullets were cast of straight linotype. My TC is scoped.

Exceptional edible small game load with that nice flat nose.

FWIW Dale53

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TCintheOzarks posted this 18 March 2015

I have had good luck with the old Lyman 225415 both in solid and hollow point in my 10 inch 22 Hornet contender. My 223 contender barrel is a 14 inch with a 1-12 twist. Not used it much with cast but what little I have i used 225462 both in solid and hollow point.As I recall it shot pretty fair. My favorite 22 caliber mold is from NOE. The 225107 a 37 gr solid flat point. I use it in my 218 Bee Encore rifle with a 1-14 twist with a little pinch of bullseye powder for 22 rim fire duplication loads.

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onondaga posted this 18 March 2015>Escalante

There is no magic bullets and no magic loads for cast in 22 Hornet and .223 Rem.

Plenty of opinions and plenty of suggestions are easily searched about the subject here too.

The basics have not changed and .22 is no more difficult to get shooting as well as cast does in any other caliber. The defining factor is duplicating what works well.

You have been casting 30 years, have you learned to separate nonsense from what works? That is an important factor.

Both of your twist rates are for light bullets, that doesn't even matter if you do everything else right. Pick a mold that is easily available and can be sized to fit your firearms. The Lyman 225646 was available and I made it work nicely for me. I see it is not available from Midway at this time. There is other molds to try. A nicely polished bore makes bullet selection even less important.


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Escalante posted this 19 March 2015

Thanks for all of the help. Rich.

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DukeInFlorida posted this 07 July 2015

One of my buddy's is shooting 22 Hornet in a Contender. I allowed him to borrow my NOE (Night Owl Enterprises) mold for 55 grain .224, which I originally bought for my AR use. He casts those in pure linotype, and they are a thing of beauty. Says they shoot amazingly well also. He's shared a bunch with the other shooters at that steel match he goes to and they are all wanting more.

The mold has the gas check feature, and he's lubing with a very soft lube.

NOE MIGHT have an extra mold for sale if you seek them out at castBoolits.

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ubetcha posted this 16 August 2015

I just purchased the NOE 225- 55gr recently and plan on using my Super 16 T/C bbl. I believe the twist is 1-12?. Have Hornady check on order along with a lyman 225 sizing die. I stopped a Titan Reloading yesterday and picked up a 225 sizing kit. Undecided on powder yet, but will start with some Red Dot. I have cast some bullet with air cooled ww's and water dropped ww's to see which works better.

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billglaze posted this 16 August 2015

I recently bought a Lyman 646 mould for use in my .220 Swift.  Graff and Sons had a few in stock, along with a 646 nose pinch for my Lyman 450 sizer.  So far, with the 1-14 twist in the Doug barrel, it hasn't ahown the accuracy of the 415.  It has shown some promise, but may have to be shot faster than my 1550 velocity, as anything less shows definite “tipping” on the target.  Also, Lyman's 238, while awfully light, and with it's low sectional density, might work well at 50 yards, possibly even at 100 yards, on a calm, windless day.I only have shot it (the .220) at 100 yards, so I'm just guessing about the 50 yards.HTH. Bill

In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is. My fate is not entirely in Gods hands, if I have a weapon in mine.

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Wayne S posted this 23 September 2015

ALL of the newer* Contender .224 barrels have a 1-12 twist. The only problem with the 22 Hornet is that they usually have long throats, this combined with the nose on the NOE 55-FN, or the RCBS 55 FN bullet being smaller that bore riding Dia. causes some people heart burn. One way to get these bullets to be a push fit of the front driving band into the throat is to size to .225 and hope for a little expansion, OR get a Lee push through .225 sizing die and hone it out to .2255 and use a 45/45/10 tumble lube mix. * newer T/C bbls have a front sight that has two screws holding the sight to the Bbl.

OP, if you have any questions about cast in a T/C 10” Hornet send me a PM

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max503 posted this 25 January 2016

Cast bullets work fine in my 10” 22 Hornet Contender. I think my mould is 45 grains. Can't say for sure without looking. Its been a year or so since I've loaded any. I did an article for the FS a few years ago.

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OU812 posted this 25 January 2016

I like softer alloys that are 14bhn and lower. I have to cast hotter for best fillout from bottom pour pot.

Standard primers and Titegroup powder works really well.

Bullet must fit well for best accuracy.

Try to keep velocity below 1600fps.

Less lube is better.

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Brodie posted this 25 January 2016

I also have a 10” 22 hornet barrel for my contender.  I have not shot cast in it yet, but it shoots 50 go 55gr. Sierra bullets quite well.  I will be purchasing the NOE 224-37 mold soon to use in the Contender and my 222 Rem  model 721.  I want to make a good cheap squirrel load for that rifle.  Well squirrels and bunnies.  We have a plethora of jack rabbits out here on a local ranch, and the owner is after me to remove a number of them. Brodie


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Larry Gibson posted this 25 January 2016

I have had a 10” Contender Hornet and a 21” 223 Rem since '88. I've had a 21” Contender Hornet since '94. I've tested 225107, 225438, 225462 and 225415 cast bullets in them from 800 fps to 2500+ fps. Both my Hornet barrels have 14” twists and the 223 has a 12” twist. All of the barrels have multiple shallow grooves of factory TC made barrels.

I've found the 225107 does perform well above 1800 fps in any of the barrels. regardless of the alloy or hardness. I attribute it to the very short bearing surface. The 225107 does do very well with a 22LR duplication load using Bullseye powder.

The 225415 is a very good performer in the 1400 - 1800+ fps range when cast of a harder alloy such as #2 ally. The 225415 at 1400 - 1500 fps is excellent to duplicate 22LR hyper velocity 22LR and is as accurate and as deadly on small vermin.

For all around accuracy and velocity from 800 - 2500+ fps in the Hornet and 223 rifle barrels the 2254338 and the 225462 performed best for me, probably due to their Loverin design with longer bearing surfaces and shorter noses. The also perform the best in the 10” Hornet barrel.

For powders I found BE and Unique to be very good at duplicating 22LR velocity and performance. For the higher velocities above 1700 fps, especially in the rifle barrels 2400, 4227, 5744 and 4758 performed best.

A couple additional hints on the 22 Hornet; neck size the cases with a Lee Collet sizer or a Redding Bushing die for excellent case life and accuracy. Trying to partial size with a FL die may not prove beneficial. Also given the extremely thin necks of Hornet cases the use of an M-die is preferred.


Concealment is not cover.........

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oldblinddog posted this 25 January 2016

Larry, what charge of Bullseye would you recommend for the 225415 in the .222 for ~1050 fps in a 788? Thanks!


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Larry Gibson posted this 25 January 2016

Just so happens back in the late '70s I had a M788 222 Rem with 24” barrel. It had a 14” twist and was awesome with cast bullets. I had a Weaver 8X scope on it with fine crosshair. I liked it because the 8X Weaver had an adjustable objective so I could adjust for parallax down to 50 yards...maybe closer(?).  I used 2.2 gr Bullseye under the 225415 cast of COWWs They were older ones that cast well w/o adding tin. My old chronograph notes show 1058 fps with a 1.19” 10 shot group at 100 yards. A lot of Belding ground squirrels went to the big feeder with that load.


Concealment is not cover.........

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shootcast posted this 21 December 2016

I have  a 22 Hornet rifle barrel & a 222 pistol for the T/C. Tried several Lyman a Saeco and RCBS. Most often My best groups come from the RCBS 55 sp. Not one hole but some about 1moa @ 100 yards.

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David Reiss posted this 21 December 2016

I have a .222 TC Contender barrel also and my success has been in the range of 1.5”  to 1.75” groups at 100 yds. I have tried Lyman 225438 & 225415. More recently I have acquired the Lee “Bator” 55gr. FN, but have not tried it. It does shoot a little better with JBs, so I think it has a little more promise with CBs.

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
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