.218 Bee cast loads

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  • Last Post 29 October 2022
loophole posted this 13 June 2018

I have a Ruger #1 in .218 Bee.  My best loads with jacketed bullets were around 1".  I worked for a while with cast bullets a few years ago, but got bored with inconsistency.  Anyone want to share any goods loads in the .Bee?  I have been shooting #1's and #3's for almost 50 years, so I think folks have taught me most of the accurizing quirks of the rifle.  I also have a very accurate (with jacketed) #3 in .223, but I never have gotten great groups with cast.  All suggestions will be appreciated.

Steve K

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Bud Hyett posted this 26 October 2022

Be careful, the .218 Bee shoulder dimension is longer than the .25-20 WCF. You do not need to go full depth. 

Use the .25-20 WCF seating die to form, I had far fewer wrinkled cases doing this. Simply take the seating stem out and use.

Farm boy from Illinois, living in the magical Pacific Northwest

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RicinYakima posted this 14 June 2018

I set my Bee up to headspace on the shoulder, and used Lyman 224415 sized .225" with 3.0 grains of WW231. But I  have never had a Ruger, so don't know if that works or not for you.

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admiral posted this 14 June 2018

 I have a few 218 Bee's including a red pad Ruger No.1. The thing I found with mine was it had about .168" from the end of the case to the start of the rifling. As such traditional Hornet 45gr. semi spitzer jacketed bullets couldn't be seated out far enough to even come close to the rifling origin. If you used the standard COAL that is listed in reloading manuals for lever actions accuracy was down right poor, 2-3" five groups @ 100. Once I tried 50gr. Hornady or Sierra spitzers groups shrank down to 1/2-5/8" for five shots. The extra length of the 50 grainers allowed just off the rifling bullet seating. As far as cast I use the NOE .226"-47-RF-B4 BRP mould @ .225" and drive them 2500 fps. I'm not home at the moment so I can't give you the powder charge. I use IMR 4198 and Accurate 1680 but prefer the 4198. The load does get lead build up and require brushing after 20 rounds but it is accurate.

 

 

 

 

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R. Dupraz posted this 14 June 2018

These are .218 B Contenter pistol loads. Cases set to headspace on the shoulder.

RCBS 225-55-SP

11.5 grains IMR 4198 " old stock" ***

 

Lee 225-55

 7grains Alliant 2400

 

Both sized to .225", Nose sized to fit bore, Rem. 7 1/2 BR primer. near 1/2" five shotters at fifty yards. WW/ lino alloy 14-15 Bhn. Safe in my pistol, may not be in your Ruger. For information only. 

 

R.

 

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Wm Cook posted this 24 October 2022

According to JBM the Lyman will stabilize. I know the BOAL because I have the mold but mine drops at 52 grain. Not sure about the SAECO but if you plug it into the following it’ll answer that for you. It’s the length not the weight re stability.

http://www.jbmballistics.com/cgi-bin/jbmstab-5.1.cgi

I got a 62 grain NOE that shoots lights out at 15 yards but keyholes at 50.

You didn’t mention velocities and number of shots per group but shooting 1 to 2 MOA with a .22 Ruger #1 is praise worthy. Congratulations, good luck. Bill C

Patience isn’t a virtue, it’s a delay tactic.

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Glaciers posted this 25 October 2022

Well 30 or so  years ago I sold my model 43 in218 Bee, and have regretted it every since.   Started working on Norm to sell it back but I’m sure it will be 3 times the price he paid. 
But just 2 weeks ago I came up with a 218 Bee in a small action BSA Martini. Not sure what the model number of the Martini is but I’d love to find a receiver sight for it.  It’s put together with a 218 Bee barrel off a Marlin which I believe has a 1 in 16 twist. 
A friend gifted me with 50 pieces of brass and I have a 225-47 FN “Bowman” 4 cavity from Arsenal and a Lee 6 cavity 225-55.  I also have a Saeco 221 which I know won’t work, but I’ve ordered a 225-37 from Arsenal.  I’m sure the 37 grain will work and I have hopes the 47 will as well.

Unfortunately it will probably be spring before I can play with it much.  

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Wm Cook posted this 25 October 2022

I’ve shot the MP 37 grain in the 14” twist Ruger but it didn’t work out. Sometimes that happens. Loved the mold. Those little buggers jumped out off the mold. I hope you do well. I just picked up the Lee 55 grain you mentioned and according to JBM it’ll stabilize in the 14” twist but might not in a 16”? It’s close. Lee said the OAL was .595 with gas check.

Lots of people have luck with the Lyman 225438 44 grain. That’s probably the best mold I have for this rifle but have hope for the Lee 55 grain. The Lee looks like a current style bore rider. Haven’t had time to try it yet.

Any chance you could post a picture of your Martini? Never had one, always wanted one. Good luck. Bill

Patience isn’t a virtue, it’s a delay tactic.

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Glaciers posted this 25 October 2022

  • The Martini came in a package, so a brief story.
    Well I went over to a friends to paw through some of his rifles he wants to sell he’s turned 82 a while back and figured he better start liquidating some of his “stuff” as he has a lot of stuff to be sure. But Phil did have a few oddball rifles that I thought would be fun.

    First off was a Remington model 25 in 25-20. I already have one, but, this one is a carbine model. It was a boat gun, hardly any blue left and repairs to the stock. Great bore tight action. But a solid beater/ shooter.

    Second was a small BSA Martini which had a Marlin 218 Bee barrel fitted to it. Cute!  I like the 218 Bee!  Haven’t had one in 40 years.

    Third was a surprise all together. I was looking at the Martini and Phil had another rifle in his hand while I was telling him that I really wanted a 32 S&W long Bunny rifle like Ed Harris and Ric Bowman have written about. So he says put the Martini down.

    Ok. The rifle in his hands was a Stevens break open single shot that he had made in 32 Long!  Just right!  Phil had set the hook with that little 32 S&W Long.

    Phil has done a lot of smith work on guns even relining barrels, so I feel good about the Martini and the Stevens bunny rifle.

    Long story short I made an offer and we made a deal on all three!  I’m excited about adding 3 fun rifles to the herd.

    Just need to find some 218 Bee brass.

  • little definition of a “boat gun”, most are familiar with it under a different name, “truck gun”.
    Well Phil’s job required that he traveled to the villages and he would find all sorts of “goodies” for cheap. Boat guns up here are like a truck a gun most places. Always behind or under the seat rattling around, always there, but certainly neglected. This little 25 had a hose clamp around the wrist to hold it together. Phil did a nice solid job of repair, not real pretty but it blends well with a gun that has zero bluing left.

    Instead of being under the seat a boat gun would be bouncing around in a flat bottom where it would be handy. Sometimes the fish slime would get wiped off. Not all the time though.
  • I’ll get a couple of pictures of the Martini today. All 3 of these “Boat guns” are good shooters and not only not in the same room with anything collectible, but not even in the same building.
  • Also I got notice that my new Arsenal 5 cavity mold a 36 grain slick sided mold has been shipped!  I believe it will arrive by Friday, so if that’s the case I will cast up some along with the 47 grain Arsenal and the Lee 55.  I don’t think the Lee will work in the 16” barrels but I have hope’s the 47 grain will.  One of these days I’m going to come up with a 14” or 12” twist small cartridge 22 caliber rifle.  Anyway I will post pictures.  They will probably be turned sideways as I can’t seem to get them vertical.  I’m really thinking it has something to do with the northern latitude.

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RicinYakima posted this 28 October 2022

It is indeed a BSA Cadet. I had constant case separations unless I resized to headspace on the shoulder. Marlin specifications were for the shoulder of the chamber to be farther forward than Winchester specs. FWIW

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 28 October 2022

saving brass ::  ... if you don't resize, your brass will last until the primer pockets are loose on the primers .  could be a long time.

so the trick is to resize the least necessary ...  do a chamber cast and see how big a bullet you can get by with ... then size to that only ... the Lee collet die comes to mind ... you can adjust that for minimum sizing. and consider not sizing the brass at all.  >>  a single shot may not require much or none neck pressure.  If not Lee, a custom Wilson type sizer would be great.   or polish out a standard die .

i shot a 22 Baby Neidner ( necked down 25-20 ... essentially a 218 Bee ) several years without neck sizing ... never lost a case !!

if eventually you get a couple split necks, carefully do an anneal  on the necks only, at minimum heat necessary ... get some temp-laq ......

i too had a m43 winchester in 218 bee ... sold it for $25 including a weaver B6 scope .  great fox gun.  shot 1.5 moa with factory ammo.

ken  

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Wm Cook posted this 29 October 2022

John I loved the pictures of your Martini. That stock and butt plate are not damaged in the least. It just reeks of character. With a tight action, good bore, some brass and a couple molds you could easily get a couple, three hundred hours of fun out of it. And probably get by with 50 pieces of brass.

And I always wanted a Martini. About 20 years ago I was pouring over source’s to find one out of Australia. Never could connect. Just like with the Mauser and Mosin’s they were bought up by C&R’s holders in the 80’s, 90’s. I got to share in the buying the European equipment back then but the little Martini hadn’t hit my radar screen until after 2000.

Loophole, I had a #1 back in the 90’s. The fool that I was I converted to the 17 HeBee. With jb’s running >3,700 I burned out the throat in two pd trips. Having that rifle now in .218 or .222 would last a couple of lifetimes of cast shooting. What kind of velocities will you be working with.

Good luck and update this once you get going.

P.S. Of all the firearm that I have ever owned nothing gives me greater satisfaction than levering back a single shot or pulling back the hammer on a SA revolver. Good luck! Bill.

P.P.S And of course a solid lever action.

Patience isn’t a virtue, it’s a delay tactic.

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loophole posted this 14 June 2018

I appreciate the info, gentlemen.  I'll dig out the Bee components and load up a few rounds.

Steve K 

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JeffinNZ posted this 16 June 2018

Not Bee but my Hornet loves Lil Gun under a 40gr cast bullet.  7gr.  7.5-8gr in the Bee would duplicate.

Cheers from New Zealand

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ClydeF posted this 22 October 2022

I have a 43 Winchester in 218 bee.  It shoots Lyman 45 grain cast bullets just as well as jacketed.  A little bit of unique and look out coyotes!

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Wm Cook posted this 22 October 2022

Fun project!

I don’t think I saw this in the above and I’m curious; 1) what’s the twist rate on your Ruger and 2) what .22 molds do you already have on your bench to work with?

I’ve put what seems like a k-jillion cast through an old Ruger K Hornet and cast/shot from 37 to 62 gr. Velocities 600 to 2000 fps. There’s seemingly and endless number of things to tinker with. Lots of fun . Good luck. Bill Cook.

Patience isn’t a virtue, it’s a delay tactic.

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delmarskid posted this 23 October 2022

My no1 bee is a 1/14” twist. I use fast pistol powders in plain based and gas checked bullets. I use a lyman 225415 45g and a saeco 60g round nosed bullet. My groups are under a half inch at 50 yards on my best days and 3/4” the rest of the time. I’m an inveterate experimenter so my results very.

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delmarskid posted this 25 October 2022

Hi, if you have to bee brass can be formed from 32-20 if you use a 25-20 die as an intermediate step. 32-20 ain’t exactly falling out of the sky either right now.

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Glaciers posted this 28 October 2022

Bill as I said this is a boat gun, which will be obvious in the pictures.  The action, and trigger are crisp and tight.  The Marlin bore is excellent.  I don’t know much about Martini’s having only owned one in the past. I think this is either a model 13 or a Cadet, don’t really have any idea.

I might be replacing the barrel sight with a Skinner Sights which slides into the dovetail and comes with a .125 aperture when disk removed becomes a .200 ghost ring.  I’ve never used a barrel mounted aperture sight.  

My new Arsenal slick sided 36 grain 5 cavity mold is at the PO wait for me to get my hands on it!  So I will be casting with it and the 47 grain Arsenal.  Need to slug the barrel yet and the prospect of do some shooting is remote.  Temperatures hanging around 3 degrees.

But a couple of pictures.

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Glaciers posted this 28 October 2022

As far of brass goes I was gifted 50 once fired pieces and with a single shot that should last quite a while.  The 25-20 brass that I’m hoarding with remain on touched.  There is a promise of some brass from Phil but I’ll believe it when I see it.

I haven’t loaded the 218 in 40 years, so advice on making my brass last longer would be appreciated along with suggested load info.  I’m not into high velocities, but loading cast in 22 caliber is new to me.  I have Winchester 680, IMR 4198, 2400, R7 on hand for starters.  I will reread this thread and pull out potential suggested loads with components I have on hand.

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Glaciers posted this 29 October 2022

It certainly has character.  I did own one other small Martini which I seriously regret selling.  It was a Westley Richards rook rifle.  It was a beautiful deluxe takedown in 300 Sherwood.  

But, I did receive the 36 grain slick sided mold in the mail yesterday.  So I will post a couple of pictures of the 36 grain mold and the other Arsenal mold I hope will work in the 16 inch twist barrels.  I’m hoping to cast with both this weekend.

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