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Thread: Need Loads for .218 Bee, Prefer J-Words

  1. #1
    Boolit Master .45Cole's Avatar
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    Need Loads for .218 Bee, Prefer J-Words

    I recently worked out a deal and I'm now loading for a Browning 65 in .218 Bee. Never had a bee before so I was after some loads. I have H110 and Power Pistol on hand and I assume Lil Gun and perhaps Tite Group will be good and I can use them elsewhere. I hear IMR4227 is great, but I hate to have a powder for just this gun as I probably won't be loading more than 150rds/year. I'll probably use J-words as I'll be whacking marmonts.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I have two Bees shown below. Here are my load notes for the cartridge - I've tried them all, and still working on what my rifles like best:

    Hornady 2229 over 10.2 gr Lilgun;
    10 to 13 gr 4227;
    One post saying 11gr 296 gives excellent accuracy;
    11gr H110;
    40gr Sierra with 10-11gr 2400;
    Sierra 40gr with 13.2 to 13.7gr Lilgun;
    46gr HP over 4.3gr Unique;
    Cast:
    2.5gr Bullseye with 225107 duplicates 22 LR;
    4.5gr Vihtavuori N310 with 225107

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  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I know you don't want to hear this, but 4227 is my go-to powder for 218 Bee.

    If it makes you feel any better about stocking the 4227, it is also good in 32-20, 25-20 and is about as close a substitute for 4759 as you can get.
    A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms *shall not be infringed*.

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  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    35 grain Hornady V Max or a 40 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip with 12.5-13 grains of AA1680 or Little Gun lit with a small pistol primer does 1/2"-3/4" @100 in my Winchester Model 43 bolt guns .

    Eddie
    Grumpy Old Man With A Gun....... Do Not Touch !!

  5. #5
    Boolit Master .45Cole's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, I really appreciate it. I'll try the H110 load beings I have H110 and then I'll try Lil Gun if H110 isn't getting it done

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    12 Grains of IMR 4227 with a 45 Gr. Sierra round nose. I've never had much luck with H110 in a Bee.


    We accumulate our opinions at an age when our understanding is at its weakest. Georg C. Lichtenberg

    At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time, or die by suicide. A. Lincoln

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    Boolit Master TCFAN's Avatar
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    I like IMR 4198. Not the fastest speed but very consistent.

  8. #8
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    I just worked a deal for a Marlin in .218 Bee for a great price. Where is everyone finding brass in this caliber? I've looked in all the usual places, but none of them have it listed.

    Fred
    After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it. - William S. Burroughs.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReloaderFred View Post
    I just worked a deal for a Marlin in .218 Bee for a great price. Where is everyone finding brass in this caliber? I've looked in all the usual places, but none of them have it listed.

    Fred
    Yea, you are not going to find it on the shelf anywhere - hasn't been made in years, and Winchester gave up on the brass business. Many of us have been bugging Starline to start making it, but they don't seem interested. My advice is to post WTB requests in as many forums as you can with the hope that somebody has some sitting on the load bench not doing anything.
    Thats how I was able to get my initial supply - then I bought all the dies to make my own, forming 32-20 to 25-20 and then down to .218 Bee.

    If you fail in your search, give me a PM and I'll make up some converted 32-20 for you, or may even part with some unfired Winchester brass to get you shooting your new rifle.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the offer, and I may take you up on it. I already load 31 different calibers and this makes number 32. I have a friend who used to have a specialty reloading business, but had to close it due to macular degeneration. I'll give him a call and see if he still has any. Failing that, I'll let you know.

    Thanks again,

    Fred
    After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it. - William S. Burroughs.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I haven't been loading for the Bee long, but have learned a lot so far.

    First is don't trust Hodgdon data for H. Lil'Gun!
    I loaded some at start 12.5 and some more just below max 13.6 (max is published at 14.0gr w/40gr bullet). With Armscor 40gr hp, 13.6 blew primers. One showed 3,500+fps!
    12.5 (published start) runs 3,200 from my gun. I settled on 12.0 as my working load at 3,100fps.
    Use small pistol primers and weight each powder charge if you want good accuracy.

    14.0 H4198 with 46gr Speer is most accurate load to date. 11.2gr Lil'Gun under 45gr Sierra semi PtSpt also accurate. H110 is "ok", but Lil'Gun faster, and H4198 more accurate. Haven't gotten around to AA1680. H4227 was so-so.

    For a superb inexpensive bullet, go to GRAFS.com for 40gr Armscor JHP's. Loaded in .22TCM factory ammo, they're perfect in the Bee. Less than .07 each in quantity of 1,000. I'm getting near MOA with them from my Marlin M1894CL. Not really worth casting at that price.

    I'm loving my Bee!

    re: brass; I bought some on line at $1+ each, but my "working" brass I form from Starline.32/20. You'll lose a few, but far cheaper than buying Bee on line.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Hornady started making Bee brass for 2017. Graf's sold out of their shipment in under an hour. I personally don't like H110, W296, 2400, or IMR 4227 in the Bee. Pressure hits max before any real velocity is attained. If you achieve the Winchester claimed factory ammo speed (2860 fps) with one of those powders and a 45 or 46 grain bullet, you are over pressure. The Speer manual says the same thing with their crusher data. Most Bee data is old and not shot in a pressure gun. I ran into this when I started shooting the Bee. Twenty years ago I bought the A-Square reloading manual and they had pressure data (crusher) for the Bee. Using a Hornady 45gr. bullet they list a start load of 15.0gr. IMR4198 and a max of 16.0gr. IMR4198. Also is a max load of Reloder 7 of 17.0gr. According to them both max loads are under 40,000 CUP. I have a M65 Browning and a Ruger No.1 in .218 Bee and have used a load of 15.5gr. IMR4198 in both rifles. It causes no problems in the M65, cases extract easily in the hot summer temps. I have had long case life with this load as well as 2850+ fps.

  13. #13
    Boolit Bub
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    the 65 is a lever action with a tubular magazine so I've always used round nose or flat nose bullets for the bee (and some hornets). First off decide what bullet you want to use.

    Hornady makes a good 45gr HP bullet specially for the Bee/Hornet (expands at lower velocities vs 5.56 and flat nose), Speer makes a good 46gr jacketed Flat Nose (I've used these a lot).

    Keep an eye out for the brass. they usually make it once or maybe twice a year so when you see it, grab a bag or two. Midway shows it as being overdue, so might be a production run coming out soon.

    @BajaTraveler- what dies did you get? the RCBS conversion set (about $175) or did you get the Redding and Lee sizers (I read on one of the forums about converting brass using a variety of sizing dies (starline 32-20 brass down to 25-20 and then to 218). I have a bunch of 32-20 brass but because I actually have a couple of 32-20's I would prefer to have proper head stamps on each case, so I have resisted getting into converting brass for the 218. Plus I should have enough to last me for a while.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by speedyr View Post

    @BajaTraveler- what dies did you get? the RCBS conversion set (about $175) or did you get the Redding and Lee sizers (I read on one of the forums about converting brass using a variety of sizing dies (starline 32-20 brass down to 25-20 and then to 218). I have a bunch of 32-20 brass but because I actually have a couple of 32-20's I would prefer to have proper head stamps on each case, so I have resisted getting into converting brass for the 218. Plus I should have enough to last me for a while.
    I'm using probably the same procedure you read in the forums - a 5 step process. 1) run 32-20 through 25-20 Redding Trim Die with Imperial Case wax. 2) run case through 25-20 size die with decapping rod removed to make a 25-20. 3) run the 25-20 through 218 Bee Redding Trim Die with Imperial. 4) run through 218 Bee sizing die. 5) the resulting case will have a funky double shoulder, but will chamber in your rifle just fine. I load it with my regular Bee load, and fire form the case to final dimension.

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  15. #15
    Boolit Master TCFAN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baja_Traveler View Post
    I'm using probably the same procedure you read in the forums - a 5 step process. 1) run 32-20 through 25-20 Redding Trim Die with Imperial Case wax. 2) run case through 25-20 size die with decapping rod removed to make a 25-20. 3) run the 25-20 through 218 Bee Redding Trim Die with Imperial. 4) run through 218 Bee sizing die. 5) the resulting case will have a funky double shoulder, but will chamber in your rifle just fine. I load it with my regular Bee load, and fire form the case to final dimension.

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    That is exactly the way I make my 218 Bee case from 32-20 brass. Necks come out a little short but with cast boolits for 22LR duplication loads they work just fine.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Don't expect to be able to get 15.0 gr of H4198 in a reformed Starline case. Max is about 14.5. I use 14.0 and it leaves less than 1/4" below case mouth. 14.0with a 45gr bullet is very accurate however.

  17. #17
    Boolit Mold
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    I know I'm 8 months late to this party but I have some, new to me, experience w. the .218 Bee. I'm a long time handloader and recently acquired a Winchester 43. I've read all the usual opinions re this rigidity of this action, etc and I just want to duplicate factory ballistics (2880f/s from some old Super X 46 grainers). Speer 46 grain JFNs are available from Midway and that is what I used.
    The usual near top loads were disappointing: 4227/12.0 = 2521fs; 2400/11.3 = 2643fs and these loads show all the usual signs of max loads: scuffing of the case sides from the chamber walls, flattened primers showing the machining marks of the bolt face. Very different results were obtained from AA1680. The listed loads from Accurate Powder are... start: 12.6grs; max: 14.0grs. In *my* rifle, at 14.0 grains, none of the max load pressure signs were there: the cases were unmarked and the primers were noticeably less flattened. Ultimately upping to 15.0 grains, (Winchester cases/Federal 205 primers) the same low pressure signs were observed and I’ve duplicated factory ballistics (2850f/s). Now, others have noted similar results w. AA1680 and maybe Lil’gun and this is just my experience with my rifle and, as always, do not use my loads--work up from the data published by Accurate Powder.
    Oh, also, accuracy of this rifle is nothing to write home about, 1-1/2 to 2-1/4” @ 100 yards, but that’s ok; the rifle is to protect pets from the varmints around here (rural Mendocino County)
    -Howard

  18. #18
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    Both my Dad's 1894CL and my Win 43 liked the Speer FP over 4198 so well I never looked further for a load. The Marlin out shot the Winchester.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    My .218 Mashburn bee likes AA1680 alot!

  20. #20
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    I was able to obtain about half a pound of AA 1680 from a friend, since none is available local to me. I loaded up 20 rounds to fire form some brass with the 40 Gr. JHP .22 TCM bullets Goosegestapo suggested, along with 20 rounds with IMR 4198. Both loads were very accurate in my new to me 1894 CL, but I was only able to shoot them at 30 yards on the range that was available today. Five rounds of the AA 1680 loads went into one hole, off the bench, and the IMR 4198 loads were close to one hole, but just a tad bigger than the AA 1680 loads.

    The rifle needs a trigger job, since I was fighting it while shooting groups and forming brass, so I dropped it off at my gunsmith's to be lightened. I think after the trigger work, I'm going to really like this little rifle.

    As to forming brass from .32-20, I found that running new Starline brass only part way into the .25-20 sizing die, to a point that about equals the shoulder on factory .218 brass, doesn't work the case as much as running the brass all the way into the .25-20 die. I also found that any imperfection in the case mouth of the new brass is going to cause a wrinkle when sized down. I was able to slightly mitigate that by running the brass into the .32-20 sizing die first, but I still lost about 8% of the 265 cases I sized down. I'm going to try annealing the case mouths and see if that helps with the next batch. I bought 1,000 new Starline .32-20 brass for this project, so I won't be short of brass once I get it going.

    Fred
    After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it. - William S. Burroughs.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check