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The Ultimate Reloading Manual
Wolfe Publishing Group
  • reloading manual
  • alliant reloading data
  • reloading brass
  • shotshell reloading
  • bullet reloading
The Ultimate Reloading Manual
hodgdon load data

.218 Bee (using Hornady bullets)

Author: Brian Pearce / Wolfe Publishing Co.
Date: May 30 2013

The .218 Bee was announced in 1938 in the Winchester Model 65 lever action. The case was based on the .25-20 and .32-20 WCF cartridges necked to .22 caliber, while the rifle was essentially a modernized Winchester Model 1892. Beginning in 1949, the bolt-action Winchester Model 43 was also chambered for .218 Bee while Marlin and Browning offered limited production lever guns beginning in 1989.

When using rifles with tubular magazines, spitzer bullets should not be used to prevent possible magazine tube detonations (unless fired in the single-shot mode). The Hornady 45-grain HP Bee bullet worked flawlessly in a Winchester Model 43 test rifle. This bullet should be seated to an overall cartridge length of 1.610 inches, then a suitable crimp applied. Spitzer bullets fired in bolt-action and single-shot rifles will not require a crimp.

Due to its rather thin case and small powder capacity, the Bee is sensitive to component and overall cartridge length changes. For the accuracy minded, load development with multiple powder charges and bullet seating depth will almost always yield better accuracy than factory loads. Many loads in the accompanying chart produced sub-MOA accuracy at 100 yards from the Winchester Model 43.

Several powders duplicated or exceeded factory load performance and produced top accuracy, including Alliant 2400, Hodgdon H-110, H-4198, W-296, Accurate AAC-1680 and VV-N120.