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Post Info TOPIC: 221 FIREBALL?


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221 FIREBALL?
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HOW MANY OF YOU OUT THERE SHOOT THE 221 FIREBALL? AND WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT IT?

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Deadeye 1

I have two of them, both Remington Light Varmint with 22 inch stainless barrel. They are my medium length rifles (175 - 250 yards). I've had a few guys tell me I couldn't hit a PD at 250 yards with a 221, WRONG. Using that Hornady 35 gr Vmax and LilGun they are deadly. I don't shoot a lot at 250 yards but I do at 200 yards. I usually take at least one on every trip. Easy on barrels because you don't have a lot of powder to burn up (15 gr). I don't have muzzle breaks on ether one. With big scopes the recoil is minimal. Don't let anyone kid you with that 35 Vmax PD do go, AIRBORN.

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I have one in a Cooper Montana Varminter. What I like about it is that it is a minimally sized cartridge that is cheap to shoot, accurate, and efficient. Being .22 caliber, there are a great many bullets to choose from. Great gun.

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I have 3 as of now. A 700 Classic w/24" barrel, TC w/Virgin Valley 12" barrel w/forearm, Rem XP 100 (my 3rd).  Have loved the 221 since it was brought out, small case-high velocity-great range (250 yds+).  I have found most of my guns prefer 50gr bullets for accuracy, (50 V-Max at this time). Using H-110, H-lil gun, H-4227, IMR-4198 are all good powders for this case.

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One of my hunting buddy's has shot the best group he ever shot with his 221 fireball. Like a .022. Pretty much the same hole. Like willndenver says, uses less powder than a 223 and pretty dang impressive for what it is.

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I got a fox on the last PD trip with one of my .221 Fireballs at right at 100 yds. The fox didn't know what hit him.

I use two different loads:

35 gr Vmax, 15 gr Lil Gun, 3350 fps

33 Speer TNT HP, 18.4 AA1680, 3270 fps


For all I use just a small rifle primer, two or three different one, it don't care.

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I have an old Remington 788 that I had rechambered to .221 from .222 about 25 years ago. Shoots great vel. about 3500 with a 40 Gr.Nosler and AA 1680.

What I don't like about it is the brass.

Bob

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I've been shooting the 221 since 1988. Took the worn out 223 barrel of my Sako Vixen and had my gunsmith put on a new 14 twist Douglas barrel. It has been used mostly for shooting ground squirrels and prairie dogs. Has also taken its fair share of feral cats. If this barrel ever wears out, it will be replaced with another 221 chambered barrel. It looks like Bob shoots close to the same load I do. I've never had any problem with the Remington brass. In fact I just threw away last summer the last of the original 100 cases I started with.

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Try Reloader Seven in the Fireball, it will make your rifle sing sweet songs.

It's all I use now, tried others, went back to Seven. Mighty fine stuff, that Re-7.

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I have a Cooper in 221 Fireball that is my favorite rifle. 40 grain V-Max and 15 grain of Lil Gun and a good day..........all in one hole!

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I'm getting fired up about that case necked down to a 20cal, the VarTarg.May go that way with a light varmiter,thumhole stock and Stillers ,drop port,cobra LPRB action.Maybe Lapua will eventually make brass.

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Joe O

I had a .20 Var Targ made up last winter and finally received it in time to make one last hunt in the fall. It is a great little cartridge. A whole lot more visual gratification than a .17 Mach IV because the bullet is twice the weight. I am very happy I decided to try the cartridge.


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Johnathan,who did you have build your 20VT,and what are the specs?I'm trying tp get an answer from Stillers,whether or not the drop port will accomadate the shorter ,narrowed 221 Fire Ball case,Guess I'll have to call them.Probably too busy to answer EMAILS,since they have a one year delivery time.

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I had Bullberry Barrels in Huricane Utah make it for me.  I started with just an order for the barrel of a T/C Encore and then decided to have them make the whole gun.  I got a synthetic stock and they used standard T/C parts, fit to the large barrel, and did a trigger job.  I really like the stainless barrels and the synthetic stock and forearm.  They are simply more durable than my wood stocked guns.  Do not show normal abuse.  The waiting time is about 5 months.  I think they do excellent work.  I had a friend recommend them to me after he bought a .22k Hornet barrel from them and got consistent 5/8 inch groups when I was still struggling to get that good of accuracy.  Now it is a no brainer.  The .20 Var Targ is really a wonderful little cartridge.  Since I am a minimalist, it fits right in for shots longer than a hornet.   It is comparable to the .17 Mach IV but the heavier bullet does more impressive damage.  It blows them up whereas the .17 just turns their insides into jelly and instead of blowing up, they just go inert.  Both guns are highly accurate and very flat shooting.  And low noise.  So the dogs stay out longer. 

I have another T/C in .22k Hornet that Bullberry made for me and I love it.  These are my first T/C s and I am more happy with them than I expected.    They are both heavy barrel guns that need some form of rest to be practical.  Before this, I have been a bolt action fan. 

I have two Coopers, a .221 Fireball and a .17 Mach IV which I special ordered and a third which is a .204 Ruger that I bought at Cabelas.  All Montana varminters and all very accurate.  All need to be shot from a rest as they are simply too heavy to carry around.   

I had another .22K Hornet that I had Colorado Gunworks in Ft Collins make up for me with a new Douglas stainless barrel on a Browning Micro Hornet frame and stock.  It has a lighter barrel and is a carry gun.  They did excellent work. 

So anyhow, I am not a gunsmith and have not really built anything from scratch.  I may start doing that in the future.  But, honestly, I have not had good luck with gunsmiths.  Either they screw things up or they take too long.  I can live with the too long part a lot easier if I have a few spare guns to shoot.  The best guy I have found is simply swamped with work since Obama came to be.  I know that is to be expected and do not mean to complain. 

These guns are all Prairie Dog rifles which are generally in abundance around here.  My shots are typically from about 100 yards to about 350.  I have a lot of other rifles but they are off the shelf and for deer, elk, groundhogs, etc. 

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Thanks for the info Jonathan.I find that every company dealing in shooting supplies and every gunsmith in the country is swamped with work.Everyone I talk to all over the country is the same way.The shooters are the true stimulus of the economy.

-- Edited by Joe O on Wednesday 27th of January 2010 07:05:58 PM

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Jon, I also have a 22-250 Bullberry built for me about 8yrs ago. It is a 24" full 1" bull barrell with a 8x25 Leupold on it. Just took the muzzleloader barrell off the Encore frame and put the 250 back on it. I haven't shot the gun in about 3yrs. You are stirring up some good old memories of that gun. My favorite load was the 40gr. Nosler BTs, and they spectacular on PD's. I may have to get it out this spring for old times sake!!

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Natron1911

I may eventually get a 22-250 barrel for the Encore. I have one in an old Ruger with a dog leg bolt and have shot a .25 inch group with it. I have been using Hornady 55 grain spire points with cannulure in the .22-250. My one complaint is that after I shoot it about 200 times, my shoulder gets pretty tender. My .204 does not seem to give me that problem. The hornady bullet is cheaper and does about the same job on PDs. Not quite as violent. You need to get out and shoot your gun.

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I'm going to have my Ruger #1 reberreled to the 20 Vartag... Very nice little case and with Sierra 32 or 39gr Blitzkings it should just sing all day long. Google the Wood Chuck Den for more info on the the 20 Vartarg.... They have a reloading manual for just 20cal. Good Shooting, Jerry

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Well, so far, the three cartridges using the .221 Fireball case are all fantastic.  That is the .221, the .17 Mach IV, and the .20 Var Targ.  But, if I had to give them all up but one, the one I would keep is the .20 Var Targ.  I had my Mach IV made before the .17 Fireball came out or the .20 Var Targ was invented. 

Keep in mind that all you have to do is run the .221 fireball brass through a .20 Var Targ full length die and it is ready to go.  No special tricks to do.  I have not bothered to fireform the brass.  I have very good luck just loading it up and shooting it.  The Prairie Dogs cannot tell any difference.  Have not used it long enough to comment on case life.  I am using Redding Dies from Midway.  The .17 Mach IV requires another step or two but once you run it though the right dies, it too is ready to shoot and I do not bother with fireforming it either.  I found that if I put all the right dies in a die plate for my Dillon 550B, I get a finished piece of brass with every crank of the handle.  I then chamfer the necks, load them up and go hunting.  Works for me.

I have started to clean my barrels, just with Hoppes and a bore snake, about every 200 rounds, just to prevent them from loosing accuracy.  That seems to keep them accurate all day long.  I give them a better cleaning when I get home.  

Am coating all my bullets with WS2, tungsden disulfide, but plan to switch to Hexagonal Boron Nitride (HBN) as soon as I get it in the mail.  I think it is well worth the trouble.  The WS2 is slightly messy but I usually get my hands dirty reloading anyhow.  It cleans up easy with soap and water.  The HBN is a white powder and a lot cleaner to work with and should be slightly better.  It has a .2 coefficient of friction as compared to .8 for WS2 and Moly so it should work better with only one fourth as much friction and no sulphur to react with the steel.  

Too bad the .221 brass is so expensive.  But, it is good brass.   I made some .221 cases  from GI .223. brass and I was not happy with it.  About one in ten cases had a split neck after the first use.  I have had no problems with the Remington .221 brass.  It may be that I need to learn more about making my own brass.  One thought is that the GI brass is thicker and therefore the case volume is less which would result in higher pressures with the same load.

These cartridges were all meant to be just one step up on a .22k Hornet and they are.  But with modern powders, you can get 3000fps out of a hornet and that is nothing to laugh at. 

It would be nice if someone invented a cartridge the size of a hornet with a more practical shape and thicker, more long lasting brass.  The VHA magazine, last issue, alludes to that as a possibility.  I think there would be a big market for it.   Something like a .17 HMR that is reloadable. 

For the Var Targ, I bought 500 39 gr Sierra Blitz Kings to try out and 1,000 MidSouth 34 Grain Hollow points.  That might get me through a busy weekend.  I expect to give the .20 Var Targ a real good workout this summer.  The high volume that I shoot makes me shop around for lower priced bullets. 

I expect that the .19 calibers from Calhoon are excellent but I am reluctant to lock myself in to one manufacturer's bullets.  I have tried his bullets and think they are high quality.    But here I have locked myself into one manufacturer's brass for 3 different guns. 

The quest for the magical ideal gun continues. 

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I had entirely planned to get a Hornet.  I was going to go to the gun show and pick one out.  Then I stumbled onto a beat-up CZ 527 in .221 Fireball at the local Cabela's store.  That got my brain a-reeling.  It was the first I had heard of the cartridge in a rifle (where have I been?)  I read everything I could find about the Fireball, which was a whole grundle of stuff, and nothing but good stuff.  I also had already decided on a CZ 527 rifle, so my head went directly from wanting a Hornet to HAVING TO HAVE the Fireball.  And I'm glad I ordered one from CZ Custom Shop a couple of months ago.  Teeny-weeny groups, on the order of 0.11" to 0.29" with 35-gr. Hornady V-Max, and that with a MV of 3650 and more.  I could rave as much about this fantastic rifle as about the fantastic cartridge.  So there you have it.  I could go on and on, but who would read it?  I have guns that I really like, and guns that I LOVE.  This one I LOVE. 

-- Edited by Prairiewolf on Monday 19th of April 2010 10:34:15 PM

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The .221 was originally recommended to me by Dan Cooper as one step up from the Hornet. My goal was to move away from brass problems with the Hornet. It is famous for thin brass that does not last long and depending upon the chamber etc. the brass will last only a few shots. It is my opinion that the real root of such problems is mainly sloppy craftsmenship in cutting the hornet chamber or perhaps a bolt, like in the Ruger, that is split in the middle and does not seat the rounds consistently or both. Lots of people are very happy with their original hornets. They are extremely popular in Europe butit is my understanding the chambers there are cut more accurately and consistently. One cure is the K-Hornet and so far I have found two guns that are excellent. A gunsmith screwed one up when cutting the chamber and I had to buy a new barrel. But that is the price you pay for being in this hobby. The .221 that I have has no such issues. The only negative issue I have with the .221 and its deravitives is the high cost of the brass. So far I have had almost zero problems forming cases for the .17 Mach IV and 20 VARTARG from original Remington brass. If done right, it is simple and easy. I have not had to turn any necks etc.

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All of my short range stuff (225 yards and under) with little or no wind are the 221 Fireball and the 22-Khornet. They're both cheap to shoot, kind'da. Nothing is CHEAP to shoot these days. But lighter on your shoulder after shooting 300 to 400 rounds a day. And I'm very surprised with the accuracy of both of them. All three of my guns shoot well under 1/2 inch at 100 yards, one ragged hole if I do my part using the 35 Vmax and Lil Gun. That little 35 Vmax bullet doesn't look like it would shoot worth a damn, but it does. I've used the 33 Speer TNT HP but it's not as good beyond 150 yards as the 35 Vmax. That 35 Vmax still flips them at 225 yards, AIRBORN.

As the wind goes up, I go up in power. Using the 222 Rem, 223 Rem, 223 Ackley, 22 PPC, 22-250 Rem, 22-250 Ackley, 6mm PPC, and when the wind is really going, the 6mm BR. A couple weeks ago one of the days I was shooting 4 Mil Dots into the wind at 200 yards and hitting about 7 out of 10.

The wind always blows here in the West, if it doesn't you burn up in the summer time. Unless of course you can find a tree to shoot under, NOT, there's not to many trees in the high desert.

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I have been a 221 fireball advocate for many years,the cartridge continues to amaze me! currently own three.Lil gun powder and the 40 gr.v-max was a marriage made in heaven.My favorite loads,40 gr. v-max, 15.3 grs. Lil-gun averages 3304 f.p.s..another dandy is 30 gr. varmint grenade,17 grs. Lil-gun averages 3852 f.p.s. both loads shoot under min.of angle.This last summer my partner and I travelled 2400 miles and shot 2400 rounds, we used 9 different calibers,at the end of the trip we critiqued them ,we both agreed that the mighty midget (221 fireball) is the king!another really good load ,although a little slower is 18 grs. of reloader 7 and 40 gr. v-max. The fireball is a 300 yard plus praire dog gun.Three of my friends are now fireball owners after shooting mine,and seeing the mighty midget perform.

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i rebarreled a savage model 10 with a adams and bennett 221 fireball barrel. it may be the most accurate rifle i own. at least at 100 meters. shoots very well out to 300 meters. thats as far as i've gone with it. 15 grains lilgun with a 40gr nosler( molyed) gets me 3600 fps. 16 grains lilgun with a 30gr varmint grenade (molyed) gets me 3900 fps. i read somewhere that the 221 is one of most efficient cases ever made. im a believer.



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The only negative about a 221 Fireball, or any cartridge based on it, is the source of the brass. Maybe someday Winchester will provide another source that's relatively inexpensive.

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My CZ 527 in .221 Fireball is my most accurate rifle,  15.4 g Lil Gun, 35 gr Horn V-MAX.  SCARY accuate at 100 yds, deadly on rock chucks, FUN to shoot, doesn't overheat.  LOVE IT.



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Prairiewolf

I found a CZ 527 American in 22 Hornet w/set trigger and had it converted to 22 K-Hornet. It doesn't quite have the range of the 221 Fireball, but it's a lot of fun to shoot, and very accurate.

WillinDenver

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Yeah, I was originally interested in the CZ in.22 Hornet, but when I found out that it was available in .221 Fireball, I immediately ordered one from the custom shop.  Actually,  I stumbled across one in .221 at Cabela's but it was in pretty bad shape.  I went home and called CZ custom shop in Arizona, and a week later I had the rifle.  I sure love that set trigger!



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I have a Remington 580 custom (converted to centerfire with Douglas med contour barrel in .221). This gun is light, easy to handle, and super accurate!! I only have a Burris 2x-7x on it most of the time, but put a slightly more powerful scope and a bipod= 1 hole groups all day long. My current load is 16.5 grains of 4227 under a Barnes 36 grain Varmint Grenade with a CCI BR Small Rifle Primer. This combo is fast handling and puts yotes down right now!! Only bitch is no good brass!! I put a lot of work into the Rem brass to make it viable.
geichal

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geichel

Welcome to the forum.  Lot of good info on here.

 

Have a good one!!!!!

 

Will



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I heard this weekend that Nosler is going to to make .221 fireball brass, deliveries starting at the end of this month!!!!!
Thanks for the welcome Will.
Geichal


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Darn, that's the best news I've heard all day- that Nosler is going to start making .221 brass. Now the only better news would be that it's quit raining and snowing in northern CA so I can GET UP THERE TO SHOOT SQUIRRELS!!

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But everyone knows it doesn't snow in California!  Just kidding, I'm originally from northern Cal myself, and people here in Utah think it doesn't snow in California!

I hope I can afford to buy some of that Nosler brass.  It just sounds expensive.



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I have a CZ-527 with a custom barrel it shoots great with reloader 7 and a 40gr. Nosler.

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Welcome geichal!

A .221 fireball is probably my next rifle purchase. I've been bouncing it around vs. the new 17 HH.

Eric

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and welcome to troutbum!

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My next rifle will be a 221. In fact I am looking for one now. I shot Belding ground squirrels (squeeks, sage rats) here in northeast calif. Right now I am shooting, 22lr, 17 hmr, 17 rem, 204 ruger, 223rem and 22-250 rem. Lol so you see I need a 221 rem. Ed

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Yes you do need one, and you'll love it!



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modoc squeek shooter wrote:

My next rifle will be a 221. In fact I am looking for one now. I shot Belding ground squirrels (squeeks, sage rats) here in northeast calif. Right now I am shooting, 22lr, 17 hmr, 17 rem, 204 ruger, 223rem and 22-250 rem. Lol so you see I need a 221 rem. Ed


  I have at least one of all you mentioned, but no 221 fireball. However i do have a 20VT, which is that case necked to 204 or .20 cal. It is a great little shooter and I feel better than the 221fireball. But that is just my opinion. I bet if you could shoot one, you would want one also. biggrin Bill K



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Well Bill I already been thinking of a 20VT, but want the fireball first. It isn't that I am not happy with what I have, I just would like to have them all lol. ED

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modoc squeek shoote

r wrote:


Well Bill I already been thinking of a 20VT, but want the fireball first. It isn't that I am not happy with what I have, I just would like to have them all lol. ED


  Know what you mean.. I am presently putting together a 223 AR-15, all of a sudden seems like I want one of my own.. Beginning with a Franklin Armory lower and going from there.. Oh the fun, we have, with our big toys.. biggrin Bill K



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My son and grandson both have AR's, they seem to like them for shooting squeeks. Personally for me there are to many bolts I don't own yet lol. But I am for whatever turns a guys crank lol. Ed

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This may be old news but Midway has Nosler 221 brass 2/28/13. I just ordered some. We will see how good it is.

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I also have my original 1966 XP100 in 221 Fireball it is a blast to shoot, killed lots of pd's and squirrels with it. Sure hear a lot of complaining about the Rem. brass been shooting 221 since 1966 and have not had a single issue with the brass, guess I am just lucky. He4ar some commentary on varmint grenade bullets now those I have had no luck with at all they shoot great, but no down range energy left too light and they just do expand violently enough for my taste. Nosler Sierra and Hornady are in my opinion the big three of varmint bullets.

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I shoot a rem. 700 classic this thing loves H-4227 16.6grs 40gr HP berger CCI 450's I have taking several crows and groundhogs at 200yds with it.

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I've got one in a 14 inch contender. Its a Match Grade Machine barrel that is REALLY accurate with surplus Accurate Arms 2200, Win. mag. primer and the Sierra 50 grain blitz. Really great dog medicine out to 200 yards. Love it!



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Since my last post on this thread, I have a 221 fireball and love it. I also bought a 17 fireball and love it more. I use to take 4 or 5 rifle when I was shooting squeeks, now I find myself taking just th fireballs. Both are great little rifles. Ed

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modoc squeek shooter wrote:

Since my last post on this thread, I have a 221 fireball and love it. I also bought a 17 fireball and love it more. I use to take 4 or 5 rifle when I was shooting squeeks, now I find myself taking just th fireballs. Both are great little rifles. Ed


  Ed.  Well I am still looking at one (221 FB) barrel or such.. In the meantime, to keep my interest peeked, I have a set of dies coming my way right now, should be in the post with in a week or so. So I guess you could say, I am going at it backwards, but for sure headed for one in the den..  Hee, hee. All a couple of you fellows fault.  Bill K



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I had two 221 FBs; needed an action for a 20 VT, now I only have one, took the barrel off of one.  It's a 22 inch fluted SS Remington off of a Light Varmint rifle.  I purchased two $150 muzzle breaks and caps for both of them and took the barrel off before I had the muzzle break installed.  Some ask "Why have a muzzle break on a 221 FB?"  Shot it all day and you'll see.

Anyone want it, the muzzle break goes with it for the right price.  It has probably 1,000 rounds through it, I don't abuse or hot load my guns, many rounds left in it.

Will



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What I am looking for is the action, from a 221/17 FB to put this 20VT barrel, I have, onto.. Anyone have a extra lying around ? Bill K

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