Go to your saved Cartridges

Your Armory

  • Your Armory is empty.

Can't find what you're looking for? Open a ticket and we will help you find it!

221 Fireball

221_fireball

Remington developed the 221 Fireball in 1963, by shortening the 222 Remington case.  Intended for chambering in the unusual bolt-action Remington single-shot XP-100 pistol.  The Fireball is among the best of 22-caliber varminting rounds, especially when chambered in a rifle.

The 223 has about a 10% ranging advantage but the 221 generates far less recoil, noise, and barrel heating.  For most varminters, most of the time, the 221 does everything the 223 does and does it well enough to more than offset any 223 advantages.

After discovering the 221 Fireball, I preached its advantages to other varminters.  As with most preaching, this mostly fell on deaf ears.  But as more of them watched me use a 221 while they used their 223s, things changed.


On days with plentiful targets, to prevent rapid barrel damage they had to stop shooting to let their 223s cool, I never did.  They had to stop shooting three to four times a day to clean the bore, I never did.  Three of those acquaintances now favor the 221 over the 223.

With the best modern components in an accurate gun, the 221 will far outshoot the capabilities of most varminters most of the time.  I watched John Anderson, Editor of Varmint Hunter magazine and former Handgun Silhouette competitor, use his Contender 221 to take hundreds of Richardson ground squirrels, one-third the size of a prairie dog, with many shots past 250 yards.

A final comment about my favorite 22-caliber varminting round: evidently, Mike Walker, who perfected the 222 Remington in the early-1950s, was on vacation when Remington decided to design the 221; otherwise, no possible explanation exists for the silly short neck used.

The 221 was intended for use in a single-shot gun, so overall cartridge length could not have mattered.  The factory load had a considerable portion of the bullet shank forward of the case mouth; the short neck reduced neck tension and accuracy.  Shortening the case neck, compared to the proven 222 neck-length, served no purpose.  All Remington had to do was shorten the 222 case-body with no other changes.  The resulting round would have been far superior to the design adopted for the 221.

But, as noted in many other discussions, cartridge designers just cannot seem to understand that case neck length matters.  They are wont to use a short case neck to get a velocity increase of 5- to 15- fps, or less!  By using a too-short case neck they create cartridges with far shorter barrel life for a meaningless ballistic advantage.

In this instance, because the original Fireball load had more than 0.1-inch of the bullet shank protruding beyond the case mouth using a case with a 0.1-inch longer neck and seating the bullet to the same overall length would have made no velocity difference but it would have improved barrel life and probably ballistic uniformity and accuracy; and, in any case, because the Fireball was intended for use in a single-shot gun where overall length made no difference, it is impossible to explain why Remington adopted the short neck.

The heritage of this case dates to the 38 Colt cartridge of the 1860s and before that with the 1839 introduction of the 36 Colt Paterson cap-and-ball Revolver.


The text associated with the cartridge description reflects opinions and conclusions of the author, M.L. (Mic) McPherson. Lee Precision and its employees do not necessarily either agree or disagree with any of his comments. We present these with due deference to his recognized expertise in the firearms field. His acumen extends to handloading and all aspects of ballistics - internal, external, and terminal.
Die Sets
Lee Collet Necksizing 2-Die Set
Lee RGB Die Set
Lee Full-Length Sizing Die Set
90549 (3-Die set)
Lee Breech Lock Die Set
Lee Ultimate 4-Die Set
Lee Loader
Single Dies
Full-Length Sizing Die
91036
Sizing Die
Neck Sizing Die
Undersize Sizing Die
Charging Die
90668 (Short Charging Die)
Seating Die
91393
Factory Crimp Die
90829 (Collet Style)
90595-6 (Collet Style)
Taper Crimp Die
Inline Bullet Feed Die
91998 (22CAL )
Die Accessories
Guided Decapper
91576
Undersized Flash Hole Decapping Mandrel
Undersized Mandrel
Case Conditioning Tools
Case Length Gauge and Shell Holder
90112
Quick Trim Die
91364
Presses
Reloader Press (50 RPH)
Hand Press (50 RPH)
Challenger Press (50 RPH)
Classic Cast Press (50 RPH)
Value Turret Press (250 RPH)
Classic Turret Press (250 RPH)
Ultimate Turret Press (250 RPH)
Pro 1000 Press (500+ RPH)
Pro 4000 Press (500+ RPH)
Six Pack Pro Press (500+ RPH)
Shell Plates and Holders
Priming Tool Shell Holder
90204 (#4)
Universal Press Shell Holder
90521 (R4)
X-Press Shell Holder (APP)
91537 (#4)
Pro 1000 Shell Plate
90653 (#4S)
Auto Breech | Pro 4000 Shell Plate
90630 (4)
Six Pack Pro Shell Plate
91838 (4S)
Inline Bullet Feed
Inline Bullet Feed Die
91998 (22CAL )
Inline Bullet Feed Kit
92010 (22 CAL)
Inline Bullet Feed Magazine
92014 (Small Inline Bullet Magazine)
Bullet Casting
Classic Bullet Sizing Kit
Breech Lock Bullet Sizer and Punch
91506
Bullet Molds

Challenger III

From $117.00

Ultimate Turret Press

From $320.00

Deluxe APP Press Kit

91898

The Lee Deluxe Automatic Processing Press gives you the same priming convenience found only on expensive progressive reloading presses.

$155.00

Six Pack Pro Press

From $400.00