22 Hornet vs. 218 Bee

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by Frogtop, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. Frogtop

    Frogtop New Member

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    I just read a magazine article on the 218 Bee. In it the writer referenced the 22 Hornet several times and also mentioned that cases can be made for either 25/20 or 32/20 brass. The Bee case looks more like a conventional bottle necked ctg while the Hornet is more of a taper like some of the old H&H proprietary ctgs. He mentioned that the Bee is a bit faster than the Hornet. Is that the main difference? In other words, what made the Bee unique enough to develop a cartridge for it and put it on the market?
  2. cpttango30

    cpttango30 Guest

    Both were and are great short range varmint cartridges (0-300 yards).

    The Bee was originally brought out in the Win 65 Lever action. I believe it was produced to get the lever gun lovers a good high velocity varmint cartridge. This was also a big draw back as many said the rifle and cartridge was not very accurate.

    It was a little faster than the Hornet and in the right rifle it was very accurate.

    The biggest draw to them then and now is that they are not very loud. When compared to the 222, 223, 220 Swift, 22-250 they are down right quiet buggers. This allows them to be used to varmint hunt in more populated areas.

    In the 20-60's were the hay day of wildcatting. You could buy surplus 1903, M98, 1917 for just a few dollars out of the back of magazines. Slap a heavy barrel on them and a nice stock and you had an instant varmint/ bench rest rifle.

    http://stevespages.com/jpg/cd218bee.jpg

    http://stevespages.com/jpg/cd22hornet.jpg
  3. soundguy

    soundguy Well-Known Member

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    i have a 218bee but no hornet to compair it too. I also shoot 222rem. love them both.
  4. Twicepop

    Twicepop Active Member

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    No, the Hornet cannot be made fron either 25-20 or 32-20 cases. It's the 218 Bee round that was formed from the two aforementioned cartridges. I thought the Bee was first introduced in the bolt action Winchester Model 43. The Hornet was developed from the old black powder cartridge that was I believe called the .22WCF.


    those who beat their guns into plowshares, will plow for those who didn't
  5. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

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    I think the 65 lever rifle (an updated Model 1892) pre-dates the Model 43 but I don't know for sure.



    the Hornet is slightly smaller in diameter than the Bee and has about 2/3 the powder capacity of the Bee case. And nope, you can't form Hornet brass from the 32-20 family cases.

    Both of em are sweet little short-range varmint shooters though. Think of either cartridge as a reloadable .22magnum (with a little more snort).
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2012
  6. Frogtop

    Frogtop New Member

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    What rifle in 218 Bee do you have?
  7. Twicepop

    Twicepop Active Member

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    It was the Hornet and not the Bee that derived from the .22WCF cartridge, this was pioneered and developed by Townsend Whelen and a few other notables from the era at the Springfield Armoury. The first rifles were made on the rimfire version of the "03 Springfield, hence the .223" bore diameter of the early guns. Most early Hornet rifles had this bore diameter regardless of manufacturer, as a carry over from the first guns rimfire barrels.
  8. soundguy

    soundguy Well-Known Member

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    neat info, thanks!
  9. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

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    Aw $%@*! Yup, you're correct. The Hornet is based on the .22WCF, not the Bee.
    That'll teach me to post things early in the morning as I'm heading out the door for work!

    For some reason, I'm thinking there is another small .22 that is based on the XX-20WCF family besides the 218Bee.
  10. Frogtop

    Frogtop New Member

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    Thanks for all the great info and discussion. I understand that the Model 54 Win was not offered in 218 Bee, is this correct?
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