.221 Rem Fireball brass from .223?


December 27, 2008, 11:34 AM
I know you can make .300 Whisper, (opened .221RF) but is it possible to make .221 Remington Fireball from .223 Rem brass? If so, how hard would it be?



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December 27, 2008, 11:55 AM
Yes, you can, but it is somewhat troublesome.

Redding makes a form & trim die.

The resulting excess neck has to be cut off, and trimmed to length.

Then, they have to be neck-reamed.

The .221 is so short, you are into the thicker case web walls on .223 brass where the neck ends up being.


December 27, 2008, 12:58 PM
221FB virgin brass is readily available, why go to all the trouble?

December 27, 2008, 04:50 PM
Just in case i can't get my hands on it in the future, it has been harder and harder for me to get lately....i think hte cartridge is "dying" as much as i like it:D The .17 RF is now taking over.

December 27, 2008, 05:25 PM
Remington only makes a run of it every few years. When it is gone, it is gone until the next time they decide to make another batch.

When you do find it, buy a bunch!


December 27, 2008, 07:20 PM
The new 17FB is in production as we speak and uses the 221FB case necked down. Fireball brass is readily available.

December 27, 2008, 10:52 PM
Will that have thick enough necks? quite a jump for the little amount of brass there to start with.

December 28, 2008, 09:45 AM
It will be fine necked up. I neck up 222 Remington Magnum to 6MM for 6X47 Int. Match. I also do 30-06 for 8MM-06, 338-06, and 35 Whelen. I have necked down 270 to 6.5 for 6.5-270. I also make 7.7X58 out of Military '06 brass. And am working on 43 Spanish from 348 Winchester. I neck down and trim 356 Winchester Magnum from 357 Magnum.

December 28, 2008, 08:41 PM
rcmodel was correct on all counts.

I'm caught up in re-forming 223 brass to 221 Fireball for the very reason you stated, it's sometimes hard to get. Last summer you just couldn't find it anywhere. Now there seems to be a good supply.

First batch - I worked 12 cases from start to finish, 4 different kinds of 223 brass. The easiest brass to work is Winchester as it appears to have the thinest webbing and requires less meat be turned off the neck.

I use an outside neck turner, the K&M model (my main Christmas present this year), with their expandiron and the carbide mandrel that can cut out the "donut". I also got an anvil micrometer that can measure in .0001" increments.

The brass ring donut will form on the inside of the neck when they are fire-formed in your gun. From what I can tell it comes about after firing because of the thick brass at the neck/shoulder junction. It gets pushed into the bottom of the neck area.

I should add - I'm going to all this trouble because I really like the gun, Rem 700 with a Boyd's Thumbhole Laminate stock, and intend to shoot it for many years and didn't want to have a brass supply problem in case it goes completely out of vogue with shooters.


December 28, 2008, 09:34 PM
I've done it and I'd rather hunt up real .221 brass. The neck is so thick when formed from .223 that it really is a pain. To see for yourself take a .223 case and a .221 case. Hacksaw the .223 case where the .221 neck would end up being and see how much thicker it is. You'll be neck reaming all day...hmm, that sounds a bit pornographic.
After you're all reformed, reamed, drilled washed and waxed...check the case capacity. The shortened up .223 case has less capacity and in some cases...a lot less. In a case as small as a .221 it can be a problem if you're intending to load anything nearing a max load.

December 29, 2008, 09:14 AM
Yes, you do have to turn quite a bit off the re-formed brass. As far as case capacity, I have zeroed in on three powders, IMR 4198, Reloader #7 (my favorite), and Hodgdon LilGun. All three have a bit of room to spare, especially LilGun, in a factory 221 so I should be able to work up an equivalent load with a slightly reduced volume.

My hope is to get long life from the re-formed cases, if that proves true it will be worth the effort.

December 29, 2008, 01:36 PM
Because the walls will be so thick, it should have very long life, no?

I will look for thin walled .223 cases if i start this.

December 29, 2008, 08:50 PM
I would expect very long case life, especially in a 221 Fireball.

December 29, 2008, 10:11 PM
I would use the .223 conversion as a last resort. If there is .221 available I would hoard it and only use .223 if I ran out. You can always use .223 right?

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