Reduced .222 rounds with Blue Dot (Calhoon loads)


January 31, 2009, 01:30 AM
I just started reloading .32H&R, using .5cc of Blue Dot with a 78gr RN lead slug.

Just today I picked up an old Savage 340 with Weaver mounts for $195, in .222. So I went to see if Blue Dot could be used in .222 at all.

I'd been more hoping to find a .22 Hornet rifle for cheap reloading, low noise, and minimal barrel heat/wear, soI was pleased to hear that apparently Blue Dot has indeed been used with some success, mainly in reduced loads for .222/.223. These reduced loads apparently more or less replicate Hornet performance. So I can hopefully get low-hassle quiet shooting with small amounts (4-14gr) of powder I already have in stock.

Does anyone see any reasons why Calhoon's data would not be a good idea? I do understand that .222 is not the same as .223, but if I stick to 40 and 45 grain bullets, and stay away from the stated max charge, should I be reasonably safe?

Calhoon's chart is at the bottom of this page:

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January 31, 2009, 09:46 AM
I have read a more complete version of the article that you have. In that version, it was mentioned that in the 222 Rem, to reduce the Max load of Blue Dot by 1 grain and the 221 Fireball by 2 grains.
Here's the article. The info on the 222 is towards the bottom.


January 31, 2009, 10:08 AM
Okay, I saw your post and got interested.

I use Quickload software - ballistic program package - and I found that if you take your .222 case, put 12 grains of Blue Dot in there, and put a .22 Hornet bullet in there, you can get about 2800 FPS! :what:

If you're looking at reduced (quiet) loads, using Hornet bullets is a great idea, because they're built "light" in the jacket, and otherwise configured to expand at lower velocities that the Hornet delivers. 2800 FPS with a 40-grain Hornet bullet is a bunch of wallop at 200 yards or less, for smaller varmints like groundhogs from a shot that won't break the neighbors' windows.

Let's say you want to go a bit quieter. 8 grains of Blue Dot under the same bullet will get you about 2100 fps. 6 grains will still get you 1600 fps. At that point it starts burning less efficiency, as the low powder charge doesn't have enough "back pressure" to allow it to burn entirely before the bullet clears the muzzle. I suspect even the Hornet bullet starts to run out of 'expandability,' too, around that point.

Quieter and heavier? Try 6.0 grains with a 45 grain Hornet bullet - still 1600 fps. Going lower than that starts to get problematic for getting the powder to burn efficiently - you'd probably have to use Unique or some other powder faster than Blue Dot to get your load to go subsonic and still be a reliable performer.

Anyway, that'll give you a theoretical set of values for you - I'm not a ballistician, so take what I just gave you as information for the sake of argument, not loading advice. What you do with it is YOUR responsibility.

I hope that helps. It looks like you can get Hornet performance - and even less, if that's what you want - using Blue Dot, .222, and .224 40-45 grain Hornet bullets. Have fun!

January 31, 2009, 11:14 AM
4grs to 6grs of H-Clays and 40gr or 45gr HP in a 222rem or 223rem case won't upset close neighbors either, in case your looking for a good load for around 22mag velocity or less.

January 31, 2009, 11:53 AM
I haven't seen loads using blue dot but I have some information for using 2400. The next 222 I load will be with 2400. I am shooting out of a 10 in Contender so I need a fast powder.

January 31, 2009, 12:36 PM
Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook and their regular reloading books have reduced stuff for cast.

February 1, 2009, 03:36 AM
Does the viability of low-power loads in .222 and .223 kind of call into question the overall utility of the Hornet these days then?

Or is the Hornet still cheaper/cooler/quieter than even the low-grainage loadings of the larger rounds?

To one degree, I almost want to get a Hornet just to do low-hassle plinking. But then again, if I can have a .223 that I can load hot to reach out 500m, or load cool to shoot cast at 100m, that seems more versatile.

Mainly doing .222 since my Savage 340 cost $195, otherwise I'd probably do .223 if I were buying a new rifle or T/C barrel.

February 1, 2009, 11:42 AM
Talking about the viability of the Hornet. I had two 10 inch 22 barrels for my Contender. One was a 22 Hornet and the other was a 222. I ended up selling the 22 Hornet. I can down load a 222 to Hornet specs but I can't up load 22 Hornet to 222 specs. Brass is about the same price, dies are the same price. 222 brass lasts longer. Store bought ammo is about the same price. I didn't see much reason to keep the Hornet anymore.

The main reason I went with the 222 is while looking for a 22 Hornet barrel I found a 10" 222 octagon barrel for 120 in near mint condition. Then I found a used set of dies for 15. What can I say I have a hard time passing up a deal. I am glad I bought it though. I would eventually like to buy a 22 mold and do some casting but I buy in bulk for 223 and as little volume as I shoot the 222 I can't justify the extra cost at the moment.

February 1, 2009, 02:03 PM
Would you rather just have gotten a .223 barrel for your T/C, since you have .223 brass/dies anyway?

I'm still having trouble figuring out the advantages of .222 over .223, besides some vague "the .222 is more accurate." It seems you can achieve most .222 ballistics in a .223, but that the .223 had a little more oomph that the .222 just can't do.

February 1, 2009, 02:18 PM
I have a 223 barrel too in a 14 inch form. There isn't much difference between them. The 223 is cheaper and has a little more velocity. I just like the 222 for a pistol. It is a lower volume case. I just think it lends itself better to a 10 inch barrel gun. If I am shooting off a rest I would lean towards the 14 inch scoped 223 but for off hand I will lean towards the 10 inch 222. I also like to be a little different and not have what everyone else has. To a point. I won't get something so odd ball I have to scrounge the planet for brass or pay for custom dies. Like my 7-30 is far out enough to peak peoples interest but I don't have to have anything exotic to load for them.

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