Rimmed varmint cartridges


March 28, 2009, 02:40 PM
I'm looking at possibly doing a build on a Martini action some time in the somewhat distant future. Due to the action type I think a rimmed cartridge would be best. I've thought about .45-70 and .303 Brit but I already have rifles in those chamberings. 38-55 would be kind of neat, too, but what I really want is a varmint type cartridge. I just can't think of too many rimmed cartridges that meet the criteria. Right off the top of my head I can think of .22 hornet, but that's about it. Can anyone else name any?

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March 28, 2009, 02:45 PM
.22 Savage Hi-power? S&B loads it.

Harve Curry
March 28, 2009, 02:48 PM
I like the 22 Hornet so far. It's a real effiecient cartridge.
Look in Cartridges of the World;
There's the 218 Bee, 25-20, 22Hornet and K Hornet, 220 Swift, 225 Winchester, 25-35 Win, 256 Win Mag, based on 357 brass, real efficient and a strong popular case.

Rancho Relaxo
March 28, 2009, 03:27 PM
Harve got most of the good ones. I guess you could say 17HMR is a varmint cartridge, though it is a rimfire. Also, there's lots of variations on the Hornet necked down to 17 or 19 caliber.

March 28, 2009, 03:30 PM
.22 swift?

March 28, 2009, 03:39 PM
.220 isn't rimmed though. Semi-rimmed, but would it be enough for reliable use in a martini?

March 28, 2009, 03:54 PM
222 Rimmed, brass is available and was/is very popular in Australia, saw a number of Martini Cadets in that chambering when I was in West Australia some years back.

March 28, 2009, 05:55 PM
A Martini would be a perfect action for several wildcats developed for single-shot actions years ago.
A .219 Donaldson Wasp, or 25 Krag would be fun.

Or any of the "Ackley Improved" calibers based on the 30-30 case
That could be a .22/30-30 AI, 6mm/30-30 AI, or other caliber.


Jim Watson
March 28, 2009, 07:10 PM
Which size Martini? The .310 Cadet or one of the British service rifles for .577-450 or .303?

I would think maybe .218 Bee for the Cadet, unless you could line up one of the rimless extractors designed and made by Bob Snapp, in which case it would make a great .222 without the hassle of rounding up .222 Rimmed. Or maybe a .357 Maximum necked down to .22 or 6mm if you don't mind dinking around with a wildcat.

If you could find a large action in .303, it will already have had the firing pin bushed and would handle .219 Zipper Improved, .219 Donaldson Wasp, or .225 Winchester. (The .225 is technically semi-rimmed but there is enough there to pull the empties. I recall an old gunzine article about how the .225 was going to rejuvenate the single shot varmint rifle game because it could be used in strong actions difficult to set up for rimless. Never amounted to much, though.)

Harve Curry
March 28, 2009, 07:56 PM
256 Win Mag, based on 357 brass, it propels a 60gr at 250 fps with 14 gr powder or 87gr @ 2200fps. Some show the 60gr at 2800fps. All with about 14 to 14gr of powder. 22 Hornet uses 2-4 gr less powder. I don't have any experience necking down but a 357mag case necked to .224 caliber (for all the bullets that are available) sounds like a pretty fast and efficeint cartridge. Now I want one.

March 28, 2009, 08:59 PM
Which size Martini? The .310 Cadet or one of the British service rifles for .577-450 or .303?

Well, I have a lead on a large frame action. I'm not sure if it was the .577-450 or a .303 or whether the firing pin is already bushed. I'd mentioned how I would like to build a custom Martini some day on another forum, and one of the members there told me about one that's available at a good price. If it's still available next payday I'm probably going to buy it and put it on a shelf for future use. This is a very long term project, so if I move forward with it I'm going to save my pennies and do it right.

I didn't know anyone made rimless extractors for the Martini - that's an interesting idea. Is it reliable?

The .256 Win Mag sounds intriguing. I'm not familiar at all with that cartridge, but I'm going to have to do some research on it. .22/30-30 AI sounds interesting too.

March 28, 2009, 09:05 PM
225 win
243 formed from 307 brass
various 303 based wildcats

March 28, 2009, 10:40 PM
.22 savage hi-power seems like the no brainer. Good oomph, 71 grain pill at between 2,700-2,800 fps... And factory loaded ammo is available. Perfect, perfect, perfect.

March 29, 2009, 04:12 AM
If using a Cadet size action, I believe I would stick with either a .22 Hornet or .218 Bee. Ifusing a large Martini, I would look at the .22-303 wildcat. Factory brass has been available at times.


March 29, 2009, 04:22 AM
There was the old .225 Winchester, although that's an obsolete cartridge only still made by a couple of obscure companies. There's a reason why it died: it was released the same year as the .223, and was only slightly more powerful. And being a rimmed cartridge it was unsuitable for use in autoloading rifles.

March 29, 2009, 07:30 PM
OK, so after more research I'm really interested in the .256 Win Mag. It seems like a very efficient cartridge and that intrigues me.

So, I was looking at dies, and I see both regular 2 & 3 die sets as well as case forming dies. If this cartridge is just a .357 case necked down to .257, couldn't you just run the case into a sizing die and neck it down? I've never formed brass from another cartridge before, so I'm not familiar with how it's done.

March 29, 2009, 08:06 PM
I form brass for my .357 Herrett from .30-30. Trim .200, size up from .30 to .35 caliber. I use my regular loading dies. You most likely will have to turn the necks if you squeeze them down that much. Since you're going from .357 down to .25, you'll most like have to reduce the necks in stages. You may need something with about a .27 to .30 neck as an intermediate step.

You need to anneal after forming (go to Varmint Al's site for instructions) and use VERY good lube. Ross Seyfried suggested Rooster CFL (case forming lube) which works great.

If you need in depth instructions, PM your addy and I'll try to find the article in my back issue of Handloader that describes the process in great detail.

It's one of those things that sounds a lot harder than it really is, plus guys think you're a real guru if you rework brass.

April 1, 2009, 11:06 PM
Well, thanks for all the suggestions - I talked to the place selling the action and I'm sending the money tomorrow. I still haven't decided on a caliber, but I'm strongly leaning toward the .256 Win Mag. If I don't go with that I'll probably do something slightly larger that would be appropriate for deer sized game - maybe at .25/303?

Anyway, I have a long time to decide. I already have one custom project in the works, and if the barrel I ordered ever shows up I'll have to get moving on it again.

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