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Rechamber Hornet to Fireball?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by Jaywalker, Jun 21, 2003.

  1. Jaywalker

    Jaywalker Well-Known Member

    I've always wanted a .221 Fireball rifle in an action shorter than the Remington 700. I'm not willing to screw up the resale value of an Anschutz, but the CZ 527 appears to be a good, inexpensive platform for the experiment, if it's at all possible.

    The Hornet is rimmed, with a casehead .350 inches, and a case length of 1.403 inches.

    The Fireball is unrimmed, with a casehead of .378 inches, and a case length of 1.400 inches.

    Is this a possibility?

  2. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    I am not familiar with the CZ 527, but I would be concerned that a gun made for the mild .22 Hornet might not stand up to firing the .221 Fireball, which is a high intensity, high pressure load. In addition, .22LR and .22 Hornet rifles were usually made with mild steel barrels, and the .221 Fireball might cause excessive wear and erosion, as in "look ma, no lands".

  3. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    The CZ 527 is available in .223 and 7.62 Combloc as well as .22 Hornet so I would not worry about strength or material quality.

    I WOULD worry about magazine compatibility going from rimmed to rimless and from OAL 1.72" to 1.83". The bolt face would likely have to be opened up.

    Rebarelling the .223 would get out of the inexpensive category very fast. I don't know if the barrel shank would let you set the .223 barrel back by 0.36" so as to rechamber. That would not be cheap, either, unless you were set up to do it yourself. No need to get into why a .221 will suit you better than a .223, I realize that is just the way things are.
  4. Jaywalker

    Jaywalker Well-Known Member

    It's nice to be where people understand you. :D Really, I'm just looking for an updated Hornet that isn't much louder, has better case life, and isn't as finicky as the Hornet's reputation. As to the Rem 700, it's just inelegant to have that much extra action; I might as well have a 22/250.

    Okay, thanks. The answer is "it's not impossible," so I can ask my local 'smith what it would take. I hadn't considered magazine issues, yet. Possibly the .222/.223 magazines would fit and work.

  5. Cal4D4

    Cal4D4 Well-Known Member

    How about the K-Hornet? The improvements are supposed to head in the directions you are seeking. A quick check of data shows both .221 or KHornet throwing a 45 gr. bullet at around 3000fps. The sharper shoulder on the K Hornet is supposed to improve case characteristics and you can shoot/fireform factory Hornet in the K modified chamber. Wish I had one!
  6. Brian Williams

    Brian Williams Moderator Emeritus

    I would like a 221 fireball also...

    2 ideas:
    1 get a Hornet and ream the chamber to Khornet or ream to 221 fireball but you need a new bolt or bolt face and 223 mags.

    2 get an unbarreled action and have it built/barreled the way you want. then get the stock you want.

    I am probably going to get a 22 hornet in a NEF Super light Handi rifle and either ream it to Khornet or 221 fireball, If I go fireball I will just need a 223 extractor. If I go Khornet I will get a Williams WGRS peep sight, if I go with 221 I would scope it.

    One other question is will the twist be correct if you rechamber.
  7. Jaywalker

    Jaywalker Well-Known Member

    Lyman's 47th Relaoding Handbook shows both using a 1-14 twist. Even if that isn't true in any given rifle, I suspect I could adjust bullet weights to work,

    K-Hornet is a reasonable fallback, if the other changes appear too expensive for me. FWIW, I could live with the base Hornet, too. Or the 17HMR. I've just wanted a rifle-based .221 since the Seventies, and I'm done waiting for someone to manufacture one for me in a really short action.

  8. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Well-Known Member

    The bolt face and magazine on the CZ 527 in .22 Hornet present a substantial problem. (lenght and girth of .221)
    I understand the attraction. (See Nosler manual on .221 Fireball in rifle)
    I own a Ruger M77/22 in .22 Hornet and would not be without it. It is not as accurate as a .221, but is acceptable. With Hodgdon "Lil-gun" in the Hornet, the difference in a .221 w/ 50 gr and 20" bbl. vs my 24" bbl with Hod Lil-gun loads is minimal. (2,750fps w/50gr bullets from Hornet vs. 2,850+/- w/ .221)

    However, the best route for a .221 would be to get a Mini MkX action for .223 and have it barreled to .221 I would go with an E.R. Shaw barrel, put on by them,; and a Boyds laminated stock for $$$ savings. Or, what ever if $$$'s don't matter.
    Brownells has the Charles Daley Mini MkX in their latest catalog and are now being imported. (same company as old one by Interarms, factory has been rebuilt after Yugo civil war)
    A Mini MkX retails for less than the CZ and the factory barrel can be set back by a gunsmith, also. Custom barrel would likely be more accurate.

    Or, you could trade for a Rem. 700 Classic in .221. An aquaintainance who is a benchrest shooter is getting sub 0.5" groups with his "box-stock" Rem. 700. (with RL-#7 and Nosler 50gr BT's.)

    BTW, my Ruger has 1-14 twist, as do the Rem. 700's I'm told. With 50gr bullets is OK. If I was building custom rifle, I might go with 1-12 in cas I wanted to shoot 55gr bullets. (cheaper in bulk than non-bulk 50gr)
  9. Jaywalker

    Jaywalker Well-Known Member

    That sounds like a good approach. I had not been aware of the Mini MkX - and I can't find it online. Do you have a link?

    Also, I've read about "setting back a barrel," but I don't know what it means.

    The 700 won't work for me - the action is just too big to be appealing for this cartridge.

    Edited to say that I did find the link to the actions on Brownell's Mini MkX. Unfortunately, they're discontinued and out of stock.

    Thanks for the idea, though.

    Last edited: Jun 24, 2003
  10. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Well-Known Member

    The Brownells link is an old one. I just got my latest catalog last week and they were in the "late arrivals" insert. I've been eagerly awaiting the import approval so I can build me another .257 Roberts on a "LEFT HAND MAUSER" action as the Charles Daly MkX will be available in a left handed version, cal.30/06 only in the Supreme version. List retail is about $565.00 so I should be able to get one for about $400. Then try to decide which barrel I want to put on it !

    (note; brownells listing did not list the left hand action, I'll have to find a distributer to order it from)

    Go to www.charlesdaly.com
    Call Brownells and see when the shipment came/comes in and report back !
  11. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    Or you could break the piggybank and get a Cooper.
    Stay off the options list and a Model 38 Varminter is $995.
    That is not a lot beside what a real gunsmith will charge to fit a barrel and stock.

    Setting a barrel back means to:
    Take it out of the action.
    Cut enough off the breech end so that when you run in the chamber reamer in the new caliber it completely obliterates the original one.
    Lathe turn and thread a new barrel shank; or just extend the original if the setback was not great.

    The inventory of 1903 Springfield .30-03s had their barrels set back two turns of the threads and rechambered to .30-06, for a large scale example.
  12. Jaywalker

    Jaywalker Well-Known Member

    I'll call them. Daly shows a SRP of $289 for the action. Any idea what this project might run in gunsmith fees? Yeah, I know, "How high is up?" I've never put a rifle together, so I have no idea.

    Jim Watson:

    Well, I looked, but they don't really appeal to me - bolt action single shot for the Classic, aluminum trigger guard and a stock a bit too long would require adjustment. I presume they'd do the stock, though.

    Oh, and thanks for the description of "setting back."

  13. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Well-Known Member

    E.R. Shaw will install, and blue a barrell for around $225. A Boyds stock will set you back about $150.00. Glass bedding and fitting the Stock is not a major operation. A finished stock might just shoot fine "As Is". One I put on a Rem. 597 .22mag was a "drop in" fit and dramatically improved the consistency of the rife.

    My gunsmith would probably charge 100.00 to 175.00 to remove, set back, ream, headspace, and re-install the barrel. A really minor chore as he specializes in BR and LongRange rifle work. Pays the bills with the "small" jobs.

    It pays to shop around for gun work, and get to know gunsmith on personal basis. A frequent/regular customer gets much better "quotes".

    I noted that you inquired about reduced charges in reloading section. That is a broad topic. Different cartridges respond differently, and vary greatly from one propellant to another.
    The .222 and .223 respond well. Best powders are the Extruded ones (IMR, H's like 4198, 4227, 4895). Worst ones are the slower spherical ones.....H110/Win296, Win748, H414, H380- . Most manuals have reduced velocity data.

    BTW, the .222 with reduced loads will probably still out shoot for accuracy the Hornet with any loads. Has more to do with cartridge design and manufacturing parameters. (I own both! and want a Rem. 700 in .221 Fireball, but have other priorities !)
  14. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    Yeah, a few months ago all the gunzines had feature articles by writers who had DIY "custom rifles" with Slobbovian surplus Mausers, Shaw barrels, and Boyd stocks. Very reminiscent of the '50s VZ24/Douglas/Bishop outfits ony the stocks are better and the actions worse. Not bad for a DIY, IF you really can do it yourself, but if I'm paying, I had just as soon buy commercial.

    If I were going to pay a gunsmith for a .221 rifle, I would pony up for a NICE one. Else load a .223 to minimum and go shootin'.

    But that is just my opinion.
  15. Brian Williams

    Brian Williams Moderator Emeritus

    Grice gun shop in Clearfield PA is doing a custom distributor buy of 600 Rem Mod 700 in 221 fireball. Their phone number is 1 814-7665-9273. I think the order date is late August. They had a nice prototype one there with a nice laminated thumbhole stock and a 24" blue barrel.
  16. Jaywalker

    Jaywalker Well-Known Member

    Perfessr: A factory Remington in Fireball would certainly seem to be the simplest approach. I can't get excited by the too-long action, though.


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