The .222 Remington and .222 Rem. Mag.
By Chuck Hawks
Typical factory loads for the .222 Remington drive a 50 grain spitzer bullet at a muzzle velocity (MV) of 3,140 fps with 1,094 ft. lbs. of muzzle energy (ME). Zero that factory load at 200 yards and the bullet will hit 1.9" high at 100 yards, 1.7" high at 150 yards, 0 at 200 yards, 3.6" low at 250 yards, and 9.7" low at 300 yards. Recoil is minimal, about 3.5 ft. lbs. from the 50 grain factory load in a light 7 pound rifle. The .222 Rem. is a fine varmint cartridge out to about 225 yards.
Here are some specifications of interest to relaoders: Bullet diameter .224", maximum COL 2.130", maximum case length 1.700", MAP 46,000 cup.
The Sierra Bullets Reloading Manual, Second Edition lists maximum loads at MV's of 3200-3300 fps with most powders behind their 50 grain bullets (SD .142). For instance, 20.9 grains of RL7 powder or 26.4 grains of Winchester 748 powder will give a MV of 3200 fps. These loads essentially duplicate the performance of the standard factory offerings.
With Sierra's 52 grain (SD .148) and 53 grain (SD .151) bullets the maximum loads typicaly achieve MV's of 3100-3200 fps. 20.9 grains of RL7 or 25.8 grains of W748 powders will give a MV of 3100 fps. The trajectory of these loads is nearly identical to that of the 50 grain spitzer bullet; apparently the slightly superior BC the heavier bullet makes up for the slightly lower velocity.
The Sierra 55 grain bullets (SD .157) can be driven to MV's of 3000-3100 fps. 19.9 grains of RL7 or 24.7 grains of W748 will yield MV's of 3000 fps.
Sierra technicians used Remington cases and Rem. 7 1/2 primers with all of the reloads mentioned, which were chronographed from a 26" test barrel.
.222 Remington Magnum
I believe that Remington stopped offering .222 Magnum factory loads sometime in 1998. The last Remington factory load for the .222 Magnum drove a 55 grain bullet at a MV of 3,240 fps. Muzzle energy was 1,282 ft. lbs.
A scope sighted .222 Magnum rifle shooting the Remington 55 grain spitzer bullet and zeroed at 200 yards hit 1.6" high at 100 yards, 1.5" high at 150 yards, 0 at 200 yards, and 3.1" low at 250 yards. That made the .222 Magnum about a 230 yard varmint cartridge.
Here are some specifications of interest to relaoders: Bullet diameter .224", maximum COL 2.280", maximum case length 1.850", MAP 50,000 cup.
Today the cartridge is strictly a proposition for reloaders. According to the Sierra Reloading Manual their 55 grain spitzer bullets can be driven to a MV of 3200 fps with 21.9 grains of IMR 4198, 24.4 grains of IMR 3031, or 26.1 grains of IMR 4895 powders. All loads used Remington brass and Rem. 7 1/2primers. This essentially duplicates the discontinued Remington factory load.
The trajectory of the 55 grain spitzer BT at a MV of 3200 fps can be optimized by zeroing the rifle at 240 yards. Then the point blank range (+/- 2.5" from the line of sight) becomes 280 yards.
60-63 grain bullets can be driven to MV's of 3000 fps with most suitable powders. The sixth edition of Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading shows that 23.7 grains of IMR 4064 powder will drive their 60 grain bullets to a MV of 2800 fps. A maximum load of 25.4 grains of the same powder will drive those bullets to a MV of 3100 fps. Hornady technicians used Remington cases and Rem. 7 1/2 primers in developing those loads, which were tested in a 24" rifle barrel.
Note: A full length article about the .222 Remington and .222 Remington Magnum can be found on the Rifle Cartridges page.
Copyright 2005, 2016 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.