.221 Fireball vs 20 Vartarg??..........

Discussion in 'Small Stuff--22s, 20s, and 17s' started by lyle1, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. lyle1

    lyle1

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    I sure could use everyones' help. I currently own a couple of semi-custom Sako 75 .223 varmint rifles. I have also recently acquired a .222 Sako 75 Varmint laminate. I am looking for a 200 yard target/varmint gun with less recoil/blast than a .223 and a fun overall gun. My thoughts were that the .222 is too close to my current .223 rifles ballistically. I am considering either re-chambering
    the .222 to a .221 Fireball as that barrel only has 100 rounds through it, or buying a new barrel and making a 20 Vartarg. I am not interested in shooting over 200 yards with this rifle, so I would just like the most accuracy possible.
    Any advice and experiences would be greatly appreciated....
     
  2. johnmyers

    johnmyers Site $$ Contributor

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    Todd Kindler at The Woodchuck Den would be the guy to talk to. He has alot of experience with the VT and would be happy to help you, he says the VT is a 221 on steroids. Hope this helps.
     
  3. bheadboy

    bheadboy Site $$ Contributor

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    i have had a number of 221's and never disapointed

    dont knowthe vt
    Bob
     
  4. boltman223

    boltman223

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    I love my 221fb's, I have two. It is great out to 200 yards and I have no problem with using it out to 300. I have also shot cities that far too with no problem.

    If it was me and I already had a .224 barrel I would definitely go with a 221.
     
  5. Bangs OH

    Bangs OH

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    I like your thinking (and your choice of rifles, Lyle). I have 2 rifles in .221, a Cooper M38 and Rem. LVSF; the latter seems to be begging for a "change". The .20 VarTarg would be the natural choice, and I'm down the road from Kindler's place should any problems arise. But, then again, one has to wonder "what for". I own .204Rs now, and the .221s slot right in between them and a .22 Hornet. The largest groundhog I ever shot was by a FB at 265 yards (he was straight up, and I wouldn't want anyone to expect that at much over 1/2 that range on a shoulder-shot, hunched-over 'hog from that round.) I appreciate the heavier, slightly slower bullets for that type of game; a pd or ground squirrel man might like the faster .20 and the few more yards for those little buggers. Likewise on accuracy: I can live with maybe 1/3 more m.o.a. than a well-tuned .20 VT; but at any rate these rounds are direct offspring of one of the most inherently-accurate rounds ever, the .222 Remington.
    Frankly, something like a .19/221 sounds more intriguing and "different" than the VT. Just might give Calhoon a call...
     
  6. JohnHenry

    JohnHenry Site $$ Contributor

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    lyle1, Shoot all four of the cartridges that you mention. They are all great cartridges. I would stick with the 222 for now and wait and see if Lapua comes out with 221 brass at the 2014 Shot Show as they have been hinting. That quality Lapua brass will spoil one. One could consider re-chambering or re-barreling at that time. The shorter fireball/vartarg cartridges may not feed from the magazine if that is important to you. Also, 222 starting loads are quite comparable to 221 max loads.
    http://forum.accurateshooter.com/index.php?topic=3815834.msg36229894#msg36229894
     
  7. Rick in Oregon

    Rick in Oregon

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    Lyle, I have all three calibers based on the 221FB case (221FB, 17 Mach IV, 20VT), been shooting varmints for almost five decades, and can say without hesitation that the 20 Vartarg is by far the sweetest varmint caliber I've ever had the pleasure of working with. Todd bugged me for five years to build one, and once I did, I wish I had done it sooner.

    In my safe are 223's of all flavors including the Ackley version, various 204's, all the way down to the 17 Ackley Hornet, but my Cooper 20VT is by far and away my favorite of the lot, and I work mine in the rat patch out to 500 yards on ground squirrels here, so 200 yard precision is a given with this little caliber.

    Brass is easy to form from 221FB cases, any 223 or 222 case if you're willing to do some work. Lapua makes 222 brass, as well as Norma/Nosler for 221FB, so preminum brass is available now if you feel it's necessary. If/when Lapua comes out with 221FB brass, all the better.

    Here's an example of typical accuracy with the 20VT (32gr SBK/18.5grs RL-7, Rem 7.5 Primer) shot with formed and annealed R-P 221FB brass:

    [​IMG]

    As far as a field cartridge, here's the end of a decent morning here locally recently with my Cooper M38 VR 20VT on rock chucks. The results should speak for themselves.....

    [​IMG]

    Zero recoil, see all your hits/misses, very mild report, miserly on powder (18~grs for 3,750 fps) effective out to 500 yards and shoot all day w/o cleaning or heating the barrel with no loss of accuracy. To me, it's about the 'perfect varmint cartridge'. What's not to like? :)
     
  8. lyle1

    lyle1

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    Thank you to all that responded to my questions. You all have provided me with a whole bunch of new information.....If I decide to use my repeater Sako 75 for the project, does anyone have experience with the Fireball case in a detachable magazine?
     
  9. th82457

    th82457

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    I have a 20 VT in a CZ 527 with a straight line clip and have not had any trouble feeding from the magazine. It was originally a .221 Fireball though, so clip length basically matched the Vartarg requirements. I have tried nearly every varmint round and for targets or small varmints - I always reach for the Vartarg - just plain fun to shoot and very consistently accurate.

    Good Luck !
    Terry
     
  10. JohnHenry

    JohnHenry Site $$ Contributor

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    I had a Sako L46 in 222. Tried feeding both 221 Fireball and 20 Vartarg from the 222 detachable magazine. Neither fed satisfactorily with my rifle. May want to consider a 20 cal. based on the 222 e.g., 20-222 or others in the attached link. http://tripledeuce.net/Cartridge_Comparisons_0SJN.php
    Also, may want to visit www.saubier.com for small caliber info. They will help you spend your money.
     
  11. hedditch

    hedditch Site $$ Contributor

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    Another vote for the 20 Vartarg. Mine is in a Cooper Mod 21 with a beautiful piece of wood. 20 grs of h322 with a 40 gr Berger Varminnt Match.
    Last three, five shot groups, .377, .377, ,177.
    Dave
     
  12. stacy

    stacy 2 TIMOTHY 2 VERUS 15 Site $$ Contributor

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    I have both 222 and 221FB BUT the 200yd range love the 221FB it quite and BAD with 40gr bergers and H 4227.222 GREAT ROUND I LIKE IT FOR LONGER SHOTS.
     
  13. lyle1

    lyle1

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    Thanks guys...Lets' say I was using this rifle for target shooting only....for pure accuracy shooting, shooting at 100 and 200 yards, is the .221 Fireball just as accurate as the 20 Vartarg? What sort of accuracy can I expect? I know the bullet drop and energy levels are higher for the Vartarg but I will only shoot this up to 200 yards, most like just at paper as I will use my other rifles for field/varmint work....
     
  14. Phil

    Phil Site $$ Contributor

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    Paper punching only.....378 bolt face.......222.
     
  15. NorCalMikie

    NorCalMikie Site $$ Contributor

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    .221 Fireball will make bigger (and easier to see) holes than the 20 VT but both are "deadly accurate".
    Tough call. Build both. 8)
     
  16. LCazador

    LCazador Competitive shooter and reloader for 50 years+ Site $$ Contributor

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    I feel 20 VarTarg has an edge on accuracy over the 221 Fireball , basically because of the sharper shoulder angle . Now adjust that shoulder angle on the Fireball to 35 degrees and Voila !, you have my 221 Gonzo Fireball . Velocity of a 223 with less powder and groups that will rival the old triple deuce ! I make brass from superior virgin Lake City brass for my new Gonzo Fireball , the standard Fireball , and my 20 VarTarg . Pic attached of the Gonzo (1-12twist by the way) .
     

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  17. CatShooter

    CatShooter

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    Huh???

    Shoulder angle has nothing to do with accuracy... and you cannot get 223 velocity out of a 221 fireball, no matter what you do to the shoulder, or how hard you pull the trigger.

    The 223 holds EIGHT grains more powder than the 221-"Anything".
     
  18. tenring

    tenring Site $$ Contributor

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    Years ago I put a medium - heavy barrel on a Sako AI action in .221 FB on a Fajen birds eye maple stock . With 3-9 Leupold on top, it weighs about 6 lbs. It is very accurate out to 200 yds., with the 50 gr. Hornady SX and 17 grs. H322. My favorite walk up chuck gun. Never had a need for a VT.
     
  19. LCazador

    LCazador Competitive shooter and reloader for 50 years+ Site $$ Contributor

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  20. stacy

    stacy 2 TIMOTHY 2 VERUS 15 Site $$ Contributor

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    Paper punching the 221 fireball is just as accurate at 200yds as the 20 vartarg .I have both.........................
     

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