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December 13th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Thomas Haugland’s .221 Fireball from Norway

.221 Fireball remington 700 hunting rifle thomas haugland sunday gunday accurateshooter forum

In our Shooter’s Forum there is a popular thread, Let’s See Those Hunting Rifles. This long-running thread features dozens of interesting hunting rifles of all varieties — from rimfires to big magnums. In that thread we found the focus of today’s story, a .221 Fireball. Now that we are in the thick of winter, with Christmas just two weeks away, we showcase this .221 Rem Fireball rifle from Norway. This rig belong to Thomas Haugland, aka “Roe” on our Forum. An avid backcountry hunter, Thomas also happens to be one of the best gun-content video producers on YouTube — check out Haugland’s THLR.NO YouTube Channel.

We’ll begin with two of Haugland’s remarkable videos — worth watching just for the stunning scenery. Thomas skis through the Norwegian Arctic backcountry, then successfully uses his suppressed, white-camouflaged .221 Fireball rifle to bag a Ptarmigan bird — bringing home a well-earned winter dinner.

NOTE: This is the short preview version. Watch the full hunt in second video.

.221 Fireabell remington 700 hunting rifle sunday gunday accurateshooter forum

.221 Fireabell remington 700 hunting rifle sunday gunday accurateshooter forum

.221 Fireabell remington 700 hunting rifle sunday gunday accurateshooter forum

The 7-minute video below shows the full ski hunt. The Ptarmigans are spotted at 4:30 time mark and Thomas takes the shot at 5:36. Great video — you feel like you are there in Norway’s white wilderness. The images above (including top photo) are pulled from this video.

.221 Fireabell remington 700 hunting rifle sunday gunday accurateshooter forum

About the .221 Fireball Cartridge
The .221 Remington Fireball cartridge was developed by Remington in 1963 for the XP-100 bolt action pistol. Today the cartridge remains popular with hunters/varminters, both in the original version, and with wildcats such as the .20 Vartarg and .17 Fireball. Lapua started making superb .221 Rem Fireball cartridge brass starting in 2014. However, according to Lapua: “This case is no longer in active production.” But you can definitely still find it — Lapua .221 Fireball brass is in stock now at Grafs.com for $79.99/100. Lapua notes: “Fireball brass has recently seen a dramatic surge in popularity, due in large part to the efforts of wildcatters working with this versatile case. Whether used in its original form, or necked into one of the many cases that it serves as a parent for, the Lapua .221 Fireball brass is a sure winner[.]”

.221 Fireball remington 700 hunting rifle sunday gunday accurateshooter forum

Haugland .221 Fireball with New Carbon Stock and Walther Barrel

.221 Fireball remington 700 hunting rifle sunday gunday accurateshooter forum

Shown above is Haugland’s same .221 Rem Fireball from the videos, but with a new camo stock and new barrel. (The previous stock was painted white). Originally a Remington 700 Light Varmint, this was rebarreled to .221 Fireball with Lothar Walther 1:12″ barrel. Thomas admits he “Goofed a little on the barrel profile, so it is a tad heavier than I wanted.” The stock is a carbon-fiber Gunwerks ClymR and on top is a Leupold 3-18x44mm MK5 HD with Gunwerks RH1 reticle. Only the action and the trigger is left from the original rifle.

.221 Fireball remington 700 hunting rifle sunday gunday accurateshooter forum

.221 Fireball remington 700 hunting rifle sunday gunday accurateshooter forum

With the 1:12″ twist, this rifle is restricted to 55gr maximum bullet weight. Thomas posted: “Shoots well with Vihtavuori N130 and Norma N200 powders, not so good with RL7.” Due to lack of light in far-Northern Norway in winter (see photo above), Roe has not hunted with this rifle much since rebarreling, but as you can see, it’s very accurate — look at that group. Thomas says the gun shoots much better with the new barrel: “With the factory barrel (which I believe was 1:14″-twist) it didn’t shoot better than 1 MOA at 100 yards. Now it approaches half-MOA for three shots (see photo).”

.221 Fireball remington 700 hunting rifle sunday gunday accurateshooter forum

And Thomas was successful with this rig as “reborn” with new stock and barrel. Here’s the gun and a Ptarmigan he shot in the Norwegian snow-covered backcountry.

.221 Fireball remington 700 hunting rifle sunday gunday accurateshooter forum

If you like that Gunwerks ClymR carbon stock, here’s a Gunwerks video showcasing the ClymR Rifle System. A complete Gunwerks ClymR rifle with Titanium action and scope is a shocking $9734.99, so we can understand why Thomas went with the stock alone, paired with a older Rem 700 action.


.221 Fireball remington 700 hunting rifle sunday gunday accurateshooter forum

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting, News 2 Comments »
November 5th, 2016

New Hodgdon CFE BLK Powder — Great for Small Cartridges

CFE BLK .223 223 Blackout AAC powder varmint Fireball reduced fouling January 2017
NOTE: Despite the “BLK” in the name, this is a NOT a black powder substitute. This is a modern smokeless powder suitable for a wide variety of popular cartridges.

Hodgdon has announced a new “faster” variant of its popular CFE 223 powder. That’s good news for shooters of small varmint cartridges. Hodgdon’s new CFE BLK (named after the .300 AAC Blackout cartridge) has a faster burn rate than the original CFE 223. That makes CFE BLK ideal for small cartridges such as the .17 Hornet and .221 Fireball. The original CFE 223 propellant was formulated for reduced copper fouling (“CFE” in the name refers to “Copper Fouling Eraser”). New CFE BLK shares this reduced fouling technology which was developed originally for the U.S. military. Many of our Forum members have tried CFE 223 and confirmed that is performs “as advertised” — with less copper fouling that most other propellants. That’s a big benefit for varmint shooters, who may put hundreds of rounds through a barrel in a single day on the varmint fields.

Optimized for the .300 AAC Blackout cartridge, CFE BLK works great for .300 Blackout loads in AR-type rifles throughout the range of bullet weights. Moreover, CFE BLK is perfect for subsonic, reduced loads. In addition, Hodgdon reports that CFE BLK performs superbly in many smaller-capacity cartridges, in particular varmint cartridges such as the .17 Hornet, .17 Ackley Hornet, .218 Bee, .221 Fireball. CFE BLK is also well-suited for the 6.8 Remington SPC and the 7.62X39 Russian cartridge.

CFE BLK Meters Well and Burns Clean
CFE BLK is a spherical (ball) powder. Hodgdon reports the CFE BLK meters well, allowing reloaders to throw very consistent charges every time: “This fine powder meters like a dream and leaves no copper residue, extending accuracy for longer shooting periods, and making clean-up quick and easy.”

CFE BLK Should Be on Dealers’ Shelves in January 2017
Starting in January, 2017, CFE BLK powder will be available in both one-pound (1-lb.) and eight-pound (8-lb.) containers. Check with leading vendors such as Bruno’s, Midsouth, and Powder Valley. By the end of 2016, you should find complete load data for CFE BLK on the Hodgdon Reloading Data Center at www.HodgdonReloading.com.

Permalink New Product, Reloading 1 Comment »
December 20th, 2013

Sierra Offers Load Data for 300 AAC Blackout

The 300 AAC Blackout (300 BLK, or 7.62x35mm) was created by Advanced Armament Corp. and Remington in order to provide the military with a way to shoot .30-caliber bullets from the M4 carbines with only a barrel change. It has since become popular with AR shooters for a wide range of uses including hunting and home defense. With the increased popularity of this cartridge, folks have been looking for reliable 300 BLK load information. Now, thanks to Sierra Bullets, we have some good load data for the 300 AAC Blackout. Sierra has released a FREE 6-page Load Guide for this cartridge, as part of the Sierra Reloading Manual (5th Edition).

CLICK HERE for Sierra 300 AAC Blackout Load DATA (PDF Format).

Here is ONE of SIX Pages in the Sierra Load Sheet for 300 AAC Blackout

300 AAC Blackout Sierra load manual PDF load infomation .300 Whisper

300 AAC Blackout

About the 300 AAC Blackout (300 BLK)
The 300 AAC Blackout cartridge shares case-head dimensions and body taper with the .223 Remington. Not only does this allow for compatibility with existing magazines and bolts, but it allows reloaders to form their own brass from cut-down 5.56×45 mm or .223 Rem cases. You can also form 300 Blackout cases by necking-up .221 Fireball brass. Take Note: Lapua has started producing .221 Fireball brass — this should be available in the USA by early April.

300 AAC Blackout

The 300 AAC Blackout is a similar concept to previous wildcats, such as the 30-221 and 300 Fireball, as well as the proprietary 300 Whisper®, except that 300 BLK was the first to be a SAAMI-approved cartridge and any company is free to make firearms or ammunition.

300 AAC Blackout is also finding use with hunters, who may not have been able to legally hunt with .223 in their state, and who prefer .30 caliber bullets for medium-sized game. It provides similar effectiveness to the 7.62×39 or the slightly more powerful .30-30 cartridges except works in the more up-to-date AR-platform rifles. Effective hunting range is about 150 yards. Some innovators, such as Dave Whitford, have also experimented with the 300 BLK for Across-the-Course competition. READ Whitford story in Rifleman’s Journal..

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Reloading 9 Comments »
December 14th, 2013

Lapua 2014 News — .221 Fireball and .50 BMG Brass, 7mm Bullets

Lapua just dropped a bombshell — multiple bombshells, in fact. Lapua just announced that it will be producing .221 Fireball brass and .50 BMG brass starting early 2014. This will be the first truly match-grade brass ever offered for the .221 Fireball. That’s great news for varminters, who can use Lapua’s new .221 Fireball brass “as is” or neck it down to .20 Vartarg or 17 Fireball. Tactical shooters can also use the .221 Fireball brass to make the .300 Whisper and 300 Blackout sub-sonic cartridges. At the other end of the spectrum, ultra-long-range shooters now have a new ultra-premium brass source for the mighty .50 BMG. This is potentially a “game-changer” for fifty-cal shooters who have had to “make do” with military surplus brass for the most part. Lapua says the new brass, both .50 BMG and .221 Fireball, should be in the USA by early April, 2014. Sorry, no pricing info is yet available.

Here is the Lapua Product Announcement for .221 Fireball and .50 BMG Brass:

Lapua Nammo .221 Fireball 50BMG fifty caliber .50 cartridge brass cases Finland

New 180-Grain and 150-Grain 7mm Scenar-L Bullets
The other big news from Lapua is the release of two new 7mm (.284 caliber) Scenar-L target bullets. Recognizing the popularity of 7mm cartridges among F-Class Open Division shooters, Lapua will offer a high-BC, 180-grain bullet. As part of the “L” series, this new 180-grainer bullet should exhibit extreme consistency in base-to-ogive measurements and bullet weight. We expect this new 180gr projectile to be extremely accurate in the .284 Winchester, .284 Shehane, 7mm WSM, and 7mm RSAUM — popular chamberings for F-Class and long-range benchrest shooters. No BC information has been released yet, but we expect the BC number to be quite high, giving this bullet great wind-bucking capability. In addition to the new 180gr 7mm Scenar-L, Lapua will offer a new 150gr 7mm bullet. This is optimized for medium range competition in Silhouette and Across-the-Course competition. It should offer great accuracy, but with less felt recoil than its 180-grain bigger brother.

Lapua Nammo 7mm .284 Scenar L 180 VLD .221 Fireball 50BMG fifty caliber .50 cartridge brass cases Finland

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, News 13 Comments »
March 27th, 2012

Nosler To Release .221 Fireball Brass “In a Month or Two”

Here’s good news for .221 Fireball and 20 Vartarg Fans — within the next five to eight weeks, Nosler-brand .221 Fireball brass will hit the market. We just got off the phone with Nosler, whose representatives confirmed that Nosler will be selling 100-ct boxes of .221 Rem Fireball brass very soon (item #10078). Product is expected to start shipping “in a month or two”. Nosler’s .221 Fireball brass is crafted by a third-party supplier, and then final-finished by Nosler at its Bend, Oregon factory.

We tried to find out the name of the third-party source without success. However, Nosler did confirm that this brass “is definitely NOT made by Remington“.

Expected retail for the Nosler .221 Fireball brass is $60.00 to $80.00. Online retailer Precision Reloading currently has the Nosler-brand .221 Fireball brass on order, with a stated retail price of $69.39 for a 100-ct box, product # NS10078. You’ll find the Nosler .221 Fireball brass on the Precision Reloading website, but it is currently listed as “out of stock”. Check back in a few weeks to see if the Nosler .221 Fireball brass has started shipping yet. NOTE: In addition to the new .221 Fireball offering, Nosler has announced that it will sell brass in three other new calibers: 17 Remington, .222 Rem, and 270 WSM.

As soon as its new .221 Fireball brass becomes available, Nosler has promised to send us samples. We want to see how the Nosler brass compares to Remington-brand .221 Fireball brass — currently the only type on dealers’ shelves. With Nosler’s reputation for quality, we hope the Nosler .221 Fireball brass will be a step up from Remington’s product. The Remington brass does the job but case weights and neckwall thicknesses are not particularly uniform, and the Rem brass is fairly soft.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 2 Comments »