221 Fireball vs 20 Vartarg

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triggerfingers
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221 Fireball vs 20 Vartarg

Post by triggerfingers » Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:27 am

Need help on narrowing down my next caliber choice. I must admit that I have a liking for the older cartridges. Absolutely love my 22 hornet Winchester model 70. In 204 Ruger I have a Remington 700 and Cooper on its way at some point. Always trying to plan ahead so I'm looking for my next cartridge. I have decided between 221 Fireball and 20 Vartarg. Primary use will be bench shooting out to 300 yards and since I am not a rich the rifle will probably have to be T/C Pro Hunter or Encore single shot since other than Cooper, I don't know of any manufactures currently making these rounds in a rifle. Whichever one is the choice will be hand loaded for. That brings up the following concerns. I know I can use 221 brass for the 20 VT, but much extra work to be done to it. Which cartridge will give me better accuracy. Which cartridge will be the most cost effective. I know there is a big following for the 20 VT on this forum and I have read a lot of post comparing both cartridges, but for my intended use I'm unsure which one would be the best. Any help you can provide or advice would be greatly appreciated. :D

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Varmint Shooter
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Re: 221 Fireball vs 20 Vartarg

Post by Varmint Shooter » Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:12 am

Either one would be a good choice. I have them both and both are fine cartridges. Which ever one I
take to the field, performs as I want it to.

Bill K
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Re: 221 Fireball vs 20 Vartarg

Post by Bill K » Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:51 am

I too have both and like each one. But from what you are saying, and you are choosing between the two, for NOW. I would say go with the 20VT. Cost for it will be slightly less, bullet and powder wise, and it is a very accurate caliber.
You mention more work to form. Not so, if you take or make your cases from 221 FB. Just run them into the fl size die for a 20VT, load a fire form. And you will find the fire form loads will shoot accurately.
Very easy round to find a fine shooting/varmint load with and I would suggest using AA220 powder and the 32 or 39 grain bullets to start with. Bill K

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Rick in Oregon
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Re: 221 Fireball vs 20 Vartarg

Post by Rick in Oregon » Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:55 am

I shoot both calibers, both in Cooper and CZ rifles. That said, both calibers are perfectly suited to spending a day in the rat patch, teaching Skippy to fly.

With years of experience shooting both, if I had to pick just one, it would be without doubt the 20VT. Shoots flatter with higher velocity and just might give a slight advantage in the accuracy department, but just maybe, as both are amazingly accurate. Because of the higher velocity of the 20VT, it has a slight range advantage over the FB. My longest shot with my Cooper 20VT was on a ground squirrel at a lasered 509 yards. It took two shots to range him properly, but on shot number two, he had no worries thereafter.

Getting 20VT brass together is not a big deal, one pass through a VT body die, then a pass through a bushing neck die, cleanup outside neck turn and wha-la, perfect 20VT brass. Admittedly there's less work in loading the FB, but to me at least, the bit of extra work involved in making VT brass is well worth the effort. I keep 1,000 cases loaded up for each caliber for springtime fun with Skippy, and once those cases are made and loaded up, that bit of extra time spent of the VT cases is long forgotten especially once in the field enjoying that boom-whop! that the VT gives when Skippy launches. :wink:

My Cooper 20VT on my bench in the field cooling off from an exceptional string of shots regarding our favorite rodent recently:

Image

All purely subjective, I know, but you asked. ;)
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Rick in Oregon
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triggerfingers
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Re: 221 Fireball vs 20 Vartarg

Post by triggerfingers » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:12 pm

Thank you so much for the replies.....that will give me a lot to think about. I assume that you can shoot longer strings with either cartridge vs the 204. The only cost dirrerence I saw was the price of a standard die set that the 20 VT was higher. I can see the cost savings on the 20 VT, since I already have a 204 that I already have the bullets.

Thanks again guys, all of you are a wealth of knowledge.

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Re: 221 Fireball vs 20 Vartarg

Post by Bill K » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:27 pm

The VT does not heat up near as fast as the 204R does. Dies, yes slightly more, but well worth the price, in the long run.
You might even, if you do not mind even more for a set of good dies, check out Whidden's and the sizing/bushing die.
Bill K

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Rick in Oregon
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Re: 221 Fireball vs 20 Vartarg

Post by Rick in Oregon » Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:08 pm

TF: If you want some very opinionated info on the 20VT get ahold of Varmint Hunter Magazine, No. 90 for an article I wrote for them titled "The Paradigm Has Shifted: The 20VT"

After reading, you'd be hard pressed to NOT have one by the following spring. :wink:

But to show I'm not all that biased (uh huh...), here's a couple of shots of my Cooper M38 in 221FB at work in the rat patch with a forum friend last year:

Image

Once you start shooting either of these most excellent, accurate and just plain fun calibers, you'll know why your 223 doesn't get shot at the rats much any more. Same trip, cooling off before getting back at it:

Image

We all pretty much know the 20VT is capable of approaching BR accuracy standards. Here's a 221FB target shot with 40gr Nosler Tipped Varmageddons (factory seconds to boot) that show the Furball is in the same league. The rifle and chambering in 221FB is without doubt more accurate than I'm capable of producing on paper. A perfect caliber field match for fun with rodents!

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In all fairness though, I always have one of my 204's in the truck handy in case (a) the wind comes up, or (b) the squirrels or chucks get shy and won't let anyone get closer than 400 yards. THEN the 204 really shines! Personally, I believe if you're really into this stuff, you "need" all three! :wink:
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Rick in Oregon
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Oregon, East of the Cascades - Where Common Sense Still Prevails
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Re: 221 Fireball vs 20 Vartarg

Post by Jim White » Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:34 pm

I too own both and these two gents nailed it. It's a hard choice but ballistically, the 20VT gives it a slight edge. As far as cost, I've found that powder wise they're both about the same for me, the only difference may be in the price of the bullet. The 221 may give you more bullet options depending on the twist. My 221 FB (x2) are Coopers with 1-14 twist barrels so they're limited to about 52-55 grains [Max]. I shoot 40gr in mine and I use them the same way as the other two who commented.

HTH,

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