.218 Bee
.218 Bee
Country of origin

United States



Year(s) designed


Year production began


Year production ended


Cartridge type

Rimmed, bottleneck

Parent cartridge

.32-20 Winchester

Overall length

1.700in (43.2mm)

Case length

1.345in (34.2mm)

Neck diameter

.242in (6.1mm)

Shoulder diameter

.329in (8.4mm)

Base diameter

.349in (8.9mm)

Rim diameter

.408in (10.4mm)

Rim thickness

.065in (1.7mm)

Muzzle velocity

2654ft/s (809m/s) - 3,205ft/s (977m/s)

Primer type

Boxer; Small rifle

The .218 Bee is a Winchester designed rifle cartridge, designed in 1938. The .218 Bee is a modified version of the .32-20 Winchester cartridge and used for hunting small rodents.

Design DetailsEdit

The .218 Bee is a direct decendent of the .25-20 Winchester, having the neck reduced to accept the .224 diameter bullet. The .25-20 Winchester was originally based on the .32-20 Winchester cartridge, making the latter the true parent cartridge of the .218 Bee. There are no other changes through the evolution of the .32-20 Winchester to the .218 Bee.

The .218 Bee cartridge is capable of holding a pressure in excess of 40,000 psi.

.218 Mashburn Bee​Edit

The .218 Mashburn Bee is a modified version of the standard .218 Bee cartridge. This cartridge has a shallower taper, marginally lenghtened chamber and a redefined shoulder angle. It is said that no two .218 Mashburn Bee cartridges are the same, as the cartridge is modified from the .218 Bee rather than produced on its own.


The lightest bullet that the .218 Bee utilises comes in at 35gr (2g) in weight, producing the highest possible muzzle velocity of 3,205ft/s (977m/s). Meanwhile the heaviest bullet, the 50gr (3g) BT, shoots at a muzzle velocity of 2,654ft/s (809m/s).

Other bullets used with the .218 cartridge are the 40gr (3g) BT and the 46gr (3g) JFP both of which fall between the two velocities of the above two at 3,130ft/s (950m/s) and 2,708ft/s (825m/s) respectively.


The .218 Bee was never a particularly popular cartridge for rifles, with few Winchester rifles being chambered for it. Nonetheless the .218 Bee remains in prodution to this day, its main use being for the task of 'varmit' hunting. The .218 Bee is most effective at a range of around 200 yards (180m).

The closest comparison cartridges to the .218 Bee are the smaller .22 Hornet, the .222 Remington and the ever popular .223 Remington, with the .218 Bee having the highest, short range velocity.


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