February 13, 2023
Shooting Times reader Henry Diego recently wrote in and explained that although he owned several reloading manuals, he couldn’t find any load data for the .22 Remington Jet. No wonder: It’s been at least 10 years since any mainstream reloading guide included .22 Jet recipes. It’s one of the few modern cartridges that I haven’t reloaded, but I delved into it in order to help Mr. Diego.
Remington and Smith & Wesson entered into a collaboration, and the .22 Jet debuted in the spring of 1961. Remington initially named it the .22 Remington CFM (Centerfire Magnum). S&W adapted its K-Frame Model 19 double-action revolver and introduced the then-new Model 53 with 3-, 4-, 6-, and 8.38-inch barrels. It was priced at $110 and came with six chamber inserts so you could fire .22 LR rimfire ammo as well.
The 40-grain factory load was listed in the early performance tables at a velocity of 2,460 fps from an 8.38-inch barrel, notwithstanding that the test ammuntion was fired in an unvented pressure barrel. Second-party testing indicated 1,900 to 2,000 fps was a more realistic number. Within a couple of years, the charts were revised to show 2,100 fps.
Writer Kent Bellah’s article “Reloading the .22 Jet” appeared in the 1963 edition of Gun Digest, and he provided extensive pressure and velocity data with both 6- and 8.38-inch-barreled revolvers. Bellah indicated the Model 53’s groove diameter was 0.2225 inch and the factory bullets were not standard .22 caliber (0.224) size. He also referenced Speer’s No. 5 reloading manual (October 1961) as a source for load data. Speer recommended CCI 550 Small Pistol Magnum primers and Speer 40-grain 0.223-inch JSP Spitzer bullets.
Furthermore, Pacific’s load manual almost copied the Speer recipes for 40-grain (0.222 inch) and 45-grain (0.223 inch) bullets. Powder charges were 6.5 to 7.0 grains of Unique; 11.0 to 13.4 grains of IMR 4277; and 9.5 to 10.5 grains of 2400 for the 40-grain bullet and 10 to 10.5 grains of 2400 for the 45-grain bullet.
I’m almost certain these recipes are referring to typical period bullets made specifically for the .22 Hornet because pre-World War II and early postwar .22 Hornet rifles had smaller bores than today’s models. Both manuals included the following caution: “Cartridges and chambers must be free from lubricants to prevent cases from backing out when fired and locking the cylinder up.”
Hornady published a first-edition load manual with a format similar to the Pacific manual, but it didn’t include .22 Jet data even though it listed a 40-grain, 0.222-inch bullet labeled “Jet.” Hornady’s 4th edition (1991) added .22 Jet load data for the 0.222-inch bullet and data for the 45-grain, 0.223-inch JSP Hornet bullet. However, the Hornady recipes were not for the S&W revolver; they were for the 10-inch-barreled T/C Contender single-shot pistol. There was a note recommending that the listed charge weights should be reduced by 10 percent to load for the S&W Model 53.
Hodgdon includes Model 53 .22 Jet load data for a Speer 40-grain (0.223 inch) bullet from as far back as my manual collection starts (No. 20) until the 2012 issue of the Hodgdon Annual Manual. H110 is listed as ranging from 10.0 to 11.0 grains and HS-6 from 6.5 to 7.5 grains. In the 2007 Annual Manual they add what appears to be data copied from DuPont’s load pamphlet. No range is shown, just the recommended maximums: 6.7 grains of SR 4756 and 13.5 grains of IMR 4227. Hodgdon’s web-based Reloading Data Center still includes those recipes.
The fifth edition of the Sierra load manual (2003) may be the best source because it has separate data sheets for the Model 53 and the Contender. Sierra listed 0.223-inch bullets weighing 40 and 45 grains for the Model 53 and recommended CCI 550 Small Pistol Magnum primers. The smaller-diameter Varminter bullets are still listed on the current Sierra webpage.
The data for the 40-grain bullet includes 6.0 to 7.0 grains of Unique, 9.9 to 10.5 grains of H110, 9.5 to 10.9 grains of 2400, and 12.2 to 13.4 grains of IMR 4227. Listed for the 45-grain bullet are 5.7 to 6.7 grains of Unique, 9.5 to 10.6 grains of H110, 9.6 to 10.5 grains of 2400, and 12.1 to 13.0 grains of IMR 4227.
A second Sierra .22 Jet data sheet for the T/C Contender gave slightly increased charges and suggested using 0.224-inch Hornet bullets. It also added a different caution about partially resizing fired brass to achieve proper headspace and avoid premature case head separation.
If necessary, you can swage 0.224-inch bullets down by pushing them through the appropriate diameter neck size bushings similar to the way cast bullets are sized and lubed. A bushing sizer die can be installed upside down (from the bottom) in a single-stage press. You would have to fabricate a threaded sleeve to hold the bushing in place and a pusher rod to force the bullet through the bushing.
Before doing all that, take your brass fired in the Model 53 and see if 0.224-inch diameter bullets will slip-fit into the mouth with only hand pressure. If so, it should be okay to use them. If not, you’ll likely have to ream the case necks to ensure the loaded rounds will chamber and allow the necks to expand enough when they’re fired to avoid excessive pressure.
You can form .22 Jet cases from new .357 Magnum brass; however, you must anneal them first and then use multiple forming dies (available from Redding) before full-length sizing and trimming. Bellah also included a photo of collapsed case necks caused by not adequately chamfering the case mouths before seating flatbase bullets. Because .22 Jet ammo and brass are almost impossible to find, I was surprised to see Graf and Sons lists Prvi Partizan Jet ammo and unprimed cases for sale. Both are out of stock as this is written.
All load data presented here should be used with caution. Always start with reduced loads first and make sure they are safe in each of your guns before proceeding to the high test loads listed. Since Shooting Times has no control over your choice of components, guns, or actual loadings, neither Shooting Times nor the various firearms and components manufacturers assume any responsibility for the use of this data.