Designed for varmint hunting, the .218 Bee was released by Winchester in 1938. It is a 22 caliber centerfire rifle cartridge made for the old lever-action rifles. The 218 was created by necking down a standard .25-20 cartridge so that it would accept a .224 bullet. Originally, it was released as a match for the 1939 Model 65 lever action rifle, which could also be chambered with .25-20 and .32-20 cartridges with 22 inch barrels. By using the Bee instead, the rifles sported 24 inch barrels.
While the 218 seemed promising at first, it never really picked up a following. Winchester later used it in the bolt action Model 43 rifle and Sako used it in the L-46. Many questioned whether the 218 Bee would have much accuracy, but there was a small group of gun owners that did prefer the new design. While the Bee is pretty uncommon for regular use, it’s still effective for bagging small to medium game within 200 yards.