Any .22 Hornet shooters out there?


June 13, 2008, 05:15 PM
I'm thinking about acquiring one, and loading for it. I am looking at a Ruger stainless with a laminated stock at a local dealer. I have a few questions for those of you who have experience with this gun and for those with experience with this cartridge. I'll be using the Hornet for a range gun (100-200 yards), and possibly a crow killer.

What do you think about the Ruger, especially accuracy potential? I assume a trigger (Timney) replacement will be in order. With the lower velocities of the Hornet, I can only assume the barrel and brass life will be longer than the higher velocity cousins.

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Triple S
June 13, 2008, 05:43 PM
I have an Anschutz and it shoots pretty well. However, when I buy another one it will be a CZ. They are probably the most economical hornet available as well as the most accurate! I really like the idea of the full stock CZ in .22 hornet!

June 13, 2008, 06:13 PM
Interesting caliber that has been around for a while. The only problem you might have is finding readily available brass, but I'm sure there are many mail order business you can get it from. Personally I would be looking at a .204 Ruger for the uses you describe, but to each his own.

June 13, 2008, 06:30 PM
The Hornet is Sweet !

Take a serious look at the Savage model 40. It's definitely a "sleeper". They can be had on Gunbroker for $375-$425, with or without a thumbhole stock.

My current Hornet is a Contender with a 10" bull barrel with a Nikon 2x EER scope and it has crowded MOA with the Hornady V-max factory ammo at 100yds. Midway has a current sale on the Hornady ammo for about $15/25. That's how I accumulate brass.

"L'il Gun" is THE powder to use for the Hornet, as about a zillion silhouette shooters will tell you.

Odd story about the Hornet...Quite a while ago a friend (who happened to be the best reloader I've ever met) had two Anschutz Hornet rifles and had fits with them. They would put three shots into one hole - but when he attempted 5 shot groups they invariably put three shots in one hole and the other two shots into another hole a half-inch or so away from the first three. We were at the range scratching our heads about that one day and another fellow there said his Anschutz did the same thing most of the time.

HTH. Sorry - I don't have any experience with the Rugers.


June 13, 2008, 06:31 PM
I have one of the Ruger versions and it does shoot well. I have drilled beetles crawling on my targets at 100yds with it before. Now brass life is another story as the cases are so thin you can mess the things up just loading the mags if not carefull. But brass is easy to find too just look at a Midway catalog or do as I do and get the 100 case bags at the local Sport'smans Warehouse.

June 13, 2008, 07:01 PM
"Buttrap" is right - the brass is easy to hose up during reloading but practice improves matters and the brass is not particularly expensive anyway.


June 13, 2008, 07:41 PM
Thanks fellows. How many reloads do you get from the brass, if you keep pressures respectable?

June 13, 2008, 07:45 PM
Some cases I have been lucky to get 3 loadings out of. They also tend to swell up primer pockets pretty easy so the primers just fall out.

June 13, 2008, 07:59 PM
Ouch. I was hoping for case life much better than that.

June 13, 2008, 08:31 PM
since you reload just get you a 22-250. Make light loads equivalent to .22 hornet. Good case life. And a bad a__ rifle when you load it up to normal loads. Or if you want something a little closer a .222.

June 13, 2008, 08:33 PM
My father had a .22 Hornet Savage 340.

I did quite a bit of shooting with the rifle and found it quite deadly! The Savage 340 was also extremely accurate.

Only pitfall with the Savage 340/.22 Hornet combination was that the rifle was prone to extraction problems? I personaly think it was the chamber in that particular rifle.

June 13, 2008, 09:40 PM
I really like my Savage M40, single shot and really easy to perfect a good load, it shoots everything well.

June 13, 2008, 09:58 PM
I have two, a Ruger #1 standard rifle which is big and heavy esp with a 6-20 Leupold target scope. It has a Kepplinger set trigger and is very nice. It's neat to be shooting targets at a hundred yards and see the bullet hole when you pull the trigger.

The second is a little CZ , a mineature Mauser action with a factory set trigger, Like the Ruger it is very accurate, but I have to watch cartridge length when reloading due to the magazine.

June 13, 2008, 10:03 PM
My Hornet is a 1929 BSA with a Stevens target barrel chambered for the .22 Hornet. It is kind of interesting, it has a Kangaroo stamped on the top of the receiver and on the right side of the receiver is stamped "Property of the Commonwealth of Australia". It has taken many gophers over the years. I do not reload yet so shooting it is quite expensive. I have been keeping all the brass for the day I decided to finally buck up and start RELOADING!.

June 13, 2008, 10:28 PM
I've a CZ-527 and a Browning 1885 Low Wall. Both have been converted to K-Hornet. You can still shoot standard hornet in the 'K', get better performance with handloads, and brass seems to last longer with less stretching of the neck.

Here's Hornet, K-Hornet and 223 for comparison

June 13, 2008, 10:32 PM
For those of you who reload, why would you opt for the Hornet, if the brass is so short lived?

I've always wanted a Hornet, but now I may just pass.

June 14, 2008, 12:50 AM
Id skip the ruger, and look for a old x model remmy, for new I would go CZ, they are pretty much known for making new era rifles, starting with chambering perfect rifles for 22 hornet. next would be savage.
The best thing about the hornet is; there is a ton of brass, there is a ton of bullets, there is a ton of powder and it will last you a long time, it is very economical to shoot. there is also maybe more load information for this than any other cart out there. So You can do fat downloads to 2500 fps, all the way up to 3300fps, or so. Too much fun.

June 14, 2008, 01:08 AM
To illustrate "rangerruck's" comments... a Hornet cartridge will use nominally Half the powder of a .223 and a Third of the powder of a .22/250.:what:

That may, or may not matter to you but it's still cool to get nearly 700 loads out of one can of powder. You can afford to buy some brass. And anyway, Hornady brass will last more than three firings. Only problem is they no longer sell it as just brass. You have to buy their ammo and save the brass.
Another nicety of the Hornet is that, if you do have to, or decide to,use some factory ammo - $15 for 25 is way cheaper than $25-$30 for 20.


dagger dog
June 14, 2008, 05:43 AM

If you keep the powder charges in the moderate range, the brass life is no more a problem in the Hornet, than it is in any other cartridge.

Shawnees' previous post on LiL Gun is a really good tip.Most loading data on this powder starts at 12 gr, with that charge you can shoot the 35 gr V-Max @ 2500.

My rifle likes the 40gr Vmax and 12.5gr LIL Gun I clocked them at 2700 from my Savage MDL 40 Varmint Hunters 24" bbl.

I have found that using the milder small rifle primers from CCI or Remington give the best standard deviation numbers.

With the milder charges I have reloaded my Hornet brass 4-5 times with no culls and very little stretching.

Ruger makes some fine Hornets I'm sure you will find one to your liking and accuracy expectations.

June 14, 2008, 10:04 AM
Thanks fellows. The reason I want a Hornet is because I was looking for a very accurate but economical range rifle. I was a little put off by the brass issue, because it can't be too cheap to shoot, if the brass is almost a one-timer.

The information here has been valuable. Most of my loading has been for handguns, although I have done a little for hunting rifles. I think this will be a fun venture.

Your help was appreciated,

June 14, 2008, 10:06 AM
By the way, do any of you cast bullets for your Hornet?
What is your favorite load for 100 yard accuracy?

June 14, 2008, 10:08 AM
I'm getting 20 loading from my Winchester brass. If you can anneal, you gan get a lot of mileage from you brass. Pressure is very low.

June 14, 2008, 10:26 AM
What is your process for annealing the brass?

Vern Humphrey
June 14, 2008, 11:37 AM
Hornet brass is thin, like .44-40 or .32-20 brass. (Remember, the Hornet started out as the black powder .22 WCF and was re-invented in the 1920s as a smokless powder varmiter.)

Take care of your brass and it will last as well as any.

Here is my formula for sub-MOA Hornet rounds:

1. Fireform your brass. The Hornet cases and chambers are based on 19th century drawings, and the brass is a sloppy fit in the chamber.

2. Disturb the brass as little as possible in reloading. I use Lee Collet dies, and place a washer on the shell holder, causing the collet to activate early. This sizes only about the first 1/4" of the neck -- leaving the rest of the neck as a "pilot" to center the round in the throat.

3. Use Hodgdon's Li'l Gun powder. My load is a case full -- I literally use the case as a dipper. Li'l gun has a low but prolonged pressure peak and will give max velocity with 10-12,000 PSI below the SAAMI allowable max.

4. Use the 35-grain Hornady V-Max bullet. This bullet, besides being very accurate, has a short nose. This allows you to load it to almost touch the rifling and still keep OAL short enought to feed through the magazine.

June 14, 2008, 03:38 PM
Dobe, a machinist friend built me a rotary annealer that uses a couple of propane torches after I showed him the article on annealing on

It's similar to the Ken Light set up, although far cruder. Mine just heats the necks and drops them into a tub of water. I've never been able to master the other methods.

Like Vern, I neck size only, and also use Lil'Gun.

June 14, 2008, 04:54 PM
I don't anneal, and I only neck turned to see if it affected case life and accuracy. It did, but mostly shortened case life due to split necks. Sorting brass by weight and brand makes more difference...... and loading technique.

I get 15-20 loadings from my Hornet brass, as I don't load especially hot, and mostly use Hod. Lil'Gun. I have a Lee Collet die, but prefer to full length size as I get better accuracy. (go figure! see below- off centered chamber on Ruger!)

I do cast a Lyman #225415 that runs 49.5gr with lube and gascheck (absolutely perfect). I prefer either SR4759 (6.8gr) or Alliant #2400 (5.2-5.8gr). My 100yds accuracy often equals that of the jacketed bullets. 2moa is easy, 1moa rare, but who cares? It's cheap. However, I shoot far more of unsized tumble-lubed bullets over 2.5gr of Bullseye for ~1,350fps. A duplicate of the .22 WRF (a little more than the .22lr). A real squirrel killer to about 50yds.(~2MOA accuracy). It does require re-sighting and thorough cleaning to remove copper fouling if I've been shooting jacketed bullets. Leading has never been an issue with either NRA50/50 or SPG, or Tumble lube at under 1,900fps.

I've had three Ruger "Hornets". A #3 Carbine (had a botched K-Hornet chamber), a 77/22 Carbine (had an oversized factory chamber), and my current 77/22KBZ (heavy barrel-stainless, Brown laminated stock)- it has a tight, but off center chamber, two-piece bolt has fitting issues, ect.......) I DON'T recommend the Rugers........although I've shot a few good groups with the current one, which I've kept for 10+yrs. It's been free-floated, glass bedded, trigger worked to ~32oz., ect. Just won't shoot tighter than ~1.25moa except on rare occasions...........Likes cast bullets though, so, I've kept it........

If I was getting a new Hornet, it'd be either a CZ-527 (first choice) or a Savage M40 (second choice), or a T/C Contender Carbine (tied for second). But I'd also consider the Remington 699 (mini-mauser), if specimen was good........

June 14, 2008, 05:12 PM
Anyone else, please feel free to share the knowledge. I appreciate the info on the Ruger also. I guess I'll pass that one up.

June 14, 2008, 05:58 PM
The hornet was in American Rifleman or Guns and Ammo (cant remember which) on an article named "Cartridges that never died" or something like that. I have no experience with it, but it seems like there are better choices for both ballistic performance and, from the sound of it, reloading based on what others have said about the problems with thin brass. Is there any reason you want the 22 hornet as opposed to something that will do the same job but better?

Don't get me wrong, I firmly believe in buying what you want and I'm not trying to crush your dreams.

Basically I'm curious what niche the 22 hornet fills that other cartridges don't.

Vern Humphrey
June 14, 2008, 06:08 PM
Basically I'm curious what niche the 22 hornet fills that other cartridges don't.
The Hornet is like a red-headed woman - intriguing, exciting, exasperating, frustrating. It has a cachet all its own.

I shoot a lot of crows, coyotes, and other varmits with it. If it were legal in this state, it would be the ideal turkey rifle.

In my M82 Kimber, it's a delight to carry afield. It's economical to reload for and has a mild report. It doesn't let everyone in the state know that Ol' Vern just shot another crow.

June 14, 2008, 06:35 PM
I wanted a Hornet because I didn't have one. I like to shoot it better than my 22-250s because if I want to make a long shot I have to stop and think about holdover, Like shooting ground squirrels at 150 yds with a 22 long rifle, challenging and very rewarding.

June 14, 2008, 08:00 PM
I sometimes shoot around farms. The Hornet has such a mild report it's barely noticed compared to the big centerfires. It also burns half the powder of the 223; 12-13gn Lil'Gun works for just about everything I shoot. With the price of rimfire magnums and having salted away several thousand 22 hornet bullets, I can actually shoot hornet for less than 17HMR, and I get a 32gn bullet at 3,000 fps.

I also happen to liked rimmed cases for my drop blocks, but that is an esthetic thing.

June 14, 2008, 08:59 PM
Is there any reason you want the 22 hornet as opposed to something that will do the same job but better?

I am looking for an economical reload. That means small case capacity.

The ranges I will shoot do not exceed 200 yards. These criteria seem to say Hornet to me. If I simply start with a larger capacity case, there will not be as much loading data to support the velocities for which I am looking. I don't want to exceed much over 2700 fps. The reason is again...economy / barrel life.

small case capacity means
less powder
less velocity
lots of fun

June 14, 2008, 09:22 PM
Dobe -

I've actually got 3 hornets, here's 2 of them that I have pictures of:

This one is the 77/22HornetVT bolt gun by Ruger. I have access to an excellent riflesmith and he converted this one to K-Hornet. That's an OLD 6X24 Tasco scope with the glass lenses.

This one is a jewel - it is an early model BFR in .22 Hornet. I converted it to a BIsley.

Hornets are great fun ...


June 14, 2008, 10:41 PM
Holy Drop Block !! :what:

Hey Gun Tech !!! I'll trade you Cleveland for that rifle !!!! :)


June 14, 2008, 11:53 PM
The 2 main bits I like is the Hornet is cheep to load and the report is shocking mild. Some times I think my 22 mag is louder.

June 15, 2008, 12:02 AM
So, if y'all could have any Hornet rifle, what would you have and why?

June 15, 2008, 12:14 AM
mmm.... looka that old japanese glass tasco on that rifle, yummy.
The reason I think the hornet is a logical choice is for two reasons. One is economically highly reasonable and diverse. Lots of diff loads and bullets to choose from. Secondly, it is what I call a 'realistic' round for the 22 cals; no one shooting it thinks they are going to take 300 yd shots at deer with it, instead they are going to varmint shoot with it up to coyotes, and they will keep their distances maxed out at about 200 yds. This is exactly what this round was meant to do.

June 15, 2008, 12:23 AM
"So, if y'all could have any Hornet rifle, what would you have and why? "

There have been some really stunningly beautiful, high-class rifles chambered for the Hornet (eg. GunTech's Browning). But, assuming I will actually have to pay for it with my own rupees - I'm certain I would opt for the Savage model 40. I have to believe it's easily the best "value-per-dollar" in the Hornet world today. How do I not like a good , NIB centerfire rifle for $400 or possibly even less ?
Niceties about it - you get a stable, heavy contour barrel yet the rifle still weighs only 7.75 lbs. - it comes ready for a scope - it comes with a third stud for use with a tripod - the Accutrigger gets plenty of praise - the laminate stock is a HUGE improvement over cheap walnut or hardwood, both for looks and for stability - being a single-shot the action is even more rigid - and the two people I know who have them get excellent accuracy from them.


dagger dog
June 15, 2008, 07:45 AM

If you think you're leaning toward the Savage, go to the Savage Shooters web site and read a little about them, they do have some quality control issuse with them, failure to extract being the most common.

The 40 is the Savage rim fire action on steriods,designed to take the rather low pressure Hornet loads.

The first wind that blew my way on this rifle, said they were going to chamber it in Hornet and .223. Well the .223 got dropped and the Mdl 25 was just introduced last S.H.O.T. Show in 223 and .204 Ruger. It is a Modl 40 on steriods.

The point is I don't think the Mdl 40 is long for the road , especially with the quality control issues. They will most likley chamber the Mdl 25 in Hornet and drop the 40. So if ya want one better get with it!

My 40 has extraction problems, I've been tinkering with it and just about have it whiped. I polished the chamber, don't think it was smooth enough. At its worse it would fail to extract 1 out of 10 shots, and these were with the mild loads I posted earlier. The last time out I had 4 failures with 100 rds.

I have shot exclusively Win brass and think I may try Remington on my next purchase, and compare the rims on each as I think the problem may lie there.

Don't let my ravings cold water your quest for the 40 it's just a heads up.

By the way the damn things are BUG HOLE shooters in the right hands and with roll your owns!

June 15, 2008, 08:09 AM
Hey DaggerDog...

Got a link to that Savage Shooters' website :confused:
Couldn't find it connected to Savage's site or through just "Savage Shooters". ???

FWIW - the two folks I know with model 40s use Hornady brass almost exclusively. I don't recall either of them talking much about extraction problems but that doesn't mean they don't have 'em. Both guys speak like they really, really like their 40s.


June 15, 2008, 09:53 AM
For a good, basic hornet, it's hard to beat the CZ-527.

June 15, 2008, 11:57 AM
I have 2 cz 527's in 223, and 762.39, and they are both fabulous. the Savage trigger cannot compete with cz's single set trigger.

June 15, 2008, 12:44 PM
I have only T/C Contender and BRNO 110 with this caliber. I use silencer and make subsonic loads for T/C.

June 15, 2008, 01:14 PM
I was curious about the Contender carbine. How accurate is it? I have read that they can be bad about verticle stringing any truth to that?

What kind of accuracy at 100 yards do you get?


June 15, 2008, 01:18 PM
Sorry, my T/C is pistol 10"-barrel. It i very accurate with carbine stock and 3-9x40 riflescope at 100 meters. I doŽnt use fabr. loads. I make my own with Remington and Sako cases.

June 15, 2008, 02:46 PM
I wanted a small case 22 caliber, the Hornet was in the running but for all the reasons people have mentioned about low brass life and potential difficulty with handloading I went with the 221 Fireball. The parent case is the 222 (as it is for the 223 as well). The Fireball case is quite robust, it's easy and cheap to load. I get about 360 loads per one pound of RL-7 powder and about 400 out of a pound of Lil Gun. Bullet options are as plentiful as they are good.

My gun is a Rem 700 LVSF with a 20" barrel. The barrel length is more than sufficiently long to extract the maximum performance from the cartridge. I replaced the synthetic stock on my gun with a Boyd's Thumbhole Laminate. It added some weight but the rigid stock turned the gun into a real tack driver and I've taken critters from as far away as 260 yards. The best bullets I've found are the 40 grain Sierra BlitzKing's or Nosler Ballistic Tips.

If you can, go to a store like Gander Mountain and compare the small powder capacity ammo. I put them side-by-side and the Fireball case made selection easy.

June 15, 2008, 03:16 PM
I did a little research on the net, and it seems that the brass is a little hard to find, and the velocity is a little higher than what I wanted.

I think I'll go with the Hornet, I'm just not sure in what platform.

Thanks for the suggestion.

dagger dog
June 15, 2008, 04:31 PM
Shawnee, try


If your lookin' at the Contender how about the Encore, they barrel it for the Hornet.

June 15, 2008, 05:26 PM
Thanks Dagger....

I read the thread about the extraction problems. Not sure it's really an epidemic. Sounds (to me) more like the guy's problem is the heat built up in that thin case by his firing shots 5-10 seconds apart. Maybe not, but that's what it sounds like to me.


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