.22 hornet ....a lot of fun


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kiwihunta
February 24, 2010, 04:34 AM
Bought my son a very classy little CZ527 in .22 hornet .Over xmas new year we were away at one of our usual hunting spots the Kaimanawa ranges central nth island.I was totally impressed with the rifle and the calibre ,as far as varminting goes absolutely outstanding and a real fun little gun,toasting rabbits and hares out to 200yds with some spectacular hits .It became a race to get up for some early morning varminting and to see who got to carry the hornet. Just wondering if anybody else had experience with this great little calibre.:D

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Mustanir
February 24, 2010, 05:19 AM
I also have a Hornet CZ Fox-Pro. You are right its lovely and real fun to shoot, I have shot Gazelle within 150 meters. But the problem is non-availability of variety in Ammo, unlike 22 long in Hornet we have only one type of bullets available. Anyway it great fun.

kiwihunta
February 24, 2010, 06:34 AM
I also have a Hornet CZ Fox-Pro. You are right its lovely and real fun to shoot, I have shot Gazelle within 150 meters. But the problem is non-availability of variety in Ammo, unlike 22 long in Hornet we have only one type of bullets available. Anyway it great fun.
I had about 38 rounds of rem 45grn hollow point,it was outstanding but havnt found any over here since.I then tried Highland soft point which i thought was mediocre,next came the Hornady 38 grn sst and that also is an outstanding little round with great terminal performance(unfortunatly also a bit hit and miss for supply) so now i am reloading 11 grns of powder using a 38grn Hornady sst projectile.
Curious to know the effect on Gazelle, i am guessing they would be equivalent to our Fallow deer,or maybe a little bigger, did you neck shoot them??,keen to now as where we varmint hunt we also hunt Sika deer and i always wanted to get my son something that if whilst out "bombing varmints a deer should present itself with the right shot placement a shot could still be on.(when varminting we always have a .223 or .308 for bambi ) cheers.

rangerruck
February 24, 2010, 11:40 AM
love the round; so versatile really for up and downloading. You may look for some Reloader 17 powder; it really heats up the small cal stuff with small cases.
And of course cz rifles- still the best rifle for the money as far as I am concerned; oh yeah, that goes for their handguns as well. Anything cz 75 or phantom is worth every NZ Kiwi...

dagger dog
February 24, 2010, 12:22 PM
The Hornet is a hoot no doubt, it really shines when hand loaded, the Hodgdon line offers a great powder called Lil' Gun, it has given a new life to some Hornet owners, that along with some of the Hornet specific bullets from Hornady, Berger, and Barnes in the 30-35 gr class, use the Remington 6 1/2 or CCI Benchrest small rifle primers they are a little milder and work exxtremely well in that very small capacity case. With the handloads most quality Hornet rifles are capable of grouping 1" at 100 yds. Start with a 35 gr V-Max over 12.5 grs of Lil' GUN and work up, you have to remember that 0.10 gr increase in that small case is a whole bunch.

I have run the 35 V Max, 13 gr loading of Lil' Gun through the chrono with a 24" barrel @ 3000 fps, and they will really stop any varmint size critter. If you are looking at small deer size you may want a solid point in the 50-55 gr class. These heavier bullets are a little longer and may be hard to stabilize with a slower 1-16 twist rate Hornet barrel ,but if your CZ is 1-14 you shouldn't have a problem.

Vern Humphrey
February 24, 2010, 12:38 PM
The .22 Hornet is the first true varmint cartridge. In 1922, the Army decided to build a quality .22 rimfire rifle for training, target competition, and for sale to encourage marksmanship. The rifle was built at Springfield Armory, using the same tooling and fixtures as the M1903 Springfield -- and many M1922 parts will interchange with the M1903.

Craftsmen at Springfield were among the first civilians to buy this new rifle. As anyone who has shot one can tell us, the M1922 was not just a good competition rifle for its day, it was also a good hunting rifle. The boys at Springfield tried it on game including woodchucks. And there they encountered problems. First of all, a 'chuck is a pretty hefty critter, weighing several pounds -- much bigger than a squirrel or rabbit. Second, 'chucks are usually found in pastures, and your average 40-acre pasture is a quarter mile square, 440 yards on a side. So shots at 'chucks tended to be long range -- too long for the .22 Long Rifle.

The boys at Springfield cast around for a better cartridge, and the found one, the .22 Winchester Central Fire (WCF). The .22 WCF was developed in the mid-1880s as, a black powder cartridge. Apparently the intent was to produce something with more oomph than the .currently available rimfires, and to be reloadable.

The black powder heritage is apparent when you look at the case. Black powder combustion products are from 40% to 60% solid (depending on composition) and that's what creates all that fouling. A small bore, plus a large charge makes for real fouling problems. The case is therefore tapered, with a sloping shoulder -- that makes it easier to extract from a badly fouled chamber. That same shape also makes for less than stellar accuracy. Especially when coupled with 19th Century standards in manufacturing -- a standard .22 WCF case is a pretty sloppy fit in a standard .22 WCF chamber.

The .22 WCF didn't set the world on fire, but it did hang on until the 1920s, when Springfield Armory began building honest-to-gosh .22 rifles. These rifles, the M1922, in various marks and mods, were intended for training and competition, and were also sold to civilians to encourage marksmanship.

Among the first civilians to buy M1922s were the craftsmen who made them, who found they were also nice small game rifles. However on heavier game, like groundhogs, the .22 Long Rifle was lacking in power. It was also lacking in range for shooting sod poodles across pastures. This led the boys at Springfield to look at the .22 WCF. They developed a smokeless powder load that better than doubled the velocity of the .22 Long Rifle, and with a 45 grain bullet, rather than a 40 grain bullet, which was more or less standard in the .22 LR. They then re-chambered M1922s for the .22 WCF, and modified the bolt, firing pin and extractor. The story is that when Colonel Townsend Whelen first shot the smokeless powder version of the .22 WCF he remarked, "Boy, that's a hornet!" and the name stuck.

The Hornet was adopted by Winchester, and was soon surpassed by other .22 centerfires, but it has seen occasional times of modest popularity. The general pattern is a new generation of shooters are intrigued by the idea behind the Hornet -- a little case, a little bit of powder, and a fairly mild report with very low recoil. But then reality sets in, the Hornet just isn't that accurate.

I admit to falling prey to the lure of the Hornet -- my Hornet is a Kimber M82, and I've had it for many years. It's a beautiful little rifle, but it just wasn't all that accurate. To me, the Hornet is like a red-headed woman -- alluring, frustrating, attractive and capricious. Being a rather stubborn type, I set out to master the Hornet, and eventually developed a load that will regularly shoot sub-inch groups at 100 yards. Here is the secret to the Hornet.

1. Fire form your brass. The case is a sloppy fit in the chamber, but once fired in your rifle, it is a perfect fit -- in your chamber.

2. Disturb the brass as little as possible. The standard reloading die puts a lot of stress on a case, and Hornet brass is thin. We have to remember that when neck resizing, all the force is transmitted from the head to the neck through the walls of the case. I use a Lee Collet Die, where the only stress is radial.

3. Don't resize the whole neck. The Lee Collet Die is designed to size the whole neck and activates when the base of the collet tube contacts the shell holder. You can't adjust it by screwing it in or out. I put a couple of washers on the shell holder, around the case. The collet tube contacts the washers and activates early. You can look at my neck-sized cases and see a line around the neck, about half way between mouth and shoulder. The unsized portion of the neck acts as a pilot, centering the neck in the chamber.

4. Use the right powder. I use Hodgdon's Li'l Gun. Li'l Gun has a lower but more prolonged peak, than other powders. It is therefore able to achieve high velocities at lower pressure. Typically, a case full of Li'l Gun will develop about 28,000 CUP, and the Hornet's max is 40,000 CUP. I don't weigh my charges, I use the case itself as a dipper. I fill the case and strike it off (draw a straight edge across the case mouth to brush off any excess powder) then tap the case lightly to settle the powder a fraction of an inch. This load breaks 3,000 fps over my Shooting Chrony.

5. Use the right bullet. No rifle will shoot more accurately than the bullets it is fed. I use the 35 grain Hornady V-Max. It shoots accurately, and is deadly on everything from crows to coyotes. But it has one even more important characteristic. Hornets usually shoot best when the bullet is loaded close to the origin of the rifling. This usually results in an overall cartridge length that won't feed through the magazine. V-Max bullets in .22 caliber all have about the same shank length -- the weight differences comes in the length of the nose. The 35 grain looks like it started out to be a round-nose bullet, and changed its mind at the last minute. You can load the 35 grain V-Max out to where the shoulder of the bullet actually touches the origin of the rifling, and still have an OAL that will feed through the magazine.

Follow these five steps, and you will produce .22 Hornet ammunition that will shoot as accurately as any other varmint cartridge, and will bring out the full potential of this fine little round.

Bula
February 24, 2010, 01:50 PM
Excellent write up Vern.

SwampWolf
February 24, 2010, 02:26 PM
I use the 35 grain Hornady V-Max. It shoots accurately, and is deadly on everything from crows to coyotes. But it has one even more important characteristic. Hornets usually shoot best when the bullet is loaded close to the origin of the rifling. This usually results in an overall cartridge length that won't feed through the magazine. V-Max bullets in .22 caliber all have about the same shank length -- the weight differences comes in the length of the nose. The 35 grain looks like it started out to be a round-nose bullet, and changed its mind at the last minute. You can load the 35 grain V-Max out to where the shoulder of the bullet actually touches the origin of the rifling, and still have an OAL that will feed through the magazine.


After much experimentation, this has become my favorite bullet too, Vern. It turned my fussy Browning Micro A-Bolt into a very accurate little Hornet. And I, too, appreciate your informative write-up. Nicely done.

MachIVshooter
February 24, 2010, 02:50 PM
The Hornet is a great little round. I use it when the ranges are a bit long for Rimfires, but the area is too settled for the big boomers like my .220 Swift. I've found it to be a great cartridge inside of 200 yards. It could reach a little further, but even with handloads, I've never been able to coax sub-MOA groups out of my NEF Handi-rifle that is my only Hornet. I'm sure one day I'll have a bolt repeater in this caliber, though.

Congrats and enjoy!

kiwihunta
February 24, 2010, 03:46 PM
Thanks Vern great write up... very interesting and informative, cheers.

kiwihunta
February 24, 2010, 03:48 PM
love the round; so versatile really for up and downloading. You may look for some Reloader 17 powder; it really heats up the small cal stuff with small cases.
And of course cz rifles- still the best rifle for the money as far as I am concerned; oh yeah, that goes for their handguns as well. Anything cz 75 or phantom is worth every NZ Kiwi...
Hey there Rangerruck good to hear from you.cheers Kiwi.

villemur
February 24, 2010, 03:56 PM
I have a twelve-inch Bullberry .22 K-Hornet barrel for my Contender and I love it. It's accurate, has minimal recoil, and it's an inexpensive cartridge to reload. Like others, I too use Lil' Gun powder. One of my favorite things to do on a calm summer day is hang out at the range and shoot the hornet.

kiwihunta
February 24, 2010, 06:45 PM
The new load i have been using is 11 grns of ADI 2205 which is an Australian powder ,winchester primers, and 35 grn Hornady vmax ballistic tip,which seems to be going well at the range but yet to use on varmints......but will asap.

tju1973
February 24, 2010, 08:00 PM
Vern Humphrey
+1 Brother

kiwihunta
February 25, 2010, 06:34 AM
Gentlemen thanks for your input, i learned some interesting facts.

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