22 Hornet for deer?


Gary O
September 20, 2011, 07:33 PM
What say you? Thanks...

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Quickdraw Limpsalot
September 20, 2011, 07:39 PM
If you're capable and it's legal, I support it... provided your shot is fairly close range and ideal for double lung or neck shot.

September 20, 2011, 07:48 PM
It will work in a limited situation but I WOULD NOT advise it.
Listen,after deer hunting for well over 45 years and killing over 75 Texas bucks and a number of Does with a 243,6mm,30-06,270,308,and a 30-30 few of them even with a very well placed shot dropped at the shot and usually ran 10-100 yards.
Try to step up to a better caliber if at all possible because at the end of the day you will be shooting a reasonably sized animal that is capable of feeling pain and it deserves to at least have it's life ended humanely as possible.
But all that being said I personally know a guy that shoots far better than me and most others that has used the Hornet cartridge to bring down at least three deer but these were well aimed neck shots(that I dont recommend for most) at a distance of less than 65 yards.
I am sure others will not agree with me and others will.

September 20, 2011, 08:34 PM
People for years have killed a lot of dear with 25-20 and 32-20's at close range. My major reservation would the possible lack of penetration from varmint type projectiles. If you use it for other than brain shots the bullets must be capable of giving good penetration and the marksmanship very good.

What is the reason for wanting to use this round? Is it that hard for you to get a better caliber rifle for hunting? For smaller deer the minimum should at least be either a .223 or 7.62x39. If you hunt with dogs than something as small as a M1 Carbine will also do the job. Harder for a wounded deer to get away with a pack of dogs in its trail.

Art Eatman
September 20, 2011, 08:35 PM
Highly skilled and good at controlling adrenaline? Grudgingly, yeah. But I'm basically agin it. :)

One of those deals where perfection is mandatory. My problem is that I never met Mr. Perfection, even when I'm shaving.

September 20, 2011, 10:16 PM
Hell, why not a .22 short? If you're gettin' small, go all the way. Don't tell me a .22 short won't kill a deer. I've seen one kill a 400 lb hog. It's all in the shot placement.


Harder for a wounded deer to get away with a pack of dogs in its trail.

Hmm, that sounds ethical.

Excuse the sarcasm. I just get real tired of people using .22s on deer and hogs. Man, grow up and get a .30 caliber or at least a 6mm. It won't hurt you if you hold it right, trust me. Lots of folks use a .22-250 on Texas (small) deer. It does an okay job for kids that ain't big enough to handle more gun, I guess. Me, I figure if he ain't big enough to shoot a .243, he ain't big enough to go deer hunting, but that's just me. I know the .22-250 has taken a lot of deer in this state, but it's a helluva lot more gun than a .22 Hornet.

Arkansas Paul
September 20, 2011, 10:30 PM
Personally, I think anything more powerful than the ol' Red Ryder is just plain silly.

September 20, 2011, 10:54 PM
I know here in OK. .223 with a 55gr. bullet is the minimum legally allowed for deer. I have known a few guys that used 22-250's but most everyone else uses a 243 as a minimum.

September 20, 2011, 10:59 PM
I took a small doe one evening a several years back with my .22 hornet. Head shot at 50 yards with a 40gr vmax got the job done. Not my top pick for a deer rifle but it's what i had in the truck that day and i didn't have time to go home and switch guns before i hit the field.

September 20, 2011, 11:12 PM
In Virginia and West Virginia it would get your gun taken away from you as anything smaller than a 243 is illegal for hunting deer. I personally think that if a man or woman is going to kill a deer than they should be able to handle at least a 243. But since I have always used a 270, 308 or 7mm Mag for deer I am a bit confused as to why so many people now think it is important to have bragging rights about how small the rifle was they used to kill the deer and that they did it from over 600 yds through thick forest. Why not just use a sling shot? At least the caliber would be larger than 22 caliber.

Frozen North
September 20, 2011, 11:17 PM
I would not use anything that light to shoot a deer. You are in the ballistic basement with that one. I am all for using what you have and putting skills before caliber, but I think that is too light for any big game animal.

September 20, 2011, 11:38 PM
It's legal in my state but that doesn't mean it is a good idea--heck, the only restriction here is it must be centerfire, but that doesn't mean you should go deer hunting with a .25ACP. .22 Hornet is marginal enough that I'd only use it if I had nothing better and it was a matter of using it or my family going hungry.

September 21, 2011, 12:28 AM
Know a guy who has filled plenty of farm tags with one... always a head shot though... pretty much a kill or miss... but If you are not confident in taking only head shots, I would borrow or buy a bigger caliber. That Hornet will get plenty of action on other critters.

September 21, 2011, 12:35 AM
One of my older neighbors told me once how he poached to fill the freezer and one day an unlucky elk was the critter that was killed, all of his poached animals was with a 22 hornet he said it was 2 shots to the head but it did the job.

September 21, 2011, 12:41 AM
Considering it is illegal in Colorado I would say no. As a personal opinion I would say that it is terribly unethical and flat out wrong. I am not saying that it CAN'T be done, I am saying it SHOULDN'T be done.

Sav .250
September 21, 2011, 07:51 AM
Does your state DNR`s not have a minimun cal requirement? You need to do some home-work on the subject.

September 21, 2011, 08:23 AM
Here in Georgia, it's legal, ditto Alabama.
Legal, Functional, and Desirable are three differnent things.

I've killed over 50 deer with the .22Hornet. It works......
Penetration is better than most would imagine. Velocity is low enough that it does penetrate well.
The wound cavity is fairly narrow. Best comparison I can make is that the .22Hornet from a rifle is very similar to a .357mag from a handgun.

The vast majority of my shots are head/ neck shots. A few, on smaller deer have been body chest shots. For about 5yrs, I carried my Ruger M77/22Hornet in my patrol-4x4truck to dispatch auto-accident crippled deer. Once had to dispatch one that had jumped/fallen into an empty water treatment tank (15' deep, 100' in diameter concrete tank- think olympic sized swimming pool with pipes, stanchions, ect. I used a cast bullet (Lyman #225415- 49.5gr Pointed-flatnose w/gascheck) over 6.2gr of #2400 for 2,000fps. Think a reloadabe .22wrm........

In my neck of the woods (70mi S.W. of Metro Atlanta, GA; metropolis of 5+million people), the .22Hornet was the POACHERS gun of choice. Mild muzzle blast, (but a blast, nevertheless) and no recoil, and guns are typically small and light, inexpensive-ie: the N.E.Arms Handi-Rifle aka H&R "Topper". I apphrended a number of individuals who had taken deer at night, or were hunting deer at night using the .22Hornet. In the densely settled rural area's, it also was popular for "out of season" hunting because it was by law, legal for hunting/taking small game animals, too. (except on State WMA's).
Mild report, relatively flat trajectory, inexpensive guns, fairly accurate, 50rds of ammo for same cost as .357mag handgun, ect...... Not a bad resume.
I still have a Ruger M77/22 in the heavy barrel, gray stainless/laminated stock version. I've taken a lot of deer with it on depredation permits. If the deer don't know where you are (can't see you) you can take down half the herd before they can figure out where you are to run away. Until then, they will frequently run towards you because the echo's of the report confuses them. My favorite tool for that job.....
My favorite load is the 40gr Sierra "Varminter" Hollow point. Over 12.5gr of Hod. Lil'Gun it get's ~3,000fps and is about 1moa accurate (5-shots at 100yds). One of a few loads that will do this from my rifle. Penetration on deer runs to 18". Hence, I've never recovered one from heart/lung shots. My longest shot on a deer was 187yds, a ~90lb yearling doe. Double lung shot dropped it, deer ran ~40yds before expiring.... Typical of any lung shot deer.....
I am however, a patient shot, and don't get overly excited at shooting "another" deer.
Work, work, work..... the fun is over when the shot quits echoing....

For typical sport hunting however, like another said.... Grow up and get you a .243 or .30/30 if you are recoil/noise sensative. Much preferable for shooting deer, especially at over 100yds.

September 21, 2011, 09:35 AM
I was looking at Missouri's hunting regulations to figure out the legality in the OP's purported state. I found it odd that Buckshot is illegal. Now it is possible that Buckshot is illegal for safety reasons, I couldn't determine that by googling. It seems to me however, that Buckshot is sometimes banned because it is deemed unethical. If that is the case in Missouri, I find it odd that they only define a legal modern firearm as a centerfire pistol or rifle caliber. As stated above that allows things as small as .25 ACP and .22 Hornet. I'd rather be shooting 25 .30 caliber balls at 1100fps aimed at the vitals of a deer, than a single .224 projectile at 2700 fps.

Of course in Virginia, rifle and pistol calibers must be over .23" and have an energy rating of 350ft-lb. That pretty much means .357 Magnum and up for pistol and .243 Win and up for rifle. Iny many counties in Virginia, rifles and shotgun slugs are not allowed, and in still others, muzzle loading rifles are not allowed....so that means Buckshot only. Although, there is no restriction on shot size. All that just tells me that most wildlife management regulations on calibers are not based on any particular source.

September 21, 2011, 12:34 PM
I have said this before, but deer just are that hard to kill. A 22 hornet will definitely do the job, but it certainly wouldn't be my first choice. While I do hunt with a crossbow myself, I view using "sub-calibers" in the same light as I do archery tackle. A hunter needs to be better practiced and more proficient with their equipment, and in my experience, many/most who use them are NOT.

September 21, 2011, 01:22 PM
I just saw a show on NatGeo or some similar channel about Moose in Norway coming into contact with humans; and how they get some in the major cities every year. A game warden (or similar title) who handled problem-Moose eradication was interviewed, and demonstrated his Ruger M77 in .22Hornet as his primary tool to put the Moose down...they didn't get into specifics of shot placement; but they did show these guys motoring a boat up behind a moose in a pond in the middle of a city; so presumably close range execution style dispatch.

September 21, 2011, 01:28 PM
Not unless I had absolutely no other choice. Is it possible? Yes. Is it a good idea? No.

September 22, 2011, 04:44 AM
Can it be done? Yep. Gotta know your limitations. I mean absolutely no offense, but if you have to ask then you probably shouldn't.

In my neck of the woods (70mi S.W. of Metro Atlanta, GA; metropolis of 5+million people), the .22Hornet was the POACHERS gun of choice.

I believe it. I have a buddy who grew up in upstate NY. They lived in the boonies and when he was a boy his dad and uncle poached a fair amount of deer at night (for meat, they didn't have money). He went along sometimes. I just recently bought a 22 hornet and when I told my buddy, he said something like "growing up when I'd go with my dad and uncle to poach deer, they used a 22 hornet. They'd shoot them in the head or neck. That's my only experience with that round."

Please don't misinterpret this for my condoning poaching. Just relaying information.

Gary O
September 22, 2011, 07:50 AM
pretty interesting answers. I'll bet if I posed a question about using nuclear warheads I would get plenty of opinions, too...

Art Eatman
September 22, 2011, 09:48 AM
In that case, enough for now...

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