.22 Hornet or .223


January 13, 2012, 11:46 PM
I am wanting to get a rifle more powerful than my .22 lr. I have looked at several different calibers and platforms, not really sure what to get.
I cannot hunt deer with a rifle where I live, but there are lots of pest coyotes around. It will likely be a while before I can afford another rifle, so this will have to be somewhat of an all around rifle for a while.
I considered .17 HMR and .22 Mag, but I will probably be buying a reloading press before I get this rifle, so I kind of want to get something reloadable.
I was thinking just a .223, possibly an AR, but then ran across some info on a .22 Hornet. I know this is all kind of vague, but would that be a suitable round for my purposes, or am I better off with something else?
Is there another economical round that I'm overlooking here?

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January 14, 2012, 12:24 AM
From what I understand, the Hornet is going to give you more punch and range than a .22 Mag, without quite the noise level of the .223 cartridge.

The Hornet will probably do what you're asking, but the .223 will be cheaper and much easier to find.

January 14, 2012, 12:27 AM
7.62x39 is a very cheap round if you stick with the steel case

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy using tapatalk

January 14, 2012, 12:31 AM
what maximum range do you want to shoot the yotes at?

January 14, 2012, 12:44 AM
Really, get a .223.........

January 14, 2012, 01:16 AM
22 hornet. Really. So quiet, no recoil, fast flat shooter, accurate and fun. Don't get me wrong .223 is awesomer... Lol... But for what you described, coyotes, I have been shooting both calibers for over 20 years and 22 hornet is ideal for your scenario. I have a sako bolt action and a Brno single shot. Kills every time I hit a varmint. Doesn't kill deer, but ur not deer hunting. Ammo, I have found, is hard to find on the usual shelf, then again I remember a time when 223 or 5.56 was harder to find. 22 hornet is the way to go. Quiet, deadly, accurate, little to no recoil, no muzzle blast or flash.... Good hunting..

The little 17 is a joke. Don't even waste your time.

One I've wanted to try is the 218 bee....

.222 rem will do it all for you too tho and is my favorite round. I've killed all sorta game with this round.

January 14, 2012, 01:39 AM
Central Illinois where the ranges are usually short and the cover can be sparse, a .22 Hornet will do what you need to do but a .223 will be easier to find ammo for and in a greater variety.
I have taken the vast majority of coyote in those bands of cover and the ranges rarely exceeded 150 yards.

I had a .22 Hornet, actually a K Hornet wildcat and am planning on purchasing another.
The older I get, the more appreciative I am becoming of light recoil low noise cartridges but bear this in mind,
the .22 Hornet really shines if you are willing to become a handloader/reloader of the cartridge.
In factory choices, the ammo today isn't all that great.

January 14, 2012, 02:21 AM
the answer is clear

get both

January 14, 2012, 02:39 AM
It will be tough to find Hornet ammo and brass. Pretty easy to find .223/5.56mm.

If you are talking about a bolt-action, the .223 can be loaded to Hornet velocities and noise levels just as easily as it can be loaded to full-pressure velocities and noise levels.

Not much in centerfire rifle ammo is cheaper off the shelf than the .223, with the exception of the 7.62x39 and 5.45x39, but I sure like the .223/5.56 better than either of those.

January 14, 2012, 02:45 AM
.223s have kind of taken over by virtue of the popularity of AR rifles. But I really wish there was an AR-10 chambered in 22-250. (Apparently the taper is too extreme for it to feed reliably.

But I do kind of wish there were more guns chambered in .22 Hornet. I think it's a good cartridge for tasks you wish a .22 mag would do better.

matt 7mm
January 14, 2012, 09:14 AM
i know savage and browning make 22hornet bolt guns does anyone know what else is on the market

January 14, 2012, 09:28 AM
If a bolt gun is a reasonable option for you, I'd get the Hornet. A joy to shoot, quiet, flat shooting and just a damn pretty cartridge to reload for. The expense per round is higher but still, you're not talking about blasting away in surplus ammo quantities anyhow.

When we do the shooting camp-ins, the Hornet is always the most popular to shoot at the end of the day and oddly, even the worst ammo hogs slow down and enjoy the ride more with it.

January 14, 2012, 09:44 AM
I really like the Hornet as it has very low recoil and a mild report, but reloading for it can be a PITA, specifically with weak brass that isn't always easy to find. Some Hornets are also very picky about the bullet/powder/primer combo they prefer.

With a 223, you can easily download to Hornet and even rimfire velocities. Ammo & components are everywhere and fairly affordable, and brass tends to be good to great quality.

I've got some Unique that I plan to use with 40gr V-Max in my 223; with 3.5-5gr I expect to see speeds similar to a 22mag. Blue Dot, Trail Boss, and H4895 are other popular powders for reduced loads.

Unless you find a SCREAMING deal on a Hornet, I'd suggest a 223.

January 14, 2012, 09:56 AM
I am going to chime in here with what everyone else has said. If you are looking for a hot .22 bullet, go with .223. It is one of the most widely used cartridges, so there is a ton of reloading data, plus there are a ton of bullet choices, surplus ammo, and commercially available ammo for it. Also, loads can be tailored for the situation by flipping through a catalog rather than spending time at the reloading press like you'd have to with .22 hornet. An AR is a great choice also, because you can get a Palmetto State Armory stripped lower for $50 when they go on sale again, get one of their regular or upgraded lower parts kits, and then order any upper you want. There again, you can tailor your upper, and therefor your caliber choice by changing uppers as well. You could have .223 uppers in every barrel length from 10 to 24 inches for everything from chipmunks to coyotes, and then toss on a .458 SOCOM upper for deer and hogs.

I saw somebody suggest 7.62x39, which is one of my favorite cartridges. If I were going to pick just one intermediate rifle and cartridge it would be my VZ2008 or any VZ58 in 7.62x39. People will argue that x39 is not very accurate, but I can consistently hit regular bowling pins at 150yd with the factory sights and $5 Wal-Mart TulAmmo. And the rifle cost's less than $400 if you look around online. AFAIK it is the best value in rifles there is right now.

January 14, 2012, 10:46 AM
Ruger and CZ also produce .22 hornet caliber rifles as does H&R and Thompson Center Arms if you want a single shot but you have to already have one of their frames which you send in to have a barrel fitted or with T/C you can just order the barrel direct, no fitting necessary.

Ruger makes the Number 1 single shot in .22 Hornet from time to time and had a decent little Number 3 Carbine available in the caliber for several years, it has since been discontinued though I think they should bring it back onto the market, at least in limited runs.

January 14, 2012, 01:11 PM
The Hornet will probably do what you're asking, but the .223 will be cheaper and much easier to find.

this is right on point

January 14, 2012, 01:16 PM
I was trying to make the same decision when it came to buying a different battle for my contender. I ended up getting one in .223 because of ammo availability and cost. I'm happy with my decision, the .223 does everything I want it too.

January 14, 2012, 02:52 PM
I'd have to go with neither, and suggest a .22-250. Excellent round that .22-250.

Michael R.
January 14, 2012, 02:55 PM
I live in the nw suburbs of chicago and my dad has used his 22 hornet to take around 4 or 5 coyotes in our backyard. He has also killed a deer with it. If i could reccomend you a gun in 22 hornet, then a browning a-bolt micro hunter would be a good choice. He had a leupold 3-9x40 scope on it and it is a great gun and a great cartridge.

dagger dog
January 14, 2012, 04:18 PM
You probably want to go with the .223 if you are going to shoot factory ammo, although Hornet ammo pricing is for 50 instead of 20 r'nds per box, if you don't reload, the .223 will cheaper.

Advantages of handloading,reloading the Hornet far out weigh any negatives. Hornet brass is available at any BassPro Gander Mountain or Cabela's.

The bullets are the same as you would use in any .223,22-250 and any other 22 centerfire caliber except 22 Highpower, ditto primers. Hornet brass is no weaker than any other, just takes a litlle more finess 'cause it's so small. Velocity in the Hornet can exceede 3000 fps with the right components.

Hornet terminal performance drops off at about 200 yds, that's about maximum with Hornady 35gr Vmax factory ammo, the .223 will hold it's killing power with heavier varmint bullets out to 400 yd.

January 14, 2012, 04:34 PM
The Hornet is a good small game/predator round however, the .223 will be an easier round to find, if not reloading, and will only cost a small amount of powder more, in a full power load. Hornet will not carry as far with ammo heavier than 55gr. You can load a bolt gun round up to at least 80gr. in .223. makes for a much better long range load. Yes I have used both on pdogs and coyotes.

January 14, 2012, 04:48 PM
Wow.....sometimes internet advice seems actually correct! Which means I agree with almost everything stated above (well, I don't have any experience with the 7.62 x 39).

I've owned Browning Low Walls in 22 Hornet, .223, .243 and .260, and a High Wall in 22-250. I also own a Savage single shot in .222 Rem.

As superb as the 22-250 is, it's probably a bit much for where you live and hunt. It's great for long-range shots, but it's loud and costs more to buy and/or reload. .243 and .260 fit into that same general category: nice, but too much for your needs.

That leaves the 22 Hornet, 223 Rem and don't forget the 222 Rem. I can shoot the 22 Hornet all day long without burning out the barrel; the .223 must be shot more judiciously.

I've loaded the 223 down to Hornet velocities, but my loads were not as accurate as my Hornet. I'm sure I could find a good load, but, honestly, didn't want to make that much effort. A friend tried doing the same with even less success; his rifle is 1-9 twist, mine 1-12. Twist probably makes a difference, and .223 "Hornet" loads with 35 & 40 gr. bullets seemed (he says) more tricky in the faster 1-9 twist. My Hornet is a 1-17" twist.

Same friend just bought a used 22 Hornet Low Wall, and sent me a copy of a target shot at 75 yds: you can cover 5 shots with a dime

My 222 Remington is a new acquisition, and I'm amazed at its accuracy. I see now why it's held so many accuracy records over the years. I'm anxious to experiment with various loads.

Hornet and 222 Remington OTC cartridges are easily 2-4 X more expensive than .223 store-bought. But hand-loading is a different story. According to Midway, the cost of Hornet and .223 brass is about the same; 222 Rem brass is almost double ($48 vs. $28 per 100). All three calibers use the same bullets and primers, of course. It would be easy to amortize/justify the extra cost of .222 Rem brass.

Theoretically, once you have the powder, 222 Rem & 22 Hornet are cheaper to load, since they take less powder. In reality, powder cost is probably not that big of a factor (although I think one can load a Hornet for a million years with one lb. of H110.....)

So let's assume you're going to hand-load. .I see CZ makes their Model 527 in all three calibers, 204 Ruger (hmmm, there's another possibility) and 221 Remington Fireball. Or, if you can scoop up a good used 22 Hornet or 222 Remington, do it. Obviously, you'll have more choices in a .223.

Good shopping!

January 14, 2012, 05:03 PM
The OP said reloading was coming with the rifle.

Get a .223. When you want to shoot Hornet rounds, down load the .223 cases.

I have done this exact thing and it works like a charm. You can easily produce Hornet ballistics and use a Hornet 45 grain pill too.

The Hornet is nice, fun to shoot and has a certain nostalgic flair. It is anemic compared to a .223 round. Once you try some Hornet loads you will be happy you got a .223 so that you have extra power when you want it.

For the actual rifle don't overlook a Contender or an Encore. Then you can have any additional caliber you want for the cost of a barrel, usually $150 to $250.

January 14, 2012, 05:17 PM
Funny the .22MRF (rimfire magnum) for coyote thread is right below this one. The .22 rimfire mag is quieter than a Hornet and kills yotes DRN to 100 or a little better yards. Don't get me wrong I love the Hornet, K Hornet and .17 Ackley Hornet , but at 50-75 yards the .22mag does work well.

January 21, 2012, 05:47 PM
I just read about .204 Ruger being able to use AR mags. Would that be a suitable cartridge for my needs, or should I just shoot for a .223?

January 21, 2012, 06:18 PM
The .204 is, arguably, the fastest commercial round you can get at over 4000 fps with a 32 grain round.

I had a .204 barrel on an Encore and they are a laser beam out to 300 yards.

But for the cheapest ammo, .223 has everything beat hand down. If you reload they are nearly identical to .223 for cost.

Or, get a Contender/Encore with a .223 barrel and a .204 barrel:D

January 21, 2012, 06:27 PM
Eb1, NAH, that .22-250 is a loud sucker, light .223 loads are better for what he's lookin' at.

Vern Humphrey
January 21, 2012, 06:40 PM
The Hornet was adopted by Winchester around 1930, but 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 because of it's tapered shape and "generous" chamber dimensions.

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. Here in the Ozarks, it makes a fine crow and coyote rifle. Sharp-eyed people may note that Arkansas game laws specify "nothing larger than .22 rimfire" for crows. But there is an exception -- during coyote season. Coyote season runs from the First of July through the 28th of February, then starts again about a week or so later with the opening of Spring turkey season, and runs through the 13th of June. In other words, it's pert' near always coyote season in Arkansas, and you can use the Hornet on crows to your heart's content.

My M82 is 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 Hodgdon’s Li’l Gun – it develops lower pressures than other powders, but with its prolonged peak, it produces high velocities. 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.

January 21, 2012, 08:07 PM
Am I overlooking something? ... yes, the 221 Fireball.

If you are serious about reloading give a serious look to the 221 Fireball. The 222 Rem was the parent case for both. The Fireball is a shortened 223 and a very robust case. It is right on the heels of the 223 with some of the newer powders. I make my own brass from 223 cases. My gun is a Rem 700 that started life as a Light Varmint Stainless Fluted. Got rid of the tuperware stock in favor of a thumbhole laminate. Very accurate gun. A buddy of mine picked up a CZ 527 in 221 Fireball and loves it. The CZ comes with the single set trigger too.

Here are some 22 cal cartridges.


22 Hornet, 218 Bee, 221 Fireball, 222 Rem, 223 Rem, 222 Rem Mag, 22-250

January 21, 2012, 08:31 PM
I've got a Ruger 77/22 Hornet, an AR .223, a CZ in .204, and a Rem 700 in 22-250. I just took my Hornet out for the first time today. Cute little thing. I'm using the 35 gr V-Max over H-110. Quieter than the .223 and WAY quieter than the 22-250.

FWIW...the Hornet gets maybe 75% of the velocity of the 22-250 and 80% of the .223 with less than 1/3rd of the powder. You'll get almost 600 rounds out of 1# of H-110. Loaded rounds will be maybe 15 cents each.

I got it in a swap and thought I wanted to sell it. Think maybe I'll hang onto it now after shooting it.

January 21, 2012, 09:16 PM
I was in your shoes about this time last year. I looked at all of the calibers mentioned. Every single one of them has its pros and cons, and they'd all be great. If you even think you could possibly want an AR in the future, kill two birds with one stone and buy an AR in 5.56/223. You mentioned the word "economical". I can buy brass ammo for it at 5.99 a box of 20. The reloads I've made for it are listed in my reloading manual as starting loads, and aren't much louder than 22 hornet. I'd also recommend watching a few youtube videos buying a kit, and then building your own AR. Far cheaper, and once you see how easy it is you'll be amazed.

January 21, 2012, 09:59 PM
One thing I forgot to put in my post. I'm going coyote calling tomorrow. Gonna take the AR in .223. I took it on a PD hunt this past fall. With the right hand loads we were shooting at 500 yards+. Anything less than 300 was pretty easy.

As noted above, you can buy the parts and build one. Might want to get a complete upper, but the lower is a breeze. You can save $100 by doing that and have a really nice rifle.

Mine is the most accurate rifle I've ever shot.

January 22, 2012, 10:19 AM
An adder to my picture post. If you go the AR route with your gun selection it is a no brainer, 223 is the only practical choice. A bolt gun leaves all the options open.

January 23, 2012, 01:51 PM
I just signed up for THR so let me take a stab at this issue. I own .243, .223, .204, and .17 HMR. And I have shot .22 Hornet and 22-250. All of them will kill coyotes except the .17 HMR; actually it will kill one if you hit exactly the right spot like in the throat, which I did when hunting squirrels and shot him at about 35 yards. If you are concerned about noise, the 22-250 is very loud, but you can whack targets out to 300+ yards...ammo is expensive. The .223 offers a huge variety of models and the ammo selection is equally large. My reloads permit up to 3600 FPS will really lay out a coyote. The .22 mag is OK at shorter ranges, but not a great coyote round. The .22 Hornet is ideal for short ranges, low noise and still offers good killing power, but ammo is hard to find...really should load your own. The .204 is lightening fast and I have shot 3 coyotes with mine. It is a little loud and ammo is not cheap...about $1 per round...I load mine for about $.30. I agree with he who said buy both rifle....or all 3 or 4 or 5. You will never make the perfect decision because it does not exist. Have fun!!

January 23, 2012, 02:04 PM
You will never make the perfect decision because it does not exist.

Not true: the perfect decision is being happy with the choice you make.....until "an expert" on a web site explains in detail how badly you screwed up...... :cuss:

January 23, 2012, 04:05 PM
The nice thing about firearms in general, if you don't like the choice you made, but you've taken care of it, you can turn around and sell it without loosing your hat.

February 3, 2012, 09:15 PM
If you don't already have a .223, then I'd say get that since you will eventually wind up with one anyway. If you want something in between a .22 WMRF and a .223, I'd look very hard at the new .17 Hornet.

February 3, 2012, 09:58 PM
The Hornet may be a better choice, if:

-Ranges will be under 300 yards
-You reload

It is plenty of cartridge for varminting out to 300 yards, and is very efficient, so quite a bit cheaper to reload than .223. It's also no where near as loud.

However, if you expect ranges to exceed 300 yards or if you're stuck buying factory ammo, the .223 has obvious advantages.

That said..........

If you're expecting ranges over 400 yards, you should step up to the .22-250.

If 500+ yards, .220 Swift, .243 Win or 6mm Rem.

Float Pilot
February 3, 2012, 10:33 PM
You must like hand-loading to make the 22 Hornet worthwhile.
I am more of an experimental hand-loader these days so I like the Hornet.
But I also fly a plane built in 1946...

But beware that some 22 Hornet rifles are hit and miss with accuracy. And some even like a different diameter bullet.... So if you like spending lots of time at the loading table and playing around with week-end gunsmithing... the Hornet may be up your alley.

But for volume shooting at affordable prices... it is hard to beat the .223
Plus you are very likely to find an accurate 223 rifle right out of the box.

February 4, 2012, 09:42 AM
I can load a .223 to Hornet velocities, but no one can load their Hornet to full power .223 velocities.

Lots of guys go to the "K" Hornet because of the std. Hornets weak necks, the .223 doesn't have that problem either.


February 4, 2012, 10:47 AM
What DM and others said. You can always load down the 223 to Hornet velocities...or even 22LR.


February 4, 2012, 01:41 PM
For coyote my choice would be .223 Rem due to the commonality of the round.

February 4, 2012, 01:57 PM
Just to make things a bit more complex...

.17 Hornet


Hornaday has a hit with .17HMR, but for your purposes it might be a bit light. Their new offering is based on the hornet with a smaller bullet, over 3600 fps, will make this a true successor to the venerable 22. Hornet.

The only question is what will all this goodness cost WHEN it arrives.

More info...http://www.hornady.com/store/Superformance-Varmint-NewAmmo


February 4, 2012, 06:46 PM
What i did, LR for up to rabbit, Hornet for marmots up to foxes and a .222 for yotes. With those, i got all i need. Cheers.

February 5, 2012, 12:46 AM
Realistically a .223 is a more functional option. You can download it and run full loads. Brass is everywhere and while the same diameter bullets are used there are more bullet weight options that can be used with a 1:8" or 1:7" twist .223. That said, if you think a hornet may be the round you want go with it. Brass does exist. With a quick trip to a decent gunsmith you can have it turned into a k hornet and avoid the few questionable complaints about loading. It is quieter, even with reduced .223 loads. The hornet is very efficient. If you like the idea of a small and extremely efficient round the hornet a hit.

I guess it comes down to what you want. I've had a handful of different .223s and honestly the more time goes on the more I look for a smaller case and the hornet as well as bee and fireball look great. I have lots of access to a 100 yard range and all of those listed do fine at paper punching at that distance. For that reason I've bailed from multiple .223 rifles. If I get membership to another local range where there are benches out to 600 yards I'm sure I'll look at faster .22 caliber options with very fast twists. Until then I'll stick with the smaller guys.

February 5, 2012, 02:40 AM
I can`t amagine not having both and these are 2 of the rifles I shoot the most. But a 22 hornet is not general purpose rifle. Its not your 1st rifle the 223 fills that slot better. Much easier to find ammo or reloading componets for and cheaper. Yes the 223 is louder but the 223 is a 300 to 400 yrd rifle for up to coyote sized animals. The 22 hornet is pushing it for 200 to 250yd shots. In bolt guns CZ and Savage are my picks. If you go the AR route get a good brand and at least a 20 inch barrel and the 223 is the ticket, I think. Also buy a good scope and mount it as low as you can use it. Also the CZ & Savage have really great triggers. Good luck with your choice. ken

LTR shooter
February 5, 2012, 10:42 AM
I've never regretted going with a 223. The sheer volume of available firearms in 223 gives you many options to choose from. I shoot it in guns ranging from a 14" TC Contender up to a 26" Varmint rig. The availability of brass/bullets and all other components can be found anywhere where such is sold. If you ever want to move it a 223 is one of the easiest to sell/trade.

February 5, 2012, 11:47 AM
I can certainly understand why folks like the .22 Hornet but I like commonality of ammo so I opted for .22WMR and .223 Remington (Wylde chamber).

Regarding just rifles, in my area, add a .22LR and a .308 Win and that's all I'm likely to ever need.

February 5, 2012, 12:53 PM
Since I reload, I went with the .22 K-Hornet. Brass came from factory Remington ammo that was shot and fired formed in the chamber. I like the K-Hornet because it has the advantages of the .22 Hornet without the disadvantages of the old Hornet case. The K-Hornet neck alone is worth the upgrade. My barrel is for handgun-length (13") Contender and accuracy has been superb when I do my part. The K-Hornet is economical to shoot as the case life has been exceptional.

Of course I also went with the .218 Mashburn Bee in another Contender 24-inch rifle barrel, meaning I am a sucker for the old varmint cartridges. If .22 Hornet is hard to find, .218 Bee brass is unobtanium. I usually keep an eye on MidwayUSA for the brass as Winchester runs it occasionally.

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