.22 Hornet Info Needed Pleasel


Bwana John
June 25, 2013, 04:35 PM
I finally was able to pick up a Ruger 77/22 in .22 Hornet.
Anybody have any advice for reloading for it?

The little case is kind of hard to manipulate.
I learned to use hardly any case lube, the shoulder gets oil dents VERY easily.

What powder/bullet weight/type at what velocity?
SR or SP primers?

Problems like short case life or excessive trimming needed between reloads?


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dagger dog
June 25, 2013, 05:30 PM
I'm a Hodgdons Lil'Gun fan, with the 40 grain Vmax, my load is 12.5 grs in a neck sized once fired case, CCI BR4 primer, and the 40 gr V-Max. 1.80" COAL.

I think starting load is 11.5 grs and a 0.10 grain change is A BIG ONE in the Hornets tiny case so work up slow.

Haven't seen a Hornet rifle that didn't respond to fire forming and neck sizing. Some find better results with mild primers even going to small pistol.
Good Hornet powders Alliant 2400, H110/W296, IMR 4227.

Bullets range from the 45 grain historic soft point Hornet bullets to the newer plastic tips, and Berger and Barnes 30 grain Hornet specific FBHP 35gr Vmax.

I use a Lee collet so trimming is not needed, have some cases on the 10 reload no signs of separation.

2800 fps with the 40 Vmax and 12.5 grs LilGun 3000 + same load with the 30-35 grain class and both are pretty darn accurate.

June 25, 2013, 06:58 PM
I own 2 hornets both are CZ's I've been reloading for them for 5 years Hogdon Lil Gun is the best of about 6 powders including all the above I like the 50 grain hornaday soft point and 12.6 grains behind a remington 6.5 primer my best group to date 10 shots 1.2" horizontal .795" vertical at 100 yards. 3 shot groups are near 1 hole accurate. I have shot up to 13 grains with 50 grain and small pistol primers without problems.

For best results weight all cases and sort within 2 or 3 grains and don't use a lot of case lube as you have learned. Get an accurate case trimmer trim all the cases to the same length and sort by weight and manufacturer and let us know how the 77/22 shoots. Load them as long as you can and still cycle through the rotary magazine.

June 25, 2013, 07:09 PM
Another vote for Lil Gun over a small pistol primer. I'd have to go pull my book to be sure, but I think I'm running 40 grain bullets over 12.2 grains powder. Great cartridge!

June 25, 2013, 07:28 PM
I have two loads that work very well fro me, both use 2400:

8.7 gr of 2400 behind Remington 45 gr SP
9.7 gr of 2400 behind Sierra Varmiter 40 gr HP

Be very careful with the brass as you already know. Seating the bullet is another place you can lose brass as well.

I prefer to trim to the minimum the first reload and then check the length every reloading, trim only when they really need it. Don't handle the brass more than necessary-- those dents come out of nowhere.:evil:

June 25, 2013, 07:59 PM
Everyone swears by Lil' Gun in .22 Hornet, but it was average in my 77/22 (http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=153078&d=1321799713). I put a 6X18 Buckmaster FCHD (http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=104902&d=1252282682) on it.

AA-1680 with a 40 Gr V-Max made mine sing. I have settled on small rifle primers.

Yep, the thin shoulders will lube dent easily, it's somewhat of a fine line between enough and too much lube.

I have tried FL sizing and neck sizing. I am now just neck sizing with a Redding bushing die and .238 bushing (http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=132093&stc=1&d=1292168105) (With RP brass), and size just over half the neck.

June 26, 2013, 05:44 PM
I neck size for my Contender carbine 22 Hornet. I get a little better case life and trim less but I supposed it can depend. If I ever get back to shooting my Hornet a lot, I will probably get a bushing die as mentioned by Walkalong.

My 22 Hornet likes the Speer 40 grain spire point over W296. I like AA1680 in other cartridges but do not remember if I have tried it in the Hornet. (My data books are 3000-4000 miles away from me at the present).

I have no experience with Lil Gun so I cannot comment there.

Still Shooting
June 26, 2013, 06:16 PM
I started out (long ago!) with a Savage 340 as my first centerfire rifle, and loaded Sierra 45gr. bullets with 2400 powder and Remington 6-1/2 primers.

But a few years ago I bought a Ruger 77/22H and for straight Hornet loads I now like Nosler 40gr. Varmint bullets (#39555). My current load is 12.0 gr. of Li'l Gun and a Rem 6-1/2 primer. Resizing is always a little "dicey" because of the lube/shoulder dent thing. But with this load I can get just about 1 moa @ 100 yds.

Of course, I only shoot standard Hornet reloads in order to fire form them; my 77/22H is now a K-Hornet. About 6 years ago I took it down to Connecticut and had Randy at Conn. Precision Chambering turn it into a nice little .22 K-Hornet! He removed the barrel, turned the shoulder back 0.100" and re-chambered it to a K-Hornet minimum chamber with a short leade. While he had it, he also pinned the bolt so now it is functionally a one-piece bolt, reworked the trigger to 2lb.-4oz. pull, and put a recessed 11deg. target crown on the muzzle. This cost me a total of $238 including return shipping, which I regard as a VERY good deal!

Now when I shoot standard Hornet it is brass I have left from before the conversion (or new Hornet ammo). But with standard Hornet brass in the K-Hornet chamber, I still get 1 moa.

June 26, 2013, 07:22 PM
I also use LIL GUN, CCI SRP, and a 40 grain projectile while neck sizing for best accuracy in my two Hornets. I basically fill the casing and compress the propellant with the bullet to my OAL for MOA accuracy (trial and error for the best group). That data/OAL is not in front of me here either so I am going on memory.

June 27, 2013, 06:10 PM
I posted this about the .22 Hornet and you might find it helpful.



June 27, 2013, 07:57 PM
The last time I loaded for the hornet was in 1960. Hodgden H240 was $1.25/pound, Sisk 36grain hornet bullets were about $3/hundred, and primers were $0.56/hundred. I used a tru-line jr press, 310 dies and shot them out of a 23D Savage. Cut ground squirrels in half out to 100 yards. Just one more I should have kept.

June 28, 2013, 08:23 AM
the .22 Hornet in Germany is a very popular cartridge for target shooting, while here in the states it's primarily used for varmint hunting. One of the problems we have with reloading the Hornet is we try and push it faster than it was designed to go. The Hornet was originally designed in the 1920s to reach a velocity of 2400 fps, but with the powders then available, that wasn't possible. Then in the early thirties Hercules, or Alliant(?) came out with a new powder which made 2400 fps obtainable, hence the name of the powder, "2400". So, loading that cartridge today, it would behoove one to stick pretty close to that velocity for the best accuracy.

Which is one of the reasons I think the best thing to do with a Hornet is to turn it into a K-Hornet. Your brass will last much longer, the powder will burn better, and there is less of a tendency to over tax the design of the case.

Check your rim thickness, since the case is head spacing on the rim, and set aside any cases out side the norm. Same applies to case weigh. You're working with a very small volume and a very light weight case, so you really have to weigh your powder carefully and keep your case weights tight together.

The Hornet is a fun but challenging cartridge to work with because it is so small, but if you let it get to you, it can put you over the wall...

good luck,


June 28, 2013, 08:35 AM
My Hornet is a Winchester Model 43 that I've had for about 50 years.
I shoot only reloads and my pet loads are under maximum using various 40-45 grain bullets and 2400 powder. Great caliber and I shot numerous chucks and three Turkeys over the years with the rifle.
Like a BIG Dummy I did not buy a Ruger #1 in .22Hornet that a local FFL had a few years back.

July 3, 2013, 09:03 AM
My current Ruger M77/22 really likes the 40gr Sierra HP and 12.5gr of Lil'gun. The 24" bbl of my rifle delivers a solid 3,000fps.
I also use Lil'Gun for the 45gr bullets. My rifle prefers AA#1680 with a 50gr bullet (very, very accurate, but needs small rifle primer).
But, with the 30-35gr bullets, nothing beats H110 for speed with good accuracy. However, It likes #2400 for slightly lower velocities. I've also got an excellent reduced load that closely replicates the .22wmr factory load at ~2,250fps.

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