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Two part question, .22 hornet and TC Encore

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by bernie, Dec 1, 2004.

  1. bernie

    bernie Well-Known Member

    For a while I have wanted a reloadable squirrel rifle. .22 Magnum and long rifle are great, but I want to be able to reload for it, just because. Is the .22 hornet or k hornet capable of making head shots on squirrels at 100 yards? I have also wanted a Thompson/Center Encore for a while as well, and I had an idea. What about getting an Encore in .22 hornet? Would this produce the kind of accuracy that I am asking for? My wife told me that if I thinned my collection significantly (which I really need to do) I could get one in a few months. Is this caliber up to the task, and secondly is this rifle?
  2. Onmilo

    Onmilo Well-Known Member

    The caliber is actually a bit much for squirrel unless you download to 1300-1400 feet per second.
    45 grain gas check lead bullets work extremely well at these velocities in the Hornet.
    The current American thin jacket Hornet soft point bullets are just too destructive.
    Sellier and Bellot and Lapua do or did make very good 45 grain full metal jacket .224 bullets that work well on squirrel and rabbit size game at full velocity that won't blow the animal into burger chunks.
    If I bought the gun I would have the chamber reamed to .22 K Hornet dimensions.
    This wildcat stabilizes a wider variety of loads, downloads well, and in a pinch standard .22 Hornet cartridges can be used in the chamber.
    Once fires the standard cartridge cases become K-Hornet dimensioned.
    I have been giving serious thought to an Encore with a .410 bore barrel and may follow your lead with a accessory Hornet barrel.
  3. kjaniak

    kjaniak Well-Known Member

    I use my Ruger 77/22 in 22 hornet for groundhogs around here in ranges from 25-125 yards. Love the gun and round but I will second the motion of destruction, round wise. I use commercial 46 grain jacketed hollowpiont rounds from Winchester. They really put the hurt on a hog. Squirrels shot with this better be head shots otherwise you are looking at not much left for the table.
  4. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    My Kimber M82 will routinely put 3 shots into half an inch at a hundred yards with my handloads. I use the 35-grain Hornady V-Max bullet over a case full of Hodgdon's Li'l Gun. I resize with a Lee Collet Die, and put a couple of washers on the shell holder to cause the collet to activate early, sizing only about the first quarter inch of the neck.

    I don't have a squirrel load -- one of these days, I'll work one up.

    I don't recommend reaming out a .22 Hornet to K-Hornet. If you want the K-Hornet, get a K-Hornet barrel. A clumsy hand with a reamer can result in an off-center or mis-aligned chamber, and the gun will never shoot well in that case.
  5. MatthewVanitas

    MatthewVanitas Well-Known Member

    Any reason you're picking the T/C Encore over the T/C Contender?

    The Contender is the smaller-framed version, identical in most other ways, and is considerably handier if you're planning to carry it afield.

    The Contender can't handle as large a range of cartridges as the Encore, but still covers quite a range: 22LR, .223, 30-30, .375 Win, 45-70, etc. Also, since you handload, you can really cover all the bases quite easily with some of the more common wildcats. The .375 JDJ is now produced commercially, brass available, etc. and has been used to hunt elephant and cape buffalo since the 1980s. And yes, the .375 JDJ fits in the small-frame Contender.

    If you're dead-set on using the higher-pressure factory chamberings, like .300WM, .458 Win, 22-250, etc. then the Encore may be a better choice. But if you value a very trim and fast handling pistol/carbine, I'd take a hard look at the Contender.

  6. Khornet

    Khornet Well-Known Member


    is significantly hotter than standard Hornet. I've been looking at loading down for squirrels for some time.

    Onmilo, where can I get 45 gr gas check lead bullets? That may be the answer!

    I'll second that expanding bullet Hornet loads will make a real mess of a squirrel. Head shots will be better but they will bleed like crazy in your coat.
  7. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    I don't have a current commercial source for cast bullets for the .22 Hornet. Lyman makes several .22 caliber moulds -- the best would be number 225438, which casts a .225, nominally 43 grain bullet with a heel for a gas check. Number 225415, at a nominal 55 grains might work as well, since it is flat-nosed (and hence shorter, less liable to suffer from the Hornet's slow twist.)

    Hornady, Remington, and others offer 55-grain FMJ bullets (Full Metal Jacket) that might or might not shoot well in your Hornet. Again, the standard 1 in 16 twist of the Hornet is not friendly to longer, heavier bullets.

    For squirrels, I carry an old Claymore bandolier (that's an OD shoulder bag with two compartments) slung over my chest. I carry a tobacco pouch of ammo, a pair of small sidecutters (to snip off feet), a "Mister Squirrel" call, some handi-wipes, and a few other things in it, along with some clean paper (kraft sandwich bags do nicely), in one compartment. The squirrel is cleaned on the spot, I clean up, and wrap the skinned carcass in paper and put it in the remaining compartment.
  8. Khornet

    Khornet Well-Known Member


    nice to chat with a real squirrel hunter. They are not common up here in NH. Have you ever read "Hunting With The .22" by C.S. Landis?
  9. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    I have not read that -- but I am a squirrel hunter from way back.

    I usually hunt with my Kimber M82 in .22 LR -- that is a real squirrel hunter's rifle. I have taken a lot of squirrels with handguns -- mostly a Ruger MKII standard model, my Colt Officer's Model Target (in .22 LR), my Colt Service Ace (mounted on an M1927 Argentine) and my Colt M356 (with mild .38 special handloads.)

    Squirrels are cyclical -- you have good years and bad years. This fall, the woods are alive with them -- no trick at all to limit out in a morning.

    Since I live on my own place (185 acres of mostly woods) and have accesss to a couple of thousand of adjacent acres, squirrel hunting to me is simply getting up early, dressing, and walking out the door with my rifle and bag.
  10. SpaceCowboy

    SpaceCowboy Well-Known Member

    Do you guys eat the squirril? If so, what does it taste like, how do you dress and cook it? Are they fillets, steaks...? Just wondering.
  11. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    Of course you eat the squirrel -- it tastes like squirrel. :D

    You begin by pinching the skin of the back, just at the pelvis, and making a cut with a sharp knife (pocket knife or my own Rackensack Squirrel Hunter.) Insert your fingers in the slit -- right hand toward the tail, left toward the head. Pull your hands apart -- you're pulling the squirrel's pants off.

    When you expose the root of the tail, cut through with your knife. Put the tail on the ground, step on it and grasp the squirrel at about the pelvis. Pull up and pull his pants off completely. Only the feet will be unskinned now. Cut the ankle bones with side cutters, or break them with the choil of the Rackensack Squirrel Hunter.

    Shift your grip and keep pulling -- pull his sweater off. When the front ankles and neck are exposed cut or break the bones.

    Now make a slit in the belly from crotch to neck. Use the point of your knife to pry the pelvic structure open to allow all the innards to come out. Wrap in paper or put in a sandwich bag, clean your hands and look for another one.

    To cook, get a good game cook book. I like to either bone out the meat and cook with cream of mushroom soup or hamburger helper. Shake and bake for a quartered carcass is also nice.

    Ozark fried squirrel -- fried in a pan with onions and so on, is also good.
  12. Onmilo

    Onmilo Well-Known Member

    Urrgh I can't remember the name right off but there is a cast bullet manufacturer that offers cast and gas checked 45 grain bullets.
    I'll think of him and post it in a seperate thread.
    Midway and I think, Sinclair Precision still carry Sellier and Bellot 45 grain full metal jacket bullets.

    Vern, No ham handed amature is going to drop $150.00 on a reamer, extension and T-bar unless he also has the pocket money laying around that can buy him a new barrel if he screws the job up.
    I was thinking more along the lines of bernie having a professional do the work anyway.
  13. Khornet

    Khornet Well-Known Member

    Squirrel gun

    I salivated for years over the idea of a Kimber rifle, but never had the income. When I finally did, there were none around. But then I found a Winchester 52B, which is THE cosmic squirrel rifle.

    Here in NH gray squirrels have been protected for some time, until the last 4 or 5 years, and now they are abundant again.

    SAVE THE LIVERS. Roll in bread crumbs, saute in butter or bacon fat, and when nearly done pour a splash of good port in the pan, cover, and simmer a few minutes. Best liver there is, bar none.

    Vern, I've never skinned a squirrel that way, but will try it at the next opportunity. Thanks.
  14. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    Vern, No ham handed amature is going to drop $150.00 on a reamer, extension and T-bar unless he also has the pocket money laying around that can buy him a new barrel if he screws the job up.
    I was thinking more along the lines of bernie having a professional do the work anyway.

    Yes, you CAN rechamber a barrel so it shoots well, but why? You can get the K-Hornet barrel for the same price as the Hornet barrel -- no need to buy reamer, extension and T-bar, or pay a smith. And, if the K-Hornet doesn't shoot well, you can sent it back -- you can't do that with a re-chambered barrel.
  15. Onmilo

    Onmilo Well-Known Member

    Vern I now understand what you meant.
    Encore, interchangable barrels, duh!
    There are some disadvantages to getting old and the other thing isn't the first item that appears to be going!
  16. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    The way I happen to have a Hornet is a friend bought it from an estate, couldn't make it shoot well, and was going to rechamber it to K-Hornet. Then he found out what it would cost, and the smith wouldn't guarentee it would be more accurate after re-chambering -- so he sold it to me for what it cost him.

    I sweated and cussed it for a few years before I finally hit on the magic forumla, and now it shoots half-inch groups.

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