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Ruger 22 Hornet

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Byron, Feb 17, 2003.

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  1. Byron

    Byron Member

    Jan 2, 2003
    I am considering getting a Ruger in 22 Hornet. What experiences can be related with this rifle/cartridge?
  2. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Terlingua, TX; Thomasville,GA
    Rugers are excellent rifles. The 77 Mk II typically needs a gunsmith trigger job; I installed a Timney trigger on mine. (It's a .223; I get 1/2-MOA for three-shot groups.)

    The .22 Hornet is a great varmint round within some 175 to 200 yards. Coyotes to 100 or so. SFAIK it's better for one who handloads. Its reputation is that it's sorta finicky, and works better with loads that are sorta tailored to the rifle. (Purely my opinion, but a serious rifle shooter oughta get into handloading.)

    A primary advantage is that it doesn't make a lot of racket; much less muzzle blast to upset folks in more built-up country.

  3. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    The .22 Hornet is a wonderful cartridge.
    The Ruger can be a great rifle, but It'll cost you some $$$ to make it that way.
    I'm on my third Ruger .22 Hornet, but it's a keeper. It is a 77/22 kbz- the 24"bbl in stainless with laminated stock.
    Like the 20"bbl "sporter" with walnut stock, and the #3 carbine I had back in '80s, they are not great shooters out of the box.

    My #3 had a K-hornet chamber that was not so marked on the gun which I picked up used. Working the trigger and bedding of the stock was to no avail. The chamber work was "ok", but the barrel was just not up to snuff.

    Same situation with the 77/22 sporter. The chamber was way-way too large, and with any load above a light cast bullet load really worked the brass. My top loads shot "fair" but were way above book to get normal "Hornet" velocities. Accuracy was never acceptable, with most loads going 1.5-2" at 100yds. An occasional rare 3 shot group would excite, but were never repeatable even with exact same case,load, and even case indexed to chamber. I eventually parted with it.

    My present one, after trigger work to 2lbs, free floated barrel, glass bedded action with "worked" brass is acceptable with 1" groups the norm. However, every 500-1,000rds I have to replace a "shim" I made to reduce the bolt looseness of the foward half of the bolt. (The Ruger 77/22 has rear locking lugs and is pinned together, a New England firm of CPC does a good business of making bushings for these and does a "bolt tightening" process)
    If you get a 77/22 you will probably need this as well as having your barrel set back and rechambered as well as recrowned. Fortunately, the one I've got now has a very tight chamber and a well cut crown.

    I really like the Hornet and the Ruger rifles, but they are not well manufactured. If I was starting over again, I would look at the Browning Micro Medallion, or the Winchester Lo-wall (1885 I believe is the model #) or especially the CZ-527 (it used to be the BRNO-FOX).

    I've been shooting the Hornet since my college days in the early-mid '70's and have killed a lot of game with the Hornet. It is my favorite cartridge. I have killed approximately 40 deer with it and will continue to load/shoot it as long as I'm able. (Yes, it kills deer very reliably with reasonable shot placement, it is a favorite in Europe for smaller reds, and roe buck- my losses ("1"), have been less than with .30/30 and other similar cartridges). Following are some of my preferred loads:
    Cases: Winchester (have some Sellier and Bellot that are fantastic- save them for max accuracy loads). Cases need to be neck turned, primer pockets reamed, and flashhole chamfered.
    Powder: H110/Win296 for 35gr. Hornady V-max, 11.2gr.@ 1.715" My Ruger gets over 3,200fps with this, and is very accurate!
    Hod. Lil-gun for 40-55gr.:
    40gr Sierra Hp 12.5gr (yes far below book max) 3,000fps
    45gr Hornady "Hornet" or "Bee-HP" (seat Bee to cannulure and crimp. 11.8gr for 2,800fps (my barrel is "fast")
    50gr Hornady "SX" with 11.5gr for 2,700fps.

    Most accurate load has been AA1680 @ 11.8gr for 2,490fps, over Hornady 50gr SX seated at 1.780" oal. With one batch of Win SP primers and S&B cases (have .065" flashhole) it has consistently shot 5-shot groups under 0.5" with several one-holer's.

    Cast bullet loads: Lyman 50gr fn-gc, w/gc. wheel weights; H2400@ 6.0gr., Unique @4.8gr., Blue-Dot @5.8gr, H4227@ 7.2gr. and my favorite SR4759 @ 8.0gr. all run about 1900fps-2100fps. Accuracy can be excellent. Also, 3.0gr Bullseye for near .22lr duplication (w/o gascheck). Size to 0.225"

    Primers are Winchester small rifle and small pistol.

    I have found that with most non-custom chambers that Hornets are more accurate with cases full length sized and bullets seated to SAAMI nominal lenghts (except for Sierra HP's and Hornady spitzers- seat these to manual recommended depths.

    Also look hard at the CZ's 527's, they are probably your best bet for an out of the box Hornets. The H&R handi-rifle might be value leader, but one I had was a disappointment.
    Sorry for the long answer, but I've probably shot over 30,000 rds of Hornet over the past 30 years and have a lot of experience with it.
  4. Hornet

    Hornet Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    Don't forget about the Browning. I have the the micro-hunter in the hornet. I havet had the time I would have liked to work on loads, but have gotten down to 3\4 inch 5 shot at 100 yard with 40gr vmax and lilgun. I also ha a NEF that is a fare shooter of about 1 inch. They are both a lot f fun to shoot.

    Two others I know do have the ruger and are both happy. cant say about groups size.
  5. tex_n_cal

    tex_n_cal Member

    Jan 4, 2003
    I had one. I sold it.

    Besides iffy barrels, my big gripe about the Ruger Hornet is the throat is too long for the magazine. Seat the bullets out far enough to touch the rifling, the cartridges become far too long to fit in the magazine.

    Mine would never go below 1" for five shots at 100 yards, despite being the one with the medium weight barrel. In fairness, I did discover Hodgdon Lil'Gun after selling the Ruger, and it made a noticeable improvement. Perhaps that powder would make a Ruger run well.

    I now have a Browning Lo Wall in .22 Hornet, and it is a gem. I have managed several groups under 5/8" at 100 yards. Being a single shot, magazine length is not an issue. Ruger does make the #1 in .22 Hornet, but that's an awfully big heavy rifle for such a small cartridge.

    The Brownings are now out if production. If you want an accurate .22 Hornet, I'd look at the Anschutz, or one of the single shots. CZ may have one also, now that I think of it.

    For the type of cartridge, I think I'd have to look at the new 700 Classic in .221 Fireball - I expect that round would do anything the Hornet will do, and with a lot less fuss.:)
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