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Tell me about the 22 Hornet

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by viking499, Jan 31, 2012.

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  1. viking499

    viking499 Member

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    Don't know anything about this cartridge, but have seen some comments on it lately bragging about it.

    Summarize the Hornet for me and compare it to some other common cartridges.....
     
  2. HARV6

    HARV6 Member

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    I'd say Wikipedia covers it pretty well.
     
  3. rule303

    rule303 Member

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    A very efficient little cartridge, particularly for a handloader. It can top 3,000 fps with 35gr bullets and uses very little powder to do so. It has longer barrel life than most other .22 centerfires, and a much quieter report. It is limited to the lighter weight bullets due to the barrel twist in most rifles, so it is useful out to 250yds or so on prairie dog sized targets.
     
  4. Tomcat47

    Tomcat47 Member

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    A Very capable round...

    Came in many formats too. I had Thompson Center Contender with 14" barrel, very good performer for coyotes and the like. Groundhogs were a breeze with it.

    I had it in a H&R Single shot and have shot a Taurus Raging Hornet....One awesome revolver. Had some bolt rifles chambered in hornet as well. Again capable round. I think it would perform on whitetail as well (100 yards max I would say?)
     
  5. 303tom

    303tom member

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    One of the best .22 I have ever shot.........
     
  6. CooterShooter

    CooterShooter Member

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    I donno about that. It's illegal to use the .22 Hornet for deer in my state, and for good reason, IMHO. As far as using it inside 100 yards, I imagine the only folks with the skill to do that consistently are the ones who have had practice doing it by limiting themselves to "ethical ranges", and they're going to go ahead and throw down the extra US$ 8 per centum for a round they know will get the job done. I appreciate the Hornet for it's merits, i.e. efficient load vs. velocity and accuracy, and for the fact that it's a reloadable .22, but when all's said and done I imagine it's a round without a country. I'd hate to say it's just an overpriced groundhog getter, but I don't know what to use it for that other rounds wouldn't suit better. Just my honest opinion. Feel free to enlighten me.

    Wanted to throw up some pricing info...

    .22 Hornet
    .223
    30.06
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012
  7. Abel

    Abel Member

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    If I were an ad man, I would pitch the Hornet like this:

    "When a 22 Mag won't cut it, or if you want to reload your own brass, get a 22 Hornet!"

    POW!!!!!! BOOM!!!!!! KAZAM!!!!!!!! ZING!!!!!!
     
  8. SeriousGunBlog

    SeriousGunBlog Member

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    Feeds well, inexpensive for performance and provides plenty of velocity.
     
  9. Skyshot

    Skyshot Member

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    I a great little varmit round for small farm communities where you want to keep the noise levels down.
     
  10. viking499

    viking499 Member

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    How quiet is it?
     
  11. subdude

    subdude Member

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    Great little round. 35 grain bullet over a case full of Lil Gun and small pistol primers will give you dead nuts accuracy. I have an old Stevens 322 that will easily do sub 1 moa groups with it as long as I'm doing my job. Like others have said, mild report as well. One of my favorite rounds.
     
  12. TwoEyedJack

    TwoEyedJack Member

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    I have investigated this round before, but have not acquired one yet. Based on my research, if/when I get one, it will probably go to the gunsmith to have the chamber reamed to K-Hornet. I reload everything, and the K version has a sharp shoulder for headspacing. The original has problems with head separations.
     
  13. bracer

    bracer Member

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    Since the 221 Fireball round is available in rifles I dont know why anyone would wont a 22 Hornet rifle . I have had a 22 Hornet for some time but since getting the Fireball its stays at home. The Hornet was developed back in the 1930s . The wild cat blown out K chamber overcomes some of the problems with the long tapered thin brass case. Hornady has come out with a new modern 17 Cal Hornet case that shoots a 20 Gr bullet with a muzzle velocity of 3750 ft/sec. A 25 Gr bullet can be reloaded with a Max load of 9.1 Gr of Lil Gun powder and get 3350 ft/sec from a 24 inch barrel. Why consider the old Hornet when now there two for better cartridges, the 221 Fireball and the Hornady 17 Hornet ?
     
  14. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    The Hornet is a good little cartridge and when used by someone who knows his rifle/load it can do amazing things. I have heard it was a favorite of Eskimos for use on walrus and other large animals they harvest for food. I have a rifle chambered for the forerunner of the Hornet, the 22 WCF and find it a good cartridge even though a bit slower than the Hornet. Eventually, I will get a Hornet but for now, the 22 WCF fills the bill as a small game/varmint round.

    I have heard the old saw about seperations of the standard case but of the several Hornets I know, no one has had a seperation. Neck sizing does a lot to overcome stretching so learn how to resize the cartridge for your chamber. The Hornet is a natural for cast bullets and there are a lot of molds in the 40 to 50 grain range.
     
  15. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    It's not "quiet"; you still need hearing protection. It just has no where near the report of the larger .22 centerfires. The sound of a .223 or .22-250 carries much further and with more authority.

    I love my little hornet, it's great for teaching new shooters on scoped rifles. Virtually no recoil, but performs much better at > 100 yards than a rimfire.
     
  16. dugasgunner

    dugasgunner Member

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    No need for an HMR or a WMR when you go hornet. Got rid of mine anyway. The hornet covers everything the LR can't get. It covers everything from a 250 yds marmots to a close range yote. Very versatile, easy and cheap to reload. Love mine, BTW My dedicated yote rifle is a 222.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
  17. VancMike

    VancMike Member

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    "the K version has a sharp shoulder for headspacing. The original has problems with head separations...."

    and:

    "blown out K chamber overcomes some of the problems with the long tapered thin brass case"

    To state the obvious: like all rimmed cartridges, 22 Hornet headspaces on the rim. I've reloaded some of my Hornet brass over 15 times.....those "case separations" and "problems with long tapered thin brass" should be showing up any time now..... :rolleyes:

    I'll let you know when it happens. Tune in....oh, say, 5 years from now for an update.....:scrutiny:
     
  18. Float Pilot

    Float Pilot Member

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    The Hornet is a classic cartridge and a bit of an oddball. It looks like a 30-30 round that was put in a hot dyer for so long that it shrank.
    I thought about making mine a K-Hornet... but since it has to be fire formed, that was one more firing on the brass just to size the stuff... So why bother.

    I have a Ruger M77/22 Hornet... The tow piece bolt needed to be shimmed and it needed a new barrel crown... Oh and a trigger job... But now it does OK with some loads.
    The report (sound) is about like a 22 mag rifle. With loads using trail-boss powder it is like a loud pellet gun.


    Some Loads from the Ruger

    34 grain HP Dog Town bullet
    13.0gr Lil Gun
    WW brass “Virgin”
    CCI-SR
    1.798 col
    NO CRIMP
    Vel= 3,182-3,171-3,141-3,156-3,133
    0.450 in grp. At 100 yards

    34 grain HP Dog Town
    13.0gr Lil Gun
    WW brass Virgin
    CCI-SR
    1.798 col
    Roll Crimp
    Vel= 3,136-3,132-3,115-3,193-3,154
    0.940 inch group at 100 yards

    34 grain HP Dog Town
    13.0gr Lil Gun
    WW brass, neck sized only
    Remington 7.5 bench rest
    1.798 col
    Roll Crimp
    Vel= 3,169-3,298,3,210-3,225- no read.
    1.288 inch group at 100 yards

    40grain Sierra flat base HP
    12.3gr Lil Gun
    WW brass neck sized
    Rem 7.5 bench rest primer
    1.798 col
    roll crimp
    Vel=3,154-3,176-3,143-3,259-3,188
    3.70 inch vertical string

    50 grain Speer TNT HP
    12.0gr Lil Gun
    WW brass “virgin”
    CCI-SR
    1.802 col
    roll crimp
    Vel = 2,845 fps
    0.90 inch group at 100 yards

    50 grain Speer TNT HP
    12.0gr Lil Gun
    WW brass Neck sized
    Rem 7.5 bench rest primer
    1.802 col
    roll crimp
    Vel = 2,891-2,844-2,870-2,906-2,960
    2.566 inch group at 100 yards


    40 grain Sierra HPs,
    12, grains of Lil Gun.
    WWVirgin brass
    CCI-500 Pistol Primer.
    At 100 yards they gave a 0.60 inch group. Good load.

    Same powder load with a 55 grain Hornady SP
    gave 2,800 fps and a 1.75 inch group at 100 yards.


    Also tried some very quite TRAIL BOSS loads.


    3.0 grains of TRAIL BOSS, WW Brass and a Magnum Pistol primer.

    34 gr Dog Town bullet was 1,625 fps and a 1.5 inch group at 100 yards. IT WAS WINDY.
    40 gr Sierra HP was 1,414 fps and a 2.0 inch group at 100 yards
    55 grain Hornady SP. NEVER LEFT THE BARREL.... DO NOT ATTEMPT>

    40gr V-max
    12.0 gr AA#9
    WW Virgin brass,
    CCI-500 pistol primer
    1.802 col no crimp
    Vel= 3,133 fps and a 1.4 inch group KINDA HOT....

    40gr V-Max
    13.0gr Lil' Gun
    WW virgin brass
    CCI-500
    1.804 col o crimp
    Vel=3,144 fps and a 1.0 inch group (book load, but shoots much faster than other bullets)

    45gr Speer "Hornet" soft point
    12.0gr Lil' Gun
    WW virgin brass
    CCI-500
    1.766 col no crimp
    Vel= 2,835 fps and a 0.85 inch group

    45gr Speer (Hornet) soft point
    11.5gr AA#9
    WW Virgin brass
    CCI-500 pistol primer
    1.766 col and no crimp
    Vel= 2,962 fps and a 2.75 inch group

    IMR-4227 listed accuracy loads

    34 grain dog town bullet
    11.5 grain IMR-4227
    Rem virgin brass
    Remington 1.1/2 primer
    1.745 col
    Vel= 2,550-2,542-2,486-2,582-2,569 fps (2.0 inch group)

    40 grain Sierra HP flat base
    11.7 grain IMR-4227
    Rem virgin brass
    CCI-500
    1.790 col
    Vel=2,578-2,595-2,574-2,655-2,602 (0.75 inch group)

    40 grain Hornady V-max (EKC's bullets)
    11.7 grains IMR-4227
    Rem Virgin Brass
    CCI-500 primer
    1.807 col
    Vel=2,588-2,635-2,586-2,584-2,644 fps (1.25 inch group)

    45 grain Speer Hornet flat base soft point
    11.3 grains IMR-4227
    Rem Virgin Brass
    CCI-500 primer
    1.765 col
    Vel= 2,399-2,446-2,493-2,499-2,395- (2.5 inch group)

    55 grain Hornady Flat base soft point
    10.7 grains IMR 4227
    Rem virgin brass
    CCI-500
    1.805 col
    Vel= 2,257-2,281-2,265-2,245-2,259 ( 1.25 inch group)
     
  19. bracer

    bracer Member

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    I got my first rimfire rifle in 1949, first center fire rifle in 1952, started reloading my own ammo in 1953. I own 17 HM2, 17 HMR, 17 Fireball, 17 Rem, 204 Ruger, 22 RF, 22WMR, 22 Hornet, 221 Fireball, 222 Rem, 223 Rem, 22-250 Rem, 220 Swift ,243Win, and big game rifles. Most all of my shooting has ben at prairie dogs with reloaded ammo. Of the center fire rifles the 22 Hornet produces the lowest velocity of .224 caliber cases. I have never heard of a 22 Hornet winning at any bench rest competion. For some one who wonts a lower muzzle blast rifle there is the 5.7X28MM cartridge that produces more velocity than the 22 WMR and just a bit less than the 22 Hornet.-- For someone who looking for their first centerfire varmint rifle , the 22 Hornet is the least capable of the lot.
     
  20. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Member

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    For those who doubt; I carried a Hornet in my p/u for dispatching crippled, nuisance deer for a number of years. But, I'm also a reloader and bullet caster. I've got a superlative 50gr FNGC mould (Lyman #225415) that is accurate.
    I've taken more deer with a Hornet than all other cartridges except my .257Robt. Over 50. Only two have required more than one shot. They were both my fault, and if had been shot with a .30/06, would have still needed a second shot.
    But, if it "ain't legal, it ain't legal". You can't (legally) use it. But, in my state, neither were the .25/20, .256mag, .30Carbine, .32/20, .32/40, .38/40, .357mag (rifles!?), and several others. About 1989, I served on a legal review committee, where we recommended some legislative changes. We went to a neighboring states "model" where .22cf and larger with "expanding type bullets" (not fmj...) were legal. No sleep has been lost since over "caliber" wars.... However, we didn't forsee the advent of the .20's and .17's that have proliferated recently.... But, no clamering for legalizing these that I'm aware of. Such as with the .357mag, most of the "previously" illegal weapons are essentially as effective as the .30/30 within their limitations.

    The Hornet is exceptionally efficient. And thats why I bought my first one, and have essentially not been without one since 1976. Essentially as inexpensive to shoot/reload for as a .38/.357mag handgun. You can use any 50gr or lighter .22 bullet and many different powders for .22cb to .357mag power levels.

    In college I used CCI magnum pistol primers and air-rifle pellets to nearly irradicate pigeons from my apartment complex. Only my room-mate and two "like minded" neighbors knew what was happening. Think long-range air rifle/pistol (T/C Contender).

    Make no mistake, the Hornet isn't "quiet" with full powered ammo. Just not as much blast as an AR15, which is nearly as loud as an '06.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2012
  21. Picher

    Picher Member

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    Like most folks, I started shooting with a .22 LR, then jumped to .30-06 for varmint and deer. Then, I discovered the .22-250, and much later, the .223 Rem in a bolt rifle. It's hard for me to think of the Hornet as something I need because recoil and a bit of noise is not a problem for me.

    More recently, I bought a .22 WMR bolt action for pests around the house. It's working great and I enjoy being able to take a lot of ammo when doing a walkabout and shooting at a few inanimate objects on the property.

    I don't see any room in my gun cabinet for a smaller centerfire than a .223 Rem at this point. Ammo is more affordable for the .223 Rem and the cartridge is more accurate at 100 yards and up, especially in the wind, and it's always windy here, so much that I've gone up to a .243 Win for shots to over 200 yards on eastern coyotes.

    If a Hornet does it for most of your shooting, great! However, there's a reason it's not more popular. It just doesn't have the trajectory, energy, affordability, and military roots of the .223 Rem, which has caused the downfall of a lot of fine cartridges, including the .222 Rem.
     
  22. baylorattorney

    baylorattorney Member

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    I've had game run off ne'er to be found after a good hit from the .22 hornet. I used to swear by it. Not anymore.
     
  23. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    That's a lot of redundancy.........

    Kinda follows, since it's got the smallest case, dontha think?

    It was not designed, intended or appropriate for use in BR, so naturally, it holds no titles. Neither do a whole lot of other cartridges. So what exactly is your point with that remark?

    So, let me get this straight......You are touting a niche cartridge with inferior performance for which new unprimed brass is completely unavailable as somehow being "better" than the Hornet??? :rolleyes:

    For distance, we're all in agreement. And no one here is suggesting the Hornet is superior to .222, .223 and up for long range varminting. It shines when the range is moderate, especially when noise is of some concern. The lowly Hornet also gets over 80% of the .223's velocity with less than half the powder charge using 40 gr. bullets in both...........
     
  24. JohnM

    JohnM Member

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    I don't follow all the negative remarks thrown at the 22 Hornet.
    Sure, it's an old cartridge with lots more that do more.
    But, it's still a great oldie and a lot of fun.
    If I found another one on a rifle I liked I'd grab it in a heartbeat!
     
  25. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    The Hornet is actually the .22 Winchester Central Fire (WCF). The .22 WCF was developed in the mid-1880s as a black powder cartridge. Apparently the intent was to produce something with more oomph than the currently available rim fires and to be reloadable.

    The black powder heritage is apparent when you look at the case. Black powder combustion products are from 40% to 60% solid (depending on composition) and that's what creates all that fouling. A small bore, plus a large charge makes for real fouling problems. The case is therefore tapered, with a sloping shoulder -- that makes it easier to extract from a badly fouled chamber. That same shape also makes for less than stellar accuracy. Especially when coupled with 19th Century standards in manufacturing -- a standard .22 WCF case is a pretty sloppy fit in a standard .22 WCF chamber.

    The .22 WCF didn't set the world on fire, but it did hang on until the 1920s, when the boys at Springfield developed a smokeless powder load that better than doubled the velocity of the .22 Long Rifle, and with a 45 grain bullet, rather than a 40 grain bullet, which was more or less standard in the .22 LR. They then re-chambered M1922s for the .22 WCF, and modified the bolt, firing pin and extractor. The story is that when Colonel Townsend Whelan first shot the smokeless powder version of the .22 WCF he remarked, "Boy, that's a hornet!" and the name stuck.

    The Hornet was adopted by Winchester, and was soon surpassed by other .22 center fires, but it has seen occasional times of modest popularity. The general pattern is a new generation of shooters is 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.

    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 rim fire" 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 come 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.
     
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