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Thread: Why not a 22 Hornet

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    Default Why not a 22 Hornet

    I have been pondering getting a 22 mag, but I didn't like the fact that I can't reload for it. So that got thinking about getting a 22 Hornet. I figured I could load it down to almost 22 mag velocities. Brass is not that expensive and a barrel should last a long time. I was thinking it would be a good 150 to 200 yard varmint and also could double as a small game caliber. Anyone ever use trail boss and try to get it down to 22LR or 22 mag speeds? Looking for some experiences with the 22 hornet.

  2. #2

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    Lotta time under my belt with the Hornet, but none of it real recent. Coupla things to think about. Accuracy can range from indifferent to stellar, sometimes even in two examples of the same model of rifle. From what I've been able to see and learn, it boils down to the chamber and throat.

    Seems to be really critical in such a small round with virtually no shoulder. Only reason I bring it up, it can lead you into real careful sizing and even rechambering in a worst case. By that I mean sizing die adjustment is critical to accuracy, with neck-sizing or just a little more than that indicated in most situations so you get good "head spacing" for a specific chamber, rather than relying on the rim. The throat can be an issue, in that the rifles can be real specific about seating depth and specific style and weight of bullet.

    We haven't even got to powder and primer selection- as critical as bullet choice in each gun.

    I mentioned rechambering. Guns that don't deliver the accuracy you want after lots of dinking with sizing, seating depth, bullet-powder-primer combos just might profit from rechambering to K-Hornet. Takes care of the head space issues, and most of the time kinda liberates your choices of powders-bullets-primers-seating depth. If I was figuring on 150-200 yard prairie dogs or smaller varmints, I'd figure there was a better than 50-50 chance I'd have to rechamber any Hornet to K-Hornet.

    Haven't tried Trail Boss, but if I started shooting Hornets again, it would head the list of things for me to try. Last time I used a Hornet I kinda got sidetracked onto producing ballistics like the 22 WRF (pre-magnum "twin" of the 22WMR with slower bullets) for small game hunting. I used my 22 Mags about 90% of the time with 22 WRF ammo because I used them mostly for edible game and found the magnum version too destructive. When the 22 WRF ammo went the way of the dinosaurs, it launched me into duping those loads via the Hornet. That particular rifle (a Ruger) ended up as a K-Hornet before I got what I wanted- a 100-yard snowshoe hare head shooter. The Trail Boss just might have made all that lots easier. My most accurate powder was Unique, but some days the rifle would throw a little fit and decide it didn't want to group. Never did figure out where that was coming from.

    Sound kinda fiddly? You got it. Some 22 Hornets are barn burners right out of the box. But some aren't. If you get one of the latter, things can turn fiddly in a hurry. If you get a barn burner, live it up and never, ever sell the gun.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    The Hornet is a great round. I love it. I never tried to reduce velocity in mine- just shot it. I used mine to take groundhogs back east in relatively populated areas. I didn't get a fiddly one- accuracy was OK, not great but usable to 200yds. Would make the perfect fur gun for someone who can call them in. I think replacing the .22LR and going strictly to a Hornet might not be a bad ideal given the spotty .22LR availability as of late.

    I think downloading to .22/.22WRFM speeds is totally doable and probably a reasonable course of action. With good bullet selection you can reduce meat damage to minimal levels.

    One of the great things about the Hornet is how relatively quiet they are for the speed and range you can achieve.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    ...replacing the .22LR and going strictly to a Hornet....
    I'd sure get into bullet casting for that. A flat-nosed 40 grain or so at 22LR velocities will scare you silly, it's so much more effective than the rimfire stuff. And potentially at least as accurate. Only thing about casting 22's, I'd get a very good electric lead furnace or at least spend the few extra bux for a lead thermometer if you prefer to use a pot on a stove. Temps are critical for slugs as small as 22's, and the mold blocks are so massive it takes a long time to get them heated up just right. But once you have lead the right temp and mold blocks up to proper temp, they're about as easy to cast as any other.

    Gotta get nostalgic on you. My first Hornet was a Model 70 back in the 1960's, and it was a world-class barn burner. Never had another that shot so well. Yet I sold it like a fool. Interesting thing, my bud had one too, and coincidentally the serial number was only 9 digits away from mine. And it wouldn't shoot for poot. He did the K thing to it, and suddenly it burned barns too. Just don't know until you pull the trigger.

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    I have a very old and abused Win 43 with open sights and a badly pitted bore. I reload with mid range velocity in mind and accuracy is suprizingly good at <75 yds which is about as far as i can shoot small things with open sights anyway. Cheap to load, quiet and accurate enough for rabbits.
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    You can take everything Brown Bear just said as gospel. I picked up an H&R in Hornet and accuracy was spotty at best. Being a break action it had issues with the fore arm which I fixed. Next was rechamber to 22KH. Now it is still not a barn burner but it shoots good enough for 100yd headshots on rabbits with cast. Yeah I think it's a very good choice for what you are looking for. If you don't cast you need to start. You can load cast in the Hornet for 5-6 cents per round at 22mag performance levels. I like W231 at 4.5grs for my light loads or maybe I should say my Hornet likes it. I've only used Trail Boss in a couple of other rounds and haven't been real happy with it. Maybe I should try a case full in the Hornet. Bullseye always seems to work well in light loads.

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    Member Mel Roe's Avatar
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    If you decide to get one try the CZ527, they are very well built and everyone I know that has had one including myself have been very happy with the gun.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    I've only used Trail Boss in a couple of other rounds and haven't been real happy with it. Maybe I should try a case full in the Hornet. Bullseye always seems to work well in light loads.
    I'm not sure Trail Boss will be very good in the Hornet. TB seems best in cartridges with more capacity than the Hornet has since it is so bulky, I've used it in magnum rifles with good results. It would make a cool experiment but I think if I were looking for reduced Hornet loads I might try something else first.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Member mekaniks's Avatar
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    I have two hornets. One is a Thompson Center pistol with a 10in barrel and leopold scope. The second one is a Savage 24f 12g/22H over under. I hand load 45g spritzer bullets over 1680 and use the same load in both guns and they both shoot great. I can't say a bad thing about hornets. And If this shortage of .22 rim fire ammo continues I am going to get sell/trade my rimfires and buy a bolt action hornet.

    Quote Originally Posted by swapdonkey View Post
    I have been pondering getting a 22 mag, but I didn't like the fact that I can't reload for it. So that got thinking about getting a 22 Hornet. I figured I could load it down to almost 22 mag velocities. Brass is not that expensive and a barrel should last a long time. I was thinking it would be a good 150 to 200 yard varmint and also could double as a small game caliber. Anyone ever use trail boss and try to get it down to 22LR or 22 mag speeds? Looking for some experiences with the 22 hornet.

  10. #10

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    Never had a .22 hornet, but I have owned a Winchester M 43 .218 bee for years and would never trade it for one of the "magnum" RFs. Dirt cheap to load for far cheaper then .22 LR even. I load it to .22 hornet levels and the brass lasts forever. As long as I have a can of 4227 [or equivalent- I use AA 1680] primers and some .224 bullets I will never be looking for ammo.

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    These "what about 22 Hornet" threads are starting to popup with somewhat regularity. (I started one a few weeks/months back, and there have been others.) Everyone seems to be looking for a replacement to the rimfire-for obvious reasons.) I hope people do start going back to 22 Hornet and reporting their successes (I hope they're successful).

    I say "going back" to the Hornet. It amuses me (in a positive way; I"m glad to see it) to see people going to a cartridge first released in the 1930's.

    Before there was a high tech, there had to be a low tech.

  12. #12

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    Right now I gotta make a pitch for what's worked out even better for me on small game. It's a Crockett 32 caliber muzzleloader. It's as accurate as almost any 22 rimfire out there, and within 50 yards it's a death ray on snowshoe hare. With 10 grains of powder (that's 700 shots from a pound of powder) it puts lots more whomp on a critter than a 22 long rifle. You can buy .310 balls by the 100 or cast your own. If you wanna get some real economy without casting, you can pick up an 8# jug of No 1 1/2 buckshot for $37. At 45 grains per ball that's 1244 balls or 3 cents each.

    Just a whole lot of fun, and every time I hear anyone whining about bullet shortages, I just reach out and pat my little .310 ball mold. Muzzleloading isn't for everyone, but if you enjoy it with the bigger calibers, take a gander at a little one. If you're like me, those scarce 22 rimfire rounds will be collecting dust on your shelf.

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    I have a 22 Hornet in a Kimber rifle, and a K Hornet in a Cooper Rifle, both shoot great, 1" groups at 150 yards. I am saving the brass and will soon start reloading, one of the nice things is that the K Hornet can shoot the Hornet ammo to fire form the brass. Looking forward to doing a lot of varmint hunting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Right now I gotta make a pitch for what's worked out even better for me on small game. It's a Crockett 32 caliber muzzleloader. It's as accurate as almost any 22 rimfire out there, and within 50 yards it's a death ray on snowshoe hare. With 10 grains of powder (that's 700 shots from a pound of powder) it puts lots more whomp on a critter than a 22 long rifle. You can buy .310 balls by the 100 or cast your own. If you wanna get some real economy without casting, you can pick up an 8# jug of No 1 1/2 buckshot for $37. At 45 grains per ball that's 1244 balls or 3 cents each.

    Just a whole lot of fun, and every time I hear anyone whining about bullet shortages, I just reach out and pat my little .310 ball mold. Muzzleloading isn't for everyone, but if you enjoy it with the bigger calibers, take a gander at a little one. If you're like me, those scarce 22 rimfire rounds will be collecting dust on your shelf.
    Someone, maybe you, mentioned that to me in my thread on 22 hornet. I've seen in some other "22LR alternative" threads. Muzzleloading keeps coming up in these discussions.


    BTW, are you using black powder, if so, double f or triple f, or are you using Pyrodex?

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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    BTW, are you using black powder, if so, double f or triple f, or are you using Pyrodex?
    Since the Crockett is a capper, it doesn't matter which. I've had equally good luck with Goex 3f, Pyrodex P (3f) and Triple Seven 3f. Most time when guys are falling all over themselves for scarce cans of smokeless powder, there are always cans of Pyro P or T7 3f gathering dust. Only one or two places in the state you can buy Goex (notably GNG in Anchorage).

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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Right now I gotta make a pitch for what's worked out even better for me on small game. It's a Crockett 32 caliber muzzleloader. It's as accurate as almost any 22 rimfire out there, and within 50 yards it's a death ray on snowshoe hare. With 10 grains of powder (that's 700 shots from a pound of powder) it puts lots more whomp on a critter than a 22 long rifle. You can buy .310 balls by the 100 or cast your own. If you wanna get some real economy without casting, you can pick up an 8# jug of No 1 1/2 buckshot for $37. At 45 grains per ball that's 1244 balls or 3 cents each.

    Just a whole lot of fun, and every time I hear anyone whining about bullet shortages, I just reach out and pat my little .310 ball mold. Muzzleloading isn't for everyone, but if you enjoy it with the bigger calibers, take a gander at a little one. If you're like me, those scarce 22 rimfire rounds will be collecting dust on your shelf.
    Years ago I had a H&A under hammer buggy gun in 36 caliber. That dang thing was by far the most accurate front stuffer I ever saw. I took it to the Bill Williams shoot and when I got high score with it they disqualified me saying an under hammer wasn’t a “mountain man” gun. It was a cheap shooting critter getter for sure! I let a buddy talk me out of it for a King gold dredge, sold the dredge for $1400 so he sure didn’t heart me. But dang I’d rather have that ugly little buggy gun! Been looking for another fof about 25 years now, 45s are out there but nobody sells their 36 for some reason.
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    I pack a 22 hornet 16 1/4" super in a tc contender. With its short length, it doesn't have the velocity to reach out and drop fur game at long distances but, It groups rounds many wish for. It's my trap line gun and i don't leave home without. With the prices of 22 lr ammo and now the shortages we are having with the rimfire ammo in the bush, it may make my ruger 10/22 obsolete. I've been reloading for this hornet for over 20 years and its here to stay.

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    I'm going to keep my eye out for now now. Anybody have any experience with the one that ruger makes?

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    I've heard mixed comments on the accuracy of the Ruger hornets, but the rotary mag is pretty slick and I believe getting it poked to K-hornet can cure some of the accuracy issues.

    I keep thinking about getting a hornet and then keep reminding myself I have nearly 1/2 dozen .223's, 1000's of cases of brass and the .223 can be downloaded to 22 hornet levels. I've yet to have an inaccurate .223 and the .223 case is about the smallest round I can handle with gloves on.

    I probably still get a hornet one of these days, just because I'll have to have tried one. But in practical terms, the .223 is, well, more practical. 13gr of blue dot and a 33gr v-max makes for an accurate no recoil and low muzzle blast load at hornet velocities.
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  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    I've heard mixed comments on the accuracy of the Ruger hornets, but the rotary mag is pretty slick and I believe getting it poked to K-hornet can cure some of the accuracy issues.

    I keep thinking about getting a hornet and then keep reminding myself I have nearly 1/2 dozen .223's, 1000's of cases of brass and the .223 can be downloaded to 22 hornet levels. I've yet to have an inaccurate .223 and the .223 case is about the smallest round I can handle with gloves on.

    I probably still get a hornet one of these days, just because I'll have to have tried one. But in practical terms, the .223 is, well, more practical. 13gr of blue dot and a 33gr v-max makes for an accurate no recoil and low muzzle blast load at hornet velocities.
    Yes I have thought about how a .223 is "more practical." I have tons of .223 brass but like my .218 bee because it is different. Kinda like the guy who runs a 351 ford when the whole world is running small block Chevys.

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