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Thread: Loading the .22 Hornet

  1. #1
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    Question Loading the .22 Hornet

    I just aquired a .22 Hornet barell for my Contender. Anyone have any experiance handloading this round? My intentions are to load a moderate velocity load with 45 gr. bullets. This load will primarly be used on fox, lynx etc at moderate ranges.

    Thanks in advance for the help.

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    A lovely little caliber. I had a 10 inch Contender barrel for so many years. I can sum up the results with one powder...H4227..... and mild rifle primers. I can give you specifics later if you want but I have lots of data for that and the 218 bee in the pistol barrels.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by tradbowkill View Post
    I just aquired a .22 Hornet barell for my Contender. Anyone have any experiance handloading this round? My intentions are to load a moderate velocity load with 45 gr. bullets. This load will primarly be used on fox, lynx etc at moderate ranges.

    Thanks in advance for the help.
    I've owned two- a 10" and a 14". Both were a little finicky if I just ran the case full length into the sizing die, but turned into solid performers when I experimented with neck sizing. Backing off the sizing die in small progressive tightened groups dramatically.

    It's my guess that with the case originally head spacing on the rim, I was suffering quite a bit from variable rim thickness. I don't remember the measurements, but my micrometer confirmed that there was quite a range even in the same lot of cases.

    Whether or not that's what was going on, neck sizing took all the eratic performance out of the round with both barrels.

    I'm hedging a bit on this because we're talking such a small case and limited tapers. I told a friend about it who was suffering eratic performance with the Hornet in his Ruger bolt. He never was able to get a sizing die setting that settled it down. Interestingly, he eventually had the rifle rechambered to K Hornet, and it turned into a tack driver. Yeah, the new shoulder gave him more of a shoulder for head spacing, but I would have guessed he could have accomplished the same with die adjustment, just as I did.

    Ah, the mystery of guns.

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    I agree with BB about the headspace problem, it may or not be a problem. If you get good brass buy a bunch of it.

    Also the case is very thin at the neck anyway and it doesn't get a good consistant grip on the bullet. I found what shot better in my guns, I think because of this bullet grip failure, was to use the 224" bullets instead of the 223" Hornnet bullets. I saw no ill effect from this but load with caution if you try 224" I don't know maybe all makers barrels now are .224" I don't know I haven't loaded for a Hornet in some time. I have also turned down the expander plug to a couple thousandth smaller but with the thin brass, some dies just don't size it enough. I had different dies in the caliber before going to Redding and found them to be a tighter sizing and a smaller expander.

    One of my Contender barrels, I rechambered to the Kilburn version and it did shoot very well but don't remember if it was better than the tuned Hornet. I do think the Bee is a much better case design (and more modern) and has a good consistantly think rim and neck dimensions and I never had any kind of problem with it. I know the Hornet is the sweetheart of the era but some times the new improved versions are actually better. But You have the Hornet and want to load for it. It will work out but there are a few minor problems associated with that case.

    The 256 Winchester was another of my favorites in a ten inch Contender, I really enjoyed that one too. Falling on hard times forced the sale of many very nice guns and accessories and my Contender frame and it's many barrels is heavily regretted and missed quite often. The new models aren't the same gun and they are too heavy and long for this compact varminter/hunter pistols that I liked so much. The little 22 jet was a nother lovely little CF pistol that recieved a lot of attention. I had a 10" Jet barrel rechambered to my "improved jet" and ( A 256 necked down to 22) it received top billing after that. The 22 CF pistol is a fun gun to shoot and hunt and they are they are a very light weight and conventient carry gun.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Default Necksizing

    If I understand correctly, I should only neck size the case instead of full length sizing. I have read other articles online that agree with that strategy. They say that by neck sizing only the bullet will line up more correctly with the barrel throat. This is due to the fire formed case centering the bullet in the chamber. These same articles had a lot of good words for Lil'gun powder in the hornet. Either of you guys have any experiance with it?

    Thanks for the excellent info.

  6. #6

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    one article I read in handloader magazine recommended the Lee Rifle Crimp die for the 22 Hornet as one trick that produced smaller groups..Lil Gun was one of the recommended powders as well...

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by tradbowkill View Post
    If I understand correctly, I should only neck size the case instead of full length sizing. I have read other articles online that agree with that strategy. They say that by neck sizing only the bullet will line up more correctly with the barrel throat. This is due to the fire formed case centering the bullet in the chamber. These same articles had a lot of good words for Lil'gun powder in the hornet. Either of you guys have any experiance with it?

    Thanks for the excellent info.
    I let my last Hornet go before I learned about Lil Gun. One of my shooting pards that's a Hornet nut says there's no reason ever to use another powder. Shoots well in all his guns with all bullets he's tried. He's a good shooter and knows his reloading licks, so I take that as close to gospel.

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    Default Lil'gun

    I think I'll pick up a pound and give it a try. It's supposed to generate lower pressures while ataining the same velocities. If that is fact then case life should be extended. Case life is something that may be a concern with multiple reloadings and a very thin case neck.

  9. #9
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    Default 22 hornet TC

    I'm not necessarily a Lee fan, however their factory crimp die for the hornet worked quite well for me.

    Ditto the 'magnum' pistol powders - 4227, H110, W296 all gave excellent accuracy and velocities from my 10" TC bbl.

    One thing that I found also helped; when using 'pistol-size' charges of 'pistol powders' - I always used pistol primers instead of rifle primers.

    Good luck.

    Nate

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