Re thinking the .22 Hornet

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Thread: Re thinking the .22 Hornet

  1. #1
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    Re thinking the .22 Hornet

    We all know how hard its been to get .22 Long Rifle ammo. In some places it's still non existent, in other you have to be there when the UPS man walks in the door or you'll be too late.

    So, the other day a guy comes over to my shop and he tells me all about his .22 Hornet project and I have to admit that what he said made a lot of sense. Too be honest, I've never really been a fan of the Hornet because I always thought it was too small to be a of much use for anything other than foxes or coyotes. I knew a few people that killed deer with them, being legal to use here, but I really thought that using that for a deer rifle was pushing it. There thought was that they could use milder loaded ammo to use on the gazillion squirrels that you saw when deer hunting and if you did see a deer, you just put one of the hotter rounds in there and used it. Even though it seemed a bit silly to me, I know of several people that used it with great success.

    So, my friend comes over and he brought with him a Thompson Center Encore. I'm familiar with them as I have one with a few barrels. He brought his with a .22 Hornet barrel to me because he wanted it threaded for a suppressor. I told him that I didn't think it'd be that great a candidate for a Hornet as it was much too fast to be very quiet.

    It was then that he gave me some insight on why he chose the Hornet. What he said had me intrigued as I had never really given it much thought but what he said made perfect sense.

    When it comes to re loading, the Hornet is no different than any other cartridge. It can use a a bullet from 30-to 55 grains, and it can be loaded down to .22 LR specs or pushed nearly to .223 specs. That right there covers a lot of turf.
    There are a multitude of bullets made for it and the best thing is that there are cast bullet molds that can be used with equal efficiency. So, you can basically load some cast bullets to go squirrel hunting with that wont tear them up, or you can load FMJ for foxes and coons and stuff that wont tear up a pelt that you want to sell. You can load the TNT loads or the Varmint Grenades that explode violently if you want to shoot prairie dogs or crows or you can even load heavier bullets that will kill a deer.

    Better than all of the above though...is the fact that using a cast bullet load that is easily made, you can download them so that they are almost silent when shot through a suppressor. Using a 45 or 50 grain bullet gives them more energy than the standard .22 LR load that is suppressed and they often display better accuracy due to the spritzer bullets that can be used.

    Also, we experimented with some powder coated bullets, 40 grainers that we pushed with both Red Dot and Trailboss. Another plus is the small amount of powder used. We are using 1.4 grains of Trailboss and getting excellent accuracy and quietness. This load may in fact be the quietest load that I have ever heard shot and I hear lots of suppressed shots.

    The powder coated bullets are just powder coated, no lube is used. After about 50 shots there was no evidence of leading at all, in fact the barrel was extremely clean. This was surprising to me since shooting through a suppressor generally causes barrels and actions to foul more quickly than normal.

    The bullets were coated using what is known as a "tumble" lube process and they although they aren't pretty they work well.
    The fact that you can cast them when ever you need to makes them even better.



    I liked the idea of this cartridge so well that I went on a hunt for the .22 Hornet rifle. I was wanting a Remington 700 but they were unobtainable, I found a Ruger 77 in great condition and got a deal to good to refuse, so I got it. From the same guy I got a shell holder and a set of dies. After looking around for a few hours on the net, there was no .22 Hornet available anywhere that I could find, one of my gun smith buddies came to the rescue and gave me an unopened bag of 100 Winchester brass. Soon I had them primed and powdered and shooting various loads for experimentation.

    I must say that I really am liking powder coated bullets. They don't lead up the barrel and its not hard to do. You don't have to lube them and its fairly easy to do.

    I mounted a new Nikon scope on the rifle and put it too the test. I hadn't had the rifle in my shop for more than 10 minutes when I decided to take the action out and cut the barrel to 16" and thread it for a suppressor.
    Here's a picture of the rifle with the can on it.



    The really good thing is that for a pound of powder you can shoot a bunch. Using the light charges for the subsonic loads, the brass is going to last a long time. It's quiet enough that you could shoot this thing in the front yard and your neighbors wouldn't even know it.
    If you needed more power, you just upload to make it do what you want. While it may not be an ideal cartridge for everything, it'll do for most anything out there. I wouldn't take it bear hunting, or elk hunting, but putting one in their ear would take them out of the equation just as deadly as anything else.

    I think its a great suppressor rifle too. Its quiet and accurate.
    bmcgilvray and Pete63 like this.
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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    I like it. HG, I have downloaded the 223 to 1300 fps and squirrel hunted with it; same concept.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

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    Here's a video of it. Turn up your speakers. Just click on the picture.

    bmcgilvray likes this.
    The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it...- George Orwell

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    I have both the 22 Hornet and 218 Bee barrels for my TC Contender I agree they are great fun for varmints.
    When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
    "Don't forget, incoming fire has the right of way."

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    Quote Originally Posted by HotGuns View Post
    Here's a video of it. Turn up your speakers. Just click on the picture.

    Wow, my air rifles are louder than that.
    When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
    "Don't forget, incoming fire has the right of way."

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    I have owned and shot Hornets for 50 years and they are adaptable to lots of uses. My favorite rifle is a Ruger #3 with a 3 X 9 on it. Load it up or down and enjoy lots of inexpensive shooting. My oldest grandson took a deer with one at eight years of age when varmint hunting and no other gun his size in the blind. One shot kill with HP and Papa backing him up with an '06.

    I have been looking for a Ruger 77 in Hornet just to play around with. I have one on a Rem 722 action that we re-barreled in the 60's and it has shot a lot of home cast lead in its life.

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    Distinguished Member Array dangerranger's Avatar
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    I have three hornets, My latest is an old one with the 1 in 16 barrel, its going to be rebarreled to 17 Hornaday hornet. Most of my hunting is animals from ground squirrels up to coyotes, so the hornets fit very well. if Im hunting anywhere near a house Ill take the hornet, it sounds like a 22 mag. DR

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    VIP Member Array nedrgr21's Avatar
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    Thought about it, but what about a .223 with "gopher loads"? To Bee Or 223, That Is The Question (Revisited)

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    Why that's slicker 'n snot!

    I've owned a .22 Hornet for many years. Let it go fairly recently to a good home with a elderly rancher who needed it's capabilities. I've got a stable-full of handload recipes and gobs of brass so need to scare up a good Hornet. Now, just which one is a really good one?
    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

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    Distinguished Member Array dangerranger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
    Why that's slicker 'n snot!

    I've owned a .22 Hornet for many years. Let it go fairly recently to a good home with a elderly rancher who needed it's capabilities. I've got a stable-full of handload recipes and gobs of brass so need to scare up a good Hornet. Now, just which one is a really good one?
    Im in the same boat with 22 magnum. a few years back I dumped mine because there weren't much available in the way of ammo. but the last few years lots of new ammo choices have come up. both light and heavy bullet choices, lead, plated, and jacketed bullets also. Makes me want another! DR

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    Although I think it was gone before I was born, my dad had a Hornet and always had fond memories of it. Apparently it was just the right medicine for crows back when crows were a nuisance and not protected as "migratory."
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