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22LR vs 22 Hornet vs 17 Hornet

This is a discussion on 22LR vs 22 Hornet vs 17 Hornet within the Rifles forums, part of the Rifle & Shotgun Forum category; The Hornet round has been a popular topic in the magazines I've read lately. I've never given the round a serious thought until recently. I ...


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Old February 20th, 2013, 04:05 PM   #1
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22LR vs 22 Hornet vs 17 Hornet

The Hornet round has been a popular topic in the magazines I've read lately. I've never given the round a serious thought until recently.

I just bought a 10/22 TD last November and absolutely love it! But with .22LR being nearly unobtainable lately, the reloadability of these center fire Hornet rounds is starting to sound appealing.

I have 4 rifles now besides the 10/22, 3 in .308 and an AR .223/5.56mm. But ammo is not only scarce but expensive.

Currently I'm reloading pistol rounds in 9mm and .45. Next on my list is to get dies for .40 and .380. But then I'd like to start reloading rifle rounds. That's going to require more reloading equipment since my Dillon SDB progressive press won't reload rifle rounds. I only had the AR when I bought it and never thought I'd one day be reloading for rifles. Surprise! So, I'll probably go the cheapest route for that and buy some Lee equipment. It looks like they make some good stuff at a fraction of the price of Dillon equipment. And I'm talking about a single stage turret. They advertise being able to crank out 200 rounds an hour. Don't think I'll be up to that rate since I'm not just wanting lower cost ammo but to learn how to build some target loads. I've got a Remington SPS 700 stainless I bought for getting into long distance shooting, but I've tried several different brands of factory loads and they all seem to have a different POI. Maybe if I make my own, I can get better consistency.

Back to the Hornet round. They claim excellent accuracy out to 300 yards. And they say (they = Internet articles) that the .22 Hornet is a more economical round to reload than the .223. Plus both the .22 and the .17 casings last virtually forever.

While my excuse is to save money in the long run and avoid future ammo shortages, it will cost me a couple of thousand dollars to get into the "money saving" caliber.

What are your opinions on the 2 Hornet rounds? Are they significantly better than a .22 LR? I'm curious as to what your experience has been with them.



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Old February 20th, 2013, 04:26 PM   #2
 
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I shoot a 223 in my Contender pistol. One of the reasons I went with the 223 was the easy to find and cheap ammo. It was one cartridge I could always count on getting when I needed it. Yeah, right. One proposed ban did that theory in, big time.

Now, I'm thinking of going Hornet because a friend shoots one. It is very cheap to reload, yes, and, believe it or not, I can even find ammo, even up here in rural Wisconsin.

As to the comparison with a 22 LR, there isn't any. You can trick out a 22 LR rifle seven ways to Sunday and it will never compare at distances past one hundred yards with any popular varmint round, largely because of the aerodynamically poor 22 LR bullet. That soft lead 22 LR bullet was never meant to be a long range projectile. I've got 22 LR rifles that will shoot MOA at 50 yards (half inch), but those same rifles are very hard pressed to maintain that MOA performance (1 inch) at 100 yards. By comparison, my 14" barreled Contender 223 will easily shoot under 1 MOA at 100 yards and will maintain that out to 200 yards (2 inches or less). The Hornets are in that same class in terms of performance. They are much more than higher velocity 22 LRs. They were designed from the get go to be long range rounds and they use the right bullets for that work.

Get a Hornet. It'll open up a whole new world of shooting that you will never get with a 22 LR.

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Old February 20th, 2013, 05:25 PM   #3
 
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I have been a .22 hornet fan and user for quite a while and have hunted game extensively with this "mighty" little round there is absolutely no comparison with a .22lr in any way shape or form, i have a thread in the hunting forum and the damage on critters can be evidenced by some of the photos i have posted there.On hares ,rabbits and that sized varmints if your planning on putting them in the pot then head shots only as the 35 grn hornady v-max at 3100 fps tears them literally to pieces.

Recently i have shortened my barrel to 18",bedded the action ,floated the barrel and fitted a "sonic"modular suppressor the critters hate it.

Its moa at one hundred and beyond....i rarely shoot it out past 200 but would be confident to do so out to its reliable max around the 250 mark.
My rounds of choice are factory Hornady 35 grn v-max /Sellier and Bellot 45 grn sp or my reloads which i have been using 11grns of 2205 with a 35grn v-max projectile.I would add my next batch will be with the Hodgdon's Lil-Gun powder that a lot of shooters are getting good results with the hornet.
The .22 hornet is a great varmint round and a lot of fun to boot,its also quite quiet although mine is now very quiet being suppressed.Whilst not ideal for deer i have seen it used with success on smaller Fallow deer although i usually reserve that task to my .223 or 7mm08.
cheers KIWI.

Here it is standard unmodified




Heres it is after it was "worked"



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Old February 20th, 2013, 08:36 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses. Now it looks like I'm doomed to get into Hornet shooting!

This looks like a whole lotta fun.

Kiwi, what rifle are you showing in those pictures? A Ruger 77? And man, that is one big rabbit you bagged in the last photo!

I've only hunted rabbit once with a borrowed rifle. Two shots, two rabbits, which my ex prepared and we all ate. Lots of rabbits here in AZ. I might have to go hunting again!

Neither of you mentioned the .17, but I think I would prefer the .22 anyway.
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Old February 21st, 2013, 12:11 PM   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlh820 View Post
Thanks for the responses. Now it looks like I'm doomed to get into Hornet shooting!

This looks like a whole lotta fun.

Kiwi, what rifle are you showing in those pictures? A Ruger 77? And man, that is one big rabbit you bagged in the last photo!

I've only hunted rabbit once with a borrowed rifle. Two shots, two rabbits, which my ex prepared and we all ate. Lots of rabbits here in AZ. I might have to go hunting again!

Neither of you mentioned the .17, but I think I would prefer the .22 anyway.
Hey jlh820 the rifle is a CZ527 in .22 hornet,and the "big rabbit" is a Hare ,the region where he was shot (central plateau) is renown for large Hares,"big reds"
I also have a lot of fun with my .17hmr and its laser accurate on a calm day ....but these "big red Hares are pretty hardy so i usually opt for my mighty hornet,theres somthing about those little centerfires that just put a smile on your face ....buy one you wont regret it nor would you regret getting into some varminting/hunting its a great way to spend some time and put some meat on the table....happy hunting..
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Old February 23rd, 2013, 02:37 PM   #6
 
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The .22lr Stinger has 160 ft lbs, but it slows down to the same 65 ft lbs at 150 yds that the heavier bullet, 1200 fps loads have at that range. reload components for the hornet are JUST as out of stock as the same parts for 223, so I don't see where that helps. Ammo WILL be imported to fix this problem, just watch,and we'll get OTHER COMPANIES offering .22lr, if this keeps up, too. the production expenses have not gone up, so the companies are making RECORD profits, and that always brings in competition, in the USA, at least.

the 223 is as superior to the Hornet as the Hornet is to the .22, really. i see no reason to bother with the Hornet at all. It AINT very quiet, and the 10 grs less powder per shot doesn't save you enough to make up for all the things that it can't do, like save your life in a fight, take deer, do well in NRA or combat matches, have a .22lr conversion unit, like the AR has in 223, etc. hornets are bolt actions or single shots, neither is worth a hoot in a fight. unless you use the modern, plastic pointed bullet, the hornet aint much beyond 125 yds. and even with the modern bullet, it's strictly a 175 yd load, at best. the heavier, boatailed bullets available for use in the 223 make it much better than the Hornet at ranges beyond 175 yds.
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Old February 23rd, 2013, 03:00 PM   #7
 
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the Hornet is nothing more than the feeble old 25-20 rd, necked down to .22 bore, and no, they were NOT "designed from the get go for long range, sorry. Unless you consider 150 yds to be "long range". Which it IS, compared to 22lr, but certainly not when compared to what long barreled 223's can deliver, to 500 yds. :-) The 223 AR has OWNED the 600 yd line at the NRA rifle matches, for over 14 years now, ever since the advent of the 80 gr Berger VLD match bullets.

Until a very few years ago, all you could get for the Hornet was a very "blunt" nose, sphp sort of bullet, which lost its initial 2600 fps of velocity very quickly. You need at least 1500 fps of remaning velocity to expand such a bullet, and the Hornet fell below that speed well before reaching 200 yds. The more modern bullets for the Hornet do a better job of retaining velocity,and the lighter ones start at considerably more than 2600 fps, but their design means that you need higher impact speeds to expand them, too..

The old Hornet load was 650 ft lbs of power at the muzzle, which is what a mere 357 handgun has, if it's got a 6" barrel. 30 odd years ago,THV Arcane offered 45 grs at 2400 fps, out of a 5" barreled 9mm automatic, for 590 ft lbs. :-) So the old Hornet load was nothing much at all, really.
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Old February 23rd, 2013, 04:34 PM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pokit View Post
... and no, they were NOT "designed from the get go for long range, sorry. Unless you consider 150 yds to be "long range". Which it IS, compared to 22lr, but certainly not when compared to what long barreled 223's can deliver, to 500 yds.
It's all a matter of perspective. In the 1920s when the Hornet was being designed and in the year 1930, when it was introduced (and when scopes on rifles were rare), 150 yards was long range, yes. The Hornet was the hot, new, flat shooting varmint round, certainly far more effective than the other 22 cal of choice for varmint work, the 22 LR, with considerably greater range and certainly flatter shooting than the 25-20 and other hold overs from the black powder era that were commonly being used for pest control. It was an instant hit for that very reason. Sure, it looks pretty meek in comparison to what we have to shoot, now, and 150 yards isn't much, these days, I agree. Still, as the OP asked, is a Hornet better than a 22 LR for distance work? Absolutely. We both agree on that.

I also agree that it is darn tough to beat a 223 for efficiency and I'm in no hurry to replace my 223 Contender barrel with a 22 Hornet barrel or rifle, even though I can find both, readily, and Hornet ammo, too. In fact, I'll be darned if I'm going to let an ammo scare keep me from buying a 223 rifle that I've been considering for some time. Like everyone else who loves the 223, I'm going to wait things out, at least for now.
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Old February 23rd, 2013, 04:36 PM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pokit View Post
The .22lr Stinger has 160 ft lbs, but it slows down to the same 65 ft lbs at 150 yds that the heavier bullet, 1200 fps loads have at that range. reload components for the hornet are JUST as out of stock as the same parts for 223, so I don't see where that helps. Ammo WILL be imported to fix this problem, just watch,and we'll get OTHER COMPANIES offering .22lr, if this keeps up, too. the production expenses have not gone up, so the companies are making RECORD profits, and that always brings in competition, in the USA, at least.

the 223 is as superior to the Hornet as the Hornet is to the .22, really. i see no reason to bother with the Hornet at all. It AINT very quiet, and the 10 grs less powder per shot doesn't save you enough to make up for all the things that it can't do, like save your life in a fight, take deer, do well in NRA or combat matches, have a .22lr conversion unit, like the AR has in 223, etc. hornets are bolt actions or single shots, neither is worth a hoot in a fight. unless you use the modern, plastic pointed bullet, the hornet aint much beyond 125 yds. and even with the modern bullet, it's strictly a 175 yd load, at best. the heavier, boatailed bullets available for use in the 223 make it much better than the Hornet at ranges beyond 175 yds.
Hey"Rambo" ....whilst not intending to "flame you" i beg to differ everyone isnt interested in rounds specifically for "fighting" and comparing .223 and .22 Hornet is comparing apples to oranges there completely different cals to each other and no one is going to argue that .22 hornet has more "legs" than .223.and of course NO ONE is going to choose a .22 hornet as a combat round by choice .

Owning both calibers i would most certainly argue the point that when compared the .22 hornet is considerably more quiet than .223 and no one is suggesting to use it on Deer that said i have shot Fallow deer with it (not by choice but i have run into deer whilst varminting and the hornet is what was in my hand at the time) and "poleaxed "them on the spot with a head or neck shot (Fallow are not a very big animal and i usually use .223 on them).
As far as your comment a bolt isn't worth a "hoot" in a fight I think millions of casualties that have fallen to bolt actions over the course of history might just disagree with you....a well placed round from a bolt is going to usually do as well as a spray and pray approach especially in the field where ammo conservation is often a consideration i certainly wouldn't feel under-gunned in any situation with a good .308 bolt action scout rifle such as a Ruger gunsite scout.

I regulary shoot varmints at around the 100 to 200 yd mark with my little hornet,and enjoy it immensely, my factory varmint round of choice is Hornady 35 grn v-max which is getting out at approx 3100 FPS (which is no slouch in anybody's language).Remington also make a 45 grn hollow point which works well on larger varmints.As do my reloads using v-max projectiles with 11 grns of 2205.

No one can dispute that the .223 is a far more powerful round but as said above .223 vs .22 hornet is apples vs oranges.Variety is the spice of life and both calibers have a pride of place in my gun cabinet in the form of a Browning X-BOLT IN .223 and my CZ527 Hornet. The .223 is a modern light very versatile business round and the Hornet is an older slightly nostalgic varmint round that through modern technolgy in ammo and rifles is enjoying a huge resurgence in popularity with many of the major arms manufacturers offering new rifles in this cool little centerfire caliber.
KIWI

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Old February 23rd, 2013, 08:42 PM   #10
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The reason I'm curious about the 22 Hornet is as Kiwi said, variety. I own an AR in 223, a 10/22 TD and 3 rifles in 308, my favorite round. The 22 Hornet just sounded fun and I like the idea of being able to reload them.

That being said, I heard some discouraging news at Cabela's today. I wanted to check out some 22 Hornet rifles and was told the 22 Hornet is an obsolete round. Bummer! They don't carry 22 Hornet rifles anymore. They've been replaced with 17 Hornets. At first I was curious about getting into 17 Hornets because of all the publicity they're getting in my gun magazines. But man, is that a dinky round or what!

So I haven't given up on the 22 Hornet yet, but I'm starting to think about a 22-250. From what little research I've done so far, it seems to be a very popular round, especially for reloading. While it's still a 22, it's got one heck of a big butted casing and my mind begins to wonder at all the reloading possibilities of such a round.

I looked at a Savage Model 12 today. It's a very plain looking black synthetic stocked rifle, but reputed to be very accurate and Savage's Accu Trigger is also widely acclaimed. I still have yet to find a dealer for CZ, and a 527 American really interests me.

But I appreciate all the input.

As for usage, it would primarily be a range gun, but varmint hunting isn't out of the question. I just have to find a hunting buddy since I don't go in for hunting alone. My grand father died that way. Dropped his rifle from a tree, shot himself in the femoral artery and bled out on the way to the hospital.

The AR was my first rifle and I do love the 223/5.56 but I'm looking for something different, something in the same general size, something between a 22LR and a 223. I'm not sure that describes a 22-250, but it's variety.

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Old February 23rd, 2013, 08:59 PM   #11
 
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[QUOTE=jlh820;905158]
That being said, I heard some discouraging news at Cabela's today. I wanted to check out some 22 Hornet rifles and was told the 22 Hornet is an obsolete round.

jlh820 i wouldn't believe everything some of those "gun store jockeys" spout,hes just trying to push the new .17s.
A good mate of mine owns a local gun store here and its news to him as it is to me he has just ordered a couple of new Wieihrauchs in hornet and has new Rugers, CZs and an Anshutz new in stock,Hornet is also a very popular round in Europe and all the main ammo manufacturers are still producing it by the truck load so i have no idea what Cabelas are on about because that is simply not a fact.

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Old February 23rd, 2013, 09:23 PM   #12
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[QUOTE=kiwihunter;905177]
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlh820 View Post
That being said, I heard some discouraging news at Cabela's today. I wanted to check out some 22 Hornet rifles and was told the 22 Hornet is an obsolete round.

jlh820 i wouldn't believe everything some of those "gun store jockeys" spout,hes just trying to push the new .17s.
A good mate of mine owns a local gun store here and its news to him as it is to me he has just ordered a couple of new Wieihrauchs in hornet and has new Rugers, CZs and an Anshutz new in stock,Hornet is also a very popular round in Europe and all the main ammo manufacturers are still producing it by the truck load so i have no idea what Cabelas are on about because that is simply not a fact.
That's good to hear. This little 22 Hornet sure sounds like a great little round for my purposes. Cabela's has the biggest stock of rifles around me. I figured I'd start my search there. I may go to the gun show tomorrow and see what's there.
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Old February 23rd, 2013, 10:01 PM   #13
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I have a NEF Handi Rifle & a 10" Contender barrel for the 22 Hornet both are tack drivers.
Factory ammo is expensive but once you have brass its cheap to reload. It's best not to push it to max loads or the primer pocket expands before other high pressure signs show.
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Old February 23rd, 2013, 10:08 PM   #14
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I have a NEF Handi Rifle & a 10" Contender barrel for the 22 Hornet both are tack drivers.
Factory ammo is expensive but once you have brass its cheap to reload. It's best not to push it to max loads or the primer pocket expands before other high pressure signs show.
Good to hear. I never load to max loads anyway. Not worth the risk or the wear.
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Old February 23rd, 2013, 10:23 PM   #15
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The earlier post about the 22 Hornet being the 25-20 necked down is wrong that would be the 218 Bee. The Bee is in between 22H & the 222rem.
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