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The Ultimate Reloading Manual
Wolfe Publishing Group
  • reloading manual
  • alliant reloading data
  • reloading brass
  • shotshell reloading
  • bullet reloading
The Ultimate Reloading Manual
hodgdon load data

.22 Hornet (using Sierra bullets)

Author: Brian Pearce / Wolfe Publishing
Date: Feb 26 2020

The .22 Hornet dates back to the 1920s and was a product of Springfield Armory, with Col. Townsend Whelen, Capt. G.L. Woytkins and others involved in its design. Ultimately it would serve the U.S. military in survival arms during World War II. Winchester began offering "sporting" ammunition in 1930, and guns began appearing from Winchester, Savage, Stevens and others soon thereafter.

The Hornet served as a pioneer in modern .22 caliber center-fire varmint cartridge developments and quickly became popular. Additional cartridge developments began surpassing its ballistics, such as the .220 Swift (1935), .218 Bee (1938), .222 Remington (1950), .223 Remington (1964) and others, which resulted in the Hornet’s declining popularity. The .22 Hornet still offers effective varmint ballistics at around 200 yards, a low muzzle report, long barrel life and can be housed in small actions and light rifles. As a result, there has been a resurgence in popularity with Ruger, Savage, CZ, New England Firearms, Anschutz, Browning, Thompson/Center, Taurus (revolvers) and others offering modern guns.

Traditional factory loads from Remington and Winchester advertise 45- and 46-grain bullets at 2,960 fps. Recent developments from Hornady and Remington list 35-grain plastic tipped spitzer bullets at 3,070 and 3,100 fps, respectively. In checking the velocity of currently available factory loads, most are very close to advertised velocities when fired from a 24-inch barrel.

Handgun manufacturers have also offered the .22 Hornet, primarily in single-shot pistols, but many custom revolvers have been chambered, and Taurus offers a double-action revolver.

The Hornet case is rather thin, and case life is not generally long. Watch for case separation just forward of the head, splitting at the mouth, etc., and discard brass accordingly.

Most pre-World War II rifles had a .223-inch groove diameter, while most post war rifles were more standardized with a .224-inch groove diameter, which is also the diameter that corresponds best with production handguns.