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Drew_Forge

Handloading success with the .22 Hornet

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A buddy of mine has a family camp in Northeast Maine with a tree farm on it....and he has a serious porcupine problem. Every year he goes up and kills 30-40 of them and he still has issues with porkys eating his trees. So he bought a .22 Hornet in hopes of having a little more horsepower over his .22LR. He worked a deal for an older Savage 342 with a 3-9x Tasco scope. It's a nice little rifle - we took it apart, cleaned the bore thoroughly, snugged up all the screws, and gave it a basic freshening up. 

We took it out to the range a couple weeks ago with factory PPU ammo while we waited for his new dies and case-trimming kit to arrive in the mail. It was kind of diasppointing, I'm not going to lie...3"-4" groups at 100 yards were the norm, with either of us behind the trigger.

Well, he got his dies in the mail and dropped them off, and I worked up three different starting point handloads with IMR-4227, IMR-4198, and Lil' Gun powders, under a Hornady 45-grain soft point varmint bullet. It a was pretty amazing difference, as you can see in the pictures below. And the velocity! I was 1/2 grain below maximum, and the Lil' Gun powder cranked that tiny 45-grain pill out at just shy of 2800 fps! The IMR-4198 load burned too slow and only pushed about 2100fps and didn't group as well, but it was very quiet.

Below is a picture of a 25-yard 5-shot group with the Lil' Gun load. At 100 yards, my buddy put 5 shots into a nice round 1 1/4" group. Pretty darned good starting point, I'll say. I'll load him up more trial loads in 2/10 grain increments lower and higher, and we'll get this lil' Hornet dialed right in.

God, I love reloading.

2017.4.2 22 hornet group.jpg

Carl shooting Hornet.jpg

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