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Stevens Walnut Hill .22 Hornet (Read 1827 times)
slumlord44
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Stevens Walnut Hill .22 Hornet
Jan 13th, 2008 at 6:45pm
 
I picked up a mint Stevens Walnut Hill in .22 Hornet at the Kansas City Gun Show yesterday for around $1600. I thought it was a very fair deal. The seller said it required a .223 bullet and this agrees with what I have read earlier that the realy early .22 hornet's were a .223 bore while the later ones were all .224. I know that the 44 action is considered weak for the hornet. I am thinking that if I use .223 bullets and use low end handloads, there should be no problems. I will not be shooting this rifle a lot. The gun is mint and very tight. Looks like it has been shot little if any. Comments?
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waterman
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Re: Stevens Walnut Hill .22 Hornet
Reply #1 - Jan 13th, 2008 at 9:16pm
 
Slumlord,
If I had made that deal, I'd feel pretty good about it.  But the 417 Walnut Hill, which as I understand it is built on a latter-day 44 action, is reported to shoot loose with factory ammunition.  Frank DeHaas explains it in detail in the section on the Stevens No. 44 action in "Single Shot Rifles and Actions".  That said, I don't think there is any reason not to shoot the rifle with very mild handloads.  You can share all the frustrations of trying cast bullets and even black powder in a .22 or you can stick with the .223 bullets and hold velocities at about 2000 fps. 

Does your Walnut Hill use a flat spring or a coil spring to drive the hammer?   My Stevens 44 actions, 3 of them, have flat springs and will not reliably fire rifle primers, but pistol primers go bang with great regularity.  Try a primer test and post the results.  That may be the limiting factor.  Good luck,

Waterman
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leadball
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Re: Stevens Walnut Hill .22 Hornet
Reply #2 - Jan 14th, 2008 at 9:54am
 
Slumlord44;
                The Stevens 417 Walnut Hill in 22 Hornet is quite a nice [scarce] find, if this nice rifle was mine I would shoot only cast bullets at about 1400--1500fps.  My limited experience with the Hornet ----I couldn't get any better results with a reduced JACKETED LOAD than with a good cast bullet load the accuracy was about the same. I saw one of these rifles ruined in about a week shooting factory loads.  leadball
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slumlord44
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Re: Stevens Walnut Hill .22 Hornet
Reply #3 - Jan 16th, 2008 at 10:44pm
 
How about a commercial source for .22 cast bullets in weight suitable for the Hornet?
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Dale53
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Re: Stevens Walnut Hill .22 Hornet
Reply #4 - Jan 20th, 2008 at 11:10pm
 
I have shot a goodly number of cast bullets in the .22 Hornet. A really good squirrel load is 3.0 grs of Unique behind a Lyman 225438 or, my favorite, 225415 (this bullet weighs 55 grs and there have been some reports of instability in some slow twist Hornets - I have had no problems with it in my Hornets). I really like the flat nose of the 225415 as it gives notably better results on edible game than the .22 rimfire.

I use straight linotype for alloy (it casts extremely well for these small bullets and BECAUSE the bullets are small uses very little of my dwindling supply of linotype alloy). I use small pistol primers with both cast bullet loads and full power loads in the Hornet.

I use Hornady gas checks and have had excellent target results (" groups at 50 yards).

This load is well within the strength constraints of your 44 action if it is in good condition.

Dale53
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