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slumlord44
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Cast lead bullets for .22 Hornet
Apr 4th, 2019 at 11:50pm
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I have a Stevens Walnut Hill in .22 Hornet that I believe has a .223 barrel. Found .224 cast lead bullets but no .223 so far. Will this cauuse a problem? I have a supply of .223 jacketed bullets but would like to try lead. I've seen discussions in the past that slightly oversize cast lead bullets are ok but I like to be sure. Will stay with low end load for this rifle due to the weak action design. It's a 44 action.
  
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Baja_Traveler
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Re: Cast lead bullets for .22 Hornet
Reply #1 - Apr 5th, 2019 at 10:37am
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One to Two thousandths over is standard for cast. I cast for my .218 Bee and lube/size to .225 with great results. I also make my own black powder rim fire rounds casting a heeled bullet sized to .224
  
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Bent_Ramrod
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Re: Cast lead bullets for .22 Hornet
Reply #2 - Apr 5th, 2019 at 11:14am
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I have two Hornets (Ruger No. 3 and Low Wall) and a relined Stevens 44 in .22 WCF.  IME the best cast bullets are the biggest diameter gas-check designs that will chamber in the case.  In the Hornets, this is the  Ideal 228367, sized 0.228”, with as much 4198 as I can trickle into the case through a tube, ~9.5 gr or so.  The Ideal 225462, sized 0.225”, works nearly as well.  These loads are just about at 2000 ft/sec muzzle velocity.  Accuracy is 2” or under at 100 yds.

For the Stevens 44, I’ve mostly used an Ideal 225107 which is oversized enough to size to 0.228”, with 4.3 gr Unique.  My 44 is beefed up somewhat in the linkage, but I haven’t tried the heavy-bullet loads in it yet.

All of them do OK with the usual Hornet bullets sized to 0.225”:  225438, 225415, the plain base 45 gr Winchester, etc, but it seems like all of them like oversize, and the solid breeched ones appear to indicate that oversize/overweight bullets work even better.  The Low Wall and the Stevens have AFAIK standard Hornet twists and diameters; the Ruger might have a 14” twist, but I’ve never measured.  Holes are round at 100 yards and under.

It’s enough to cause a Crisis of Faith in Gunwriters!   Shocked

YMMV, of course, but as long as you mind your charge weights and shell lengths to keep pressures down, a thousandths (or even a few more) in nominal bullet diameter is not disastrous, and sometimes even helps.
  
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slumlord44
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Re: Cast lead bullets for .22 Hornet
Reply #3 - Apr 5th, 2019 at 12:23pm
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Thanks for the good advice as always. I was pretty sure there would be no problem but it never hurts to double check with people who know more than I do. I will order the .224 bullets and see how they work.
  
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JS47
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Re: Cast lead bullets for .22 Hornet
Reply #4 - Apr 5th, 2019 at 9:20pm
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I bought a Lyman 22 cal mold many years ago to try in my Hornet. It was a gas check design. I couldn't get the gas checks to seat without distorting the bullet since either the bullet shank was too large or the gas checks were too small. In hind sight I should have ordered a plain base bullet since the object was to shoot them in the 1000-1100 fps range. I was using soft bullets with that velocity in mind and had no reason to cast harder bullets since the jacketed ones were cheap and accurate. I may have been able to seat the gas checks on a harder bullet but that would have been pointless in view of what I was trying to do which was to duplicate 22 long rifle velocity for small edible game. The impact point of the bullets I did get to work was so far different from my high velocity jacketed coyote loads that the whole idea was a failure anyway. Some times that happens.

JS
« Last Edit: Apr 5th, 2019 at 9:26pm by JS47 »  

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gnoahhh
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Re: Cast lead bullets for .22 Hornet
Reply #5 - Apr 8th, 2019 at 8:27pm
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Sounds like a situation that demands a chamber cast to determine exactly what the throat diameter is, so you can size to that minus around .0005" (half thousandth). Barrel groove diameter is of no consequence, throat diameter rules. "Sizing to a couple thousandths over groove diameter" may very well put a guy smack into the diameter he needs to fill the throat, but that's by gosh and by golly.

Gas checks not fitting very well is a not uncommon occurrence, especially if checks from a cottage industry supplier are used, in my experience. I made up a couple steel punches that emulate the GC bases of a couple "problem children" with which I re-swage checks in a small arbor press, with an ever-so-slight flair added. Adds yet another step in the loading process but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
  
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40_Rod
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Re: Cast lead bullets for .22 Hornet
Reply #6 - Apr 9th, 2019 at 9:30am
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As I remember Barry Darr did some really good work breech seating a .22 Hornet on a fix Brothers action. I remember a photo of the cutest little mold he made for casting the bullets.

40 Rod
  
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ledball
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Re: Cast lead bullets for .22 Hornet
Reply #7 - Apr 9th, 2019 at 3:40pm
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The last time I talked to Barry a few years back, he was playing with 22 cal No grease groove bullets, and was approaching 2000 FPS. Where are the Barry Darr’s.     Who is going to take his place.   Ledball
  
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blindeye
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Re: Cast lead bullets for .22 Hornet
Reply #8 - Apr 9th, 2019 at 5:34pm
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I'd really like to see a SSRJ article on breech seating the Hornet.  Also on using heavier than std. bullets in the Hornet with a faster twist.   There might easily be enough information for a series of articles.  It's a shame when all the efforts of someone are lost because information doesn't get passed on.  But, it's also a task to summarize and write up the long journey.

This is the type of topic which holds my interest.   Not  (no insult intended)  pages of math, issue after issue; about wind drift.   The Journal needs content submitted, so the Editor has something to work with.  His pleading for articles seems to often be in vain.  Yet, there can be pages of discussion and solid information at times on the Forum;  that would be the basis for good articles.
  

ASSRA#7987, OGCA, TSGC life, NRA life
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gnoahhh
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Re: Cast lead bullets for .22 Hornet
Reply #9 - Apr 9th, 2019 at 9:19pm
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The single shot Hornet I play with (aside from the bolt guns) is a German kiplauf. Normally those 5.6x35R's have bores dimensioned much like .22WCF rather than like Hornets. This one has a tight-ish bore for a 5.6x35R (.225 groove diameter, .226" throat diameter), much closer to Hornet dimensions in that regard. (And yes, I use Hornet dies to load for it, with a home made expander plug to provide a better neck fit for the .226-sized cast bullets I use. It's ROT is 1-9".

My favorite bullet for this rifle is the Lee Bator, a Midway house special not available anywhere else. It's a nominal 55 grain, blunt (very blunt), gas checked design. My mold produces 53 grains, wheel weight alloy+tin, bhn 12-ish. .226" out of the mold- it goes through the lubrisizer to lube and seat the check only. They are fed through this rifle as-cast. After a lot of testing I settled on 6.0 grains 2400 for a .22RF Magnum performance level, with accuracy hovering around 1/2-3/4" at 50 yards, 1"-2" at 100 yards depending on how much coffee I've had and the alignment of the stars and moon. (4 grains Unique is a close second place.) That bullet is blunt enough that when sized to .224 and fed into a tight bored slow twisted Winchester M54 Hornet, it shoots even better than out of the kiplauf. Go figure.

1.5-2.0 grains Bullseye under that bullet makes for a snappy .22LR-like load. A pound of powder goes a loooooong way.

Lube: nothing special. Just regular old NRA formula 50/50 alox/beeswax.

The RCBS 55 grain flat nose shoots well in the kiplauf also due to the fast rate of twist. It truly sucks out of my other "normal" Hornets. Too long, it is.

I should note accuracy/bench work is done with a 6x Small Game scope, squirrel hunting done with a 3/4" Redfield 4x baby big game scope.

I could live out my Golden Years playing with nothing but cast bullets in Hornets and Lovells, and die a happy man.
« Last Edit: Apr 9th, 2019 at 9:26pm by gnoahhh »  
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Bill Lawrence
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Re: Cast lead bullets for .22 Hornet
Reply #10 - Apr 9th, 2019 at 9:31pm
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Perhaps blindeye has the kernel of an idea here.  That is, a regular journal "column" - call it, say, Forum Findings - wherein our editor extracts (with editing if needed and possibly accreditation) topics which have the interest, depth, and coverage to appeal to the journal's readers.  Moreover, it would give those topics a permanence that the internet cannot.

Bill Lawrence
  
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JLouis
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Re: Cast lead bullets for .22 Hornet
Reply #11 - Apr 9th, 2019 at 9:42pm
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Barry is still with us and no one I know of has had more success and Ballistic Program Data on the 22 Hornet and Breech Seated Cast. He also shot it in our 200yd. ASSRA Anysight monthy Matches.

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.22-5-40
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Re: Cast lead bullets for .22 Hornet
Reply #12 - Apr 11th, 2019 at 3:37pm
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I was able to equal best jacketed match bullet accuracy with cast in my 1-14" twist, Shilen barreled Borchardt Hornet.  Bullet is a copy of the old Ideal 22636 @ 52grs.   made by the late Fred Leeth.  The most improvement in accuracy came when I turned up a tapered sizing die that fit my Lyman 45..taper matches barrel throat angle & is adjustable via lubsizer adjustment screw acting on the die push-rod for both dia. & length of angle.
  
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