Bought a nice 77/22 Hornet recently and have gotten out to shooting it and learning to reload 22 Hornet without destroying cases. I however have run across a "problem".
It seems that my Hornet has almost no freebore in the throat. Of course this is what Hornet's are supposed to have, but Rugers have typically featured longer throats that required to load over magazine length to get just off the rifling. It will cycle factory ammo just fine, but the single reloaded test cartridge I cycled through the gun chambered with just a slight bit more force, as I am neck sizing I didn't think anything of this at first.
I am loading a #1017 Speer 40 Grain Spire SP. I wanted something that would feed from the mag so figured I would stick with something designed for the Hornet. With a mid range charge of Lil'Gun from the Speer #14 manual I was getting 2800 fps and good accuracy given the crosswind and crappy shooting bench I had to contend with. I chalked up the 100+ fps discrepancy in velocity to the differences in guns. I never tried to extract an unfired round at the range. Satisfied with this performance I then started loading up a larger batch and test cycled more of them and with a sample size greater than 1, I now have the bullets pulled from the cartridge about 20-25% of the time and now I wonder if that decrease in velocity is from the bullets being jammed into the rifling. I had this problem when I was young and stupid with a 22-250, where jamming the bullet into the rifling resulted in lower velocity and higher pressure. (I never did find the extractor.)
Case OAL is about 1.395", so well within spec. I WAS loading these bullets to an OAL of 1.775", over SAMMI max COL of course, but still able to feed in the magazine. These are the ones where I could get bullets pulled out of the case and a slight ring around the bullet from it being forced into the rifling. When I seated the bullets to 1.750" I seem to get a snug fit with no bullet pull after test cycling 10 rounds.
Going by the serial number, my gun was made in 2002. Did I luck out and get one with a "proper" Hornet chamber with little freebore or is it just a function of me using "proper" Hornet bullets with a short spitzer instead of trying to cram long grain V-Max's into the magazine? I am just seriously intrigued about this because I have never heard about a 77/22 Hornet having a short throat, always complaints about the long throat.
/Thanks for any insight.