View Full Version : .22 Hornet VS .22K-Hornet

April 1, 2008, 10:54 AM
I need some feel back from you all on the difference between the ,22 hornet VS the .22 K Hornet.I had the chance to shoot a K-Hornet yesterday and was impressed by the velocity increase and added range.I have a Savage model 40 and I am considering getting it changed to K-Hornet I have several questions about converting it 1-Is the savage bolt up to the increase in pressure? 2-How hard is it to convert to the .22K-Hornet? 3- Does the K-Hornet go through brass like the Hornet?4-Are dies available to reload? I have talked to several people about this and a large majority of them have never heard of a K-Hornet.Also more than a few have said that the K-Hornet is just a poor mans .218 Bee and not worth the trouble to convert to.My model 40 is a tack driver and I worry that I'll take a good shooter and turn it into a mediocre shooter by converting it.Any and all opinions will be greatly appreciated,Thanks ELMOUSMC

James K
April 1, 2008, 11:18 AM
I don't know about a "poor man's .218 Bee", as the K-Hornet is really in the same class as the .218. It was one of the early "improved" cartridges, developed by Kilbourn (the "K") before WWII.

AFAIK, dies are available, though I doubt many stores will stock them, you might have to order from the manufacturer. I have never owned a K-Hornet rifle, but have known several people who have and case life was reasonable.

As to conversion, it is simply a matter of running the K-Hornet reamer into the chamber. Brownells has the reamers and the headspace should not be affected since the cartridge is rimmed. Then fireform the brass and you are in business.

I wonder if we are talking about the same Savage Model 40. That rifle was made for the .300 Savage and .30-'06, so I can't imagine any problem with .22 K-Hornet. I don't see how that conversion would made a clunker out of a tack driver, but strange things do happen when making any change, so no one is going to guarantee that accuracy won't be affected.


April 1, 2008, 12:20 PM
The Savage model 40 I am reffering to is the .22 hornet varmint hunter I believe it was introduced in the fall of 2004 and there are some reports that the bolt locking lug is not up to increased pressure of some hand loads and or the K-hornet ELMOUSMC

April 1, 2008, 04:01 PM
1-Is the savage bolt up to the increase in pressure? 2-How hard is it to convert to the .22K-Hornet? 3- Does the K-Hornet go through brass like the Hornet?4-Are dies available to reload?
1- The 22 K Hornet operates at reasonable pressures. Your Model 40 can handle it.
2- Like Jim said, find a gunsmith that is willing to run a K Hormet reamer into the chamber and it's done. No other mods required.
3- No, the K Hornet does not go through brass like the 22 Hornet. The only remaining issue with brass is the thin necks. About 20 years ago, I had a Krico rifle chambered in 22 Hornet. I dealt with all the frustrations you have been describing for the past month, so I got tired of it and sold it to a friend who "just had to have it". Within a month, he was crying about the same things, so a friend of mine told him to rechamber it to K Hornet. He did, most problems solved.
4- Lee, RCBS, Hornady, Lyman and Redding all make dies for the K Hornet.

there are some reports that the bolt locking lug is not up to increased pressure of some hand loads If you are running your pressures high enough to break locking lugs, you would be having many other issues.

James K
April 1, 2008, 07:31 PM
Apologies for the boo-boo on the Savage Model 40, I wasn't aware of the new one. Savage is running those new model numbers by so fast I haven't been able to keep up.


April 1, 2008, 09:20 PM
Thanks guys now to find a good gunsmith to do the work for me ELMOUSMC

April 2, 2008, 01:54 PM
I have a TC Contender with the 10" octagon barrel I've had since the late 80's. I haven't fired it in many years but I remember how well it shot and what a great little groundhog gun it was. It's easy to find ammo because you can use regular Hornet ammo, which is what you do to fireform the "K" case. Great little cartridge IMHO.

April 3, 2008, 01:14 AM
As for strength of the Model 40. Savage tried to chamber the Model 40 to .223. They found that it could safely handle the bolt thrust from the increased pressure. However the safety margin wasn't as great as they wanted so they went back to the drawing board and came out with the Model 25.

The 22 K-Hornet is loaded to the same pressure as the 22 Hornet, so the bolt thrust should not be any greater anyway. The only problems that I have heard of is people trying to hotrod the 22 Hornet and getting case failures. No way you could shear the Model 40s locking lug unless you were loading past .223 pressures.

April 3, 2008, 10:45 AM
ELMOUSMC - Awhile back, I had a Ruger 22 bolt gun converted from Hornet to K-Hornet. The Ruger wasn't too accurate before, but now it is much better. As a part of the rechambering (memory suggest that he just whacked a thread or so off the back of the barrel and then rechambered it), the sloppy two-piece bolt problem was dealt with too.

They key to making brass last with these little guns is not to try to make .223s out of 'em. Load them to be .22 Hornets/K-Hornets, and brass will last a long, long time. In fact, I picked up a little Lee handloader press just for this rifle so I can re-do ammo right at the range.

Bottom line is that this conversion did a world of good for me, since the rifle was not very accurate before the conversion. It also still shoots .22 Hornet ammo fine, and that's how I get my fire-formed cases. So, I'd do it again WITH THIS RIFLE. Since yours is accurate as is, though, I wouldn't do it. Just shoot Hornet, and reload the cases to normal Hornet pressures, and you'll be in good shape.


April 3, 2008, 12:25 PM
I got hold of a gunsmith Down in Cedar rapids and this is his quote for converting my hornet to the K hornet configuration.$130 for the reamer(he keeps it) $80 to do the change over + $20 per hour shop time(estimated at 3 hours reaming and polishing).As I am more than satisfied with the performance of the stock hornet I can't really justify the added expense for such a minor upgrade in velocity.The loads I have worked up are well within pressure limits for the hornet(12.8grs of Li'l gun 40gr HPBT) at around 2750 fps and 27,000 cups.This round is capable of MOA at 150 yds and is devastating on Ground hogs and Feral cats.I am in the process of working up a load for the 35gr V-max for pigeon shooting on the farms around here.If anyone has a load for the 35gr please pass it along.Thanks for all the help and advice it is greatly appeciated good luck and good shooting ELMOUSMC

April 3, 2008, 12:42 PM
Tell that gunsmith to go pack sand. There is no need to buy a reamer, then give it away, AND pay $200 for the privilege. You can rent a reamer for about $50 (including shipping back to the company). http://www.reamerrentals.com/reamers.htm

Now go find a smith that will chamber the gun and not play games with you.

load for the 22 Hornet with 35 gr bullet:
35 gr Hornady 22 cal V-Max
12.0 gr of H110/WW296
Approx 3,000 fps

April 4, 2008, 04:58 PM
As I am more than pleased with my Hornet I have decided to leave as is,it shoots MOA out to 200 yds(which is farther than I can see anymore)Sorch: that load you gave me is unreal I went down to the neighbors this morning and tried it out on some of his flying rats(pigeons) they actually exploded a cloud of pink mist and some feathers.His cats were disappointed that there was nothing to clean up.Thanks again guys your information and advice was a great help Good luck and good shooting ELMOUSMC

April 5, 2008, 01:01 PM
Sorch: that load you gave me is unreal Glad it worked well for you.