View Full Version : .22LR vs .22 Hornet: Advantages, Disadvantages, Drawbacks?

April 28, 2012, 11:59 PM
I am interested in purchasing an M6 Scout, that is, when I get my hands on one. Anyway, I was wondering if I should go with .22lr or .22 hornet. I guess an obvious advantage of the .22is being dirt cheap, but for the hornet having far more energy and also having the ability to be reloaded. What do you guys think? To be honest, I was going to go hornet because it seemed "exotic" to me and plan on starting basic reloading anyway...

April 29, 2012, 12:28 AM
The Hornet might be a romantic choice but the slow twist rate barrels and light bullets leave it not enough ahead of the .22LR to justify the cost and effort when the .556 X 45 or .223 is just around the corner with plentiful ammo, higher velocities and bullet selection.

April 29, 2012, 01:18 AM
What are you hoping to shoot with it?

22 hornet is a lot more powerful than 22lr as you know, but its a lot more expensive too.
I haven't looked too much into it but I think reloading for a 22 hornet will be around the same price as 223, and as you know 223 is alot better.
But your M6 doesn't come in 223 so that point is basically moot lol.

So really it comes down to what you want to shoot?

April 29, 2012, 02:00 AM
Well I don't want to bring SHTF into this, as it's against the rules, but I would intend to use it for it's true purpose, survival! I guess I may use the hornet for Coyotes, I've heard reliability with a .22 being very low for coyote unless the shot is perfect. But it's such a hard decision, since there are so many advantages / disadvantages for each. This is a bit frustrating! :mad:

April 29, 2012, 02:06 AM
If its for survival then 22lr.
Every man and his dog will be carrying 22lr ammo, but 22hornet will be extremely rare. That's what I'd do.

April 29, 2012, 02:26 AM
Hm, that actually was the main reason I was going to get it in .22lr. You do make a good point. Maybe I should get one in .22lr and then down the road try to get one in .22 hornet. Anyway, thanks for your help! :)

April 29, 2012, 02:31 AM
Glad I could do something useful today, it was worth waking up this morning

April 29, 2012, 08:30 AM
I would go with the Hornet for a survival rifle, it was good enough for US pilots survival rifle, plus the added rage and power, plus the performance of a jacketed bullet. If you are lost or in back country, who are you going to run into anyway to "borrow" some 22Lr ammo? If you dont handload for it a couple boxes of Hornet is a small investment, and in back country or any time hunting, I do not keep all my ammo in one place anyway. A few rounds in my jacket pocket, a few in the pack, the 5 in the rifle, a few in a wallet style belt loop cartridge carrier. I mean you would have to dump your pack, strip and then jump off the cliff into the raging river with just your rifle to almost be out of ammo. Just like in the movies!!!

44 AMP
April 29, 2012, 01:09 PM
The .22 Hornet is a niche round these days, and because of that, ammo is scarce, and hideously expensive! But brass isn't, dies aren't, nor are the bullets and powder. Hornet brass is thin, and despite all the care you can give, expect to lose a case or two to damage when reloading, until you get the right "touch" figured out.

I have over 4 decades of handloading experience, and had heard all about it, but still damaged a couple of cases getting set up for the Hornet. A good chamfer on the case mouth helps...

The Hornet is the bottom of the .22 Centerfire range. Factory loads are still well above the.22WMR, and with handloading you can duplicate anything from .22LR level up to full factory performance.

Yes, its a pain in the butt to do, but considering you can do it over and over, vs one shot throw away the brass rimfires, I think its a great round. Plus it has nostalga, and just looks cool, like a little Tiger tank shell! :D

Considering your choice of gun (survival rifle) either caliber would work. The rimfire is cheap, lowest bulk, and a couple of slugs for the.410 would do for a deer in a survival situation.

On the other hand, the Hornet gives you a much greater easily used range, enough power to take deer (under survival rules, sport hunting rules are different), and if you handload, you can have rimfire power level shells as well.

Hornet isn't cheap, if you are looking at factory ammo only, you'd probably be happier in the long run with the rimfire. I love handloading, and for serious things I don't usually use the rimfire, even when it will do the job.

April 29, 2012, 01:14 PM
I suggest the 221 Fireball over the Hornet, especially if you plan to reload. I make my own Fireball cases from 223 Remington cases that are in great abundance. It cost a little bit to get the forming tools but the case is much more robust than the Hornet, easy and economical to load. Fireball ballistics are right on the heels of a 223 for a lot less powder.

April 29, 2012, 02:38 PM
A good chamfer on the case mouth helps...

um... I think you meant ".. is a necessity" :D

Seriously... I've been loading the Hornet and K-Hornet for 12 years or so, and just recently crumpled one case neck. I was bumfuzzled, until I realized I hadn't chamfered the case mouth.

For a survival gun, I honestly don't know which I'd pick, but I'd lean toward the Hornet. If I was setting it up for survival, as mentioned before, I'd have two or three boxes of ammo availiable, anyway.
The Hornet is a dramaticallly better small game killer, but it is also louder. Is that going to be a factor for you? If you could choose the rifle (don't think I'd go with the Scout) I'd pick a light, very accurate semi-auto, or possibly bolt, .22 lr, I think.
Another advantage/disadvantage... the .22 lr is a "dirtier" shooting cartridge, due to the outside lubed bullet. If you aren't going to have access to cleaning equipment, you should consider it. With a bolt gun, it would be a non-issue.
Just some random thoughts..

April 29, 2012, 02:58 PM
I suggest the 221 Fireball over the Hornet, especially if you plan to reload. I make my own Fireball cases from 223 Remington cases that are in great abundance. It cost a little bit to get the forming tools but the case is much more robust than the Hornet, easy and economical to load. Fireball ballistics are right on the heels of a 223 for a lot less powder.

The 221 Fireball is a non issue. The M6 is not offered in that caliber.

The choices are the .22lr, the .22 WRM, and the 22 Hornet. The most common by far being the .22lr. The .22 Mag offers a much greater amount of punch over the standard .22 with a cost much lower than the 22 Hornet, something to consider.

My M6 is a Springfield Armory manufactured .22lr/.410. It is minute of squirrel accurate, but the platform does take some getting used to. The length of pull is short, the trigger is weird, and it does not hang well off hand. The sights are also hard to regulate, but once you drift the rear to where you want it, and perhaps reduce the front sight a bit they work well and are very solid. I think the Springfield version is a better buy than the later CZ iterations. Do NOT take one all the way apart. I can see not earthly reason why someone would do it, but folks have much to their consternation. It is a very rugger and compact firearm with a good deal of versatility.

April 29, 2012, 03:49 PM
Wow, 44 AMP, that was one heck a helpful post! And trg42wraglefragle, don't be so down on yourself! Anyway, Although I know a decent bit about reloading (strictly research based), I had never thought of the obvious - Loading .22 hornet to .22lr specs.

To jhenry, I didn't know that .22 mag was offered, but I'll probably pass on it. hornetguy, you make a good point too. I've already got a Marlin 795, which is dead accurate, so I always have that option for survival. I like that you mentioned noise and the cleaning factor, which are both important.

I might just have to gather up $2000 to get both. These decisions are killing me! :o

April 29, 2012, 04:58 PM
I have a Ruger 77-22 and a Ruger 77-22 Hornet.
I love them both. The 22LR is good for short range varmet use.
The .22 Hornet is excellent out to 150 yards on game up TO Deer.
Living in "the city" I have a Hornet load of 4.1 grains of UNIQUE,
[1850 fps] that is very close to Long Rifle velocity.

April 29, 2012, 05:55 PM
"looks like a mini tiger tank shell"

Now that is an apt comparison of which I had not thought.

I like the Hornet, I had a great uncle that had an old Savage 34 (?) so chambered, and have always wanted one. I also new two old pro hog hunters for the gov't that shot Hornets, and killed a bunch of hogs.

But, for a GP, across the board utility rifle, I would go with the M6 in .22lr.

Wait, scrap that, I would look for a Savage 24V and get a longer sight radius and a conventional trigger.

April 29, 2012, 08:09 PM
bamaranger, I've been looking at the 24 series, but the 24V is probably the best. Thanks for giving me more descisions to make, you're really helping. lol :D

May 1, 2012, 07:50 PM
I haven't bungled a single Hornet case since investing in a Forster Benchrest seating die.
Also, using Hornady 40 grain V-max bullets #22416 which are boattail bullets makes for zero case losses due to catching a case mouth during bullet seating.

This round headspaces on the rim so a rifle with excessive headspace can be a real case eater. Fortunately, this has not been an issure with my rifle.

May 2, 2012, 09:19 AM
If I was buying a "survival specific" rifle (I'm not and won't) and had my pick I'd take a hornet over a .22lr. Ammo availability is a NON-ISSUE for you don't need to carry boat loads of ammo or scrounge for additional ammo. Such talk is for zombie threads. One of the ammo makers (Centurian?) has hornet ammo for $22 plus/minus for 50 so it does cost more than the rimfires but when compared to other centerfires is far from expensive.

When talking performance the rimfires and the hornet don't even belong in the same discussion. For comparison sake a .22M carries as much energy at 100 yards as the standard HV .22lr ammo at the muzzle yet the hornet carries FOUR TIMES the energy at 175 yards as the .22M at 125 yards. Like I said, not even in the same ball park.


May 3, 2012, 11:43 PM
Another thing to take into account is that you can sell Hornet brass if you aren't going to reload it. Save your brass and sell it on an internet forum and that knocks off ~$10 a box. As per previous post, some Hornet ammo can be found for ~$25 per box even after shipping.

I like the 22 mag as well. For survival, might as well have the extra punch and ammo is still affordable, especially if you sell your brass.

However, a 22lr is not a bad choice at all.

One of the ammo makers (Centurian?) has hornet ammo for $22 plus/minus for 50

dagger dog
May 4, 2012, 08:16 AM
If the M6 Scout has 1"in 14" twist instead of the 1"in16" rimfire twist, and is a .224" barrel and not a .223" barrel, it will shoot most modern 30-45 gr and some 50 gr bullets well.

If it's the older twist bore combo there are a few .223" Hornet bullets made but only in 40 and 45 grain.

Hodgdons Li'l Gun powder has really given the Hornet a boost, it will shoot bullets in the 30-40 grain bullets into small bug holes, in modern tight chambered rifles, and at 3,000 fps.

The honest Hornet designed expanding bullets are explosive at those velocities, ain't no 22 LR gonna match that. Stuff a 45-50 grain partition type hunting bullet into a Hornet case with the right powder, and you got a whitetail round. No doubt you gotta get it in the right place,but the Hornet is accurate enough to do it. Again the 22lr sucks hind tit.

A pound of powder goes a long way in the Hornet,brass life in modern chambers is good, yes it's a little trickey to load but the rewards are worth it.
It responds best with neck sizing and mild primers, ask anyone that shoots it.

Couple hundred primers and bullets of your choice,a1lb.jug of Lil'Gun, a Classic Lee Loader (hammer type), buy 4 boxes factory ammo at 25$ a box (you get 50 in a box of Hornet), now you got your brass.You got a true survival rifle.

Magnum Wheel Man
May 4, 2012, 09:26 AM
for the M-6... I'd say 22 LR... ( & I'm a huge hornet fan, with at least 6 different shooting platforms in that cartridge )

twist rate is one of the main disadvantages... I have changed out the barrels on both a revolver & a ruger bolt action to 1 in 9" twist & love that set up...

but honestly... why an M-6 ??? you could use any number of single shots ( like an H&R or a Thompson Contender, or Encore ) both of which offer change out barrels, so they break down to a compact size so you could carry one action & a couple of barrels, in everything from 22 LR to 416 Rigby ( for the Encore... including shotgun & black powder barrels ) both the Contender & the Encore are offered in stainless

back to your choice of cartridges... in the guns I listed, the Contender could be had in stainless, 3 barrels, one in 22 LR, one in 223, & one in .410 & you'd have a light compact & versitile set up... if you were more worried about getting game, & the 223 is not something you are after, a 7-30 Waters, or 30-30 could be you mid bore barrel...

BTW... I collect Contender stuff... have many pistol grips to rifle stocks, including camo laminate thumbhole stocks, & barrel lengths from 8" to 21" my 16"vent rib 45 colt / .410 barrel is particularly versitile, it has a straight rifled choke tube that is used with the shot shells, & unscrewing that gives a normally rifled barrel for the 45 Colt rounds... I think I have close to 50 different calibers of barrels... I started collecting, before the Encore came out, so I haven't crossed over there yet, I'm not sure if you can get rim fire barrels for the Encore... but with the Contender, I can change from pistol grip, to rifle stock & barrel in less than 1 minute, so converting it from one caliber or from pistol to rifle is very easily & quickly accomplished...

this is my lil 45 Colt / .410... with the thumb hole stock, it can still be shot as a pistol ( I've shot rabbits that way, when I didn't get time to bring it up to my shoulder ) the straight rifled choke tube keeps the pattern nice even though the bulk of the barrel is rifled... one screw in the fore end & the pin slides out & the barrel changes that easily... one screw at the base of the grip, & the stock comes off, & a pistol grip can be placed on it...

BTW... always use 14" & shorter barrels with the pistol grips, 16" & longer barrels with the rifle stocks, & just so you know, the 16" barrel is legal with the shotgun, because it's a 45 Colt / .410 barrel... I also have several rubber grips & fore ends that make these quite durable... & they are well known for their exceptional accuracy


May 4, 2012, 11:27 AM
but honestly... why an M-6 ???

Thank you, I've been waiting for someone to post this besides me. Someone please come up with any logical reason for buying that abomination.


44 AMP
May 4, 2012, 02:36 PM
Someone please come up with any logical reason for buying that

He wants it. He likes it. What more reason do you need?:D

May 5, 2012, 11:05 AM
I've had a SA M6 for something like 15 years now and I've used it quite a few times. I only paid something like $175 for it new. Made in the USA. Tough as a car jack. My son started using it as his intro .22 rifle back when he was 8 years old. Single shot, manually cocked. I could sit next to him and keep a casual eye on him and he could plink away at the creek bed and go through a 50 round box of .22 LR before you know it. He is 14 now but he is still ready to shoot that little rifle any time.

Right after I bought it, I removed the silly trigger guard. The military version didn't have that. SA only put it on there to make some lawyer happy. Without it, you can fold it the way the military did. Makes for a much more compact package.

We have also used it around the ranch as a general purpose .410. It's the only .410 on the property and any rural area finds a use for single barrel .410's over time. Any time I've needed to kill something up close that seemed a little too much for a .22 but not big enough to need a .44 Magnum, I went and got the .410 M6 and it worked fine.

So I've never had to "survive" with it but I've gotten plenty of use out of mine. Wouldn't sell it. And in my case.... I wouldn't have gotten one tenth as much use out of it in Hornet. We've put many hundreds of .22's through that top barrel.

Oh, as far as the trigger... you get used to it. It's different but it's not that bad. The "good" thing about it is what the Air Force liked. You can use it while wearing gloves or mittens. IMO, the bad thing is what I went through with my son. When you use it to train a new shooter, it doesn't really help them to learn about proper trigger control for when they move on to a more conventional trigger. When I moved my son to a Ruger 10/22, we had to start over on the trigger. Almost like starting on a second language. But he speaks both now.

I had to defend the poor ugly duckling. The M6 is a rather unique little thing. Worth owning. Especially for the kind of money they originally sold for.


May 5, 2012, 10:54 PM
What exactly is a survival rifle?
And the OP did slip in the fact that it could be used as a SHTF gun.

The way I view a survival is basically SHTF, eg, the gun you grab when you need to survive. So in that case being able to find ammo and carry a reasonable amount is important.

I don't think that the OP is wanting to keep the rifle in his car so if he crashes or gets stuck in the middle of no where then he can survive.

Have you considered a Savage24 or any of the other combo guns out there? Theres a few variants on gun broker, gives you a few more choices of caliber/gauge