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Old February 15, 2019, 07:53 AM   #1
Gulfcowboy
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22 mag vs 17wsm vs 22 hornet

Hello out there. I'm looking some input on a new small bolt gun. I've narrowed down to three. The 22 mag, 17 wsm, and the wild card 22 hornet. Im looking for a walk about rifle. Something to put in truck when messing around in the country. Something with low recoil and low noise, and has more power than a 22lr and a 17 hmr. That can handle varmints relatively well. So anyone with experience with any or all these calibers your input would be be much appreciated. I would also factor in cost and availability.
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Old February 15, 2019, 08:04 AM   #2
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I have used the 22 mag a bit. It's definitely louder and more powerful than 22LR. I have not used the 17 caliber rifles. A Marlin or Savage bolt action 22 mag would fit your bill quite nicley. Ammo isn't terribly expensive. Probably cheaper than the 17 wsm or 22 hornet.

If you reload ammunition the 22 hornet might be better since it's centerfire and you can reload it.
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Old February 15, 2019, 08:47 AM   #3
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I use an old Mossberg 22 Mag. I got it cheap, years ago.
Ammo is fairly easy to find (something that can be an issue with the 17 rimfires) and not overly expensive.
I shoot solids and HP.

As Kilo said, if you reload the Hornet is the way to go. There has been a slight resurgance in the Hornet over the past couple of years.
You could also turn it into the improved "K Hornet".

One you left out was the 204 Ruger. Also a viable option.
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Old February 15, 2019, 10:42 AM   #4
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If you reload, the Hornet is the way to go. FWIW, there is now a 17Hornet which is a pretty neat centerfire. If you don't reload, go with the .22mag. I've shot a ton of critters with that caliber over the last forty years and it's a pretty decent gun out to around 150 yards on small critters and out to about a hundred on fox, coyotes, etc. Ammo can be found anywhere.
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Old February 15, 2019, 12:08 PM   #5
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I agree, and have a contradictory perspective:
If you reload, the .22 Hornet is the way to go...
Except when it isn't. ...Because it's really nice to have more power than .22 LR, but still be able to eject the brass and walk away.

One of the perks of the rimfire, at least from this reloader's perspective, is not worrying about the brass. Run that bolt, let the cases fly, and never give the brass a second thought*.

My brother has a Hornet and envies me when he sees me eject .22 WMR cases on the ground and walk away*. I envy him when I see him reload his brass.

You can also fit more .22 WMR in your pocket than .22 Hornet. For a 'walkabout' rifle, it's a consideration.

---

A couple quick thoughts on .17 HMR:
Ammo is typically a little more expensive than .22 WMR.
The lighter bullets fly faster, but .22 WMR 'hits harder'.
Pointy bullets can hurt in a pocket.
.17 caliber bores can be a pain to clean.
All .17s have a reputation for copper fouling quickly.

I like the cartridge. It's not a bad choice. But it doesn't have enough of an advantage over .22 WMR in any way that matters to me; and it does have disadvantages that do matter to me (like copper fouling and cleaning). So, I'll probably never own one unless it's given to me. I'm happy with .22 WMR.

---

The biggest factor for me would be the range at which I intended to take most shots. If you're talking 250+ yards, then .22 Hornet is the only viable option (to me).
If you're talking 25-150 yards most of the time, then it's .22 WMR for me (and .17 HMR for many other people).



*(Except when I don't. ...Because I'm dumb and have hopes of, one day, swaging 6mm bullets with the .22 WMR jackets I've been saving for 20 years. So I usually eject them into my hand and drop them in a pocket.
But I don't save them all. Generally, if they hit the ground, I leave them. And if I'm in a mood to shoot and keep moving, then I don't give a crap about the cases. Run the bolt and walk away...)
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Old February 15, 2019, 01:13 PM   #6
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.Because it's really nice to have more power than .22 LR, but still be able to eject the brass and walk away.
You can ALWAYS just eject the brass and walk away. It just depends on how much of your money you're ok with leaving on the ground as you walk away.

Back when reloadable brass was nickels and dimes, I picked them up. Now they are quarters, half-dollars, and in some calibers Dollars, or more! Still being on the stingy side of cheap, I want my money back, to the greatest extent practical.

Ok, first off, I have no experience with any of the .17s. I never saw any advantage to them that was useful to me. I know .22WMR, don't much care for it. I thought it was too expensive for what you got back when it was $6 for 50, and today its $12+ . I have a .22WMR cylinder for my Single Six. Almost never use it. 35+ years and I still have two partial boxes of ammo...

The .22 Hornet, on the other hand is more expensive currently about $18 for the cheapest stuff (at Midway) and jumping to nearly $40 for higher end stuff, and some at dang near $80 for 50 of the "premium" stuff.

Being a niche round, Hornet ammo has never been cheap, but it is reloadable. Its a finicky pain in the butt to reload, but you can do it. I do. The biggest benefit, besides the cost saving reusing that expensive brass, is that you can work up loads that match .22LR, or .22WMR levels or go all the way with full power Hornet loads. Reloaded Hornet is much cheaper than .22WMR.

Quote:
You can also fit more .22 WMR in your pocket than .22 Hornet. For a 'walkabout' rifle, it's a consideration.
Really?? how much more? Not very much I'd think. Hornet rounds aren't THAT much fatter or longer than .22WMR.

I have two Hornets, a 10" Contender and a Ruger No.3. I'm not a high volume Hornet shooter, plus my single shots don't lend themselves to rapid fire very well.. I got 400 new brass at a gun show about a decade ago, and probably won't need any more the rest of my days.

I'd say find the GUN that suits you best, and then just deal with the cost of the ammo. If that's a .22WMR or a .17 something, fine. If its a Hornet, AND you're willing to spend the effort reloading for it, you'll have cheaper ammo in the long run, and be able to essentially duplicate .22WMR or even .22LR if you want.
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Old February 15, 2019, 01:59 PM   #7
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The .22 Mag(Starts at around $11.99 per 50.) and .17 WSM($17.99 per 50. Won't be found in small places either. Very limited in bullet weights too.) are expensive to shoot rimfires. The Hornet is a reloadable centre fire.
Any rimfire requires you to try a box of as many brands and bullet weights as you can to find the ammo your rifle shoots best. Gets really expensive.
A centre fire you reload to suit the rifle.
For a "walking around rifle" nothing beats a .22 LR. If you want a bit more, go with one of the hypervelocity LR's like a CCI Mini Mag, Stingers or Velocitors(there used to be more hypervelocity stuff, but most have been discontinued.). You still have to try a box to see if your rifle will shoot 'em well though.
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Old February 15, 2019, 02:23 PM   #8
Don Fischer
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I've got a Marlin in 22 mag and seldom carry it around. But be a good choice. Being a reloader I think I'd go with a 22 K-Hornet. Improve that Hornet shoulder and I think it would be a better cartridge. Friend has a coule Hornet's years ago that we shot cast in. Very quiet but was pretty hard on case's.
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Old February 15, 2019, 03:19 PM   #9
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I've been a fan of the .22 WMR for more than 40 years. Have owned a few Hornets and 17 HMRs, but nothing in those chamberings survived my personal down-sizing. The .22 Magnum is a very good cartridge IMO and the 30 grain poly tip loads give increased velocity for a slightly flatter trajectory, which will give you a little more usable range on smaller critters.
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Old February 15, 2019, 03:51 PM   #10
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Interesting. I’m a fan of .22WMR, but more so in handguns. I prefer the .17HMR in my rifle. Man, things hit with my .17HMR just blow the heck up when hit with the 17. But! But... the wind reallly blows those little 17s around.

If I was going to spend some money and build a great little rodent trunk gun, I’d build a .204 Ruger. Yeah, I like speed.
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Old February 15, 2019, 04:43 PM   #11
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I have a rifle in all of these cartridges. They are all super fun and capable of taking care of your varmits. And I have some accurate rifles in all 3 calibers. Being a reloader I am a huge fan of 22 Hornet. I am also a huge fan of CZ rifles in these calibers you mention. I have these calibers in other rifles too. But as far as consistency, looks, features, quality for the money, I really like CZ rifles. One of my CZs is 22 Hornet. Accurate at 100 yds beyond description. Reloading is cheaper for this round and fun to reload. My 22 Hornet feels like a rifle-rifle, and my rimfires are my rimfires. I hope that makes some type of sense. Now I know it wasn't asked about, but 17 Winchester Super Magnum is some kind of round too. I have one of these in a Franklin Armory F17L. Easily puts 5 rounds in a nickel at 100 yds using American Eagle 20 grn polymer tip. And plenty of power.
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Old February 15, 2019, 05:25 PM   #12
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Alright, time to lob another choice out there. What about a .223Rem? You can get ammo everywhere, and get it cheap besides. Even the cheapest stuff generally shoots pretty good out to a hundred yards. Guns are cheap for it also. If you reload it's crazy cheap to shoot. I just got my first .223 put together today, a TC Encore (I already had a couple of barrels for it). It was a toss up between the barrel for the already owned TC, or getting a CZ527 M1 with a synthetic stock, or a Savage bolt gun. I just wanted an all weather truck/ATV gun to tote around on my property and choose the Encore barrel Not promoting the gun, just the cartridge. You can get .223 ammo everywhere and once fired brass is about free if you buy it, or totally free at a lot of ranges where no one wants to pick it up. Just a thought.
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Old February 15, 2019, 06:00 PM   #13
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I only own is the .22 WMR Savage 93 out of all the cartridges being discussed. However, my picks would be if buying today:

#1 .17 HMR reason- Rifle availability/cost, ammo availability/cost, and ballistics especially drop and wind drift. I started with the .22 WMR before the HMR was introduced, but the .17 is what I'd buy today if I didn't own my current rifle.

#2 .22 WMR reason- Rifle availability/cost and ammo availability/cost

#3 .17 WSM reason- Ammunition cost and available rifles makes it lose to the smaller magnum rimfire rifles. I hate the handling of the B-Mag so I'd probably spend the $6-800 for the Ruger 77/17WSM.

#4 .22 Hornet reason- It is just more expensive to shoot even with reloading at current component pricing. I do think it's better for larger varmints like coyote than all the rimfire rounds, but like suggested I opted for the .223 instead.
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Old February 15, 2019, 06:18 PM   #14
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You can ALWAYS just eject the brass and walk away. It just depends on how much of your money you're ok with leaving on the ground as you walk away.

Back when reloadable brass was nickels and dimes, I picked them up. Now they are quarters, half-dollars, and in some calibers Dollars, or more! Still being on the stingy side of cheap, I want my money back, to the greatest extent practical.
Contradictory statements, but proving the point precisely.
As reloaders, we are all stingy. We aren't going to walk away from .22 Hornet brass.
.22 WMR, on the other hand... Very easy to leave for Mother Earth to reclaim.


Quote:
Really?? how much more? Not very much I'd think. Hornet rounds aren't THAT much fatter or longer than .22WMR.
I was wondering who would be the first to object to that statement.
My estimate is about 15-20% more.
Or, looked at from another perspective: You can put just as much in your pocket, but the .22 WMR won't take up as much room or weigh as much.
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Old February 15, 2019, 07:23 PM   #15
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I'd skip the .17, it's strictly for varmints and isn't good for a "walkabout" rifle IMO. .22 minimum for that.

Does it have to be a bolt action in those calibers? What you're looking for the Henry .327 would be a perfect choice for the role if using the proper ammo, specifically .32 S&W Long and H&R Magnum for the low noise applications, .327 would be loud, but would blow them varmints up.

Ammo won't be as cheap as .22 Mag, but neither will .17 or .22 Hornet. Range wouldn't be as good, what distances you looking at shooting out to?

.22 Hornet isn't a bad price if you don't shoot it much, about 60 cents/round and Hornady makes a 35 grain varmint load in 25 rd boxes for a price of about $15.
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Old February 15, 2019, 07:47 PM   #16
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i'm not into the .17 calibers. My .22 WMR is used to hunt wild hogs on a large property where only rimfire rifles are allowed outside deer season.

Been loading the .22 Hornet and K-Hornet since the 1950s. It's very easy for me now.

Using old stock components i can reload a .22 Hornet or K-Hornet round quite cheapy: <20 cents. Years ago i stocked up on 40 grain Hornet bullets, IMR 4227 and Alliant 2400 powder and small primers. That stuff came from the closing of a chain of stores when Mao Mart came to OK and TX.

My most accurate .22 Hornet loads use small pistol primers. Yep, you read right.
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Old February 15, 2019, 07:50 PM   #17
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Hornet would be my choice since I load. Learned from above post ,factory ammo price. I don't think I ever bought a box of factory. We didn't do 22mgs in my family because we could load Hornet cheaper. Nothing against magnum, it's a lot more gun than 22lr. Might be
the better choice if you don't load.
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Old February 15, 2019, 08:07 PM   #18
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I'm a .17 dissenter. I have a Savage in .17 WSM ($14.99/50 at wally world here), Boyds stock, Vortex scope (Crossfire I think). Bull barrel and replaced the flimsy polymer stock with the Boyds certainly adds heft, but she sure is sweet to shoot. Very accurate. But I'll gripe about the bolt. Its very gritty, like it needs polished or that machine marks are grinding against one another. Occasionally I have failure to feeds. The bolt won't pick up the next rounds 100% of the time. Some of this may be due to the Boyds. I had to dremel some material out to get the mag to fit. I need to get in there and hog a bit more out. Saying that, I'm still glad I bought it. That .17 WSM is a screamer and a hoot to shoot. One day I'll take it to my local gunsmith and have the action smoothed, maybe true things up a bit. I always smile sitting behind it!


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Old February 15, 2019, 08:17 PM   #19
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Gulfcowboy: I own CZ Bolt Guns in both 22 MAG & 17 HMR. Both are very nice rifles and I really enjoy them and they are very accurate. I prefer the 22MAG over the 17 HMR. I have never shot a 17 WSM rifle, so I can`t help you there. My Son & I also have 2 CZ 527 22 Hornets that are just turley fantastic both will shoot 1/2 inch or better at a 100 yds, with our reloads. If You reload the CZ 527 22 Hornet ((( IMHO ))) is the best small varmint rifle you can buy. It is more powerful, longest range, most accurate, and cheaper to shoot. Than the 22 MAG or the 17 HMR. I shoot my CZ 527 22 Hornet a lot, for several years now and like it more every time I shoot it.
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Old February 15, 2019, 09:54 PM   #20
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My brother has a Hornet and envies me when he sees me eject .22 WMR cases on the ground and walk away*
Yep.

I also envy his ability to find multiple loads for his .22 mag, anywhere. I can usually find a box or two of Hornet ammo at just about any gun/sporting goods store I walk into, but if the place has any ammo, it’s usually one load and that’s it. Doesn’t really matter as I’m usually too cheap to buy factory ammo, and 99% of what goes through the gun are my reloads, but the Hornet is much more limited in the factory ammo department.

It is nice to have a bit more oomph over the .22 mag without much more noise or recoil, and the ability to reload for my Hornet, but it is a bit more costly to shoot.

Of the 3 calibers mentioned, I personally would be fine with any of them on sub-coyote sized game, with the Hornet having an advantage (to me) as game size increased. If I thought I’d be using it on coyotes or larger game on a regular basis, I’d probably go with .223, or a .357 or .44 lever gun.
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Old February 15, 2019, 11:51 PM   #21
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I am a Hornet fan and have shot a lot of stuff with it....mostly rabbits, squirrels, and turtles. I had a friend that was prolly 7-8 yr old at the time that shot deer with his. That was the gun his dad designated for him. His brother shot deer with a 218 Bee. Same reason.We also had some good days with the 22LR.

BIL had a 22 Mag in a lever. Accurate as any I have seen. He sold it because the ammo was too expensive for his tastes.
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Old February 16, 2019, 01:46 AM   #22
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OK, longish story here.

Back in 1981, I picked up a nice little Krico rifle in 22 Hornet. I had wanted a 22 Hornet because I had read about how much more powerful it was than a 22WMR, how much flatter shooting it was than a 22WMR, and how much cheaper it was going to be to shoot because you are reloading the brass and so that reduces the cost. So I picked up this little Krico rifle, beautiful little rifle with a 3X Kahles scope on it. I was pretty happy. Then I went to buy ammo. I was shocked at the cost of the ammo, it was $20 for 50 rounds, literally 5X-6X the cost of 22WMR ammo and 30X the cost of 22LR ammo (this was the early 1980s, so don't get all excited about cheap ammo, we made a lot less money then). So I went out hunting with my buddies who shot 22LR and 22WMR rifles. Out to 100 yds, there was no advantage over the other two rifles. None. Sure, when I fired it was louder and a little more spectacular when I hit a rabbit, but no real advantage. 150 yds, and the 22WMR and I were neck and neck, but the 22LR shooter would sit it out. 200 yds and both the 22WMR and the Hornet were biting the dust but I still had a little oomph. So OK, I was still in the game. Except the Hornet cost 5X more to shoot. No problem, I thought, because when I start reloading the cost will be really low! When I bought dies, I was shocked at the cost of the Hornet dies, they cost 25% more than any other dies. But I bought a pound of 2400 powder for $9 and a box of 100 little Hornet 40 gr bullets for $5 and started loading (already the price of 4 boxes of 22WMR ammo before I loaded the first round). First, size the cases then trim because you have to crimp and you want them all the same length. But during sizing, I lost about 10% of the cases because they are paper thin. Trimming is also a challenge because the case mouth can tear because they are so thin, but I only lost a few. Then flare the case mouths because if you don't you'll crush the case necks (did I mention they are paper thin?). Lost another few cases. Started out with 150 cases, ended up with about 120 or so loaded rounds. No problem, I thought, I'll get better. And I did, but still lost about 5-10 cases per loading session. Finally gave up on jacketed bullets because of the cost and started casting and gas checking lead. Yes, a pain. One day a friend of mine was all excited about the 22 K-Hornet, and mentioned it to me, so I sold him my Krico, and he took it to the smith to rechamber while I went down and bought a Ruger 77/22 Magnum and never looked back. Lessons learned? Go for convenience. Chrono tests later proved what I had learned the hard way: 22WMR launches a 40 gr at 2,100 fps, 22 Hornet launches a 40 gr at about 2,300 fps, so 10% faster. 5X the cost. That's what I learned, YMMV. So if you fall in love with a Hornet, sure, load for it and enjoy it. But I wouldn't go looking for one just to have one.
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Old February 16, 2019, 02:40 AM   #23
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Really?? how much more? Not very much I'd think. Hornet rounds aren't THAT much fatter or longer than .22WMR.
I was wondering who would be the first to object to that statement.
My estimate is about 15-20% more.
Or, looked at from another perspective: You can put just as much in your pocket, but the .22 WMR won't take up as much room or weigh as much.
I went and looked at some specs, and I think your estimate of 15-20% more WMR rounds over Hornet is..overly generous.

Loaded, the Hornet is approx. 0.37" longer than the .22WMR. And the widest part of the case (the rim), the Hornet is 0.056" larger in diameter than the WMR. I don't think those small differnces (especially in diameter) will allow 15-20% more WMR than Hornet in the same space. 2-3%, maybe, which is kind of minor, to my way of thinking.


Scorch, my experience with the Hornet is a little better than yours, at least I've lost fewer cases during reloading. But my situation is a bit different. I don't crimp them. There's no need, as I shoot a Ruger No.3 and a Contender. SO, no trimming (all are still below max length), I don't flare the case mouths, but I did learn to add a generous chamfer. I don't recall my Hornet dies (RCBS) being any more expensive than "regular ones". And I wonder at your data,
Quote:
22WMR launches a 40 gr at 2,100 fps, 22 Hornet launches a 40 gr at about 2,300 fps,
I checked a couple sources and one said 40gr .22WMR was 1875fps, and another said 2000fps, so 2100fps is not too far off, I suppose, but no source I could find lists the .22 Hornet 40gr an less than 2600fps, and one said 2790fps for factory. Hornady list a 40gr Hornet load that hits 2900, though most powders top out at 2800fps, some a bit less, but everything they list does 2600fps or more. Even taking the WMR at 2100 (a high number) and the Hornet at 2600fps (a low number) that more than a 10% difference.

Does that justify the difference in price between the two? No. Nor does the performance difference between the .22WMR and the .22 LR justify the high cost of the WMR to me, either. I didn't think the WMR was worth $6 a box when .22lr was less than a buck. (yes it was that long ago the last time I bought WMR). They are "niche" rounds, and have always been expensive,
much more so than the materials used seem to justify.

Hornet cases are "paper thin" at the mouths, and even being careful, gentle and slow a few will still buckle very easily. I've only lost 2-3 since I figured out a generous chamfer made the difference for me, with jacketed bullets.

Someone mentioned "why not the .223?" and pointed out the advantages of cost and availability of ammo, etc. And this is true, but the .223 is a more powerful round, and if you want WMR or Hornet speeds, you have to download it further, and there can be issues with that, including possibly needing a filler. Also, even the smallest lightest .223 rifles have to be a bit bigger than WMR or Hornets have to be. If you're looking for the lightest possible "walk around rifle" this might make a difference, too.

Just my opinion, but I consider the WMR a waste of money, for me, and while the Hornet is more expensive, I feel less of the money is wasted.
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Old February 16, 2019, 03:26 AM   #24
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I have a .22K Hornet and I can load ammo for close to the same price as .22 rimfire mag. That hasn't always been the case. The .22 rimfire mag took a long time to become common enough for economies of scale to kick in and bring the price down. It used to be considerably cheaper to load your own Hornet rounds...

That said, with all the rounds that come and go, I'd be concerned that the Winchester .17 rimfire mag will not go out of production in 5 or 10 years...

I also have a .17 Hornady Hornet single shot rifle. I got it for no other reason than I wanted one. It's pretty cool to shoot and I plan to load for it when I use up the 6 boxes of factory ammo I have. Funny, loaded ammo was only pennies more a box than new empty cases...

I recommend a .22 Hornet if you plan to reload. It has 2/3s the power of a .223 Rem but uses less than half the powder. If reloading isn't your thing, a .22 rimfire mag would be the way to go.

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Old February 16, 2019, 11:58 AM   #25
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I'm a .17 dissenter. I have a Savage in .17 WSM
I forgot about the WSM. It's decent, and probably the cartridge I would choose if I decided that I did want a rimfire .17.

However, I would by a Ruger or CZ. I don't like the Savage B.Mag.

Quote:
Loaded, the Hornet is approx. 0.37" longer than the .22WMR. And the widest part of the case (the rim), the Hornet is 0.056" larger in diameter than the WMR. I don't think those small differnces (especially in diameter) will allow 15-20% more WMR than Hornet in the same space. 2-3%, maybe, which is kind of minor, to my way of thinking.
I agree that 2-3% would be insignificant.
But I think that estimate is grossly conservative.

The length of .22 Hornet, alone, accounts for a 27% increase in volume, if only considering a straight cylinder. Add the larger body and thicker, wider rim, and the number only increases.

Here's a good visual representation: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped..._22_hornet.JPG
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