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Old August 15, 2011, 10:01 PM   #1
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Did Ruger make some tight throat 77/22 Hornet's?

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.
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Old August 16, 2011, 07:57 AM   #2
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.22 Hornet Information

I don't think freebore it relavent.
When the Hornet was put on the market, the barrel/bullet
diameter was .223.
After WW-II it was changed to .224.
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Old August 16, 2011, 10:57 AM   #3
Tom Matiska
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I haven't had a problem loading my 1990's vintage 77/44 to magazine length, so your freebore may be on shorter end of tolerances......but....

My Nosler #4 says SAMMI range for OAL is 1.660" to 1.723", which means your "shorter" loads are still long.

Nosler #4 also discusses problems seating their longer BT's deep enough to work in the 77/44 magazine, but says SAMMI length can be exceeded in rifles where the magazine allows as long as bullet does not contact the rifling.

Contact hard enough to pull bullets is probably creating pressures issues.

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Old August 16, 2011, 02:59 PM   #4
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Just looking at the bullet photo, it looks like the ogive is even shorter and starts even further forward than is typical even for Hornet bullets. Thus, the bullet finds the lands at a shorter COL than most. That shape offers added bearing surface, so your necks should be able to get a better grip on it, but it probably will have to be seated short.
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Old August 17, 2011, 02:24 AM   #5
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Try some of the Sierra 45 gr SPs, Remington 45 gr SPs (Crankylove's favorite Hornet bullet, also a 77/22), Winchester 46 gr HPs, or any of the various 30-36 grain HPs or SPs (except the 35 gr V-Max), to get you a little farther off the lands.

Like UncleNick, I think it's the ogive on that bullet, that is giving you the issues. Seat it deeper (with a corresponding new load work-up), or try a different bullet.
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Old August 17, 2011, 07:05 AM   #6
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Yea, I've already simply re-seated some of the rounds I had loaded a little deeper and we will see what happens this weekend in terms of velocity/accuracy. I was just expecting to have to load to magazine length but am pleasantly surprised to find that with this bullet combo that I can load with plenty of room to spare in the mag.
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