The Humble Hornet

22 Hornet

The 22 Hornet

I’m sure this will cause many a discussion, the 22 hornet is a baby centrefire in the grand scheme of things, is it really something to write home about? Let’s see.

22 Hornet

The History Of The Hornet

The 22 hornet or as it is otherwise known the 5.6x35mmr is a relatively known small game and vermin and predator round. This round has had further success over the years as a competition round also. The first commercial listings of the humble hornet are 1930 when Winchester firearms Developed the already experimental 22winchester centrefire. The 22 WCF was actually a round originally developed by Reuben Harwood But, that was a 25-20 case necked down to 22 whereas the 22 hornet itself actually has no parent case. Now, Just to be clear, Winchester made the 22 hornet round in 1930, no commercial guns were made of this calibre until 1932! The 22 hornet really was a wild card. Below is a picture to relate the size of this little round.

22 ammo

From left to right:  the 22 Short. A 22 Long Rifle. The 22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire and the  22 Hornet.

In The Beginning

During WW2, The American military developed many 22 hornet survival rifles, one of which was the  Armalite AR-5. This survival rifle was chambered in 22 hornet and was a simple bolt action rifle with a box 5 shot magazine.


Other rifles developed for the 22 hornet included the M-6 combination gun, which was chambered in 22 hornet with a 410 bore shotgun cartridge below it and of course, the M-4 survival rifle. Both these rifles are pictured below.




Different countries have different laws. The opinions raised here are not mine.  Shooters in the USA, the humble hornet was used for years as the perfect gun for turkey hunting, others claimed it to be one of the best, if not the best cartridge for Coyotes. The Australians claimed the hornet to be superb for wild pigs and goats. Alaskan Inuits loved the hornet. It was a cheap round and had lots of power. They used to harvest and hunt Seal, Caribou and even Polar Bears! I personally love my hornet and am happily using out to 175 yards on the Rabbits, and so on. With the right loads and stable conditions, this round could really stretch its legs. For what I use it for, I am more than happy.


Factory ammunition is widely available from all major manufacturers. Generally with bullets weighing 34, 35, 45, or 46 grains (2.2, 2.3, 2.9, or 3.0 g). Bullets range from either Hollow point or ballistic tip or the original soft point.  Muzzle velocity typically is in the 2,500 to 3,100 ft/s (760 to 940 m/s) range. Muzzle energy is just over 700 ft·lbf (950 J) for factory ammo fired from a rifle. If you are proficient with reloading, this little round is super cheap to load and you can get even greater velocities from it. Hornady does a complete reloading manual for the hornet amongst other rounds. Customers in my local gun shop very often speak of the Hornady V-max rounds being the favourite. Customers can also buy Remington, Federal and even RWS.

Hornet Ammo


A recent study suggests, Customers in the USA, favoured the 22 hornet for all the metallic silhouette competitions and short-range target shooting using revolvers. It just goes to show, the humble hornet has left its mark. Customers who want a hornet can go to most gun shops who are happy to order one in for you. Customers may want to buy the new 17 hornet, though yet to be put through its paces by me, it has made a lot of noise in the shooting community.


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