Is the .22 Hornet a viable caliber/load/cartridge for white-tailed deer hunting? The correct answer is “it depends”. However, the purpose of this article is simply to answer the question of whether the .22 Hornet is in the ideal range of calibers suitable for harvesting white-tailed deer. As with everything, the devil is in the details. To fully answer the question, we should evaluate the descending distance from the white-tailed deer, the type of projectile, the grain weight of the projectile, the physical condition of the firearm, the size of the white-tailed deer in question, the placement of the shot, the local wind conditions, the expected accuracy of the shooter, the ethics of the ideal maximum number of shots – the list is long. The use of the cartridge for deer hunting is a somewhat controversial topic. On the one hand, it is not legal in some states. Assuming it`s legal to use it on deer where you live, I still tend to agree with Mel Tappan`s assessment of the .22 hornet for deer hunting in his book Survival Guns (p90-91): What is the average muzzle energy for a .22 hornet? In this case, we assumed that the average muzzle energy for a .22 Hornet turn is about 710 feet pounds. What is the average weight of an adult male white-tailed deer? Here we tilted conservatively by taking the average weight of a male individual of the species, as females generally weigh less and require less braking force. In this case, the average weight of an adult male white-tailed deer is about 210 lbs.
He first shot in the shoulder and caused an evil injury, but probably not immediately fatal. The deer stopped, turned around and looked at him for a few seconds. Fortunately, my grandfather had time to recharge and shot the deer again. This time, he shot her in the head and the deer fell in his footsteps. The Hornet`s practical lack of recoil has made it very popular in some areas, even among deer hunters, although it is generally considered very undernourished for deer, unless the placement of the ball is absolutely accurate.  American hunter Jack O`Connor denounced this practice in the 1950s, stating that the Hornet could “under no circumstances” be considered a deer cartridge.  Many jurisdictions such as the Netherlands, the United Kingdom (with the exception of England and Wales)  and some states in the United States currently prohibit the use of the Hornet (and other .22 caliber cartridges) in deer. One common thread you may encounter in online forums is one anecdote after another of large animals slaughtered by small caliber bullets, or small animals surviving large caliber bullets. Of course, there are these stories, and they are not disputed here. A 22 LR cartridge can drop a bull elephant in the right conditions, and a newborn squirrel can survive a 50 BMG cycle under other specific conditions. Again, the purpose of this article is simply to answer the question of whether .22 Hornet is in the ideal range of calibers suitable for harvesting white-tailed deer – and to this question, the answer is again no, the .22 Hornet is UNDERKILL for white-tailed deer hunting. It is by no means a reliable deer cartridge, even with manual charges, although it has been used for this purpose.
What we can do is create a framework to understand what the average conditions might look like, and whether they are reasonably feasible for a shot from the average shooter to harvest a white-tailed deer in the smallest possible number of shots, that is, ethically. Let`s dive right away. To the question “Is the .22 Hornet in the ideal range a suitable caliber for white-tailed deer hunting?” our answer is: I have been harvesting deer since I was first 9 years old, I killed with a .243, 30-30, .270 and my H&R Single Action .22 Hornet. Killed more than a dozen deer with the hornet. I watch these videos on TV where these guys shoot powerful guns, and the deer run away, and they can`t find them for hours. Killing a deer is not the size of the weapon, but the placement of the shot. The deer I killed with the hornet did not move more than 5`. My shot is either under the jaw or about 2″ to the left and 2″ south of the shoulder, work EVERY time! In fact, with a .45-grain ball, the exit hole is about the size of my fist.
This article does not serve as a last word, but simply as a starting point for beginner hunters, as well as a place for further discussion. Feel free to accept, disagree, and share stories from your own experience in the comments section below. Disclaimer: The above information is provided for information purposes only and should not be construed as an authorization to use any particular caliber, as a statement of the legality or certainty of the use of certain calibers, or as legal advice in any way. You`ll need to read and understand your own local laws before hunting white-tailed deer to find out if your caliber of choice is a legal option. How far is this species usually hunted? Distance, of course, plays an important role in the viability of a particular caliber in white-tailed deer hunting. The kinetic energy of the projectile decreases significantly as it moves through an area, mainly due to energy losses in the form of heat generated by friction against the air itself. This phenomenon is called air resistance or drag. Therefore, an effective caliber from 50 yards may not have enough braking power from 200 yards.
With this in mind, we assumed that the average hunting distance for white-tailed deer is about 150 meters. What about the other assumptions? We have three other main assumptions that are made here. First, the average weight of the ball is encapsulated in the average muzzle energy of the .22 Hornet. The second important assumption is the “slightly suboptimal” to “optimal” firing placement. That is, we assume that the harvested white-tailed deer is slaughtered directly or almost directly in the vital signs (heart and /or lungs). The third hypothesis is that a projectile with suitable terminal ballistics is used, which usually means an expanding ball for hunting. Survivalist Mel Tappan on the .22 Hornet: “It`s accurate, it has virtually no recoil and a slight ratio. The production of [I]l limits its use to small game and pests within a radius of 150 or 175 yards. This is by no means a reliable deer cartridge, not even with manual loads.  In fact, my grandfather killed his first deer many years ago with a Winchester Model 43 in .22 Hornet. Unfortunately, his experience pretty well summarizes the two scenarios most likely to occur when shooting a large wild animal with the small cartridge.
If you are looking for a beautiful .22 hornet rifle, then you have many options. The Ruger M77/22, Savage 25 Lightweight Varmmer and Thompson/Center Contender are all available in current production and .22 Hornet. My grandfather told me that he still regretted shooting the deer with this cartridge. Although he probably killed hundreds of coyotes and other parasites with this Winchester Model 43, he never caught it on a deer hunt again. Wildcat variants of the .22 Hornet, such as the .22 K-Hornet (designed by Lysle Kilbourn) and the .22 Ackley Improved Hornet, can increase the speed and energy of projectiles well beyond the factory .22 Hornet level, but performance still lags behind what is legal for deer in the Netherlands or the UK, although they are legal for deer in some other countries and some U.S. states.  The .22 Hornet or 5.6×35mmR is a small game, survival and competition shotgun cartridge introduced commercially in 1930. It is much more powerful than the .22 WMR rimfire and the .17 HMR and reaches a higher speed with a projectile twice as heavy as the .17 HMR projectile. The Hornet is also very different from these, as it is refillable as a center fire cartridge and therefore much more versatile.
It was the smallest commercially available .22 caliber center-fire cartridge until the introduction of the FN 5.7×28mm. One of the reasons the .22 Hornet became so popular was that it was so effective on small game and pests like foxes, bobcats, and coyotes at short and medium distances. When the cartridge was first designed, scopes were nowhere near as common as they are today, so the vast majority of fighters who used the .22 Hornet in those early years fired with iron visors. With a maximum effective range of about 200 meters, the cartridge allowed fighters to hit small targets as far as possible for most people with iron visors. If you do a lot of long-range Varmint hunting or just like high-speed cartridges, then you should consider getting something like a .22-250 Remington or a .220 Swift because the .22 Hornet is probably not for you. On the other hand, if you do most of your hunting in Varmint within 200 meters and want a cute shooting cartridge with minimal recoil and muzzle explosion, then the .22 Hornet is hard to beat. The .22 Hornet has also been widely used in Europe, where it is known as the 5.6x35mm. In addition to bolt and one-shot rifles, European weapons manufacturers have also produced a number of combined rifles housed in the cartridge.
The ancestry of the modern .22 Hornet is generally attributed to experiments conducted with the .22 WCF black powder at Springfield Armory in the 1920s. In 1930, Winchester took over a previously wild cartridge and produced ammunition for a cartridge for which no commercially manufactured weapon had yet been built. It wasn`t until 1932 that a company began selling commercially produced weapons for the cartridge. Best Hornet 22 ammunition for hunting warmongers, predators and deer Most older .22 Hornet rifles (like the Winchester Model 54 and 70) have a relatively slow turnover rate of 1:16 inches. This means that the bullet makes a full turn every 16″ as it descends into the barrel. For comparison, it`s not uncommon to see a 1:9 or even 1:7 rifle in an AR-15.