Developed in the 1920’s, the .22 Hornet was first produced in 1930. The Springfield Armory developed the cartridge; Townsend Whelen and G.L. Wotkyns are attributed as the driving forces behind it. The .22 Hornet is a proven excellent cartridge for hunting varmints and predators. It has even been used in the U.K. for hunting deer with great success. The cartridge has mild recoil and good accuracy with relatively low noise levels to make this a great choice for hunting vermin in more populated areas.
The .22 Hornet became notorious in World War II, being used in M4 the by the U.S. Army Air Corps, and later in the M6, rifles issued to aircrew members for survival. The Springfield Armory produced the M6 after the war chambered for .22 Hornet and .410 Bore in an over-under configuration.
The .22 Hornet is a centerfire cartridge, available with bullets weighing from 35 to 55 grains. Bullets most commonly have soft points or are specific for varmints like the V-Max. Muzzle velocity ranges between 2,600 and 3,000 feet per second. Muzzle energies, as a result, vary between 700 and 850 foot pounds when fired from a rifle. The maximum effective range is 150 yards for larger vermin and predators, and as much as 200 yards for smaller varmints. Some hunters use this cartridge to shoot feral hogs, but shot placement must be precise to use the .22 Hornet for this application.
Many manufacturers have chambered rifles for .22 Hornet, primarily as single shot rifles and bolt action rifles. Several revolvers and single shot pistols can also be found that fire the .22 Hornet.
Ammunition is easy to find in this caliber since most major manufacturers sell many varieties of the ammo. Costs for this cartridge are comparable to other ammunition in this category.