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  #1  
Old 11-12-2009, 07:11 AM
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Question Reloading .22 hornet with Lil-Gun powder


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I recently added a .22 Hornet barrel to my TC Contender barrel collection & started reloading for it. First reloads were with several bullets and H110 powder, with OK results. I decided to try some loads using Lil-Gun powder which I'd seen characterised as ideal for the Hornet. My bullet was the Hornaday 40gr Vmax-Moly. The Hodgdon web site lists suggested Lil-Gun charges of 12.0 grain min to 13.0 grain max. I decided on five loadings starting @ 12.1 grains thru 12.9 grains in .2 grain steps. When I threw my first 12.1 grain charge & placed it in my brass case, the charge came within-in 1/8" of the case mouth & would have resulted in a compressed charge. After double/triple checking my charge weight & having it's correctness verified by a reloading buddy, I reliased that the Hodgdon max of 13.0 grains would not even fit in my Hornet cases. I ended up going to recommendations in a Sierra manual & have found a load of 10.2 grains of Lil-Gun under the 40 grain Vmax to be a tack driver in my contender. I continue to see published load recommendations for Lil-Gun in the hornet that go as high as 13.4-13.6 grains & figure that I must be missing something. I'm using Winchester & Remington brass, both brand new & previously fired with the same findings, so I'm totally up in the air.
Emails to Hodgdon go unanswered, any explanations would be appreciated!
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  #2  
Old 11-12-2009, 07:30 AM
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Welcome to the forum. Rules are to join in, have fun, and play nicely with the rest of us kids.

I was going to suggest the brass brand, but since you are already using Winchester, which is likely about as generous as brass gets, you're already there.

The other two things that come to mind are neck sizing cases and using a drop tube with the powder. The latter can pack a powder in surprisingly well. The former means the body of the case is the size it fireforms to in your chamber, and that is going to be bigger in some chambers than others.

You likely have run into the old problem that a load developed in one chamber may not actually be suitable for others. If it's any comfort, QuickLOAD seems to think 11 grains is a maximum and is already compressed 5%. This is with their default case capacity, though, which is 14.5 grains of water. Your cases may have more room than that?
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Last edited by unclenick; 11-12-2009 at 07:33 AM. Reason: typo
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  #3  
Old 11-12-2009, 07:36 AM
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I too use Lil gun in my Ruger #3 Hornet. I have been using 14 gr with Winchester 45 gr hornet bullets that I got in bulk from Midway several years ago. This is about a grain more that what the max is listed at . I have had no signs of pressure. Possibly due to the shallow seating depth used, or the type of bullet I had been using. If I were to change any component, I would definitly drop the powder charge back and start over. I have been using a drop tube to settle the powder better in the case. And it does make a difference. I found that the Remington cases have a little more internal volume. The powder is barely below the top of the neck, while the Winchester cases overflow. I sort of think the max load data for this cartridge is based on the case strength rather than the gun strength. The Hornet cases are very thin.
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Old 11-12-2009, 09:11 AM
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Thank you gents, you've given me definite food for thought. Since I was using both brand new un-used and full length resized brass I was obviously starting with minimal case volumn. If you are seeing powder charges that come just below the case rim or even overflow, It then becomes obvious to me that you must be compressing your charges. I had done some reloading in my youth when I was living in the So. West, but got away from it when I moved to "shotgun" country, where I spent most of my working life, therefore the 'drop-tube' concept is something new to me & I'll follow up on it to learn more about the technique. I'm not too concerned with maxing my loads, since I'm not hunting, but am benchresting my Hornet Contender @ 50 & 100 yard ranges accuracy is my prime goal
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Old 11-12-2009, 09:46 AM
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My Nosler book (#6) says that all of their suggested loads with Lil Gun are compressed loads.

I'm loading H110 right now, but I'll definitely try some Lil Gun.
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Old 11-12-2009, 09:54 AM
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Add my welcome. In the Hornet, Rem brass does indeed have more volume than WW. I use both, and the same charge will indeed come up farther in the neck with WW brass, when both brands are sized the same amount.

You simply can't get enough LilGun into a Hornet case to exceed max pressures. Despite that, it still gives higher velocities than other powders (for most reloaders). Two things will help. First, use partial sizing or neck sizing. For partial, adjust your die so that you leave about 1/8" of unsized neck above the shoulder junction. That's what I do. Second, use "swirl" charging. That's where you empty your scale pan into the funnel such that the powder swirls down like water down the toilet. Even with ball powder, that settles powder into much less space than if it goes straight in. Beats me why, but it sure does.

THE hornet load uses the Rem 6 1/2 primer OR a CCI, Rem or Fed small PISTOL primer. Then 13.0 LilGun (some compression is fine). Any Hornet bullet from 30 to 45 grains. Lastly, use a medium crimp with the Lee Factory Crimp Die. Seat to feed from your gun's magazine. Don't use any other primer, and don't leave out the crimp.
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  #7  
Old 11-12-2009, 10:38 AM
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Rocky,
Curious about that crimp. Since I'm shooting a contender, neither length to fit a magazine nor crimping to resist recoil induced bullet movement are considerations. Any idea just what crimping adds to the load? Since I'm currently trying to find a bullet that my contender likes, (the 40 grain Hornaday Vmax is clearly ahead right now), I've been seating each bullet to just contact the rifling lead, then seating another .010" additional depth using RCBS seating die.
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  #8  
Old 11-12-2009, 11:46 AM
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You betcha. There are three factors involved: the tiny case volume, the bullet mass and the brass thickness. The Hornet is so small, the bullets so light and the neck so thin that the primer will "uncork" the bullet before the powder lights. But it likely never happens the same way twice, or to the same depth into the lands before the bullet slows or stops briefly. So you never have the same case volume (which affects the powder ignition, burn and peak pressure), never have the same engraving force (which alters the pressure needed to get the bullet going again) and also alters the actual distance the bullet travels to the muzzle (which coupled with the other two variables just mentioned, changes barrel harmonics).

Three strikes; accuracy is out.

Using a mild primer AND crimping the bullet in place solve all three problems. Result? Grins on the face of the Hornet shooter.
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Old 11-12-2009, 04:39 PM
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When Bob Fawcett was still alive he turned me on to using an electric toothbrush (brush removed) and running the flat part of the vibrating shaft up and down the case. It settles the powder very nicely.
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Old 11-12-2009, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flashhole View Post
When Bob Fawcett was still alive he turned me on to using an electric toothbrush (brush removed) and running the flat part of the vibrating shaft up and down the case. It settles the powder very nicely.
thats clever.
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Old 11-12-2009, 09:26 PM
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13.0 grains of Lil Gun fits nicely in the Rem cases, I loaded up some tonight with the 35 grain Hornady V Max. We got 22" of snow today, so I won't be able to test them until it melts, probably next week.
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  #12  
Old 11-22-2009, 02:47 PM
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22 hornet

I found the same thing, I have winchest brass and about 12.5 grains of powder is the max I can fit in a case. again no way 13 will fit for me.

shooting HR 157 and contender carbine w/ 21" custom shop barrel for 22 hornet.

I also have 30 wcf and 45-70 barrels for the contender
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  #13  
Old 11-23-2009, 06:13 PM
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"".... that the primer will "uncork" the bullet before the powder lights.""


Really??
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  #14  
Old 11-24-2009, 12:26 PM
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Yes. Long standing issue in that round and in small case capacity pistol rounds. Years ago, bullseye competitors found military .45 hardball was more accurate to use in matches than commercial hardball. It was finally traced to the pitch seal the military uses. It glues the bullets in and makes them harder to pull. That turns out to improve start pressure because it doesn't let the bullet start moving before the powder gets its burn well underway.

It seems to me I've also seen measurements showing the time between the firing pin strike and peak pressure, and that gets erratic when the bullet pull is uneven or the bullet slips forward some of the time. The pressure trace also gets steps in it — hesitations in the pressure rise — when something moves. Doesn't matter if its the bullet or the brass expanding, but just anything that suddenly changes the volume the powder is burning it. You can see the lurches in bullet position, as a result.
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Old 11-24-2009, 01:50 PM
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PREEEEcisely!
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Old 11-25-2009, 04:21 PM
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Talking

"I found the same thing, I have winchest brass and about 12.5 grains of powder is the max I can fit in a case. again no way 13 will fit for me.
shooting HR 157 and contender carbine w/ 21" custom shop barrel for 22 hornet.
I also have 30 wcf and 45-70 barrels for the contender[/QUOTE]

Well, It's going to be a while before I can do some more hornet reloading, all my brass is currently loaded. I'll probably try the drop tube recommendation, but I've been warned away from neck sizing by a number of experianced reloaders with a lot more experiance with TC Contenders than I have, I'm a contender newbie. Apparently, the problem lies in the lack of caming action leverage with the break open action as opposed to a bolt action. I'm certain I could also get a similiar amount in my brass, (12.5 grains or so), but since I'm strictly shooting paper at 50 & 100 yds, I'm not concerned with max velosity &/or bullet performance other than accuracy. The last 10 rounds I fired off rather quickly at 50 yds, produced an 8 round group of about 3/4" with 2 fliers about 1 1/2" high. I discount the fliers because I knew I screwed up when they let off, I'm still getting used to the trigger feel on my contender. That load was 10.2 grains of Lil-Gun under 40 grain Hornaday Vmax Molys. I'm very pleased with that group, & I'll play around a bit with that load range to see if I can tweek it a little. My hornet barrel is a 12" Octagon, man I can't Imagine letting a 45-70 off from a pistol length barrel, hope your's is a carbine
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  #17  
Old 11-25-2009, 05:20 PM
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Yes, neck sizing isn't recommended when shooting the Contenders or Encores. Full Length for better chambering and extraction.

I use the W-W brass and find 13.0 gr of Li'l Gun will go in (I also use a 16" drop tube) with the 35 gr Hornady A-Max bullet. Since these go into a Ruger 77/22, I only size the necks enough to get good neck tension on the bullet. Fireformed cases will have a slight bit more capacity and the 35 gr bullet really doesn't seat too deeply into the case.
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Old 11-26-2009, 03:21 AM
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I think if you follow the old match shooter's rule to run the cases into the FL sizing die just enough to set the shoulder back 0.002", you'll be fine and you'll still have a fairly good case fit for bullet alignment.
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  #19  
Old 11-26-2009, 05:53 AM
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Here again, the Hornet is slightly different. You can successfully use partial sizing with it. Back the size die out until it stops about 1/16" above the shoulder. (Watch the line of lube to judge it.)

That allows you to have maximum case capacity, and leaves a small ring of unsized neck to add to concentricity when chambered. But because the brass is so thin, it does not hamper chambering even in a Contender.

Swirl charging allows more powder to settle denser. Pour powder from your pan so that it sits the side of the funnel and "swirls" down like water in a toilet. Try the same charge poured several ways, and the swirled powder will always come up lower in the case neck. Weird, but true.
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Old 06-06-2010, 05:36 PM
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