A modern guide to guns and hunting

Ruger 77/22 (.22 Hornet)

A new rifle makes an old cartridge even better.


I recently had the opportunity to evaluate a Ruger bolt-action rifle in my choice of cartridges, and I selected the .22 Hornet. Everyone asks “why the Hornet?” The desire for a small caliber, quieter, low recoiling, somewhat exotic rifle all led me to decide in its favor.

This rifle will be used to take small varmints around the ranch, and to do some paper punching at the range. It is very suitable for my better half to shoot; in fact, I am now having a problem getting it away from her. There are still factory loadings available and reloading data is current along with some new powders to help out in the small capacity cartridge.

Initial Impressions

Opening the packing box shows Ruger’s usual care in separating the pieces and ensuring that you get them all and understand the safe use of the firearm. The rifle’s appearance was traditional and nicely appealing with none of the fancy bells and whistles that would distract from its heritage. A good inspection and cleaning revealed no flaws or faults of any kind.

There are no sights on this rifle. As Ruger’s usual provisioning the rifle comes with rings, medium height in this case, that can be exchanged with other elevations if required. In addition, there are three mounting positions for the two rings to allow for various models of scopes and personal preferences of the shooter. I mounted a Tasco target/varmint 10-40x50mm scope with 0.002” to spare under the front end. A Laserlyte boresighter was used for initial scope adjustment.

The trigger tested at 5 pounds with little creep, some over-travel, and was surprisingly crisp. It is also non-adjustable, and this is the only thing that I might criticize about this rifle. If it could be adjusted downward a couple of pounds, it would be almost perfect for the average target shooter.

The rifle comes with one six-round rotary magazine that fits flat into the bottom of the rifle. This design is much appreciated, as it is very nice to not have a vertical piece of metal or plastic jutting into your hand or making the rifle difficult to balance on a sandbag or a rest. The 77/22 is equipped with a three position safety. fire, safe unload, and locked bolt closed.

Performance Testing

Three manufacturers ammunition were used in testing:

Hornady 35 grain V-MAX
Sellier & Bellot 45 grain
Winchester 46 grain HP

Testing was done at the Sunnyvale Rod & Gun Club. Temperature was 78° F, 56% RH, wind 5-8 MPH variable. All tests targets were at 100 yards. The bore was swabbed before each test. Six shots were fired in each test group. The furthest out was disregarded.

Velocities were measured with a Shooting Chrony Alpha Master chronograph, ten feet from the muzzle.

Manufacturer Muzzle Velocity Group Size
Sellier & Bellot 2956 fps 1.9″
Hornady 3012 fps 1.8″
Winchester 2965 fps 1.0″


I’m very happy with this rifle. In addition to being a pleasure to shoot, it’s a pleasure to look at. There were no problems or malfunctions during testing. Recommended.

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  • Ray Price

    I have found that drilling the clip a bit to be able to load more than 2 shells just the front of the clip helped a bit 1 in the chamber 2-3 in the clip worked for me. a dealer had said that I would never get it to shot at all but does great for me tho!!

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