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The .22 Hornet

.22 hornet

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#1 Izzy122

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 08:59 PM

I have been looking at some of the cartridges used in ww2 and stumbled across the .22 hornet. which I though was a unusual and interesting cartridge, as it uses the same bullet diameter as the later cold war era .222 Remington, on top of that it was initially produced in the 1930's and is still produced today.

Yet I have gotten it into my head that since it was technically a low end assault rifle cartridge in it's own way, from the looks of it is that the real question is why was it not used in automatic weapons during ww2. the allies(Aka Britain and America) could have had access to the assault rifle before the Germans or even the soviet's. The Round Could have changed the course of the war entirely in my own opinion.
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#2 idler

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 09:22 PM

First thought is that a rimmed case wouldn't be the best starting point for an automatic weapon.

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#3 Izzy122

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 09:32 PM

First thought is that a rimmed case wouldn't be the best starting point for an automatic weapon.

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Yes Though can the hornet simply be made to be rimless. because I think that can be done by simply removing the rim on the round or crimping the rim. I do have that wiki page up. though thanks for the reference anyway.

Edited by Izzy122, 03 September 2012 - 09:47 PM.

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#4 Blutto

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 04:50 AM

From what I've read in the past, small calibre rounds had little support in British military circles and the thinking continued that way well after the war.
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#5 Jedburgh22

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 05:19 AM

I have come across reference to .22 weapons being used by SOE's F136 in the Far East, Burma, Thailand and Malaya, as well as use by the Auxiliary Units in UK.
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#6 Wills

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 05:35 AM

Perhaps one of the weapons enthusiasts will have more information. The British Army wished to replace the large calibre .303 round before WW1 - a rimless .276 was one tested. The time honoured reasons for not changing? Financial, changing the tooling! Post WW2 the EM2 assault rifle a world beater apparently. Many reasons why it never went into service - we kept 7.62mm NATO - before later adopting the smaller calibre! Most infantry contacts with an enemy are not at extreme ranges, where that is the case a heavier calibre support weapon (GPMG etc) can be used.

Edited by Wills, 04 September 2012 - 05:43 AM.

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#7 TonyE

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 08:18 AM

The .22 Hornet would be a very poor choice for a military round for a number of reasons.

- As mentioned, it is rimmed so a redesign necassary there.
- Mediocre ballistics for a military cartridge. Factory loading is a 45 grain bullet at 2680 fps giving a ME of 718 ft.lbs. It could be pushed higher of course.
- It is essentially a short range cartridge. The drop is about 20 inches at 300 yards.
- Also as mentioned, there was no appetite for such a radical solution at that time (nor to change horses mid war!)

With regard to the .276 inch round of 1913, although smaller in calibre than the .303 inch, it was a much more powerful round. Based on experience in Souith Africa the General Staff requirement was for a cartridge that had a maximum trajectory height of 5 feet out to 800 yards so that a standing man was within the danger space no matter at what range the sights were set.

Prior to WW2 a new infantry cartridge was mooted and trials were held with .256", .276". .303" and 7.92mm, all on a large capacity rimless case. The object was to give every infantryman a degree of armour piercing capacity against the armoured vehicles of the time, so the prime consideration was AP performance. Not much hope for a .22 Hornet there!

In 1942 the GS decreed that the future British infantry cartridge would be the American .30" round. This was changed in 1943 to the German 7.92x57mm and development was directed to this, the experimental SLEM rifle being the result. Discovery of the Germen 7.92x33mm Kurz round and the MP44 changed everything. The Small Arms Calibre Panel was set up and the result was the new round should be .276" or .256" if tungsten AP was allowed. As we all know, it was decided to go with the former and the .280" cartrdige and EM-2 rifle resulted.

I could go on, but will only say that due to American military intransigence we had the US T65 round forced upon us (we did not "keep" the 7.62mm NATO - it did not exist as such in 1952/53).

Returning to the question of the Hornet, even if there was a willingness to adopt such a small calibre round in WW2, that was not the place to start!...and no way could it have altered the course of the war.

Regards
TonyE
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#8 Dave55

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 10:11 AM

Hi Izzy.

Tony covered it well, as usual. I'd just add that only use of the Hornet in WWII that I know of was for a survival rifle for downed US pilots. It was for potting small game and not for self defense.

There were several .22 cartridges around then that were more powerful. The .218 Bee by a little and the .220 Swift by a lot.

It's all about velocity in for the smaller diameters, not bullet weight.

Dave
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#9 Izzy122

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 11:23 AM

Perhaps one of the weapons enthusiasts will have more information. The British Army wished to replace the large calibre .303 round before WW1 - a rimless .276 was one tested. The time honoured reasons for not changing? Financial, changing the tooling! Post WW2 the EM2 assault rifle a world beater apparently. Many reasons why it never went into service - we kept 7.62mm NATO - before later adopting the smaller calibre! Most infantry contacts with an enemy are not at extreme ranges, where that is the case a heavier calibre support weapon (GPMG etc) can be used.


I have come across reference to .22 weapons being used by SOE's F136 in the Far East, Burma, Thailand and Malaya, as well as use by the Auxiliary Units in UK.


From what I've read in the past, small calibre rounds had little support in British military circles and the thinking continued that way well after the war.


Hi Izzy.

Tony covered it well, as usual. I'd just add that only use of the Hornet in WWII that I know of was for a survival rifle for downed US pilots. It was for potting small game and not for self defense.

There were several .22 cartridges around then that were more powerful. The .218 Bee by a little and the .220 Swift by a lot.

It's all about velocity in for the smaller diameters, not bullet weight.

Dave


The .22 Hornet would be a very poor choice for a military round for a number of reasons.

- As mentioned, it is rimmed so a redesign necassary there.
- Mediocre ballistics for a military cartridge. Factory loading is a 45 grain bullet at 2680 fps giving a ME of 718 ft.lbs. It could be pushed higher of course.
- It is essentially a short range cartridge. The drop is about 20 inches at 300 yards.
- Also as mentioned, there was no appetite for such a radical solution at that time (nor to change horses mid war!)

With regard to the .276 inch round of 1913, although smaller in calibre than the .303 inch, it was a much more powerful round. Based on experience in Souith Africa the General Staff requirement was for a cartridge that had a maximum trajectory height of 5 feet out to 800 yards so that a standing man was within the danger space no matter at what range the sights were set.

Prior to WW2 a new infantry cartridge was mooted and trials were held with .256", .276". .303" and 7.92mm, all on a large capacity rimless case. The object was to give every infantryman a degree of armour piercing capacity against the armoured vehicles of the time, so the prime consideration was AP performance. Not much hope for a .22 Hornet there!

In 1942 the GS decreed that the future British infantry cartridge would be the American .30" round. This was changed in 1943 to the German 7.92x57mm and development was directed to this, the experimental SLEM rifle being the result. Discovery of the Germen 7.92x33mm Kurz round and the MP44 changed everything. The Small Arms Calibre Panel was set up and the result was the new round should be .276" or .256" if tungsten AP was allowed. As we all know, it was decided to go with the former and the .280" cartrdige and EM-2 rifle resulted.

I could go on, but will only say that due to American military intransigence we had the US T65 round forced upon us (we did not "keep" the 7.62mm NATO - it did not exist as such in 1952/53).

Returning to the question of the Hornet, even if there was a willingness to adopt such a small calibre round in WW2, that was not the place to start!...and no way could it have altered the course of the war.

Regards
TonyE


This seems to be a very detailed answer yes the MP/STG-44 did change the face of infantry combat as we know it today. however I was intrigued by it as it seemed like a round that was more powerful then the hornet the could fulfil the very same roll earlier.

though yes I have to agree with Dave on that something like the .218 bee or .220 swift would have been better places to start. maybe a shortened version of the .30-06 would have been also a adequate place to start as well. if there was any willingness to make a automatic rifles in small calibre round. though such thing's did not happen in the real event's of ww2. such speculation's and debate's to be conserved for places like this. thanks for the explanations.
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#10 TonyE

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 03:04 PM

.....though yes I have to agree with Dave on that something like the .218 bee or .220 swift would have been better places to start. maybe a shortened version of the .30-06 would have been also a adequate place to start as well. if there was any willingness to make a automatic rifles in small calibre round. though such thing's did not happen in the real event's of ww2. such speculation's and debate's to be conserved for places like this. thanks for the explanations.


But that is exactly where the Americans did start! Although thay actually used the .300 Savage as the starting point for the T65, in reality it was just a .30-06 shortened by half an inch, made possible by improvements in propellant technology.

Britain designed the .280 to meet the draft requirements for the combat ranges expected in any future combat, that is a maximum range of 800 yards. Then the Americans demanded penetration of a steel helmet at 2,000 yards. That is not an assault rifle cartridge!

As for a small (but not small calibre) light rifle, the US came up with the M1 carbine, not much more than a long barreled pistol!

The .218 or .220 Swift would have been no better. Whatever round was chosen it had to be possible to convert current weapons which effectively dictated that it must have the same head diamerter as the .30. The US tried to say that this could not be done with the .280, so we increased the rim diameter by about 5 thou and called it the .280/30 to scupper that argument. We successfully converted the M1 Garand and the Browning M1919 to prove this but to no avail. There was no way the Studler and the US Ordnance were going to have an intermediate round at that time.

Incidentally, in 1963 I turned down (no money) a Garand converted to .280/30 for £25. It was one of two conversions done at RSAF Enfield and had been sold as it was a duplicate. The other one is still in the NFC (ex Pattern Room) collection.

Regards
TonyE
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#11 rockape252

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 03:11 PM

Hi,

Ref the EM2, for interest

See em-2 assault rifle test - YouTube

"I found this "Pathe Pictorial" film of a Warminster Arms day.

Demonstrated are the American Garand Rifle and the Lee Enfield British .303" Rifle against the .280" EM2 Rifle.

Also there is a demo of a development .280" machine gun.

I cant date the film but it I think it is late 40`s early 50`s ?"


Regards, Mick D.

Edited by rockape252, 07 September 2012 - 06:47 PM.
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#12 TonyE

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 04:00 PM

I think that is about 1950, just before the Labour government unilaterally adopted the EM2 as the "Rifle, 7mm, Automatic, No.9 (Mark 1)".

The MG is the Tarden, an amalgam of Turpin, Armament Development Dept and Enfield.

It was essentially a belt fed Bren with the action inverted so that the breech block was on the underside allowing belt feed. It promised to be quite a good GPMG but development was cancelled and of course in due time we adopted the MAG from FN.

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#13 phylo_roadking

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 07:20 PM

I have come across reference to .22 weapons being used by SOE's F136 in the Far East, Burma, Thailand and Malaya, as well as use by the Auxiliary Units in UK.


Each Aux Unit "Patrol" was to have a .22 silenced Winchester in its armoury...but I've never seen details on whether it was in .22 SR, LR or Hornet.

Given that it was silenced....I would doubt SR...? It would already be marginal enough as a mankiller even before being silenced!
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#14 Dave55

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 07:32 PM

Hi Phylo

It wouldn't have been a Hornet. All of the loadings were well into supersonic speeds so it wouldn't have been a practical silenced round.

Dave
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#15 TonyE

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 08:08 PM

They were .22LR., mostly Model 63 I think.

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#16 AlanDavid

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 01:21 AM

Each Aux Unit "Patrol" was to have a .22 silenced Winchester in its armoury...but I've never seen details on whether it was in .22 SR, LR or Hornet.

Given that it was silenced....I would doubt SR...? It would already be marginal enough as a mankiller even before being silenced!


The .22 rifles F136 had were mostly Mossberg Model 42MB, some had been threaded for a Parker Hale silencer. There were other makes as well.
The Aux Units had a variaty of .22 makes and models, mostly bolt action rifles. There were some Winchester Model 74 rifles which were equipped with telescopic sights and silencers. Parker Hale fitted 660 rifles of various makes with silencers for use by the Aux Units. The original entry in the big contract leger books at the National Archives in Kew show this order but no make or model is listed just the word 'rifle' . These silenced rifles were intended for taking care of German tracker dogs, and supplementing rations with small game.

Regards

AlanD
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#17 TonyE

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 10:01 AM

Thanks Alan, I was hoping you would chip in with the facts! I could not remember the Model number of the Winchesters.

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