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Thread: Ruger #3 .22 Hornet

  1. #1
    Boolit Grand Master
    Mk42gunner's Avatar
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    Ruger #3 .22 Hornet

    Found one of my Grail guns yesterday. A Ruger #3 in .22 Hornet with a 4X Leupold on top in Redfield rings.

    I have wanted one of these for several decades, since I was a kid hauling hay for a living. I'll take it to the range tomorrow to see how it does, doesn't look like it was used much, there are a few dents in the wood around the top of the buttplate. I'd still rate it as a strong 98% gun.

    I must say the front Redfield base looks like a brick sitting on top of the barrel.

    I need to reposition the scope, it is slightly canted and way to far forward. I have to really crawl the stock to get a clear view through the scope.

    Range report tomorrow, if it doesn't rain more.

    Robert

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    nice find. Wouldn't mind finding one of those myself.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    dale2242's Avatar
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    I have had a #3 in 22 hornet since they were introduced.
    I have literally fired thousands of rounds through it shooting sage rats.
    My only issue with this rifle is that it wants to vertical string groups with jacketed bullets.
    I have recently started playing with cast bullets in it.
    Results with 225438 and Unique have been very promising.
    I got 3/8-1/2 inch 5 shot groups at 50 yds.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    The combination of #3 carbine and 22 Hornet strikes me as a match made in Heaven. I’ve always regretted that the only #3 we’ve had here was chambered in 45-70, a match conceived in a considerably warmer climate!

    My dream gun would be a #3 in 327 Federal Magnum, but I fear we’ll not see any more #3s coming from Ruger.

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy pertnear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iowa Fox View Post
    nice find. Wouldn't mind finding one of those myself.
    Surprisingly, I've seen several #3 Hornets for sale at gun shows here in Texas. I saw a nice .30-40 Krag too. As to prices, the sellers were VERY proud!
    Visit my fictional blog "The dr Chronicles" about a laid-back Texan named dr - Enjoy!

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
    Bent Ramrod's Avatar
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    I found a #3 .22 Hornet at a gun show back in the 80s. It wasn’t a huge used-gun bargain even back then, and they were still making them commercially. They really hold their value, as do the #1s.

    The barrel was shiny, with no visible defects, but it felt rough when I pushed a cleaning patch through it. I’d read somewhere that Roger barrels sometimes had problems back then. My new prize shot about 2-1/2” at 100 yards with its best jacketed bullet loads.

    About 100 fire-lapping loads with cast boolits and Clover 320 got the best-load groups down to 1-1/4” or so. It shoots pretty good with cast boolits also. The only thing I don’t like about it is that loud “TWAAANNNNGGGG!” that the spring makes when the gun is fired. With hearing protection, it’s louder than the sound of the shot; goes right through your cheekbone to your inner ear.

    By the time I’d gotten it, I’d already unloaded a Savage 219 and a Savage-Anschutz in the caliber because the cartridges swelled in the oversize chambers when fired. A custom Low Wall had a misshapen chamber as well; almost a K-Hornet. I’ve kept it mostly for the action possibilities. The Ruger has a very good chamber; no swelling at all.

  7. #7
    Boolit Bub
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    Funny thing about the 22 Hornet, it seems there is a bit more interest lately. I have owned a Ruger #3 for many years and I love it! I put a brand new Redfield Widefield 3X9 scope on it (That should indicate how long I have had it). This is just plain one of my favorite firearms. When the ammo shortages fired up again I saw some guys casting for 17 Hornet and I wondered if I could shoot cast out of my Ruger #3. I wanted to, more or less duplicate a 22lr. I haven't used a chrony on these yet but they are fun! 10 rounds and 1 ragged hole and they are quiet. What is not to love!Click image for larger version. 

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  8. #8
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    I love my Ruger #3 22 Horn.
    But sadly there isn't much for solutions to the Scope mounting problem.
    I have Weaver's ugly aluminum blocks on both of my #3 rifles.
    ...and I've been thinking of removing the scope and ugly blocks from my #3 in 45-70.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.”
    ― The Dalai Lama, Seattle Times, May 2001

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Got my #3 Hornet back in '75. Shot a bajillion ground squirrels and sundry other critters with it. Sometimes 500 rounds in a day of ground squirrel shooting.....mostly with 40 or 45 gr jacketed bullets over H4227 or H110. Barrel is pretty much shot out so I'll send it off to Jess one of these days for a rebore soon as I decide on the cartridge and twist. Down to a choice between the 32 H&R with a .312 groove 16" twist or a 30-30 with .308 groove and 14" twist. Then maybe a 357 Magnum with a .357 groove and a 16" twist or maybe a 44 Magnum with a .429 groove and a 20" twist.......41 Magnum????......decisions.....decisions......
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Go with the .357 magnum. That's what I did with my #3. Very versatile. 1-14 twist, Douglass Premium barrel. It is a .358 barrel though. I just size to .359 or .360. I bought a 38 S&W expander plug for my RCBS die. Intended for .360-.361 lead bullets. Works fine. You can shoot 38 specials, brass is cheap, full power loads of 1800 fps with 160 gr cast bullets. In the #3 action, the only real limit, is the strength of the cases. If desired, in the future, you can upgrade to the .357 Maximum. It's a win win situation.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    Mk42gunner,
    FWIW,
    I have found that my #3 Hornet shoots best without the barrel band.
    I also placed a 0.060" shim between the forearm and the hanger near the forearm screw
    so as to tip the front end of the forearm slightly away from the barrel. Results in a largely free float barrel.
    beltfed/arnie

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    I got rid of that ugly Ruger barrel band on my conversion. I cut back the forend, and I added a Talley barrel band, which I Acraglased on.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master
    Mk42gunner's Avatar
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    Have I mentioned lately how much I detest unattended public ranges? Read on for the latest reason:

    I had to go to the doc for a shot for my "tennis elbow" why they call it that, I don't know; playing tennis didn't cause mine. Anyway the MO Dept of Conservation has a 100 yard range close to Clinton, MO so I was going to do some testing today.

    I get there and there are a couple of (I really want to use sailor language here) idiots set up on the left bench at 100 yards. Okay. The problem was they had their targets set up on the extreme right set of frames.

    Wasn't worth my time or effort to get them to shoot straight down range.

    So I popped a few rounds into my short range backstop at home.

    Good news is that it goes bang. I'll figure out grouping later. The ground is way to wet for me to want to do any prone shooting. The trigger isn't too bad, may need a bit of attention.

    It is amazing how much difference sliding the scope .418" to the rear did to clear up the sight picture.

    I think I am going to like this little carbine. There was also a #3 in .45-70 at the same sale, it went for $650 immediately before my Hornet came up. I didn't bid because I had a #1-S in .45-70 years ago and want no part of that much potential in that light of a package.

    Robert

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    Mr Gibson, IMHO you could not go wrong with .357 Mag. Would that i had the money to re-barrel the Missouri mule that is the #3, 45/70

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I took off the rib that was on my #1 in 45/70 and next thing I noticed was the end near the receiver ring had sprung about 1/8" away from the barrel. This with still with one screw holding it in place. And in the earlier years Ruger didn't make their own barrels like they do now. So you could have a Wilson barrel,Douglas barrel or anyone's barrel. And that held true for their bolt action rifles. I had a 77 with the tang safety and felt good when I got 2" groups. My #1 is a guess as to whose barrel is on it. Does have two tight spots. One under the barrel mounted sling swivel and the last is under the front sight. With a really tight patch you can feel both. And I have the same problem getting the scope back far enough to get a good sight picture. I have an old Lyman 10x with the adjustable objective which is considerably longer than many scopes today maybe try that one.Frank

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Gibson View Post
    Got my #3 Hornet back in '75. Shot a bajillion ground squirrels and sundry other critters with it. Sometimes 500 rounds in a day of ground squirrel shooting.....mostly with 40 or 45 gr jacketed bullets over H4227 or H110. Barrel is pretty much shot out so I'll send it off to Jess one of these days for a rebore soon as I decide on the cartridge and twist. Down to a choice between the 32 H&R with a .312 groove 16" twist or a 30-30 with .308 groove and 14" twist. Then maybe a 357 Magnum with a .357 groove and a 16" twist or maybe a 44 Magnum with a .429 groove and a 20" twist.......41 Magnum????......decisions.....decisions......
    Larry, Larry, Larry. You are I exactly the spot I dream of being with your #3. As soon as I could accumulate the needed shekels and get it packed up and shipped off, it would be transformed into a 327 Fed Mag. I could then shoot it with FIVE cartridges from 32 S&W up to 327 with no change except POA. I would have to go back and check my notes on bore diameter and twist that the now defunct Delta Guns put in my “616” barrel, but it seems to handle bullets from about 90-125 grains well. What an opportunity.

    Your Phriendly ‘Phibian
    "It aint easy being green!"

  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master
    Mk42gunner's Avatar
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    Kind of hard to argue against the .357 option, but I like the .32 bore size just a bit more. The .30-30 would probably be easier to feed into the chamber though.

    The worst part about this decision is the Ruger single shot action is strong enough to hold just about any feasible cartridge you can get a barrel for, so you can't even say "Well it is strong enough for this, but not for that."

    Please do let us know what you finally decide on.

    Robert

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mk42gunner View Post
    Kind of hard to argue against the .357 option, but I like the .32 bore size just a bit more. The .30-30 would probably be easier to feed into the chamber though.

    The worst part about this decision is the Ruger single shot action is strong enough to hold just about any feasible cartridge you can get a barrel for, so you can't even say "Well it is strong enough for this, but not for that."

    Please do let us know what you finally decide on.

    Robert
    An action that is too strong for the chosen cartridge is not a consideration. I once owned an original Winchester high wall musket that was factory chambered in 22 Short. If ever an action was over designed for and under stressed by a cartridge, this would be it... kinda like making an air rifle out of a Remington 870.

    The reason I've been so smitten by the Ruger #3/327 Federal Magnum combination is the fact that the 327 is nobody's weak sister. It has a SAAMI maximum pressure of 40,000 psi, far above what a lot of actions are designed to withstand. OTOH, the 32 pistol class cartridges, even this rip roaring champion of the family just don't "look right" with a massive action. I had thought about using a high wall action, but they are even more expensive and just as hard to find as the #3s. As I have been typing this, it dawns on me that I still have another Frank Zika barrel extension for my takedown high wall. I had planned to use this last one to make a 22 LR conversion for it, but now that I think of it that rifle might be a good platform for a 327 Fed Mag... I sure don't seem to be making much progress acquiring that elusive #3!

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  19. #19
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Stevens 44-1/2 would be perfect.
    Eleutheromaniac

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Larry I think took off his barrel band and I did too, free floated the barrel ahead of the frame and glassed the hanger contact.

    Kind of tee's me off but Hornady factory 37 gr. v-max factory ammo shoots better than anything I can load, shoots under an inch at 100 almost every time. If it doesn't it is either the wind or me. I have some NOE 40ish gr. plain base loads that shoot under two inches with unsized bullets in unsized brass and thrown powder charges. Just decap, prime, throw charges and seat/crimp pan lubed bullets.

    I have two complaints first is the plastic butt plate. It is poorly fit and the action is a lot of metal for such a tiny cartridge. I mean, seriously a .22 hornet in an action that can handle 375 H&H Mag. Ruger should make a mini-#3.

    If Larry is still in this thread. I recommend 270 Ren for his rebore. Don't have to touch the extractor/ejector, you get more power, and depending on the twist you could pick your bullet weight, subsonic or super. You keep using you hornet brass.

    Tim
    Words are weapons sharper than knives - INXS

    The pen is mightier than the sword - Edward Bulwer-Lytton

    The tongue is mightier than the blade - Euripides

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