The .22 Hornet ammo is a varminting, small-game hunting, survival and competition centerfire rifle cartridge commercially introduced in 1930. It is considerably more powerful than the rimfire .22 WMR and the .17 HMR, achieving higher velocity with a bullet twice the weight of the .17 HMR bullet. The Hornet also differs very significantly from these in that being a centerfire cartridge makes it reloadable, and thus much more versatile. It was the smallest commercially available .22 caliber centerfire cartridge until the introduction of the FN 5.7×28mm.
The .22 hornet ammois considered an optimal cartridge for turkey hunting, though it is not as powerful as modern .22 centerfires. At mid-century, southern sportsman Henry Edwards Davis pronounced the Winchester Model 70 chambered for the Hornet “the best commercial rifle for wild turkeys the world has ever seen”. In 2011, Lane Kinney was awarded the “Top Turkey in the World” award by Safari Club International for a record-setting Osceola turkey taken with a T/C Contender pistol in .22 Hornet.
The Hornet’s virtual absence of recoil has made it even quite popular among deer hunters in some areas, although it is generally regarded as very underpowered for deer unless bullet placement is absolutely precise. American hunter Jack O’Connor decried this practice in the 1950s, stating the Hornet could “under no circumstances” be considered a deer cartridge. Many jurisdictions such as the Netherlands, the UK (other than England and Wales) and some states in the USA currently prohibit the Hornet (and other .22 caliber cartridges) for use on deer.