The Winchester Model 54 was the first rifle designed to shoot the .22 Hornet round, but it is no longer manufactured, and hasn’t been for a long time.
Fans of the .22 Hornet have more choices to choose from with three of them considered the top of the line for modern bolt-action, .22 Hornet rifles.
The Ruger Model 77 is the most popular consumer-grade rifle that fires the .22 Hornet round, but the CZ 527 American is preferred by many, with a third choice, the Browning Micro Hunter growing in popularity.
The argument over which is the better rifle is a spirited one, with fans on all three sides arguing for their weapon of choice. But which one is the better choice for you?
Which 22 Hornet is the Best?
The three most popular .22 Hornet rifles all come in different configurations. The Ruger Model 77 is built with the popular 10/22 rotary magazine, making it a popular bolt-action choice for .22 Hornet enthusiasts.
The CZ 527 is a bolt-action rifle, with a high-grade barrel that comes with a detachable 5-round magazine.
The Browning Micro Hunter has a 3-round internal magazine.
Those are the obvious differences, there are more substantial features to compare when looking at accuracy, style, and effectiveness in the field or on the range.
Ruger Model 77
The Green Mountain Ruger Model 77 was introduced in 1994. The Green Mountain stock was an immediate sensation with its attractive, multi-colored wooden stock.
The quiet shades of green, gray, and dark brown wood in the patterned stock create a natural camouflage stock.
The full-sized stock has a 13-and-a-half inch pull length. The pistol grip and fore-end are cleanly checkered for enhanced grip and beauty.
Many users think the pistol grip looks a little elongated, but it fits nicely in the hand for shooting from a prone position or with a bipod.
One of the first things you’ll notice with the Model 77 is the absence of iron sights. This .22 Hornet rifle has to have a scope mounted.
The receiver has three pre-drilled scope ring mounting points that will fit with any major brand of rifle scope.
Another innovation designed to make the shooter transferring from the .22 rimfire world to the centerfire .22 Hornet is the two-piece bolt. This style of bolt is found on almost all rimfire .22 rifles. The feel and action of the bolt is nearly identical to the .22 rimfire that most shooters used when first introduced to the sport.
The mechanical ejector works seamlessly with the six-round rotary magazine.
It comes with a 24 inch barrel and a fixed, non-adjustable trigger that some users feel is too stiff for a varmint rifle.
A shorter barrel length at just 21.9 inches matches well with the standard walnut stock that comes with this rifle.
The overall length of 40.4 inches is perfect for varmint hunting and the light 6.41-pound weight means you can pack it all day without getting fatigued.
Many shooters don’t like the look of a detachable magazine, but the 1 in 16 inch twist rate makes the CZ 527 arguably the most accurate of the three models compared here.
A metallic blued finish to the barrel, steel receiver, and a sporter-weight hammer-forged barrel make this a very durable rifle.
The single-stage trigger, with a two-position safety, is durable and effective in even the heaviest cover.
The CZ 527 is available in only right-handed configuration.
Browning Micro Hunter
In metrics, the Browning Micro Hunter is very similar to the CZ 527. A hinged floor plate with a detachable box is the obvious difference between an internal rotary magazine or a detachable external magazine.
The Micro Hunter is 41 ½ inches long and weighs six pounds, six ounces. The black walnut stock contrasts well with the matte-blued barrel. It has the same 1 in 16 twist rate and a short action bolt.
It does not come with open sights but is drilled and tapped to handle the scope of your choice.
Which .22 Hornet Should You Buy?
If you’re into aesthetics it’s hard to beat the Green Mountain Model 77. The Browning Micro Hunter is attractive as well with its darker color scheme.
The CZ 527 isn’t as attractive a rifle as the other two, but in terms of accuracy, it might be the best of the three.
A well-chosen rifle scope augments the effectiveness of all three rifles.
These are not inexpensive platforms, but they’re not collector-priced models either. For less than a thousand dollars and a little more for a good scope, you can have the fast 2400 fps + of the .22 Hornet in an attractive, lightweight model rifle.