I’m curious about the interaction between the crossbow’s Loading property and the hunter ranger’s Horde Breaker class feature. Specifically, can a hunter ranger wielding a crossbow use the Horde Breaker feature to fire a second shot after they make an attack (using the Attack action)?
What makes me curious about this is that the wording of Horde Breaker just specifies that you make a second attack, without specifying how this fits into the action economy: is it part of the Attack action, or is it an attack you can make not as part of any action? This answer seems to suggest that Horde Breaker occurs outside the usual action economy, but this seems surprising to me. For reference, the rules text for the two abilities is below (emphasis mine).
Horde Breaker: Once on each of your turns when you make a weapon attack, you can make another attack with the same weapon against a different creature that is within 5 feet of the original target and within range of your weapon.
Loading: Because of the time required to load this weapon, you can fire only one piece of Ammunition from it when you use an action, Bonus Action, or Reaction to fire it, regardless of the number of attacks you can normally make.