Grafs.com and Powder Valley Have 17 HMR Ammunition in Stock
For many guys, a 17 HMR is their “go-to” rifle for squirrels and small varmints. The 17 HMR is a great little cartridge — speedy and accurate. However, in recent months, 17 HMR ammo has been hard to find. Take heart guys, we’ve learned that site sponsors Graf & Sons and Powder Valley Inc. both have Hornady 17gr 17 HMR ammo in stock right now. This ammo is loaded with plastic-tipped 17gr V-Max bullets. Traveling at roughly 2570 fps (from a 22″ barrel), this little 17-grainer is ultra-effective on pesky ground squirrels and other small critters. On our squirrel hunts, the 17gr V-Max did the job out to 200 yards, no problem. Grafs.com sells the 17gr Hornady 17 HMR ammo for $12.99 per box of 50 (item HRN83170). That price includes shipping (after a single $6.95 handling charge). Powder Valley currently offers Hornady’s 17gr V-Max 17 HMR ammo for $11.30 per box of 50 (item HOR83170, shipping extra).
If you want to learn more about the 17 HMR cartridge, read our Gun of the Week Article on the subject. This two-gun shoot-out compares the performance of a Volquartsen 17 HMR semi-auto and a Ruger 77/17 bolt-action. Glen Robinson, the owner of both rifles, has done some serious comparison testing with both rifles, trying out a half-dozen varieties of 17 HMR ammo. The overall results may surprise you. The semi-auto outshot the bolt gun by a significant margin, with all types of ammo tested.
Comparing the Qualities of the Two 17 HMR Rifles
By Glen Robinson
While the Volquartsen proved to be the more accurate of my pair of 17 HMRs, I still enjoy owning both rifles. Each gun has its strong points and weak points.
Ruger Strong Points: From any angle, the Ruger 77/17 is a nice-looking rifle with classic lines. I like the gray-finish stainless barrel — it goes well with the gray laminated stock. With the addition of the aftermarket sear, the trigger is crisp and the bolt function is smooth. The action is strong and dependable. The conventional “open rear” action allows you to clean “normally” with a bore guide, cleaning rod, and patches/brushes. I feel I can do a better job of cleaning with the Ruger than with the boresnake on the Volquartsen. Ergonomically, the Ruger is easier to get down on because the stock is lower.
Ruger Weak Points: Accuracy is somewhat disappointing. The best 100-yard group the Ruger has shot was about 0.82″ and the gun averages well over 1.25″ for 5 shots. In fairness, I haven’t done anything exotic in terms of bedding the action/barrel, and I would expect that an aftermarket barrel, perhaps combined with a barrel pre-load (up-pressure) pad, could improve the accuracy.
Volquartsen Strong Points: The Volquartsen is a well-made, accurate, dependable rifle. The gun cycles very reliably and requires very little maintenance. To clean it, just pull a boresnake through the bore. The gun exhibits very nice machining, and the VX-5000 stock rides steady on a front sand-bag, even though it’s only about 1.75″ wide. Even without any tweaking the trigger is very good, and the pull weight is fine for varminting.
Volquartsen Weak Points: The VX-5000 stock is not ideal for bench work — the comb is a bit too high, though I like the feel of the vertical grip. This stock profile is really more suited for silhouette shooting, but this stock seemed to be the best option offered by Volquartsen that could be used for both paper-punching and varminting. The receiver design limits your options for barrel cleaning.
Conclusion — The Volquartsen Takes the Prize
Having shot both rifles extensively, if I had to pick one gun, it would be the Volquartsen. The Volquartsen is much more accurate and it offers much faster follow-up shots. For varminting the Volquartsen would be superior, no question about it. I’m happy I bought the Volquartsen and the VX-5000 stock. It is a fun, versatile gun that lives up to the accuracy claims.