February 16th, 2019

Rimfire 17s — Three Great Options: 17 HMR, 17 Mach 2, 17 WMS

17 mach 2 .17 hm2 volquartsen summit

There are three readily-available 17-caliber rimfire rounds now on the market: 17 HMR, 17 WSM, and 17 Mach 2(aka 17 HM2). Aguila also made a .17 rimfire, the .17 PMC/Aguila, but it never became popular. What should be your choice? The 17 HMR is a very popular round, available from multiple manufacturers — CCI, Hornady, and now Norma. The 17 Mach 2 (HM2) is making a resurgence, as it is less expensive than 17 HMR and it can be shot from rifles converted from .22 LR since it shares the .22 LR cartridge OAL. Finally the 17 WSM is, without question, the performance leader among .17-Cal rimfire rounds.

17 HMR — Still the Market Leader in 17-Cal Rimfires

The 17 HMR (Hornady Magnum Rimfire) is popular and well-established. Ammo with a variety of bullet weights and designs is available. Most 17 HMR ammo is priced from $10-$12 per box, and you can get some better deals during sales.

17 mach 2 .17 hm2 volquartsen summit

You can buy quality 17 HMR rifles from many makers at all price levels. The Savage A17 with laminated thumbhole stock is a good choice. There were some early issues with the A17, but Savage improved the magwell and now this rifle is very reliable and accurate, particularly with the CCI-brand A17 ammo.

The laminated thumbhole stock version of the Savage A17 is a great carry-around varminter.
Savage A17 laminated varmint rifle

Ruger now makes a .17 HMR version of the Ruger Precision Rifle. If you prefer a modular chassis type rig, this is a great option:

Here is a semi-auto 17 HMR fitted with a suppressor. Even with the cameraman just 20 feet away, you can barely hear the shot, and recoil is non-existent. (NOTE: be sure to turn on the sound icon). Varminter Magazine says: “No ground squirrels were spooked during these shots. Quiet is an understatement!”. This may be the ultimate stealth varminter set-up.

17 Mach 2 (17 HM2) — Best Bang for the Buck?

The 17 Mach 2 (17 HM2) is making a comeback. Now leading manufacturers are offering this efficient little rimfire cartridge in some nice rifles. Both Anschutz and Volquartsen will offer new 17 Mach 2 rifles in 2019. Check out this Volquartsen Summit from SHOT Show. It offers a slick, straight-pull toggle bolt, like you’d find on Olympic biathlon rifles.

17 mach 2 .17 hm2 volquartsen summit

Considering that 17 HMR ammo costs $10 to $15 a box, the 17 Mach 2 is an excellent value by comparison. You can now get 50 rounds of CCI 17 Mach 2 for just $6.55 at Midsouth. Grab it while you can.

17 mach 2 .17 hm2 volquartsen summit

The Mach 2 propels the same 17gr V-Max bullet as the 17 HMR, but the Mach 2 runs about 16% slower — 2100 fps vs. 2500 for the 17 HMR. For many shooters, it makes sense to use the 17 Mach 2 rather than a 17 HMR. You save money, barrel life is a little longer, and the 17 Mach 2 is still a much more potent cartridge than the .22 LR. Check out this comparison, and note how the 17 Mach 2 has a much flatter trajectory than the .22 LR:

17 Mach 2 hm2 .22 LR comparison

Hornady’s 17 Mach 2 has a 2100 FPS muzzle velocity vs. 1255 FPS for .22 LR.

17 WSM — More Speed, More Energy, and Flatter Trajectory

The 17 WSM (“Winchester Super Magnum”) is the fastest, flattest-shooting rimfire round you can buy. It totally stomps the .22 LR, and even offers significantly better ballistics than the popular 17 HMR. Check out this comparison of three rimfire magnmum cartridges (17 WMS, 17 HMR, and 22 WMR):

17 WSM Winchester Super Magnum

And now lead-free 17 WSM ammo is available. This “unleaded” version is impressively flat-shooting. With a 100-yard zero, it drops only 4.3 inches at 200 yards. Compare that with a .22 LR which can drop 18 inches or more from 100 to 200 yards (based on 1150 fps MV).

17 WSM Winchester Super Magnum lead-Free

CLICK HERE for 17 WSM lead-free ammo test article.
17 WSM rimfire ammo test

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