July 24th, 2019

17 Mach 2 (17 HM2) — Affordable .17-Caliber Rimfire Option

17 mach 2 .17 hm2 volquartsen summit

The 17 Mach 2 (aka “17 HM2″) is making a come-back. We’re glad. This high-velocity round fits actions and magazines designed for the .22 LR, so it’s an easy barrel-swap upgrade for most rimfire bolt-guns (semi-autos are more complicated). The 17 Mach 2 cartridge doesn’t deliver the velocity of the 17 HMR, but it is still way faster than a .22 LR. Expect 2000-2100 fps with 17 Mach 2 compared to 1250 fps for “High-Velocity” .22 LR ammo. And, importantly, 17 Mach 2 ammo is much less expensive than 17 HMR. If you shop around, you can get 50 rounds of 17 Mach 2 for about $6.50. That’s 35% cheaper than the average $10 price of 17 HMR — a significant savings!

17 Mach 2 Major Selling Points:

1. 60% more velocity than typical “High-Velocity” .22 LR ammo.
2. 35% less cost than average 17 HMR ammo.
3. 17 Mach 2 OAL is compatible with .22 LR receivers and magazines.

17 Mach 2 Rifle Reviews

Gun-makers have taken notice of the availability of 17 Mach 2 ammo, introducing new models chambered for this versatile little rimfire round. For a high-volume, small-species varminting, the 17 Mach 2 is much more effective than the .22 LR, and much less expensive than the larger 17 HMR.

New Savage A17 in 17 Mach 2

There are a number of reviews on new-generation 17 Mach 2 rifles. Recently Varminter.com reviewed the Savage A17 in 17 HM2. Editor Eric Mayer wrote: “This new addition to the A17 line comes at a time when the 17 Mach 2 round is experiencing a resurgence, with ammo now available from CCI and Hornady, including the lead-free NTX round from Hornady. This means … you don’t have to break the bank to buy a current, functioning, semi-auto 17 Mach 2 and you don’t have to … convert your 10/22.”

17 mach 2 .17 hm2 savage a17 17 HMR varmint rimfire summit

Eric shot four different types of 17 Mach 2 ammo, putting 1000+ rounds through the Savage. He was impressed: “I am very excited that Savage Arms has chambered their A17 rifle in the 17 Mach 2 / 17 HM2 round. After shooting the prototype, I can confidently say that this new A17 will become my go-to 17 Mach 2 rifle. This new rifle is a great option for varminters everywhere!”

Toggle Bolt Volquartsen Summit in 17 HM2

It’s rare for us to see a new rimfire that we’d really like to own, but the new Summit from Volquartsen fits the bill. This versatile rifle features a cool, straight-pull toggle bolt, similar to those on elite Biathalon rifles. You can see how this gun shoots in this informative 22 Plinkster video:

22 Plinkster Tests Volquartsen Summit Rifle in 17 Mach 2

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. The Volquartsen Summit features a lightweight, carbon fiber-wrapped barrel threaded 1/2-28 for brakes or suppressors. The Summit boasts a nice 1.75-lb trigger pull. The Summit’s CNC-machined receiver features a +20 MOA Rail. NOTE: The video shows a silhouette-style laminated wood stock. However, the Summit comes standard with a composite Magpul stock that actually works better for shooting from a bench.

17 mach 2 .17 hm2 volquartsen summit

17 Mach 2 — Best Rimfire Bang for the Buck?

If you are looking for a capable, squirrel-busting round or a fun plinking round, you should definitely consider the 17 Mach 2, especially since CCI has committed to production of the little cartridge. CCI recently rolled out its “Gen 2″ 17 Mach 2 VNT Ammo with polymer tip (see top of article).

Considering that 17 HMR ammo is now running $10 to $12 a box, the 17 Mach 2 is an excellent value by comparison. It is available from many vendors for under $6.50 per 50ct box. That’s just $0.13 per round. When you consider overall “bang for the buck”, 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. For varmint shooting, the 17 Mach 2 is clearly the better choice.

17 Mach 2 hm2 .22 LR comparison
Hornady’s 17 Mach 2 has a 2100 FPS muzzle velocity vs. 1255 FPS for “High-Velocity” .22 LR.

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting 5 Comments »
July 24th, 2019

Accuracy vs. Speed vs. Temp Stability — Reloading Paradigms

USAMU Reloading tips Handloading Hump Day

This article, in longer form, appears on the USAMU Facebook page, as part of the “Handloading Hump Day Series”. This article explores three different “Philosophies” of precision reloading. Some handloaders seek to produce ammo that yields the very tightest groups (without factoring in the wind). Other shooters load their ammo to deliver the highest safe velocity. That’s because a projectile launched at higher velocity will drift less in the wind. The theory is that even if fast ammo doesn’t produce the tightest groups in zero wind conditions, it will yield higher scores in a the real world (where the wind blows). Lastly, some handloaders favor ammo that is ultra-consistent across a wide temperature range. This last philosophy dictates selection of a powder that is temp-insensitive, even if it may not produce the very best raw accuracy (or speed).

USAMU Reloading tips Handloading Hump Day

What’s Your Handloading Philosophy?

Objectives of Reloading — Accuracy, Velocity, Temp Stability
What do you, the reader, primarily value in your handloads?

Viewpoint ONE: Accuracy Trumps Everything
Some shooters prize consistent, excellent medium/long range accuracy enough that they’re willing to give up some extra velocity (and reduced wind deflection) to obtain that. Their underlying philosophy could be stated: “Superior accuracy is present for every shot, but the wind isn’t”. One’s ability to hold well, aim well and read the wind are all factors in making this type decision. The photo below shows stellar raw accuracy. This is an 0.67″, 10-shot group at 300-yards fired from a text fixture. The group measures just 0.67″. (This shows the USAMU’s 600-yard load with 75gr bullets).

Viewpoint TWO: Load to Highest Safe Velocity for Less Wind Drift
Some shooters value obtaining the highest safe velocity, even if one’s pure, consistent mechanical accuracy at medium/long range isn’t quite as brilliant. The theory here seems to be that a really good hold extracts as much mechanical accuracy from the rifle/ammo as possible, and faster bullets equal occasional “bonus” points snatched from the jaws of wind.

[For example] one of the USAMU’s many Service Rifle National Champions revealed his philosophy. It can be stated thus: a super-accurate, but [relatively] “slow” load “required him to have a Ph.D. in wind reading for every shot, while a faster, but less accurate load netted him more points.”

Note — this was not mere speculation; his score book data backed up his claims, due to less wind effects. Remember, however, this fellow has a consistent, National Championship-level hold, and other Champions on the same team would have opted differently.

USAMU velocity chronograph testing

Viewpoint THREE: Temperature Stability Is Key
Still another approach is to place heavy emphasis on fine accuracy with absolute stability in changing temperatures. When this writer was actively earning his Distinguished Rifleman badge, that was his goal. The reason? Sighting shots are not allowed in EIC (“Leg”) matches. The first shot out of the barrel was for score. It had to be 100% consistent, with very reliable, predictable elevation and wind deflection regardless of the ambient temperature — even if it wasn’t the lowest wind deflection possible.

Naturally, selecting a powder that is insensitive to temperature changes is a key element here. Elevation zeros and wind effects HAD to be consistent every time. Hunters and military snipers might be among those who fall into this camp, as well as those in pursuit of their Distinguished Rifleman badges.

Contrast that with a traditional High Power shooter who gets two sighter shots before each event (offhand, sitting rapid, prone rapid, prone slow fire.) If there is a zero change on any given day, he/she can correct during sighters. This writer well remembers talking with another very high-level Service Rifle competitor who was happy to have high temperatures boost the velocities of his ammunition above their usual level… As far as this SR competitor was concerned, 60-80 fps more velocity -– even if only due to high ambient temperatures -– meant less wind deflection, and he was mighty happy to have it.

summer temperature chart USAMU loading tips

Particularly in the summer, with hot daily conditions, you need to be concerned about temperature stability. Loads worked up in winter may not work in the summer time.

This article has been confined to NRA High Power Rifle competition, which has relatively generous 10-ring dimensions in relation to the accuracy of well-built competition rifles. Hopefully, it will provide food for thought. For some, this might be an opportunity to ensure that one’s load development approach helps them attain their desired results.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Reloading, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
July 24th, 2019

Remington $75 Rebates — Good through July 31, 2019

Remington Rifle Rebate 2017 summer Rem 700 varmint rifle

OK guys — Don’t delay. This Remington Rifle Rebate expires in seven days, on July 31, 2019. If you’re shopping for a new varmint or hunting rifle, you can get $75 Cash Back on all Model 700 Varmint rifles purchased from May 1st through the end of July, 2019. Many different configurations are available. For example you can choose either a synthetic stock or a wood laminated stock.

NOTE: This Rebate Offer is valid on Rem 700 Varmint rifle purchases made from 5/1/19 through 7/31/19. All requests must be postmarked by 8/31/19. Important — Firearms Consumer Rebates are MAIL-IN ONLY. You MUST include your original cash register receipt AND the barcode from your owners manual (no exceptions). CLICK HERE for REBATE FORM (PDF).

Remington 1911 R1 Pistol Rebates

Remington is also offering $75 Cash Back on all Remington 1911 R1 handguns. The terms of this 1911 Pistol Rebate is similar to the Varmint Rifle Rebate — Purchase from 5/1/19 through 7/31/19, and submit Pistol Rebate Form by mail.

Remington Rifle Rebate 2017 summer Rem 700 varmint rifle

Remington offers 12 different 1911 models, including an all-stainless, long-slide 10mm hunters, carry models, and four different double-stack models. CLICK HERE to see all 12 Rem 1911 R1 models.

Remington 1911 R1 Tomasie Custom Double Stack

Permalink Handguns, Hot Deals, Hunting/Varminting, News No Comments »