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November 26th, 2022

Best Ammo Carrier for Rimfire Ammunition — All Types

rimfire box mtm ammo

For centerfire ammo, you can choose from dozens of flip-top boxes, storage bins, or milsurp-style ammo cans. For rimfire ammo, there are not so many good choices. Our preferred rimfire ammo carrier is the MTM SB-200 Small-Bore Fitted Ammo Box. This flip-top plastic box holds 100 rimfire rounds in black grids on the left and right. Each side has five rows left to right, holding ten rounds per row front to back (for 50 rounds per side). In the center is a storage area that will hold another 100 rounds in factory boxes. Current price is $13.15 on Amazon.

Versatility for ALL Types of Rimfire Ammo
MTM’s SB-200 box is not just for .22 LR ammunition. This handy carrier will hold .17 HMR rounds, as well as .17 Mach 2, .22 Short, .22 Win Mag Rimfire, and of course .22 Long Rifle (.22 LR). This box is a winner — it has a low profile, holds rounds securely, and the center storage feature is smart.

MTM Case-Gard 200 Round Smallbore Box
This is really the only product of its kind on the market. It allows you to conveniently and securely hold 200 rimfire rounds, and also segregate your ammo by brand or bullet type. These boxes fit all types of popular rimfire ammunition. The vertical clearance of the lid is sufficient to hold the longer .22 WMR Rounds, and 17 HMR (as well as .22 LR naturally). The lid fits securely so you don’t have to worry about your rimfire ammo spilling out on the way to the range.

If you don’t have one of these boxes yet, we recommend you order one or two. They cost less than $15.00 and are available in Blue or “Rust” (a brick color).

rimfire box mtm ammo rimfire box mtm ammo

Bottom image courtesy Mountain High Trading Company eBay store.

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October 2nd, 2022

Rimfire Revolution — Good Resource for NRL22 Competitors

17 HM2 Mach 2 rimfire

Do you shoot NRL22 matches, or are you thinking of getting started in that rapidly-growing discipline? Then grab a copy of Rimfire Revolution: A Complete Guide to Modern .22 Rifles. Released in summer 2021, this up-to-date book covers rimfire rifles and shooting disciplines. Order the print version for $22.79 on Amazon. IMPORTANT: For the best price, on the Amazon landing page, select the New from $22.79 link below the “Paperback” icon. Or get a digital Kindle Edition for $17.99 from Amazon.

This Gun Digest book has become a “go-to” resource for NRL22 and PRS Rimfire shooters. Key topics included in this 2021 Edition full-color Gun Digest book include: rimfire semi-autos and how they work; bolt-action accuracy; match shooting skills; DIY precision gunsmithing; hunting with rimfires; and the future of the rimfire market.

With the growth of rimfire tactical competition, the .22-Caliber rimfire rifle is more popular than ever. Every major gun manufacturer has brought at least one new .22 LR rimfire rifle to the market in the last two years. Gun Digest’s Rimfire Revolution has extensive coverage of new models from major manufacturers.

The .22 Long Rifle (.22 LR) is the planet’s most popular ammunition type and firearm chambering. The .22 LR is used in the Olympics by 3P marksmen, but it also serves benchrest competitors, NRL22 shooters, backyard plinkers, small-game hunters, and tactical trainers. With the expansion of NRL22 matches (and the PRS equivalent), the humble .22 LR is undergoing a major resurgence in the USA. And with centerfire reloading components being so costly and difficult to find, many folks are shooting less centerfire, but way more rimfire.

This 272-page book also covers .17-caliber rimfire cartridges: 17 HM2 (Mach 2), 17 HMR, and 17 WSM. These are all excellent varmint rounds, with the 17 WSM effective out to 250 yards. The 17 HM2 will run in a normal .22 LR action and feed from standard .22 LR magazines. So, for most rifles, all you need to do a .22 LR to 17 HM2 conversion is a barrel switch. That gives your rimfire rig twice the versatility. Shoot .22s and .17s with the same gun.

17 HM2 Mach 2 rimfire

NRL22 — Challenging Practical Competition with .22 LR Rifles

The USA has seen a big growth in rimfire tactical matches over the last five years. Right now there are probably ten times as many rimfire tactical matches as sanctioned PRS and NRL centerfire matches. The reason is simple — rimfire ammo is much less costly, and clubs can run challenging rimfire tactical matches at nearly any outdoor gun range that allows shooting out to 200+ yards.

NRL22 Competition — Tactical Rimfire Matches
The NRL22 match format is a great shooting discipline. NRL22 offers a high fun factor at relatively low cost. You don’t have to reload match ammo. A couple of 50-round boxes of .22 LR ammo will get you through the match. While some people bring lots of gear to matches, that’s by choice and not by necessity. You can keep it simple and still be competitive (and win).

jonathan Ocab v-22 vudoo action MPA BA Comp chassis rimfire tactical NRL22 sunday gunday Center-X 6mm creedmoor PRS

Tips for NRL22 Competitors
by Jonathan Ocab
I am a match director at my gun club and run our local NRL22 matches. People often ask me for tips for competing in NRL22. First, I recommend getting the course of fire for the month in advance and practicing those stages at the range. Here are other specific tips that should help NRL22 competitors improve their gun-handling and match results.

1. Dry Fire Practice — If you are not able to do live fire practice at the range, I encourage shooters to practice their shooting positions at home via dry fire. Setup props or barricades with pasters or other faux targets on a wall in the garage or inside the house and run through each stage.

2. Scope Magnification Level — The most common issue I see with newer shooters in NRL22 is the tendency to maximize their scope magnification. The timer will start, and the shooter gets into position on a target, but the scope is set to 15x or higher and the shooter can’t find the target. The shooter lowers the magnification, locates the target, and then increases the magnification again, takes the shot, transitions to another target, and repeats the process of decreasing magnification, locating target, etc. Novice NRL22 shooters should try using the mid-range magnification. Try shooting 7x-12x and learn to balance field of view and target image.

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August 13th, 2022

Saturday at the Movies: Varmint Rifle Video Showcase

tactical hyve training pistol rifle video sights trigger milrad reticle ar15 self defense

Varminting for Fun — With Rimfires and Centerfires

One of the most fun things you can do with a rifle is to shoot varmints such as ground squirrels, prairie dogs, rockchucks, and groundhogs. There’s great satisfaction making a perfect hit on a critter that sends the beastie spinning in the air. Varminting also affords a great excuse to acquire more rifles, because it really does make sense to own and use multiple varmint rifles in various calibers.

Having multiple rifles on a varmint safari lets you preserve barrel life, and shoot lesser-recoiling calibers at the shorter distances. For example, with California ground squirrels, we like a .17 HMR inside 125 yards, then switch to a 20 Practical (20-223 Rem). For prairie dogs, you may want that 20 Practical, plus a nice .22 BR for 250-400 yards, and a .243 Ackley (or 6XC or 6mm CM) for long shots.

Seven Varmint Rifles — Rimfire and Centerfire
With 525,000 subscribers, the Backfire YouTube Channel is highly popular. The capable hosts provide honest, candid reviews. This video covers seven different varmint rigs. First off is the Air Arms TX 200 (00:25). Then the excellent .22 LR CZ 457 is featured (01:33), followed by a .223 Rem AR15-platform rifle (02:30). Next up is the .22 LR Christensen Arms Ranger 22 (03:40), which proved to be “crazy accurate”. Then the video showcases a Bergara Premier in 22-250 (04:20), an “excellent coyote gun that you could use on varmints as well”. Last up is the Ruger American Predator (05:20) in .17 HMR.

Five Varmint and Predator Rifles Reviewed
This video covers three major manufacturer centerfire varmint rifles: Remington Model 700 PCR (01:39), Winchester Model 70 Varmint Rifle (03:36), and Henry Long Ranger in .223 (08:02). The video also covers the Ruger American Rimfire Target rifle (07:04), and the interesting Stoeger RX20TAC Varmint Air Rifle (05:31). Airguns can be effective at close ranges on small varmints such as squirrels. But for an effective kill, we recommend at least a .17 Mach 2 (HM2) beyond 50 yards.

Three Varmint Rifles Reviewed — Savage .17 HMR, Ruger .22 Magnum, Howa .243 Winchester
This video covers two rimfires and a nice .243 Win centerfire. First up is a Ruger 77/22 in .22 WMR (Winchester Magnum Rimfire). This cartridge has a lot more punch than a standard .22 LR round. Next up is the very nice Savage A17 Thumbhole in .17 HMR. This semi-auto rifle offers nice ergonomics, good feed reliability, and very good accuracy at 100 yards (check out that 3-shot target at 100 yards). Last but not least, the video features the nice Howa 1500 Ranchland with Hogue stock, in this case chambered for the .243 Winchester. These Howas have a smooth-cycling action and nice HACT 2-stage trigger.


Ruger howa savage varmint rifles

.17 WSM — The Most Powerful .17 Cal Rimfire
We think that every varmint hunter should own a nice .17 Cal rimfire rig. Out to 200 yards or so the .17 WSM or .17 HMR is very effective on small varmints. It’s nice to be able to shoot affordable ammo out of the box and not have to scrounge for hart-to-find powder and primers. This video features a superb .17 Cal varmint rig, the Primal Rights TS Custom chambered for the impressive .17 WSM cartridge.


.17 17 WSM HMR Winchester short magnum rimfire rifle test

Long Range Rockchuck Adventure with Gunwerks Crew
This Gunwerks video showcases varmint hunting in the Western USA. In this video Aaron Davidson and the Gunwerks crew try out some new rifles on some rockchucks. Most of the the rifles were suppressed but the host said the rockchucks took cover after the first shot, so this required good coordination among shooters and spotters. A 6XC varminter is featured at 2:44 and there’s some nice drone footage starting at 2:00.

.22-250 Nails Ground Squirrels and Rock Hyraxes in South Africa
Here’s an interesting video from South Africa. The video maker starts with shots on ground squirrels. His .22-250 blasts them into little pieces. They he switches to more distant targets, a furry ground-hog size animal called the Rock Hyrax, Cape Hyrax, or Dassie. Mature Rock Hyraxes weigh 4-5 kilograms and have short ears and tail. These Rock Hyraxes are found at higher elevations in habitats with rock crevices, allowing them to escape from predators (but not skilled varmint hunters).


south africa rock hyrax dassie 22-250 kill hunt

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May 31st, 2022

Summer Varmint Adventures — Gear, Cartridge Choices, Planning

CFE 223 Powder Varmint Bullet Prairie dog
This custom war wagon hauls varmint hunters around the Longmeadow Game Resort in Colorado.

Will you be heading to the varmint fields this summer? Proper planning is key to a safe, satisfying, and productive varmint holiday. Of course you’ll be busy reloading, but you should make a check-list of all the gear and supplies you need. Bring a variety of rifles if possible — you’ll need to switch off as one barrel gets hot, and the chambering that works best for your close shots may not be ideal for those longer shots out past 400 yards. Here are some tips from our Forum members that can help you shoot more effectively, and avoid problems on your varmint hunt. Here’s one key tip: at your shooting station, put a strip of surveyor’s tape on a tall stake to show the wind direction. Then shoot in the direction the wind blows. This will minimize the effect of cross-winds.

Savage LR Precision Varminter

Varmint Safari Planning, Equipment, and Shooting Advice

From PatchHound: “The gear you bring will make or break a trip out to Prairie Dog land. A lot has to do with where you going and how far you are from [civilization]. For starters, bring lots of water. It will be hot in Wyoming in a few more weeks but it don’t hurt to bring warm clothes in case it snows. It’s best to wear leather boots unless you’re real good at dodging cactus while walking around. Good sunscreen [and a wide-brimmed hat] will save the day too. [What you need to bring] really depends on whether you’re shooting on some friendly ranch or 100 miles in the middle of [a wilderness area]. Good survival gear is a good thing to have for the latter!”

Savage LR Precision Varminter
This photo is from a Dan Eigen TV Show video featuring a P-Dog hunt.

From Stoner25mkiv: “I’d suggest an adjustable bipod if you are going to do any walking. A laser rangefinder is a huge asset. Have a fanny pack or backpack for extra ammo, water, bore-snake, etc. when you go on your walkabouts. We also take a couple pivoting benches, heavy movers’ pad/blanket, sandbags (Uncle Bud’s Bulls Bag) for shooting from near the vehicle. Boonie hat for blocking the sun, sun glasses, sunscreen. High leather boots.

Uncle Bud's Bulls Bag

Anyway, on to the rifles…consider bringing a 17 HMR, .223 Ackley bolt gun, .223 Ackley AR, and a 243 WSSM. Some years the 17 HMR isn’t removed from its case. We had a couple windless days and the 17 was lots of fun. I’d walk into the dogtown and then lay down and wait. After five minutes or so I’d have dogs within easy rimfire range, and out to as far as I’d care to stretch the rimfire. 275 yards was about it.”

From CTShooter: “The .204 [Ruger] is a laser beam and good to 400 yards easy. Forget the rimfire! Do you have a portable bench that pivots? Bring bipod, binocs. Bring a LOT of water. I have a milspec sniper shooter’s mat/drag bag with shoulder straps. It is good to carry everything when you want to wander off and shoot prone with bipod. Here’s a view through my 6BR in ND.”

varmint hunting prairie dog dakota dogtown

From RJinTexas: “In most of the locations that we’ll be shooting we’ll usually set up a minimum of 200 yards from the edge of a major dog town. We’ll start by working over the close-in dogs and shooting our way out, some of these towns may run in excess of 500/600 yards deep. I believe that a rimfire will put you at a distinct disadvantage. The only rimfire that will somewhat work is the 17 HMR and you can reload for your 204s for close to the cost of HMR ammo and you’ll be less apt to be under-gunned. Your 204 will work well out to 300/400 yards unless the wind is blowing hard. We classify a 10-mph crosswind as a very calm day and what makes it a little more challenging is that it is usually also gusting.”

From Wes (P1ZombieKiller): “[For my first PD trip] there are so many things I was not ready for. The one thing that I did bring (that no one told me about) was a canopy. I’m glad I did. Even though the weather was [near perfect], I know that sun can humble you real fast. With my pop-up canopy, I could shoot all day without getting killed by the sun. You had to tie the canopy down real well or the wind would blow it across the pasture.

We sat on shooting benches that pivot 360°, and are fast and easy to set up. Most all shots were 175-250 yards. I just felt comfortable at that range. It was more fun for me to be able to film the hits, and the camcorder I was using just did not get good video past 350 yards. The digital zoom distorted the image too much. I knew I would only get this one chance to film my first P-dog outing, and I wanted to get it on film for [posterity].”

Bring Multiple Rifles on Your Varmint Adventures

On our P-Dog adventures, we like to have multiple rifles — a .17 HMR for close work, then maybe a .20 Practical AR for 150-250 yards, then a larger caliber such as 22 BR, 6BRA, 6 Dasher or 6XC for those long shots. The classic 22-250 is also a wickedly effective varmint cartridge.

Prairie dog adventure varmint hunting

.20 Practical (20-223 Rem) AR-Platform Varminter
Here is a .20 Practical built by Robert Whitley. Whitley’s Ultimate Prairie Dog Rifle (PDR) features a 24″ Bartlein 11-twist cut-rifled barrel, DPMS side-charging upper, and a Jewell trigger. It is chambered in 20 Practical, a cartridge popularized by Warren “Fireball” Brookman.

varmint hunting prairie dog dakota dogtown

This .20 Practical cartridge is simply the .223 Remington necked down to .204. You can use your existing .223 Rem brass — no special case-forming required! The 20 Practical is accurate, flat-shooting, and has almost no recoil. The advantage over the standard .223 Remington is that, grain for grain, the bullets have a higher BC and travel at a higher velocity for more dramatic effect on a small varmint. The ultra-low recoil allows you to easily see your hits, even without a muzzle brake. The 20 Practical, launching 40-grainers at about 3750 fps, shoots flatter than a .223 Rem with 55gr hollowpoints.

.17 HMR Savage A17 Varmint Rifle
We also like to have a Rimfire for the closer shots, inside 150 yards. The .17 HMR or .17 WSM are good choices. With a rimfire you save on ammo costs and you don’t waste precious centerfire barrel life.

This video shows a successful Prairie Dog hunt with a .17 HMR. Watch and you’ll see hits out to 160 yards (00:50), proving the effective range of the 17 HMR cartridge. The host is shooting a Savage A17 semi-auto 17 HMR rifle in a Boyds laminated stock.

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May 16th, 2022

Field Test Report on Savage A17 Rimfire in .17 HMR

Savage 17 HMR .17  A17 A-17 varmint hunting semi-auto rifle accurateshooter.com

One of our favorite cartridges for small varmints is the 17 HMR. Yes, the newer 17 WSM rimfire has better ballistics, but 17 HMR ammunition is considerably less expensive, and you have a much larger selection of rifles and pre-chambered aftermarket barrels. And out to 150 yards or so the 17 HMR is great on ground squirrels and prairie dogs.

If you are looking for a 17 HMR varmint rifle, one rig you should definitely consider is the Savage A17. Now that this model is offered with laminated stock options, you can get a fine little 17 HMR rifle for about $475.00. We do prefer the laminated stock A17s (both standard and thumbhole models) over the basic polymer-stocked version, priced at $440.00.

Savage A17 thumbhole stock

How does an A17 shoot? That question was answered a couple seasons back by Varminter.com in a First Hunt Report. Accurate and affordable, the Savage A17 is also the first .17 HMR to feature a delayed blow-back action. Eric Mayer, Editor of Varminter.com, put the semi-auto Savage A17 through its paces.

CLICK HERE for Savage A17 First Hunt Report on Varminter.com

Mayer wanted to see how the new Savage would perform, accuracy-wise, and he also wanted to see how the A17 fared in the field. Mayer achieved one-MOA accuracy with the Savage A17 using the latest CCI-brand ammo, and he demonstrated the A17 is wickedly effective on ground squirrels. Below we’ve provided highlights from Varminter.com’s Savage A17 First Hunt Report.

“I [collected] as many versions of the currently available .17 HMR ammunition as I could get my hands on. I had already picked-up and tested the new CCI A17 ammunition, so I filled up my ammo safe with other CCI ammunition, as well as Hornady and Winchester, including the lead free 15.5 grain NTX versions, also from Hornady and Winchester. After spending some time at the bench, I saw that this rifle shot the CCI A17 ammunition best, with most groups hovering right around 1″ to 1.20″ at one hundred yards, and some of the other ammo choices in the 1.25″ to 1.50″ range. This was with a warm barrel and in-between cleanings during the break-in process.”

Savage 17 HMR .17  A17 A-17 varmint hunting semi-auto rifle accurateshooter.com

Mayer found the A17 was easy to maintain: “I was very impressed by the ease of pulling the rifle apart for cleaning out in the field. Even with the scope mounted, I was able to quickly and easily remove the parts needed to give me complete access to the barrel through the breach, so cleaning was a breeze.”

A17 Reliability Lessons — Seat Those Rotary Magazines Correctly Folks
Some early A17 purchasers have noted occasional failures to feed. We believe this is because the magazine was not fully seated (and locked in place) in the firearm. The experience of Varminter.com’s Editor seems to confirm this. Mayer reports “As I began to shoot the rifle, I experienced what a few others have reported, with the magazine falling out while shooting. I quickly realized that I was not snapping the magazine into place every time. I found that popping in the magazine while the bolt was pulled, or locked back, resolved the issue. I did have a few failures to feed, but only on some of the older ammunition I was shooting, namely the first year Hornady ammo and the lead free ammo (which is about 3-4 years old). The newer ammo did not have any issues and functioned well, even while shooting some 10-round ‘mag-dumps’. The trigger is on the heavy side.”

A17 Reliability Shown in Video
The Savage A17 went through a very thorough manufacturer’s testing process before it was released to the market. In fact Savage put over 500,000 test rounds through A17 prototypes. When AccurateShooter.com tested the A17 at Media Day — it worked flawlessly, so long as you make sure the magazine is fully seated. We had zero issues, making us think that reported issues may be related to “driver error”; specifically not seating the magazine properly. Watch AccurateShooter.com video with rapid fire sequence.

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May 4th, 2022

Rimfire Varminting Adventure — Plus Free Varmint Target

Norma Tac-22 ammunition .22 LR varmint prairie dog Jim See

Norma Tac-22 ammunition .22 LR varmint prairie dog Jim SeeRimfire Varmint Adventure
Can you shoot prairie dogs with a .22 LR Rifle? The answer is yes, if you have an accurate rifle, know your drops, and keep your targets within a reasonable distance (inside 240 yards). While the .17 HMR and .17 WSM are much more potent, flat-shooting, and effective P-dog slayers, a talented marksman CAN get good results with a .22 LR rimfire rifle, as ace PRS shooter and gunsmith Jim See recently proved.

Posting on his Facebook Page on 7/9/2020, Jim wrote: “Took out the .22 LR for some LR prairie poodles, there were not many in this town, but it gave me a chance to get some impressive hits. Norma TAC-22 ammo put the smack down on a first-round hit, called head shots at 189 yards. The body-shot dog was a first-round kill at 240 yards. I had one more head shot with a second round hit at 163. The nice part about using the .22 Long Rifle ammo is the [critters] don’t spook too bad, so a follow-up shot with a correction is usually available to get a better wind hold.” Even unsuppressed, a .22 LR rimfire shot makes much less noise than a centerfire round.

Norma Tac-22 ammunition .22 LR varmint prairie dog Jim See

NOTE: The Norma TAC-22 .22 LR ammo used by Jim See offers great bang for the buck. It is quite affordable — a 50rd box is just $4.50 at Palmetto State Armory. Some lots have show outstanding accuracy. These target photos (below) come from Champion Shooters Supply which may have gotten an exceptional lot. This vendor tells us: “We have found this to run very well in Ruger rifles, handguns, and target pistols. These are 5-shot groups at 50 yards with an Anschutz 1913 rifle. This is an incredible value.” Jim says the TAC-22 ammo delivers 1″ groups at 100 yards in his rifle.

Norma Tac-22 ammunition .22 LR varmint prairie dog Jim See
5-year-old Norma TAC-22 results. Current TAC-22 is on sale at $4.50/box at Palmetto State Armory.

Free Sierra Varmint Target — Prairie Enemy

Sierra Bullets has introduced a new line of loaded centerfire varmint ammunition, the Prairie Enemy series of cartridges. Sierra currently offers Prairie Enemy ammo for six cartridge types: .204 Ruger, .223 Rem, .224 Valkyrie, .22-250 Rem, .243 Win, and 6.5 Creedmoor. To celebrate this new ammo line, Sierra created a colorful Prairie Enemy P-Dog target. Click the image below to download the PDF target.


Click HERE to Download Target PDF »

Norma Tac-22 ammunition .22 LR varmint prairie dog Jim See

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May 3rd, 2022

17 HMR for Prairie Dog Adventures — Good for Closer Ranges

Volquartsen 17 HMR Dustin Ellermann 17 HMR

We are coming into peak Prairie Dog season. For long shots you’ll definitely want a centerfire. We like the 20 Practical in an AR and a 22 BR/BRA in a bolt-action. That will have you covered out to 700 yards. But for shorter shots on small critters — say inside 150 yards — it makes sense to have an accurate 17 HMR rimfire rig. Today’s 17 HMRs are capable of surprising accuracy, rivaling a good centerfire rig, but with way less recoil and much lower cost per shot. And the 17 HMR offers more than double the velocity of a .22 LR — up to 2650 fps with a 17-grain bullet.

Top Shot former Champion Dustin Ellerman likes his Volquartsens, and we can see why. With one of his favorite 17 HMR rimfire varmint rigs, he’s seen some outstanding accuracy with CCI ammo. A few seasons back, on his Facebook page, Dustin reported: “Prepping for prairie dogs and I’m floored by this cold, sub-half-inch group shot with the Volquartsen Custom 17 HMR at 100 yards.” This thumbhole-stock rifle features a Bowers Group USS suppressor, and 3-12x56mm Meopta Scope. Dustin tried different types of CCI 17 HMR ammo. This small group was shot with CCI A17 ammo.

Volquartsen 17 HMR Dustin Ellermann 17 HMR

What’s the effective range of a 17 HMR on prairie dogs? You might be surprised. in 2015, Dustin took another Volquartsen 17 HMR on a Prairie Dog hunt in Wyoming. He was impressed with the rifle (shown below) and the little rimfire cartridge. Dustin says the effective range of the 17 HMR is farther than one might expect: “I made hits out to 300 yards. 200 yards was easy as long as the wind wasn’t too bad.”

Here’s the Volquartsen 17 HMR Dustin used in Wyoming in 2015:
Volquartsen 17 HMR Dustin Ellermann 17 HMR

After that 2015 P-Dog expedition, Dustin became a fan of the 17 HMR cartridge: “Never paid it much attention before now because the ammo is five times more expensive than .22 LR and I mostly target shoot. However, for prairie dogs, the 17 HMR is amazing!” Consider this — Hornady’s 17 HMR ammo pushes a 17gr V-Max bullet at 2550 fps, twice as fast as typical .22 LR rounds.

Prairie Dog Adventure with Savage A17

This video shows a successful Prairie Dog hunt. Watch and you’ll see hits out to 160 yards (00:50), proving the effective range of the 17 HMR cartridge. The host is shooting a Savage A17 semi-auto 17 HMR rifle in a Boyds laminated stock.

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February 5th, 2022

Saturday at the Movies: Varmint Hunting Video Collection

CFE 223 Powder Varmint Bullet Prairie dog
This custom war wagon hauls varmint hunters around the Longmeadow Game Resort in Colorado. Bottom image by Forum member Randful, Big Horn Mountains, Wyoming.

Will you be heading to the varmint fields this spring? Proper planning is key to a safe, satisfying, and productive varmint holiday. Bring a variety of rifles if possible — you’ll need to switch off as one barrel gets hot, and the chambering that works best for your close shots may not be ideal for those longer shots out past 400 yards. Here’s one tip that can help you shoot more effectively on your varmint hunt — at your shooting station, put a strip of surveyor’s tape on a tall stake to show the wind direction. Then align to the wind direction, so that it is a direct headwind or tailwind. This will minimize the effect of cross-winds.

For fans of varmint hunting, we’ve assembled eight videos for this Saturday at the Movies Feature. You’ll see a variety of rifles being used in classic American varmint country — Montana, Oregon, and the Dakotas. We’ve also included an interesting video from South Africa.

Extreme Outer Limits — Oregon Adventure with .22 Creedmoor

CFE 223 Powder Varmint Bullet Prairie dogThis varmint safari video features the Extreme Outer Limits squad in Central Oregon. The host is shooting the .22 Creedmoor cartridge from a 22″ Benchmark barrel. The shooters benefit from a great operation, with elevated mobile shooting stations and benches. Watching this video made this Editor want to travel up to Oregon this summer, and try out a .22 Dasher that’s been sitting in the safe.

This video has plenty of action, with hits on small varmints (mostly ground squirrels) out to considerable distances. You can see the effectiveness of the .22 Creedmoor cartridge — it basically vaporizes some of the critters.


CFE 223 Powder Varmint Bullet Prairie dog
CFE 223 Powder Varmint Bullet Prairie dog

.22-250 Nails Ground Squirrels and Rock Hyraxes in South Africa

Here’s an interesting video from South Africa. The video maker starts with shots on ground squirrels. His .22-250 blasts them into little pieces. They he switches to more distant targets, a furry ground-hog size animal called the Rock Hyrax, Cape Hyrax, or Dassie. Mature Rock Hyraxes weigh 4-5 kilograms and have short ears and tail. These Rock Hyraxes are found at higher elevations in habitats with rock crevices, allowing them to escape from predators (but not skilled varmint hunters).


south africa rock hyrax dassie 22-250 kill hunt

1125-Yard Rockchuck Hit with Extreme Outer Limits

Here a team from Extreme Outer Limits tests their skills at Extreme Long Range Varminting. The group set up benches and aim their rifles at a distant hillside over 1100 yards away. You can see a successful first-shot rockchuck hit at the 5:15 time-mark. On this episode of Extreme Outer Limits, Bob Beck, Tim Titus, and some MOA Rifles clients to put the .22 Creedmoor and other MOA-brand rifles to the test. At these long distances, Rockchucks are relatively small targets providing plenty of challenge.

Long Range Rockchuck Adventure with Gunwerks Crew

This Gunwerks video showcases varmint hunting in the Western USA. In this video Aaron Davidson and the Gunwerks crew try out some new rifles on some rockchucks. Most of the the rifles were suppressed but the host said the rockchucks took cover after the first shot, so this required good coordination among shooters and spotters. A 6XC varminter is featured at 2:44 and there’s some nice drone footage starting at 2:00.

long range rockchuck varmint hunting

Varminter.com — Great Resource for Varmint Hunters

Varminter.com is a great resource for serious varmint hunters. This site regularly reviews rifles, optics, and varmint ammunition. In addition, the site’s founder, Eric Mayer, often ventures out in the backcountry to film his varmint adventures.

Varminting with .17 HMR Savage A17 and Custom .17 WSM AR

On varmint excursions, we like to have a .17 rimfire for the closer shots, inside 150 yards. This video shows a successful Prairie Dog hunt with a .17 HMR. Watch and you’ll see hits out to 160 yards (00:50), proving the effective range of the .17 HMR cartridge. The host is shooting a Savage A17 semi-auto 17 HMR rifle in a Boyds laminated stock.

Varminters now enjoy three .17-caliber rimfire options. The .17 Mach 2, .17 HMR, and .17 WSM are all good choices, with the 17 Mach 2 being the cheapest and the .17 WSM the most powerful. With a rimfire you save on ammo costs and you don’t waste precious centerfire barrel life. Also the noise is reduced so you don’t spook the critters so much. We have shot ground squirrels with both the 17 HM2 and .17 HMR. And with a 3000 fps MV, the .17 WSM has some really impressive ballistics. As you can see, the .17 WSM has a much flatter trajectory than both the .17 HMR and .22 WMR:

.17 WSM winchester short magnum rimfire

Last but certainly not least, this video from Eric Mayer, founder of Varminter.com and AR15Hunter.com. This video features an innovative AR-platform rifle chambered for the potent .17 Winchester Super Magnum (aka .17 WSM) cartridge. Eric was able to have instant kills out to 200 yards. This rifle features a Franklin Armory F-17 V4 upper with a Franklin Armory 10-rd magazine. Eric was very impressed with the .17 WSM and he believes the 20gr bullet with 3000 fps MV will be very effective for most of his small varmint hunting out to considerable distances.


.17 WSM 17 HMR varmint hunter Eric Mayer

KILL Shots — BONUS Age-Restricted Videos

Linked below are a couple very good varminting videos that show explosive hits. However, YouTube has decided these can’t be posted on third-party websites so you’ll have to click the links below to see the Prairie Dogs going airborne. In the first video, the lady shooter nails THREE P-Dogs with one shot!

1. Eastman’s Hunting Journals. Great Video from Eastern Montana. This has nice Aerial Footage and an amazing shot with three P-dogs (in line) dropped with a single shot (at time-mark 9:28). One shot — THREE prairie dogs down! This prairie dog hunt features slow-motion kill shots, digiscope close-ups, and a rare prairie dog triple kill. A group of hunters works to remove prairie dog pests from private grazing lands in this episode of Beyond the Grid by Eastmans’ creators of Eastmans’ Hunting TV. You’ll have to CLICK HERE to watch this video. See Also Eastman’s Prairie Dog Armageddon video.

2. Flying Prairie Dogs in North Dakota. You’ll see some impressive kill shots made with AR-platform rifles in this short (2-minute) High Road Hunting video from Keith Warren Hunting YouTube channel. See also Keith’s Prairie Dog Hunting Shooting Spree video.

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January 9th, 2022

Sunday Gunday: New .17 WSM Savage A17 Rifles for Varminting

Savage .17 17 winchester super magnum wsm ammo ammunition A17 varmint thumbhole rifle caliber

The .17 Winchester Super Magnum (aka .17 WSM) is the fastest, flattest-shooting rimfire cartridge ever created. The .17 WSM cartridge, as you can see below, is significantly larger than the .17 HMR, and can deliver a 3000-fps muzzle velocity with a 20gr bullet, compared to about 2375 fps for .17 HMR 20gr ammo. That’s 26% more speed, which translates to a much flatter trajectory — a big deal when you’re shooting small varmints out to 300 yards.

Savage .17 17 winchester super magnum wsm ammo ammunition A17 varmint thumbhole rifle caliber
Savage .17 17 winchester super magnum wsm ammo ammunition A17 varmint thumbhole rifle caliber
.17 WSM and .17 HMR Ammo comparison image courtesy Widener’s Reloading & Shooting Supply.

New .17 WSM A17 Semi-Auto Rifles from Savage Arms

The .17 WSM has been around for a while, but there have been limited selections of rifles chambered for this speedy rimfire round. Savage is changing that. Savage just announced that it will offer its A17-series rifles chambered in .17 WSM. Currently choose from two models with laminated wood stocks: the A17 WSM Sporter and A17 WSM Target Thumbhole. Both rifles feature a delayed-blowback, semi-automatic action specifically designed for the 17 HMR and 17 WSM cartridges. And both rifles boast 22″ button-rifled barrels, user-adjustable AccuTriggers, and 10-round rotary-feed internal magazines.

Savage .17 17 winchester super magnum wsm ammo ammunition A17 varmint thumbhole rifle caliber

Between the two, the Target Thumbhole model ($709 MSRP) would be our choice for varmint work, as the stock has nice ergonomics and shoots better off the bags, with a thicker, wider forearm. The A17 WSM Target Thumbhole model also has a 22″ fluted heavy target barrel. This is better for high-volume varmint sessions than the standard-contour barrel on the Sporter model ($619 MSRP).

Savage .17 17 winchester super magnum wsm ammo ammunition A17 varmint thumbhole rifle caliber

Savage Action Should Work Well with the .17 WSM Cartridge
Savage is proud of its new .17 WSM rifles: “We are launching the A17 chambered for .17 WSM in two of our more popular configurations [with laminate stocks]. Both are designed for target shooting and varmint hunting applications[.] The new A17 WSM Sporter and A17 WSM Target Thumbhole pair the dynamic rimfire cartridge with Savage’s A Series semi-automatic action for exceptional accuracy and fast follow-up shots.”

“Savage has seen outstanding performance from the .17 WSM cartridge and felt it could be optimized in new platforms. The A Series rifles have a delayed blowback design that accommodates this caliber with limited modifications, making it an ideal action for the WSM cartridge.” — Jessica Treglia, Savage Arms Senior Brand Manager.

A17 WSM Target Thumbhole Features

Gray wood-laminate thumbhole stock
Delayed-blowback action
Hard chrome bolt with oversized bolt handle
Case-hardened receiver
Fluted 22″ heavy target button-rifled barrel
8-round rotary magazine
User-adjustable AccuTrigger™
$709.00 MSRP

A17 WSM Sporter Features

Gray wood-laminate stock
Delayed-blowback action
Hard chrome bolt with oversized bolt handle
Case-hardened receiver
22″ button-rifled barrel
8-round rotary magazine
User-adjustable AccuTrigger
$619.00 MSRP

Commentary — This Could be a Great Varmint Option, IF the Ammo Becomes Available
If we were in the market for a new rifle for serious, high-volume ground squirrel and prairie dog varmint safaris, we would seriously consider this new A17 in .17 WSM. With a rimfire cartridge you don’t have to bother with handloading. And you should enjoy significantly better barrel life than a larger centerfire cartridge burning much more powder — provided you don’t shoot too fast and over-heat your barrel. Also, you won’t struggle to find primers. However, unfortunately .17 WSM ammo is hard to find right now, as we explain below. Be aware of the ammo shortage issue.

Savage .17 17 winchester super magnum wsm ammo ammunition A17 varmint thumbhole rifle caliber

Related Article Links for More .17 WSM Information

AccurateShooter Forum Thread on .17 WSM and New Savage Rifles
17WSM.com website with Ammo and Ballistics INFO
American Hunter .17 HMR vs. .17 WSM Comparison
Best .17 WSM Ammunition — Widener’s Report
Volquartsen .17 WSM Rifle

.17 Winchester Super Magnum Rimfire

.17 Winchester Super Magnum RimfireNew 3000 FPS Rimfire Round
A few years back Winchester created a high-velocity 17-caliber rimfire cartridge, the .17 Winchester Super Magnum (aka .17 WSM). Winchester has offered .17 WSM ammo with a choice of three bullet types: 20gr plastic tip (Varmint HV), 25gr plastic tip (Varmint HE), and a 20gr JHP (Super-X). The 20-grain varieties boast a 3000 FPS muzzle velocity, earning honors as the fastest Rimfire ammo ever made.

.17 Winchester Super Mag Specifications
Symbol Sub Brand Bullet Weight Muzzle Velocity
S17W20 Varmint HV 20-gr Plastic Tip 3,000 fps
S17W25 Varmint HE 25-gr Plastic Tip 2,600 fps
X17W20 Super-X 20-gr JHP 3,000 fps

Winchester claims that all .17 WSM ammo types shoot much flatter than the .22 Win Mag and .17 HMR, while delivering 150 percent more energy than both. In addition, the .17 WSM “bucks the wind” better than any other rimfire ammo — exhibiting significant less horizontal drift at extended ranges.

17 wsm winchester super magnum rimfire

Click Boxes to View Larger Charts


.17 WSM Ammunition is “Unobtanium” Right Now

Since its introduction, .17 WSM ammo has been sold by multiple companies including Browning, Federal (American Eagle), Hornady, and Winchester. Right now it is very hard to find ANY .17 WSM ammo. You have to look far and wide. On January 9, 2022 we checked with five major online vendors and found no .17 WSM ammunition in stock at Midsouth, MidwayUSA, Natchez, Precision Reloading, and Locked&Loaded. Every variety was listed as “Out of Stock” or “Temporarily Unavailable”. That’s discouraging. Hopefully more .17 WSM ammo will be appearing on dealer’s shelves in the months ahead.

Savage .17 17 winchester super magnum wsm ammo ammunition A17 varmint thumbhole rifle caliber
Savage .17 17 winchester super magnum wsm ammo ammunition A17 varmint thumbhole rifle caliber

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June 29th, 2021

Varmint Safari Notebook — Tips for a Summer P-Dog Adventure

CFE 223 Powder Varmint Bullet Prairie dog
This custom war wagon hauls varmint hunters around the Longmeadow Game Resort in Colorado.

Will you be heading to the varmint fields this summer? Proper planning is key to a safe, satisfying, and productive varmint holiday. Of course you’ll be busy reloading, but you should make a check-list of all the gear and supplies you need. Bring a variety of rifles if possible — you’ll need to switch off as one barrel gets hot, and the chambering that works best for your close shots may not be ideal for those longer shots out past 400 yards. Here are some tips from our Forum members that can help you shoot more effectively, and avoid problems on your varmint hunt. Here’s one key tip: at your shooting station, put a strip of surveyor’s tape on a tall stake to show the wind direction. Then shoot in the direction the wind blows. This will minimize the effect of cross-winds.

Savage LR Precision Varminter

Varmint Safari Planning, Equipment, and Shooting Advice

From PatchHound: “The gear you bring will make or break a trip out to Prairie Dog land. A lot has to do with where you going and how far you are from [civilization]. For starters, bring lots of water. It will be hot in Wyoming in a few more weeks but it don’t hurt to bring warm clothes in case it snows. It’s best to wear leather boots unless you’re real good at dodging cactus while walking around. Good sunscreen [and a wide-brimmed hat] will save the day too. [What you need to bring] really depends on whether you’re shooting on some friendly ranch or 100 miles in the middle of [a wilderness area]. Good survival gear is a good thing to have for the latter!”

Savage LR Precision Varminter
This photo is from a Dan Eigen TV Show video featuring a P-Dog hunt.

From Stoner25mkiv: “I’d suggest an adjustable bipod if you are going to do any walking. A laser rangefinder is a huge asset. Have a fanny pack or backpack for extra ammo, water, bore-snake, etc. when you go on your walkabouts. We also take a couple pivoting benches, heavy movers’ pad/blanket, sandbags (Uncle Bud’s Bulls Bag) for shooting from near the vehicle. Boonie hat for blocking the sun, sun glasses, sunscreen. High leather boots.

Uncle Bud's Bulls Bag

Anyway, on to the rifles…consider bringing a 17 HMR, .223 Ackley bolt gun, .223 Ackley AR, and a 243 WSSM. Some years the 17 HMR isn’t removed from its case. We had a couple windless days and the 17 was lots of fun. I’d walk into the dogtown and then lay down and wait. After five minutes or so I’d have dogs within easy rimfire range, and out to as far as I’d care to stretch the rimfire. 275 yards was about it.”

From CTShooter: “The .204 [Ruger] is a laser beam and good to 400 yards easy. Forget the rimfire! Do you have a portable bench that pivots? Bring bipod, binocs. Bring a LOT of water. I have a milspec sniper shooter’s mat/drag bag with shoulder straps. It is good to carry everything when you want to wander off and shoot prone with bipod. Here’s a view through my 6BR in ND.”

varmint hunting prairie dog dakota dogtown

From RJinTexas: “In most of the locations that we’ll be shooting we’ll usually set up a minimum of 200 yards from the edge of a major dog town. We’ll start by working over the close-in dogs and shooting our way out, some of these towns may run in excess of 500/600 yards deep. I believe that a rimfire will put you at a distinct disadvantage. The only rimfire that will somewhat work is the 17 HMR and you can reload for your 204s for close to the cost of HMR ammo and you’ll be less apt to be under-gunned. Your 204 will work well out to 300/400 yards unless the wind is blowing hard. We classify a 10-mph crosswind as a very calm day and what makes it a little more challenging is that it is usually also gusting.”

From Wes (P1ZombieKiller): “[For my first PD trip] there are so many things I was not ready for. The one thing that I did bring (that no one told me about) was a canopy. I’m glad I did. Even though the weather was [near perfect], I know that sun can humble you real fast. With my pop-up canopy, I could shoot all day without getting killed by the sun. You had to tie the canopy down real well or the wind would blow it across the pasture.

We sat on shooting benches that pivot 360°, and are fast and easy to set up. Most all shots were 175-250 yards. I just felt comfortable at that range. It was more fun for me to be able to film the hits, and the camcorder I was using just did not get good video past 350 yards. The digital zoom distorted the image too much. I knew I would only get this one chance to film my first P-dog outing, and I wanted to get it on film for [posterity].”

Bring Multiple Rifles on Your Varmint Adventures

On our P-Dog adventures, we like to have multiple rifles — a .17 HMR for close work, then maybe a .20 Practical AR for 150-250 yards, then a larger caliber such as 6BRA, 6 Dasher or 6XC for those long shots. The classic 22-250 is also a wickedly effective varmint cartridge.

Prairie dog adventure varmint hunting

.20 Practical (20-223 Rem) AR-Platform Varminter
Here is a .20 Practical built by Robert Whitley. Whitley’s Ultimate Prairie Dog Rifle (PDR) features a 24″ Bartlein 11-twist cut-rifled barrel, DPMS side-charging upper, and a Jewell trigger. It is chambered in 20 Practical, a cartridge popularized by Warren “Fireball” Brookman.

varmint hunting prairie dog dakota dogtown

This .20 Practical cartridge is simply the .223 Remington necked down to .204. You can use your existing .223 Rem brass — no special case-forming required! The 20 Practical is accurate, flat-shooting, and has almost no recoil. The advantage over the standard .223 Remington is that, grain for grain, the bullets have a higher BC and travel at a higher velocity for more dramatic effect on a small varmint. The ultra-low recoil allows you to easily see your hits, even without a muzzle brake. The 20 Practical, launching 40-grainers at about 3750 fps, shoots flatter than a .223 Rem with 55gr hollowpoints.

.17 HMR Savage A17 Varmint Rifle
We also like to have a Rimfire for the closer shots, inside 150 yards. The .17 HMR or .17 WSM are good choices. With a rimfire you save on ammo costs and you don’t waste precious centerfire barrel life.

This video shows a successful Prairie Dog hunt with a .17 HMR. Watch and you’ll see hits out to 160 yards (00:50), proving the effective range of the 17 HMR cartridge. The host is shooting a Savage A17 semi-auto 17 HMR rifle in a Boyds laminated stock.

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June 16th, 2021

Rimfire Revolution — New Book Releasing Soon

17 HM2 Mach 2 rimfire
Expected Book Release: Early July 2021

In early July, Gun Digest will release a new book about rimfire rifles and shooting disciplines. Rimfire Revolution: A Complete Guide to Modern .22 Rifles, can be pre-ordered for $29.99 from the Gun Digest Store (or $34.99 on Amazon). You can also pre-order a digital Kindle Edition for $25.63 from Amazon.

The .22 Long Rifle (.22 LR) is the planet’s most popular ammunition type and firearm chambering. The .22 LR is used in the Olympics by 3P marksmen, but it also serves benchrest competitors, NRL22 shooters, backyard plinkers, small-game hunters, and tactical trainers. With the expansion of NRL22 matches (and the PRS equivalent), the humble .22 LR is undergoing a major resurgence in the USA. And with centerfire powders and reloading components so difficult to find these days, many folks are shooting less centerfire, but way more rimfire.

With the growth of rimfire tactical competition and the rising popularity of rimfire silhouette shooting, the .22-Caliber rimfire rifle is more popular than ever. This new Gun Digest book covers the latest trends in rimfire hardware. Every major gun manufacturer has brought at least one new rimfire rifle to the market in the last two years. These new models are covered in detail. Other Key topics included in this new, full-color book include: rimfire semi-autos and how they work; bolt-action accuracy; match shooting skills; DIY precision gunsmithing; hunting with rimfires; and the future of the rimfire market.

This 272-page book also covers .17-caliber rimfire cartridges: 17 HM2 (Mach 2), 17 HMR, and 17 WSM. These are all excellent varmint rounds, with the 17 WSM effective out to 250 yards. The 17 HM2 will run in a normal .22 LR action and feed from standard .22 LR magazines. So, for most rifles, all you need to do a .22 LR to 17 HM2 conversion is a barrel switch. That gives your rimfire rig twice the versatility. Shoot .22s and .17s with the same gun.

17 HM2 Mach 2 rimfire

NRL22 — Challenging Practical Competition with .22 LR Rifles

The USA has seen a big growth in rimfire tactical matches over the last four years. Right now there are probably ten times as many rimfire tactical matches as actual sanctioned PRS and NRL centerfire matches. The reason is simple — ammo is much less costly, and you run a challenging rimfire tactical match at nearly any shooting range that allows shooting out to 200+ yards.

NRL22 Competition — Tactical Rimfire Matches
The NRL22 match format is a great shooting discipline. NRL22 offers a high fun factor at relatively low cost. You don’t have to reload match ammo. A couple of 50-round boxes of .22 LR ammo will get you through the match. While some people bring lots of gear to matches, that’s by choice and not by necessity. You can keep it simple and still be competitive (and win).

jonathan Ocab v-22 vudoo action MPA BA Comp chassis rimfire tactical NRL22 sunday gunday Center-X 6mm creedmoor PRS

Tips for NRL22 Competitors
by Jonathan Ocab
I am a match director at my gun club and run our local NRL22 matches. People often ask me for tips for competing in NRL22. First, I recommend getting the course of fire for the month in advance and practicing those stages at the range. Here are other specific tips that should help NRL22 competitors improve their gun-handling and match results.

1. Dry Fire Practice — If you are not able to do live fire practice at the range, I encourage shooters to practice their shooting positions at home via dry fire. Setup props or barricades with pasters or other faux targets on a wall in the garage or inside the house and run through each stage.

2. Scope Magnification Level — The most common issue I see with newer shooters in NRL22 is the tendency to maximize their scope magnification. The timer will start, and the shooter gets into position on a target, but the scope is set to 15x or higher and the shooter can’t find the target. The shooter lowers the magnification, locates the target, and then increases the magnification again, takes the shot, transitions to another target, and repeats the process of decreasing magnification, locating target, etc. Novice NRL22 shooters should try using the mid-range magnification. Try shooting 7x-12x and learn to balance field of view and target image.

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April 4th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: Browning T-Bolt .17 HMR with AA Maple Stock

Browning T-bolt rifle .17 17 HMR straight pull production rimfire .22 LR

This story features a unique, American-designed rimfire rifle, chambered for the potent .17 HMR round. The current generation T-Bolt has a tang-mounted ambidextrous safety, a choice of barrel contours, lengths, and finishes, and a variety of stock options. What sets the T-Bolt apart from other rimfire rifles is the way the action cycles. There is not a conventional bolt that requires four distinct motions (lift bolt handle up/pull back/move forward/rotate handle down). With the T-Bolt you simply pull the handle straight back to extract a round, then return it forward to chamber a new round from the Double Helix magazine. The cocking effort is divided between back pull and forward movement so the effort is relatively light and easy.

Among current rimfire rifles, the Browning T-Bolt ranks high for fit and finish. The bluing is very nice and the T-Bolt even boasts a gold-plated trigger shoe. Many different stock types have been offered in recent years including some very nice AA Maple stock models as shown below (click to zoom). These T-Bolt rifles exhibit very fine craftmanship. Current models are made in Japan under license to Browning.

Browning T-bolt rifle .17 17 HMR straight pull production rimfire .22 LR
Click image for full-screen T-Bolt photo with detail.

Browning T-Bolt Sporter AA Maple Model
RECEIVER – Steel; High polished finish; Drilled and tapped for scope mounts
BARREL – Medium Sporter; Blued finish; Free-floating; Semi-match chamber; Recessed crown
ACTION – Straight pull bolt action; Top-tang safety; Adjustable trigger
STOCK – AA Maple; Gloss finish; Checkered
FEATURES – Sling swivel studs installed
PRODUCTION – Limited quantities

Browning T-bolt rifle .17 17 HMR straight pull production rimfire .22 LR

Browning T-bolt rifle .17 17 HMR straight pull production rimfire .22 LR

T-Bolt Owner Talks about Function and Accuracy
“I have a Browning T-bolt in .17 HMR, but with the maple stock. It is probably my favorite .17 HMR rifle (also the most expensive). The rifle feels smaller than some of my other .17 HMR rifles. I think the length of pull is a little shorter. I do like the light weight and trim handling of the rifle and the straight-pull bolt can be cycled really quickly. Mine is quite accurate and will shoot one-inch groups at 100 yards with both Hornady ammo and the CCI A17 ammo.” — RexRay, Varminter.com Forum member.

Browning T-bolt rifle .17 17 HMR straight pull production rimfire .22 LR

Pros and Cons of the Browning T-Bolt

The T-Bolt has a reputation for good accuracy, provided you have a good lot of .17 HMR ammo (we recommend checking for bullet run-out before you shoot for groups). The straight-pull action works as advertised — it is fast, smooth, and easy-to-operate. The Double Helix magazine (covered below) is excellent. It is very compact yet ultra-reliable. Another plus is that the T-Bolt has been produced in many different versions, with a variety of stocks, and even a stainless action version.

Browning T-bolt rifle .17 17 HMR straight pull production rimfire .22 LR

Browning T-bolt rifle .17 17 HMR straight pull production rimfire .22 LRWhat are the negatives? Some of the stocks have a somewhat short length-of-pull, but this is easily solved with spacers. The main complaint is the factory trigger — some owners say it is too heavy at about 4 pounds, though the break is clean. For varmint work, we could live with the stock trigger and put money saved into optics.

If you prefer a very light trigger, JARD makes a T-Bolt replacement trigger. Featuring an aluminum housing, the JARD T-Bolt trigger can be ordered with 12-, 16-, or 20-ounce pull weights. The JARD trigger offers a crisp, clean break significantly lighter than stock. But at $249.99 the JARD trigger is fairly expensive. Additionally there have been a couple complaints about slam fires at the lowest weights so we recommend the 20-ounce. Here is one owner review, from a Rimfire Central thread: “The new Browning T-Bolt is a great rifle in all aspects except for the trigger. In my case when I received my JARD trigger it was an almost drop-in installation with very little adjusting or fooling around. For me it made a decent little rifle a great little rifle.”

Browning Double Helix 10-Round Magazine

Browning T-bolt rifle .17 17 HMR straight pull production rimfire .22 LR
Browning T-bolt rifle 17 HMR straight pull production rimfire .22 LR

The T-Bolt’s patented 10-round rotary Double Helix™ magazine is a unique design that feeds very reliably and is easy to load. The Double Helix magazine uses a torsion drive spring and interlocking gear design to maintain correct timing and exact cartridge alignment for smooth, reliable feeding. The translucent gray body allows for easy verification of the number of remaining cartridges. We like the fact that the Double Helix provides TEN-round capacity while fitting nearly flush with the bottom of the action.

The Browning Double Helix rotary box magazine system is easy to load, easy to carry, and easy to use. The smooth, rounded exterior contours of the Double Helix, along with twin gripping grooves, tapered shape and a slightly extended baseplate design make insertion positive, while the spring-assisted drop-free magazine ejection feature allows for rapid magazine changes. T-bolt owners confirm that feeding and reliability is excellent — the magazine design puts cartridges in perfect alignment with the chamber.

Other Browning T-Bolt Variants

Browning T-bolt rifle 17 HMR limited discontinued current production rimfire .22 LRIn recent years, Browning has produced T-Bolt rifles in a variety of models, with many different stock types and various barrel lengths/contours. Most of the photos above showcase the AA Maple Sporter T-Bolt, which is currently out of production, though still available from some dealers (if you search). We like the looks of the AA Maple T-Bolt, but there many other stock options including dark brown, Black, Green, and various camouflage finishes. Use the links below to see all the T-Bolt configurations.

Here are 4 other T-Bolt variants, first the new-for-2021 T-Bolt Target with muzzle brake, then the Limited Edition Cerakote T-Bolt Speed model, and two discontinued T-Bolts, a composite-stocked carbon finish model and a Varmint Special with stainless action and thumbhole laminated stock. Current production T-Bolts are offered in three rimfire chamberings: .17 HMR, .22 LR, and .22 WMR. Barrel contours and lengths (from 16.5″ to 22″) vary from model to model.

T-Bolt Current Production | T-Bolt Limited Editions | T-Bolt Discontinued Models

Browning T-bolt rifle 17 HMR limited discontinued current production rimfire .22 LR
Browning T-bolt rifle 17 HMR limited discontinued current production rimfire .22 LR
Browning T-bolt rifle 17 HMR limited discontinued current production rimfire .22 LR
Browning T-bolt rifle 17 HMR limited discontinued current production rimfire .22 LR

Browning T-bolt rifle .17 17 HMR straight pull production rimfire .22 LR

Do you like the T-Bolt? Well there is a 5% Off Rebate Program available right now that covers the T-Bolt and all other Browning firearms.

.17 HMR Cartridge — Fast and Deadly on Small Varmints

We are big fans of the .17 HMR round. It’s just about perfect for ground squirrels, and is effective on prairie dogs out to about 200 yards. The three main .17 HMR producers have been CCI, Federal, and Hornady. Choose from 17gr or 20gr bullets — both work well in the varmint fields. Norma also makes .17 HMR ammo with 17gr V-Max bullets. This Norma .17 HMR ammo has shown very good accuracy.

17 HMR ammunition t-bolt browning rifle

CCI .17 HMR TNT offers 2650 FPS Velocity
For varmint work we like CCI’s latest .17 HMR VNT ammo. This boasts class-leading 2650 FPS muzzle velocity. Engineered to combine good accuracy with high impact energy, this CCI TNT ammo features a 17gr polymer-tipped bullet designed for rapid expansion. We also like the Norma .17 HMR ammo. “With outstanding accuracy and excellent energy transfer… The .17 HMR has a very loyal following among hunters and target shooters alike”, said Paul Lemke, G.M. for Norma/RUAG.

Browning T-bolt rifle .17 17 HMR straight pull production rimfire .22 LR

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July 11th, 2020

Small Varmint Hunting with .22 LR — and FREE Varmint Target

Norma Tac-22 ammunition .22 LR varmint prairie dog Jim See

Norma Tac-22 ammunition .22 LR varmint prairie dog Jim SeeRimfire Varmint Adventure
Can you shoot prairie dogs with a .22 LR Rifle? The answer is yes, if you have an accurate rifle, know your drops, and keep your targets within a reasonable distance (inside 240 yards). While the .17 HMR and .17 WSM are much more potent, flat-shooting, and effective P-dog slayers, a talented marksman CAN get good results with a .22 LR rimfire rifle, as ace PRS shooter and gunsmith Jim See recently proved.

Posting on his Facebook Page on 7/9/2020, Jim wrote: “Took out the .22 LR for some LR prairie poodles, there were not many in this town, but it gave me a chance to get some impressive hits. Norma TAC-22 ammo put the smack down on a first-round hit, called head shots at 189 yards. The body-shot dog was a first-round kill at 240 yards. I had one more head shot with a second round hit at 163. The nice part about using the .22 Long Rifle ammo is the [critters] don’t spook too bad, so a follow-up shot with a correction is usually available to get a better wind hold.” Even unsuppressed, a .22 LR rimfire shot makes much less noise than a centerfire round.

Norma Tac-22 ammunition .22 LR varmint prairie dog Jim See

NOTE: The Norma TAC-22 .22 LR ammo used by Jim See offers great bang for the buck. It is quite affordable — a 50rd box is just $4.41 at Midsouth Shooters. Some lots have show outstanding accuracy. These target photos (below) come from Champion Shooters Supply which may have gotten an exceptional lot. This vendor tells us: “We have found this to run very well in Ruger rifles, handguns, and target pistols. These are 5-shot groups at 50 yards with an Anschutz 1913 rifle. This is an incredible value.” Jim says the TAC-22 delivers 1″ groups at 100 yards in his rifle.

Norma Tac-22 ammunition .22 LR varmint prairie dog Jim See

Free Sierra Varmint Target — Prairie Enemy

Sierra Bullets has introduced a new line of loaded centerfire varmint ammunition, the Prairie Enemy series of cartridges. Sierra currently offers Prairie Enemy ammo for six cartridge types: .204 Ruger, .223 Rem, .224 Valkyrie, .22-250 Rem, .243 Win, and 6.5 Creedmoor. To celebrate this new ammo line, Sierra created a colorful Prairie Enemy P-Dog target. Click the image below to download the PDF target.


Click Image to Download Target PDF

Norma Tac-22 ammunition .22 LR varmint prairie dog Jim See

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June 14th, 2020

Got a P-Dog Trip Planned? Bring along a 17 HMR Rimfire Rig

Volquartsen 17 HMR Dustin Ellermann 17 HMR

We are coming into peak Prairie Dog season. For long shots you’ll definitely want a centerfire. We like the 20 Practical in an AR and a 22 BR/BRA in a bolt-action. That will have you covered out to 700 yards. But for shorter shots on small critters — say inside 150 yards — it makes sense to have an accurate 17 HMR rimfire rig. Today’s 17 HMRs are capable of surprising accuracy, rivaling a good centerfire rig, but with less recoil and much lower cost per shot. And the 17 HMR offers more than double the velocity of a .22 LR — up to 2650 fps with a 17-grain bullet.

Top Shot former Champion Dustin Ellerman likes his Volquartsens, and we can see why. With one of his favorite 17 HMR rimfire varmint rigs, he’s seen some outstanding accuracy with CCI ammo. A few seasons back, on his Facebook page, Dustin reported: “Prepping for prairie dogs and I’m floored by this cold, sub-half-inch group shot with the Volquartsen Custom 17 HMR at 100 yards.” This thumbhole-stock rifle features a Bowers Group USS suppressor, and 3-12x56mm Meopta Scope. Dustin tried different types of CCI 17 HMR ammo. This small group was shot with CCI A17 ammo.

Volquartsen 17 HMR Dustin Ellermann 17 HMR

What’s the effective range of a 17 HMR on prairie dogs? You might be surprised. in 2015, Dustin took another Volquartsen 17 HMR on a Prairie Dog hunt in Wyoming. He was impressed with the rifle (shown below) and the little rimfire cartridge. Dustin says the effective range of the 17 HMR is farther than one might expect: “I made hits out to 300 yards. 200 yards was easy as long as the wind wasn’t too bad.”

Here’s the Volquartsen 17 HMR Dustin used in Wyoming in 2015:
Volquartsen 17 HMR Dustin Ellermann 17 HMR

After that 2015 P-Dog expedition, Dustin became a fan of the 17 HMR cartridge: “Never paid it much attention before now because the ammo is five times more expensive than .22 LR and I mostly target shoot. However, for prairie dogs, the 17 HMR is amazing!” Consider this — Hornady’s 17 HMR ammo pushes a 17gr V-Max bullet at 2550 fps, twice as fast as typical .22 LR rounds.

Prairie Dog Adventure with Savage A17
This video shows a successful Prairie Dog hunt. Watch and you’ll see hits out to 160 yards (00:50), proving the effective range of the 17 HMR cartridge. The host is shooting a Savage A17 semi-auto 17 HMR rifle in a Boyds laminated stock.

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June 10th, 2020

New Howa M1100 Rimfire Rifle (.22 LR, .22 WMR, .17 HMR)

Howa m1100 rimfire .22 LR HMR .17 HMR 17hmr smallbore trainer

Legacy Sports Int’l has just introduced a new bolt-action rimfire rifle — the Howa M1100. This new rifle will be available in three chamberings: .22 LR, .22 WMR, and .17 HMR. The rifle has a smooth action and comes with a “SUB-MOA” accuracy guarantee — something rare for a rimfire.

With a stock that somewhat resembles a SAKO S20 in terms of grip angle and ergonomics, we think the Howa M1100 could be a good PRS trainer or NRL22 competition rifle. The .17 HMR version should be a good carry-around varmint rig for ground squirrels and other small critters. We hope to get our hands on an M1100 for testing this summer.

SAKO S20 Centerfire Rifle for Comparison
Howa m1100 rimfire .22 LR HMR .17 HMR 17hmr smallbore trainer

The product description states: “The HOWA rimfire bolt action comes with an oversized tactical bolt handle, an 18″ threaded and capped barrel, and two detachable mags. All are housed into a tough synthetic Tactical / Varmint style stock with a beavertail fore-end with options of OD or Black finish.” There is also an extra-cost camo option — the whole M1100 rifle (stock and barreled action) is finished in Kratos Camo hydrodip. With the threaded barrel, the M1100 is suppressor-ready.

Howa m1100 rimfire .22 LR HMR .17 HMR 17hmr smallbore trainer

Legacy Sports Int’l will also be offering a Howa M1100 scoped package. This comes completes with rings and a Nikko Stirling 3.5-10×44 Gamepro Scope.

Howa M1100s come with a Lifetime Warranty and a SUB-MOA guarantee. That is 3 shots at 100 yards with “premium factory ammunition”. At least that’s what the guarantee page states. We expect that Howa might want to modify that for its rimfire rifles. But in any case, right now Legacy Sports Int’l says the M1100 rifle is guaranteed to be sub-MOA at 100 yards*. It will be interesting to see if that really can be achieved.

The Howa M1100 MSRP ranges from $478 to $589 depending on the package, with scoped models costing more. We expect “street price” for the basic models to be about $425.00.


* From website: Legacy Sports Int’l guarantees all Howa rifles to deliver SUB MOA Performance of 1 inch or less at 100 yards with Premium Factory Ammunition. Legacy Sports International requires an original receipt, and that the firearm be registered with Legacy Sports International. All Howa rifles purchased in the U.S. on or after January 1, 2017 are covered by this offer.

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