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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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August 13th, 2022

Lead-Free Ammo Option for .17 WSM Shooters

Varminter.com winchester 17 WSM lead free no lead rifle test
Photo Courtesy Varminter.com.

Some “progressive” states, such as California, are imposing broad new restrictions on the use of ammunition that contains lead. This is problematic for rimfire varmint shooters. Thankfully, Winchester now offers LEAD FREE 17 WSM ammunition. In this ammunition, zinc replaces lead in the bullet cores.

The team at Varminter.com has conducted an extensive test of Winchester’s new lead-free ammo. Over the course of multiple sessions, Varminter.com shot the ammo using no less than nine different rifles. Four, 5-shot groups were shot with each rifle from the bench at 100 yards.

Results were impressive. Average group size for a 1:9″-twist heavy barrel Savage B-Mag was a remarkable 0.5005 inches. Group size averages for seven of the eight other 17-cal rifles* ranged from 0.755 to 1.03 inches at 100 yards — pretty impressive for factory rimfire rigs. A LOT of time was invested in this test, and we recommend you read the full report on Varminter.com.

» READ FULL 17 WSM Lead-Free AMMO Review on Varminter.com

Fastest Rimfire Cartridge Ever
If you’re not familiar with this cartridge, the 17 WSM is the fastest, flattest-shooting rimfire round you can buy. It stomps the .22 LR, and even offers significantly better ballistics than the popular 17 HMR. This lead- free 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).

Varminter.com winchester 17 WSM lead free no lead rifle test

Zinc Replaces Lead in Winchester’s Eco-Friendly 17 WSM
For folks who live in areas where lead ammo is restricted, such as California, the arrival of this Lead Free 17 WSM is good news. Winchester’s new 17 WSM ammunition features a Zinc-cored, polymer-tipped 15-grain bullet with 0.118 G1 BC. The ammo is rated at a speedy 3300 FPS velocity. Winchester says that the zinc core and “thin alloy jacket with engineered sidewall profile” deliver “explosive fragmentation.”

Varminter.com winchester 17 WSM lead free no lead rifle test

*The ninth rifle, a Savage BMAG with original thin-contour barrel, was the “odd man out”. Accuracy was mediocre, averaging 1.763 inches.

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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.

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
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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January 26th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Six Field Rifles from SHOT Show 2020

volquarsten Summit toggle Rifle Rifle 17 caliber .17 WSM
Volquartsen Summit rifle in Victor Company Titan aftermarket stock in Kryptec Camo.

There were thousands of rifles on display at SHOT Show 2020 in Las Vegas. We saw scores of ARs, and countless metal chassis rifles. But there were plenty of excellent field rifles with more conventional stocks. Here are our Editors’ “Pick Six” — a half-dozen stocked rifles which impressed us with their design, components, features, and “bang for the buck”. Many of these rigs feature aluminum actions and/or carbon-wrapped barrels for weight savings. We’re please to see rifle-makers employing modern materials to reduce weight for hunting rifles carried in the field.

Seekins Precision — Havak Element Super-Light

Seekins Precision Superlight

During Industry Day at the Range we met our friend Stan Pate, an ace F-Class shooter and avid hunter who was on assignment for Guns.com. Stan told us to check out the Seekins Precision Havak Element. This rifle features a high-grade 7075 aluminum action, spriral-fluted barrel, and carbon composite stock. With those components it weighs just 5.5 pounds without optics! The action also has a unique built-in bubble level (see below).

Seekins Precision Superlight

Stan Pate praised the Seekins Havak Element: “One thing I appreciate is quality. There’s something you can tell about a rifle as soon as you put it in your shoulder and cycle the bolt a few times and try the trigger. And then you shoot this rifle… it’s VERY accurate and just a solid hunting rifle. The tolerances [are] tighter than normal production rifles, which gives you a high-end rifle feel. And the accuracy follows through with that perception. The action is quite stout and ‘smooth as butter’.”

Christensen Arms — Ranger 22 Rimfire

volquarsten Summit toggle Rifle Rifle 17 caliber .17 WSM

At SHOT Show 2020, Christensen Arms showcased an impressive new .22 LR rimfire rifle, the Ranger 22. With an aluminum action, high-quality carbon-composite stock, and 18″ carbon-wrapped barrel, the Ranger 22 is quite light and easy to carry. This would be a great field-carry rifle for small varmints. The Ranger 22 features a Trigger Tech match-grade trigger, and Picatinny scope rail. Weight is 5.1 pounds, and there are a varity of finish options. Christensen Arms offers a sub-MOA 50-yard accuracy guarantee. MSRP is $795.

Browning — X-Bolt Hell’s Canyon Max Long Range

Browing Hell's Canyon long range camo hunting rifle 6.5 Creedmoor

One of the more interesting factory rifles at SHOT Show was Browning’s limited edition X-Bolt Hell’s Canyon Max Long Range rifle. This Max LR Model features Cerakote Burnt Bronze finish on metal parts, and A-TACS TD-X Camo stock finish. The Heavy Sporter-contour 26″ barrel includes a removable muzzle brake. We like the stock design, which has a flat, straight toe for riding in a rear bag and nice ergonomics with an adjustable comb. Currently this is offered in 6.5 Creedmoor only. We hope other chamberings, such as 6XC or 6mm Creedmoor, will be offered in the future, as we think this could be an excellent long-range varmint platform, with a handy detachable magazine.

Volquartsen Summit Straight-Pull Rifle in .17 WSM

volquarsten Summit toggle Rifle Rifle 17 caliber .17 WSM

Since it was first introduced as a .22 LR, we liked the straight-pull, toggle-bolt Volquartsen Summit rifle. The Summit action is reliable and the rifles are well-built. In 2019 Volquartsen added the .17 Mach 2 (.17 HM2) to the Summit series. Now, for 2020 Volquartsen is addding the larger .17 WSM cartridge, which offers peak performance for a rimfire rifle. With the addition of the .17 WSM chambering, the Summit is now a bonafied option for small-critter varminting out to 200+ yard. This round has far less drop than a .22 LR and retains critter-busting energy even at 200 yards. The .17 WSM Summit boasts a 1:8.25″-twist 20″ barrel, with threaded muzzle. Conveniently, the Summit takes standard Ruger 6-round magazines. Choose either AS-1 Ambi Stock or Laminated Wood Sporter Stock (shown above). MSRP starts at $1,553.00. NOTE: Volquartsen’s .22 LR and 17 Mach 2 Summits currently list for $1225.00 in Magpul stocks, about $330 cheaper.

Savage 110 UltraLite with Carbon-Wrapped Barrel

volquarsten Summit toggle Rifle Rifle 17 caliber .17 WSM

Fitted with a Proof Research carbon-wrapped stainless barrel, Savage’s new 110 UltraLite rifle weigh under 6 pounds (without optics). It’s impressive that Savage could deliver a sub-6-pound rifle with 22″ to 24″ barrels. Part of the secret is a skeletonized receiver and fluted bolt. A full selection of chamberings will be offered: .308 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, .270 Win, .280 Ackley Improved, 28 Nosler, .300 WSM, and .30-06 Springfield. All 110 UltraLites come with grey AccuFit stocks with adjustable comb height and length of pull (LOP). Depending on the chambering, 110 UltraLite rifles weigh between 5.8 and 6 pounds. MSRP for the 110 UltraLite is $1499. We expect street price to be around $1300.00.

Howa Mini Action Full Dip Camo Rifles

volquarsten Summit toggle Rifle Rifle 17 caliber .17 WSM

Howa’s Mini Action rifles offer a compact platform and faster cycling for cartridges such as the .223 Rem and 6.5 Grendel. At SHOT Show, Howa displayed Mini Action rifles with “Full Dip” camouflage in three patterns: Kryptek Highlander, Yote, and Kratos. The hydro-dip camo covers the rifle from butt to muzzle, including stock, action, barrel, scope, and even rings. Hunters will appreciate the “full coverage”. Howa Mini Action “Full Dip” camo rifles are currently available in .223 Rem, 6.5 Grendel, and 7.62×39 chamberings, all with 20″ heavy barrels. Nikko Sterling GamePro 3.5-10×44mm scopes are included on these Howa Mini Action camo rifles, which are guaranteed to shoot sub-MOA. If you’re looking for a light-weight hunting rig for varmints or coyotes, this is a good choice.

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, New Product, Tactical No Comments »
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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August 5th, 2018

Semi-Auto 17 HMR Rifle — Savage’s A17

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 in a nice laminated thumbhole stock, you can get a fine little 17 HMR rifle for about $450.00. We much prefer the laminated stock A17 over the basic Tupperware version.

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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June 24th, 2018

Cleaning Rod Bore Guide for 17 HMR Rifles

Roy Bertalatto RVB Precision 17 HMR Cleaning Rod Bore Guide
The Bertalotto 17 HMR Cleaning Rod Bore Guide is actually made from aluminum arrow shafts.

When Hornady (and CCI) developed the 17 HMR cartridge, they really hit a home-run. And the rifle manufacturers quickly marketed some nice rifles to chamber this 17-cal rimfire round. But unlike .22 LR rifles which, typically, require very little cleaning, 17 HMRs demand frequent bore cleaning to maintain good accuracy. That’s because 17 HMRs shoot copper-jacketed bullets at 2550 fps velocities.

17-Cal Bore Guides — The Challenge
The problem is, it’s hard to find a well-designed, quality bore guide for 17-caliber rimfire rifles. With many 17 HMR (and 17 Mach 2) rifles, you encounter mechanical interference when you try to use a standard bore guide to protect the delicate chamber edge and the bottle neck area of the chamber. A fixed ejector is in the way. On many 17 HMR rifles, this little “shark fin” ejector is right in line with the chamber and is fixed — it doesn’t retract. Therefore the kind of bore guide you might use for centerfire rifles won’t work in 17 HMRs — it will hang up on the ejector.

Polymer bore guides exist for this type of action, but they are typically open-bottom designs that do not enter and seal the chamber. These open-bottom designs don’t protect the delicate chamber edge or the bottleneck area of the chamber, and they also allow some seepage of solvents out of the chamber. That’s why Roy Bertalotto created his RVB Precision Bore Guide for 17 HMR rifles. The 7075 aluminum tube on his Bore Guide is thin enough to pass by the ejector, yet it is extremely rigid. (Photos below.)

Roy explains: “My bore guide is made of 7075 anodized aluminum tubing, which is totally unaffected by any type of cleaning solution. One end is swagged down to fit completely into the chamber of a 17 HMR rifle. This guides your cleaning rod perfectly to the bore without touching the chamber walls or front edge of the chamber. The tight fit of the bore guide in the chamber also stops cleaning solvents from getting into the action, magazine, and trigger housing.” (Editor: Solvent seepage can do damage. We had a 17 Mach 2 rifle that rusted internally because solvents leaked past an open-bottom bore guide.)

Roy Bertalatto RVB Precision 17 HMR Cleaning Rod Bore Guide

Using the RVB 17 HMR Guide – Once the bore guide is in place, slide the supplied aluminum bushing over the tube, and gently push the bushing into the rear of the action. This centers the guide rod in the action to keep the guide rod tube aligned. Once the guide rod and bushing are in place, you can use a 17-caliber cleaning rod* with patches and/or brushes to clean the barrel. Use the rod normally, but make sure your patches are quite small and don’t apply too much pressure as these small-diameter rods can kink if you try to force over-size patches down the bore.

The RVB Precision 17 HMR Bore Guide costs $19.95 plus $5.00 shipping. To order, email Roy Bertalotto via rvb100 [at] comcast.net. Roy will then send you shipping/payment details.

Roy tells us: “Yes, I make the bore guides out of 1616 aluminum arrow shafts. The only material on earth that fits EXACTLY what is needed. I buy the shaft material as simple tubing from Easton. It is hard anodized, the perfect wall thickness and doesn’t look too bad either.”

* NOTE: You really do need a dedicated .17-cal cleaning rod for this job. Most other rods are too fat to pass through the barrel. Dewey Mfg. makes a decent 17-caliber cleaning rod that is reasonably stiff and doesn’t kink too readily. It is available in 7″, 11″, 18″, 26″, and 36″ lengths, either bare stainless steel or with a nylon coating. For use with the Bertalotto Bore Guide, we prefer the nylon-coated version, in either 26″ or 36″ lengths, depending on barrel length.

Dewey 17 cal caliber bore guide

If you have a high comb on your rifle, you may need extra length to avoid interference with the rod handle. Use this formula to determine correct rod length: Length of barrel + action or breech rod guide length + 2-3″ clearance + high comb if applicable = total rod length needed.

There are other quality 17-cal cleaning rods, but we’ve used the Dewey and it functioned well. The nylon coating cleaned easily and was gentle on the throat and crown. You should clean the coating before and after each use to ensure it does not embed grit or other contaminants.

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September 8th, 2017

Hunt Report: Squirrel-Busting with Varminter.com’s 17 Hornet

Felding Ground Squirrel Varminter.com 25gr HP Hornady 17 Hornet varmint cartridge ammo ammunition

When considering .17-caliber Varminting, most guys think rimfire — shooting the 17 HMR or the newer 17 WSM. But there is a good, affordable centerfire option — the 17 Hornet — with quality factory ammunition available. Hornady produces factory 17 Hornet Ammo with three bullet options: 15.5gr NTX, 20gr V-Max, and the new 25gr HP Varmint. Our friends at Varminter.com recently conducted a test of Hornady’s new 25gr HP “Custom” ammunition, reasonably affordable at around $29/box of 50 rounds. Varminter.com tested the ammo in a CZ 527 rifle chambered for the 17 Hornet on a ground squirrel hunt in Northern Nevada.

» READ FULL 17 Hornet TEST & HUNT REPORT on Varminter.com

Hornady 17 Hornet 25 Grain HP CUSTOM™ Ammo (#83006) Specifications:

25 grain HP Varmint bullet
3375 fps rated (Varminter.com averaged 3383 fps in CZ Model 527 with 24″ barrel)
632 FPE (Foot Pounds of Energy)
0.187 G1 Ballistic Coefficient

Hornady 17 Hornet varmint cartridge ammo ammunition

Ammo Testing and Hunt Report

By Varminter.com’s Editor
With the new 25gr Hornady 17 Hornet ammo, our accuracy results ranged from 0.528″ to 0.85″, with an average of 0.678″ over ten, 5-shot groups at 100 yards. After shooting the groups, we settled on a 200-yard zero, which put the rifle at 1.1″ high @ 100 yards and 5.3″ low @300 yards.

“I went 14 shots in a row without a miss, and that was from 80 yards out to 220 yards. On these small varmints here, the 25-grain HP does a good job [and] the ammunition is accurate.”

Ground Squirrel Gauntlet in Northern Nevada
It was a few months after the initial range work when I was able to really put this ammo to work on some varmints. The grass here in Southern Idaho had grown quite tall, so we decided to head over to a spot on a private ranch down in Northern Nevada. We were promised some good shooting, but until we actually sit down at the bench and start pulling the trigger, we try not to get our hopes up. Needless to say, we were not disappointed in the amount of varmints and shooting we experienced!

Felding Ground Squirrel Varminter.com 25gr HP Hornady 17 Hornet varmint cartridge ammo ammunition

The set-up was simple. I set-up with my bench pointed down a private dirt road on the edge of a large alfalfa field. I was going to be shooting something I call “The Gauntlet”. What this means, is that the majority of the ground squirrels were making their home outside of the alfalfa fields. This is a perfect spot for ground squirrels, because they are forced to cross an open area (the dirt road), in order to get to the lush, green, alfalfa. Within this gauntlet, the ground squirrels would consistently stop on the edge to make sure it was safe to run across to the alfalfa side. This gives you a few seconds [time window] to find the squirrel in your scope and make the shot. The range of shoots were from 80 yards out to 220 yards down the road. CLICK HERE to read full 17 Hornet Hunt Report.

Speed Kills — 3650 FPS with a 20-Grainer

Based on the 22 Hornet cartridge case, the 17 Hornet can drive a 20-grain V-MAX bullet at 3,650 fps. At this velocity, the 17 Hornet can match the trajectory of a 55-grain .223 Remington load, but with much less noise and recoil. Look at the chart below. You can see that the 17 Hornet’s trajectory (blue-gray line) is almost an identical match for the larger .223 Rem (red line) all the way out to 400 yards or so.

17 Hornet ballistics Varminter.com

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May 30th, 2017

Varminter.com Field Tests New Lead Free 17 WSM Ammo

Varminter.com winchester 17 WSM lead free no lead rifle test
Photo Courtesy Varminter.com.

The team at Varminter.com just completed an extensive test of Winchester’s new LEAD FREE 17 WSM ammunition. During multiple sessions, Varminter.com shot the ammo using no less than nine different rifles. Four, 5-shot groups were shot with each rifle from the bench at 100 yards. Results were impressive. Average group size for a 1:9″-twist heavy barrel Savage B-Mag was a remarkable 0.5005 inches. Group size averages for seven of the eight other 17-cal rifles* ranged from 0.755 to 1.03 inches at 100 yards — pretty impressive for factory rimfire rigs. A LOT of time was invested in this test, and we recommend you read the full report on Varminter.com.

» READ FULL 17 WSM Lead-Free AMMO Review on Varminter.com

Fastest Rimfire Cartridge Ever
If you’re not familiar with this cartridge, the 17 WSM is the fastest, flattest-shooting rimfire round you can buy. It stomps the .22 LR, and even offers significantly better ballistics than the popular 17 HMR. This lead- free 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).

Varminter.com winchester 17 WSM lead free no lead rifle test

Zinc Replaces Lead in Winchester’s Eco-Friendly 17 WSM
For folks who live in areas where lead ammo is restricted, such as California, the arrival of this Lead Free 17 WSM is good news. Winchester’s new 17 WSM ammunition features a Zinc-cored, polymer-tipped 15-grain bullet with 0.118 G1 BC. The ammo is rated at a speedy 3300 FPS velocity. Winchester says that the zinc core and “thin alloy jacket with engineered sidewall profile” deliver “explosive fragmentation.”

Varminter.com winchester 17 WSM lead free no lead rifle test

*The ninth rifle, a Savage BMAG with original thin-contour barrel, was the “odd man out”. Accuracy was mediocre, averaging 1.763 inches.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting 2 Comments »
January 27th, 2017

Pint-Sized Power — the 3000 FPS 17 Win Super Mag Rimfire

17 Winchester Super Magnum Rimfire WSM Varminter.com

At SHOT Show 2017, we had the chance to chat extensively with Eric Mayer, head honcho of Varminter.com. An avid shooter and hunter, Eric loves small, efficient cartridges. Eric told us his current favorite rimfire cartridge is the 17 WSM. “Winchester has continued to improve this cartridge since its introduction. We are seeing very good accuracy now, and performance is impressive in the varmint fields”. Eric notes that the 3000 fps 17 WSM 20-grain ammo (photo above) delivers way more punch downrange than a typical 17 HMR load. In this article, you’ll find the highlights of Varminter.com’s review of the 17 WSM round in the Ruger 77/17 cartridge.

Ruger 77/17  17 Winchester Super Magnum Rimfire Win Super Mag or WSM review video AccurateShooter.com

The 17 Winchester Super Magnum Rimfire (aka Win Super Mag or WSM) is the fastest, most potent modern rimfire round you can buy. This cartridge, which uses a modified nail gun casing, drives 20gr bullets at 3000 fps. The 17 WSM offers superior ballistics to all .22 rimfires, and is a clear step ahead of the 17 HMR. That makes this round a potential “game-changer” in the varmint fields. To gauge the capabilities of the 17 WSM, Varminter.com tested the cartridge in the new Ruger 77/17 bolt-action rifle. Click HERE for Varminter.com Ruger 77/17, 17 WSM Review.

17 WSM shoots faster than the 17 HMR, so the 20gr bullets don’t drift as much in the wind:
17 Win Super Mag Rimfire Magnum Ruger 77/18 Varminter.com review

Varminter.com reports: “The much-anticipated Ruger 77/17 chambered in the 17 Winchester Super Magnum (17WSM) has been released. Our Review Editor, William Chambers, put it through a full range test with all four currently-available ammunition loads. Afterwards, he took it on a short groundhog hunt[.] We put a lot of rounds through the guns we test, at targets, through chronographs and out in the field. This report includes all currently available 17 WSM ammunition and a sneak peek of the really nice Nikon Prostaff 5 riflescope.” READ REVIEW.

As part of its review, Varminter.com tested four different types of 17 WSM ammo for accuracy: American Eagle (20gr V-Max); Hornady (20gr V-Max), Winchester HV (20gr V-Max); Winchester HE (25gr V-Max). In the little Ruger, which suffered from a very heavy trigger, the most accurate ammo, by far, was the American Eagle, with an average 5-shot group size of 1.135 MOA at 100 yards. The Winchester HV was the worst, with a 2.304 MOA average for three, 5-shot groups. CLICK HERE for full accuracy test results.

After accuracy testing, Varminter.com Review Editor Chambers took the Ruger 77/17 on a Groundhog hunt in Northern Ohio. Chambers was successful, bagging this ‘hog’ at 127 yards. The American Eagle 17 WSM ammo did quick work — the groundhog dropped without a twitch (watch video).

Ruger 77/17  17 Winchester Super Magnum Rimfire Win Super Mag or WSM review video AccurateShooter.com

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting 3 Comments »
January 23rd, 2017

Bargain Finder 71: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Natchez — Special 5 Reloading Press Kit, $199.99

RCBS Special 5 Reloading Kit

This RCBS Kit has everything a new reloader needs: single-stage press, powder measure, scale, powder trickler, priming tool, cartridge tray, “rocket” chamfer tool, case lube and more. This is an excellent entry-level reloading kit, on sale for just $199.99 at Natchez Shooters Supplies. We like the relatively compact Special 5 press for most reloading duties. Eventually you may want to add an additional, large heavy press, but this will get the job done. For the combined package, with all the tools one needs to hand-load quality ammo — this is a stunningly good deal at $199.99.

2. Powder Valley — Reloder 16 Powder, 1-pound and 8-pound

Powder Valley H4350 RL16 Reloder 16 powder PRS 6.5 Creedmoor

Powder Valley now has Alliant Reloder 16 (RL16) in stock in both 1-lb ($23.95) and 8-lb ($178.95) containers. If you’re not familiar with this relatively new propellant, we can tell you that RL16 may be the best replacement yet for hard-to-find Hodgdon H4350. Burn rate is very similar to H4350, and RL16 is extremely temp-stable. Most importantly, our Forum members are reporting outstanding accuracy with Reloder 16. It is well suited for mid-sized cartridges such as 6XC, 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5×47 Lapua, and .260 Remington. If you like H4350, we recommend you try a pound of Alliant’s impressive Reloder 16.

3. EuroOptic.com — Tikka T3 Liquidation Sale, Huge Discounts

Tikka T3 sale inventory closeout reduction discount truckload

Looking for a great price on an excellent hunting rifle? Here is the Tikka Deal of the Decade. EuroOptic.com has received nearly 3,500 Tikka T3 rifles, which will be sold at deep discounts as part of an inventory clearance program by Beretta, Tikka’s parent company. The Tikka T3 is a good, stout rifle with a smooth action, crisp trigger, and quality barrel. Accuracy is typically well under 1 MOA (for three shots). T3 barreled actions also are a good “core” for a tactical build. The strong T3 action handles detachable magazines, and fits a variety of third-party stocks.

4. Amazon — Discovery Scope Level $13-$16 (1″, 30mm, 34mm)

Optical Rifle Scope bubble level Discovery 30mm 1 inch 34mm Amazon

If you shoot long range, you need a scope level. This Discovery scope level is fully CNC-machined to close tolerances for a good fit. It is available with three inner diameters to fit scopes with 1″, 30mm, or 34mm main tubes. The 1″ version is just $12.95 while the 30mm model is $13.95 and the large 34mm version is $15.95. You could easily pay $35.00 or more for a 30mm scope level. Purchasers have praised this product: 89% of verified buyers rated this five stars.

5. CDNN Sports — Savage 17 WSM B.MAG Sporter, $289.99

CDNN Savage B.MAG rimfire 17 WSM Varmint

Our friend Eric, Editor of Varminter.com, says the 17 WSM is probably his favorite rimfire option for small varmints. The modern Winchester Super Magnum Rimfire (WSM) cartridge is accurate, and it flies faster and hits harder than the 17 HMR. Right now you can get a nice Savage B.MAG rifle chambered in 17 WSM for just $289.99 at CDNN Sports. This rimfire rifle boasts features typically reserved for centerfire rifles. In order to maximize acuracy, Savage offers a thread-in barrel headspacing system, rear-locking lugs, and cock-on-close bolt.

6. Midsouth — Complete Case Tumbling Kit, $73.70

Midsouth Vibratory Tumbler Brass Cleaning Kit

This brass tumbling system contains everything you need to clean your cartridge brass: Vibratory Case Tumbler, Rotary Media Separator, 6 lbs. of Corn Cob Media, and 8 oz. of Brass Polish. Right now this whole system is on sale at Midsouth for just $73.70. The case tumbler, which holds 450 .223 Rem cases or 1000 9mm cases, has a three-year motor warranty. This is a good deal for the package. You could pay $65.00 for a good vibratory Tumbler by itself.

7. Bullets.com — Norma .22LR Ammo (Match 22 & Tac 22)

Norma Match 22 Tac .22 LR Ammo rimfire ammunition bullets.com

Need quality .22 LR rimfire ammo at an affordable price? Consider Norma. Most folks think Norma only produces centerfire ammo and cartridge brass. As a result, people haven’t been looking for Norma rimfire ammo. Their loss is your gain. Accurate, reliable Norma .22 LR ammunition is in-stock right now at leading online vendors. This is good quality ammo, made in Europe. Bullets.com has Norma Tac-22 ammo in stock at $5.25 per 50-rd box (SKU: BL7819). In addition, Bullets.com offers Norma Match-22 ammunition at $7.50 per 50-rd box (SKU: BL11887).

8. Midsouth — Lyman Bleacher Loading Blocks

Max NRR 33 db ear plugs

Lyman’s new Bleacher Block stepped cartridge holders are great. Use the different levels for sorting brass. Or, migrate the brass from top to bottom as you proceed through case prep stages. Made of durable polymer, Bleacher Blocks are molded in three sizes. The smallest size (with 0.388″-diam holes) fits .223 Rem-size case heads. The middle size (with 0.485″-diam holes) fits .308 Win-size case heads. The biggest Bleacher Block has 0.565″-diameter recesses for magnum-size cases. All three cartridge block sizes hold fifty (50) rounds. Purchase any size for just $5.90 per Block at Midsouth.

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June 27th, 2015

Semi-Auto .17 HMR: Savage A17 Field Test by Varminter.com

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

Varminter.com recently released a First Hunt Report on the new Savage A17 rifle. Savage’s new semi-auto .17 HMR has caused quite a stir. Accurate and affordable, the Savage A17 is also the first .17 HMR to feature a delayed blow-back action. We think the A17 may be the most important new rimfire rifle of 2015, so we were pleased to see that Eric Mayer, Editor of Varminter.com, put the new semi-auto Savage 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. Here are some highlights from Varminter.com’s Savage A17 First Hunt Report:

(more…)

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June 17th, 2015

Varminter.com Reviews Ruger 77/17 in 17 WSM Rimfire

Ruger 77/17  17 Winchester Super Magnum Rimfire Win Super Mag or WSM review video AccurateShooter.com

The 17 Winchester Super Magnum Rimfire (aka Win Super Mag or WSM) is the fastest, most potent modern rimfire round you can buy. This cartridge, which uses a modified nail gun casing, drives 20gr bullets at 3000 fps. The 17 WSM offers superior ballistics to all .22 rimfires, and is a clear step ahead of the 17 HMR. That makes this round a potential “game-changer” in the varmint fields. To guage the capabilities of the 17 WSM, Varminter.com tested the cartridge in the new Ruger 77/17 bolt-action rifle. Click HERE for Varminter.com Ruger 77/17, 17 WSM Review.

17 WSM shoots faster than the 17 HMR, so the 20gr bullets don’t drift as much in the wind:
17 Win Super Mag Rimfire Magnum Ruger 77/18 Varminter.com review

Varminter.com reports: “The much-anticipated Ruger 77/17 chambered in the 17 Winchester Super Magnum (17WSM) has been released. Our Review Editor, William Chambers, put it through a full range test with all four currently-available ammunition loads. Afterwards, he took it on a short groundhog hunt[.] We put a lot of rounds through the guns we test, at targets, through chronographs and out in the field. This report includes all currently available 17 WSM ammunition and a sneak peek of the really nice Nikon Prostaff 5 riflescope.” READ REVIEW.

(more…)

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting 6 Comments »