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Thread: 17 HMR....is it any good?

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    Default 17 HMR....is it any good?

    Just last night I horse traded into a new Ruger American in 17HMR. I have never been a big fan of anything in 17 caliber. Always heard that they were finicky and took extra care in cleaning in order to function properly. I also got a brick of 17 grain Hornady V-Max ammo in the deal so I guess I'll give it a chance to grow on me.

    Any opinions on the rifle? How 'bout the cartridge?

  2. #2

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    Second-hand only because I've never owned a 17HMR, but consider this:

    Prairie dogs are a big thing back at our place in CO. Time was, guys played a lot with 22 mags, but mostly found them wanting in the accuracy department. Just couldn't get reliable hits much past 100 yards, and with most guns less than that. They were expensive to shoot, and I could do better with a decent 22LR. That was all for the close shooting we did first, before switching to 222 and 223 for "mid-range" work, then finally to bigger cases for reaching as far as we could reach.

    These days I never see a 22Mag, much less a 22LR. All the guys have switched to the 17HMR, and they're making kills to amazing distances. Just an accurate little round in a lot of guns and plenty flat shooting. And the Ruger is the best of the best in rimfires among the guys I know who are popping a whole lot of sod poodles. Some don't even bother with their 222's and 223's any more.

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    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    I have a marlin 17hmr bolt action and I love that gun. Super accurate to 100yards plus. Groups good at 200 yards but a lot of drop. With knowledge of a bullets trajectory it is reliable at 200 yards. As far as cleaning, I admit this gun has been neglected compared to my other firearms and it's still functions and shoots great

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Second-hand only because I've never owned a 17HMR, but consider this:

    Prairie dogs are a big thing back at our place in CO. Time was, guys played a lot with 22 mags, but mostly found them wanting in the accuracy department. Just couldn't get reliable hits much past 100 yards, and with most guns less than that. They were expensive to shoot, and I could do better with a decent 22LR. That was all for the close shooting we did first, before switching to 222 and 223 for "mid-range" work, then finally to bigger cases for reaching as far as we could reach.

    These days I never see a 22Mag, much less a 22LR. All the guys have switched to the 17HMR, and they're making kills to amazing distances. Just an accurate little round in a lot of guns and plenty flat shooting. And the Ruger is the best of the best in rimfires among the guys I know who are popping a whole lot of sod poodles. Some don't even bother with their 222's and 223's any more.
    USDA-WS here has a gaggle of them mostly Ruger 77MK-IIs but a couple Marlins. I went through them all and was quite impressed with the way they shot. There was one Ruger showing a lot of throat erosion (you always hear 17s do that) and I noted it even though it shot as well as any. Later I found out the round count on that gun was close to 5000 and I estimate it was about half way shot out . . . 10K rounds seems expectable life to me!


    The American is okay, Id much rather have a 77MK-II for the 3 position safety but in rim fire I put American right with the old tang safety 77 . . . In center fire I hate the big fat heavy round bolt on the American.

    Id say you got ya a great goffer and cat poker, good round in a not bad rifle that should serve you well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoose35 View Post
    I have a marlin 17hmr bolt action and I love that gun. Super accurate to 100yards plus. Groups good at 200 yards but a lot of drop. With knowledge of a bullets trajectory it is reliable at 200 yards. As far as cleaning, I admit this gun has been neglected compared to my other firearms and it's still functions and shoots great

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    Yes a real pain to get a patch down that little hole and it's best to have a good one piece rod for 17 cal.
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    My personal experience with the .17HMR is with a CZ-452 Varmint. I "fixed" the trigger with parts from Brownell's, bedded the action for a free floated barrel, got a set of Picatinny sight blocks and mounted a Pride-Fowler BDC scope and tested different ammo. This gun shoots sub-moa at 100 yds. with about everything, but it likes the 17 grain CCI and Hornady. In front of witnesses, I hit a gopher on the first shot at 225yds. This gun is a hoot to shoot. I clean it with a "bore snake" and call it good.
    JMPEFWIW
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    The .17 HMR might be good for plinking and Prairie Dogs but is terrible for any Fox, Lynx or Coyotes. I couldn't get rid of mine fast enough..

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    A friend of mine got one not too long ago. We did some very impressive shooting out to remarkable distances with it- especially since it's a rimfire.

    100yds was a piece of cake and sniping the heads off ptarmigan wouldn't be very hard, hits out to 250 are entirely possible on a calm day.

    Probably best kept as a small game gun if you can head shoot them.I think it lacks bullet weight for lynx and fox at any distance and it's completely out of coyote margins in my book.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    I have owned mine for several years and absolutly love it's performance. I am running the Remington 598. Yes, there was a recall on it but Remington can kiss my ***.

    These are very accurate but they do damage hides. They are great with head shots but very destructive on anything else. I have noticed more and more people switching to them due to ammo availability but that has changed recently. I use a one piece rod and scrub the heck out of it. Not because I feel it has to be, just out of habit. You will not be dissapointed
    Ignorance is not Bliss, it's insanity

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    I had and traded a Marlin. It was super accurate with cheap glass, but was the wrong gun at the wrong time. Wish I still had it, especially when .22 was hard to find and .17 was plentiful.

    Like I said, really really accurate. And I'm not much for cleaning guns very often.

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    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    I only hunt grouse with mine. It's a fun gun to practice with and I thought my son to shoot with it, a great way to learn to shoot a scoped rifle before moving onto something with recoil

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    Thanks for this info. I'm on the fence about getting one. You guys are tipping me off the fence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yukon Cornelius View Post
    Thanks for this info. I'm on the fence about getting one. You guys are tipping me off the fence.
    Me too...!!!
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    .I think it lacks bullet weight for lynx and fox at any distance and it's completely out of coyote margins in my book.
    If it's that accurate, what about behind the ear sighted in at 200 yds. with a good scope..............still wouldn't try it?
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Poachers killed a caribou or moose with one a few years back. I forget which.

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    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    I have no doubt a well placed shot would kill a caribou, you should see what it does to a rabbit in the neck... Explosive. 17 grains of haulin butt will do some nasty things to animal. Years ago at the WHS gun show, there was a guy shooting a .17/.223 wildcat. He used it for moose. all head shots. I know that has a lot more charge behind it but it was an interesting round. Wind would play heck on it i'm sure
    Ignorance is not Bliss, it's insanity

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    If it's that accurate, what about behind the ear sighted in at 200 yds. with a good scope..............still wouldn't try it?
    Probably not- at 200 you're getting really low on FPE and you just don't have the mass with 17gr of bullet. The wind just plays heck with them too. If a guy wants to learn the reality of wind drift- this is your round.

    I'd be more tempted with a 75yd behind the ear shot if I had a solid bullet...but I've got better coyote guns. For head shooting hares and grouse it's pretty nice.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Quote Originally Posted by Laker Taker View Post
    The .17 HMR might be good for plinking and Prairie Dogs but is terrible for any Fox, Lynx or Coyotes. I couldn't get rid of mine fast enough..
    Roger that!!

    When we had aplace on the Eastern Shore of MD, there is a bad rabies problem and I killed many fox, skunk, possum and coon with a CZ 22 Mag because the 17 hmr WON'T do it reliably. I did have limited success with the 17Mach2 for head shots up close but gave up on the 17's. They are accurate and make a fine squirrel/rabbit gun with head shots. I once shot a gound hog 7 times with an HMR and ended up killing it with my boot. They may be great for Pdogs and ground squirrels but I can't say the same for bigger critters. For trapping the 17M2 is a good choice IMO when you can make a head shot most times, but I did make a tripple on crows with the HMR once...made me feel pretty good.

    My CZ .22 Mag is not as accurate at the HMR but the 40 gr does a much better job on medium little critters out to 150 yds or so up to coyotes or feral dogs if I put them in the right place or that's why I have .223's and bigger.
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

  19. #19

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    The Ruger American comes both with a groove for tip off rings and drilled and tapped for Weaver number 12 bases. In that case I will go with the screwed on bases every time. Since my bases are in transit from Brownells I decided to try to kill a ground hog with the sights that came on the gun. What I learned is that I wouldn't give a plug nickel for the green fiber optic front sight. In the light that I was working with the glowing green glob was as big as a golf ball. The first two that I shot at are now smarter. The third one was dumb enough to come to within 25 yards and I think I Kentucky windaged him to death. I missed him the first shot at 25 yards. He didn't know where it came from so he stood up on his hind legs and was looking 180 degrees in the wrong direction. When I worked the bolt he turned around and was looking right at me when I let the next one fly. It hit him right between the front legs and he was done. No exit hole but it looked like an m-80 went off on his chest. I can shoot the iron sights on my lever guns fine and had I taken my 256 Rossi I'm pretty sure I could have killed all three. There is something about my old eyes and them fiber optic sights that just doesn't work. I have a cheap Tasco 6x24 with adjustable objective that's going on this 17 as soon as the bases show up! In the mean time there are two ground hogs down in their hole laughing their butts off at the guy in the white truck who couldn't hit sand iffen he fell off a camel. Their time is coming!

  20. #20

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    Here's a trick on those sights- or any other bead sight for that matter. At any distance at all a front bead is going to cover a lot of what you're looking at. Especially small targets. Just treat the bead like a blade and sight in for POI at the top edge of the bead. I grew up around a bunch of savvy old guys shooting Savage 99's and peep sights. That's the way they sighted in. Front bead would cover a whole deer at 200-300 yards, but these guys used to shoot paint buckets full of water out there for fun. With that sight-in you just "slice" the target with the top of the sight and kill it.

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