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Thread: So long 17 HMR.....I'm going back to the 22 mag

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Default So long 17 HMR.....I'm going back to the 22 mag

    So I just woke up from the 9-year long 17 HMR buzz.

    I had a 22 mag Marlin that I sold for a 17 Marlin. I also had a single six with two cylinders that I sold and replaced with a 17. What a ridiculous mistake! The 17 HMR is nothing like what a 22 mag is. Some drooled over the velocity, and others drooled over the flat trajectory........I'm glad I woke up from the ridiculous trance that was "marketed" into my head. Honestly.....what does that velocity do for you when hunting small game? Here's the obvious answer: Nothing.

    What does the longer range do for you when hunting small game? Again....here's the obvious answer for yah: nothing.

    I can't believe I turned my back on the good ole 22 mag. I sold the 17 Marlin, and the barrel and cylinder is getting pulled off my single six. You want it? Come and take this barrel and cylinder.....they're free and worthless as far as I'm concerned. For all practical range that small game are shot, the 22 mag always did the trick. I've shot the 17 from the very beginning of it's inception so I feel I've rightfully earned the ability to make this decision.

    The 17 HMR is such a small bore that it's finicky to everything: just the slightest damage will effect accuracy, and any more that 20 rounds and accuracy goes way down hill. The wind takes these bullets and pulls em hard (even the 20 grain game point). In my revolver, after 50 shots at the range, the small bore gets so fouled that it creates dangerous pressure until the shoulders start splitting open and hot shards of brass hit you in the face. The bore is so tiny, that any slight misalignment of the cylinder to the barrel.......there goes the accuracy. I tried to stay on board this band wagon when they came out with the 20 grain game point.......but that only pulled the wool over my eyes once more.
    I have no need to shoot past 100 yards at a fox, beaver, coyote, ptarmigan, rabbit, or grouse. And I have no need for nothing than a good ole 40 grain FMJ launched from a 22 mag that will bludgeon it's way through a beaver skull every time.
    Before I moved up here, back in 1999 I had admired my 22 mag. after I had shot a small whitetail buck at about 75 yds., the bullet passed through his neck. Come to think of it.......any 22 mag. that I owned would shoot well over 100 rounds before accuracy was ever effected. So long 17 "H.yped-up M.oronic R.imfire". Time to bring back the tried and true oldy.

  2. #2
    Member The Kid's Avatar
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    I don't own a 17 anything and see where your coming from but I think for the small game you describe the 22mag don't do you much good either. Especially from the Single Six, you know what the mag cylinder in the SS does? I makes you spend more on ammo and go deaf faster, shoot it over a crono thenswitch the LR cylinder in and repeat, nothing gained but noise.

    As far as a better killer, I know many people who routinely shoot and claenly kill whitetails with the good old 22lr, not legal, but neither is the 22mag in most places. Heck one summer I killed six big beavers with my 6.5in Single six using the lr cylinder, mostly head shots, with one being out at 50+yds. I also made a one shot kill on a coyote with the same combo that summer at 73 long paces. I know an old timer who killed a moose back in the day with a single LR cartridge from his Marlin Mountie.

    If you really want to get away from the hype, skip the magnum and buy a good quality 22LR with the dough you'll save on ammo.

  3. #3

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    I think the .22 Magnum is one of the greatest cartridges ever. I wish they made a rimfire .256 cartridge.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by AGL4now View Post
    I think the .22 Magnum is one of the greatest cartridges ever. I wish they made a rimfire .256 cartridge.
    Amen on both counts. I've got a left handed Anschutz 22 mag sporter I picked up in the 70's, and I'll do the Charleton Heston over it. My only regret about the "22 mag" is the day they quit making the 22 WRF. Up till that point in time, it was my standard in the rifle for hunting edible small game.

    And a 25 caliber rimfire? I have a Stevens single shot in 25 rimfire that I shot a lot in the 50's and 60's when we could still get ammo out of Canada. Talk about the ultimate small game gun! Now collectors are paying more for single rounds than I used to pay for a box, so it's been over 30 years since I pulled the trigger on it. It's no small coincidence that my 25-20 handloads duplicate the ballistics. Bring on the rebirth!

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    Quote Originally Posted by AGL4now View Post
    I think the .22 Magnum is one of the greatest cartridges ever.
    Absolutely agree. If I could only own one rimfire for hunting it would be the .22 Mag. None of my .22's see much hunting time lately but the 22LR's gets the most range time. But see no reason to carry anything but one of the .22 Mags when hunting.
    Picked up a Anschultz lefty 17 mag a few years ago and while it is a fun rifle to shoot at the range every time I look at it ask myself, "Interesting rifle, what will I ever do with it"?
    Tennessee

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    Think many (in the know already)jumped on the .17HMR bandwagon for rim-fire ammo consistency, v-max bullets, and the lesser amount of doping out trajectory from 25-125 yards.

    I don't think there is much doubt about the .22mag making greater impact whether using FMJ or plastic-tipped frangible bullets.
    There where indeed some finicky self-loader issues in addition to often the case that ammo consistency was a general shortcoming of the .22MAG. My accurate and trusty Marlin Levermatic (cool short-throw gun) has never been a problematic... a favorite for blowing snow in brush and alders out to 75 yards. Had the option to go .256 center-fire (necked-down .357 mag), but knew I'd always have use/availability/selection of .22MAG.

    If ya shoot accurate match .22LR guns with better quality control match ammo... accuracy will never be an issue... nevertheless trajectory and velocity for some greater energy might be in a hunting scenario.
    - Not that anyone needs match accurate (I kinda place my own demands on a rim-fire)
    - lots of excellent, dependable, durable, and accurate hunting firearms out there routinely outperforming the individuals pulling triggers.

    Goin' back to OP's comments the .22LR is still king of versatility on small game.
    22mags have their place.
    Maybe not venerability, nevertheless the .17HMR has a niche.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I've been contemplating a new .17HMR for a predator calling rifle and occasional potting of hares...

    Then Mainer has to go interject practical reality.

    Thanks....<rolling my eyes sarcastically> LOL

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    Whatever one wants to shoot I'm all for them shooting. However, I've no personal use for the .22 Magnum. The .17 HMR fits my niche a bit better, but I'll quickly admit I've no use for either one in a handgun. In a handy rifle it is as close to perfect for calling foxes as any rig I've ever used. Minimal pelt damage is normal. Can't say the same about the .22 Mag. For my part, if I need a .22 Mag I'd rather use a Hornet or a Bee (even a downloaded .222 Rem), but then I suppose that is a little old fashioned for most hunters....
    Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

  9. #9

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    I have a pair of S&W Model 17's that have 8 3/8" Barrels, One is .22LR and the other is .22 Magnum. One thing I like about the magnum is I can shoot LR rounds in the Magnum cylinder, yes it splits some cases, but it works.

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    Member Gerberman's Avatar
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    In my opinion the 22LR CCI mini mag hollow point and the Ruger 10/22 rifle with a fixed 4 power scope is all that is needed for small game, I have shot dozens of snowshoe rabbits, and grouse for the dinner table. This combo is economical and easy to shoot.

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    I used to shoot those mini mags too, quite a bit more "wallop" than a normal 22 Lr. I put at least 25,000 rounds through that old Savage, it's now my son's first rifle.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    For me, both the .22mag and the 17 HMR are jack of all trade, master of none cartridges. I'd rather carry a .22lr for small game and a .223 for predator calling. The .22lr is plenty for hares and birds, whereas the .223 is enough gun if a wolf happened to respond to a call while not being too much gun for fox or coyotes. With a .22lr handgun, I can carry both quite comfortably.

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    I've owned quite a few 22lrs, a couple 22 mags and two 17 HMR's. I love the accuracy and power of the 17. I haven't experienced the drop in accuracy due to fowling in either of my 17's. The one I currently have I actually bought for my wife - a Henry golden boy. I do tend to be more of a slow and heavy bullet kinda guy when it comes to hunting, so the 22 mag would get my nod over the 17 for small game. The 17 sure is fun to target shoot with though.

    For now though, since I don't currently own a 22 mag rifle - my choice for small game in a rimfire is my Henry frontier model. It fires 22 short, long and lr. For hunting I use either CCI stingers or velocitors, both of which are very near 22 mag level ballistics. I just can't bear to risk scratching my wife's golden boy dragging it around in the rabbit woods.

    The other 299,300,000 people can have it.

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    Member MARV1's Avatar
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    My .22wm hasn't let me down yet so I'm sticking with it.
    The emphasis is on accuracy, not power!

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Never tried the 17 the 22mag all the way for me.The mag in a rifle fits right between the lr and hornet
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    For me, both the .22mag and the 17 HMR are jack of all trade, master of none cartridges. I'd rather carry a .22lr for small game and a .223 for predator calling. The .22lr is plenty for hares and birds, whereas the .223 is enough gun if a wolf happened to respond to a call while not being too much gun for fox or coyotes. With a .22lr handgun, I can carry both quite comfortably.
    I'm with you Brian. I shot the 22 mag for a long while then the 17 for a short while and realized that I killed more squirrels and rabbits when a kid with a plain old 22lr than with either of the magnums as an adult. I've been back shooting the LR for a couple of years now and it accomplishes what I'm after.

    I would for sure opt for the 22 mag over the 17 mag if I were to choose between the two. However I soon will be filling that nitch with a little Marlin 1894 in 25-20 that came my way!

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    I'd consider Brian only half right on this one, the 17 HMR certainly isnt a "jack of all trades" with 17-20 grain bullets that get taken by the wind. Many deer have been shot back home with a 22 mag and FMJ's. Now their's your jack of all trades. Deer can be legally shot with a minimum of a 22 mag. I guess caribou can be taken with a 22LR or 22mag up north too (when subsistence hunting). I grew up watching my grandfather shoot multiple 200Lbs.+ bucks with one shot to the neck from a 22 mag.

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    I like the 22LR but ammo for the 22mag and the 17rim fires costs more than reloads for my 22KH or my 25/20 so I have little use for the expensive rim fires. The 25/20 in a lever gun using home cast bullets outperforms both the 17 or the 22mag and I can shoot for about 6 cents per round. The M92 in 25/20 fits that niche very well. It's too bad that one of the clones of the 92Win hasn't chambered for the 25/20. A rechambering in the Marlin would be nice as well.

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    For me and one of the areas I hunt the 17 is perfect. Great ballistics out to 100 and then it drops off pretty rapidly. I don't want a ricochet in my area at all and a vmax out of the 17 suites that perfectly. It is my predator gun, for small game a good ole 22LR is hard to beat.

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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    I agree with 22mag in a rifle, very good round. However in a Single Six 22lr will push the same bullet faster than the mag so to me 22mag is a waste of ammo money in a handgun. 17 may have a place with some but I am a heavy/slow kind of guy so I never even looked at them.
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