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Field Testing the 17 HMR

Field Testing the 17 HMR or 17HMR in a Thompson/Center Contender Carbine configuration and a CZ 452 Varmint rifle.

Left to right:

  • 22 K-Hornet
  • 17 Mach IV
  • 17 HMR
  • 22 Long Rifle


17 HMR Ammo | 17 HM2 Ammo | Contender Carbine | 17 HM2 Kit | 17 HMR Groups | Movie of Soda Pop Can | Impact on Steel | Bullets Sectioned | CZ 452 American | CZ 452 Varmint | Accuracy Statement | Ammo Comparison | Barrel Length vs Velocity | Trajectory Charts | Scope Elevation Clicks | Scope Height | MV > 2550 fps | Wind Deflection | Down Range Velocity | Down Range Energy | Recoil Table | Penetration Tests | Beautiful Rifles | 17 HMR Components | Ground Squirrels Day 1 | Ground Squirrels Day 2 | Walk a Fine Line |

17 HMR® 15.5 gr NTX™ New Offering from Hornady


The 17 HMR (Hornady Magnum Rimfire) ammo has a 17 gr. hollow point (filled with polycarbonate) boat tail bullet with a 0.172" diameter and delivers a muzzle velocity of about 2550 fps (depending on the barrel length). There is 5.4 gr of what looks like Lil' Gun powder. The muzzle energy is 245 ft-lb and with a 1-10" twist, the bullet is spinning at 183,500 rpm. A typical 22 Long Rifle cartridge has a bullet weight of 40 gr. or more than twice the mass of the 17 HMR. I got my ammo, at Midsouth Shooters Supply.

FIRST MENTION.... Probably the first mention of the 17 HMR in a publication in 1992. Click here and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

17 HMR and 17 HM2 ammo listed at Midsouth Shooters Supply.
17 HM2 Ammo

Midsouth Shooters Supply
is taking orders for the new .17 Hornady Mach 2 Rimfire!
Hornady expects to ship the 17 Hornady Mach 2 in the August/September time frame.

Ammo ordered: Ammo for testing. I have received the 17 HM2 ammo and done some preliminary testing.

17 HM2 EABCO 10/17 KIT.... The 17 HM2 is working very well for ground squirrels out to about 125 yards. When there are more that one squirrel out, the follow-up shot is very handy for doubles and triples. The large/heavy bolt handle on the 10/17 works very well and feeding from the magazine was without problems. The damage to the ground squirrels was not as spectacular as with the 17 HMR, but only 3 out of about a dozen ground squirrels were able to crawl to their hole. A ground squirrel hit with a 17 HM2 at 100 yards will receive the same energy from the 17 gr bullet as one hit at 166.7 yards with the 17 gr bullet from the 17 HMR. The noise level on the 17 HM2 is noticeably less than with the 17 HMR and would be an advantage in areas where low noise is important.

I ordered one of the 10/22 barrel kits in 17 HM2 from EABCO.. I opted for the full bull in stainless steel barrel. After shooting the 17 HMR, I am not very much impressed with the 17 HM2. I haven't done extensive testing, but group sizes were about 1.5 MOA. That is good enough to hit ground squirrels out to about 125 yards. But about half of the grounds squirrels hit with the 17 HM2 are able to crawl to their holes. That doesn't happen very frequently with the 17 HMR. I would rather pay a little more for the 17 HMR ammo and have the extra muzzle velocity.

THE 17 HMR.... This 17 HMR is a Stainless Steel T/C Contender Carbine with a Bullberry Stainless Steel barrel, Full Bull contour, 0.810" diameter, 22" long and bead blasted to eliminate the shine. The wood is "Utility Grade" with the epoxy finish also from Bullberry and the forearm is 12" long and is the target or beaver tail design.. The base is a 92A Weaver base. The Rings are the KWIK-SITE KS-WEV-H rings and the scope is a 15X by 40mm Weaver CKT-15. Fred Smith at Bullberry reamed the chamber with minimum dimensions for better accuracy. Click here for a large picture of the rifle. There is a 17 Caliber Forum at the page that has good info on the 17 HMR. 

HANDGUNS.... The 17 HMR caliber is accurate in handguns too. See the Freedom Arms Model 97 in .17 HMR Excellent review of this fine handgun by Jeff Quinn.  See the Taurus .17 HMR Tracker Revolver also reviewed by Jeff Quinn.
Taurus makes a whole line of 17 HMR revolvers.

.... I was up at my Mountain Cabin testing the 17 HMR. Here is the info on 11 groups shot at 100 yards. Each group was 5 shots. I am not sold on EEZOX as being a good barrel cleaning preparation. Dale was helping me with the photos and group shooting.  So far, the 17 HMR is a better than MOA caliber in my barrel if I clean with Sweet's 7.62 until there is no more sign of copper. Then I finish cleaning with Shooters Choice MC#7/Kroil (half&half) mix. The groups were shot from a solid benchrest with a front adjustable rest and a sandbag rear rest. The temperature was about 75ºF.

Group No. Shooter Group Size (in) Comments
1 Al 1.45 Starting with a clean barrel. About 100 rounds through the barrel. Only cleaned with EEZOX. 
2 Al 1.17 Variable winds, 3-5 mph, for Groups 1 - 6
3 Al 1.5  
4 Al 0.71 Cleaned with Sweet's 7.62 then cleaned with Shooters Choice MC#7/Kroil (half & half) mix
5 Al 1.07  
6 Al 1.03  
7 Dale 0.91 Day 2. Calm winds for Groups 7 - 11
8 Dale 0.83  
9 Al 0.73 Shooting over the Chrony
10 Dale 0.59  
11 Dale 1.06  
Average   1.005 Overall average group size Min=0.59 Max=1.5
Average   0.866 Average with no wind & after cleaning with Sweet's 7.62 & SC/K Min=0.59 Max=1.07

Some of the groups. The actual size of the square with the circular center is 0.980" on a side. With the
chest area of a ground squirrel measuring about 3.5" in diameter, every one of the rounds below would
have landed in the lethal area of a ground squirrel at 100 yards and beyond.

Group 4

Group 5

Group 6

Group 9

Group 10

Velocity Measurements for Groups 9-11

17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire velocity measurements 22" Bullberry Barrel. 3/31/2 Chrony about 15' in front of the muzzle (fps)
Group 9 Group 10 Group 11 Combined Statistics
Mean = 2594 fps
Standard Deviation=26.5 fps

Dale is shooting a group with the 17 HMR caliber T/C Contender.

Diet Coke can full of water hit with the 17 HMR.
View the Movie Clip. It is quite impressive.

MOVIE CLIP.... Here is a movie clip of the 17 HMR hitting a Diet Coke can, filled with water, at a distance of about 30 yards. You are welcome to download the file and use it as you like. It is interesting to play it in slow motion. Here is the link to the movie clip - Download now: 17hmr.wmv (380Kb) in Windows Media Video format. If you would like a copy of the movie clip in the old Quick Time format, download If you stop the action and view the single frame just before the can is hit, I think you can see the bullet about to hit the can. The top picture is the first frame after the hit and the second picture is the Diet Coke can showing the damage after the hit. There was no exit "wound". The movie clip was taken with an Olympus C-700 camera.

The Coke can after the impact.

Here is the impact crater from a 17 HMR on a 3/4" steel plate at about 30 yards. The lower impact
was a 270 Win from close range a few years ago.

Hit a steel I-Beam at 296 yards. The 17 HMR bullet impacts the steel and welds itself
to the steel surface. Dale tried to scrape the little 17 cal bullet off the plate, but he
was just cutting into the copper base and couldn't remove it.

IMPACT CRATER.... This is an impact crater in damp sandy soil at about 135 yards. The crater is about 3/4" in diameter and about 1" deep. You can see some of the red plastic from the nose tip. I used the camera's flash so the bottom of the crater would be visible in the picture. I dug the jacket on the left out of the crater. A second impact that I didn't get in good focus produced the jacket and red plastic pieces. These little bullets are quite frangible. I don't think you will have any ricochets and hear any of these little guys go Zinnnng! Over 200 rounds on nearly flat terrain and I have not heard a single ricochet.

UNIFORM CROWN.... The people at Bullberry suggested that I use EEZOX on the barrel. I cleaned it before shooting with EEZOX. Then I cleaned it again after 50 rounds and here is a view after 100 rounds. Here is a picture of the 11° recessed crown. This shows marks from the EEZOX and powder after about 100 rounds have been fired. The uniformity of the pattern indicates a very well made and uniform crown.

Dale sectioned a 25 gr .172 Hornady Hollow point and a 17 HMR bullet.

The CCI ammo finally arrived. Here is a comparison between the Hornady and CCI ammo. Dale took these
pictures. It appears that the jacket is slightly thicker in the CCI ammo and the hollow point is much smaller
than it is in the Hornady ammo, assuming the plastic adds very little strength. The first few ground squirrels
shot with the CCI ammo crawled away from good hits. The bullets penetrated completely and appear to
be less destructive/frangible as the Hornady bullets.

Here are three 100 yard 5 shot groups shot in the order shown without barrel cleaning.
Light variable wind of ~5 mph from left to right
The accuracy of the CCI ammo, in my rifle, is very similar to the Hornady ammo.
Note: The square is 1.0" on a side

CCI ammo.
Measured 0.848"

Hornady ammo.
Measured 0.858"

CCI ammo.
Measured 0.688"
One hole in the black

CZ 452 American in 17 HMR

Rifle and scope on my concrete benchrest up at my mountain cabin.

Scope is a Tasco 4-16X by 40 mm TR mounted with Warne Rings.

CZ 452 AMERICAN.... First impressions. The machine work looks very well done. The fit and finish on the metal looks good. The barrel touched the right side of the stock and there was a noticeable gap on the left side. I opened up the barrel channel to completely free float the barrel. I mounted a Tasco 4-16X by 40mm TR scope and am using the "G" yardage ring. It is very close to the bullet drop info out to 250 yards. The "G" Drum is for a 30/30 Win shooting 170 gr factory bullets. I kissed the crown with my spherical grinding stone. It was very good to start with and in about 2 or 3 minutes of turning it very lightly by hand, the crown cleaned up nicely. I also adjusted the trigger down to 2.5 lb, but it still has noticeable creep. I will work on that later.

Drum Click Count for the Tasco 4-16X by 40mm TR Scope
for 150 to 500 yards.









































































I use Drum D on my 243 Win caliber with 100 gr bullets.
I use Drum G on my 17 HMR with the 17 gr Hornady ammo.
Here is a scanned view of the Range Drum Tables
for the scope. Click Here.

The 50 yard 5 shot proof target from the factory measured 0.8" and showed lateral dispersion which would be expected with the barrel touching the stock on the right side.

Five shot groups with the CZ 452 American Rifle at 100 yards with the Hornady ammo.
The average group size for 5 groups is 0.714".






A typical group with the early CCI ammo.
This group measured about 1.3" and obviously the CZ 452 American didn't perform well with the CCI ammo.

CZ 452 VARMINT.... Here is my CZ 452 Varmint in 17 HMR. It is a tack driver. The varmint weight barrel is 21" long from the muzzle to the bolt-face. The scope is a Weaver V24 with a Mil Dot reticule. The crosshairs and dots are quite large. I would rather have had the fine duplex with a fine dot, but thought I would try a Mil Dot. The rings are the BKL 3/8" Dovetail Model 257-A rings. They were quite reasonably priced for the good quality. They make a very solid and sturdy mount. After mounting the scope, on the first outing, I sighted in on a cardboard box and started controlling the ground squirrels that were drilling holes in the Island's levee. I went 19 straight without a miss. I haven't shot the rifle from a benchrest yet. But all indications are that it will group very well. The factory stock has really very striking wood grain. The factory finish doesn't bring out the fiddle back figure like a good stock finish would. I usually leave the scope set at 18X for most ground squirrel shooting.

The square is 1.25" on a side.

I was finally able to put this rifle on the benchrest and shoot 5 shot  groups at 100 yards with the Hornady ammo. The scope was left on 18X power. The first group out of a clean barrel was about 3/4" high, but it settled in on the second group. I quit wasting ammo and didn't even take the scope caps off and decided that this was good enough! No wonder I was doing so well on ground squirrels with it.

Table of 20 shots with the CZ 452 Varmint rifle and the Hornady ammo.
Statistics of the velocity data.

 1    2721.0000 fps
2 2604.0000
3 2635.0000
4 2574.0000
5 2629.0000
6 2601.0000
7 2604.0000
8 2635.0000
9 2679.0000
10 2631.0000
11 2660.0000
12 2673.0000
13 2612.0000
14 2677.0000
15 2655.0000
16 2677.0000
17 2673.0000
18 2663.0000
19 2658.0000
20 2679.0000
Moments for the 20 values are:
First moment (MEAN)....................... 2647. fps Second moment about the mean (VARIANCE)... 1226.1000 Third moment about the mean............... -6678.8999 Fourth moment about the mean.............. 3807820.7500 Moment coefficient of SKEWNESS............ -0.1556 Moment coefficient of KURTOSIS............ 2.5329 STANDARD DEVIATION........................ 35.0157 fps For normally distributed data: Plus/minus 1 sigma 68.27% of data 2611.9844 2682.0156 Plus/minus 2 sigma 95.45% of data 2576.9685 2717.0315 Plus/minus 3 sigma 99.73% of data 2541.9529 2752.0471 Minimum and maximum value...... 2574.0000 2721.0000

The 21" barrel on the CZ 452 Varmint rifle delivers an average velocity of 2647 fps with the Hornady ammo.
The curve is a normal distribution with the same mean and standard deviation as the velocity data.

Originally posted on the Accurate Reloading Forum.
Reproduced here with the author’s permission.

by Alberta Canuck (2/17/07)

Let me start by saying I do not own or shoot a .17 HMR of any make or model, so I am not grinding ANY axe here.

Having said that I have an observation about the .17 HMR anyway.

For the past 5 years, our club has held a Rimfire match on the first Saturday of every month. For the first 3 years I was match director at every match, and have kept an eye on the matches since then. 

The course of fire requires shooters to fire one shot at each of 30 or more small circular pasters (1/2" diameter) at ranges of 25 to 100 yards. Hitting the paster counts "10", missing counts "0". There is a dot in the dead center of each paster, but it is used only to break ties just like the "X" ring in a standard target.

These matches are open to ANY Rimfire rifle and ANY Rimfire cartridge, including the high dollar match rifles and/or large diameter Rimfire cartridges. They are fired from bench rest. No one has ever shot a .41 Rimfire in them, but there have been many .22 Mags used, as well as the whole gamut of .22 LR guns shooting $10-$12 per box ammo.

Until the advent of .17 HMR in these matches about 12-to-16 months ago, no one had EVER fired a perfect score in one of them, despite using Eley Gold and similar ammo in Anschutz M-1813, Winchester 52, Remington M37, BSA Mark V Martini, and other similar rifles.

Now that the .17 HMR cartridge is commonly in use, perfect scores are common at these matches, with about 75% of the shooters hitting ALL of the pasters in every match! Every match for the last 6 months has had to be decided by "X" count.

In fact, we are seeing the occasional match where scores such as 300-29 X are posted. It won't be long, I'm sure, until we will start seeing 300-30X scores.

And what are these shooters firing their super high scores through? Well, Marlins, Savages, some pretty ordinary, rather inexpensive rifles. That, we think, is great because it makes it much less of a high-dollar "spending game" and has people competing who never would before.

It has even gotten to the point where we are now setting up two classes in the matches:
1) Any .17 HMR
2) Any Other Rimfire.

Any of you sage rat shooters or informal field plinkers who have been wondering if the .17 HMRs are really that much more accurate than the .22 Rimfires might ponder that a bit.

  I found this post on The Firearms Forum

Originally Posted by Contenderizer
I can't attest to the accuracy of the graphs, but they are very interesting. I have never been a fan of the 17s because of their poor terminal ballistics. Given my type of shooting - 50-100 yds - I think I did the right thing sticking to 22LR.
Have fun!
I felt the very same way. I had read about the 17, but yawned, until I shot a 17 HMR last week. All of my shooting of small game "was" under 100 yds, but even out to 100 you had to really watch your range with a 22LR and adjust for it. Don't have to do that with a 17. Another problem is the 22LR bullets skipping off of everything, again not a problem with the 17. As far as clean kills, the 17 hands down over the 22LR.
I have 20, 22LR rifles. I will now only hunt with one either using shorts or CB caps (very close range). All of my other hunting I was doing with a 22LR will now be done with a 17 HMR. I will still plink with my 22's, and teach others to shoot with them, but with less than a week shooting the 17 HMR, and just one day hunting with it, no way will I go back.
What ever you do, DON'T EVER SHOOT A 17 HMR. What ever you thought you knew about 22 rim fires, and loved about them, will be lost forever. It's like dumping your wife for Miss America.
Posted by R Long

Ammo Comparison test with a Marlin 917V
Listed below are some tests groups that Kevin from South West Missouri fired on 8/23/06.
Distance: 100 Yards, 5 shot groups from a bench. 
Gun: Marlin 917V, polished sear and trigger, lighter trigger spring, 
Scope: Bushnell 4x12x40
Cleaning before each group: One wet patch with 50/50 Shooters Choice/Kroil then one dry patch. No fowling shot.


Group Group Size
Mfg Ammo
A 0.364 Winchester Supreme V-Max 17 gr
B 0.588 Remington PR17HM1 AccuTip-V 17 gr
C 0.594 Hornady 17 gr V-Max
D 1.040 CCI TNT HP 17 gr
E 1.069 Hornady 20 gr XTP

Some young ground squirrels posing for the camera.

Bullberry Barrel Length vs. Velocity DATA
22 inch = 2517 fps, 103  fps spread
21 inch = 2523 fps,  66  fps spread
20 inch = 2515 fps,  86  fps spread
19 inch = 2538 fps,  83  fps spread
18 inch = 2522 fps,  41  fps spread
17 inch = 2505 fps,  43  fps spread
16 inch = 2492 fps,  53  fps spread
15 inch = 2477 fps,  27  fps spread
14 inch = 2432 fps,  70  fps spread
13 inch = 2419 fps,  32  fps spread
12 inch = 2387 fps,  57  fps spread
11 inch = 2338 fps,  45  fps spread
10 inch = 2276 fps,  45  fps spread

Here is a link to the Bullberry Page for the source of the data. The graph shows the Barrel Length vs Muzzle Velocity. The curve is a third order polynomial fit to the data. From the data, any barrel from about 18" to 22" will give essentially the same muzzle velocity. A possible reason for the scatter in the data above the 19" length could be that the barrel was relative new for these first shots. Also five shots at each length is a very small sample. I personally like a 22" barrel on my Contender rifle because of the better balance.

Ballistic Calculations for the 17 HMR

Bullet ballistic coefficients found in literature and other
ballistic programs are listed at Standard Conditions.
This is what was used.
Elevation Sea Level
29.53 in Hg
59º F
78% Relative Humidity

Drop Table for the 17 HMR with zeros from 100 to 200 yards.

Drop Table for the 17 HMR with zeros from 50 to 100 yards.

Scope Click Table to Paste on your Rifle Stock

Hornady 17 gr.
17 HMR MV=2550
Hornady 17 gr.
17 HMR MV=2550
Hornady 17 gr.
17 HM2 MV=2100
Hornady 17 gr.
17 HM2 MV=2100
Click Size 0.125
Yard Drop  Click
100   0.0    0
125   0.9    7
150   2.6   14
175   5.1   24
200   8.5   35
225  13.1   47
250  18.8   61
275  26.6   78
300  35.7   96
325  46.7  115
350  59.7  137
375  74.3  159
400  91.4  183
Click Size 0.250
Yard Drop  Click
100   0.0    0
125   0.9    4
150   2.6    7
175   5.1   12
200   8.5   18
225  13.1   24
250  18.8   31
275  26.6   39
300  35.7   48
325  46.7   58
350  59.7   69
375  74.3   80
400  91.4   92
Click Size 0.125
Yard Drop  Click
100   0.0    0
110   0.5    4
120   1.2    9
130   2.1   13
140   3.1   18
150   4.3   23
160   5.7   29
170   7.4   35
180   9.2   42
190  11.2   48
200  13.7   55
210  16.3   63
220  19.2   70
230  22.4   78
240  25.9   87
250  29.6   95
Click Size 0.250
Yard Drop  Click
100   0.0    0
110   0.5    2
120   1.2    5
130   2.1    7
140   3.1    9
150   4.3   12
160   5.7   15
170   7.4   18
180   9.2   21
190  11.2   24
200  13.7   28
210  16.3   32
220  19.2   35
230  22.4   39
240  25.9   44
250  29.6   48

HANDY TRAJECTORY PASTE ON.... Here is a handy drop and scope elevation click table you can print out and tape to your stock for long range shooting with the 17 HMR and 17 HM2 Hornady ammo. This requires that you have your rifle zeroed for 100 yards. Select the list with the correct size elevation clicks for your scope. The distance is in yards and the drop is in inches below the line of sight. The click are rounded to the nearest click. Most scopes have either a 0.125 or 0.25 inch click size. Some scopes have a 0.250 Minute of Angle (MOA) click size. One MOA is about 1.0472 inches and 0.25 MOA is 0.261 inches or a difference of only about 4%. The scope height was 1.5 inches for all these tables.

Hornady XTP 20 gr.
17 HMR MV=2375
Hornady XTP 20 gr.
17 HMR MV=2375
Click Size 0.125
Yard Drop  Click
100   0.0    0
125   1.2    8
150   3.2   17
175   6.1   28
200  10.2   41
225  15.3   55
250  22.6   73
275  31.2   91
300  41.7  112
325  54.1  134
350  68.3  157
375  84.9  182
400 103.7  208
Click Size 0.250
Yard Drop  Click
100   0.0    0
125   1.2    4
150   3.2    9
175   6.1   14
200  10.2   21
225  15.3   28
250  22.6   37
275  31.2   46
300  41.7   56
325  54.1   67
350  68.3   79
375  84.9   91
400 103.7  104

SCOPE HEIGHT.... The scope height is the distance between the rifle's bore axis and the scope's axis.
The easiest way I have found to measure the scope height on a bolt action rifle is:
A = One half the Bolt diameter
B = One half the Scope's tube diameter (where the scope rings are).
C = Distance between the top of the Bolt and the Bottom of the Scope.
Scope Height = A+B+C

SCOPE HEIGHT vs TRAJECTORY.... This chart shows the small variation in trajectory for scope heights from 1.25 to 2.0 inches.
Notice that at 300 yards, the difference between a scope height of 1.25 and 2.00 inches only results in a difference of 1.50 inches
in the Point of Impact. For most scope heights the calculations at a scope height of 1.5 inches should be very close to any
reasonable scope height.

Ballistic Trajectory Calculations for the 17 HMR at 2550, 2600, and 2650 fps Muzzle Velocities

     2550 fps Muzzle Velocity
Range   Bullet Velocty Eng    TOF
(Yds) Drop (in) (fps)(ft-lb) (sec)
  0     -1.50   2550   245   0.00
 25     -0.48   2373   213   0.03
 50      0.15   2205   183   0.06
 75      0.34   2045   158   0.10
100      0.00   1893   135   0.14
125     -0.94   1750   116   0.18
150     -2.59   1617    99   0.22
175     -5.08   1495    84   0.27
200     -8.54   1381    72   0.32
225    -13.14   1280    62   0.38
250    -19.07   1193    54   0.44
275    -26.56   1125    48   0.50
300    -35.72   1070    43   0.57
325    -46.68   1024    40   0.65
350    -59.66    985    37   0.72
375    -74.34    952    34   0.80
400    -91.42    921    32   0.88
     2600 fps Muzzle Velocity
Range   Bullet Velocty Eng    TOF
(Yds) Drop (in) (fps)(ft-lb) (sec)
  0     -1.50   2600   255   0.00
 25     -0.51   2420   221   0.03
 50      0.11   2250   191   0.06
 75      0.31   2088   165   0.10
100      0.00   1934   141   0.13
125     -0.89   1789   121   0.17
150     -2.45   1653   103   0.22
175     -4.82   1527    88   0.27
200     -8.12   1411    75   0.32
225    -12.51   1306    64   0.37
250    -18.18   1215    56   0.43
275    -25.35   1142    49   0.49
300    -34.17   1084    44   0.56
325    -44.74   1036    40   0.63
350    -57.23    995    37   0.71
375    -71.62    961    35   0.78
400    -88.13    929    33   0.86
     2650 fps Muzzle Velocity
Range   Bullet Velocty Eng    TOF
(Yds) Drop (in) (fps)(ft-lb) (sec)
  0     -1.50   2650   265   0.00
 25     -0.53   2468   230   0.03
 50      0.08   2295   199   0.06
 75      0.28   2131   171   0.09
100      0.00   1975   147   0.13
125     -0.84   1827   126   0.17
150     -2.33   1688   108   0.21
175     -4.58   1560    92   0.26
200     -7.73   1442    78   0.31
225    -11.92   1333    67   0.36
250    -17.35   1238    58   0.42
275    -24.21   1160    51   0.49
300    -32.69   1098    46   0.55
325    -42.88   1048    41   0.62
350    -54.92   1006    38   0.69
375    -68.99    970    35   0.77
400    -84.96    937    33   0.85

Some people are getting higher velocities out of their 17 HMR rifles than the advertised 2550 fps.
Here is a chart to show the bullet drop for a range of muzzle velocities form 2550 fps to 3050 fps.
I added the muzzle velocity of 4000 for comparison of what might be achieved with the 17 Ackley Hornet.

Comparison between the 17 HMR, 17 HM2 and a 22 LR.

Comparison between the 17 HMR 17 and 20 gr ammo. The 20 gr XTP bullet's BC was back
calculated from Hornady's trajectory chart. I included the 17 HM2. Using the muzzle velocity quoted by
Hornady and the muzzle energy, it indicated that the 17 HM2 uses the same bullet as the 17 HMR.

LOSE 66.5 YARDS WITH THE 17 HM2.... Notice that the 17 HM2 velocity is similar to the 17 HMR velocity after the 17 HMR has traveled about 66.5 yards. Or in other words, the 17 HMR gains you about 66.5 yards over the 17 HM2. With the 17 HM2 you have to move 66.5 yards closer to the target to be equivalent to the 17 HMR. Assuming a 1-9" twist, the exception is that the spin velocity of the 17 HMR bullet will remain about 204,000 RPM (spin energy of 0.44 ft-lb) down range and the 17 HM2 bullet will be 168,000 RPM (spin energy of 0.30 ft-lb).

SOUND VELOCITY.... The velocity of sound in air is approximately 1130 feet/sec. or 770 miles per hour at room temperature of 70 deg F. The speed varies with the temperature of air, such that sound travels slower at higher altitudes or on cold days.

Notice that the 17 HM2 energy curve would fall on the 17 HMR curve after about 66.5 yards. Also note
that the 22 LR has more retained kinetic energy past 210 yards than any of the 17's. But even with
the higher retained energy, you have to be able to hit the target for it to accomplish anything.

This chart includes the 22 Mag 33 gr V-Max with a 2000 fps muzzle velocity.

Rifle Twist  Bullet Bullet Velocity  Spin Powder Recoil  Bullet  Energy Caliber
  Wt          Dia    Mass                  Mass  Energy  Linear   Spin 
 (lb)(T/in)   (in)   (Gr)   (fps)    (rpm) (Gr)  (ft-lb) (ft-lb) (ft-lb)
  6.0 10.0   0.172    17     2550   183600   5.5   0.25    245     0.36  17 HMR
  6.0 14.0   0.224    40     2800   144000  12.0   1.50    696     0.88  22-Hornet
  6.0 12.0   0.224    50     3300   198000  26.0   4.36   1209     2.08  223 Rem
  6.0 10.0   0.243    55     3600   259200  44.0   8.67   1583     4.61  243 Win
  8.0 10.0   0.172    17     2550   183600   5.5   0.19    245     0.36  17 HMR
  8.0 14.0   0.224    40     2800   144000  12.0   1.12    696     0.88  22-Hornet
  8.0 12.0   0.224    50     3300   198000  26.0   3.27   1209     2.08  223 Rem
  8.0 10.0   0.243    55     3600   259200  44.0   6.50   1583     4.61  243 Win
 10.0 10.0   0.172    17     2550   183600   5.5   0.15    245     0.36  17 HMR
 10.0 14.0   0.224    40     2800   144000  12.0   0.90    696     0.88  22-Hornet
 10.0 12.0   0.224    50     3300   198000  26.0   2.62   1209     2.08  223 Rem
 10.0 10.0   0.243    55     3600   259200  44.0   5.20   1583     4.61  243 Win

Recoil Calculations for the 17 HMR, 22-Hornet, 223 Rem and 243 Win shooting varmint bullets.
Notice the extremely low recoil from the 17 HMR. That is why the bullet impacts can be seen through the scope.

Mike's Penetration Test in Lead

Mike shot a two pound pure lead ball with the 17 HMR at 25 yards.
The craters in the lead ball speak for themselves, splash vs depth.

The brick is a lead alloy (probably wheel weights).
The "brick" has a ring to it when you tap it (not like pure lead).

All 22 LR's were shot from 20 yards with Iron Sights (had a little overlap with the
Velociters and the Quik-Shok. the two craters were identical and just overlapped a bit.

The Stinger was very impressive. American Eagle had deep penetration.
All the 17 HMR's were shot from 35 yards. Notice the pellet stuck to the
face on the left side next to the TNT box. The pellet was shot from 20 yards
with a MV of about 675fps. Thanks Mike for the penetration pictures.

A pure lead brick 5/8" thick shot from 25 and 50 yards with both the Hornady
and CCI ammo. There is quite a crater difference between the two loads.

Greg's Penetration Test Hornady vs. CCI Ammo

I am quite impressed with your website devoted to field testing of the 17HMR. I find this type of activity very interesting, as I too like to "test" mechanical objects, weapons, etc. to determine penetration, etc.

I recently purchased a Ruger K77/17VMBBZ 17HMR and I must say it is the most fun I ever had with a rimfire - that acts and shoots like a small-caliber center fire. Other than a trigger-job I have done nothing else to it and it shoots 1" and under 5-shot groups at 100Yds.

I have attached 6 images of some test results I got from my 17HMR. They are in different mediums than what is on your site. Feel free, as you have my permission, to post them on your site or anywhere else, pass them along to your shooting buddies, etc.

All testing was done outdoors at 25 yards. If you have any additional questions feel free to ask and I will do my best to answer them. Click to email  Greg

Thanks for the excellent test information. Good Hunting... from Varmint Al


Bill's Penetration test #1 - .17 HMR

Since there is still a lot of controversy about the penetration ability of the .17 gr. V-Max bullet, thought I would do a little testing. I used 10 prickly pear pads as they are full of moisture and fiber and relatively tough and may come close to simulating muscle tissue.
Bill did this penetration test with the 17 HMR. He stacked up 10 prickly pear pads and fired a 17 HMR round at 2600 fps through the stack at point blank range from his Savage rifle. From Bill, "Since there is still a lot of controversy about the penetration ability of the .17 gr. V-Max bullet, thought I would do a little testing. I used 10 prickly pear pads as they are full of moisture and fiber and relatively tough and may come close to simulating muscle tissue."

The bullet seem to hold up well through the first 6 pads but started splattering pretty well on pad 7. Each pad is about 1/4" thick. All ten pads were penetrated.

Close up of pad number 7. At this point the bullet has fragmented to pieces and the polymer tip is in small pieces. Note the surrounding little holes from specks of copper and lead.

Back side of pad number 10. I was really in disbelief that fragments of the bullet made it through the tenth pad. Figuring a quarter inch per pad, this represents 2 1/4" of "fleshy material"......much thicker than a coyote's rib cage including fur and skin.

I already knew that the 17 HMR 17 gr V-Max would penetrate through a 2 x 4 at 50 yards but wanted to see what shape the bullet would be in when exiting. The board is laying on a prickly pear pad.

The bullet exited with about a 3/8" hole in the wood and blew a fair size hole through the pad. There was a 3/4" crater in the ground under the pad. The line is fairly well drawn between those who believe the Hummer to be a decent coyote killer with good bullet placement and those that would never shoot a coyote in the chest with this round. There are at least two varmint hunters (one in Alberta and one in AZ) that have killed an impressive number of coyotes with the Hummer. There also a few who have reported bad crippling loss. Based on these penetration tests, I will probably try at least one lung shot on a coyote under 100 yards and report the results good or bad. Your input is wanted.

I shot the board twice at 100 yards and even though both bullets blew on through, quite a difference in exit holes. I must have hit a rib on the big hole...grin!

Another Bill's cactus penetration test.
These were shot with the CCI TNT HP ammunition.
The cactus pads were stacked on top of each other and shot at point blank range.

Bill's Latest Penetration Test Comparing the
17 HMR V-Max Ammo & 17 HMR CCI TNT Ammo

Softball sized dough ball

Another penetration test by Bill. Here are the results of a 17 HMR V-Max and a 17 HMR CCI TNT bullet hitting a softball-size of flour dough ball.  He figured the less explosive TNT bullet would pass through so he put up a cardboard backing. To his surprise, the ball of dough did not fly apart and TNT bullet did not exit. Other tests he has done with cactus pads and live squirrels have indicated less explosiveness of the TNT bullet and deeper penetration. With live ground squirrels, there is an obvious difference between the two bullets with the V-Max bullets giving a louder whop and fewer crawl-offs.

Not all 17 HMR's need to be single shots!
Here are three of Ted's rifles chambered in 17 HMR. Ted has done a beautiful job on these works of art.

The caption reads:
Ruger 77/17, BR TH Tigerwood Laminate, GM .17 Barr
Leupold Vari III 6.5-20X50 LRT, Millet Nickel Rings

Ted must have a difficult time selecting  which rifle to to shoot.

More info on the 17 HMR Ammo from Jack, a gunsmith friend of mine:

Hi Al,

As promised, here are a few photos of what seems to be on it's way to becoming your go-to round for day-to-day little-critter work. As I mentioned in a previous e-mail, one does not simply pull one of these bullets as with, for example, a .22LR. This pup has a very stout crimp! This undoubtedly is a factor in producing the low velocity SD's that are being reported. To remove the bullet unscathed I had to first remove the powder, then slit the neck and peel back the brass. Powder weight in each of the two rounds I "necropsied" was 5.4 grs. Powder form was that of a flattened ball, light silver color. Approximately 5-10% of each charge was a darker ball component. This leads me to believe that Hornady is blending this powder, a common industry practice. Both bullets weighed exactly 16.7 grs.

This shot of the bullet full diameter reflects the measurement to the capability of my caliper, that is to say, 0.0005". Measurement was verified with two different 0.0001" micrometers. They both indicated a true diameter of 0.1717" for this bullet. Measurements were taken both above and below the crimp groove on the full-diameter portion, and were identical.

Here's a measurement taken in the crimp groove. As mentioned earlier, this is a healthy crimp.

Just a shot of the bullet "posed" atop an empty case, showing the crimp groove rather well.

Al, I hope this is about what you were looking for with this little "hummer".

73's de Jack     Thanks Jack... from Varmint Al
(Jack is a new ham radio operator. Soon he will be on 2m packet radio)

17 HMR Field Testing on Ground Squirrels
Day 1

The location is a pasture with prize Black Angus cattle. Mt Diablo, in the clouds, is in the center behind the power line tower.
I use the short chair for shooting so I don't have to sit in the wet grass and besides it is more comfortable.

Some of the Black Angus cattle with a few ground squirrel holes. The shooting was done in between the rains.

GETTING ON TARGET.... Getting on the target was easy. The first shot at a 20 yard target box was about 6" low. Then it took a few rounds to get sighted in at about 80 yards. The cows moved in on me and I had to quit the target work. I moved away from the cattle and missed the first few squirrels. I finally shot some rocks on squirrel mounds and was able to bring it on zero at about 100 yards. Here are the first three ground squirrels.

WATCH THE IMPACTS THROUGH THE SCOPE....The recoil is very light and one can easily watch the bullets impact while looking through the scope even at 15X. I could see the impact as each squirrel was hit and it was very easy to hear the whooop! as the bullet connected. There was not the destructive damage of the 17 Mach IV and none of the little 17 gr bullets exited a ground squirrel. I got a total of 10 ground squirrels and was able to find 5 or 6 of them. A couple I just couldn't locate and two made it down the holes.

The little 17 gr bullet at 2550 fps turns out the lights and deposits all its energy inside with no exit wound.

Lights out. Standing at the edge of his hole, this one folded in his hole.

TYPICAL DAMAGE TO GROUND SQUIRRELS.... Here is a close-up of the first three ground squirrels, showing the typical damage. These were shot at from 100 to 140 yards. There was a 10 to 15 mph crosswind most of the time.  I was holding into the wind about 1/2 a squirrel. When the wind changed directions,  I was off by more than a squirrel. I am not sure about the wind drift since I haven't sighted in the rifle on the benchrest yet in calm wind conditions.

IN SUMMARY.... My overall impression is that this little 17 HMR is an excellent caliber for ground squirrel-sized varmints. The bullet is very frangible. When I was checking my zero on squirrel mounds, I could see the dust from the bullet's breakup right through the scope even in wet dirt. While it does not rip apart a ground squirrel like a 17 Mach IV or a 223 Ackley Improved, with solid hits, it stops them in their tracks out to at least 140+ yards. The recoil is so light that it is easy to watch the bullet's impact through the scope even at 15X setting and probably even at a much higher magnification. After I had the rifle sighted in, I went 8 straight from about 80 yards to 140+ yards. They were all in about the same direction with about the same level of wind that I would estimate at between 10 to 15 mph. The noise level is very mild. I didn't wear any ear protection and the report seemed to be no louder than the higher velocity 22LR rounds like a CCI Stinger. The velocity of the 17 HMR is sufficient that there appears to be no delay while the bullet is traveling the 100+ yards to the target. I believe the 17 HMR is not powerful enough for coyotes. Using the 17 HMR for coyotes would be like going elephant hunting with a 243 Win loaded with 55 gr Nosler Ballistic tips. The Bullberry barrel appears to be very consistent. I will know more about its accuracy when I can put it on my benchrest up at my cabin. All in all, I am very pleased with the new 17 HMR.

17 HMR Field Testing on Ground Squirrels
Day 2

This unlucky ground squirrel was taken at about 70 yards. This is the most damage I have seen to date.
I got a few more ground squirrels today. Got one at 172 yards and another at 163 yards.
For these two, on all four, I was holding about 2" over their backs. Bang, Plop!
There was very light wind today and I have the windage set pretty well on the scope now.

Here is a view looking east. When I first got here, there were 6 ground squirrels standing up at from 30 to 100 yards.
Six rounds from the 17 HMR fixed that and that should make the cattle rancher happy.

ACCURATE SHOT PLACEMENT POSSIBLE.... Here are 5 of the 6 squirrels. From the left to right they were taken at about 100, 90, 90, 60, and 35 yards. One of the ground squirrels must have made it down the hole, because I couldn't find it. Later in the day, I took some longer shots. I actually connected on 4 ground squirrels from 275 to about 320 yards. They just dropped and quivered. I was holding over about a foot on the long shots and about 6" into a mild 5 mph wind. On one shot at about 200 yards, I actually saw the bullet hit the bank about 10 ft behind the ground squirrel after completely penetrating it. The coyotes will be coming in tonight for their feast. The 17 HMR does not tenderize the ground squirrels as much as the 223 Ackley Improved.

THE HUNTING GROUNDS.... A view of Mt Diablo with some ground squirrel mounds at about 50 yards. No! I don't shoot in this direction. To get these ground squirrels, I would move over to the right to get a clear backdrop. There are probably 250 or more ground squirrels in this 80-acre pasture. Then there is the next section with a few thousand ground squirrels. Then there is another couple of sections on the other side of the road.

A VERY FINE LINE.... I am very careful to only "control" the ground squirrel population. I have to walk a very fine line. If I shoot too many, they might not survive and the field will be barren. If I leave too many in the field, the rancher might use poison and kill them all. A surviving population of ground squirrels is a good thing and besides, I don't want to work myself out of a job.
The same goes for coyotes.

 Finally, in my view, the 17 HMR is a keeper!

MORE COMMENTS.... I got excited about the 17 HMR because it was really something new and filled a gap in shooting enjoyment. As we get more crowded and the open country becomes more and more scarce, the relative quiet and accurate 17 HMR is an excellent choice. I had a Contender Carbine barrel ordered within hours after is was first available from Bullberry and long before the other rifle manufactures were even considering an offering.

THE SECOND AMENDMENT CALIBER.... I call the 17 HMR the Second Amendment Caliber. Anyone who owns a firearm views the Second Amendment differently than liberal tree huggers. Many people who were not enjoying shooting sports have joined the 17 HMR bandwagon and are having a really good time again or, in many cases, for the first time. The 17 HMR is expanding the number of gun owners like no other caliber that has come along in quite a long while.

COULD IT BE?.... Could it be true that the 17 HMR was a Right Wing Conspiracy to get more people to own a firearm, to support the Second Amendment, and to vote Republican?

Good 17's from Varmint Al

Last Updated: 07/18/2015
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