Why the 17 HMR

I shoot a small ground squirrel we call "Whistle Pigs" in Southern Idaho. I usually pick up 17HMR around $10 a box of 50 rounds on sale. That's 20 cents a round which I can't come close to reloading my. 223 for. I put a Vortex G-2 on my. 17 and have fun hitting them out to 300 yards with some luck. It gets me practicing for long range shooting with my larger caliber rifles. Fun with no kick out of it!
I never got any “action” out past maybe 150. And certainly nothing to match my 223. And if it’s windy it’s useless.
I've shot sage rats out to 350yds with my 17 WSM, which is a far bit more potent than my HMR's, and it kills them fine at that range but they just kinda fall over dead, there is no aerial affect or as a friend calls it, ratobatics. lol

If the wind stays consistent, I can usually dial in to it, but if it's swirling or shifting a lot, then it's no bueno. Even with my centerfires, if it's blowing very hard and switching around on you, they're no guarantee, but BC, bullet weight and time of flight is definitely your friend when the wind picks up.

tt35, how is the rat situation looking for this year or with all this stuff going on will there even be one???
Why not try a 17 Fireball?
A 17FB would probably be a great choice for a small centerfire, but finding a gun chambered in 17 FB as well as finding ammo or brass, is fairly limited and if a guy were to have one built and was a hand loader, I'd skip past the 17FB and build a 17-221FB or 20-221FB so I could use 221FB brass, which is not only more available but also available in premium quality brass.
One of my buddies shoots a 17 HMR when we shoot prairie dogs. We usually only have a couple hours in the evening after I close up shop. I have a 22 hornet pistol that is good for 100 yards. After the first 10 to 15 shots they hole up close and we break out my 223 AR and his 22-250. It's just a matter of time until I pick up a 17 Hornet. We are shooting on ranches here in Wyoming, so the wind almost always blows. That makes the 17 a little hard to hit at much distance.
To Start off I’m not trying to say anything bad about the HMR for small game hunting they are a blast. However I have been debating picking up another rifle for shooting gophers around home and any other small game that might Pop up. The HMR and the WSM are both a great little gun for doing this but I was thinking today why not just go right up to a .223. You get a lot more power out of a .223 if something like a coyote is to pop up and when you compare ammo cost if you reload or buy cheaper bulk .223 ammo the 17’s really don’t save you that much as far as Ammo goes. If you want to shoot a lot of bullets for cheap go with a 22 but if you are going to step up from there why not just go right up to the .223
I have the Savage B-Mag in 17WSM and have killed several groundhogs with it. The red tip ammo hits 3,000fps and it puts them down quickly. It is a bolt-action rifle. I also have the Savage A-17 model in 17HMR, semi-auto. It also is a good varmint gun. Both are very accurate and quite reasonable in price.
The 17 hornet is a round that I haven’t got a chance to try but I think it would be a lot of fun. I still enjoy using my HMR and WSM and my 22 for shooting gophers but I probably kill more every year with my .223 or my .204 just because they are the guns I have with me on a daily bassis
Get a 17HMR or 17WSM. They are pretty effective on prairie dogs out to 250 yards and are great for walking around the dog town rifles. My group tends to shoot off the bench till about 9am, then go on a walkabout for 90 minutes or so with 300-400 rounds in our pockets. We come back empty just shooting standing off of sticks. We repeat the same thing in the middle afternoon.

You can get the 17HMR in both bolt and autos, the 17WSM is limited to fixed breach offerings right now. If you live in coyote country, the 20gr XTP will kill them out to 120-130 yards just fine in the 17HMR. I shot a snapping turtle with that bullet and it punched right through him leaving a quarter sized exit hole on an eighty yard broadside shot.
I own all of the cartridges being discussed. My all time favourite gopher gun is the 17 FB. You just can't beat the splat factor of a 20 grain Vmax at 4100 FPS. I thought the 17 HH would be fun but the brass isn't great and it is a pain to relaod, I still prefer the 22 Hornet over it. We have 17 HMR but can reload 17FB for the same price and the FB is a far better performer. All that said, we shoot ten times as many gophers with a 22 Rf as everything else combined. When you are going through 10-15,000 rounds a year., cost becomes a factor and you can't beat a 22 with Winchester Xperts for cost.
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