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  #1  
Old 11-07-2004, 08:30 AM
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Question .17 HMR for hunting?


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I just recently bought a Marlin 917V in .17 HMR. I have not shot it yet. My question: Is this cartridge good for hunting or is just for blowing critters up? If I were to hunt squirrels, what bullet would I use? Any good hunting stories using the .17 HMR?
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  #2  
Old 11-08-2004, 08:00 AM
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The 17gr Hornadys tend to blow up on small critters. However, here in AZ where the pine squirrel are awful small, you do occasionally get a through-and-through with them. They'd blow up on the big fox squirrel I used to hunt in WI. Hornady does make a 20gr that's a hollow point, and that may hold together better on a larger squirrel. Haven't tried them yet, though. The 20gr are less accurate in my NEF unfortunately; they'd be okay for bigger animals, but you have less room for error with squirrel.

I love the .17HMR for general shooting, but unfortunately it's a meat shredder in most cases. Great if you're shooting pests or anything you don't plan to eat, but not for hunting small game. It's also good for coyote (around here, anyway, where they're smaller), as they enter and then cause a lot of bleeding but don't exit. I suppose if it's the only rifle you've got when you're out and about and you've got a squirrel in your sights, do a head shot -- accuracy is what the .17 is best at once you find the ammo your rifle likes, so that's what I'd do.

Just my $.02
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  #3  
Old 11-08-2004, 08:25 AM
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For rats I prefer the CCI hollow point. even then a head on shot will "bone" one out leaving only the head and tail joined by a strip of fur. This makes a mess in the lot. A broadside shot on a barnyard rat leaves a good exit wound and a rat that drops in in its tracks.
for our little ground squrrels a hit in the heart lung area anchors them straight away. A hit too far back and they will crawl off and escape.
The .22 Magnum with the little Remington bullet is just a little bit better killer on the light critters. The problem again is that it tears things up and leaves quite a mess.
For larger animals the 50 grain Federal .22 Magnum is the load. The .17HMR requires a head shot to anchor the bigger critters and that is not always possible.
You will find your Marlin .17 is pretty accurate right out of the box. I am happy with mine.
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  #4  
Old 11-08-2004, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralphbo
I just recently bought a Marlin 917V in .17 HMR. I have not shot it yet. My question: Is this cartridge good for hunting or is just for blowing critters up? If I were to hunt squirrels, what bullet would I use? Any good hunting stories using the .17 HMR?
Louisiana....hunt tree squirrels to eat....range is about 25 to 40yards. The 17HMR is too destructive. .22mag. is too destructive. Shucks, even the .22LR HyperVelocity types are too destructive. Head shots with any of them don't ruin eating-meat (although have a buddy that will add teh brains to scrambled eggs), but if you can head shoot them, then even a .22short works fine.

So...will often take out the heavy match guns and use up some of that "almost good enough" match .22LR ammo...stht stuff that shoots real well, but not quite to the top standards.
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  #5  
Old 11-14-2004, 05:12 AM
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Talking HMR Hunt?

A varmint cartridge fer sure...but accurate enough to put meat in the pot if you use that capability in a headshot sense. And here's the beauty of the cartridge....22mag rf
is a obsolute effort now...I mean, what did it really offer and what was it's limits vis-a-vis velocity?,accuracy?,range?...Compared to it's similar ancestor - the .22WRF,
[A unfairly considered cartridge] w/similar bullet seating/diameter[non heel] - what did .22mag rf really offer besides accuracy issues; a so what?, slight excuse to not go for the obvious better choice - C.F. .22s? [Hornet..et al] And - it's anemic power-range- accuracy -fussyness AND It's small lethality scope? OK...fine, if 150 yrd. edible critters is a goal and you're happy with not 'spoiling' the meat of what? - ....Yeah, you see?
I think that the hummer will hit and anchor the same critters that a .22mag rf might wound/cripple otherwise. I guess if I had a/few .22mag rf/s, I might think...NYAHHH!
Greystoke
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  #6  
Old 11-14-2004, 06:42 AM
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Quote:
And here's the beauty of the cartridge....22mag rf
is a obsolute effort now...I mean, what did it really offer and what was it's limits vis-a-vis velocity?,accuracy?,range?...Compared to it's similar ancestor - the .22WRF,
[A unfairly considered cartridge] w/similar bullet seating/diameter[non heel] - what did .22mag rf really offer besides accuracy issues; a so what?, slight excuse to not go for the obvious better choice - C.F. .22s?
The .22 mag affers about the same choice over going with the centerfire .22's as the .17 HMR does over going with a .17 centerfire.

Both are good for animals up to the size of a grey fox at limited range. Neither one is a reliable killer of anything larger. What the .22 mag lacks in velocity, the .17 HMR lacks in bullet weight. Velocity is an ever DECREASING factor; expecially when the bullet starts out a little weak anyway. Hitting an animal and killing that animal are entirely two different things, and that little bullet looses it's energy pretty quick.

There's nothing "magical" about the .17 HMR. It's nothing more than a .17 grain bullet launched at (approximately) 2500 fps; pretty weak in comparison to most other cartridges.

It's a great little medium range small varmint cartridge, but making it out to be anything more is pure marketing bunk that's worth less than the cost of the paper it was written on.

Enjoy it for what it is, but don't make it out to be something it isn't.

Drifter

Last edited by Drifter; 11-14-2004 at 06:53 AM.
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  #7  
Old 11-14-2004, 06:50 AM
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Traded 50% of the bullet weight (comapared to thed 34gr. .22mag. loadings) for 25% more velocity and a better ballistic shape. Not a bad trade for a varmint round; add in generally better accuracy it becomes an even a better trade for small varmints.

Not "magic" is the same proportion as shown by the .250savage and the 22/250...or the .308 and the .243, just on a smaller scale.

Any new round peeople get acrried away with and use it inappropriately. When the .17Centerfires were hot, were lots of stories about their use on deer and other larger game. Given time, rounds tend to eventaully settle down into their useful range. In the .17HMR's case, it's a great small varmint round with enough accuracy to actually tag those little critters.

Last edited by ribbonstone; 11-14-2004 at 07:07 AM.
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  #8  
Old 11-14-2004, 07:14 AM
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Quote:
Any new round peeople get acrried away with and use it inappropriately.
True enough, but it's still very annoying for those of us with the experience and knowledge to know fact from fiction to see the unfounded hype posted on the internet; especially when the animal is the only one to suffer.

I left my computer and paced a little before writing my above post. I'm tired of arguing what should be common sense, but I'll continue to write it and hope that at least some folks will stop and consider what I've said.

Take care,
Drifter
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  #9  
Old 11-14-2004, 07:39 AM
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Been thinking about this (not just in relation to the .17HMR). Ballistic "style" comes and goes, and the light bullet/high velocity "style" has come and gone before...been thinking and watching to see if it's coming back; the .17HMR is definately in that style.

The new short magnums are kind of in that style...not bad yet, but by giving up the heavy-weight end of the loading spectrum, it's a step in that direction. So is the .204Ruger.

The .17HMR is a great little round, proably the best varmint RF ever produced (including the ill-fated 5mm RM)...it does what varmint rounds ae supose to do, uses stadard sized cases so any .22mag. loading company can develop a .17HMR version wiuthout making odd sized brass, and they took the time to get the accuracy right (in most cases...are a few clunker 17's out there, but it's a smaller proportion).

Last summer I got to shoot the .22mag. and 17HMR side by side both at critters and at targets. Best possible testing...rifle and ammo were supplied, I don't have to buy the .17 or it's food (with permission of the owner, doing some time in the sand patch). Hard to make accuracy compariosn's, but the out of the box 17HMR is an impressive grouper (at least in this rifle).

Either one ran out of impressive bullet expansion by 150yards...at long long range (past what a RF should be used) both tend to plug bullet diameter holes though small critters...at some point downrage, there is just not enough velocity to get those bullets expanding.

No doubt about it, if the targets are critters about the size of your fist at 150yards, the .17HMR is the better round.

Took them both out to shoot Nutria (think of a 15-30 pound water rat...with some going much heavier). Range is closer. Here the .22mag. did better, but didn't shoot enough for a real comparison.

No real surprises...the heavier bullet did better on bigger game at closer ranges, the lighter faster bullet did better at long range on smaller game. Nothing earth shattering about that conclustion, is there?

Last edited by ribbonstone; 11-14-2004 at 07:53 AM.
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  #10  
Old 11-14-2004, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
No real surprises...the heavier bullet did better on bigger game at closer ranges, the lighter faster bullet did better at long range on smaller game. Nothing earth shattering about that conclustion, is there?
No, but it does put things into perspective fairly well for those considering the uses for such cartridges. That can mean a lot for those looking for real answers.

Personally, my "varmint" cartridges consist of four; the .22 RF, .22 WRM, the .17 Remington, and the .243 Win (is that "varmint" class cartridge? Maybe overkill, but it's good for long range varminting).

I went out shooting the .17 Rem yesterday to try out some new handloads. The first group out of a fresh cleaned barrel went into 3/4" at 100 yards. I adjusted the sights and the next two shots were touching, but still slightly left. I adjusted the scope again and the next three went into a 3/8 inch horizontal string, with two almost touching. I adjusted the scope slightly again and the last 5 shots went into a 5/8 inch cluster, with one of those shots being called as a pulled shot. Other than the pulled shot, the 4 shot group was sub-1/2", with two through the same hole.

That may seem like a lot of adjusting, considering that the first group was only 1 1/4 high and a half inch left, but it does show the pinpoint capabilities of this round in an accurate rifle. For me to do any better would require a more powerful scope and perhaps a better rest than sandbags on the hood of my truck.

The load uses a 25 grain Berger match bullet and RL-15 for a velocity of nearly 4000 fps, and cost for 200 loaded rounds runs about $50.00. Considering that .17 HMR ammo is about $9 per 50 rounds in my area, the .17 Rem is only slightly higher and carries a lot more punch.

My point? None really, other than to perhaps show a reason for my lack of being impressed with the .17 HMR. It's a neat little round with an impressive following of shooters, but the cartridge is nothing overly impressive when taken into proper perspective.

Y'all take care,
Drifter
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