Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Apples and Oranges

In comments about the post on the .17 HMR, commenter Old NFO asks:
Interesting... Better than a good .22?
Uuuh, no.

Nothing is better than a good .22, although lots of things are better suited for a particular task. I like my .22s, but they're not much good at 100 yards, and not much good past that, where I'm learning that the little .17 HMR is good out past 100 yards, even out past 200 yards for some types of shooting.

The .17 HMR is a necked down .22 magnum case stuffed full of L'il Gun powder. The 17 grain bullet leaves that barrel at something over 2500 fps. On my deer lease, it's fashionable to take a .17 HMR to the stand to watch over the food plot. In the absence of venison, a swamp rabbit is liable to sun himself amongst the greens and the .17 HMR can take him at ranges that might prove inconvenient for the .22 LR.

Also, that little .17 caliber bullet is very frangible. It's going to disintegrate if it hits anything. I've talked about the over penetration of the .22 LR and the .17 isn't capable of much penetration with the varmint bullet.

The short answer is that it'll never replace the .22 LR in my battery. It also won't replace the .243, or the .30-06. However, if I'm asked to snipe at crows, or if I'm forced to do varmint work when raccoons are depredating the muscadines, I'll probably pick the .17 HMR. I know that it's fast enough to do the job and I know that the bullet isn't going to ricochet into the next parish.

When I'm squirrel hunting, I'll take the .22s. Nothing much beats a .22 LR for the squirrel woods. The .17 is a caliber I'll use as a step between the .22s and the .243s.

But no, nothing is better than a good .22.


Anonymous said...

Don't shoot anything with a 17 HMR if you plan to eat it.

Old NFO said...

That's what I was curious about Paw, thanks for the answer... I'll stick to my .22s and not buy a .17 HMR. I don't get much chance to shoot .22s up here at anything other than range targets, and I really don't want to have to chase yet another caliber of ammo...

JimB said...

If the .17 HMR is just a necked dowm .22 Mag , why not just stick with the original. .22 Mag is a pretty good cartridge. Bullet weights from 35 to 50 gr. Just asking...

Anonymous said...

JimB, the 17 HMR is far more accurate than the 22 mag.

Boomerator said...

I would think that the .22 mag won't wear the barrel out as fast.

How far out will a .22 mag go accurately? 150m? 200m? Seems pretty good.

It also appears that the .22 mag ammo is cheaper.

For a general small animal rifle I will take the .22 line.

Pawpaw said...

Why would I choose the 17 HMR? I wouldn't. It's not a cartridge I would have ever discovered on my own. I've always done everything I wanted to do with a rimfire, using the .22LR.

My wife decided I needed another rifle and put it under the Christmas tree. Ergo, I'm shooting a 17 HMR.

Matt G said...

"The .17 is a caliber I'll use as a step between the .22s and the .243s."

My favorite bridge there is the .22 Hornet. I'm so very impressed with the efficiency of this tiniest centerfire round. (Yes, I know I've raved before.) The energy you get is all out of proportion to the mild muzzle report, or the size of the cartridge.