One good shot to through the ear into the brain would probably do the job on a small deer. I would want to be 70 yards or less from the animal as you want as much umph as the little .17 is capable of.
At those ranges I can shoot the symbols off of playing cards.
Its probably not the best rifle for a deer, but the thing about it is that your hoping that it will take it instead of knowing that it will take it.
All of this being said, I have taken so much small game with my .17 HMR, that I am confident I could feed myself for a long time with it if i had to.
All of this had been in reference to a rifle. But I also own a .17hmr revolver, and as far as its ability to take down game is concerned. I would be even less sure of myself than using a rifle, the v-max bullets expand less violently but I think they would still have enough energy behind them to punch through a skull without problem.
Last edited by alex0535; January 5, 2013 at 08:49 PM.