View Full Version : .17 instead of .22 Mag.?

June 2, 2004, 10:19 PM
For hunting small game which is the better choice and why?

Larry Ashcraft
June 3, 2004, 09:29 AM
Depends. If you're hunting rabbits and squirrels for meat, I would go with the .22 mag. For small varmints, the .17 is the way to go. I've shot quite a few prairie dogs and rock squirrels with my .17 HMR, and I haven't had one so much as move after I shot it. The little bullet is destructive way beyond what it should be, talkin' 1.5" exit wounds on a squirrel.

June 3, 2004, 09:50 AM
I am a big fan of the .22 mag, having shot quite a few animals and targets with one. I enjoyed shooting a friends .17HMR, and I hear that it is pretty impressive in small game hunting although I have not actually hunted with it. My opinion of the small rimfire calibers is that they are plinking guns first and foremost. The fact that they can take small game, gives them an additional use but if all you use a rimfire for is hunting, then you are missing out on one of life’s most simple pleasures. That said, 22 mag is already at the steep end as far as ammo prices go, but it does have a significant advantage over both the 22LR and 17HMR in take down power. A box of 50 in .17HMR runs in the 9 dollar range, for that price you can shoot .223. The cost of the ammo for the 17, in my mind, totally negates the purpose of the gun.

I am sure that there will be plenty of people posting after me that will tell you all about the flat shooting accuracy of the round, and the great small game taking ability it has, which is all true. I would just encourage you to remember the whole point of a rimfire and see if a 17 is really worth it.

Dave R
June 3, 2004, 07:06 PM
If you are going to save meat, don't use a .17.

I hunt varmits with a .17 centerfire, which is hotter than the .17HMR. It is very destrcutive. It kills, guts and autopsies at the same time.

June 4, 2004, 12:57 PM
my cz 452 in .17hmr is super accurate and fun to shoot.
but for edible critters its a headshot proposition only , as it
tends to blow squirrels to pieces on body shots :D

June 8, 2004, 02:25 PM
I have a 17 hmr taurus revolver that i use for rabbits and I have found that meat destruction will be worse than a 22 lr but not as bad as the 22 mag. The only thing though the velocity out of the pistol is seriously lower than the rifle. If you are wanting a 17 cal rifle for squirrel and rabbit hunting that shouldn't destroy the animal completely like a 17 hmr or some 22mags will then I would suggest waiting till this fall for the 17 mach 2. If you haven't heard about it it's basically a 22lr case necked down to 17...just like they did with the 17hmr. It uses the same bullet as the 17hmr but it doesn't quite reach it's velocity. Even though it uses the lr case it is still faster than the 22 mag. If you have a ruger 10/22 rifle all you need to do is buy a barrel instead of a whole new rifle.

June 8, 2004, 05:35 PM
This link seems to have more info on the 17HMR than ANYONE would want.


What it does NOT have is any comparison to the 22WMR.

As I recall from the couple of articles I read, there is not much difference in velocity at over 75 yards. And also as I recall, the energy edge was with the 22WMR.

I have heard that the wind drift is not all that bad with the 17 but I am not sure I believe that info. A 17 ....GRAIN..... bullet SHOULDN'T buck wind any better than a roly poly bug. (wellll ????)

Anyhow, for the cost and power, I think I would go with the 22WMR.


Jamie Young
June 8, 2004, 08:09 PM
The 17 had the edge in the market for about a year.

The 22mag manufacturers have gotten smart and introduced several new HP bullet designs.

The 22 Mag does have more punch but suffered from a very dull bullet selection for years.

I'm sticking with my Marlin model 882-22mag. It can punch threw 2 inches of Plywood at 300yds while 22LR barely penetrated one inch.

June 8, 2004, 09:25 PM
I have been going over this for the last month whether to order a new Volquartzen in 22M or 17 HMR. I intend to use it for plinking, some small game and small varmint use.

After much consideration I selected the 17. Why? It is flatter shooting, more accurate and it seems that everyone who has one, loves it. I couldn't really find anything the 22M does better.

July 15, 2004, 08:11 PM
I have avoided buying a .17 caliber rifle. I have no problems connecting with rabbits, squirrels, crows, and other small animals out to 100 yards with my old Mossberg 640K in .22 mag. The scope is an older Weaver fixed 6 power.

August 11, 2004, 05:06 PM
.17HMR far better. People talking about saving meat...well unless you eat ribcage, then it's not a problem, only a prob if you shoot it in the legs/guts. Or if you wanted to be really carefull....go for a headshot.

August 14, 2004, 05:24 PM
I like my Savage .17. I've killed plenty of squirrels with mine with mostly headshots, but where my aim faltered and I hit the animal in the shoulder I'd say damage is similar to a .22 mag. If you do go with the .17, I'd recommend experimenting with different bullets. I haven't tried it, but I suspect CCI's TNT bullet might be less destructive than Hornady's V-Max.

Larry Ashcraft
August 19, 2004, 11:32 AM
I have tried both the CCI and the Hornady. You're right, the Hornady is more destructive.

August 20, 2004, 01:51 PM
Lavan: Re wind-bucking by 17 hummer: What I read on rimfire central was that, all in all the 17 bucks the wind better than .22 mag, NOT because it's inherently better (it's not - it's lighter and worse for that, all other things being equal), but simply because it gets to the target FASTER, and therefore the wind has less TIME to act upon the bullet (the amount the wind affects the bullet is a function of wind speed, direction, and bullet shape, and bullet weight, AND the amount of time the wind has to exert its force upon the bullet, which of course depends on the velocity of the bullet, which is several hudred fps faster with 17). I'm not totally sure I believe this, but someone with sufficient engineering knowledge should be able to prove or disprove this quite easily mathematically. However, it MAY be the case that the 17 hmr bucks the wind better over "long distances, light wind", whereas the .22 mag bucks it better over "short distance, strong wind". I can envision this as a physical possibility, but perhaps the .17 consistently wins in this category; perhaps the .22 consistently wins; I just don't know.