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GUNS Magazine March 2012 Digital Edition - Page 64

Savage, Leupold and Hornady’s new cartridge made for an enjoyable day of shooting. Mark Hampton hen the .17 HMr first hit the market, like so many others, I jumped on the bandwagon. I certainly wasn’t alone. The astonishing record sales statistics from this rimfire cartridge was evidence a lot of shooters enjoyed the new offering. I immediately had a Contender pistol format chambered for the .17 HMr and shot everything including squirrels, prairie dogs and other pesky varmints. My wife really enjoys shooting this rimfire too. Accuracy and zero recoil are two positive attributes that make this round so enjoyable. W Varmint cartridges, once the province of wildcatters and experimenters, have continuously evolved over the years, and now include factory offerings such as the .17 HMR, .17 Hornet, .204 Ruger, .223 and the venerable .22-250. This cartridge was yet another brainchild from Hornady’s Dave Emary. Dave is the senior ballistics guru behind many other successful endeavors from Hornady, including the 6.5 Creedmoor, .204 Ruger, LEVERevolution lineup and Superformance just to name a few. When I first found out Dave had designed another .17 offering, my ears perked up and I wanted to learn more. Could this possibly be another home run from Hornady? Luckily, I even had the opportunity to field-test this new .17 from Hornady on a Wyoming prairie dog shoot. What better way to evaluate a sub-caliber? Long History Granted, .17s of various designs have been around for quite some time. From what I can gather, the subcaliber actually hit the radar screen way back in the 1920s. Sometime after that, the legendary wildcatter P.O. Ackley came along and started working more with the .17 cartridges. There were several designs, but like many other wildcats, come and go as time drifts. There was the .17 Pee Wee, based on the .30 Carbine case, .17 Mach IV, a necked down .221 Remington Fireball, .17/223, based on the .223 Remington case, .17 Magnum on the .222 Remington Magnum case, and many others including my favorite, the .17 Flintstone Super Eyebunger. Say that three times real fast after a double-scotch! Actually, I’ve never shot one, but whoever came up with the name had a sense of humor. Then along came 1971 when Remington introduced the .17 Remington. They even offered rifles, brass, bullets and ammunition. Die-hard varmint shooters took a liking to this round, but not nearly as much as the shooting community did with the .17 HMR. In 2007, Remington necked down their .221 Fireball and introduced the .17 Remington Fireball. This cartridge seemed to appeal to varmint busters more so than the .17 Remington. As you can see, the little .17 has taken many forms to date. So, what makes this new offering from Hornady special? After a few days of actual field-testing the new cartridge, all I can say is Dave Emary and Hornady have struck again. The Savage Model 25 topped with Leupold 4.5-14X optics and the .17 Hornet proved effective on Wyoming’s over-populated prairie dogs. The new .17 Hornet (middle) is flanked by a .17 HMR (left) and .223 (right). 64 W W W. G U N S M A G A Z I N E . C O M • M A R C H 2 0 1 2

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