.17 Rimfire Rifle Accuracy Test Results
By the Guns and Shooting Online Staff
Here at Guns and Shooting Online we have had the opportunity to review many .17 caliber rimfire rifles and we are continuing to do so. The .17 caliber rimfire cartridges include the .17 M2, .17 HMR and .17 WSM. We have found the accuracy potential of all three cartridges to be excellent and essentially the same.
In the course of our rifle reviews we ordinarily test for accuracy using as many different loads as possible and tabulate the results. This concludes with an average overall group size for all types of ammunition. Typically, groups with each rifle are fired for record by three or four Guns and Shooting Online staffers and/or contributors.
The .17 Mach 2 (.17 M2) cartridge is based on a CCI Stinger .22 LR case necked down to accept .17 caliber bullets. Our .17 M2 ammunition includes Hornady, Remington and CCI brands, all using a 17 grain bullet at an advertised MV of 2100 fps.
The .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire (.17 HMR) cartridge is based on a .22 WMR case necked down to accept .17 caliber bullets. The .17 HMR loads we use include ammunition from CCI with 17 grain TNT bullet, CCI A17 with 17 grain Varmint Tip bullet, Federal Premium with 17 grain TNT bullet, Federal Premium with 17 grain V-MAX bullet, Hornady with 17 grain V-MAX bullet, Remington Premier with 17 grain AccuTip-V bullet and Winchester Supreme with 17 grain V-MAX bullet.
Except for the CCI A17 load, all brands claim a muzzle velocity (MV) of 2525-2550 fps and in our chronograph testing actually delivered average MVs of 2550-2650 fps, depending on the load. The CCI A17 load has a catalog MV of 2650 fps and chronographed between 2775 and 2809 fps from our test rifles. (See the article Compared: .17 HMR Varmint Ammunition for more details about .17 HMR ammo.)
The .17 Winchester Super Magnum (.17 WSM) is based on a Winchester .270 commercial nail gun case necked down to accept .17 caliber bullets. .17 WSM ammunition includes Winchester Elite with 20 and 25 grain tipped bullets, Hornady with a 20 grain V-MAX tipped bullet and Federal American Eagle brand with a 20 grain tipped bullet. MV with a 20 grain bullet is 3000 fps and MV with a 25 grain bullet is 2600 fps.
.17 rimfire rifles are normally tested with a good quality telescopic sight set at a magnification of nine power or higher. All recorded groups are fired from a solid bench rest at an outdoor rifle range. These are 5-shot groups fired at 100 yard targets.
A steadily mounting accumulation of data makes the following list possible. We will continue to update this list as new rifles are reviewed and additional data becomes available. Following are the Average Overall Group Size test results for the various .17 caliber rimfire rifles reviewed by Guns and Shooting Online (measured in inches).
AVERAGE OVERALL GROUP SIZE TEST RESULTS
Remember, the above accuracy results are averages with all brands of ammunition tested. If the rifles are compared based on the average group size achieved with their favored brand of ammo the results are as follows.
AVERAGE GROUP SIZE WITH MOST ACCURATE BRAND OF AMMUNITION
* We tested two different Marlin Model 917VS and Ruger K77/17VMBBZ rifles.
Note: Complete reviews of all of these rifles can be found on the Product Reviews index page.
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