Another Sexy Savage: The Model 93R17 Classic .17 HMR Rifle

By Randy Wakeman

Savage Classic .22
Illustration courtesy of Savage Arms.

The Savage “classic” treatment the folks at Savage Arms have been applying to their line is addictive. Highly polished blue, black fore end tips and walnut stocks make these rifles hard to resist. The tested rifle is designated “17 Series Model 93R17 Classic with AccuTrigger.” Chambered for the Hornady .17 Magnum Rimfire, I like to refer to it as just the “17 Classic.” If it isn’t already a classic, it soon will be.

I will admit to being a bit reticent to bite at a new cartridge, as the “when all else fails invent a caliber” mindset has permeated the rifle industry to the point of absurdity. Counting how many times the .308 has been reinvented is enough to make me quickly run out of fingers and toes. The .17 HMR has been a Guns & Shooting Online favorite for some time, giving Commander Hawks and his gang of unsavory sand rat slayers good service for some time. Illinois is not resplendent with sand rats, perhaps due to the lack of sand, or perhaps because Crazy Charlie was once here?

The basis for the .17 HMR makes some sense, that being necking down the .22 Win. Mag. to dramatically up the velocity. The .22 WMR cartridge has never been particularly accurate for me, while the .17 HMR has earned an industry wide reputation for exceptional accuracy. This is no doubt due to very tight quality control of factory produced .17 HMR ammunition and the fact that the cartridge is chambered in some exceptionally accurate rifles. In fact, my view of the .22 LR rimfire as basically a 50 yard gun changed somewhat with the sub-1/2 inch 100 yard groups produced by the Savage MKII-BV .22 LR with Lapua ammo. With that type of accuracy from the Accu-Triggered Savage, it was only natural to request another Savage rimfire rifle for review to see what it could do with the more technically advanced .17 HMR ammunition.

I installed a Burris 4-12x32 R/A scope (Burris item #200394, called out as Compact R/A 4X – 12X Adjustable Parallax Target Knobs) on the pre-installed Savage bases with Warne Maxima Permanent Rings. It rarely happens, but here are the first five shots out of this rifle after installing the scope. I took the first two and my almost 80-year-old father took the next three:

Savage Classic target
Photo by Randy Wakeman.

This is one of those rifles that are just plain fun. Shooting 17 grain Winchester .17 HMR ammo, my best 5 shot group at 105 yards was just under one quarter inch. Sometimes you can flinch just right. As the day wore on, the winds became gusty, and my groups opened up. Despite its rocket ship velocity, windage is something you quickly learn is a factor with flyweight bullets.

The Savage looks great, if not cute, and the recoil is non-existent. You can feel the action working and that’s about it. The accuracy is unbelievable, given proper range conditions and the AccuTrigger is a fabulous addition to a rifle of this type. The Hornady .17 HMR is a rimfire that lives up to its hype; if you consider a quality .22 LR a 75 yard small game rifle, this fits the same niche out to around 165 yards. Savage can’t build these beauties fast enough and it is not hard to understand why. I cannot think of anyone, young or old, who would not be proud to own one. They are an absolute joy to shoot.

Note: A complete review of the Savage 93R17 Classic .17 HMR Rifle can be found on the Product Reviews page.

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Copyright 2008, 2012 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.