Remington .17 Fireball

By Chuck Hawks

New for 2007, Remington's .17 Fireball was created by necking-down the .221 Fireball case (itself based on a shortened .222 Remington case) to accept .172" diameter bullets. The new .17 Fireball boasts an advertised muzzle velocity (MV) of 4000 fps and a 300 yard velocity of 2360 fps with a 20 grain AccuTip-V varmint bullet. The muzzle energy (ME) of the 20 grain bullet is 710 ft. lbs. and at 300 yards the remaining energy is 247 ft. lbs. These Remington figures were taken in a 24" test barrel.

Independent chronograph test results published in American Rifleman magazine showed an average MV some 125 fps slower than advertised from the 24" barrel of a Remington Model 700 rifle. Even so, that little 20 grain AccuTip-V bullet is moving right along. A factory load using a 25 grain bullet is rumored for introduction next year.

Here are Remington's trajectory figures for the .17 Fireball's 20 grain AccuTip-V bullet at a MV of 4000 fps:
+1.6"at 100 yards, +2.0" at 150 yards, +1.5" at 200 yards, 0 at 250 yards, -2.8" at 300 yards.

The .17 Fireball is a typical bottleneck, rimless cartridge. It has a case length of 1.41" compared to the 1.796" case length of the earlier .17 Remington. The .17 Fireball's rim diameter is .378", head diameter is .375", shoulder angle is 30 degrees, cartridge overall length is 1.83" and it uses small rifle primers. The SAAMI maximum average pressure (MAP) is 55,000 psi, well below the 63,000 psi of the.17 Remington. This lower MAP should reduce fouling and increase barrel life.

Hornady is the primary supplier of .172" bullets to reloaders. Hornady offers reloaders a 20 grain V-Max and two 25 grain bullets, a V-Max and a hollow point. The 20 grain V-Max and AccuTip-V bullets have a sectional density (SD) of .097 and a ballistic coefficient (BC) of .185. The 25 grain bullets have a SD of .121. The V-Max has a BC of .230 and the hollow point has a BC of .187.

Based on Hornady loading data for the nearly identical .17 Mach IV, which should also be applicable to the .17 Fireball, 16.3 grains of H4198 powder is good for a MV of 4000 fps with Hornady's 20 grain V-Max bullet. 15.1 grains of the same powder gives a MV of 3600 fps with either of Hornady's 25 grain bullets. These Hornady loads were developed in a T/C Encore rifle with a 24" barrel and used Remington cases and Remington 7-1/2 primers.

Reloaders should remember that the .17 Fireball's small case means that small variations in powder will produce seemingly disproportionate changes in velocity and pressure. Because the .17 Fireball burns less powder than the .17 Remington and drives its bullet at a lower velocity with less pressure, it fouls the bore less rapidly. Fouling problems are reported to be much less pronounced than with the .17 Remington.

Note: A full length article about the .17 Remington Fireball can be found on the Rifle Cartridge Page.

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Copyright 2007, 2012 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.