Savage A17 Autoloading .17 HMR Package Rifle w/Bushnell Banner 3.5-10x36mm AO Riflescope
The Savage A17 (a .22 WMR version has been announced for 2016) features the .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire cartridge, the most successful new rimfire cartridge in recent memory. To resolve the issues with prior autoloading .17 HMR rifles from other manufacturers, the action is timed by a delayed blowback system.
Savage has gone with a 10 round rotary magazine, the best detachable magazine platform for rimfires. Other A17 rifle features include a button rifled barrel, Accu-Trigger, oversize bolt handle, controlled round feeding, mounted Weaver scope bases and a hard chromed bolt.
The test rifle is the A17 XP variation, which is packaged with a pre-mounted and bore sighted Bushnell Banner 3.5-10x36mm AO (adjustable objective) riflescope in Weaver mounts. Like the base A17 rifle, it comes with one magazine.
Aesthetically, it would be difficult to call the A17 a thing of beauty, for the blow-molded plastic stock with awkward lines prevents that. The stock is reminiscent of the Savage Axis and it is aesthetically common, far too common, these days.
The A17 comes with an Accu-Trigger and the trigger breaks cleanly and crisply at 3.5 pounds out of the box. It is an excellent rimfire trigger.
Over the years, Savage has done a very good job with their metal finishing and their proprietary media tumbling system. The A17's black metal oxide finish has a noticeably higher level of polish than the usual rough, matte, essentially unfinished genre of finishes, which is a good thing.
Vista Outdoor Group markets CCI A17 brand ammo specifically designed for use in the A17 rifle (they own Savage, CCI, Federal, Speer, Weaver, Bushnell, etc.). A17 ammo is loaded with a 17 grain bullet at a muzzle velocity of 2650 fps, which is 100 fps faster than standard .17 HMR loads and specifically designed to operate the A17 rifle's delayed blowback action. Unfortunately, I did not have access to any A17 ammo.
I tested the Savage A17 with the ammunition I had on hand: Winchester Supreme 17 grain and 20 grain ammo. The results were not good. With the Winchester 17 grain loads, the Savage A17 jammed numerous times. It ejected properly, but failed to feed the next round. I had no malfunctions with the 20 grain loads.
It was a breezy day and not ideal conditions, so test shooting was done at 50, rather than 100, yards. Both rounds had a problem with severe vertical stringing (up to six inches). Horizontally, there was no great issue, but the vertical stringing was unacceptable. Sadly, in terms of accuracy, the 17 grain rounds (that jammed) were markedly better than the 20 grain rounds that fed correctly.
Savage advertises the A17 bolt handle as oversize for easy grasping and it certainly is big. The bolt of the A17 does not stay open after the last shot, so you will probably find yourself unintentionally clicking on an empty chamber, as I did.
The pre-mounted, South Korean made Bushnell scope was clear enough. However, the eye box was overly critical, offering tunnel vision quite easily at 6x, and higher, magnification.
Back in 2008, I tested a Savage Model 93R17 Classic .17 HMR that shot 1/4 inch, five shot groups, out of the box at 105 yards. It shoots just as well today. In general, Savage bolt action .17 HMR rifles have been supremely accurate.
Regardless, I can only report on what I have before me. When you have a .17 HMR self-loader that fails to feed and yields unacceptable accuracy at just 50 yards, it cannot be recommended.
The reviewed Savage A17 is both unreliable and inaccurate. I know of no one who could purchase this $578 MSRP rimfire rifle and in any way be satisfied.
Note: A full review of the Savage A17, including detailed shooting results, shooter impressions and a rifle review summary, can be found on the Product Reviews index page.
Copyright 2016 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.