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.17 Remington

Cartridge Drawing

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One might think logically that a cartridge that`s been with us since 1971, one that burns about the same amount of powder as the .222, produces about the same amount of muzzle blast as the .223, generates about the same level of recoil as the .22 Hornet, and yet shoots as flat as the .22-250, would have America`s varmint shooters standing in line to buy a rifle chambered for it. Sadly enough, this has not been the case with our only domesticated .17 caliber cartridge. Despite the fact that the .17 Remington has such impressive credentials, it has never enjoyed more than mild popularity in the United States. It`s largest following is in Australia where hunters who shoot fox for the fur market find the little cartridge ideal for minimal pelt damage.

With the exception of the .220 Swift, the .17 Remington generates velocities exceeding those of all other commercially loaded cartridges by a considerable margin. Such extremely high speeds result in a flat trajectory which makes 300 yard shots on varmint a snap. The banjo string trajectory plus it`s excellent accuracy, even with factory loads, and almost nonexistent recoil make the .17 Remington a pleasure to carry afield. All the little cartridge asks of its owner is a good barrel cleaning every 15-20 rounds. Muzzle Jump from a rifle chambered to this cartridge is so light you can see the speedy little bullet punch a hole in paper or tumble a varmint, right inside your scope.

For top accuracy at maximum velocities, IMR-4320 will make the .17 Remington sing a pretty song. Other good choices are H380 and H4895. Presently, several U.S. and foreign gun makers offer rifles in this caliber; Remington, Thompson/Center, Sako, and Krico. In a custom 14" barrel from SSK Industries, the .17 Remington will push a 25 grain bullet to 3500 fps, making it the fastest cartridge available in the T/C Contender and Remington XP-100 handguns in custom barrels from Thompson/Center and SSK Industries, etc., etc.

Historical Notes:

The 17 Remington was introduced in 1971 as a new caliber for Remington`s 700 Series bolt action rifles. It is the smallest caliber centerfire rifle cartridge offered on a commercial basis to date. The case is based on the 223 Remington necked down to 17 caliber, with the shoulder moved back .087" to lengthen the neck while retaining the same shoulder angle. The 17 Remington is similar to, but not identical with the 17-223 wildcat developed about 1965. Experiment with the 17 caliber rifles go back to 1944 when P.O. Ackley, the well known gunsmith and experimenter, developed the 17 Ackley Bee based on necking down the improved 218 Bee case. There are a number of other 17 caliber wildcat cartridges made by necking down 22 caliber centerfire cases such as the 221 Remington Fireball, 222 Remington, etc. Remington , Ultra Light Arms, Wichita, and Sako offers rifles in this caliber.

General Comments:

The 17 Remington has had a steady, though unspectacular, sales record since its introduction. Its greatest drawback is that its a special purpose cartridge suited almost exclusively for varmint shooting. For the sportsman who wants a rifle only for that purpose, this is not a disadvantage, however those requiring a rifle for both varmint and deer hunting would be better served with some other caliber.

With the 25 grain hollow point bullet loaded by Remington and similar bullets available for handloading by Hornady, the 17 Remington must be rated as a short range varmint cartridge. On the other hand, it has certain advantages such as minimal recoil, ricochet probability, and a very flat trajectory due to the high initial velocity of over 4000 fps. Disadvantages include; rapid barrel fouling, extreme sensitivity to slight charge weight variation and limited component availability. Factory loaded ammunition is available only from Remington.

.17 Remington

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