Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Magnum Rimfire Wars-.17HMR VS .22WMR

There seems to be a running battle between shooters and hunters over which rimfire is best. I have both and find uses for both of them where they outshine the other. I do not really understand all the arguments and hostility. I will try and give you a common sense explanation from my experience of what I have found for each round. I recommend you go to Hornady, Federal, CCI and other ammo websites and read about each cartridge and what the specifications are at different bullet weights. I am really impressed with the new Hornady 30grain .22 WMR round as it gets the speed and flat shooting of the cartridge almost up to the .17 HMR but with close to twice the bullet weight.

I have found the accuracy of the .17 HMR to be superior to the .22 WMR in nearly every firearm I have shot it in. It is flatter shooting and has better long range accuracy as it is affected by wind drift less. I have found the .22 WMR to be superior in impact and knockdown in almost all cases. I have killed, as have many others, game that I would not have shot except under ideal conditions with the little .17 HMR. I have also lost a grey fox that was hit about two inches behind the shoulder at thirty yards. I have seen marginal kills of prairie dogs at long range with both cartridges but more with the .17 HMR. That could be because I can hit them farther out with the .17 HMR as I shoot it more on prairie dog hunts because of less wind drift and better accuracy. You can not beat the .17 HMR for a day of gunning jackrabbits or prairie dogs with a rimfire cartridge.

The bottom line is that both cartridges have a place in my gun safe. I find that for long range varmint shooting I tend to pick up the .17 HMR. For fox size and larger predator hunting I pick up a .22 WMR and pick my bullet for the task at hand. I have seen to many well shot coyotes and cats run after good hits at long range with the .17 HMR. They may have been dead but they were not recovered. If a bobcat or fox makes it to a brush pile or hole it is lost. I want to anchor them where they stand and find I need at least .22 Magnum performance to consistently do it.
I think if you honestly evaluate each you will find you need at least one of both calibers.
Good Shooting, Wild Ed


Anonymous said...

I love the story and it gave me just what i wanted for an answer. I whanted to know what guna was better the 22. mag or the 17. hmr... I think i will choose the .17 hmr because i plan on prarie dog hunting for weekends straight. I have a 22lr also, I thought it would be helpful at the close range shots and the .17hmr for longer.

Perkunas said...

Hey man,i found your blog while looking up on info about small game hunting with 22 wmr 's, and id like to ask you if you have any tips on heaviest ( for impact performance ) ammo.. ?

Wild Ed said...

The heaviest I have shot is 40 grains and they hit with a lot of impact, much more than the 17 or 20grain bullet og the 17 HMR. I shoot these rimfires for the speed so I shoot the lighter bullets. If I need more bullet weight and knock down power I go to the .223 round. You will be on your own experimenting with the heavier .22 WMR bullets. Be sure and give us a report on what you find. Ed

Anonymous said...

I have owned both calibers and have had better succes with the 22 mag. Because every prairie dog I have shot has died but with the .17HMR I have shot prairie dogs in the head and just shot both eyes out and there still running around trying to find there hole and then you have to shoot them again. And these shots are between 20 and 50 yards. And dont shoot coyotes with the .17 HMR I shot one and he fell got up and ran and was never found and he was shot right behind the leg, I felt terrible for taking the shot with that gun.

Anonymous said...

I have a .25-06 I hit a Coyote at 400 yards. Hit him right behind the leg and sent him sliding across the bean stubble about 10 feet. He proceeded to get up and run into the picked corn field next door and was never seen again, so I don't think you can say to never use a .17 HMR just because 1 coyote took off. It happens to everyone who hunts them. I've even had one try and walk off after being hit through the mid section with a 12 guage hollow point 1 oz deer slug. For about 20 yards you would not even have known he was hit.

Wild Ed said...

Don't get me wrong, I love the little 17HMR. I have had a lot more than one coyote get away. It is a great small game gun but it is not by any means a go getter predator cartridge. If that is what I have with me I will use it no doubt, but if I am headed out for coyote or bobcat I will take a more efficient cartridge with me. Wild Ed