Other rim-fire calibres....
Having a .22 and shooting one for a long time, there will come a time you might even look at buying a rifle for taking longer shots on rabbits and hares. There are times when having something with a bit more range, to shoot the ones that are a bit too far for the .22 would come in handy.
So this then opens the door to the likes of the .22 magnum or the .17 HMR. For a lot of new shooters these new calibers are just that 'New' what are they and what can they do?
Effectively both have the ability to be able to accurately shoot rabbits and hares, anywhere from 100m out to 200m with the right types of projectiles and a combination of the right types of rifle and scopes. The only drawback is the cost of the ammunition in comparison to .22 ammunition. A box of 50 .22 might be $15, where as a box of .22 magnum might be $40 or .17 HMR might be anywhere from $40-50 so there is a significant price difference.
A .17HMR well set up with suppressor, Bi-pod, and good quality scope.
Why use a .22 magnum or .17 HMR over the .22.
However those rabbits you could never get close to because as soon as they saw you they pegged it or went straight down their burrows are now within range. A good accurate .17 can easily shoot rabbits at that 150m mark without too much problem. Those scary rabbits are now take-able.
The .22 fires a projectile or bullet weight of about 40grains. ( Bullet weight is measured in grains) and can accurately shoot the projectile out to about 50-70m. However due to the amount of gun powder that is needed to push the projectile away out there the bullet will start to slow down and this will reduce accuracy and hitting or killing power. Its muzzle velocity can be about 1200 feet per second.
The .22 magnum has the same size bullet or projectile but around twice the powder with its effective accurate range out to about 120-140m. It's muzzle velocity is about 2200 feet per second.
The .17HMR (which is short for Hornady Magnum rimfire) its muzzle velocity can be about 2700 feet per second pushing a small accurate projectile of usually 17 or 20 grains with accuracy out to 200m
(L to R ) .22, the .22 Magnum, the .17HMR.
One thing the .17 has over the .22mag is that when fired the projectile of the .17, let's say a 17grain projectile because it is so small and travelling so fast that when it hits its target or really anything it hits the projectiles tend to disintegrate, which means very rarely do they ricochet. Whereas the .22mag is a bigger piece of lead that can be easily deflected and will ricochet alot more. Something to think about if there are houses about.
Again these calibers are offered by a range of firearms manufactures so how much do you spend on buying one ? Well you can spend anything from $450 up to $2000 or more on a new .17HMR or .22 magnum. And then these need an appropriate scope, perhaps something in the range of a variable 3-12x40, having that extra bit of zoom on the scope allows for that extra distance you will be shooting out too. Remember a half grown rabbit is not a huge target at 150m so an appropriate powered scope is essential for accurate bullet placement.
A good accurate .17HMR bolt action and scope combination can shoot exceptionally well out to 150m or more.
That scope might cost anywhere from $800- $2500 to your firearm and then you might want to get it suppressed, again there is another $400ish. An average priced firearm in these calibers might set you back anywhere from $1500 up to $2500, but could be more. It could set you back $3500 for a really well set up shooting rig.
These are the most common rimfire calibers here in New Zealand and the most used. For the new hunter that has just taken up shooting, at this stage in your hunting career, a .22 magnum or .17HMR is not really something you need, given time, very possibly. Really the best thing a new shooter can get is a inexpensive .22 and practice using it to gain good shooting skills, improve your accuracy and learn good firearms safety.
A high quality precision bolt action like this is getting up there in price but are super accurate. (Don't forget you've still gotta put a scope on it)
Here in New Zealand the two most common firearms are in .17 and .22mag are in bolt action and you can get semi-auto. My advise if buying one would be to buy the bolt action. Generally, bolt actions are more accurate and will teach better shooting skills with shot placement.
Could these calibers be used to take larger game? goats, wallaby, fallow deer, small pigs, well yes they could in the hands of a good accurate shooter and as long as you were close enough to hit the animal in the right spot, more than likely a brain or spine shot. But as these calibers are very small bullet weights the potential to badly wound and lose the animal is high. So on that I would highly suggest not using these to shoot larger game.
Overall the .22mag and .17HMR are awesome tools for that longer shot on the likes of rabbits and hares. They are a great in-between caliber before you start getting into centrefire calibers.
My next blog, I'm going to discuss choosing a scope for your firearm.