Rimfire Revolution: .17 Win. Super Mag. Ammo

Shooters are drawn to rimfire cartridges primarily due to the per-shot costs being significantly less than those of comparable center-rifle rifle cartridges. However, their downfall is lackluster terminal ballistics—that is, until now. Winchester’s new economical .17 Winchester Super Magnum (WSM) cartridge defies convention, and in doing so handily becomes the highest-performance rimfire extant.

To achieve 3,000 fps. with a 20-gr. polymer-tipped projectile the company used an existing product as its platform—its own .27-cal. PAT round that’s used by the construction industry—think nailer. In comparison, the ever-popular .17 HMR attains only 2375 f.p.s. with a bullet of the same weight. Even the fastest option in the .17 HMR—2550 f.p.s. with a 17-gr. projectile—is still slower than the heavyweight offering—a 25-gr. bullet—in the .17 WSM. The result is significantly less bullet drop and wind deflection for the WSM; in fact, the numbers are less than half than those for the .17 HMR. With this, the additional velocity downrange results in more energy delivered on-target, as well as ensures reliable bullet upset.

A more fair comparison is the .17 Hornet, which was recently legitimized by Hornady after an extended period as a wildcat cartridge. The Hornet’s 3650-f.p.s. muzzle velocity with a 20-gr. bullet gives it a slight edge—an inch less drop and 1.7” less wind deflection—at 200 yds., but it does so at a significant increase in cost. Fifty .17 WSM cartridges will cost between $15 and $20, which is similar to the .17 HMR. The .17 Hornet, on the other hand, retails for $25.75 per 25 rounds.

What about accuracy? Field-testing the cartridge late last summer using a prototype Savage rifle, the groups at 100, 200 and 300 yds. measured 0.266”, 1.33 and 1.83”, respectively. Best of all, there’s no discernible recoil.

The .17 WSM not only changes the rimfire landscape, it stands to steal market share from popular center-fire cartridges. It changes things … for the better.

—Aaron Carter, American Rifleman Managing Editor

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19 Responses to Rimfire Revolution: .17 Win. Super Mag. Ammo

David wrote:
February 23, 2015

I have pitched the savage B-mag and love it its a tack driver at 100 yards i can put a group in inside a quart for fun we set up set bottle caps hit them everytime love the gun my kids do to

Kenny wrote:
September 27, 2014

A major advantage of this new offering is that in Michigan you cannot use center fire rifles to hunt predators at night. In this case comparing the 17 cal WSM performance to a center fire isn't relevant.

Dasundas wrote:
April 06, 2014

A more fair comparission that isn't being offered by anyone, as near as I can tell, is the 17 grain HMR vs. 25 grain .17 WSM. Energy notwithstanding I would like to see some graphs at 175-225/250 punching holes/tree rats/cellar dwellers. Sure, if you're going for larger game the extra energy of the .17 WSM, in either offering, is no mas contesto. A handicap shootout both the HMR & WSM sportin' bull barrels w/17 grain vs. 25 grain. That is far more realistic than comparing the 22 Hornet to the 17 WSN.

Chick wrote:
March 06, 2014

Lovely. Another cartridge to burden the over burdened cartridge factories. Right now you can load the 22 Hornet, to shoot a 40 gr Ballistic Tip at 2986 fps average. Mush better to depend on the 40 gr bullet at 300 yards, that this puny 17 cal offering.

ken peyton wrote:
February 03, 2014

Last year at our local gun range they were having a savage day where the public could come and get first hand experince with different calibers and I was particularly drawn to the .17wsm. The reps had not taken the time to sight in the rifles before the event and so with the help from the reps we adjusted the scope on the .17 and were able to get some nice groups from it .My major complaint was having to slam the bolt forward as hard as you could just to feed another round in the chamber.The reps and I talked at length about this and I hope the problem has been solved as I would like to own one. I purchased a savage 93 hmr many years ago and I enjoy it immensley and can shoot prairie poodles with it out to 500 yards, although not dramatic kills they are dead just the same.With the bolt problem and a better bedding solution the Bmag can and will be an absolute tack driver.

blw wrote:
January 21, 2014

wheres the ammo i had the gun f0r 5 months from vancses

luke wrote:
December 30, 2013

im looking to buy a 17wsm.but have heard a lot of people talkin about how hard ammo is to find should i wait to buy this rifle?

luke wrote:
December 30, 2013

im looking into buying a bmag rifle seems like a great gun.my only worries are finding ammo.should i hold off on buying one? thanks

Dave wrote:
December 27, 2013

I agree with Tim, the gun itself is great, my accuracy at 100 yrds with the 20 grain was about 1 moa. It could be better with a firmer,bedded stock. Tim, please let us know if the bedding works. And who did it if you can. Thanks

Gerry D wrote:
December 10, 2013

I actually don't 'get it'. The .22 Hornet will be 'cheaper' in the long run, as will the K-Hornet in .22 and .17. Reloading makes for less cost and better accuracy.... better way all the way around.

Wayne wrote:
November 21, 2013

11-9-2013..I bought a 17 B-Mag..went to the range & @ 50yds, 10 shots were close to 6'..Yuk..weighed 27 rounds..1 round weighed 62.8..12 rounds 63.0... 9 rounds 63.2 and 5 @ 63.5..dosn't leave much to ??? why it took a 6' area for the shots.. will try these different weights for group @ 50 yds..not happy with this ammo. these are the 20 grain loads.

Tim wrote:
November 04, 2013

I bought the B Mag in September. I also purchased 9 boxes of ammo at my local Walmart, 3 boxes per day limit, and at a cost of $14.77 plus tax per box of 50. I have fired 50 rounds through the gun, which included a proper barrel break in. The rifle is topped with a 4-12x50 AO scope. I fired from a bench rest at a distance of 100 yards. I also own three .17 HMR guns, 2 rifles and a pistol, so I am obviously a fan of the .17. The .17 WSM is adequate for coyote hunting right out of the box, but the accuracy is not on par with the .17 HMR's that I own. Most 3 shot groups were averaging 1.5 inches at 100 yards in the B Mag. The gun is certainly capable of better. The flaw in the B Mag is the cheap stock along with the fit and finish for the barrel. I noticed the barrel moved inside of the cheap stock while shooting. You can also move the stock back and forth under the muzzle end of the barrel. The solution is to have the stock bedded. Mine is currently at my local gunsmith now for this work. As I stated earlier, the B Mag is accurate enough out of the box for hunting predators, but that was not good enough for me. I am not pleased to spend another $150 to improve the accuracy of a new gun when compared to my .17 HMR's out of the box. I will have $450 in the gun, minus the scope and mounts, when the bedding is finished. If the accuracy is on par with my other rifles, the additional cost will be tolerable. I especially like the light weight of the rifle (4.5 lbs) and look forward to eliminating some of the many predators in my area with it. I own many rifles, of every caliber, but .17 WSM is a very intriguing rimfire and fits very nicely into my collection. It is fun to shoot, deadly to predators, and much cheaper to feed than center fires.

Ed wrote:
September 09, 2013

Interesting, I know that they are not available in Canada yet but have heard that possibly by the spring of 2014 ???? I have however read some blogs about the poor accuracy of the 25 gr and rough bolts and actions on the B mag again having never handeled one I cannot comment. I do own a savage in a 17 HMR and love it, I also own a 17 Hornet in a CZ 527 varmit and it shoots lights out, being a hand loader I reload the hornet cheaper than I can buy 17 HMR rounds, while the HMR is an honest 125 - 150 yd round the hornet will double that with ease, but I am sure that if and when the rifles and ammo become available in Canada I will be pulled by that strange force to have one to fill the gap between my HMR and my Hornet.

Gary Larocque wrote:
August 05, 2013

well at 100 yards I cane do the same if not better whit my 17HMR Browning T bolt I have split a bullet In half on a utility blade at 50 yards and can hit a 5' gong at 300 yards on a average 90 [%] I would love to compare the two for myself when I have $$$ with this said i'm sure .17WSM would have more pouch but is it worth it ?

Larry Gibson wrote:
July 29, 2013

I bought one, this rifle gives new meaning to MAGNUM, 300 yards no problem and accurately. No recoil and greatly liked.

Clayton Scott wrote:
July 26, 2013

we need 17 super mag ammo there is none on the stores /sportsmanwarehouse rke.va.

Hogbuster wrote:
March 17, 2013

Velocity yes, Accuracy? Haven't seen anything on that front and with a seemingly suprising amount of info on accuracy, I have my doubts about this new cartridge.

February 12, 2013

I'm operating a S&W .44 Mag - 8.3/8' since february 1978 but now fond of .17 caliber. I wish S&W Performance Center is manufacturing a new sister of the current .17 HMR in a new one in .17 WSM caliber. Best regards, Claude former fighter pilot with the french Navy (I was used firing 20 mm ammos)

D. Hammer wrote:
January 15, 2013

I'll bet the. 22 WSM is soon to follow!!!