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Hornady .17 Mach 2.

IN 2001, HORNADY announced the .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire on a necked-down .22 WMR case. Its 17-grain .172-in. diameter polymer-tipped bullets sped away at 2,550 fps--600 fps faster than .22 WMR 40-grain hollow-points. A few weeks after this debut, Hornady (and Speer/CCI, loading Hornady's bullet on Hodgdon Li'l Gun powder in Lewiston, Idaho) got orders totaling 12 million rounds beyond current stock. Supply was SO tenuous, some dealers would sell ammo only if you bought a .17 rifle too.

Both rifles and ammo proved very accurate. Of the first ten rifles I fired, an Anschutz, a Cooper and Ruger's 77/17 printed sub-MOA averages for five five-shot strings at 100 yards. Eight averaged less than 1.75 inches. A 93 Savage tore a single .35-in. hole.

The HMR begged a sequel. Hornady's .17 Mach 2, on a CCI Stinger case (circa 1977), measured .694 to the mouth and .975 to the tip of the 17-grain V-Max. Designed to function in self-loaders, .17 Mach 2 ammo shoots flatter than any .22 rim fire. Hornady claims 2,100 fps at the muzzle; 100 yards downrange the tiny spitzer is moving faster than most .22 Long Rifle bullets at the muzzle.

Hornady has produced .17 bullets for the British ammunition firm Eley, as well as for Remington and Federal. All load the Mach 2.

Shooters had flocked to the .17 HMR, buying 146 million rounds during its first year. At $6 a box, Mach 2 amino costs only about half as much; but shooters have bought it more conservatively.

Still, it has been more successful than earlier sub-.22 rimfires. Remington's 5mm (.20-caliber) with a 38-grain hollowpoint clocking 2,100 fps failed at market after its 1970 release. The .17 Aguila, a Long Rifle-length rimfire that pushes a 20-grain .177 bullet 1,850 fps, is more recent but not yet established.

Suitable Use

Deadly on prairie dogs and ground squirrels at modest ranges, the .17 Mach 2 won't kill bigger game as surely as fast .22 rimfire hollowpoints. The Mach 2 shines in the oaks, head-shooting fox squirrels. It's accurate, quiet and flatshooting. Ammo price keeps it from unseating the .22 Long Rifle as king of the plinking cartridges.


The .17 Mach 2, like the HMR, is surprisingly accurate from standard 1-in-9 rifling. A 10-mph breeze blows a Mach 2 bullet about 4 1/2 inches off course at 100 yards--an inch less than it does a high-speed .22 Long Rifle solid. In gelatin, the 17-grain V-Max carves a 9-inch wound channel with a 3-inch expansion cavity. Weight retention averages 9.5 grains.


.17 HMR           Muzzle   50 yds.   100 yds.   150 yds.   200 yds.

Velocity (fps)    2,550     2,212     1,902      1,621      1,308
Energy (ft-lbs)     245       185       136         99         72
Arc (inches)       -1.3      +0.1         0       -2.6       -8.0

.17 MACH 2        Muzzle   50 yds.   100 yds.   150 yds.   200 yds.

Velocity (fps)    2,100     1,799     1,530      1,304      1,134
Energy (ft-lbs)     166       122        88         64         49
Arc (inches)       -1.3       0.7         0       -4.4      -14.0

.22 LR            Muzzle   50 yds.   100 yds.   150 yds.   200 yds.

Velocity (fps)    1,260     1,100     1,020        940
Energy (ft-lbs)     140       110        90         80
Arc (inches)       -1.3       2.7         0      -10.8
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Title Annotation:Cartridge Corner
Author:van Zwoll, Wayne
Publication:Petersen's Hunting
Date:Feb 1, 2007
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