17 HMR vs 22 LR

by Erik  

The 17 HMR is a fairly exotic cartridge as you don't see many guns chambered in it and the supply of ammo isn't readily available like other cartridges. There are several advantages to using 17 HMR, but there are some drawbacks as well.
Let's start with the good stuff. The list below provides some of the reasons to use 17 HMR over the 22 LR cartridge:
  • Greater velocity
  • Lighter bullet
  • Flat trajectory
  • Accuracy

17 HMR will fly around 1,000 feet per second faster than the 22 LR (~2350fps vs. ~1300fps). This leads to greater accuracy, longer range, and more damage to the target. In addition, the 17 HMR has a fairly flat trajectory which takes some of the guess work out of shooting at long range. The bullet is much lighter (usually between 17 and 20 grains) which combined with the increased velocity will be more accurate than the 22 LR. If you are shooting at short distances, the lighter bullet also has a smaller chance of ricochet.

As always, there are some disadvantages as well. Below you find reasons NOT to use the 17 HMR over the 22 LR cartridge:
  • Price/supply
  • Supersonic
  • Limited firearm selection

The price difference between the two is vast. I checked the price per round from a reputable dealer and found the 17 HMR is $.20/round while the 22 LR is $.07/round. So at nearly 3 times the price, the 17 HMR is definitely more expensive combined with the fact it is much harder to find. If you want to shoot suppressed forget it. The pressure and velocity make the 17 HMR a terrible choice for use with a suppressor. Let's not forget that finding a gun chambered in 17 HMR won't be easier either. Most local gun shops don't stock them and while they may come at attractive prices online, it will hit your wallet once you start feeding it.

Do I think the 17 HMR has a place? Of course, I lump it into the novelty cartridge along with the 5.7x28, .357 sig, and .50 AE.

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