Introduced by Hornady in 2002, the .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire was designed for shooters who desired a fast, light-weight rimfire cartridge. Varmint hunters extol the .17 HMR for its very high velocity that allows for extremely flat shooting.
Several companies today produce .17 HMR ammo including CCI, Federal, and PMC. Winchester and Remington sell the cartridge with polymer tipped bullets, hollow point bullets and soft point bullets. The .17 HMR has impressive ballistics. Bullets weigh between 15.5 grains and 20 grains. Bullets this small, propelled by the comparatively large powder loads in the .22 Magnum case, travel at high velocities. Some loads have a muzzle velocity as high as 2,550 feet per second. Even with those high velocities, muzzle energy for the .17 HMR is only about 250 foot pounds. This, however, is plenty for shooting varmints and targets at long distance.
Accuracy of the .17 HMR is almost as good as the velocity. The cartridge easily shoots one inch groups off the bench at 100 yards for even a casual shooter. The maximum lethal range for shooting varmints is somewhere from 150 to 300 yards, contingent upon the ability of the shooter and current weather conditions. Since .17HMR bullets are so light weight, the trajectory will be affected more by the wind than heavier bullets. This adds to the challenge and fun for some, of shooting this great little cartridge.
Several manufacturers offer rifles chambered for .17 HMR including Savage, Marlin and Ruger. These rifles are primarily bolt action, but a few semi-automatic rifles and even some revolvers are made this cartridge. The .17 HMR is fun to shoot and a deadly accurate rimfire cartridge. It is great for a novice just learning to shoot, or an experienced shooter who wants the challenge of shooting super light bullets at super long ranges.