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Guns & Gear

Introducing the New .17 Winchester Super Magnum

by Mike Schoby   |  January 2nd, 2013 37

I’m a sucker for rimfires. From the lowly .22 BB to the hottest .22 Winchester Magnum, the rimfire serves a lot of roles: plinker, competitor, small-game getter and predator taker. The rimfire is America’s darling: fun to shoot, cheap to use, and just plain efficient. But do we need another one? In the .22 genre about every conceivable option has been created from primer-only BB caps for indoor plinking to hyper-velocity squirrel thumpers. We have necked the .22 down to .20 and .17 calibers over the years and pretty much covered all the bases. Or at least I thought we had. Then I met Brad Criner, Winchester Ammunition’s Rimfire Senior Product Manager.

“This is not jut a hotter loaded .17 HMR,” Brad said as we drove out to my local range. To prove his point he handed me both an HMR and the new .17 Win. Super Mag. Side by side it was easy to see the difference; it was like comparing a .30-06 to a .300 Winchester Magnum…which in a way is not a bad analogy, just on a smaller scale. “We have a power fastener division of the company…you know, they make cartridges for power nail guns and such. Well, we based this case off of the .27-caliber power fastener case. It gives us more case capacity, can handle higher pressures and ultimately more velocity. Lots more velocity.”

When Brad said lots more velocity, he wasn’t exaggerating. Comparing apples to apples, the .17 Win. Super Mag. puts out roughly 21 percent more velocity with a 20-grain bullet than the HMR. Comparing apples to oranges, the Win. Super Mag. does something the HMR simply doesn’t do—it can be loaded with 25-grain bullets, which is just what I want for bobcat, fox, and coyotes.

I tested the HMR years ago when it first came out and shot a couple of big Nebraska coyotes with it. It worked, but did not shine. More bullet weight and more speed would have made a big difference. Holding the new .17, I realized the big difference had arrived.

The new load from Winchester spits out the 20-grainer at 3,000 fps and a 25-grain load at 2,600 fps with energy levels right at 400 ft. lbs. and 375 ft. lbs. respectively—150 pounds more than the 17 HMR and solid 60 foot pounds more than the hottest .22 Winchester Magnum loading!

When it comes to critical factors like wind drift and drop, the Winchester Super Magnum beats the HMR by half, and when it comes to the wind-challenged .22 Win. Mag., it simply leaves it in the dust.

But how does it shoot?
That was the question of the day. Yes, the purpose of my trip to the range was to run some of these new loads through the chronograph, but I also wanted to see how the smoking little load would perform on paper. I should have known I wouldn’t be disappointed. Like all .17s I have ever shot (from the .17 Mach II to the .17 Remington), the accuracy was stunning—even though this test day was far from perfect.

It was blustery, and I was shooting two very early prototype guns from Savage, topped with Nikon Coyote Special scopes, which are ideal for hunting, but not my first choice for target testing due to their circle reticle. Like an idiot, I left my good shooting rest and rear bag in the back of my truck when I excitedly jumped into Brad’s vehicle. So I had to make do with a backpack off a concrete bench as my support. After all of these excuses, guess what? I got tiny little groups!

The first three shots at 100 yards made one ragged little cluster around a half-inch. Stretching the distance out to 200 yards, I was rewarded with four shots around .75 inch with a fifth flyer (that I pulled; my fault) that opened up the group to a bit over an inch. Impressive by any standards, and simply incredible for a rimfire with a lousy rest on a blustery day out of a prototype rifle.

For more on our day at the range with Winchester, check out the February/March edition of Petersen’s Hunting magazine.

  • LeRoy Archer

    This looks interesting!

  • Rodney

    When can I get one?

  • Michael Cotton

    Now this looks very good at first glance, when will it make it to market?

    • mike

      early summer

      • Guest

        I'll wait for the .22 Super Mag..

        • Guest

          The 17 is popular, but I always liked the wide number of bullet weights offered by the 22 mag (30-50 grains)

  • John Sims

    After watching the video, I think that I have found my next play toy ,but I am interested to see how much more the super magnums will be priced over the cost of a standard .17HMR ?

    • fred

      mr john sir—-it dont matter.

  • Ben

    Cartridges with "super" and "magnum" in their name are destined to sell like hotcakes.

  • tum

    Can i shot this in my savage17 hmr or is it a different gun

  • mike

    this cartridge requires a different gun – the cartridge is much longer than the HMR

  • john P.

    I'd like to see this compared to the new 17 Hornet which I believe is a centerfire cartridge.

    • Blakeb

      The 17 hornet shoots the 20gr @ 3650. Closer to the 17 fireball. might be the way to go for reloading, Price per round is comparable to the 17 HMR for the 17 Win.

  • Ken

    Too many people have already purchased the .17HMR amd are happy with it. Had this new cartridge hit the shelves before the .17 HMR, it would have been a winner. But, very few people are going to pop for another .17 caliber rimfire if they already have the .17 HMR.

    • Gee Hah

      Nope, I have two 17 HMR’s and bought a Salvage Bmag which is basically junk but it got me very interested in the 17WSM ammo.
      I would be delighted if Remington, CZ, Browning or Ruger chambered a smooth bolt action rifle for the new rimfire round. I put a Boyds stock on the Bmag which improved the accuracy so I can launch gophers into the air at close range. The bolt on the Bmag is extremely difficult to operate along with other problems Salvage failed to address before it was released to the public. But it sure generated a pile of interest in this ammo. Now we need full functioning rifles as well as Hornady ammo available.

  • howler1968

    What's the case quality going to be? Since it is derived from a nail gun cartridge for the construction industry is Winchester going to create a separate line of case production or just use the cases created on the "industry" line?
    Case uniformity can be a critical factor in accuracy consistency.
    And any info on the propellant?

  • bob johnson

    How does the 17-Winchestser uper Mag rimfire compare with the new 17Hornet?

    • Jon

      17 hornet has 192 ftlbs more at muzzle and goes 650ft per sec faster at muzzle

  • Mad max

    I can see this being a hog killing monster. Put one of those in a hogs ear canal and it would make the emergency broadcasting system come on!

    • hellfish

      wtf does that mean? Really…what does that mean?

  • shootbrownelk

    Many people bought .17 HMR's because they left .22 LR & .22 mags in the dust, performance-wise. The same folks will trade-in their .17HMR's to get one of these. I think Winchester has a winner here, IF they can market the ammo at a reasonable price…you can't reload a rimfire. If the ammo costs too much, the cartridge may fizzle.

  • gunman

    Looks like a great rim fire hope savage get rifles out faster than the 17 Horrnet still waiting to get on of these.

  • Chris

    This cartridge should definteley succeed if the killing power is there for fox size critters on up to coyote, and the biggest thing they need to do is keep the ammo prices in line with the 17HMR and 22 mag ammo. I would trade out my 17HMR for this, heck may even use this in place of my trusty old 22 hornet if it is more accurate and kills as good.

  • Terry Webster

    I've been looking for a hot new toy to terminate some yotes with,..looks like I found my baby,.. Soooooo when and where do they come out to the public ??????????

  • ryan

    been following this and i really want one ,then i started thinking why did they neck it down,perhaps a .22 super magnum rmfire that surpasses the 22wmr then they really have me but til that happens nce i can get my hands on one 17 supermag for me cz and ruger ,etc will all be chambering i bet as soon as they start flying off the shelves

  • deedeemao

    Wait a minute! is that falling block single shot the new propotype from savage???

  • Blakeb

    Of all the 17's the most interesting to me are the 17 Fireball and the 17 Win. The 17 Rem is a waste of powder for the minor velocity increase over the Fireball and the 17 win is the king of rimfires.

    • SK

      you say minor velocity increase ? i have killed coyotes on CA Cattle Ranches using .17 Rem out to 589 yds ranged by leica laser range finder using Hornady 25 grn V-Max in custom Rem. 700 .. please don’t go bad mouthing a cartridge when you haven’t tried it. shoot a .17 Rem with 25 grn V-Max you will put away all these new wanna be .17 Remington cartridge

  • Chris

    This should prove to be an excellent cartridge as long as all the hype holds true and the keep the ammo around the same price as 17 hmr stuff. Sounds like a more accurate, cheaper to shoot and longer reach 22 hornet which is great.

  • Calvin Duvalle

    I'm considering getting a 17 hmr for hog hunting. Should I wait for the new WSM to come out and purchase one of these new ones. When will they be on the market.

  • Henry

    I have a 22 mag and thought about getting a 17 hmr until I saw this. When this rifle does come out I will be adding one to my collection.

  • SAM

    Has something changed recently with the .17WSM? I used to be able to find a Winchester and Savage listing for firearms but all my current searches come up blank. No info on any rifles chambered for the .17WSM. I NEED a repeating rifle soon, gophers are near.

  • yotehunter

    Good luck finding ammo for it if its anything like its little brother the 17HMR, ammo will be hard to find…

    To me in the reading I have done, it is a 2 steps up from the 17HMR and a 2 steps down from the .223
    1 step down from .222, 22 hornet, 220 swift or the fireball and 2 steps up from the 17HMR ???

    Here In WV 17HMR ammo is like .223 ammo its PURE GOLD… Walmart sells out as soon as they come in just like the 223 ammo ya cant get ANYWHERE..

    And the other stores know this that's why I just had to pay $22 for one box of 17HMR's yes 1 box..

    Seeing as .223 ammo can not be found or bought anywhere, even at Cabelas…

    Every where ya look, even online .223's is followed with a "SOLD OUT" and I don't wanna brake out the big boy's 22-250 or 204 for just fox, so its 17HMR "hammer time" as I call it lol..

    Hope there ammo is cheaper than 204's and 223's and "available"…An AR upper, in this new caliber would be nice also if ammo is affordable, an available…Id buy one before Obama gets his way and bans em…

    Sure sounds like it would be a smoken nice yote, fox and cat gun..I am sure there will be alot of debate as there is with the 17 HMR for cats and coyotes on the forums…

    But I have dusted tons of coyotes and bobcats while fox hunting with the 17HMR, with only 1 coyote getting away from it, in the last several years! So im sure this new "big brother" to the 17 HMR will get the job done!!!

    One question though why all the 17's? that's like 5 now eh? Can they not count to 19? 19 might be a killer caliber eh?

    When ya go to buy a box of 17 ammo now, an say I want a box of 17's they scratch there heads an dunno end of the case to go look in lol……………….

  • Firebird

    It does appear to address the energy short comings of the HMR by a big margin. The increase in both velocity and bullet weight has moved the 17 Rim fire up from a borderline 100 YD Coyote round to a confident coyote cartridge at longer ranges.The choice of 17 HMR over 22 mag was too close to make much difference. An extra 50 Yards but less energy. The 17 WSM beats both by more than enough to make it a clear winner over all other rim fires. Now for the silly question of the day. Is there any chance that same WSM case could be used to make a faster 22mag?? A 22 rim fire that could push 40 Grain bullets over the 2500 FPS mark? I would be even more interested in that. That would put it right on the heels of the 22 Hornet. Just hoping.

  • larry p

    When i first saw the .17SM I thought .17 fireball. I own a Tika .204 Ruger, and a Marlin Mach2. The .204 Ruger will kill a yotie drop dead quick at over 300 yards. It shoots from 32-45 grain boolets at over 4000 feet per second. It is a screamer. It’s also cheap to reload. The Marlin HM2 is deadly accurate also and is without a doubt, the best squirrel gun on the planet. I see no need for a .17 HMR or the new .17 super magnum. The .17 SM does on the other hand sound like it would be a hoot to shoot. It will depend on the price of the ammo as to it’s success. The .204 is established and touted as the fastest boolet on the planet. The .17SM will have to be a deal to make it’s mark, or perhaps dethrone the HMR or the .204. Sad to see the Mach2 fading away. I’m glad that I have a few bricks of the stuff.

    • Jeremy Roark

      Got one word for ya… rimfire. You can’t compare it to a 204 centerfire, of course a center fire will fly faster with a bigger bullet but can you take your nephew prairie dog hunting and plinking around all day for $20 bucks in ammo? … nope. And if a yotie came along you can hammer him too.

  • Flippy6mm

    Many of the ranches around central Oregon only allow hunting with rimfires. Until now, the 17HMR and the new hot 22Mag loads ruled the ranch. This makes perfect sense for those places where rimfires are the only choice.

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