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#1196197 - 01/26/09 12:35 AM .17 Rem info
Dooger Offline
Die Hard Member

Registered: 01/18/09
Posts: 580
Loc: MI... Upper Peninsula
All of this is borrowed from other sources:



It was one of those days that fox hunters dream of, cold and clear with a slight breeze. My hunting buddy Ken Deters and I were watching a red fox work his way up a fence line half a mile away. It was headed for a small patch of unpicked corn where we were confident he would stop for a midday siesta. Our predictions were right; he entered the corn field and never came out. Ken pulled on his white coveralls, looked at me with a gleam in his eye, and said, "Let me try out your new.17."

I laughed and pulled out my 700 chambered for the .17 Remington and equipped with a Leupold 6.5-20x scope and a Harris bipod and handed it to him. After a long stalk, Ken was able to connect on the sleeping fox with a 190-yard shot. As an added bonus, when he went to pick up the fox he spotted a coyote that apparently also had been sleeping in the corn and had been awakened by the shot. Ken connected on the coyote with a 100-yard shot. Although he was dead tired from carrying both animals in the deep snow, he was grinning from ear to ear. We examined both animals, and we were unable to initially find any entry wound. It wasn't until we had skinned them out that we were able to find the tiny entrance wound. The bullets had disintegrated inside the animals, resulting in absolutely no hide damage.

To back up a bit, Ken I live for fox and coyote hunting in southeast South Dakota and southwest Minnesota. Up to the previously mentioned hunt, both of us had used .22-250s exclusively for predator hunting. The .22-250 performed nicely on coyotes, but we encountered hide damage on the thin skinned fox no matter what bullet we used. Needless to say, stitching hides is low on our priority list. After extensive research and reading excellent articles written by Tim Holien and Mike Johnson on their success with the .17 Remington, I subsequently purchased a new Remington 700 in that caliber. After tuning up the factory trigger, I took the rifle out to the local benchrest club (Dakota Bench Rest Shooters) to break in the barrel and sight it in. After working up several different loads for the .17, I have come to the following conclusions:

1. The .17 Remington is a somewhat finicky caliber that requires considerable patience in developing the perfect load.

2. Slight variances in powder charges or different brands of primers can affect its performance drastically in comparison to other caliber's.

3. Don't be afraid to experiment with different powder, bullet, and primer combinations. Ken an I have used several brands of .17 caliber bullets which include Hammett, Berger, and Hornady, and found they all perform well. The Hammett and Berger bullets have distinct accuracy advantages, in addition to having a wide selection of bullet weights, ranging from 15 to 30 grains. The two powders we have found to work the best are Hodgdon H-414 and IMR 4320. We also used CCI Bench Rest and Federal Bench Rest primers for optimum results. During my first season with the .17, I used a load consisting of 24.5 grains of IMR 4320, Federal Bench Rest primer, and a 25-grain Hornady bullet. This load in my rifle produced 1/2-to 3/4-inch groups, acceptable for factory sporter weight barrel that wasn't free floated. In addition to being an excellent fox and coyote load, it is also deadly on prairie dogs.

After one season, Ken was afflicted with the.17 caliber bug and acquire a Sako varminter and topped it off with a 6-24x Pentax scope. Ken's rifle shoots like a dream with his favorite load: 26 grains H-414 with a 21.9-grain Hammett bullet. This combination produced sub 1/2-inch groups.

After the season was over, I took my rifle to Stan Ware of Stan's Guns, Rt. 2-Box 48, Westbrook Minnesota 56183-9521 (507-274-5649) to have it rebarreled. Stan installed 26" Shilen select match barrel contoured to the factory Remington varmint barrel. He also lapped the lugs, squared the action, etc. After Stan was finished with the barreled action, I put it in an H-S Precision synthetic stock that was painted in a snow camouflage pattern. After the initial break-in period, I tried several loads and selected one consisting of 25 grains of H-414, Federal Bench Rest primer, and a 25-grain Berger bullet. This load produced an average group in the mid 0.3 with the best group measuring 0.148" at 100 yards. Needless to say, I was extremely pleased with the end result.

#1196198 - 01/26/09 12:39 AM Re: .17 Rem info [Re: Dooger]
Dooger Offline
Die Hard Member

Registered: 01/18/09
Posts: 580
Loc: MI... Upper Peninsula

The .17 Remington:
Since Vic and I put this page up, we've been bombarded with e-mail concerning the .17 Remington. Some people love it, some hate it, and some just dismiss it outright as a "mouse gun," or "pest rifle."

I built a .17 Remington on a Sako L461 short action back in 1992 as the latest installment in my quest for a "perfect" calling rifle, one that would kill coyotes dead with a minimum of fuss and muss without tearing gaping holes in their furry hides. Because I had a particular idea about what a calling rifle ought to be, the lovely little pencil-barreled .222 Remington Magnum that I started with suffered severe indignities by the time that the operation ended, but after the first calling season with that rifle I looked no further. Vic finally got tired of me singing the praises of the caliber, and had some first-hand experience with the results, so he broke down and re-barreled a Ruger 77, although he contented himself with a less radical departure. To date 300 or so coyotes have met their maker via the little 25 gr. bullets, in addition to a few bobcats and whatnot, so we've been able to come to some informed conclusions with regard to the .17 Rem and it's effectiveness as a calling rifle.

This is our take on the caliber, and some of the misconceptions that surround it.

First, the .17 Remington is the subject of more misinformation, slander, and outright distortion than any other caliber that I can think of offhand. The only caliber that comes close is the .220 Swift, with the clinging "truth" that it "burns out the throat" in no time.

Like the urban myth concerning the morning-after message written in lipstick on the bathroom mirror that said "Welcome to the wonderful world of AIDS," the myths surrounding the .17 Rem are perpetuated again and again in articles in the shooting press, posts to newsgroups and bulletin boards, and word by of mouth from shooter to shooter. There is a vocal minority of shooters who have actually owned, fired, and hunted with the .17 Rem, and they have a decidedly different opinion; but as is so often the case their voices are submerged in the general clamor of the ignorant and unwashed.

Some of the most intransigent myths are:

"The .17 Remington fouls bores so badly that you have to clean your rifle after every 3 (or 5, or 10) shots."

"The .17 Remington is horribly "wind sensitive" due to the li'l teeny bullet."

"The .17 Remington is a poor choice for a reloader due to the limited availability of bullets."

"The .17 Remington is O.K. for jackrabbits and such, but it's certainly not enough rifle to reliably kill a coyote."

There is lots more (mis)information out there along the same lines, but here is the real deal, as Vic and I know it.

The "foul" .17 Remington:
Being in some ways a hard-headed and intransigent person (I know that it's a surprise to ya'll, but there it is) I could never understand what was up with the "fouling" issue and the .17 Rem. Were the bullet jackets somehow different than the ones on the .22 cals? Maybe the barrel was finished with a rasp after rifling? Was there enough difference in velocity to somehow melt copper onto the steel? Why on earth would a .17 caliber bullet going down a .17 caliber bore be any different from any other matched bullet and barrel?

These questions, among others, found an unfortunate target in Poor Victor (one of the only people that would talk to me) and he'd shrug and profess ignorance as well, and when my Sako was finished I decided to take a direct course to the heart of the matter.

I took it to the range, sighted it in, and began to shoot it. Although my oath to the Red Gods elicited a worried frown from Vic, I swore that I would not touch that bore until the rifle's accuracy began to deteriorate. One hundred rounds became two hundred rounds became three hundred rounds, and the rifle still piled five rounds into .5 or so from the bench when we found ourselves at the range. Somewhere around three hundred and fifty rounds Vic grabbed it and cleaned it, just 'cause he couldn't stand it any more, and three patches and some Hoppes resulted in a mirror bore, just like it was when I picked it up from the 'smith a couple of years previously.

This, my children, is what is known in some circles as "empirical evidence." You can take your pick; either the Douglas Premium Air-gauged barrel that I screwed on there is the only barrel in the history of the world that doesn't shrink to .14 caliber after 10 shots, or some folks out there are either hallucinating badly or simply full of [beeep]. I ought to mention that I've got a barrel from Bullberry on a T/C that acts the same way. I clean it when I think about it, and it shoots just fine with five rounds through it, or fifty.

Victor will never know if his barrel is prone to the dreaded "fouling," because he cleans bores like a good cook does dishes, but I think that he's reached the fifty round mark a time or two, and he hasn't seen any change either.

The "sensitive" .17 Remington:
It's common to hear that the .17 Rem. is useless when there is anything more than a slight breeze blowing, because the bullet drift is horrific and the little bullet sheds velocity so fast that the trajectory is roughly analogous to a falling rock. With all of the hot air coming out of guys regarding the .17 Rem., the wind is bound to be blowing most of the time, no matter where you are, so that is a matter of some concern for varminters who are contemplating the purchase of a rifle in this caliber.

Now, I'll tell you up front that I'm not a heavy-duty ballistics guy. I have a retarded grasp on distance that allows me to determine whether a coyote is close enough for me to kill or not, and I pretty much let it go at that. I do, however, have enough savvy to use a ballistics calculator, and the chart and statistics pictured below ought to give you a pretty good idea that the .17 Rem is not a ballistic twin to the .22 rimfire.

Range 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500 Yards
Velocity 4000 3730 3464 3204 2949 2701 2459 2224 1997 1778 1567 fp/sec
Energy 888 772 666 570 483 405 336 274 221 175 136 ft/lbs
Deflection 0.0 0.2 1.0 2.3 4.3 7.2 10.9 15.8 21.9 29.7 39.4 wind/in
Drop -1.5 -0.4 0.0 -0.3 -1.4 -3.5 -6.8 -11.4 -17.6 -25.7 -36.2 inches

These statistics, by the way, were generated using the Web Ballistics Computer , by David Basiji. It's a freeware program that runs from his server, so there is no download necessary. Just click on the link and you too can waste time entering loads and marveling over their performance relative to one another, rather than killing coyotes and observing the actual results when you skin them.
If you elect to do this, though, run some #'s for the various .22 caliber loads that you might have used, or heard of others using, and you'll be surprised how close they really are, 'specially if you look at ranges inside of 300 yards (and if you can't call a coyote any closer than that to begin with, you need to read the rest of this page carefully).

The "impoverished" .17 Remington:
Fellas will tell you that you might as well stick with a .22 centerfire, because in addition to all of the other problems with the .17 Rem, you can't get bullets for the thing. I don't know where anyone ever got that idea, unless they've been playing Rip Van Winkle in a cave somewhere for the last 10 or so years, but Walt Berger at Berger Bullets makes a slew of different .17 caliber bullets, from the l'il itty bitty 15 gr. outfits to the great big lumbering 37 gr. VLD bullets. Vic and I have been shooting Berger Bullets for years now, and we have no complaints, either regarding quality or availability.

One note on bullets: One of the deep philosophical questions that will rear it's head in the lives of .17 Rem shooters sooner or later is the bullet weight/speed conundrum. It goes something like this.

"If a .17 kills by speed, and a 25 gr. bullet will go 4,000 fps, and they make bullets all the way down to 15 gr...."

Vic and I have been down that trail, and we found out that the 22 gr. and the 25 gr. were pretty much indistinguishable when they hit a coyote; the 20 gr. and the 18 gr. began to shoot all over the place, and the 15 gr. was too small to see, much less try to stuff into the front of a case.

The heavier bullets don't even bear mention, as far as we are concerned. If you are doing some sort of exclusive long-range work, like prairie dogs, they might have a place, but for coyotes the 25 gr. seems to strike a perfect balance between accuracy, velocity and terminal effect.

Factory ammo is somewhat limited, but as long as you are content to shoot Remington ammo loaded with 25 gr. bullets you won't have a problem, and it kills coyotes about as well as anything else if you don't reload.

The "anemic" .17 Remington:
A friend of mine up North is a die-hard .17 Rem guy, and he wrote me this excerpt the other day:

"I'm no ballistics whiz and don't profess to understand why that little pill is so deadly but my experience has shown me a great many things about that bullet that most folks wouldn't believe. I guess the easiest way to put in perspective is to look at how many deer have died from being shot with an 80 or 100 gr bullet out of a .243 or some such caliber. Well, a deer is three or four times as large as a coyote and the 80 or 100 gr bullet is three or four times as large as a 25 gr from the .17. All things considered, it's equal. Why shouldn't we get great results? When I put it to non-believers like that it seems to make a difference to them."

Randy has part of the answer, I think, but he's right; that tiny little bullet is more lethal than one can possibly believe, unless you have had some field experience with it. It is simply perfectly matched to a coyote-sized animal, provided you understand it's limitations when it comes to big bones.

The .17 Rem does what it does based on a combination of speed and bullet construction, and that's bad news when you pile one onto the big ball joint in the front shoulder or in the pelvis. It will take a rib in stride, and even punch through the thin bone of a shoulder blade before turning the lungs to jello, but those ball joints will stop the bullet in it's tracks if you center one, and even though that coyote will usually go down like a pile of rocks, he'll often be back up and in the thick stuff once the initial shock wears off.

Some people think that this is an indictment of the cartridge, and sufficent reason not to try it, but I'm here to tell you that the .22 centerfires, up to and including the .22-250 and the Swift, will do the same thing with the same hit.

Varmint bullets are simply not constructed to defeat heavy bone and continue their penetration into the vitals of an animal, and that's about all there is to that.

The answer is pretty simple, though; just don't shoot them in the ball joints. The overwhelming majority of the coyotes that I kill are standing still and looking at the call, and I carefully shoot them on a vertical center, just behind the shoulder. A little low and the heart is in the bullet path, a little high and the spine takes the hit, a few inches back and the liver and spleen take the damage, and a centered shot is dead in the middle of the lungs.

From the front a shot into the center of the chest, where the neck joins the body, gives the same result; shredded lungs, a dead coyote, and no exit.

Gather up a rifle chambered in .17 Rem and give it a try. I can promise you that you'll never blow up another furbearer with a bigger rifle again, once you see what is possible with the little .17.

#1196199 - 01/26/09 12:41 AM Re: .17 Rem info [Re: Dooger]
Dooger Offline
Die Hard Member

Registered: 01/18/09
Posts: 580
Loc: MI... Upper Peninsula

Guns for Fox Hunting By Randy Buker

This is a topic that will stir the emotions of those paying attention like few others will. I have opinions like everyone. Hopefully mine are based on experience and will be helpful in selecting what weapon you will choose to use.

Foxes have been killed by most every caliber of gun ever used. Many guys will have a major problem laying out the money for a rifle that will be dedicated to fox hunting so they use what they have at hand. Most of them will kill a fox just fine.

Let's start at the top. There are a lot of foxes shot with deer rifles. Yup, they kill them dead. They also completely destroy the hide in most cases. Anyone who has seen a nice red fox hide up close will not likely want to do such a thing to such a beautiful trophy.

Case in point: During the early years of my fox hunting, I was out with my cousin, Ed Prechel from Waseca, Minnesota hunting near Canby in the SW corner of our state. It was shortly after a fresh foot of snow fell and we weren't having much luck. Eventually I managed to call in a red fox. It came bounding in over the snow, one leap at a time through the deep snow. At about eighty yards, my cousin let loose with a shot. He missed. The fox tried to take off but with the deep snow, all he could do was keep leaping one jump at a time. Ed chambered another round and fired again. He hit the fox solidly in the shoulder and the hunt was over. The fox lay dead on the snow.

We made our way over to the fox to admire him. He was easily the most beautiful fox I had ever seen. He was a deep cherry red with perfect black and white markings. He was an old cuss with a long mane around his face and short, warn teeth. He would have been a perfect mount if it weren't for the fact that he shot it through both shoulders with a .243 win. The big bullet opened up that fox and cut him nearly in half. Ed was a professional taxidermist at the time and couldn't repair the damage. Most foxes are not that perfect. This one was and Ed's deer rifle wasted him.

So, what do we do? Go with a .22 LR? Sure there have been many foxes killed with them. I shot my first several foxes with them. But, bottom line, and believe this, a .22 lr is NOT big enough to reliably kill a fox. There is almost no shock value to the .22 long rifle and the hole it punches is not big enough to kill a fox quickly, especially if the shot is any less than perfect.

Lots of guys will swear by a .223 or somesuch .22 centerfire load. They work farily well. They tend to be long range, flat shooting, accurate and deadly. Depending on the load and the bullet, they may or may not destroy the hide. Most often, however, there will be a large exit wound needing attention before tanning.

But, the .22 centerfires are not a fox-dedicated rifle. In many states they are legal to hunt deer with. They tend to be the prairie dog and woodchuck shooters rifle of choice. They provide a wide range of bullet styles, weights, etc. Bottom line is that they are still too big. Too much damage.

The perfect caliber for fox then is????? The .17 Rem. This tiny bullet leaves a 20" barrel at 4000 fps +/-. The tiny bullet, 17 to 30 gr. hits the fox and enters leaving a .17" hole in the hide. The bullet explodes with force inside the fox killing it instantly and usually with no exit hole. It's a dandy round and I believe it was made with foxes in mind. The .17 is most certainly the the "perfect fox caliber." It is a super-flat shooting rifle and I've killed foxes out to 400 yards with it.

There are a ton of rumors about this and that with the .17 rem. First is that it's fussy about the wind. They say if there is any breeze blowing, the tiny bullet will be blown off it's course. The fact is that it bucks the wind on par with the .223. Other's say it's too small to kill coyotes. The truckload of coyotes I've killed with it would argue with you on this if they could. It's effective and lethal on coyotes.

Shotguns work well too. They can be effective out to 40 or so yards and it's been my experience that a 1- 7/8oz load of BB's works best to provide good, clean kills. Smaller pellets don't offer the energy to needed to break the bones and anchor the animal. Larger pellets often don't have the pattern density to be sure of a clean hit in the vitals. Twelve guage and larger is the rule. You need a significant payload of BB's to put down a fox.

The bottom line in choosing a weapon to shoot at foxes with is this. Pick a caliber that will do the job you want it to do. For example, if your hunting is on the prairies of North Dakota, you shouldn't take your old model 94 in .30-30 out and hope to make a three hundred yard shot at a sleeping fox. You are a better shot than I am if you can pull off that kind of shooting on a regular basis. Likewise, I wouldn't take a scoped .22-250 into a tamarack swamp where I'd expect to call a fox to within ten or fifteen yards. Pick the right gun for the right job.

Randy Buker has successfully hunted the northlands of Minnesota and North Dakota for over twenty years. He is a night hunt pro, free-lance writer and instructor on Hunting the Night Shift

#1196200 - 01/26/09 12:43 AM Re: .17 Rem info [Re: Dooger]
Dooger Offline
Die Hard Member

Registered: 01/18/09
Posts: 580
Loc: MI... Upper Peninsula

17 Remington

One might think logically that a cartridge that's been with us since 1971, one that burns about the same amount of powder as the .222, produces about the same amount of muzzle blast as the .223, generates about the same level of recoil as the .22 Hornet, and yet shoots as flat as the .22-250, would have America's varmint shooters standing in line to buy a rifle chambered for it. Sadly enough, this has not been the case with our only domesticated .17 caliber cartridge. Despite the fact that the .17 Remington has such impressive credentials, it has never enjoyed more than mild popularity in the United States. It's largest following is in Australia where hunters who shoot fox for the fur market find the little cartridge ideal for minimal pelt damage.

With the exception of the .220 Swift, the .17 Remington generates velocities exceeding those of all other commercially loaded cartridges by a considerable margin. Such extremely high speeds result in a flat trajectory which makes 300 yard shots on varmint a snap. The banjo string trajectory plus it's excellent accuracy, even with factory loads, and almost nonexistent recoil make the .17 Remington a pleasure to carry afield. All the little cartridge asks of its owner is a good barrel cleaning every 15-20 rounds. Muzzle Jump from a rifle chambered to this cartridge is so light you can see the speedy little bullet punch a hole in paper or tumble a varmint, right inside your scope.

For top accuracy at maximum velocities, IMR-4320 will make the .17 Remington sing a pretty song. Other good choices are H380 and H4895. Presently, several U.S. and foreign gun makers offer rifles in this caliber; Remington, Thompson/Center, Sako, and Krico. In a custom 14" barrel from SSK Industries, the .17 Remington will push a 25 grain bullet to 3500 fps, making it the fastest cartridge available in the T/C Contender and Remington XP-100 handguns in custom barrels from Thompson/Center and SSK Industries, etc., etc.

Source: Hodgdon Data Manual, 26th Edition


Historical Notes:

The 17 Remington was introduced in 1971 as a new caliber for Remington's 700 Series bolt action rifles. It is the smallest caliber centerfire rifle cartridge offered on a commercial basis to date. The case is based on the 223 Remington necked down to 17 caliber, with the shoulder moved back .087" to lengthen the neck while retaining the same shoulder angle. The 17 Remington is similar to, but not identical with the 17-223 wildcat developed about 1965. Experiment with the 17 caliber rifles go back to 1944 when P.O. Ackley, the well known gunsmith and experimenter, developed the 17 Ackley Bee based on necking down the improved 218 Bee case. There are a number of other 17 caliber wildcat cartridges made by necking down 22 caliber centerfire cases such as the 221 Remington Fireball, 222 Remington, etc. Remington , Ultra Light Arms, Wichita, and Sako offers rifles in this caliber.

General Comments:

The 17 Remington has had a steady, though unspectacular, sales record since its introduction. Its greatest drawback is that its a special purpose cartridge suited almost exclusively for varmint shooting. For the sportsman who wants a rifle only for that purpose, this is not a disadvantage, however those requiring a rifle for both varmint and deer hunting would be better served with some other caliber.

With the 25 grain hollow point bullet loaded by Remington and similar bullets available for handloading by Hornady, the 17 Remington must be rated as a short range varmint cartridge. On the other hand, it has certain advantages such as minimal recoil, ricochet probability, and a very flat trajectory due to the high initial velocity of over 4000 fps. Factory loaded ammunition is available only from Remington.

#1196201 - 01/26/09 12:44 AM Re: .17 Rem info [Re: Dooger]
Dooger Offline
Die Hard Member

Registered: 01/18/09
Posts: 580
Loc: MI... Upper Peninsula

If you listen to most outdoor writers today, they will tell you that in your quest to find the ultimate Varmint rifle you should stay away from the .17 Remington. They give reasons like, "itís to hard to load for", "the bullets are too light", "the barrels foul to easily" and my favorite "the .17 only allows for marginal kills". I am here to tell you different. This isnít taken from stories Iíve heard, this is taken from over 9 years of loading and shooting the .17 Remington. I have shot countless animals from Ground Squirrel sized game, to Rock Chuck to Predators, so I can truly say that I have experience with this caliber. I will give you my honest opinion and wonít BS you with second hand information, or anyone elseís horror stories.

I began calling Predators when I was 14. I owned a Ruger in the 30-06 caliber. I used deer loads and wasnít too worried about what happened to the fur (even though I skinned every one). A couple of years went by and I began looking at what I could do to preserve the fur a bit better and help me not have to sew so many pieces back together. In my infinite teenager wisdom, I bought a Ruger 10-22 from a guy who lived on my street, loaded up with some CCI Stingers and proceeded to the desert to use my new "Coyote" rifle. The first couple of stands were as expected, two coyotes in, two coyotes down. Both were semi-clean kills, with one dropping in itís tracks after a spine shot! The calling slowed down, so I ate a late lunch, took a nap and got ready for the afternoon hunt. Well, the first stand I made was overlooking a very brushy bowl that only extended my shot out to about 30 yards. I let go on some cries and got an immediate response from a pair coming straight at me through the brush. They stopped at the edge of the clearing in front of me, so I picked a spot on the maleís chest and pulled the trigger. I heard the "Wop" of the bullet hitting chest, saw the coyote start to cycle around and bite at the hit, then get up and run. He ran back into the brush with me rattling off shots behind him, trying to get one desperation shot into his body and drop him, all while trying to shake myself from the disbelief. Last I saw of that coyote, was the pair of them going over the opposite rise of the bowl about 200 yards away. I checked for blood, tried to follow their trail and just plain wandered around trying to get a lucky break to make myself feel better. It sucked. On the drive home I made a pact with myself to find and buy the perfect Predator round for both killing power and minimal fur damage.

After that hunt, I went back to the í06 until I found a way out of my dilemma. In the years before I bought what I felt was the perfect Predator caliber, I purchased a .218 Bee lever action from Marlin (1894-CL). I used this gun strictly for small Varmints and the occasional close in Predator (20-100 yards). I loved the caliber, but it was still lacking the knock down power I needed to be confident all the time. After another winter of watching predators circle my stand at just outside of my effective range, I decided that the next year was going to be the year I stopped screwing around and buy a fur gun.

I researched the old Fur-Fish and Game magazines and checked the opinions of a few older Predator hunters in my area. Most would mention the standard .223 as being good for the beginner who didnít like to reload. Some would mention the .22-250 as the ultimate long range predator gun. A few even recommended either a .243 or a 6mm as a good, "stop them in their tracks kind of gun". I weighed everything they said, but found myself looking more and more at the .17 Remington. I read up on the caliber and a little bit about itís history. I also checked to see what bullets were available to the handloader. Then I made some phone calls to various fur hunters who had .17ís in their collections. Although there was a difference in opinion about what gun, bullet and powder to use, they all had great confidence in the .17. I was impressed when I heard about one shot kills with no exit wound and coyotes dropping in their tracks as their insides were turned to jelly. I didnít need to hear any more about what other people had to say, it was time to find out for myself. I went down to the local sporting goods store and purchased a Remington Model 700 BDL in the .17 caliber.

I worked up some handloads that were consistent in giving me Ĺ" or less groups. This gun liked the Hornady 25gr hp at the range, so thatís what I stuck with while hunting. My first hunt was a Rock Chuck hunt in Northern California. I did not see the large numbers that you normally see, because it was late in the season and the heat did not make for very comfortable sunning conditions. I got exactly two shots at Rock Chucks with my new gun and needless to say I was very disappointed. Disappointed that there werenít more Chucks to shoot!! My first shot was about 200 yards away and it blew the Chuck up and off the rock in a fashion that is difficult to explain here. I think my buddyís response after seeing the shot through his binoculars set the standard for the day, "[beeep]!!". After we got to the Chuck, I had hoped for something to be able to take a picture of. That sure didnít happen. What I got was a Chuck that was torn in half!! Legs missing, organs decorating bushes like Jeffrey Dahmerís Christmas tree!! Not pretty. The second shot was taken at a direct broadside angle at about 225 yards. This time the Chuck only got launched from the rock a few feet, with very little damage. After picking this one up I began to see the possibilities for my fur gun starting to materialize right before my eyes. All summer I used that gun on Ground Squirrels, Rock Chucks, Rabbits and Pigeons. I was building my confidence level up as well as developing a good feel for what the .17 could do at various ranges.

It was all I could do to wait until the fur in my areas primed up. In the meantime, I added a bi-pod, a sling and a camo tape job. Just before the season, I took it back out to the range to check my groups and accuracy. It was dead on and I was ready.

The first morning found me glassing an alfalfa ranch, looking for any Coyotes who were still out mousing in the fields. As luck would have it, the first one I saw was working itís way towards a thick sage area located about a mile north of the ranch. I made my way to the sage area to head the Coyote off. I parked and worked my way to the edge of the field, only to find that I miscalculated by about 100 yards AND there was two Coyotes, not just one. I popped open my bi-pod and laid out on the damp alfalfa. I picked out the larger of the two and started tracking it. When it got to an angle I felt comfortable with, I "woofed". It made two more steps, then bounced to a stop. I pulled the trigger on him and dumped him immediately, not even a tail wave, just dead!! The second Coyote started to haul [beeep] out of there, so I gave my best wounded "Ki-yi" and she stopped, for about a second. My second shot was so fast, I didnít even realize I pulled the trigger. She started to run and as I worked the bolt and found her in the scope again, she made the sage brush. I thought I had missed her, so I walked directly to the first Coyote. It was a big male with nice fur and after a closer inspection I saw that the bullet did not exit, nor could I tell where the bullet had gone in!! I ran my hand through his fur and began to rethink my second shot. I walked over to the area that I last saw Coyote #2 and not 5 feet within the sage, there she was, piled up under a big bush. I was impressed with myself (which doesnít happen very often). I rolled her over to see if the bullet had exited or done any damage on her. None. Now I was pleased too. As I carried the dogs to my rig I paced out an approximate yardage of 125 yards. Considering most of my shots are within 250 yards, I felt the .17 worked perfectly.

I packed up my Jeep and moved on to my first calling spot, a wide ravine that extends into the foothills about 7 miles away. I set up my call 30 yards in front of me and popped in the tape. I reached my spot on the side of the hill and settled in. The bi-pod was already out and a round already chambered. I just needed to get my butt and legs comfortableÖhehe.. I always put a minute or two delay on my tapes to give me time to get situated. It wasnít 3 minutes into the call when I saw two Coyotes working their way towards me from the north end of the ravine. At the same time, something caught my eye just below me about 50 yards out. Sure enough, it was another Coyote sitting on the edge of the sage staring at my call. I pulled up and shot him in the chest off-hand. I saw him fall backwards, so I turned my attention towards the other two coming from the north end. As I looked over, all I saw was two blurs running through the brush, tails down and head as low as possibleÖthey were gone!! I let the call run another 5 minutes, but was very curious to see what I had done to the "close" Coyote. I picked up my call and headed over to check him out. Another good sized male with nice fur, a little lighter with more white on his sides and back. Once again, no exit hole and no damage to the fur. I was happy.

Total for that day was 5 Coyotes, none of which had any exit holes or fur damage. I could go on and on about how many days I spent afield that season and how it all worked out.. but to prevent me from boring you I will give you some stats. I have used the .17 Remington for 6 seasons now and taken numerous Predators as well as varmints. In that time, I've lost four coyotes and those were my fault. I also damaged a few in the process of trying to rush a shot, which is my fault also. So, if you are the type of hunter that can take his/her time with your shot and place it properly, then the .17 in most of itís forms, is right for you. Donít listen to gun writers who claim that it is a "marginal" caliber, when in all likelihood they have never shot one consistently. Do the research, talk to those who use the .17 and read up on what makes it tick, I think youíll be impressed.

#1196202 - 01/26/09 12:49 AM Re: .17 Rem info [Re: Dooger]
TA17rem Offline
Die Hard Member II

Registered: 05/31/07
Posts: 1895
Loc: Minn.
It just so happens i know Todd N. . We both have the same gun doctor.LOL Todd also has a XP-100 switched over to a rifle and chambered in 17 Rem. I owned a set of XP-100's at one time, one of them i had made into a rifle chambered in 17 Rem and the other action Todd ended up with and did the same.. Gotta love the 17's they do a heck of a good job if you want to save the fur..

#1196203 - 01/26/09 10:12 AM Re: .17 Rem info [Re: TA17rem]
RustyCJ8 Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 06/03/08
Posts: 352
Loc: Iowa
Dooger, Nice compilation of info. Been drooling over a Rem. Model 7 Predator in .17FB at a local dealer. Your posts make me want it even more. Thanks.
Not all those who wander are lost. J. R. R. Tolkien

#1196204 - 01/26/09 07:45 PM Re: .17 Rem info [Re: TA17rem]
Coyotejunki Offline
PM senior

Registered: 04/03/04
Posts: 5059
Loc: MO
Yea Tim, and several of us know John-Henry from the "Coyote Gods" website.

I had a 17 Rem built on a Ruger, pretty much like Vic's, after talking to a few of the guys over there. I still have it and it shoots very well and cleans up nicely with it's Pac-Nor barrel.
futuaris nisi irrisus ridebis

#1196205 - 01/26/09 07:59 PM Re: .17 Rem info [Re: Coyotejunki]
GySgt Offline
Die Hard Member

Registered: 10/16/08
Posts: 599
Loc: Classified
I love the 17 Rem, but I am going to need to take a day off work to read all this- but Thanks it will be very motivating to finish it and dig my OLD 700 BDL out of the safe! JHG
Stay Center

3 most feared phases in the USMC; a Lewy that says "I got a plan", a Captain that says "its been my experience", and a Warrant Officer that says "watch this shxx"

#1196206 - 01/26/09 08:35 PM Re: .17 Rem info [Re: GySgt]
Rustydust Offline
PM senior

Registered: 10/21/07
Posts: 6258
Loc: Southwest Idaho
Gosh. And just when I get to thinking that the little .17 aint getting no respect a fine article like this comes out. Sure brightens up my day.

I started shooting the .17 Rem 30 years ago. Wernt many people ever even saw one back then or ever heard of it even. I liked it because it was different, and it was cute. And because it was cool. Load data was sparse, bullets even more sparse (like one or two) things like cleaning rods and tips and pre-cut patches were no where to be found (I used a lot of pellet gun cleaning stuff) but I liked it for what it was- an odd ball. But after killing a sandhill crane at about 300 yards DRT I began to realize that this was really something special. Reading from PO Ackley did nothing to make me feel any different.

Today I have my third .17 Remmy, a heavy barrelled Rem 700, and it soon will be going out with me once again to harvest a few ground squirrels along with a few prairie dogs this summer. Things that 30 years ago have changed somewhat with a lot more bullets, powder choices, and good cleaning equipment. But one thing has stayed the same, and that is the fun factor. Gee. Aint that the reason that we shoot anyway?
I once asked a liberal "What is it with you people? Is it ignorance or apathy?'
He said, "Well, I don't know and I don't care.'"

#1196207 - 01/26/09 09:10 PM Re: .17 Rem info [Re: Dooger]
BGO Offline
Predator Master

Registered: 12/20/08
Posts: 56
Loc: Kentucky
Good reading! I have to agree with what you are saying. I have been shooting a .17 Remington for about 35 years. I have to say it's by far the rifle I like the most. Here in Kentucky when we still had groundhogs my 17 was bad news on them. The .17 Remington in my opinion is one fine varmint round. And yes it has gotten a bad rap for many years. Only one time have I had a problem with fouling, no telling how many rounds had been down the barrel. Just put a little JB down the barrel and everything was good in the world again. You are right about loads as well. I'm shooting about the same load you listed. I shoot 24.5grs. IMR 4320 with a Remington 7 1/2 BR primer and a 25gr Remington HP when I could get them or a Hornady 25gr HP with .3" groups. I don't understand why this caliber gets so much bad press.
Blevins Gap Outdoors


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