The red-tipped cartridges peeking from this tray are the leading edge of Winchester’s new, just-released, ground-breaking rimfire, the 17 Win Super Magnum.
At 3,000 fps, this is the fastest rimfire ever produced. For perspective, contrast the 17 Win Super Mag (no relation to the WSM centerfire cartridges) against the former rimfire velocity champ, the popular .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire. While the 17 HMR shoots delightfully flat, the 17 Win Super Mag shoots two times flatter and drifts only half as far in the wind, as this video explains. Its 20-grain bullets retain more than twice as much downrange energy, and its 25-grain projectiles nearly triple the energy of the 17-grain V-Max in the HMR load, as this video demonstrates. Zero the 20-grain Win Super Mag load at 150 yards and it will strike less than an inch high at 100 yards and just 2.6 inches low at 200 yard. This means you can aim dead center on a teeny little ground squirrel at any range out to 200 yards and hit it.
Ballistics like this aren’t just interesting, they’re game changing. The 17 Win Super Mag rimfire matches or beats the performance of the 22 Hornet centerfire cartridge for two-thirds less cost. Yup. You should be able to buy 17 Win Super Mag rounds for around 30 cents each. Hornet cartridges go for closer to $1 each. Three shots for the price of one? I’ll take it.
Some nay-sayers will poo poo this .17 as unnecessary and way more expensive than the .22 Long Rifle. Well sure. But fillet mignon is more expensive than hamburger. I think you can agree there’s a reason to eat a fillet now and then. Here are some attributes of the 17 Win Super Mag: 1. Almost no recoil. 2. Minimal noise. 3. Extremely flat shooting. 4. Accurate. 5. Less wind drift than any other rimfire. 6. Minimum ricochet danger. 7. Performance equal to 22 Hornet. 8. Cost equal to 17 HMR. 9. Perfect for varmints and target shooting in settled areas. 10. Effective for small game with head shots. 11. Powerful enough for coyotes. 12. Minimal potential pelt damage on small furbearers like fox, coyote. 13. Available in inexpensive (I’m guessing) rifles.
Unlike most new cartridges, this 17 Win didn’t evolve from an existing round. The case is a 27 caliber rimfire powder reservoir used to drive fasteners into concrete in the construction industry. To make is suitable as a rifle cartridge, Winchester engineers necked it down to .17 and made the head and walls thicker to withstand the 33,000 psi pressure generated in this round. This compares to just 26,000 psi in the 17 HMR. I assume rifles chambered for the 17 Win will have to be a bit stronger than those that currently handle the Hornady or 22 WMR. Firing pins might also need to hit harder to crush the thicker rims. All of that, I’m sure, will be worked out by the gun makers.
I suspect Savage will be the first-to-market with a rifle for this new round because last August I tested 17 Win Super Mags in a rough, pre-pre-production bolt-action Savage not yet fully functional. I hand-fed and extracted rounds. But 5-shot groups with both the 20-gr. and 25-gr. bullets still clustered around an inch at 100 yards. They chronographed just slightly faster than Winchester’s advertised velocity: 3,023 fps for the 20-gr., 2,625 fps for the 25 grain 10-feet from the muzzle. I’m betting full production rifles and ammo will easily shoot sub MOA, and 1/2 MOA wouldn’t surprise me. I hope to try the new guns and cartridges on jackrabbits, coyotes and rock chucks soon. I’ll fill you in on that performance. In the meantime, check store shelves for the new ammo and rifles. # # #