Ammo Brief: .17 Winchester Super Magnum Nails It

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Born from a lowly nail-gun blank, the .17 Winchester Super Magnum has risen to become one of the hottest rimfire cartridges around.

What Makes The .17 Win Super Mag. A Knockout Rimfire:

  • Was designed with economical shooting in mind.
  • Its parent is a .27-caliber nail gun blank.
  • Its maximum average internal pressure is 33,000 psi.
  • The cartridge's velocity gives it superior performance against wind drift.

Winchester Ammunition, in conjunction with Savage, introduced the .17 Winchester Super Magnum rimfire rifle cartridge at the 2013 SHOT Show. A Winchester Ammunition announcement called this “the most revolutionary rimfire cartridge in the company’s almost 150-year history.”

17 winchester super magnum hornady box

Further, the company said, “The .17 Win Super Mag. offers the downrange performance of a centerfire cartridge at only a fraction of the cost. For the first time in history, hunters can expect pinpoint accuracy and devastating performance from a rimfire cartridge, at ranges well past 200 yards.”

One of Winchester’s goals with the new .17 was to keep it affordable. A box of 50 should retail for about $15, which is much cheaper than almost any centerfire varmint load.

“Our engineers have been developing the top-secret .17 Win Super Mag. caliber for more than three years, and the rimfire revolution begins now,” said Brett Flaugher, Winchester Ammunition vice president of sales, marketing and strategy in 2013. “At 3,000 fps, it’s the fastest modern rimfire cartridge on the planet. The downrange energy deposited by the .17 Win Super Mag. will be a game-changer for varmint and predator hunters everywhere.”

General Comments

This round descended from a .27-caliber nail-gun blank, which is necked down to take a .17-caliber bullet. The brass case is about half a grain thicker than the .17 HMR. Maximum average internal pressure is 33,000 psi, which is about 7,000 psi higher than the .17 HMR’s. It pushes a 20-grain bullet at 3,000 fps—625 fps faster than the .17 HMR. In a 10 mile-per-hour crosswind, the .17 WSM moves 7.3 inches at 200 yards, while the .17 HMR slides 16.6 inches.

The .17 Winchester Super Magnum was initially offered in three bullet types: a 20-grain plastic tip in Varmint HV (High Velocity), 25-grain plastic tip in Varmint HE (High Energy) and a 20-grain jacketed hollow-point in Super-X. The .17 Win Super Mag bullet delivers more than 150 percent greater energy than the .22 Win. Mag. or .17 HMR. The .17 WSM first-adopter rifles included the Savage B-Mag bolt-action, Winchester 1885 Low Wall single-shot and the semi-automatic Franklin Armory F-17.

17 WMR Table

Editor's Note: This article is an excerpt from Cartridges of the World, 16th Edition.


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