Savage Arms went big at the 2015 SHOT Show by going small. In the process, the monolithic rifle manufacturer may have solved one of the trickier problems plaguing firearms design.
With the introduction of the A17 .17 HMR, the Massachusetts-based subsidiary of ATK looks to have produced a viable semiautomatic magnum rimfire. This is a feat other companies have attempted, but have fallen short.
Of course, cracking what has proven to be a tricky nut required some out-of-the-box thinking on Savage’s part. Where the company particularly broke with tradition is jettisoning the straight blowback action so common in rimfires for a delayed blowback system.
The company has outfitted the A17's bolt with integrator lug that locks the bolt in place momentarily after a shot has been taken. It is just enough time to allow the majority of gases to disperse, thus allowing for the action to safely cycle without venting from the receiver. The design also keeps the breach block light, since it does not purely have to rely on weight to regulate the rifle's cycling.
The A17 also utilizes a more robust construction to tackle the hotter rimfire rounds, of which the above video by the Kentucky Gun Company does a good job documenting . One of the most noticeable is the rifle’s burly action, which definitely appears robust enough to handled the extra pressure.
Savage has chromed the action’s components to aid in cleaning and cycling. It also includes its adjustable Accu-Trigger, allowing shooters to tailor the pull weight all the way down to 2.5 pounds. And the company has outfitted the firearm with a 10-round rotary magazine. Larger magazines should be available in the future.
As would be expected from Savage, the barrel is button rifled. However, at time of writing, the twist rate of the A17 was not available.
Savage must be fairly confident it has hit the sweet spot with its new rimfire, given it has worked with another ATK subsidiary to produce the hottest .17 HMR round available. CCI has cooked up A17 Ammunition, which the company boasts as being 100 fps faster than anything currently available on the market. At 2,650 fps, it should do the job on any varmint unlucky enough to wonder in front of it.
The Savage A17 presently has an MSRP around $470. The rifle should be hitting store shelves sometime in March 2015.