Winchester is rolling out a new cartridge at SHOT Show. The .17 Winchester Super Magnum. On the surface, it appears pretty spiffy. A magnum rimfire cartridge based not on any firearms cases, but a .27 Caliber Power Fastener case – Nail Gun Ammo. This bigger case allows the rimfire to kick it out there at 3,000 feet per second. That’s 500 FPS faster than the .17 HMR. That’s impressive, it really is. Kinda makes you want one, doesn’t it?
There is just one tiny .17 caliber problem though.
The .17 Hornet.
The Hornet round is firing a .17 caliber rice grain out to 3650. That’s right 650 FPS faster than this new Winchester Rimfire. So why if you are wanting a hot .17, would you stick with a Rimfire when you could gain over a thousand feet per second over the HMR by going with the Hornet? It makes little sense to me. I wouldn’t buy one. In fact, I wouldn’t buy a Hornet either – instead favoring the .204 if I wanted something that wasn’t a .22-250. But sticking with the .17 calibers, for me, it’s either the HMR or the Hornet. And that’s what a lot of gun buyers have been saying as well. You have to buy a regular sized rifle, might as well but the .204 or .22-250. Which is why we sell more .22-250’s than anything else when we are talking a Bolt Action rifle.
Savage and Ruger have come out with .17 Hornet rifles… Well, Savage has. We’ve not seen any of the Rugers that they said they were coming out. The Savages have had some gnarly magazine issues, and while they are very accurate, they just are not feeding right. That kinda takes all the fun out of them. We’ve yet to see a lightweight X-Bolt or Rem Model 7 in the .17 Hornet, which is what that cartridge needs. But would you want that in a Rimfire? I think not.
This new Winchester rimfire is doomed to fail, and fail badley.
I want to know what guys at Winchester thought that this would be a great new round, instead of bringing out what people have been actually asking for…. Cartridges such as a .25WSM. Since it’s come out, people have been Wildcatting the .300 WSM case down to .25 and getting close to .257 Weatherby performance out of their Short Actions. This is a cartridge that needs some Factory Legit backing. But evidently they would rather break out a new rimfire that no one is going to give a damn about.