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17 Hmr Vs 17 Hornet: Ultimate Small Game Showdown

The .17 HMR (Hornady Magnum Rimfire) is a higher velocity, longer-range rimfire round than the .17 Hornet, which is a centerfire cartridge. The .17 HMR is more commonly used for varmint hunting and plinking, whereas the .17 Hornet offers greater performance and is suitable for longer-range shooting scenarios.

Choosing the right ammunition is crucial for shooting enthusiasts and hunters. The. 17 HMR delivers a fast, flat trajectory ideal for small game up to 200 yards. Its affordability and lower recoil make it a popular choice for casual target shooting and rodent control.

Meanwhile, the. 17 Hornet steps up the game, providing superior ballistics and energy transfer, which are essential for more demanding shooting tasks. This potent round extends the shooter’s range beyond 300 yards, making it a favorite among serious varmint hunters desiring a more powerful impact without the recoil of heavier calibers. Each cartridge serves a distinct purpose, and understanding their differences will guide users to the best-suited round for their shooting needs.

17 Hmr Vs 17 Hornet: Ultimate Small Game Showdown



Ballistic Performance Face-off: 17 Hmr Vs 17 Hornet

Small game hunters and shooting enthusiasts often debate between 17 HMR and 17 Hornet. Both cartridges promise precision and punch but differ in ballistic capabilities. In this section, we’ll delve into their ballistic performances, unraveling what sets each one apart.

Muzzle Velocity Showdown

Velocity plays a key role in a bullet’s journey. The 17 Hornet often outpaces its HMR counterpart. Here’s a glance at their speeds:

Cartridge Muzzle Velocity (fps)
17 HMR 2,550
17 Hornet 3,650

Trajectory Tales: Comparing Flight Paths

The flight path of a bullet, also known as its trajectory, is critical for accuracy. The 17 Hornet typically offers a flatter trajectory due to its higher velocity. Let’s compare:

  • 17 HMR – Slight curve downward
  • 17 Hornet – Straighter for longer distances

Energy Output: Punching Above Their Weight

Power at the point of impact is vital for a quick and humane kill. These cartridges may be small, but they are mighty:

  • 17 HMR delivers approximately 245 ft-lbs of energy.
  • 17 Hornet packs a higher punch with around 592 ft-lbs.

Clearly, in terms of energy output, the 17 Hornet shines.

17 Hmr Vs 17 Hornet: Ultimate Small Game Showdown


Anatomy Of A Cartridge: Breaking Down 17 Hmr And 17 Hornet

The 17 HMR (Hornady Magnum Rimfire) and the 17 Hornet are two fascinating cartridges that have captured the attention of shooting enthusiasts. Despite sharing a common bullet diameter, their characteristics differ significantly. Understanding the intricacies of these cartridges, from design to application, is crucial for shooters aiming to make an informed choice for their specific needs.

Design Philosophy: Intended Uses For Each Caliber

The 17 HMR was crafted for accuracy, minimal recoil, and delivering high velocity at longer ranges. It caters to varmint hunters and target shooters who require precision over distance.

Conversely, the 17 Hornet extends beyond the 17 HMR’s capabilities. It provides greater velocity and energy, suitable for mid-range varmint hunting. Its design bridges the gap between rimfire and centerfire performance.

Case And Bullet Specifications

Specification 17 HMR 17 Hornet
Case Type Rimfire Centerfire
Case Length 1.058″ 1.350″
Bullet Diameter .172″ .172″
Muzzle Velocity 2,550 fps 3,650 fps
Muzzle Energy 245 ft-lb 592 ft-lb
  • 17 HMR: Excels in a lighter-weight, lower-cost platform for small game and target practice.
  • 17 Hornet: Known for its flatter trajectory and higher energy, this caliber is the go-to for longer-range varmint control.
  1. Assess caliber needs based on game size and shooting distance.
  2. Consider the balance between cost and performance.
  3. Evaluate firearm options compatible with each caliber.

Field Test: Hunting Efficacy And Application

The 17 HMR and 17 Hornet are two popular rounds for precision hunting and target shooting. Their performance in the field reflects their design intentions.

Small Game: Precision and Effectiveness

Small Game: Precision And Effectiveness

For small game like squirrels and rabbits, both rounds offer benefits.

  • The 17 HMR is known for minimal recoil and high-velocity shots.
  • The 17 Hornet packs more punch, extending the effective range.

In a field test, the 17 HMR delivered clean shots at closer ranges. The 17 Hornet allowed for further distances without compromising precision.

Target Shooting: Accuracy at Various Distances

Target Shooting: Accuracy At Various Distances

Target shooting tests accuracy and the caliber’s performance at different distances

Distance 17 HMR 17 Hornet
50 yards Excellent Good
100 yards Very good Excellent
200+ yards Good Very good

During the test, the 17 HMR showed impressive accuracy at short to medium ranges. The 17 Hornet excelled, especially beyond 100 yards.

17 Hmr Vs 17 Hornet: Ultimate Small Game Showdown


Cost Analysis: Affordability In The Long Run

When choosing between the 17 HMR and the 17 Hornet, costs play a big role. We dive into the details to see which caliber gives you more bang for your buck over time. Let’s break down the expenses from ammunition costs to rifle prices.

Ammo Pricing: Comparing Costs Per Round

The price of ammunition is crucial for shooters who plan to spend a lot of time on the range. As of our knowledge cutoff, here’s how these two calibers stack up:

Caliber Average Cost per Round
17 HMR Approximately $0.25
17 Hornet Generally above $0.50

Owning a 17 HMR tends to be lighter on your wallet, especially for frequent shooters.

Rifle Selection: Price Brackets And Options

Your choice in rifles also affects overall long-term costs. Below, explore the primary price brackets and options for each caliber.

  • Entry-Level Rifles
    • 17 HMR: Readily available starting at $250
    • 17 Hornet: Fewer choices, generally starting around $450
  • Mid-Range Rifles
    • 17 HMR: Options range from $400 to $800
    • 17 Hornet: Ranges start slightly higher from $500 to $900
  • High-End Rifles
    • 17 HMR and 17 Hornet: Both calibers offer models over $1000

Overall, 17 HMR rifles present more affordable choices across all levels. This could mean significant savings for the cost-conscious shooter.

User Perspectives: Gathering Shooter Experiences

When choosing between the 17 HMR and the 17 Hornet, real-world experiences are invaluable. Hunters and shooters vary in their preferences, with specific calibers fitting different needs. Exploring the insights of those who’ve spent ample time in the field or at the range provides a clearer picture of which might suit you best.

Personal Anecdotes: Hunters And Target Shooters

Many hunters cherish the 17 HMR for its affordability and minimal recoil. Its accuracy at moderate distances makes it a favorite for small game hunting. Those targeting varmints at longer ranges often lean towards the 17 Hornet. Its higher velocity and flatter trajectory get praise.

Target shooters speak highly of both cartridges. The 17 HMR’s low cost per round and reduced noise level make for enjoyable recreational shooting. On the flip side, the 17 Hornet’s superior ballistics and wind-bucking capabilities win points among those seeking precision shooting.

  • 17 HMR
    • Loved for: Value, Less Recoil, Moderate Distance Accuracy
    • Used by: Casual Shooters, Small Game Hunters
  • 17 Hornet
    • Loved for: Speed, Flatter Trajectory, Long-Range Precision
    • Used by: Varmit Hunters, Precision Shooters

Expert Reviews: What Professionals Say

Industry experts have conducted numerous tests to compare these calibers. Professional opinion leans towards the 17 Hornet for its enhanced performance in wind drift and energy retention. The 17 HMR garners respect for its cost-effectiveness and versatility, particularly suitable for those new to shooting.

The consensus among ballistic specialists suggests that the 17 Hornet typically excels in the hands of experienced shooters seeking performance, whereas the 17 HMR is commended for its approachability and functionality in everyday scenarios.

Aspect 17 HMR 17 Hornet
Cost per Round Lower Higher
Recoil Minimal Moderate
Best Use Small Game, Recreational Varmint, Long-Range Precision
Shooter Experience Level Beginner to Intermediate Intermediate to Advanced

Final Verdict: Choosing Between 17 Hmr And 17 Hornet

When it comes to small game hunting and precision shooting, the 17 HMR and 17 Hornet are popular choices. Each cartridge offers unique benefits, tailoring to different hunting scenarios and target shooting needs. This segment sheds light on which round may be the most suitable for a shooter’s specific requirements.

Recommending The Right Caliber For Your Needs

Selecting the right caliber hinges on multiple factors. Consider game size, shooting distances, and whether minimal pelt damage is a priority. For smaller varmints and a focus on affordability, the 17 HMR shines. In contrast, for longer ranges and more stopping power, the 17 Hornet has the upper hand. Your shooting environment and intended use play pivotal roles in this decision.

Pros And Cons Summarized

Let’s weigh in on the highlights and drawbacks of both cartridges.

17 HMR 17 Hornet
  • Lower cost per round
  • Less recoil
  • Good for short to medium range
  • Widely available
  • Higher velocity
  • Greater energy
  • Effective at longer ranges
  • Less wind drift
  • Less power at long range
  • More wind drift than the Hornet
  • Ammunition can be more costly
  • Recoil slightly higher

Frequently Asked Questions On 17 Hmr Vs 17 Hornet

What Are The Key Differences Between 17 Hmr And 17 Hornet?

The key differences lie in their power and range. The 17 Hornet offers higher velocity and energy, suitable for longer distance shooting. In contrast, the 17 HMR is less powerful but favored for its lower recoil and higher accuracy at shorter ranges.

Which Caliber Is Better For Varmint Hunting, 17 Hmr Or 17 Hornet?

For varmint hunting, the 17 Hornet is typically preferred due to its higher power and longer range effectiveness. It allows hunters to tackle small game at greater distances with more energy upon impact.

Is 17 Hmr Cheaper To Shoot Than 17 Hornet?

Yes, the 17 HMR is generally cheaper to shoot. Its ammunition costs less compared to the 17 Hornet, making it a more budget-friendly option for frequent shooters and small game hunting.

How Does Recoil Compare Between 17 Hmr And 17 Hornet?

The 17 HMR has significantly less recoil than the 17 Hornet, making it more comfortable for extended shooting sessions. The reduced recoil also aids in maintaining accuracy for novice shooters.


Deciding between the 17 HMR and the 17 Hornet boils down to your shooting preferences. Both cartridges have their unique strengths, offering shooters a variety of choices tailored to their needs. Whether you value precision at long ranges or minimal recoil, your decision will shape your varmint hunting experiences.

Choose wisely, and happy shooting!

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