What if there is one best rimfire round? One tiny cartridge that outshines, or is more versatile, than all the others?
First, I suppose, it’s important to list the contenders. Here goes, from the smallest diameter commonly available. I’d love to include all of the really obscure stuff, because it’s so interesting and, in many cases, particularly capable, but if you can’t find guns or ammo for it, well, it can’t be in this article.
Peruse the following, weigh the options and hit us with your arguments.
- <h2>.17 HMR</h2>This cartridge is the reason its littler sibling—the .17 Mach 2—is languishing. Based on the .22 Magnum case necked down to BB diameter, it spits a 17-grain bullet out of the muzzle at 2,550 fps and packs 245 foot-pounds of punch. When sighted on at 100 yards, it drops 8.5 inches at 200 yards, making it a legitimate 200-yard cartridge—hold on a prairie dog’s whiskers and you’ll nail him in the belly button. <p></p> As a hot rod, it offers plenty of performance and is arguably more common on today’s market than any other rimfire except for the .22 Long Rifle. It often produces jaw-dropping accuracy through bolt-action rifles. However, it has proven problematic in most semi-auto rifles. Granted, with today’s ammo prices, few shooters purchase a .17 HMR rifle as a lead pump. <p></p> With careful shot placement, the .17 HMR is adequate for coyotes within 100 yards or so; it’s ideal for beavers where legal, and makes short work of nuisance varmints such as skunks, prairie dogs and potgut gophers. However, unless you’re rifleman enough to make head shots, it’s not much of a meat-getter because that tiny, zippy bullet does considerable damage on impact. All things considered, many logical arguments can be made that it’s the best rimfire for all-around hunting.