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Old 08-07-2018, 09:53 AM   #1
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Input on .17 HMR vs .22 WMR Rifles

Howdy Everyone,

I've been looking at getting another rifle in either 17 HRM or 22 WMR. My brother had good things to say about the 17 HMR, a lot of his buddies use that round for squirrel hunting and I've kinda focused on a Henry Lever Action. Anyone own a Henry in either 17 HRM or 22 WMR ?

Being a left handed shooter, if I'd go bolt action, I'd need a left hand model and those are not as readily available.
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Old 08-07-2018, 12:41 PM   #2
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I'll be honest, for squirrels I'd go with the Marlin 39A. It'll fire shorts, longs and long rifles and is spooky accurate. If I were wanting to bump things up a notch I'd try to find a Marlin lever gun chambered in .218bee, lots of mojo with a .218bee :-)
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Old 08-07-2018, 12:46 PM   #3
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Well then, now you're talkin' about what occupies me for five months of every year....ground squirrel and rock chuck shooting for alfalfa ranchers.

I use many calibers, but in the Rimfire world, I'm very fond of the 17HMR, fielding two at this particular time. One is an Anschutz 1517D HB, the other is a switch-barrel rig based on a Ruger 77/22 Mag/Lilja 17HMR barrel.

I've also got 22Mags, the above Ruger 77/22 Mag, and a Winchester 9422 in both 22LR and a twin in 22 Mag. For ground squirrel shooting, the 17HMR is the clear choice, shooting much flatter out to 250 yards. The 22 Mag is good to about 125 yds or so, but the drop is much more noticeable.

My Anschutz 1517D HB in 17HMR with some rock chucks that were not pleased about my choice of rifles that day. All were taken near my place on a local ranch.



My Ruger switch-barrel rig wearing her Lilja 17HMR barrel in the rat patch last year:



Partial view of the rat carnage from that session with the Ruger 17HMR. The rats were running from the alfalfa (food source) across the two-track into the tall sage. The silly things being oblivious to the immanent danger, would stop in the open on the two-track, giving time for a well placed shot from the bench at 215 yards out.



For plain walkabout fun, you can't beat a nice lever gun, and in 22 Mag, they pack a pretty good wallop inside of 100 yards. The Henry rifles are available in both calibers. My Winchester 9422 in 22 Mag with a very impressed ground squirrel:



If I had to choose right now between the two calibers and action types you mention, I'd opine that you "need" a bolt gun in 17HMR for ground squirrels. Many can be found in LH, including Savage and Anschutz. The Anschutz of course is three times the price of the Salvage, but you're also getting 'real' workmanship with high quality materials in a proven design platform. There really is no comparison between the two, except price. One will get you by, the other will be a pleasure to own, gaze upon, and of course shoot. The Annie's are amazingly accurate rifles. "Buy once, cry once" applies here.

Another thing to consider is degree of precision you expect. A squirrel is a tiny target out past 100 yards, so a decent scope is needed. Personally, I don't think any nice lever gun should have a scope, but a scope is right at home on a good bolt gun. So....walkabout rifle for offhand fun, or precision from a bipod or bench waaaay past 100 yards?

(If you're open for some REAL ground squirrel fun, ask me about the .20 Vartarg.......)
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Last edited by Rick in Oregon; 08-07-2018 at 12:48 PM.
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Old 08-07-2018, 02:18 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by cousinmark View Post
I'll be honest, for squirrels I'd go with the Marlin 39A. It'll fire shorts, longs and long rifles and is spooky accurate. If I were wanting to bump things up a notch I'd try to find a Marlin lever gun chambered in .218bee, lots of mojo with a .218bee :-)
Howdy Cousinmark !!
I've got a Ted Williams .22 semi-auto (Christmas present when I was 10 yrs old) that shoots shorts, longs and long rifle and it is one accurate little rifle. I'm gonna have to do some research on that .218bee round for sure. Thanks !!
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Old 08-07-2018, 02:28 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Rick in Oregon View Post
Well then, now you're talkin' about what occupies me for five months of every year....ground squirrel and rock chuck shooting for alfalfa ranchers.

(If you're open for some REAL ground squirrel fun, ask me about the .20 Vartarg.......)
Wow Rick, both you and Cousinmark have given me a plethora of things to consider..

But first though, in terms of squirrels, we may have a little different opinion. You mention squirrels to a coonass like me and that equates to dinner, as in chicken fried or in a sauce piquant I'm attaching a picture of my younger brother with a mess of squirrels he took with his squirrel dog's assistance.

I've been looking at the Savage left hand bolt action and Able's has one in stock for a very reasonable price. I may have also found a Henry bolt action octagon barrel in 22 WMR, so what the heck, maybe I'll just buy both....... wait, Ms Tejun is in California this week. Time to go buy guns

Thanks again for the reply guys.
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Old 08-07-2018, 02:56 PM   #6
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Tejun, yep, it appears "squirrel" means varmint here, and food there. Different critters for sure. In that case, I'd go for a 22WMR in the rifle and action of choice and make head shots.
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Old 08-07-2018, 05:03 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Rick in Oregon View Post
Tejun, yep, it appears "squirrel" means varmint here, and food there. Different critters for sure. In that case, I'd go for a 22WMR in the rifle and action of choice and make head shots.
My mother would fuss at me when I shot the squirrel's (gray bushy tails) yep food here in Tennessee, "in the Head" she liked to eat the brain after cooking. I miss squirrel gravy and biscuits.
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Old 08-07-2018, 05:15 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by 2sharp2 View Post
My mother would fuss at me when I shot the squirrel's (gray bushy tails) yep food here in Tennessee, "in the Head" she liked to eat the brain after cooking. I miss squirrel gravy and biscuits.
Aw man Arland, that brings back some great memories. My grandmother also liked the squirrel brains. She’d stand over us when we were skimming them to be sure we would not just cut the heads off. That was the most pita part of cleaning those furry little things too. Grandmaw hunted squirrels till she was 90 yrs old and lived to the ripe old age of 100.
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Old 08-07-2018, 09:51 PM   #9
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...Jeff Foxworthy???

...we may have entered a whole new level of the "you may be a redneck if..." thing with these squirrel brains???
...no offense guys, I'm sure they're tasty :-)

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Old 08-07-2018, 09:53 PM   #10
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I personally like the 17WSM over the 17HMR or 22WMR. 17WSM smokes the others in velocity. In 100 yard shots or less, no big deal but stretch it to 200 and the differences are staggering. I have all 3 and they're all fun to shoot but if I had to pick one, 17WSM every time.
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