Rimfire shooters have been asking for better performance since at least 1960, a year after the 22 Winchester Magnum hit the streets. Hornady provided it in 2002 when they introduced a necked down 22 Win. Mag. case called the 17 HMR. It was an immediate hit.
Fast forward a decade and here comes the 17 Winchester Super Magnum yielding twice the performance of the 17 HMR — yet it’s been slow to catch on because almost no one was making a quality rifle to fire it.
That’s about to change.
With no warning and little fanfare, Ruger dropped its superb Model 77/17 rimfire bolt-action on the shooting range during the 2015 SHOT show Media Day. I was surprised. I was delighted. And the 17 WSM, as everyone is bound to call it, is about to have its day in the sun.
This is a real rifle for a very real cartridge.
- Dual locking lugs.
- 3-position safety that locks the bolt down when fully engaged.
- Slim, straight line, high-comb, Green Mountain Laminate stock that puts your eye on or close to the center of the scope.
- Ruger’s famous, flawless rotary magazine.
- Integral scope-mounts.
- Sling swivel studs.
The M77/17 looks, feels and performs more like a full-on centerfire hunting rifle (as this short video shows) than a cheap, plastic “toy” rimfire. This is a serious rifle for a serious cartridge that blows an aerodynamically efficient, 20-grain, poly-tipped, boat tail bullet downrange at 3,000 fps. This 17 WSM bullet retains more energy at 125 yards (253 foot-pounds) than the 17 HMR churns out at the muzzle (245 f-p.) It drifts half as much in the wind and shoots almost three times flatter.
What’s not to like?