Rats! Ground squirrels still carry bubonic plague in the U.S. Various rodents destroy between 1 and 5 percent of cereal grains around the world each year, too. According to a National Park Service website, “rats have caused more economic loss and more human suffering than any other vertebrate pest. From plague epidemics (the “Black Death” of Europe) to rat bites of inner-city children, from gnawing electrical wires in an attic to feeding on stored food in a warehouse, rats are a critical pest of humankind.”
This is why people trap or poison rats and mice around their homes. But poisoning is frowned upon by environmentalists because the poisoned rodents can kill dogs, cats and native predators that eat them. So shoot the rodents instead.
Shooting rats and mice around the house isn’t going to work, but for rodent infestations in agricultural fields and pastures I’ve got a hot option: A Volquartsen Semi-Auto 17 WSM.
Rimfire connoisseurs know all about Volquartsen’s superbly accurate 22 rimfire auto rifles, but this 17 Winchester Super Magnum really steps it up. It’s a blow-back action much like the familiar 10/22 Ruger. It even has a similar rotary magazine that holds 8 rounds. The rifle is set up as a heavy (9 lbs., 6 oz.) target/varmint rig. The laminated stock has a Monte Carlo, roll over cheek pad/comb, a palm swell on the grip and a wide, flat bottomed fore-end. The fluted, straight contour barrel is heavy for enhanced accuracy. A brake reduces muzzle flip so you can literally see bullet impact targets. My Volquartsen has been shooting 3/4-inch 5-shot groups at 100 yards with Winchester’s 20-grain and 25-grain loads. I’ve yet to try Hornady’s new 20-grain load or Federal’s, but it’s nice to know we have options.
The 17 WSM cartridge is the ultimate rimfire because it throws a 20-grain bullet 3,000 fps, about 500 fps faster than the 17 HMR, which ain’t no slouch itself. But speed isn’t the WSM’s only advantage. Its 20-grain bullet boasts a sleeker shape and higher ballistic coefficient (.185) than the 17-grain projectile atop the 17 HMR ( B.C. .125.) At 250 yards the 17 WSM drops 8 inches LESS than the 17 HMR and drifts 14 inches less in a 10 mph wind. This video review explains in detail how the 17 WSM stacks up against not only the 17 HMR, but the 22 WMR and even the 22 Hornet centerfire.
Zeroed dead-on at 150 yards, my Volquartsen puts 20-grain bullets .25 inches high at 50 yards, just .83 inches high at 10 yards, 2.6-inches low at 200 yards and only 7.2 inches low at 250 yards. That’s the flattest shooting rimfire in the world. Combine this with sub-MOA accuracy and cartridges costing only about 33 cents each and you’re looking at a darn good option for minimizing rodent problems in any agricultural setting.
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