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.17 Hornet

14 Mar 2016
@ 11:47 pm (GMT)

Mike Dewey

Hi All,

A recent article in a local outdoor magazine discussed hunting the Sitka blacktail deer on the Queen Charlotte Islands. They're quite small and have a yearly bag limit of 15 so definitely a meat crop. Probably not much different than a big feral goat.

Got to wondering about using my .17 Hornet for high neck/spine shots. Very accurate with Hornady VMax 25gr at just under 3100 fps. Going to see about how they hold together using a wet phone book. Wondering about carefully annealing them to make them less explosive.

Just wondering... it's a very long way from here. Probably never go, just curious. Thoughts...

Replies

15 Mar 2016
@ 04:24 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .17 Hornet
It can be done. Not really my thing but I know of a few guys using seventeens this way.

Marty has been observing the .204 lately. It got pushed here in NZ for some time (photos of punters with goats). Not really my thing either.

I think you are going about this the right way. Step by step.
15 Mar 2016
@ 05:21 am (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: .17 Hornet
If its a long trip it will probably be a once in lifetime trip so why hamstring yourself with cartridge that MAY be good enough when there is so many that will do the job better....your garden variety .223 with decent projectiles would be so much easier and give more confidence. any bigger will seal the deal so much quicker.
15 Mar 2016
@ 10:08 am (GMT)

Martin Taylor

Re: .17 Hornet
Mike my thoughts exactly.

I have had very limited exp with the 17 hornet and as a light varmint cal it has some merit but that's where it ends for me....

As for the 204r that Nathan has mentioned not for me either and as the owner is slowly working out, very easily compromised! Range, body resistance or POI has a dramatic effect to the outcome & not in a good way.

Take a cal with the ballistics to get the job done leaving something in reserve for poor shot placement, range etc. Your confidence will be up and you won't be left second guessing yourself or your gear!
15 Mar 2016
@ 03:05 pm (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: .17 Hornet
Having hunted there and taken those animals, I would go for a minimum of .223 but would personally prefer the .243 Winchester round in an accurate rifle above most others. I used the Sierra 85 grain hpbt bullets and took nearly all neck shots. Some shots at decent bucks were a fair ways out in the logging cut blocks.
15 Mar 2016
@ 03:53 pm (GMT)

Ricardo Laborin

Re: .17 Hornet
My $0.02: I've found deer of any size very tenacious clinging to life, our own Coues in Mexico exhibit that behavior. My experience with the .22-250 (55gr blue box - I know I know) has been not good at all. There's no additional sport involved by using small poking sticks, I would draw the line considerably higher than the fast .224's...

Then again, when shooting good sized coyotes and bobcats even with the .22WMR, they tumble....That's fun.

Saludos.
15 Mar 2016
@ 05:51 pm (GMT)

Mike Dewey

Re: .17 Hornet
My thoughts entirely. More wondering about the feasibility especially with altering the performance of the VMax bullets. Thinking about working from minimal performance up for instant kills without blowing the side out of the animal. Patient, selected shots and likely not at long range. I'd never use the .17 on anything bigger than gophers. Likely the .243 is the minimum for what I'm thinking. Thanks for the ideas.
15 Mar 2016
@ 08:10 pm (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: .17 Hornet
Not a good idea at all in my opinion. Any of the Vmax bullets in .224 on down are in my opinion not appropriate for lung shots, and if you figure head shots are the way to go, I have seen a V-max .223 bullet hit a mule deer above the eyes on the forehead and it fell down, got up and the young buzzard that shot never saw him again.

I always figured here in BC the outlawing of rimfire for big game was a good idea, but I can see with some of the small calibers like the one you are wanting to use on deer might be included in that category.
15 Mar 2016
@ 08:28 pm (GMT)

Martin Taylor

Re: .17 Hornet
The humble 243 has its limitations as Nathan explains very well in the KB and cartridge book, stay within those boundaries and it will serve you well.

We now control ferals up to small deer size with our 223 & a 204R out to 450 yards and find that l'm wanting for my 243's versatility in that role.
I finally got permission to use my 308/168 Amax combo the other night after to many nights watching abysmal results. The immediate difference on small/medium, muscular bodied animals was evident from the first, overkill some might say........ maybe, but it drove home my point about using small cals to their upper range-body weight limits.

When l find the right combo a 6.5mm will be employed for that role.

15 Mar 2016
@ 08:41 pm (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: .17 Hornet
Well said Martin.

A lot of calibers in other Canadian Provinces than BC have been made illegal for use on big game. It reminds me of a comment one of our Wildlife Biologists made 'Ever notice the less ability and ethics displayed the more rules and regulations seem to be brought up as a means to deal with it.'

The above was our government response in more recent years to limit the shooting of bison to larger calibers of a certain amount of energy deemed appropriate. Other than that we have only the rimfire restriction here, and I have personally put down wounded moose that had 5 or more .223 caliber shots in it them. It is not so much they cannot do the job, it is mostly people are not always up to doing it right. I still would object if any one in my company were to suggest a .17 caliber on a sitka blacktail. Not because it cannot be done but more important, just trying to see if it can be done is in my opinion not quite within my personal ethical parameters.
15 Mar 2016
@ 08:44 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .17 Hornet
Some good feedback here.

I should have mentioned, annealing will make little difference. These very small bullets will heat up regardless due to bore friction and air resistance, right to their core. When they hit, they are very warm and malleable.

Like I said, I have seen guys do this and in NZ, we all know of the swags of animals bagged with the .22LR, I have taken a good many animals myself this way. But situations like the one Bryan mentioned are very real, I have been in exactly the same position with a client and seen exactly the same result but with a 40gr .22-250 factory load. I managed to track and tackle the animal. I chose to do this rather than shoot it with my rifle as I wanted the client to come over and have a good look at just how much suffering he was putting the animal through. Take a good look, now get out your hunting knife out and finish the job. I put that one animal through excessive suffering knowing that it would save others from the same. And it worked.

I get quite a few guys tell me that their .17 or whatever is all they ever need because they can head shoot. No point arguing with this. So I say, yes it can be done but its not my thing sorry, a lot can go wrong. But again, if it is something you want to try, then careful testing is the way to go as was initially outlined. The only shot I am really OK with is at the base of the ear, nothing front on. But you have to be close and everything has to be spot on.

Really good to see that there was no need for me to say anything on this thread and see everyone working together.

15 Mar 2016
@ 10:44 pm (GMT)

Martin Taylor

Re: .17 Hornet
We have a minimum legal deer calibre of 270W here in Victoria OZ, along with minimum projectile weights for all.

Unfortunately for Government's world wide the "lowest common denominator (idiot)" as l like to say must be factored into any such laws. The small calibres now seem to be seen as "do it all" which is just ridiculous regardless of how many rounds are in the magazine.....

It is far to easy to say "I have done this with that calibre" things do not always go to plan, or as they say shit happens!
15 Mar 2016
@ 11:09 pm (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: .17 Hornet
WARNING
MY post has graphic descriptions of animals suffering from my poor choice of ammo or lack of skills and awareness of equipment set up that I was using ?

Would you use a teaspoon to dig a post hole? A shovel to pick food from the gaps between your teeth ?
Just because you can don't always mean you should.
We know what we know through life's experiences or because we searched for or stumbled upon answers found in the contents of this site and other forms of knowledge . Thanks Nathan n Steph.

When I was 14 my dad and I went to shoot an old feral Billy Goat on the farm for dog tucker he was limping with footrot . 303 LE With 174g military ball. 10 round mag full, job done!
My First shot at 70 yards Boom! nothing but a now running target 2 3 4 - 7-10 fuck empty gun no more bullets. Dad stayed watching as I ran all the way home got some more ammo lead tipped hunting rounds and ran back about a 2 1/2 km run. The billy had died while I was gone he looked like a pin cushion poor bugger didn't deserve to die like that? I have to live with knowing that I did that? When I was 20 I head shot a big hind at a distance of 20 yards with 303 high mounted scope aimed between the eyes and blew the bottom of its face off! Nose jaw all gone! Just dripping mushed skin n bone! She fell and stumbled off the ridge and crashed away into the undergrowth I waited and heard her stop? Well it went quiet. I reloaded and snuck into the thicket. About 40 yards in she was standing in a small clearing in the shadow of a tree shaking with shock and I could hear her sucking air through the open hole that was it's throat. My shot didn't miss this time.!
I feel like a shit when I think about those two animals.
I learned that the bullet impacts lower than your line of sight when shooting in close, and that 1, WWII FMJ Cordite ammo pinholes old billy goats 2, That 10 rounds with battle sights and brass butt plate. Kicks the crap out of a 14 year old lads pride ego and his shoulder.
So its worth noting that the key to all of our Killing situations is Knowledge. Knowing what you have. Its power and performance . Your skills and abilities to get it right .
Being responsible and held accountable for the choices we make is about Using our knowledge to choose the right tools for the job? And Knowing how and when to use them and how not to use them.
These animals don't ask to be shot we choose to shoot them . Make sure you do it as quickly and animanly as is knowledgeably possible. Cheers guys




16 Mar 2016
@ 10:20 am (GMT)

Mike R

Re: .17 Hornet
17's are surpringly capable when you hit them just right in really good conditions but even for head shots you have to be very careful as Nathan says base of the ear is best, I like back of the head or between eye and ear on side on shots. I've seen one not be able to penertrate past an eye (it just exploded it) lucky the follow up shot was a very quick kill shot. I've also seen a deflection/ ricochet off the nose( high up) from an animal that was looking at us more than once, and another time heard a ricochet from a head shot we don't know for sure where it struck but the guy reckons it was off the skull. So you end up trying to shoot a target the size of a golf ball all the time. We don't use that particular rifle anymore (it's been replaced with a 204 which has been much better). If there's any wind about, forget about it you might as well rack it. So why would you massively handicap yourself on a hunting trip with such a sub optimal caliber when there's plenty of better options. Big fan of 243 win at the moment with 87 v- max or 90 BT's also have had a few good results with 105 amax also
23 Mar 2016
@ 06:38 am (GMT)

Dale Wilhelm

Re: .17 Hornet
I have always used so called smaller calibres due to the fact I am of lighter build and don't want to be knocked around. I have shot more animals with a .222 than with all other rifles I own combined. My .17hmr has dropped a wild sheep with a shot through the eye at 120m. My first goats were shot with a .22 hornet.
However having said that I would never set out on purpose to use a small calibre to specifically hunt bigger animals. I have sat and watched more animals walk away than I have shot because the rifle I had with me at the time was in my mind not suitable for the shot required. I know the limits of each calibre I use and more importantly of my ability to reliable place a bullet where it needs to go to ensure a clean kill.
So unless you are happy to refrain from shooting until the odds are well and truly in the favour of your chosen rifle then I would suggest always carry something bigger. That is exactly why these days my .243 and in future (once I get it up and running) my 6.5-284 will always be my go to rifles for any time I expect to come across deer, pigs or tahr.
Good luck
Dale
24 Mar 2016
@ 09:04 pm (GMT)

Brendon Greig

Re: .17 Hornet
As with Dale I am small in stature and have some shoulder injuries I used to hunt with a sporterised 303 but wernt happy with the accuracy both mine and the gun so went to a 243, where I hunt it is mostly fallow deer so 243 is suitable. A worker on the farm had a 17 and I were appalled at the amount of animals I shot that had wounds from a 17 it only takes a twitch or breath of wind to shift the point of impact from perfect to wounding.l have recently been shooting goats with my 243 using 87 grain v max hand loads they are great very frangable these goats are in summer coats and dry I don't think the v max would be suitable for them with heavy winter coats especially if they are wet so I have 85 grain serria bthp for this purpose and for the deer as well
24 Mar 2016
@ 09:04 pm (GMT)

Brendon Greig

Re: .17 Hornet
As with Dale I am small in stature and have some shoulder injuries I used to hunt with a sporterised 303 but wernt happy with the accuracy both mine and the gun so went to a 243, where I hunt it is mostly fallow deer so 243 is suitable. A worker on the farm had a 17 and I were appalled at the amount of animals I shot that had wounds from a 17 it only takes a twitch or breath of wind to shift the point of impact from perfect to wounding.l have recently been shooting goats with my 243 using 87 grain v max hand loads they are great very frangable these goats are in summer coats and dry I don't think the v max would be suitable for them with heavy winter coats especially if they are wet so I have 85 grain serria bthp for this purpose and for the deer as well
26 Mar 2016
@ 05:48 am (GMT)

mark whiteley

Re: .17 Hornet
I think your answer is more about the projectile than about sitka deer,
before posting a reply I googled sitka blacktail deer as I know nothing about them, what I found out was they average between 36 and 54 kg and are a small deer as you said, I do have experience with the 17 ackley hornet which the 17 hornet is a copy. I would recommend using 25gr hornady hollow points instead of the vmax as they are not as frangible and kill with head shots better, between the ear and eye or back of head, the high neck shot would drop them just as good if they were looking at you, I use the 17 ackley to shoot roo's up to 70kg with head and high neck shots and nobody blinks an eye about it, dead is dead, its more about projectile's, distance's and shot placement, if you are going for meat I would use it, definitly
my thoughts anyhoo
regards mark
29 Mar 2016
@ 04:49 am (GMT)

Mike Dewey

Re: .17 Hornet
Thanks for all the info guys. My thought was to compare hitting a 1" target at 100 yds with hitting a 6" target at 800 yds. Neither is to be taken lightly, air and animal movement will require waiting and foregoing the shot unless things are perfect. Even then things can easily go sideways... Best to have something in reserve.
13 Jun 2016
@ 04:42 pm (GMT)

Tom Dixon

Re: .17 Hornet
I have a .20 vartarg which is a 221 fireball necked to .204, it will chuck a 40gn bullet at around 3500fps, I shoot foxes crows and rabbits with it, at fairly long ranges for such a small cartridge. I also shoot roe deer with my 7-08, the roe is a similar size to the Sitka that you mention, there's no way I'd shoot a roe with the vartarg (it would be illegal here anyway). There's just too much risk of a runner, these small calibre bullets are highly frangible and will splash even on very light game. The 39gn sierras that I use in the vartarg will hollow out a crow like an ice cream cone even well past 300yds. On a deer there's every chance you could get a bullet blow up and just leave a nasty wound, they lack the weight to have the thump required to knock an animal that size down.
I'm not a massive fan of the .17 calibre, it is 20% smaller than the .204 in diameter which is like comparing a .25 with a .308 or a .22 with a .270. In terms of bullet weight the difference is even greater, 30 gn vs 40 gn. I have a .17HMR which I hardly use now having got the vartarg, I once shot a fox with it, fairly close, right in the boiler room, it ran. I never found it. I'm sure the bullet expanded properly it just lacked the diameter and weight to get the job done. I know the rem is way more powerful than the HMR but still every calibre has its limits.
Year before last I shot a small roe doe from about 90 yds, it was with a 150gn Nosler ballistic tip, the shot was good but the little doe ran off into heavy scrub, after looking for a while I had to go home and get the dog, he found it over 100 yds away. When I opened it up its heart was in 4 separate pieces, and the exit hole was the size of my fist.... Small deer can be tough!
13 Jun 2016
@ 05:03 pm (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: .17 Hornet
Quote:
Thanks for all the info guys. My thought was to compare hitting a 1" target at 100 yds with hitting a 6" target at 800 yds. Neither is to be taken lightly, air and animal movement will require waiting and foregoing the shot unless things are perfect. Even then things can easily go sideways... Best to have something in reserve.


Surely you are not saying your .17 caliber can shoot any game at 800 yards Mike? You would have to try to shoot that rifle at 400 or 500 and see what you can do with it...let alone 800. I still fail to understand why you would want to shoot anything larger than a coyote with it personally.
13 Jun 2016
@ 08:20 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .17 Hornet
No, what he was saying, was that he thought that shooting at 100 yards with the .17 was akin to shooting out at long range with a large caliber. That he would be treating 100 yards as a very long shot if he was to try this.
 

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