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.17 hmr help

04 Dec 2020
@ 11:14 am (GMT)

Kurt Menghetti

hi Everyone,
I would love to hear if anyone can help.
I have purchased an new Australian made( don't want to mention brands because they have been great!) bolt action .17hmr and a Vortex Diamondback tactical 4x16x44 FFP scope.
In the hope of stretching out to do some long range varmiting. To replace my 50yr old Winchester 69a with an old Bushnell 4x20 that can easily hit pigeon size targets out past 100m!!
However I have had nothing but trouble and frustration trying to get it to group well at 50/100m, , driving my wife and family crazy hearing about it also a big amount of time and money wasted.
I have put through about 5 boxes of ammo ( hornady/Winchester 17 vmax), tried a different scope(even sent back the Vortex for replacement), purchased a Wheeler FAT screwdriver for correct torque, purchased 3 of Nathans books and built a range and bench from his plans to try and take out my human error. To be honest I haven't cleaned very often because I've had to borrow a kit (can't be purchased on Island) I haven't tried copper solvent yet but that's my next thing. Once I can get some here.
Because I live on a remote Island (Norfolk Island) off Australia, there isn't much assess to equipment and knowledge.
has anyone else had issues with the .17hmr? I know they are usually really accurate . Should I trade in the scope for a Sightron ? should I send the rifle back as a last resort as they guarantee sub MOA? or just wait and see how it goes after a clean with solvent?
thank you :)


04 Dec 2020
@ 08:29 pm (GMT)

Chris Murphy

Re: .17 hmr help
Hi Kurt if it won’t group with multiple different ammo send it back it has issues.
05 Dec 2020
@ 01:24 am (GMT)

Mike R

Re: .17 hmr help
When I got my 17hmr it wouldn’t shoot 1 box before needing a clean. Lots of copper fouling. Once clean it was very good again, mine also much prefers the Winchester ammo my mates one likes the Hornady ammo much better. I also spent some time weight sorting my ammo which has helped consistency shoots around 1/2inch 5 shots
I’d give it a good clean with copper solvent and then try three groups with one brand of ammo clean it again then try another brand
06 Dec 2020
@ 09:32 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .17 hmr help
Hi Kurt, the .17's are not so easy to manufacture as it is difficult to lap a bore of this diameter. The .17 is also different to a basic .22 due to the fact that a .22 utilizes a soft lead bullet which can be seated close to or in some cases scribed into the lands upon chambering. The .22 bullet conforms to the bore thereafter. Further to this, one can choose from a range of factory ammo at different velocity nodes. The .17 by contrast uses jacketed bullets within a narrower velocity range. If it were possible to hand load, one might be able to tweak further accuracy from a gun that is for example shooting around 1.5" at 100 yards. But alas, this option is off the table, so final outcomes are always somewhat of a gamble, as is shooting this cartridge in higher winds.

As has been suggested, the first port of call will be to remove the copper fouling and then see how it shoots. Make sure the bore is soaked in a proper solvent (not Hoppes) and then scrubbed with a bronze brush. Continued shooting and cleaning may be enough to remove or flatten reamer burrs etc. This will not however fix any dimensional issues.

If the rifle does not shoot well following a few rounds of cleaning, it may have to go back to the manufacturer. They will need to check bore and will perhaps lap the first few inches. Following this, they will check the fit of the action in the stock. Yours may be of the new cheap floating lug design that is so prevalent these days among gun makers. This will all need to be checked over.

I have lapped .17's to correct problems with desirable results but its not an easy task.

Yours is not the only problem .17 on the block. This is not unusual due to the above mentioned idiosyncracies of this bore diameter.
07 Dec 2020
@ 03:05 pm (GMT)

Kurt Menghetti

Re: .17 hmr help
Thank you to everyone for taking the time to reply to my questions. I’ll try the copper solvent clean and report the outcome. Also thanks to Nathan for the great books. I know I am only shooting rimfires however still so much practical no nonsense advice.
11 Dec 2020
@ 11:49 am (GMT)

Robert McLean

Re: .17 hmr help
I love my .17, it is really accurate. I use it as 'cheap' practice out at 200 when there is 0 wind. When I say cheap I mean cheaper then my 7mm hand loads at least. I tried a cleaning rod and it scared me to death because it is sooo small diameter and it seems that my CZ 455 .17 barrel is really tight. I started using a thing called a patchworm. I know it is a pull trough item and it doesn't turn with the grooves and I have to watch the muzzle but I try to be in the moment and just pay attention while I pull. it seems to do the job well. I've put many many rounds through it in the last couple of years. I keep one with me as a field kit for all my calibers including shotgun because it is the size of a pack of smokes. It ships out of the states but the package is so small that it is pretty cheap. I'm sure they would ship south.

Just some maybe useful info...

order some extra felt buttons and patches otherwise you will be ordering more...
28 Dec 2020
@ 08:18 am (GMT)

Jake Carey

Re: .17 hmr help
I had a Ruger .17 that I could not get to shoot, and eventually I realized that in my excitement I had disassembled and cleaned and checked everything except the factory scope rail. Turned out all the screws were about 1/4 of a thread twist too long for the holes. No wonder it had been returned. I shortened them and the groups shrank dramatically. Even the recoil of that little bullet was enough to bang the scope around. Not to insult anyone's intellect, it's just my experience.

Afterward it turned out that I was unimpressed with the 17 at its "best" so I sold it and replaced with with a side-by-side 12. Oddly enough that helped convince my lady that I wanted a pointing dog as badly as she did, and shortly after we were able to find an extremely well bred dog we shouldn't have been able to afford because the breeder needed to make space and he told us to make an offer. So that's the best use of a .17 to me: pretend to be over the moon for it, then sell it to convince your wife of your commitment to the idea that you actually wanted all along.

I hope it works out. It sounds like you're the correct owner for a good-shooting .17.
15 Jan 2021
@ 03:01 pm (GMT)


Re: .17 hmr help
Kurt - You might want to try a different weight of bullet. I experimented with 6-7 different brands/variants of 17 grain bullets in my Savage bolt action before trying a 20 grain bullet. I cut the groups almost in half with the heavier bullet using comparable products (Hornady 17 gr. V-max gr vs. Hornady 20 gr. V-max) Of course, it is rim fire and your mileage may vary.
17 Jan 2021
@ 07:32 pm (GMT)


Re: .17 hmr help
Hi Kurt,
I have just changed out a CZ 455 for a 457 in 17HMR and tested some ammunition today to find out what it likes. As per the posts above they can be fussy buggers both with ammo and everything else.

Hornady 17gr VMAX (this was what shot the best in my 455) 4 shots in 17mm then the 5th taking it out to 49mm

Federal 17gr V-Shok. 4 shots into 10mm then the 5th taking it out to 23mm

Hornady 20gr XTP 5 shots in 21mm

CCI 17gr VMAX 4 shots in 8mm then the 5th taking it out to 20mm

Not enough trigger time recently so the flyers may well have been me and I will need to test again to find the best load for this rifle. This is the second CZ 17HMR I have owned and both shot well, I expect this to improve with a few more rounds down the barrel (and hopefully me getting my [email protected]#t together). Bottom line is 3 out of 4 types of ammo shot sub inch, 5 shot groups at 100 yards and based on my limited experience (2 rifles) and plenty of on line reviews this is what you get from the company. If you get similar results from different ammo, suggest you return for a replacement or a refund and buy a CZ


25 May 2021
@ 09:09 pm (GMT)

Kurt Menghetti

Re: .17 hmr help
Hi everyone
Well I returned my rifle to the manufacturer and it looks like they replaced the barrel. Straight away it shot better and printed a ragged hole at 50m which was promising. However when I moved out to 100 it is still Grouping about 2 inches . I know it can’t be the rifle again I have a new Sightron Stac 3-16 . The trigger is pretty heavy compared to my .22 so I’ve ordered a lighter spring kit.
Could it be the Ammo? Iam still stuck with Winchester/ Hornady V max.17grain. The Hornady has about 20-50% split necks after firing .
Or is it my trigger pull and technique. Does the barrel need more shooting and cleaning has anyone had similar experience?
Iam no sniper by any means but I would love to get it shooting better and get to the bottom of the problem . where too next?
26 May 2021
@ 07:54 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .17 hmr help
Hi Kurt, this is the sort of thing that is terrible to diagnose by internet. There are a pile of good answers (base screws etc) on this thread but all could be wrong relative to the individual rifle.

The new barrel will still be wearing in. It probably had reaming burrs at the throat so these will cause some copper fouling. Will need to be defouled and fired a few times before you can really tell how well it will shoot.

17 necks may split. This is generally a sign of a max SAAMI spec chamber (large diameter reamer used to cut the chamber) versus min spec ammo. Not much you can do about this. It is nevertheless important to keep the chamber clean, using a brush and solvent to remove carbon deposits.

Yes, technique is always a major issue. This was covered in the LR shooting book and applies to 100 yard work as much as it does to LR shooting. A good trigger does help.

Vince showed the importance of testing a range of ammo. He went from 2" to 1" or less by changing loads. It would be very helpful if you could trial a range of ammo. The .17's can be very fussy.

It is also extremely important to understand that the .17 bullets get bucked around in the wind quite badly. This can account for large groups or wide fliers. One simply cannot test this cartridge on windy or gusty days. A day shooting in the wind can in some instances put one off this cartridge altogether.

OK, those are my PC answers. Now lets cut the bullshit. Many of the rifles coming out now are marketed under the disguise of 'innovation' when they are instead cheap rubbish. In some cases, the new people who own or work within these companies, basically shit all over the brand name they are working for, a name which may have taken decades, maybe even a century to establish, having eventually achieved great esteem. But who cares about that, just so long as niddynoddy and his well groomed tactical garden gnome buddies can have their photos on the main page of a website. The same goes for the gun writers reviewing their junk.

Many of these innovative rifles lack anything in the way of a substantial bedding platform. The rimfires suffer the most as they often have only one action screw which attaches the junky action to its junky plastic stock. This is the anti of a solid foundation and probably what you are fighting against - harmonic vibration issues. The rifle shot well when freshly assembled, then went to hell after the honeymoon as soon as the action started to jostle about in its stock (this ringing any bells for you Sauer 100 owners?).

Ideally, the rifle probably needs to be bedded. But thats the rub. Due to its very poor design it needs bedding, but the poor design probably will not allow you to bed it as there may be no clean mating surfaces. I would therefore again refer you to the book series, asking that you pay particular attention to the following sections of the Accurizing book - Mock bedding and Rigid Mounting (possibly where you will end up). You may want to read the full series to get your head in the right place. But at the very least, read Rifles, then Accurizing, then Shooting.

So besides ammo and other issues, if the rifle is of some new latest greatest design, it may need bedding, but may in this respect be fundamentally flawed. If you need more help, it will be best to contact me directly for a consult. I believe the forum members have taken this as far as they can go.
27 May 2021
@ 08:24 am (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: .17 hmr help
Sounds like a really frustrating adventure?
My thoughts after reading this.
For what you have spent you have a choice to make!
Because of your amazing geographic location. You probably need to buy a rifle that's been tried, tested, proven and not too used. It will be a 223. Lots of different ammo available and it's Center fire so that you can reload your own custom ammunition and get the best from it.....Then the only variable will be "The nutt behind the butt" YOU.... and being the resourceful Islander of great metalic fortitude!! You will improve your game to get your required results....... Think about it mate! The. 17 sounds like my Ex wife, fussy and unreliable........ lol So that's what I would consider doing. Unless you're island is center fire banned zone.
15 Jun 2021
@ 10:17 pm (GMT)


Re: .17 hmr help
Anecdote of one rifle; Not advice
I was very lucky with the .17 HMR - back in ~2010 I purchased my first ever brand new rifle - a left hand, stainless Savage 93R17 BTVSS, laminated thumbhole stock. Zeiss Conquest 3-9x40 in warne steel rings. Shot beautifully and I used it to take many rabbits & foxes on the farm for pest control.

It loved Hornady NTX and Hornady V-Max. The NTX was very accurate and allegedly turns into dust when it strikes an animal - it seemed to shatter a rabbit's chest under 80 metres. Always wanted to x-ray one to see the full extent of the damage. Entry wound almost impossible to find, and there was never an exit wound. The rabbit's chest was best described as "crunchy". Stupidly I never bothered to open one up - at the time it was pest control and all I cared about was a dead rabbit - I wasn't eating them or using for dog food.

The V-Max was more accurate, especially at longer ranges. When used on rabbits, it typically just fragmented into large chunks. Hard to find entry holes and a mess on the exit side. But funnily enough, the V-Max held together at longer ranges (120m - 150m), and usually exited. I found a couple of projectiles that had mushroomed beautifully at those ranges - looking for all the world like a mini-deer bullet.

1. Sold it in 2013. Needed the cash.
2. Seriously accurate little rifle, but I'd never seen such a FILTHY barrel - absolutely terrible carbon fouling rather than copper.
3. Headshots ONLY for foxes. I chest shot a few, but always needed follow-ups.
4. Split cases. I would get one or maybe two split necks in a box of 50 Hornady. The blokes at the gunshot said not to worry about it. Federal was much worse - probably split 15 out of 50. I bought a couple of boxes of Remington and took them back to the gunshop for a refund - I shot five and every single cartridge split near the rims - not the neck. They put the wind up me. At the time, the HMR was still fairly new, and allegedly ALL 17 HMR ammunition was all made by the same manufacturer (Hornady) and re-badged. I don't know if this was true, but that's what the gunshop told me.

At the time, Anschutz were BY FAR the best rimfires on the market and their HMRs had a stellar reputation in my rifle club. I simply couldn't afford one - it was three times the price of the Savage, and only available in blued. CZ's had the second-best name and Savages had a bit of following because of price - but were hit or miss. I was very lucky with mine. Probably all changed these days.
14 Jul 2021
@ 11:56 pm (GMT)

David Landwehr

Re: .17 hmr help
Kurt, a hmr was my first rifle. A Marlin 17vs I bought second hand. I bedded it with Nathan's bedding kit into a Boyd's thumb hole laminate stock. A great product and a good looking stock. The rifle was accurate before this but I disliked the original stock.

It shot hornady 17gr v Max great, until it didn't.
I brought 17gr tipped from win, rem and hornady and 20gr hornady hollow points when I got the rifle. The rem and 20 gr ammo grouped like a shotgun, the win about 2 moa and the hornady inside .75 moa. I loved this rifle and have still killed more foxes with it than any of my other rifles combined. A well placed shot and lights out.

But these rifles are very ammo lot number fussy. Mine was grouping the hornady v Max inside 20mm at 100m until I ran out of that batch of ammo. I think it took me 18 months to find another batch it liked. I was going crazy and trying everything and then tried a batch of cci it liked so I brought a brick. Next time I'm empty I'll go through this again. A common issue the guys on talk about.

Its a great fun round and awesome for kids so don't give up. Keep trying different batches of ammo. When you find a batch it likes buy as much of it as you can afford.

Or buy a 223. Tune your handloads to your rifle for less than it costs to buy a round of hmr. This is in West Australia. I'm sure its different elsewhere. But I can't help but love my hmr.


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