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I am relatively new to handgun hunting. I have done some jackrabbit hunting with a Ruger Mark III pistol, 22LR, and was thinking of getting a Ruger New Model Single Six in 17hmr/17mach2 to hunt tree squirrel, ground squirrel, cottontail and jackrabbit. (All of which I eat: I don't shoot animals for target practice). I like the 17hmr cartridge: I have it in a CZ rifle and I love its accuracy. It seems there are fewer "flier" shots with 17hmr than with 22LR. So I thought how about 17 in a handgun. I wonder though if other handgun hunters have experience with 17hmr in a handgun, and what you think about its applications. What kind of animals are you using it on? Who has the Ruger Single Six Hunter in 17hmr and how do you like it?

Deb
 

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Is 17hmr or 17mach2 too much for small game

My experience with the 17 HMR is limited to rifle only. But with a handgun you are going to lose considerable velocity, so don't expect as flat of a trajectory. The good thing is with it going slower you won't have as much meat damage. The HMR will be great for rabbits, but will mess up squirrels pretty badly, but I think the Mach 2 should do very well for them.
 

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Is 17hmr or 17mach2 too much for small game

357mag,
Actually when the round first came out I believe it was VV that did a pretty in depth test on the HMR and found that it surprisingly lost very little velocity with the shorter barrels vrs the longer ones. They also concluded that 18"-19" was about the optimum length for the cartridge. Any longer and the velocity started dropping off. I have both the 14" pistol and an 18" rifle, both contenders and can't tell any noticable difference in trajectory between the two. At least out to around 200yds. Thats from 2 seasons on the prairie dog towns. As far as meat damage, you better make head shots with the HMR. It can really mess up a small critter. I don't have any experience with the M2 but if memory serves me right it is about 17% slower than the HMR. KN
 

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Is 17hmr or 17mach2 too much for small game

The .17 rimfire cartridges are both incredible rounds. However, my use for a rimfire hunting rifle is for hunting squirrels. A .22 Long rifle serves the purpose quite well without the expense of the .17s or the unnecessary destruction they can cause. A .22 standard velocity long rifle bullet in the head works every time. I eat the game I shoot, and I love squirrels. There is no real need for the extra power or range the 17s offer. At least not for me.
 

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Is 17hmr or 17mach2 too much for small game

I can shoot the eyes out of a squirel at 100 yards with either my HMR or my Mach 2. I can't do that with any of my .22 Long Rifles. The .17 bullets shatter when they hit something hard instead of bouncing around. I think they are safer.

All that said I just bought another .22 yesterday (a project 10/22). I like em all!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Is 17hmr or 17mach2 too much for small game

Thanks for the advice on these cartridges. I'm thinking that ideally, I'd like to use 22lr for shorter distances, 17hmr for somewhat longer distances, but it remains to be seen how far I can shoot a 17hmr or mach2 effectively with a handgun (obtain 2" circle). I don't have any T/C guns: the longest barrel I'd be using is a 7 1/2" barrel on a Ruger Single Six Hunter.
 
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