People used to need gun licenses not just to protect their houses from human intruders, but also from pests and vermin. Varmint hunting became popular (and still is in some locations) for a variety of reasons, including pest management and pathogen-carrying vector control, as well as population control as a method of safeguarding vulnerable species and the ecosystem.
However, because certain pests, such as groundhogs, are smart, vigilant, and dart away in a flash if one got too close, they had to be exterminated from a far distance. The manufacturers developed specific rounds to incorporate the features required to shoot them down: high-velocity caliber, lightweight projectile, great precision, and consistent internal ballistics.
Let’s look at one of these cartridges that was intended specifically for varmint hunting: the .17 Remington.
The .17 Remington was the first commercial release of the .17 caliber center-fire cartridges, which became the smallest commercial cartridges available. It was created in 1979 and introduced in 1971 by Remington Arms Company for their model 700 rifles.
With a case length of 1.796 inches and a projectile weight of 20-25grain, the .17 can be propelled to an average FPS of 4145, producing 877 joules at the muzzle. Despite possessing such a high muzzle velocity, this Remington boasts of a minimal recoil owing to its lightweight. The powder charge in the .17 Remington is frequently heavier than the bullet.
However, when a bullet’s weight is so small and the ballistics coefficient is as low as.230, the influence of wind deflection becomes a significant factor.
So, what is the best range for this cartridge?
Letting it fly over 250 yards would let the .17 Remington shine as the superb varmint and predator cartridge that it is as it drops only 3.17inches after that distance. To avoid damaging the target’s pelt, the flechette bullet produces tiny, nearly nonexistent holes in it. With adequate energy, a high muzzle velocity, and a flat enough trajectory, the shot’s accuracy is maximized within this range.
Despite the fact that the 25grain .17 Remington was used by the M 700 rifles, it’s been discovered that, while the factory load’s velocity is listed at 4020fps, firing the ammunition from the Model 700 with a 24inch barrel results in a muzzle velocity of 3946 fps on average. The 20 grain achieves steady speeds of up to 4200fps.
The .17 Remington ammunition costs $1.70 per round and is available from Remington and Nosler.