Sizzling New Rimfire Varmint Round From CCI


When the .17 HMR (Hornady Magnum Rimfire) was introduced back in 2002, I quickly dubbed it the “.17 Hummer” because it certainly did that and then some, with a muzzle velocity listed in the 2,300–2,600 fps range.

Any small game or varmint — such as rabbits, prairie dogs, ground squirrels and other rodents — finding itself on the receiving end of this round is doomed. I got hold of a test gun chambered for the .17 HMR at the time and it simply impressed the dickens out of me. Flat shooting and accurate, this little warp speed cartridge seemed certain to carve out a niche in the rimfire world.

If I recall correctly, I had the test gun during part of a grouse season, and out here in the Northwest, plugging fool hens in the head while they sit on a log or tree limb — they’re not called “fool hens” for nothing — is a good way to fill the pot. I couldn’t find a cooperative blue grouse at the time, but having zeroed the gun at 50 yards, it was a cinch any bird dumb enough to sit still waiting for something to happen would get its curiosity satisfied abruptly.

Here we are, several years later, and CCI has announced a brand new offering in .17 HMR worth a try. Packaged in 50-round plastic boxes, the .17 HMR VNT (which could easily be an abbreviation for “varmint”) appears to have what it takes to get the most out of the diminutive cartridge.

Let’s talk about the .17 HMR for a moment. The parent case is the .22 WMR. It is necked down to take a .172-caliber bullet weighing either 17 or 20 grains. In the case of this new CCI load, it’s a 17-grainer with a yellow polymer tip and a boattail design (see closeup). According to CCI, it will clock at 2,650 fps from the muzzle, which translates to crossing a football field in about one-third of a second — nothing to ignore.

The cartridge has a 1.058″ case length with an overall length of 1.349″. While it has less kinetic energy than the .22 WMR, it goes faster, thus making it harder for a prairie dog to duck. On a calm day, this round can reach out quite a ways, which isn’t bad for such a tiny (4mm) projectile.

The Speer VNT bullet topping this new cartridge has a very thin jacket that opens wide on impact with awesome results.
I’ve been shooting CCI rimfire ammunition for years and I cannot recall a single time when one of them misfired. The stuff just keeps working, as my camp cuisine has demonstrated over the years. My guess is the track record will continue with the VNT17 HMR ammunition.

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