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17 HMR VS 22LR

Ammo/Ammo Guides/Rimfire Ammo
17 HMR VS 22LR

Buckle up, we’re driving headfirst into the ultimate rimfire cartridge showdown – the 17 HMR VS 22LR. These little guys pack a punch in their own right and have their own fan clubs. So, grab your popcorn (or gun oil) as we break down the history, practical uses, ballistics, bullet types, and wallet-friendly factors of these mini powerhouses.

17 HMR VS 22LR

You could call this comparison a blast from the past vs. a modern marvel. In terms of performance, the .17 HMR outpaces the larger diameter .22LR bullet. It has roughly double the velocity (2,500 FPS VS 1,200 FPS) and energy (240 FT LBS VS 120 FT LBS) than the .22LR. The .17 HMR achieves these feats by using a longer case, and a lighter grain weight bullet.

The LR in 22LR stands for “Long Rifle.” That’s so you don’t get it confused with .22 Short or .22 Longs. By comparison, the HMR in .17 HMR stands for “Hornady Rimfire Magnum.” The .22LR is widely considered the most affordable rimfire round to shoot, while the .17 HMR is considered to be the better option for varmint hunting. 

A Quick History Lesson

a photo comparing 17 HMR VS 22LR

17 HMR VS 22LR: The .22LR (Top) is a rimfire classic, while the .17 HMR (Bottom) is the new kid on the block.

We’ve got the OG .22 Long Rifle (22LR) in one corner, rockin’ it since the late 1800s. This cartridge has seen it all, evolving from black powder to the smokeless stuff that changed the game. It was like the kid who showed up with a new toy and became the playground legend. Everyone loved it, and why not? Affordable, low recoil, and versatile – it was the one-stop-shop for shooting enthusiasts.

Then there’s the shiny new contender, the .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire (17 HMR), which made its grand entrance in 2002. It’s like the rookie of the year, teaming up with Marlin and Ruger to create a cartridge that takes accuracy and performance up a notch. The .17 HMR wasn’t content with just being good – it wanted to be exceptional. It tried to redefine what was possible in the rimfire world.

Cartridge Specs .22 Long Rifle .17 HMR
Parent Casing .22 Long .22 WMR
Bullet Diameter .223 .172
Neck Diameter .226″ .190″
Base Diameter .226″ .238″
Case Length .613″ 1.058″
Overall Length .888″ 1.349″
Grain Weight 29gr-60gr 15gr-20gr
Max Pressure (SAMMI) 24,000 PSI 26,000 PSI

Jack-of-All-Trades VS The Varmint Sniper

Hold onto your holsters, folks! The .22LR is the MacGyver of cartridges. It’s everywhere and does it all. Plinking, target practice, introducing newbies to the gun world – this guy’s got you covered. It’s like a trusted friend who always has a solution, no matter the situation. Got tin cans lined up? The .22LR is your partner in crime. Do you just want to have a chill day at the range? The .22LR’s got your back.

But then, the .17 HMR struts in, all sophisticated. It’s got its eyes set on varmint hunting and target shooting. When you want to put the bullseye on small critters from a distance, the .17 HMR is your wingman. It’s like your friend who’s really into precision and wants to hit the bullseye dead-on every single time. Whether you’re dealing with pesky rodents or going for bragging rights in a shooting competition, the .17 HMR is your go-to choice.

Deadly At Range?

Let’s talk science, shall we? The .22LR rolls with 30 to 40-grain bullets, cruising at subsonic speeds. It’s your go-to buddy for the short to medium range. That buddy is up for anything – from a lazy day at the range to some impromptu plinking. You don’t need to worry about fancy calculations or wind deflections. Just point, shoot, and have a blast.

But here’s where the .17 HMR sneaks in with its 17-grain bullets that fly at warp speed. Translation: flatter trajectory, less bullet drop, and wind? Pfft, like that’s even a challenge! Shooting far? Yeah, the .17 HMR’s got that covered. It’s like the buddy who’s been practicing their trick shots and is now ready to show off. Whether for long-range targets or varmint hunting at extended distances – the .17 HMR is the marksman’s best friend.


a photo of 17 hmr rimfire ammo and a rifle

The .17 HMR is a ballistic screamer compared to the almost sub-sonic .22LR round.

Comparing the ballistics of 17 HMR VS 22LR, the differences become apparent quickly:

Rimfire cartridges always have one major limitation in terms of ballistic performance, their weight. In order to calculate a projectile’s momentum, you must multiply its mass by its velocity. Since the .22 LR and .17 HMR weigh somewhere between 17 and 40 grains, they don’t have the same “stopping power” as larger centerfire rounds.

The .22 LR is best for target shooting, plinking, and varmint hunting out to around 100 yards. On the other hand, .17 HMR is not cost-effective for plinking, it does have excellent accuracy for target shooting, and enough energy to take out varmints at greater distances.

Caliber Bullet Type Bullet Weight Velocity (Muzzle) Energy (Muzzle) 50 Yards (Velocity/Energy) 100 Yards (Velocity/Energy) 150 Yards (Velocity/Energy)
.22LR LRN  40gr 1,200 FPS 128 FT LBS 1,075 FPS/103 FT LBS 991 FPS/87 FT LBS 928 FPS/76 FT LBS
.17 HMR JHP 17gr 2,530 FPS 242 FT LBS 2,150 FPS/174 FT LBS 1,804 FPS/123 FT LBS 1,502 FPS/85 FT LBS

 17 HMR VS 22LR: Bullet Types

a photo comparing 17 HMR VS 22LR ammo types

The .22LR has a wider variety of bullet types. while the .17 HMR remains focused on precision and performance.

Regarding bullet options, the .22LR is like a buffet – you’ve got everything from plain lead to fancy hollow points. It’s like a choose-your-own-adventure for shooters. Hollow points for some expansion action? Check. Subsonic for sneaky shooting? Got that, too. It’s the menu where everyone finds something they love.

But the .17 HMR isn’t here to just watch. It brings its A-game with polymer-tipped bullets like the V-MAX. These babies mean business – super accurate and expanding like a balloon on impact, making them prime choices for varmint hunters who like a clean and quick takedown. It’s like your buddy who brings snacks to the party AND cooks up a gourmet meal that everyone talks about for weeks.

The Price Tag Tango

Alright, time to talk money. The .22LR is the budget champion. It’s like the Dollar Store of ammo – affordable and everywhere. Everybody’s got it, so it’s easy to make sure you’re stocked up. You can practically hear it saying, “Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered – and your wallet, too.”

But then, the .17 HMR waltzes in wearing a slightly fancier suit. It’s not as cheap because it’s got that “special performance” bit of something extra. You’ll have to dig a bit deeper into your pockets, but if you’re all about nailing precision shots, it’s money well spent. It’s like the buddy who insists on getting the VIP tickets because he knows it’s worth every penny.

17 HMR VS 22LR: Ammo Allies

a photo of a man shooting a bolt action rifle in the snow

17 HMR VS 22LR: The .17 HMR is a step up in performance from the .22LR, but speed comes at a cost.

So, the verdict? No real knockout punch here. It’s all about what you need, my friends. If you’re all about versatility, the .22LR is your trusty sidekick. It’s been around the block and has something for everyone. From plinking to target practice, it’s the friend who’s always up for a good time.

But if you’re looking to snipe some varmints or show off your sharpshooting skills, the .17 HMR is the star of that show. It’s the friend who’s meticulously practicing their trick shots, the one who’s ready to take on challenges that others might shy away from.

Ultimately, both these cartridges are like two sides of a coin. You just need to flip them and see which suits your shooting style, wallet, and overall mission. Whether you’re plinking, hunting, or competing, the .17 HMR and .22LR are here to make sure you’re always locked and loaded for a good time at the range.

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