Winchester 17 Win Super Mag Rimfire
At Media Day we had the chance to try out the new 3000 FPS rimfire ammo from Winchester. Shooting the new 17 Win Super Mag ammo from a pre-production Savage B.MAG rifle (more on that later), we were able to shoot minute-of-angle groups with a pretty primitive rest set up. So far, then, it appears the ammo is pretty darn accurate for mass-produced rimfire cartridge. Savage has promised to set us one of its new B.MAG rifles chambered in 17 Win Super Mag.
New 3000 FPS Rimfire Round
Winchester has announced a new, high-velocity 17-caliber rimfire cartridge, the .17 Winchester Super Magnum (aka .17 Win Super Mag). The .17 Win Super Mag will initially be offered in three bullet types: 20gr plastic tip (Varmint HV), 25gr plastic tip (Varmint HE), and a 20gr JHP (Super-X). The 20-grain varieties boast a 3000 FPS muzzle velocity, earning honors as the fastest Rimfire ammo ever made.
|.17 Winchester Super Mag Specifications||Symbol||Sub Brand||Bullet Weight||Muzzle Velocity|
|S17W20||Varmint HV||20-gr Plastic Tip||3,000 fps|
|S17W25||Varmint HE||25-gr Plastic Tip||2,600 fps|
|X17W20||Super-X||20-gr JHP||3,000 fps|
Winchester claims that all .17 Win Super Mag ammo types shoot much flatter than the .22 Win Mag and .17 HMR, while delivering more than 150 percent more energy than both. In addition, the .17 Win Super Mag “bucks the wind” better than any other rimfire ammo — exhibiting significant less horizontal drift at extended ranges. The ammunition should be available at Winchester dealers by April 2013.
Savage Will Release a .17 Win Super Mag Rifle
According to Outdoor Life’s John Snow, Savage will be the first gun-maker to produce rifles chambered in .17 Win Super Mag. Snow says Savage “hopes to have rifles shipping by mid-April”. Winchester states that, later in 2013, two other manufacturers will introduce .17 Win Super Mag rifles.
Ron Spooner writes: “For perspective, contrast the 17 Win Super Mag (no relation to the WSM centerfire cartridges) against the former rimfire velocity champ, the popular .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire. While the 17 HMR shoots delightfully flat, the 17 Win Super Mag shoots two times flatter and drifts only half as far in the wind. Its 20-grain bullets retain more than twice as much downrange energy, and its 25-grain projectiles nearly triple the energy of the 17-grain V-Max in the HMR load”. Read Ron Spooner Review.
Watch Video Trailer for .17 Win Super Mag Rimfire Ammo
The .17 Win Super Mag offers higher velocities and more downrange energy than ever before. “Our engineers have been developing the top-secret .17 Win Super Mag [cartridge] for more than three years,” said Brett Flaugher, Winchester Ammunition vice president of sales, marketing and strategy. “At 3,000 feet per second it’s the fastest modern rimfire cartridge on the planet. The downrange energy deposited by the .17 Win Super Mag will be a game-changer for varmint and predator hunters everywhere. Now hunters will get the downrange performance of a centerfire cartridge at the more affordable price point of traditional rimfire ammunition. It’s the best of both worlds[.]”
Spawn of a .27-Caliber Nail-Gun
Believe it or not, Winchester’s new .17 Win Super Mag evolved from a “parent case” originally developed for .27-caliber powder-actuated concrete nail guns. Winchester has produced millions of nail gun blanks in .22, .25, and .27 calibers. This new .17 Win Super Mag is derived from Winchester’s .27-cal nail gun blank, necked down to .17-caliber and strengthened with a thicker head and stronger case-walls. With case-walls that are 50% thicker than those on 17 HMR cartridges, the .17 Win Super Mag can operate at 33,000 psi. By contrast, the 17 HMR maxes out at 26,000 psi.
Comment: Will the .17 Win Super Mag Rimfire Round Be a Hit or a Miss?
Initial tests of the .17 Win Super Mag show good ballistic performance compared to the 17 HMR. On the other hand, early accuracy reports have been mediocre, but keep in mind that the gun magazine tests were performed with prototype rifles, on make-shift, wobbly rests (that’s typical). It will be interesting to see how the round can really perform in a good barrel when shot from a stable rest by a skilled trigger-puller.
Economics may dictate whether the .17 Win Super Mag catches on. We’re told this new cartridge will sell for $17.99 per 50-round box. That works out to $0.36 per round, making it about 40-50% more costly than the popular 17 HMR which now sells for $11.50 to $14.00 per 50-round box. At $0.36 per round, the .17 Win Super Mag may exceed the cost of 17-cal centerfire reloads, but then you have the convenience of pre-made ammo. We think that, if the cartridge proves accurate, varmint hunters will pay the extra money (over the 17 HMR) for the added performance, which is pretty significant at 150 yards and beyond. For a squirrel shooter or prairie dog hunter, the .17 Win Super Mag is still much less expensive than the cheapest US-made .223 Rem ammo, which sold for about $10 – $12 per 20-round box (i.e. $0.50 – $0.60 per round) before the current buying frenzy.