Since the introduction of Hornady’s new
.17 caliber rimfire cartridge several months ago, the little
hotshot has really caught on with shooters and varmint hunters.
Besides Hornady, other ammo makers have now jumped aboard, and
several companies are now making rifles chambered for the little
seventeen. Gunblast has been a proponent of the seventeen
since its introduction. It has proven to be an accurate and
flat-shooting cartridge, and works extremely well within its
intended purpose. The nay-sayers who predicted that it
would not catch on are now eating the crow upon which the .17
HMR is so effective. The little .17 is here to stay.
For the past couple of months, I have been
shooting a new .17 HMR rifle from Savage Arms. Savage has
committed its resources heavily to the new cartridge, offering
nine different models from which to choose. The one sent to me
for testing is the 93R17-FVSS, which is Savage-speak for
a heavy barreled, stainless .17 with a synthetic stock.
Upon unpacking the rifle, it was readily
apparent that Savage knows the purpose for which the
little .17 HMR is intended. The FVSS wears a heavy barrel void
of open sights, and is equipped with real scope mount bases.
Most rimfire rifles are merely grooved for lightweight tip-off
rings, but Savage thoughtfully provides the FVSS with
pre-mounted Weaver style scope bases, which are much better for
mounting a full size scope sight. It would be great if every gun
manufacturer would follow suit and do the same.
The twenty-one inch barrel measures .798 inch
diameter at the muzzle, has a recessed target crown, and is
rifled one turn in nine inches. The button-rifled stainless
barrel is free-floated into the black synthetic stock, and the
gun has an overall length of thirty-nine and one-half inches.
Weight is right at six pounds.
The Savage .17 has a five round magazine made of
steel, which easily detaches for loading. The trigger pull on
the FVSS measures between 3.37 and 3.86 pounds, with just a bit
of travel before the sear is released. The manual safety is on
the right side, just aft of the bolt handle, and is easily
reached by the thumb of a right-handed shooter.
For accuracy testing, I mounted a Bausch
& Lomb 6 to 24 power target scope. The range temperature
averaged 71 degrees, with a gusty wind of between fifteen and
twenty-five miles per hour. The wind really played havoc with
the group sizes, opening some groups up to slightly over an
inch. Most groups were between five-eighths and seven-eighths of
an inch, and I gave up shooting for groups after a couple of
hours. The FVSS functioned perfectly with the Hornady ammo,
which was the only ammo available to me at the time. A few days
later, I caught a calm windless morning and tried again to shoot
the Savage for accuracy. This time, the little gun turned in a
very good performance. Less than one-inch groups at 110 yards is
good accuracy, but I thought that the Savage could do better,
and the second range session proved that to be the case. With no
wind blowing, the FVSS averaged under one-half of an inch at 110
yards, with most groups holding around four-tenths of an inch,
when I did my part.
The 93R17-FVSS has a suggested retail price of
only $261, but in the real world sells for even less. This
is a real bargain for a new .17 HMR with the features and
accuracy of this rifle. Check out Savage’s entire line of
rifles and handguns online at: www.savagearms.com.
Savage makes some of the most accurate and
dependable rifles in the world, and the 93R17-FVSS is another
feather in their cap.
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