Exploring the Power and Precision of the 17 Hornet: A Small Caliber with Big Impact


In the world of firearms and ammunition, the 17 Hornet stands out as a small caliber cartridge with remarkable precision and power. Developed as an alternative to the .22 Hornet, this nimble round has gained popularity among varmint hunters and precision shooters alike.

In this article, we will delve into the characteristics, history, and applications of the 17 Hornet, exploring why it has become a favorite among firearm enthusiasts.

Origins and Development

The .17 Hornet traces its roots back to the early 20th century when wildcatters experimented with necking down existing cartridges to create smaller, faster projectiles. The .22 Hornet served as the foundation for the .17 Hornet, which was officially standardized by Hornady in 201 The goal was to produce a flat-shooting, high-velocity round with minimal recoil.

 Ballistics and Performance

One of the standout features of the .17 Hornet is its exceptional ballistics. The cartridge fires a .17 caliber projectile at high velocities, resulting in a flat trajectory and minimal wind drift. With a muzzle velocity often exceeding 3,600 feet per second, the .17 Hornet offers remarkable speed and energy retention over longer distances.

 Varmint Hunting Excellence

The .17 Hornet has gained widespread acclaim in the varmint hunting community. Its flat trajectory and exceptional accuracy make it an ideal choice for taking down small to medium-sized game such as prairie dogs, ground squirrels, and coyotes. The minimal recoil allows for rapid follow-up shots, making it an efficient tool for controlling pest populations.

 Precision Shooting and Target Practice

Beyond hunting, the .17 Hornet has found favor among precision shooters engaged in target practice and competition. The small caliber, combined with the high velocity, results in tight groupings and consistent accuracy. This makes the .17 Hornet an excellent choice for those looking to hone their marksmanship skills at the range.

 Firearm Platforms

Several firearm manufacturers have embraced the .17 Hornet, offering rifles specifically chambered for this cartridge. Notable models include the Ruger American Rifle, CZ 527, and Savage Model 2 These rifles are often praised for their reliability, accuracy, and overall performance with the .17 Hornet.

 Ammunition Choices

A variety of ammunition options are available for the .17 Hornet, catering to different preferences and applications. Popular bullet types include V-MAX and NTX, known for their explosive expansion and effectiveness on varmints. Reloaders also appreciate the versatility of the .17 Hornet, allowing them to tailor their loads for specific needs.

 Considerations and Limitations

While the .17 Hornet has many advantages, it’s essential to consider its limitations. The small caliber may result in less energy transfer on larger game, making it less suitable for certain hunting scenarios. Additionally, the lightweight projectiles are more susceptible to wind drift, requiring shooters to be mindful of environmental conditions.


In the realm of small caliber cartridges, the .17 Hornet stands tall as a versatile and potent option. Whether you’re a varmint hunter looking for precision or a target shooter seeking a flat-shooting round, the .17 Hornet delivers a compelling combination of speed, accuracy, and efficiency. As firearm technology continues to advance, it’s clear that the .17 Hornet has secured its place as a valuable and respected member of the ammunition family.