Obscure Wildcat Cartridge – the .17 Pee Wee

Q: I recently bought a bolt-action rifle chambered for a wildcat cartridge called the .17 Pee Wee which came with a 4-die set and I’d like to reload for it, but cannot find any loading data anywhere. Can you tell me which powders are suitable and suggest some starting loads with 20gn and 25gn bullets?


Brian Godsell

A: The 17 Ackley Bee, originally called the .17 Pee Wee, was introduced about 1945 and may have been the first .17 calibre wildcat. But the Pee Wee was later made on the .30 Carbine case. As you may already have discovered, forming cases for the .17 Pee Wee from .30 Carbine brass is a real chore. It requires a special die set (you got four dies with the rifle) and hours and hours of labour. You’ll probably have to neck down the .30 Carbine case in three steps. It’s sure a lot of work forming the cases. The .17 Pee Wee has a velocity range pretty much like the .17 Hornet and the .17 Bee.

Luckily there are three powders which are available for loading the .17 Pee Wee which aren’t included in Ackley’s Handbook – AR2219, AR2207 and Reloder-7. Now, I must stress that the following loads were developed in a particular rifle and I assume no responsibility for their use in other rifles as this is a real wild and woolly wildcat, and there could be variations in chambers and throats. Use them as guidelines only when working up loads for your own rifle.

Starting loads:

  • Hornady 20gn V-Max 12gn AR2207 3100fps; likely maximum about 13gn for 3600fps.
  • Hornady 25gn V-Max 13gn AR2219 3050fps; maximum unknown, but likely to be about 14 grains.
  • Hornady 25gn V-Max 13gn Re-7 3335fps up to a maximum 13.5gn for 3500fps. The 13gn charge of Re-7 is claimed to be very accurate and this powder may be your best bet.

I suggest working up in increments of no more than .2 of a grain. Sorry I cannot be of more help, but this is really a very obscure wildcat. No one has ever asked me about it before.




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Nick Harvey

The late Nick Harvey (1931-2024) was one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He wrote about firearms and hunting for about 70 years, published many books and uncounted articles, and travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject was unmatched. He was Sporting Shooter's Technical Editor for almost 50 years. His work lives on here as part of his legacy to us all.