The .17 Hornet is no slouch!

Q: I have been offered a CZ 527 in .17 Hornet for a good price and am tempted to buy it. What is your opinion of the .17 Hornet as a varmint cartridge?

What weight bullet would you load for all-round use on predators up to the size of wild dogs? Could you suggest a couple of good loads?

Anthony Pierce

A: The .17 Hornet does a great job of bridging the gap between the rimfires and the .222 and .223 Remington, not to mention larger varmint cartridges. It is mild mannered and has modest muzzle report and no noticeable recoil, but it is also accurate, shoots flat and, on a day when there’s no zephyr at play, is a genuine 300-yard varmint round.

Hornady brought out the .17 Hornet in 2012 with a factory load pushing a 20gn V-Max bullet at 3650fps, which actually provides a flatter trajectory than the 55gn .223 load. From a 200yd zero, this Hornady .17 Hornet load drops about 6½” at 300yds and 21” at 400.

Other loads include a 25gn bullet at 3375fps, which is better for larger varmints such as foxes and wild dogs.

The .17 Hornet is based on the .22 Hornet case shortened from 1.403” to 1.350” with the shoulder blown out to 25 degrees and necked down to accept .172” bullets. A good load for distant rabbits is the 20gn Nosler Shot and 12.5gn of RE-7 for 3605fps. For larger predators, the 25gn V-Max and 11gn of AR2205 gets 3300fps and duplicates the factory load.

I am sure you would greatly enjoy using the .17 Hornet. It is cheap to reload too, yielding about 600 loads per canister of powder.




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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.