17 HMR Ballistics

17 HMR Ballistics

This is a discussion on 17 HMR Ballistics within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; This video makes me wonder if this round would actually be effective for self defense. A small round going really fast would cause the bullet ...

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Thread: 17 HMR Ballistics

  1. #1
    New Member Array CG1997's Avatar
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    17 HMR Ballistics



    This video makes me wonder if this round would actually be effective for self defense. A small round going really fast would cause the bullet in the person hit to either fragment or tumble inside his body, causing a lot of damage to vitals. What's your take on how effective this round would be for self defense, with rifles and with handguns/revolvers?


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    New Member Array CG1997's Avatar
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    Also forgot to mention: if you hit your target, there is a very little chance of causing overpenetration compared to popular centerfire rounds

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    VIP Member Array PAcanis's Avatar
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    I'll just say that out of a rifle at 100 yds or less, that I find the 17HMR to be much more effective on woodchucks than the heavier bullet of a 22 magnum given the same shot placement. I'll let the experts get into bullet weight, energy, penetration and all that.
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    Member Array sovereignaxe's Avatar
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    I know nothing about the characteristics of the .17 HMR load, so I'll ask those with more experience than I:

    Would .17 maintain its performance out of a 5" or less barrel? I assume, since it's a rifle caliber, that all of the powders for it are designed to have enough time to ignite in 18" barrels or longer. I would imagine any current loading would have tons of unburned powder coming out of such a short barrel. Sure, there are quicker burning powders to fix this, but can the .17 HMR case take that kind of impulse?

    Also, I don't see .17 achieving what 5.7 and 4.6 mm already do. Those rounds were designed to be fired from both rifle and pistol barrels, so they work excellently in each. Not to mention they have slightly larger diameters. They're also centerfire instead of rimfire.

    The only edge I can see .17 HMR having over anything else is mag capacity. And if that's what you're after get a Kel Tec PMR-30. It shoots .22 Magnum, which is the parent case for .17 HMR, and has more muzzle energy and holds a very comfortable 30 rounds.

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    Distinguished Member Array 5lima30ret's Avatar
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    I'm a big fan of the .17HMR for hunting critters up to about 45 lbs. I can personally attest that it hits our fairly large groundhogs like a lightning bolt! Every one I have shot with it was a one shot drop. OTOH, I have shot ones with 3" .410 and (6) .22 mini-mags and still scamper back in their hole. The beauty of the .17HMR is it's accuracy and range. It has more ft lbs energy at 175 yds than a .22lr does at 25yds. Good luck!
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    Distinguished Member Array Nmuskier's Avatar
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    I would use this with confidence to defend my family against a pack of rabid woodchuck. There is a reason that hunters begin shying away from this round at coyote size animals. You definitely need to start picking your shots.

    CG, you linked your own evidence. Under 6" of penetration. That's 1.5-2" more than the bb calibration. Personally, I'd like my ammo to to out perform a bb by a little more than that. No, 17HMR does not have the mass to reliably penetrate enough, or cause enough tissue disruption to be an effective fight stopper.

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    Distinguished Member Array dangerranger's Avatar
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    This is what a 17HR will do to a ballistic panel. The lead ball at the bottom is a 45 cal 230 lead bullet that was stopped by the panel. the dot or pinhole at the point of the knife is the 17 cal hole.



    This is the exit hole the 17 made notice the lack of 45 holes!



    the 45 was at about 900fps, the 17 at 2700fps! DR

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    Senior Member Array SigIsTheAnswer's Avatar
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    Go with 5.7X28
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    Distinguished Member Array Nmuskier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dangerranger View Post
    This is what a 17HR will do to a ballistic panel. The lead ball at the bottom is a 45 cal 230 lead bullet that was stopped by the panel. the dot or pinhole at the point of the knife is the 17 cal hole.

    the 45 was at about 900fps, the 17 at 2700fps! DR
    I like pictures, but what is your conclusion?

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    Senior Member Array TxTchRR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nmuskier View Post
    I like pictures, but what is your conclusion?
    That if I ever run into a ballistic panel wearing bad guy while plinking varmints, I'll be good to go.
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    Member Array Rattlehead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nmuskier View Post
    I like pictures, but what is your conclusion?
    That this is the go-to round for armored woodchucks?
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    Distinguished Member Array dangerranger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nmuskier View Post
    I like pictures, but what is your conclusion?
    I did not think it would penetrate, But if I made any conclusion to this as far as SD goes its still going to come down to shot placement. I've shot a lot of squirrels and a few coyotes with the 17hmr. If I shot a BG and hit vital organs Id expect them [the organ ] to blow up like a squirrel But if I hit large bone Id expect them to stop the bullet. I have examined a few coyotes that were shot with the 17HR and a boiler room shot makes a mess of their insides. I have yet to recover an intact bullet. Id guess that to be that really violent expansion in the video. DR

  13. #13
    Distinguished Member Array Nmuskier's Avatar
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    The folding knife I the photo will also penetrate the vest. I would guess a .45 JHP would cause much more tissue disruption than a small pocket knife. It is about how that disruption comes to be. A .17HMR applies all of its energy very quickly at a fine point. Kevlar doesn't react well to this. Elastic tissue (muscle, fat...) will quickly dissipate the energy. The resulting wound may be violent, but shallow. A .45ACP dumps its energy over a much broader and longer wound channel. Kevlar fibers distribute this load well. Elastic tissue only stretch so far, and the .45 slug keeps traveling.

    Conclusion- .17HMR dumps lots of energy, but barely penetrates deeper than a bb. .45 ACP dumps lots of energy through the target.

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    Go shoot a coyote with a 17 HMR in the ribcage/heart lung area and see how effective it is.........they generally run off and die 5-10 minutes later. It will not penetrate further than into 1 lung IF it doesn't hit a rib. If it hits a rib, it MAY penetrate into the lung.

    Stick to shooting chucks with the 17 HMR.
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    Its great small game bullet, out of a bolt action I don't believe there is enough there for a reliable semi auto. It travels flat and easy to use in hunting because it is so easy to zero your scope at 100yards, you don't have to hold off much for shorter or further shots.
    Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.
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