Savage’s new semi-auto rifle popular

Smooth action, accuracy in Savage's new semi-auto rifle

When the 17HMR (Hornady Magnum Rifle) rimfire cartridge was first introduced in 2002, it challenged the two other popular rimfire cartridges: the .22 and the .22 magnum.

Hornady, with some help from Marlin and Ruger firearms, wanted to come up with the highest-velocity rimfire cartridge that would exceed the .22 magnum about 100 feet per second faster.

I know that I shot my first .17 HMR bolt-action rifle at the Savage Arms booth at the Shot Show when they introduced their.17HMR. Three months later, I added a Bushnell Elite scope and tested it on a Texas Rio Grande wild turkey. One shot at 70 yards, and I had a mature gobbler. It was my first turkey with a rifle.

The .17 HMR continues to be a very popular cartridge, but for some time it has been lacking one thing — a workable semi-automatic rifle. Several firearm companies have introduced one, but problems with the gun and recalls led to discontinuing them.

There are, however, several firearms manufacturers who have reliable semi-auto .17 HMRs, but their retail costs are well over $1,000, which is not what most are willing to pay for a rimfire rifle. I believe Savage Arms now has one that is considerably more economical.


It was at this year’s Shot Show that I again visited the Savage Arms booth on Media Day at the range and found something very new, the A17 (HMR) semi-auto rifle.

Three 10 shot clips later, I knew they had a winner.

I was very impressed, not only with its smooth action, but also its accuracy at various distances. In the 30 minutes I spent in line watching other media members shoot, I never saw any problems with the A17’s functioning.

At a media meeting several days later, Bill Dermody, Savage’s director of marketing, said they had designed a unique delayed-blowback system that properly controls and uses the pressures and bolt velocity generated by the .17 HMR round.

The A17 features include chromed action’s components (bolt and case hardened receiver) to aid cleaning and cycling. One of my favorite features with Savage rifles is their adjustable Accu-Trigger that lets you adjust the trigger pull-weight down to two pounds.

Also adding to this rifle’s accuracy is a 22-inch button rifled barrel. This rifling process has been used by Savage for some time, and it has been proven to add to the gun’s accuracy.

Some of the other features include a smart-looking polymer black stock with a ribbed surface that gives the shooter a good firm grip, as does the textured forend. It also has a flush-fitting rotary magazine.

Savage has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the A17 at $469, but you will probably be able to get one under $400.

The best way to put this package together is to add a Bushnell Banner 3.5-10×36 scope, which is designed specifically for rimfire rifles. This scope has dusk-to-dawn brightness coating (look out coyotes) and adjustable parallax.

For the best magnum performance of the A17, there is the new CCI A17 Varmint Tip bullets, which were designed for the A17 HMR. It is 100 feet per second faster than other 17 HMR loads with the same bullet weight. It also delivers an explosive expansion and quick, clean kills. It comes in a 200-round pack.

Why the Bushnell and CCI ammo? These two companies are a part of the ATK conglomerate, and so is Savage Arms.

The Savage A17 should be shipping to dealers shortly, and there is a good chance that I might have a follow-up to this story about a Pennsylvania fall turkey hunt, as well as some woodchucks and small-game hunts in New York state with a Savage A17.

Categories: -Sports-

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