View Full Version : Hornady 17HMR NTX (Lead-Free) Hunt Report

Eric Mayer
01-30-2011, 5:22 PM
Okay, we went yesterday and I got a chance to shoot the Hornady 17HMR NTX ammunition again. Unfortunately, the weather was still on the cool side so ground squirrels were not up. However, we were there to remove ground squirrels, rabbits and any predator varmints that cause damage to the trees or the irrigation system.

We were surveying a new property that we received permission to hunt an hour earlier. As we drove along the top edge of the property, we came across a small dirt ditch or catch basin. Along the edge were piles of discarded tree stakes that was a perfect place for ground squirrels and rabbits. For those who don't know, rabbits can be as devastating as ground squirrels to orchards. They eat the bark off the bottom of trees, killing them. This can add up fast and newly planted trees are especially susceptible.

After I got my Ruger 77/17 in 17HMR loaded, I grabbed my bi-pod and crawled to the top of the catch basin. When I got to the top, my buddy Tom shot at a ground squirrel that was directly across from us. I heard the sound of the hit; when I spotted a cottontail rabbit sitting perfectly still over by the huge pile of tree stakes. I adjusted my bi-pod to make the shot. I first aimed at the head, trying to put it down with no damage to the body. Unfortunately, my bullet missed by just a bit and the shot hit high. The rabbit adjusted so that he was facing slightly away from me and up on its haunches. I steadied my rifle and dropped the cross-hairs down to the shoulder area. I held the bi-pod with my left hand, wrapping my index finger over the top of the rifle barrel, as I squeezed the trigger. When the trigger released, the "pop" of the hit was immediately heard and I watched the rabbit drop. Good hit!


The rabbit was shot at about 75 yards while facing slightly away from me. The The Hornady 15.5 grain bullet entered the right shoulder hitting and exited from the left back area, immediately killing the rabbit. As you can see, the bullet exit hole was quite large and showed alot of damage. When we first approached the rabbit, I thought that the face of the rabbit was blown off by the exiting bullet, but after further investigation, we found that the shock-wave had blown blood and lung matter out the mouth and nose of the rabbit. The eyes were completely intact, so the pressure was relieved by the exit wound, mouth and nose**.

***Warning - Graphics Pictures are Linked Below***

Exit Hole on Cottontail Rabbit - #1 (http://www.varminter.com/forums/index.php?app=core&module=attach&section=attach&attach_rel_module=post&attach_id=7594)
Exit Hole on Cottontail Rabbit - #2 (http://www.varminter.com/forums/index.php?app=core&module=attach&section=attach&attach_rel_module=post&attach_id=7595)

Entrance aimpoint, with rabbit facing away (sample picture):

I will follow this post up with updates as spring arrives and varmint opportunities rise!

**I am a firm believer in "hydrostatic shock" (simply put, when small animals get hit with light bullets going very fast, there is a pressure wave from these bullets that push out from the hit causing extreme damage. I know there are different schools of thought on this, but after seeing numerous ground squirrels, rabbit, rock chuck, etc, lifted into the air and blown into pieces, I feel it is real.

Eric A. Mayer :cool:

01-31-2011, 7:30 AM
Great job and report.

01-31-2011, 6:30 PM
thats a mean little round, looks like fun

01-31-2011, 6:44 PM
is 17 HMR OK for coyotes?

01-31-2011, 8:32 PM
is 17 HMR OK for coyotes?

sure is, just know your limits with the round and dont push it out too far i would say no more then 150yards and even less in your shooting a nonleaded round.

02-01-2011, 4:43 AM
IMO you can't judge damage when the round hits bone, the bone may have initialiy caused the reaction that resulted in most of that damage.

I've taken dozens of critters with the 17 hmr and it beats 22 short, long, and stinger, etc. It does do a job on coyotes when you hit them in the head, boiler room, front neck, and chest, but they run if you make a miss placed shot.

That bobcat's spine was severed with a .17 hmr Remington Premire round factoy, and the coyote went down with a boiler room hit from a .17 hmr CCI TNT factory round.

The bobcat was taken at 85 yards and dropped on the spot, and the coyote at 75 yards and it ran about 90 yards.

If you're not the kind or hunter that passes up shots to wait for the perfect shot, don't shoot coyotes with a .17 hmr becaue most of them will run off.

02-01-2011, 5:46 AM
I don't hunt in the Condor zone. IMO the lead CCI TNT factory loaded .17 hmr ammo is the best for small game as long as the shot is placed correctly, if not placed correctly everything turns into a mess. The jack in the photo was hit in the shoulder impacting bones that caused much more damage, but the round did not exit so all the energy was transferred to the food, the cottontail was hit on the side of the head/face, no exit either.

02-01-2011, 7:56 AM
sure is, just know your limits with the round and dont push it out too far i would say no more then 150yards and even less in your shooting a nonleaded round.

Just remember it is not legal in LA county.

Foriegn power
02-01-2011, 8:17 AM
I thought shotguns were the only form and manner of taking rabbits?

02-01-2011, 8:22 AM
shotguns, rimfire and archery.

02-01-2011, 9:40 AM
I thought shotguns were the only form and manner of taking rabbits?

Hi drider, it depends on where you are, below is the quote form the small game section of the CDFG Handbook. See the area that I coded in bold (firearm rifle), no hunting small game with rifles in Los Angeles.

311. Methods Authorized for Taking Resident Small Game.

Only the following may be used to take resident small game:

(a) Shotguns 10 gauge or smaller using shot shells only and incapable of holding more than three shells in the magazine and chamber combined. If a plug is used to reduce the capacity of a magazine to fulfill the requirements of this section, the plug must be of one piece construction incapable of removal without disassembling the gun;

(b) Shotgun shells may not be used or possessed that contain shot size larger than No. BB, except that shot size larger than No. 2 may not be used or possessed when taking wild turkey. All shot shall be loose in the shell.

(c) Muzzle-loading shotguns;

(d) Falconry;

(e) Bow and arrow (see Section 354 for archery equipment regulations);

(f) Air rifles firing pellets and powered by compressed air or gas (0.20 caliber minimum for taking wild turkey); and firearm rifles and pistols for taking rabbits and squirrels, except in Los Angeles County, in addition to the methods listed in (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e) above;

(g) In San Diego and Orange counties only, rabbits may be taken at any time during the open season by means of box traps. Such traps shall not exceed 24 inches in any dimension, shall be tended at least once every 24 hours, and shall show the name and address of the trap owner. All rabbits taken under this section shall be immediately killed and become a part of the daily bag limit;

(h) Electronic or mechanically-operated calling or sound-reproducing devices are prohibited when attempting to take resident game birds;

(i) Coursing dogs may be used to take rabbits;

(j) Archers hunting during any archery season may not possess a firearm while in the field engaged in archery hunting during an archery season;

(k) The use of live decoys is prohibited when attempting to take resident game birds;

(l) Pistols and revolvers may be used to take sooty and ruffed grouse in those counties only and for the season described in Section 300(a)(1)(E).

(m) Crossbows, except for provisions of Section 354(d) and (g).

(n) Dogs may be used to take and retrieve resident small game.