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  • Post last modified:April 9, 2023

In this article, we will compare and contrast the 17 HMR and 22 LR calibers, exploring their individual strengths and nuances.

The 17 HMR is known for its flat trajectory and exceptional accuracy at longer distances, making it an excellent choice for varmint hunting and precision shooting scenarios.

On the other hand, the 22 LR is a versatile caliber that excels in both short to medium range shooting and plinking applications, making it a popular choice for target shooting and small game hunting.

17 HMR VS 22 LR - Key Differences

17 hmr vs 22 lr

The 22 LR has a long history dating back to the late 19th century and has been widely popular for training and hunting purposes. The 17 HMR, on the other hand, is a relatively recent development introduced in the early 2000s, offering a high-velocity.

None of these cartridges are reloadable. They are factory rimfire. 

Bullet Diameter: The 17 HMR fires a 0.172" diameter bullet, while the 22 LR fires a larger 0.2255" diameter bullet.

Bullet Weight: The 17 HMR typically fires lighter bullets (17 or 20 grains), whereas the 22 LR fires heavier bullets (20 to 60 grains), with the 40-grain bullet being most common.

Case Length: The 17 HMR has a longer case length (1.058") compared to the 22 LR (0.613"), resulting in a larger case capacity and higher muzzle velocity for the 17 HMR.

Max Pressure: The 17 HMR can handle higher pressures (26,000 psi) than the 22 LR (24,000 psi).

Recoil: Both cartridges have low felt recoil, but the 22 LR has slightly less recoil than the 17 HMR. However, the difference is so small that most shooters won't notice it.

Muzzle Velocity and Kinetic Energy: The 17 HMR has a significantly higher muzzle velocity (2,550 fps) and muzzle energy (245 ft-lbs) than the 22 LR (1,070 fps and 100 ft-lbs, respectively).

Trajectory: The 17 HMR has a flatter trajectory, making it better suited for long-range shooting and more forgiving of ranging errors. It remains supersonic up to 250 yards, compared to the 22 LR, which remains supersonic up to 100 yards.

Brief History

22 LR CCI mini mag

22 Long Rifle (22 LR)

  • Developed in 1887, the 22 LR is derived from the .22 Long and the .22 Extra Long cartridges.
  • In the Late 1950s, The 22 LR gains popularity, alongside the 22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire (22 WMR or 22 Mag), as one of the most widely used rimfire cartridges in the world.
  • The 22 LR has been used for generations for training new shooters and hunting small game and varmints, such as coyotes and groundhogs.
cci 17 hmr

17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire (17 HMR)

  • The 17 HMR is developed by necking down a 22 WMR case to accept a smaller .17-caliber bullet, resulting in a faster, flatter-shooting cartridge.
  • Around 2002: Hornady introduces the 17 HMR, changing the rimfire landscape and offering a high-velocity alternative to the existing rimfire cartridges.
  • Upon its introduction, the 17 HMR quickly gains popularity among varmint hunters due to its higher muzzle velocities and longer effective range compared to the 22 LR.

17 HMR vs 22 LR Dimensions


17 HMR

22 LR

Bullet Diameter



Neck Diameter



Base Diameter



Case Length



Overall Length



Standard Bullet Weight

20 gr

20 - 40 gr

These two cartridges are very different in profile.

17 HMR VS 22 LR - Hunting Applications 

The 17 HMR's high velocity and lighter bullets tend to break apart dramatically on impact. Picture it as an explosive superhero power: fantastic for causing lots of damage, but not great if you want to keep the meat or hide of the animal. If you're looking to preserve anything, the 22 LR is a better choice for small game hunting.

varmint hunting

As we move on to bigger game or longer distances, the 17 HMR begins to shine like a star athlete. When it comes to prairie dogs, distant groundhogs, or woodchucks, the 200+ yard effective range and flat trajectory of the 17 HMR give hunters more reach than they can ever achieve with a 22 LR.

For large game, we have to look at centerfire ammo like 5.56, 308, 6.5, 7mm and others.

17 HMR VS 22 LR For Personal Defense

Both 17 HMR and 22 LR rounds can effectively stop a threat if the shots are accurately placed on vital organs.

When evaluating the 17 HMR and 22 LR rounds for personal protection, we need to consider muzzle velocity and energy. 

17 HMR was designed to be fast. Its lightweight 17-grain bullets zip out of the muzzle at a whopping 2,550 fps, compared to just 1,070 fps for the CCI standard velocity 22 LR.

As for muzzle energy, the 17 HMR continues to dominate with 245 foot-pounds of stopping power, while the 22 LR falls behind with just 100 foot-pounds.

17 HMR VS 22 LR Ballistics

22 LR 

Bullet Weight
Muzzle Velocity
50 YD Bullet Drop
100 YD Bullet Drop
150 YD Bullet Drop
200 YD Bullet Drop
CCI Stinger CPHP
Copper-Plated HP
32 gr
1511 fps
Remington Viper CPTC
Copper-Plated TC
36 gr
1350 fps
Eley Subsonic HP
Subsonic Hollow Point
38 gr
1040 fps
CCI 22-Clean Subsonic
Clean Subsonic
40 gr
1052 fps
Copper-Plated RN
40 gr
1250 fps
Winchester Wildcat CPHP
Copper-Plated HP
40 gr
1341 fps

17 HMR

CaliberLoadBullet WeightMuzzle Velocity50 YD Bullet Drop100 YD Bullet Drop150 YD Bullet Drop200 YD Bullet Drop
Hornady V-MAXPolymer Tip17 gr2550 fps0"-1.6"-6.7"-18.0"
CCI GamepointSoft Point20 gr2375 fps0"-1.8"-7.6"-20.3"
CCI TNT GreenLead-Free HP16 gr2500 fps0"-1.6"-6.8"-18.5"
Winchester Varmint HVPolymer Tip17 gr2550 fps0"-1.6"-6.7"-18.0"
Federal V-ShokSpeer TNT HP17 gr2530 fps0"-1.6"-6.7"-18.1"
CCI 17 HMR FMJFull Metal Jacket20 gr2375 fps0"-1.8"-7.6"-20.3"

Trajectory Performance

While the fastest 22 LR loads can only maintain supersonic speeds up to about 100 yards. The 17 HMR is undoubtedly superior in terms of trajectory.

The 17 HMR was specifically designed for high-velocity, long-range target shooting and varmint hunting, giving it a flatter trajectory than the 22 LR.

The 17 HMR's high muzzle velocity keeps it supersonic up to almost 250 yards, while the fastest 22 LR loads can only maintain supersonic speeds up to about 100 yards. The 17 HMR is undoubtedly superior in terms of trajectory, but it's also more expensive than the 22 LR, making it less ideal for casual plinking.


With rimfire cartridges like the 22 LR and 17 HMR, you can't reload them, so you have to rely on factory-made ammo. While the 22 LR's accuracy can vary between different brands and batches, the 17 HMR tends to be more accurate at 150 - 200 yards, even with less expensive rifles.

The 22 LR is among the most extensively manufactured cartridges globally, leading to variations in accuracy across different batches and producers. Nevertheless, when utilizing match-grade ammunition in tandem with a finely calibrated match-grade bolt-action rifle, the 22 LR is capable of achieving remarkable 1 MOA level precision.

Several rifles are well-suited for shooting 22 LR and 17 HMR cartridges accurately up to 100 meters. For the 22 LR, consider the Ruger 10/22, CZ 455, and Savage Mark II.

For the 17 HMR, the Savage A17, Ruger American Rimfire, and Marlin 917V are great options.

17 HMR vs 22 LR - Ballistic Coefficient

Ballistic coefficient (BC) represents the bullet's aerodynamics with a numerical value. For long-range shooting, a high BC is desirable as it allows the bullet to better counteract wind.

The 22 LR's heavier bullet weight gives it a slight advantage over the 17 HMR, with an average BC of around 0.13 compared to the 17 HMR's 0.11.

However, this doesn't mean the 22 LR is more effective at resisting wind drift. In fact, its low muzzle velocity makes it more vulnerable to wind than the 17 HMR.

With a 10-mph crosswind, the 22 LR will have drifted about 12 inches at 150 yards, while the 17 HMR will have drifted only 8 inches. The 17 HMR's high velocity ensures that its bullet reaches the target more quickly, giving the wind less time to alter its flight path.

Here are some good 22LR worth mentioning:

CCI MiniMag 36gr CPHP - Chosen for its consistent reliability, Copper Plated Hollow Point design suitable for hunting, and being manufactured by a reputable rimfire company. CCI MiniMags provide high-quality performance and ensure uninterrupted shooting sessions.

Remington Thunderbolt 40gr LRN - Selected for its affordability, bulk packaging, and suitability for small game hunting like squirrels or rabbits. Remington Thunderbolts offer the best value for those seeking 22LR bulk ammo.

Eley Target 40gr LRN - Chosen for its consistent performance, superior accuracy compared to bulk ammo, and being produced by a reputable company known for competition-grade rimfire ammo. Eley Target is the top choice when accuracy matters the most.

Winchester Super X 40gr CPHP - Selected for its reliability, hollow point design for effective bullet expansion, and consistent performance on small game hunting. Winchester Super X has been a favorite among hunters for decades, proving itself time and time again.

Federal AutoMatch 40gr LRN - Chosen for its availability in bulk, design for reliable semi-automatic fire, and being manufactured by a reputable company. Federal AutoMatch is perfect for shooters who want consistent semi-auto performance at a low, bulk 22LR ammo price point.

American Eagle Suppressor 45gr CPRN - Selected for its effectiveness when used with a suppressor, round nose bullet design for consistent magazine feeding, and being produced by Federal Ammunition. American Eagle Suppressor ammo ensures a clean powder burn while maintaining subsonic velocities.

Here are some 17 HMR worth mentioning:

Hornady 17 HMR 17-Grain V-MAX: Chosen for its reliability, consistent 200-yard groups, and being manufactured by the company behind the 17 HMR. Hornady is a trusted brand that produces high-quality ammo.

Winchester 17 HMR 15.5gr Polymer-Tipped: Selected for being a lead-free, lighter bullet that is suitable for squirrel hunting, as it is less likely to damage the meat.

Federal 17 HMR 17gr Polymer-Tipped: Favored by many varmint hunters for its consistency, price, velocity, and accuracy. Federal Premium is known for producing high-quality ammo.

Winchester 17 HMR 20gr JHP: Considered the best 17 HMR ammo for coyote hunting because of its heavier bullet, which packs more of a punch than lighter bullets. However, its reliability has been questioned in recent years.

CCI 17 HMR 20-Grain FMJ: Chosen for its reliability, flat trajectory, and resistance to wind drift. CCI is a trusted brand in the rimfire cartridge space and produces ammo that feeds well into most firearms.

CCI 17 HMR 17gr Polymer Tip: Recommended by Savage Arms for use in their firearms, these rounds were used during the testing of the Savage A17. With a lighter 17gr bullet and a muzzle velocity of 2,650 fps, they are suitable for both plinking and hunting varmints.

17 HMR VS 22 LR - Ammo Cost

ammo prices

If you're looking for a caliber for range plinking, the 22 LR is more budget-friendly, but if accuracy and distance are your top priorities and you don't mind spending more on ammunition, the 17 HMR may be a better fit.

22 LR costs on average, $0.08 - $0.1 / round - Super inexpensive to plink with

17 HMR costs on average, $0.36 - $0.4 / round

17 HMR and 22 LR - Popular Firearm Options

17 HMR Firearms

ruger 17 hmr rifle

Ruger 77/17 - This bolt-action rifle features a rotary magazine, stainless steel construction, and a durable synthetic stock. It's well-regarded for its accuracy and reliability.

Savage Arms A17 - This semi-automatic rifle is specifically designed for the .17 HMR round, with a delayed-blowback action that ensures reliable cycling. It features a synthetic stock and an adjustable AccuTrigger for improved accuracy.

Marlin Model 917 - This bolt-action rifle comes with a variety of stock and barrel options, including heavy barrels for increased accuracy. It features a Pro-Fire adjustable trigger system and a 7-round detachable magazine.

CZ 455 American - This bolt-action rifle is known for its accuracy and interchangeable barrel system, which allows for easy caliber conversions. It comes with a Turkish walnut stock and a 5-round detachable magazine.

Henry Repeating Arms Varmint Express - This lever-action rifle is designed for varmint hunting and target shooting. It features a 20-inch barrel, a checkered American walnut stock, and a 12-round tubular magazine.

Browning T-Bolt - This straight-pull bolt-action rifle is known for its speed and accuracy. It features a double-helix rotary magazine, an adjustable trigger, and a variety of stock and barrel options.

22 LR Firearms

ruger mark iv hunter 22 lr

Ruger 10/22 - This semi-automatic rifle is renowned for its reliability, ease of customization, and accuracy. It features a 10-round rotary magazine, a durable synthetic or wood stock, and a wide variety of aftermarket options.

Marlin Model 60 - This semi-automatic rifle has a reputation for accuracy and reliability. It features a 14 or 19-round tubular magazine, a Monte Carlo walnut-finished hardwood stock, and a 22-inch barrel.

Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 - This semi-automatic rifle is styled after the popular AR-15 platform and is designed specifically for .22 LR. It features a lightweight polymer construction, a 25-round magazine, and numerous customization options.

CZ 457 American - This bolt-action rifle is known for its accuracy and craftsmanship. It comes with a Turkish walnut stock, a 5-round detachable magazine, and an adjustable trigger.

Browning BL-22 - This lever-action rifle is designed for quick handling and has a reputation for accuracy. It features a 15-round tubular magazine, a high-gloss American walnut stock, and a 20-inch barrel.

Ruger Mark IV - This semi-automatic pistol is a popular choice for target shooting and plinking. It is known for its ease of disassembly and cleaning, as well as its accuracy. It comes in various models and finishes, with 10-round magazines and adjustable sights.

FN 522 - Inspired from the FN 509 series duty pistol, the FN 522 is the 22 LR version.

Sig Sauer P322 - Inspired from the Sig P365 design and now chambers in 22 LR.

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