.17 Remington Versus .22-250
Q: I own a Remington Model 700 in .17 Remington that has been rebarreled with a Maddco barrel 600mm long and shoots groups averaging .25". I was handloading the 25gn Hornady V-Max bullet over 27gn of W-760 which has been chronographed at 3989fps but recently changed to 24gn of W-748 which gives 3960fps with slightly better accuracy. I think that the .204's higher velocity makes it shoot flatter and easier to hit with, making it a much better varmint cartridge than my mate's .22-250? I've heard it said that the .17s are very poor in the wind. What's your take on this?
A: Alas, I never could see pie in the sky. The fact is that while the velocity of the factory load with 25gn bullet is listed at 4020fps, it clocked only 3946fps in my Model 700 rifle with 24" barrel. A M-700 rifle in .22-250 loaded to maximum will do about as well with a bullet twice as heavy, and the Swift will beat it by quite a margin. I've handloaded that 25gn V-Max bullet with a variety of powders to all the pressure they would stand for a troublefree maximum varmint load, and very few powders will deliver more than 4000fps. I did succeed in driving 20gn bullets at over 4200fps, but on rabbits and foxes they were not as good as the various 25gn bullets. As for the .17 being easier to hit with because of its high muzzle velocity, the fact is that the .25gn .17 bullet has the low ballistic coefficient of only .230 for the well-shaped Hornady V-Max, while the .224 50gn V-Max shows .242 and the 53gn goes .290 - better than the 55gn V-Max which lags behind with .255. Start them all at similar velocity and whatever advantage there is lies with the larger calibre. My testing did not reveal, that .17 bullets are poor in the wind, but they are no better and not much worse than .224 bullets.