The buzz that finally appeared at the SHOT Show’s Media Range Day, came from a couple of places no one was expecting. In our limited 2015 SHOT Show Media Range Report, we will cover the items that seemed to stir the most buzz. Ironically, they almost all focused on rimfire rifles and ammunition.
The Ruger 17 Winchester Super Magnum (17WSM) Prototype Rifle:
I’ve seen a lot of people ask when is another major firearm manufacturer going to come out with a new rifle chambered in 17WSM. Well, now we know that the answer could be just a few months away. Ruger Firearms released a prototype 17WSM bolt-action rifle, that was available for us in the media to shoot. It is almost an exact match to their 17 Hornet, with a laminate stock, stainless barrel and a standard Ruger style rotary magazine.
I shot a couple of magazines and was pleasantly surprised that it functioned well, as I was told that it was just a prototype. After shooting it, I spoke with a few of the folks from Ruger and expressed emphatically that they would sell a lot of these rifles, as it is the bolt-action rifle that many are waiting for in the 17WSM. I was told that there may be an announcement in a few months at the NRA Annual Meeting in Nashville. Let’s hope they can get the room in their line to get this to market!
The New Savage A17 – Semi-Auto 17 HMR Rifle:
The other rifle causing a bit of buzz was the new Savage A17, semi-auto 17HMR rifle. It is a plastic stocked rifle, with some reminders of the original B.MAG released a couple of years ago (plastic stock, rotary magazine, etc). However, this rifle was not a bolt-action, but instead a functioning 17HMR semi-auto rifle, with a knack for slinging empty brass more than a few feet away at the pull of the trigger. I watched as people sat behind the rifle and emptied magazine after magazine downrange, with no failures to feed, or misfires. I got a chance to shoot it and really liked the semi-auto function with this cartridge.
Savage lists the following description in their New Product Overview:
Savage Arms continues its track record of innovation with the all-new A17, the first high-performance semi-automatic rimfire specifically designed for the 17 HMR cartridge. Its unique delayed-blowback action performs to its peak with new A17 Varmint Tip ammunition, which CCI developed specifically for the rifle. The A17 also provides safe, reliable operation with standard 17 HMR loads. The hard chrome bolt, case-hardened receiver, 10-round rotary magazine and button-rifled barrel boost performance even further, while the user-adjustable AccuTrigger provides a crisp, light pull for the best possible accuracy in the field or on the range.
We will gather more information this week during the show and report on the MSRP, possible release date and include a video of me shooting the rifle. Savage states that it will be available March 2, 2015.
CCI 17HMR Ammunition – Optimized for the Savage A17 Rifle:
Along with the Savage A17 Rifle, CCI has released new 17HMR ammunition that is “Optimized for the Savage Arms A17 rifle” and shows 100 FPS faster than 17 HMR loads with the same 17 grain “Varmint Tip” bullet at a listed 2650 FPS. There is no word on the release date of this new 17HMR ammunition, but it looks like CCI is working to improve their current best seller!
Thompson Center – Re-release of the G2 Contender Frame:
It’s not quite new, but T/C has re-released their very popular G2 Contender Frame, bringing back one of the centerpieces to those who want to shoot wildcat, or odd cartridges, without having to go to an expensive custom rifle. Their frame assemblies are compatible with many Contender barrels, as well as the plethora of after-market barrels on the market.
Savage B.MAG Target Rifle:
We’ve seen a few different versions of the Savage B.MAG starting to come out, so this rifle was expected. It is the Savage B.MAG Heavy Barrel Stainless in a grey laminate, thumbhole stock. The one change that I noticed, was the bolt shape was a bit different, angled out a bit. I imagine it is shaped this way to prevent contact with larger scopes for longer range shots, as well as making it easier to close the bolt, which some find difficult because of the “cock-on-close” action they use in the B.MAG.
We will have more information from SHOT Show 2015, which will be posted here on the main site, as well as on social media, such as Instagram.