^nice! I think I might have owned most modern rimfire calibers EXCEPT 17WSM. 17M2, 17HMR, 22LR, 22WMR, etc. I always wanted 17HMR to be more useful here in Ontario but the truth is...I don't think it's enough medicine for varmints like groundhogs. I mean...it'll get it done, but shot placement is critical...has to be 20grHPs for a chance at an instant kill, and there can't be a ton of distance involved. When any of those aren't in place, the big "hay pigs" are likely to flip/flop back into their holes. =no good.
I got rid of my 3 x HMRs as a result...and it stayed that way until the first time I travelled west. Turns out gophers are THE perfect HMR target, so I bought my Marlin for that, and left it out west with a buddy. In that role, 17 HMR is a riot. Only challenge is~finding lots of ammo at an affordable price!
If you get a chance to shoot a .17 WSM, you will then never sleep well until you own one.
^well, I'd certainly welcome the opportunity to try one...but I think by anyone's measure, I have more than enough varmint guns. I thought I was done with .17s then suddenly...an impulse purchase of my 527 Varmint in 17 Hornet a few weeks back. lol What was supposed to be a fact-finding mission (=CAN I even find one and if so, what's the price?) turned into a purchase. Only problem is~the gun might be too pretty to shoot. Waiting on my bore guide, .17 rod/brushes and scope rings before I can even test shoot it.
If I was allowed 1 rifle & 1 shotgun they would be my 870 20ga & my Marlin 17HMR. I'll eat good with those 2.
I've had groundhogs at150yds crawl off from a 39gr BK in 204. I can't blame the 17HMR for crawl offs. Some of them just die a lot harder than others.
^that's actually a good way of putting it. I'll have to remember that! I'm also a 20ga. fan! I haven't had that experience with the .204, and mine liked the 39gr. SBKs too. In my experiences with it, over-penetration seemed to be the issue. I remember shooting one (quartering shot, it was almost facing me) and having the bullet exit out of the opposite, rear hip...and enough "spray" past it to suggest it was still cooking when it left the animal. Basically~a THROUGH shot on a large, mature groundhog. I think that much speed + a bullet that seemed to NOT come apart like a V-Max caused significant over-penetration. It was the only bullet that shot such amazing groups off a bench @ 100 yards, but turned-out to be one of the reasons I sold the gun. My .223 with 53gr. V-Max does a much better job, sometimes a gooey one too. Groundhogs dead either way, just that the .204 was less remarkable.
That reminds me of another experience. I was out hunting groundhogs with my buddy one day, I had that .223...he has his .243 Win. We crested a small hill in a young hay field and sitting up about 40 feet away was a big, fat, groundhog about 3 feet from it's hole. I'd shot the last one, so it was my buddy's turn. He shouldered that HB Savage, hit the go button, and BOOM...saw parts flying. We walked-up to where it should have been...and noticed it had crawled back into it's hole. There was plenty of it in pieces outside of the hole, but somehow...it made it back to no doubt expire a few seconds later. That's a crazy amount of energy on an animal that size so yeah...they do "die harder" sometimes.