In 2009, all makers of semi-auto .17 HMR rifles issued a recall, because the rifles were expelling super-hot gases from their actions, because of the velocity of the hyperpowered little rounds. From then until now, nobody has made a .17HMR semi-auto. Savage Arms took on the challenge to make a safe and accurate semi-automatic rifle for the speedy cartridge and this year they have introduced the A17, with all of the features Savage owners have come to appreciate.
Featuring a black synthetic target stock with a beefy forend and a lower comb (1 ¼-1 ½-inches of drop) for good eye relief, the A17 offers comfortable ergonomics and a manageable length of pull of 13 ¾ inches. At only 5.41-pounds, the stock length and weight make this gun a good fit for the majority of shooters from adults to even younger marksmen.
The action is smooth and features Savage’s popular AccuTrigger for enhanced accuracy and trigger control. It is adjustable by the user, with the included trigger adjustment tool from 2.5-6-pounds.
To overcome the problems encountered with previous .17HMR semi-autos, Savage incorporated a delayed blow back design to prevent the rapid expansion of gasses from escaping the chamber too quickly. While this imperceptibly slows down the action, it was not slow enough to notice and I was able to launch a rapid string of rounds downrange as quickly as I could pull the trigger. This gives an easy follow-up shot for varmint hunting and is just a lot of fun. The 22-inch button rifled barrel provided excellent groups at 100 yards. The bolt of the A17 is all steel and chrome plated to provide very smooth operation.
One 10-round rotary magazine is included with the rifle. The flush-fit magazines overcome the problem of tilt, common with rimmed cased cartridges, which can result in mis-feeds.
While the A17 will accept and fire the majority of .17 HMR ammo on the market, CCI has created a special cartridge designed specifically for the A17. The 17-grain varmint tipped round advertises velocities 100 feet per second faster than standard HMR rounds. But in our testing, we were achieving speeds 200 feet per second faster than those advertised by CCI, for an average in excess of 2,800 FPS. The soft, lead tipped bullets provide excellent penetration and expansion and the cartridges were very accurate, providing sub-MOA performance at 100 yards.
Our test model of the A17 came pre-installed with a Bushnell Banner 3.5-10×36 scope, with a Multi-X reticle. It also included six turret adjustment rings, for creating a specific adjustment zero, for a variety of different ammunitions and bullet weights. Hand adjustment knobs for elevation let you quickly adjust your scope on the fly for varying ranges.
This combination of custom designed scope, superbly crafted rifle and specially designed ammunition makes the Savage A17 a reliable rifle for varminting or just plinking and gives you a much faster bullet, delivering optimum force to your target.