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  • Post category:Ammunition / Rifle Ammunition
  • Post last modified:April 6, 2024
  • Post published:March 20, 2021

Best 17 Hornet Ammo

What is 17 Hornet ammo?🧐

It is a caliber of ammunition designed for hunting and other recreational activities. This type of ammo is used in rifles, handguns, and shotguns. It has a high velocity and accuracy rate making it perfect for long-range shooting, but it also has enough power to bring down mid-sized game like deer and wild hogs with one shot.

17 Hornet ammo


Today, we’re diving into the world of the .17 Hornet ammo, a favorite among varmint hunters and target shooters. This little gem is born from the .22 Hornet case, but with a neck-down design to handle those sleek .17 caliber bullets.

✍️ Let’s talk specs – it boasts a slim bullet diameter of 0.172 inches (4.37 mm) and usually sports lighter bullets ranging from 15 to 25 grains, all aimed at reaching jaw-dropping velocities above 3,000 feet per second (fps). That’s right, this round packs some serious punch!

✍️ What makes this ammo stand out is its super flat trajectory – it practically flies straight as an arrow, making it a dream for varmint hunting at those extended distances. And when we say accuracy, we mean pinpoint precision! It earns its reputation for letting you make those long shots with ease.

✍️ Recoil – almost nonexistent. You’ll have no trouble comfortably shooting for hours on end without feeling like you’ve been punched in the shoulder repeatedly.

✍️ Speaking of varmint hunting – this ammo was practically made for it! Ground squirrels, prairie dogs, and other pesky critters don’t stand a chance against its speed and accuracy.

Our Top Pick
Hornady Superformance 17 Hornet Ammo 20 Grain
With this ammo, your rifle can gain an impressive 100 to 200 fps speed boost compared to conventional ammunition. And increased speed didn't come with increased felt recoil. It caters to a wide range of firearm types, including semi-autos, lever guns, and pump actions. No need to compromise on speed, accuracy, or versatility. such ammo has got it all covered. It's time to take your shooting to the next level with this cutting-edge ammunition!
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The .17 Hornet ammo comes with a bunch of awesome benefits that make it a favorite among enthusiasts. Here’s a rundown of what makes it stand out:

💣 Flat Trajectory: It is a master of precision with its incredibly flat trajectory. That means less bullet drop over longer distances, making it easier to hit those pesky varmints with spot-on accuracy.

💣 High Velocity: This little cartridge can pack a punch. It achieves impressive muzzle velocities, often exceeding 3,000 feet per second (fps). The high velocity contributes to its excellent performance at long ranges.

💣 Exceptional Accuracy: Thanks to its design and high velocity, this cartridge delivers superb accuracy. Whether you’re out on the range or stalking varmints, you’ll appreciate the consistent and precise shot placement.

💣 Low Recoil: No need to worry about a sore shoulder after a day of shooting. It boasts minimal recoil, making it a pleasure to shoot for extended periods.

💣 Varmint Hunting Specialist: When it comes to taking care of pesky varmints like ground squirrels and prairie dogs, this ammo shines. Its high velocity and flat trajectory make it an excellent choice for small-game hunting.

💣 Versatile Bullet Weight: With a range of lighter bullets available, typically in the 15 to 25 grains range, the .17 Hornet can be optimized for various shooting scenarios. You can choose the right bullet weight for your specific needs.

💣 Easy on Your Firearm: Its relatively modest recoil and low chamber pressure are gentle on your rifle, potentially extending its lifespan.

💣 Fun and Efficient Target Shooting: Whether you’re practicing your shooting skills or participating in competitions, ammo’s accuracy and velocity will make your target shooting sessions enjoyable and productive.

Benefits of .17 Hornet ammo


There are several types of .17 Hornet ammunition available, catering to various shooting preferences and applications. The most common types include:

Varmint/Tipped Varmint: Designed specifically for varmint hunting, these rounds typically feature lightweight bullets with polymer-tipped or ballistic-tipped designs for rapid expansion and high velocities. They are excellent choices for small game like ground squirrels, prairie dogs, and other pests.
Hollow Point: Hollow point rounds are popular for varmint hunting as well. The hollow point design promotes controlled expansion upon impact, delivering energy efficiently to the target.
Soft Point: Soft point rounds feature a lead-tipped bullet with a partially exposed lead core. They are designed to offer controlled expansion and are suitable for hunting small to medium-sized game.
Full Metal Jacket (FMJ): FMJ rounds have a bullet jacket that fully encloses the lead core, resulting in less expansion upon impact. These rounds are often used for target shooting and plinking.
Match/Target: Match or target ammunition is optimized for accuracy and consistency. It typically features high-quality bullets and precise manufacturing to meet the demands of competitive shooting and precision target shooting.
Frangible: Frangible rounds are designed to break apart upon impact with hard surfaces, reducing the risk of over-penetration and ricochets. They are often used for training and close-range shooting.
Subsonic: Subsonic rounds are specifically loaded to achieve velocities below the speed of sound, resulting in reduced noise and recoil. They are commonly used for suppressed shooting and in areas where noise reduction is essential.

📌 Keep in mind that the availability of specific types of this ammunition may vary depending on the manufacturer and local regulations.

Types of .17 Hornet ammunition

17 Hornet Ammo Review | Best 17 Hornet Ammo

Winchester VARMINT X RIFLE 17 Hornet Ammo 20 grainWinchesterBUY
Hornady Superformance 17 Hornet Ammo 20 GrainHornadyBUY
Federal Premium VARMINT PREDATOR 17 Hornet Ammo 20 grainFederal PremiumBUY

1# Winchester Varmint X Rifle 17 Hornet Ammo 20 grain

Winchester VARMINT X RIFLE 17 Hornet Ammo 20 grain

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Introducing Winchester Varmint X Rifle 17 Hornet Ammo – the ultimate ammunition crafted exclusively for predator and varmint hunters like us. The polymer tip is the secret to unlocking top-notch long-range performance while ensuring rapid expansion upon impact. And let’s not forget about the alloy jacket with its ingeniously engineered sidewall profile, designed to create explosive fragmentation for maximum effectiveness. With it, you get the best of both worlds – a lead core tailored for rapid fragmentation, making it ideal for taking down those elusive varmints swiftly and efficiently. It’s the go-to choice for hunters who demand nothing but excellence in their ammunition. Say goodbye to uncertainty and embrace the precision and power this ammo brings to your hunts.

  • Tailored for predator and varmint hunting
  • Explosive impact
  • Long-range performance
  • Engineered sidewall profile
  • Proven dependability
  • Limited availability
  • Not suitable for all firearms


2# Hornady Superformance 17 Hornet Ammo 20 Grain

Hornady Superformance 17 Hornet Ammo 20 Grain

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If you’re seeking a game-changer for your rifle, look at the Hornady Superformance 17 Hornet Ammo. The secret behind its exceptional capabilities lies in the progressive propellants at its core. Say hello to a new era of performance, where conventional ammunition pales in comparison. No more compromises between speed, accuracy, and versatility. Using this product, our team found that this ammunition defies the norm and elevates your shooting experience to extraordinary heights. Say hello to a whole new level of shooting prowess with such ammo- your rifle will thank you!

  • Impressive performance boost
  • Progressive propellants
  • Consistent shooting experience
  • It may lead to increased barrel wear over time


3# Federal Premium Varmint Predator 17 Hornet Ammo 20 grain

Federal Premium VARMINT PREDATOR 17 Hornet Ammo 20 grain

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As avid varmint hunters, we know how crucial it is to have ammunition that checks all the boxes. Federal Premium Varmint Predator 17 Hornet Ammo offers unwavering accuracy and consistency on the target. Every shot counts, and you can rely on these rounds to perform consistently, shot after shot. Consistent primers are the backbone of reliable ammunition, and loads live up to the expectation. No worries about misfires – it’s reliable feeding and function every time. In the realm of varmint hunting, this ammunition has earned trust and respect. With its consistent performance, explosive impact, and affordable price tag, it’s the perfect round for any passionate hunter!

  • Accurate and consistent
  • Maximum lethality on impact
  • Reliable primers and feeding
  • Highly reloadable brass
  • Not ideal for larger game


How prepare brass and reload?🛠️

Reloading .17 Hornet ammo can be a rewarding and cost-effective way to shoot this fantastic cartridge. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to prepare brass for reloading:

🟣 Collect and Inspect Brass: Start by collecting fired brass from your previous shooting sessions. Inspect each case for signs of damage, such as cracks, splits, or deformities. Discard any brass that shows signs of excessive wear or damage.
🟣 Clean the Brass: Before starting the reloading process, it’s essential to clean the brass thoroughly. You can use a brass tumbler or a sonic cleaner with the appropriate cleaning media to remove dirt, residue, and carbon buildup from the cases.
🟣 De-Priming: The first step in the actual reloading process is de-priming. You can use a dedicated de-priming tool or a press with a de-priming die to remove the spent primers from the brass.
🟣 Inspect the Primer Pocket: After de-priming, inspect the primer pocket of each case to ensure it’s clean and free from any residual primer material. Use a primer pocket cleaning tool to remove any remaining debris if needed.
🟣 Case Resizing and Trimming: It is a bottlenecked cartridge, so you’ll need to resize the cases to ensure they fit your chamber properly. Use a resizing die to resize the brass to the correct dimensions. Check the length of each resized case using a caliper, as brass can stretch during firing. Trim any cases that have exceeded the maximum allowable length using a case trimmer.
🟣 Chamfer and Deburr: After trimming, use a chamfer and deburring tool to remove any burrs from the inside and outside of the case mouth. This step ensures smooth bullet seating.
🟣 Priming and Powder Charging: Now it’s time to prime the cases. Use a primer seating tool to insert new primers into the primer pockets of each case. Then consult your reloading manual for the appropriate powder charge for your chosen bullet and load. Use a powder scale to measure the precise amount of powder and carefully charge each case.
🟣 Bullet Seating: Finally, use a bullet seating die to seat the bullet to the desired depth. Follow the recommended seating depth from your reloading manual to achieve the best accuracy.
🟣 Crimp (if applicable): Depending on your specific load and bullet choice, you may need to apply a crimp to secure the bullet in place. Follow the guidelines provided in your reloading manual.

Always adhere to safe reloading practices, and double-check your loads with reliable reloading manuals.


What is 17 Hornet ammo good for?

🟦 .17 Hornet ammunition is primarily used for varmint hunting and target shooting. It excels in these areas due to its unique combination of characteristics, making it well-suited for specific applications:

✔️ Varmint Hunting: It is particularly popular for hunting small varmints like ground squirrels, prairie dogs, rabbits, and other pests. Its high velocity and flat trajectory allow for precise shots at longer distances, making it an excellent choice for varmint control.

✔️ Small Game Hunting: While primarily used for varmint hunting, the .17 Hornet can also be used for small game hunting, such as foxes and coyotes, at moderate distances.

✔️ Target Shooting: The flat trajectory, minimal recoil, and exceptional accuracy of this ammo make it a favorite among target shooters. It’s great for shooting at various distances, making it an enjoyable round for competitive shooting or casual target practice.

✔️ Pest Control: The high velocity and rapid expansion of ammunition are effective for pest control around farms and properties.

✔️ Recreational Shooting: Shooters who enjoy the challenge of shooting small targets at long ranges may find this is a fun and engaging option for recreational shooting.

🚨 It’s important to note that the .17 Hornet is not suitable for large game hunting due to its relatively small bullet size and lightweight. Always use the appropriate ammunition for your intended purpose and adhere to all local laws and regulations regarding firearm use and hunting.

What is the ballistics of such ammo?

💡 The ballistics of .17 Hornet ammunition can vary depending on the specific load and bullet used, but here are some general ballistics characteristics for typical loads:

🔷 Bullet Diameter: 0.172 inches (4.37 mm)

🔷 Bullet Weight: Typically in the range of 15 to 25 grains, but can vary depending on the specific load.

🔷 Muzzle Velocity: It can achieve high muzzle velocities, often exceeding 3,000 feet per second (fps). Some loads can even reach up to 3,650 fps.

🔷 Muzzle Energy: The muzzle energy of rounds typically ranges from 450 to 600 foot-pounds (ft-lbs), depending on the bullet weight and velocity.

🔷 Trajectory: It has a very flat trajectory, which means it maintains a relatively straight path over longer distances. At 100 yards, the bullet drop is minimal, making it an excellent choice for accurate shooting at extended ranges.

🔷 Effective Range: The effective range is usually around 200 to 300 yards for varmint hunting and target shooting.

🔷 Terminal Performance: These bullets are designed for rapid expansion upon impact, making them effective at transferring energy to the target and producing quick, humane kills on small game and varmints.

🔷 Recoil: The .17 Hornet generates minimal recoil, making it comfortable and enjoyable to shoot for extended periods.

📌 Remember that these ballistics characteristics are general and can vary depending on the specific brand, load, and bullet used in ammunition.

How far can you shoot with it?

❇️ The effective range of .17 Hornet ammunition depends on various factors, including the specific load, bullet weight, muzzle velocity, shooting conditions, and shooter skill. As a general guideline, it is known for its relatively flat trajectory and exceptional accuracy, allowing shooters to make precise shots at extended ranges.

🎯 For varmint hunting and target shooting, the effective range is typically considered to be around 200 to 300 yards.

🎯 Some experienced shooters may even be able to take accurate shots at slightly longer distances, up to 400 yards or more, with the right setup and conditions.

⚡ However, it’s essential to remember that shooting at longer ranges requires careful consideration of external factors such as wind, bullet drop, and environmental conditions. As the bullet loses velocity over distance, it becomes more susceptible to the effects of wind drift and gravitational pull, which can impact accuracy.

What is the difference between the .17 Hornet and .17 Fireball?

🔍 The .17 Hornet and .17 Fireball are both centerfire rifle cartridges that are designed for varmint hunting and target shooting, but they have some significant differences in terms of ballistics, performance, and overall design:

Cartridge Design: The .17 Hornet is based on the .22 Hornet case necked down to accept .17 caliber bullets. It has a slightly larger case capacity and operates at higher pressures compared to the .22 Hornet. The .17 Fireball is a necked-down version of the .221 Remington Fireball case, specifically designed for the .17 caliber bullet. It has a smaller case capacity and operates at lower pressures than the .17 Hornet.

Bullet Diameter: Both cartridges use .17 caliber bullets, with a diameter of 0.172 inches (4.37 mm).

Muzzle Velocity: The .17 Hornet can achieve higher muzzle velocities, often exceeding 3,000 feet per second (fps) for lightweight bullets. The .17 Fireball also has high muzzle velocities, typically ranging from 3,300 to 3,600 fps.

Effective Range: The effective range of both cartridges for varmint hunting and target shooting is typically around 200 to 300 yards.

Recoil: Both cartridges generate minimal recoil, making them comfortable to shoot for extended periods.

Availability and Cost: The .17 Hornet has been more popular and widely adopted than the .17 Fireball. As a result, .17 Hornet ammunition may be more readily available and possibly more cost-effective.

Rifle Compatibility: The .17 Hornet is often chambered in bolt-action rifles, single-shot rifles, and some semi-automatic platforms. The .17 Fireball is usually found in bolt-action rifles.

😉 The choice between the two will depend on individual preferences, availability, and specific rifle compatibility.

How much powder is in a 17 Hornet ammo?

✍️ The amount of powder can vary depending on the specific load and bullet weight used by different manufacturers. The powder charge is carefully selected to achieve the desired muzzle velocity and performance characteristics for each specific load.

💥 The typical powder charge for .17 Hornet ammunition ranges from around 12 to 13 grains. However, please note that this is a general range, and the actual powder charge may vary from load to load.

📌 Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and recommendations for your specific ammunition and firearm to ensure safe and reliable performance.


In conclusion, the .17 Hornet is an effective and accurate round for varmint hunting and target shooting. It has a very flat trajectory and can reach high muzzle velocities with minimal recoil. We hope this article gives you a lot of useful information and now you can choose the right type of ammo just for your needs! Let us know in the comments which you ended up choosing and how it performed! Happy shooting!🤠🎯

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8 months ago

I’ve been considering the .17 Hornet as an option for my small game hunting and target shooting needs. From what I’ve gathered, the term “long-range” is relative in this context, but I’m looking for something effective within a moderate distance for squirrel hunting and paper punching.

    Ronin Walker
    Ronin Walker
    8 months ago
    Reply to  Enigron

    I love the Hornady Superformance 17 Hornet Ammo 20 Grain! It’s an incredibly devastating round for varmint hunting, and the best part is the zero recoil, which makes shooting a real pleasure. Recently, I was able to ring steel targets at 500 yards even in challenging 10-15 mph wind gusts, and this ammo handled it with ease. Overall, it is an amazing little caliber, but I’d recommend considering the CZ rifle over the Ruger. The CZ might save you from the extra modifications and costs I had to put into my Ruger to achieve the desired performance.

      8 months ago
      Reply to  Enigron

      I own a Savage chambered in .17 Hornet, and I must say it’s an impressive tack driver, especially out to 400 yards on a normal day. However, I did encounter some peculiarities with the feeding due to the action being originally designed for .223 and adapted to the rimmed .17 Hornet cartridge. Additionally, the scope bases on the rifle were quite odd and didn’t match any standard I knew of, so I had to do a bit of machining to make them work. Reloading for the .17 Hornet isn’t too bad, but it does require attention to detail, especially with powder weights. I’ve noticed that this cartridge tends to be more accurate at the top-end velocities, which is worth considering during load development. Bullet selection is limited, but I find that the Hornady Superformance 17 Hornet Ammo 20 Grain work well. The same goes for brass availability.

        8 months ago

        Does anyone have experience hunting with 17 Hornet ammo? Can you share it with me and maybe give me some useful advice?

          Kaiden Harris
          Kaiden Harris
          8 months ago
          Reply to  Ivedalf

          In my experience, .17 Hornet does shoot flat and offers good accuracy, I’ve found it good in stopping power for body shots on coyotes. I would feel confident in dropping them quickly or leaving a substantial blood trail. For me, when I use this ammo, I limit my shots to headshots only to ensure a humane and effective kill.

            Cullen Scott
            Cullen Scott
            8 months ago

            I’m currently torn between three options for my shooting needs the .17 Hornet, .17 WSM, and .17 HMR. Each of them has its unique strengths and considerations, and I could use some advice to make the best choice. In the end, I’m seeking advice on which of these three options would be the best fit for my shooting preferences and intended applications. I’d love to hear from experienced shooters who have used these cartridges in various scenarios.

              8 months ago
              Reply to  Cullen Scott

              I went through a similar decision-making process. Early on, I was drawn to the .17 caliber platform over the .22. In the end, the .17 Hornet checked more boxes for me. Ammo availability seemed better (at the moment), and there were several rifle options available at different price points with various features. So, for now, I’m happy with my choice of the Federal Premium Varmint Predator 17 Hornet Ammo 20 Grain and look forward to enjoying my new rifle.

                Justin Butler
                Justin Butler
                8 months ago
                Reply to  Cullen Scott

                I’m really happy with my choice of the Winchester Varmint X Rifle 17 Hornet Ammo 20 Grain. It turned out to be the most cost-effective option among the various 17 calibers I considered. I love that I can use it for inexpensive plinking sessions, allowing me to focus more on reloading for my big game rounds without worrying about dealing with tiny bullets and small necks all the time. It’s a perfect fit for my needs, and that’s what matters most.

                  Samir Butler
                  Samir Butler
                  8 months ago

                  What do you think about the .17 Hornet?

                    8 months ago
                    Reply to  Samir Butler

                    In my view, I appreciate the lighter kick and high ballistic coefficient (BC) of the .17 Hornet. Its minimal recoil makes shooting enjoyable, and the high BC contributes to its impressive performance at longer distances. Hornady Superformance 17 Hornet Ammo 20 Grain still holds a special place in my heart, primarily for its unique characteristics. It’s flat trajectory and excellent accuracy within its effective range are perfect for the kind of varmint hunting I do. The minimal recoil is a welcome bonus, especially during extended shooting sessions.