Federal Premium is now in the .17 Winchester Super Magnum business. The ammo maker put together a polymer-tipped .17 WSM load for the American Eagle brand that’s priced in-line with other options on the market today, making it one of the least expensive ways to shoot a .17-caliber cartridge.
Ballistically .17 WSM is a little shy of .17 Hornet performance but at a much lower price point thanks to the rimfire design. A new cartridge released in 2013, .17 WSM is based on .27-caliber fastener blanks that have been necked to accept .17-caliber projectiles.
The increased case volume over other rimfire cases lets Federal push the polymer-tipped 20-grain bullet up to 3,000 feet per second, generating 400 foot-pounds of force, well into centerfire territory for the rimfire cartridge. It’s considerably more powerful than .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire which tops out at around 250 foot-pounds.
Putting things into perspective, .17 WSM has more energy at 100 yards than .17 HMR does at the muzzle. Because the round uses a polymer-tipped projectile expansion should be fast and consistent, and with the high muzzle velocity will be effective as a varmint cartridge out to longer ranges as well as be capable of dispatching larger pests at close range.
Shipping is already underway with some showing in-stock at a few online retailers already. Federal set the MSRP at $19 per box of 50 rounds and real-world prices are around $15 to $16 a box. With the addition of this new ammo option from Federal along with Ruger’s new Model 77 chambered for .17 WSM it’s beginning to look like the cartridge is here to stay.
For all .17 WSM shooters out there we hope the market continues to grow, with more gun and ammo choices to choose from, along with more competition and lower prices, of course. Today the market looks pretty stable and if you were considering picking up a .17 WSM rifle now’s just as good a time as any.