'Tis woodchuck season again here in the Commonwealth, and those fat crop munchers are swarming with a vengeance this year. They are literally everywhere, slowly and inexorably mowing their way into newly planted fields and pastures. The Fat Man has been punching out chucks since the tender age of 12, with dad cheering him on. Every woodchuck smacked in the ear with a .22 was one less digging holes for horses to step in, or leaving cleanly mowed pathways through the fodder. This season, I'll be keeping this little rifle in the car, along with ammo and a decent pair of binoculars. A Savage 93r17 of some years age, it's one made before the accutrigger came into play. With it's bull barrel, this 17hmr laser is just plain accurate. One hole groups at 50 yards are common, given a good rest and some trigger control. Half inch groups at 100 yards are it's normal offering, using Hornady 17 grain polymer pointed ammunition. This rifle retailed at $199 a few years ago, and comparable rifles can be had for $250 any day of the week. Add in $50 worth of Weaver steel rings and bases, and an $80 BSA scope, and it's a 150 yard woodchuck killing machine for under $350 out the door.
.17hmr ammunition is available, and not expensively. Typically around $13 per 50 rounds, it's almost a steal given the performance of the round. To put the cartridges performance into perspective, the first 50 round box purchased with the rifle accounted for 38 woodchucks, one shot each, and also the initial sight-in with a new scope. Those shots ranged from 30 feet to 125 yards, and in every case the creature never more than quivered after the hit.
The BSA scope is a new addition this season, replacing the 4x32 Simmons cheapo bought with the rifle. The 3x12 BSA is a cheap one itself, retailing around $80. No, it's not a stellar optic.... but it's perfectly fine for a rimfire trunk gun that is likely to see more than a little indifferent handling.
A nice feature on the BSA 'Sweet 17' optic is the adjustable objective, offering the ability to dial in a decent focus on the target. Many scopes that are preset to focus at 100 yards fail miserably in clarity when shooting at 25 yards. The reverse can be true of dedicated rimfire scopes which don't offer adjustable focus.
Of somewhat less usefullness, but of a certain..... 'optimistic quality', is the bullet drop compensating vertical adjustment turret. It STARTS at 100 yards..... for a cartridge I consider to be effective out to 150 yards at best. Yes, hits can be made at farther ranges..... but it's pushing the envelope to shoot game past 150 with the .17hmr. That's my honest opinion, for what it's worth. In any case.... there it is. The bargain basement chuck buster that will live in my trunk over the next few months. Cheap, accurate, dependable, cheap, fun, and cheap.