Update: .17 Winchester Super Magnum and Savage B-Mag Rifle Range Report

Discussion in 'Rimfire & Smallbore' started by WindSurgeon, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. WindSurgeon

    WindSurgeon Site $$ Contributor

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    I finally got out to shoot my new Savage B-Mag Rifle at the range. As previously posted, I purchased the Savage B-Mag rifle about 6 weeks ago. After a month of searching, my local Cabela's where I purchased the rifle, received 10 boxes of .17 WSM to stock. I purchased 6 boxes of the 20 grain v-max tipped ammo (left four for the next guy) for $15.99/box.

    Rifle:

    The B-Mag rifle seems well thought out. I like that it has a standard (sort of) bolt action and that the bolt is easily removed like other centerfire rifles. This helps with cleaning the rifle and making it safe without complex take down procedures. There is a detachable rotary magazine that works well and it is nice not to have a magazine protruding from the bottom of the rifle. The barrel is free floated and it has weaver bases already installed. It will accept other bases as well via removal of the weaver bases secured with four screws. The B-Mag is extremely light. I am guessing it is four pounds without a scope.

    The rifle comes with an adjustable AccuTrigger system. I set it to the lowest setting I could and it is very crisp for a $300 rifle. Not a Jewel trigger, but at 2 pounds it breaks cleanly and similar to my adjustable Tikka rifle triggers set at 2 pounds.

    Stock removal is not intuitive. I made the mistake of looking for the traditional screws under the stock. They are not found in the traditional locations. I had to look to the directions for this information, but once understood, easy enough. You have to remove the trigger guard module before getting to the stock screws.

    First negative about the rifle: The stock is about as cheep feeling as it can get. Hollow, molded plastic. Can't wait until there is a nice piece of aftermarket furniture available.

    Scope Mounting:

    I mounted a Nikon Prostaff 3-9X40 I already had in my stash. Standard hunting stuff. When I bought the rifle, the Cabela's sales person sold me a set of Weaver medium height rings. When I put them with the scope the scope was not high enough to allow the bolt to lift properly and interfered with bolt cycling. After a few phone calls to local shops looking for the same rings in a high height, I went to my old standby and purchased a set of High Burris Z rings (I seem to always end up back with Burris or Leupold rings). Presto, bolt clearance issue solved.

    Go with a high set of rings. It also helped with the alignment of my eye to the scope with the rifle shouldered.

    At The Range:

    After sighting in, I set out to shoot 5, 5 shot groups at 100 yards. I used a Caldwell Benchrest front rest and a Protektor rear bag. I did not set up the chronograph.

    Best group: 1.25" max spread
    Worst group: 1.5" max spread
    Average group: 1.35" max spread

    First, when I measured the two holes, I used a caliper, not software. Second, I have to admit I was not using the tightest BR technique. For shooting coyotes and prairie dogs under field conditions, this is acceptable from my standpoint. If I were to really tighten up the variables in shooting technique, I think the rifle could do 1". Savages have a good accuracy potential. Lastly, I now wish I had my Chrono because I wonder about variation in ammo, round to round. There would be three or four shots in a string under 1" and then one or two flyers. I will Chrono next time out.

    Handling:

    The gun feels a bit better with the scope mounted. Still light, it could benefit from a beefier stock and varmint contour barrel. The action felt tight and cycles smoothly for an inexpensive rifle. As indicated, the AccuTrigger feels crisp.

    Second negative: The last round in the rotary magazine would fail to eject in every instance. Perhas this is called out in the IFU, but I have not read that far. I had to drop out the magazine or pull the round out by hand. A strange quirk after 4 prior rounds cycling well.

    Overall:

    I could not wait to get my hands on this new rimfire caliber and rifle. My intended purpose for it is to shoot coyote on my suburban hunting property where it is illegal to use centerfire rifles (rimfire or shotguns only). While coyote can be killed with .22 LR/magnum, .17 HMR, or shotguns, you give up either downrange energy, distance, or both. The .17 WSM concept brings this closer to .17 Hornet performance at 3000 feet per second muzzle velocity and a 4" drop from zero at 200 yards. For certain, I drank from the punch bowl on this new caliber. After years of not getting them in close enough for my shotgun or watching them keep going after being hit with my .22 Magnum, .17 WSM has potential.

    I will post something after I shoot at a coyote to let you all know how it fares.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2015
  2. CaptainMal

    CaptainMal

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    Re: .17 Winchester Super Magnum and Savage B-Mag Rifle Range Report

    Interested in how this plays out.

    That price is not much more than I have to pay for 17HMR right now. Accuracy, just looking at what you are getting, is not as good as my Marlin 17HMR.
    Actually, it's near twice what I get but ... who cares? For what you will use it for and what I use mine for, MOA or close is all you really need.

    Go shoot some song dogs and see if it has the "stuff" to put them down.
     
  3. WindSurgeon

    WindSurgeon Site $$ Contributor

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    Re: .17 Winchester Super Magnum and Savage B-Mag Rifle Range Report

    I agree that the accuracy is not great. Hopefully, over time, better ammo and rifle variety will improve. These are selling quickly right now and like the .17 HMR eventually Savage will improve the design and other manufactures will enter the market.
     
  4. langenc

    langenc

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    Re: .17 Winchester Super Magnum and Savage B-Mag Rifle Range Report

    Thanks for the report. The last gun rag I got also had a report.

    When doing groups and using the chrono, do you keep track of shots, as to where they printed in the string.

    I sometimes have an extra target at the bench, and shoot one and then mark the bench target w/ a small 1 in the approx location that the bullet hit the target, ditto 2, 3. 4, 5.

    If one bullet is a UNcalled flier, you could check the chrono and see if it was the outlier in the fps sequence and that MAY explain the flier/group enlargener. I do the above without a chrono but have always though I would like to know fps wise about one or two in a group.
     
  5. drgunlimited

    drgunlimited Site $$ Contributor

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    Re: .17 Winchester Super Magnum and Savage B-Mag Rifle Range Report

    I handled one the other day and I was not impressed at all. Plasticky...pencil barrel.... felt like a youth gun... im 6'-4" so made it worse but I went from wanting one to wanting a different one....
     
  6. Sling

    Sling

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    Re: .17 Winchester Super Magnum and Savage B-Mag Rifle Range Report

    My friend works at a gunshop and they received 5 Savages in 17 Winchester Super magnum. The rifles sold within 1 week but they all came back the week after. The rifles had to go back to Savage for repair. My friend runs a gunsmith shop and it seems that more Savages are getting repaired than any other. I just can`t get myself to buy such ugly guns.
     
  7. moorepower

    moorepower Site $$ Contributor

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    Re: .17 Winchester Super Magnum and Savage B-Mag Rifle Range Report

    A friend of mine has one, and 1 of 3 shots fails to eject. FYI I love Savage rifles and have many.
     
  8. WindSurgeon

    WindSurgeon Site $$ Contributor

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    Update:

    After about a year of owning the rifle I wanted to post a follow up. First, it works great on Coyotes. I use it for yotes because, as stated before, shooting center fire on my property is illegal.

    I qualify the hunting performance with "if you can hit it". The rifle shot very inconsistently. The stock was flimsy and the barrel pencil thin. Boyd's came out with an after market laminate stock line earlier this year, but chose instead to try to improve the cheaply made stock. Also, the Winchester 20 grain ammo was all over the board when chrono'd. These two items culminated in consistently large groups (1.5-2.5") and frustrating flyers, a few times as wide as 5 inches. Vertical was very apparent.

    Investigating, the issues, the barrel was not free floated and was touching the stock so I sanded out the barrel channel of the stock and filled it with lead shot and epoxy to straighten, stiffen and add weight to it. I also filled the hollow butt with foam to deaden the sound. Second, there is a plastic part attached to the bottom of the action that I can only assume is the equivalent to a recoil lug. It was very loose. I added a shim to the e clip and tightened that up.

    After the modifications, the same ammo shot consistent .5"-1" 3-5 shot groups at 100 yards. There was a lot less vertical. The first shot, cold barrel accuracy became very repeatable (most applicable for hunting). My field accuracy and success became much better as you can imagine. I missed two out of four yotes hunting with it last year, and this year, I have not missed. Now I only wish the ammo would become more consistent from Winchester.

    Additionally, I obtained a few boxes of 25 grain ammo and those simply shoot terribly through the rifle, so will not be using them given the 20 grain rounds kill so well. Would rather have the speed and 5 grains less than missing a yote.

    So am I happy with it? Kind of. It allows me to control predators on my land, but making a reliably accurate gun out of it seemed like a lot of work and I am a bit disappointed with Savage and Winchester for that. They have a lot of kinks to work out and I probably rushed out to buy it too soon and should have waited for the "better stuff" to come out. I do remain intrigued with this new round and its potential for varmint hunting in situations like mine. In a few years, perhaps there will be much better guns and better quality ammo available.
     
  9. K9I449

    K9I449

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    I made a 17WSM in a T/C Contender with a MGM barrel. First barrel was bad due to the wrong twist. Second barrel shoots LIGHT out under 1/2", all I have is 25gr bullets and LOTS of the them. I have killed 9 dogs this year with it as I call it "BLINKY"

    Longest shot 172yrd(ranged it), killed one at 144 drop it in its tracks.

    Having the barrel coated right now, plus upgraded the stock to a BOYD. Get it all back in Dec.

    I'm very happy with it.
     
  10. Big Bore

    Big Bore "Just waiting for the hammer to fall"

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    The b-mag I have really likes the 25 gr stuff.
    No problem hitting golf balls at 100 yards consistently.
    When it starts to wander ,clean the barrel, and you'll be back on target.
    Yes they do put down coyotes very well!!
     
  11. WindSurgeon

    WindSurgeon Site $$ Contributor

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    What twist and barrel contour did you end up with?

    Post pics.
     
  12. catmanhunter

    catmanhunter

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    Hornady is coming out with 17wsm ammo this year it's on there web site. 20gr.bullet
     

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