NEW IN BOX REMINGTON MODEL 700 SPS 17 FIREBALL BOLT ACTION SPORTING RIFEL WITH A 24" BARREL, MATTE BLUE FINISH AND BLACK SYNTHETIC STOCK.
For now, the sole .17 Remington Fireball factory load uses the 20-grain AccuTip-V bullet, which is pointed with polymer and has a thin jacket to guarantee explosive expansion on impact. However, look for a 25-grain hollow-point load in the near future. Remington currently chambers five rifles in the cartridge. Four are Model 700 variations, and the Model Seven CDL completes the lineup. Several days spent punching paper and shooting prairie dogs with one of the Model 700 derivatives and the Model Seven gave me a good look at the little round, and I liked what I saw.
From the 26-inch, heavy-contour barrel of the Model 700 SPS Varmint—a new version of the Model 700 SPS upgraded for pest and predator control but still carrying a reasonable price tag of less than $650—the .17 Remington Fireball repeatedly delivered muzzle velocities that were slightly higher than the factory-touted 4,000 foot-per-second mark. Paired with the Model Seven, which has a barrel of just 20 inches, the cartridge still managed to top 3,750 feet per second.
The 20-grain AccuTip-V leaving the muzzle at 4,000 feet per second gives the .17 Remington Fireball a trajectory that edges a .22-250 Remington’s 55-grain bullet at 3,900 feet per second. With a 200-yard zero, the .17-caliber bullet drops 5.1 inches at 300 yards, while the .22-caliber bullet falls 6 inches. Notably, the .17 Remington Fireball needs just 20 grains of propellant to get this performance, in contrast to the 36-grain charge required by the .22-250. It’s not only a matter of efficiency; a lighter bullet in front of a smaller charge produces less recoil. The recoil from the SPS Varmint, which weighed almost
10 1/2 pounds with a Swarovski riflescope onboard, was less than a single foot-pound. Recoil is something to consider when shooting a couple hundred rounds in a day, especially if you like to see bullet impact through your scope. What fun is varmint shooting if you can’t? Hit the trigger on a rifle in .17 Remington Fireball, even the 6 1/2-pound Model Seven, and you get to see the whole show.
Naturally, shooters will want to compare the .17 Remington Fireball with the .17 Remington. Yes, the company’s first .17-caliber cartridge is faster (by 250 feet per second), flatter (by about .7 inch at 300 yards) and more powerful (by roughly 100 foot-pounds at the muzzle). But there are those nagging issues of fouling and barrel erosion following it around. While some may say these aren’t a problem with proper maintenance, I know more shooters who have sworn off the .17 Remington because of them. Again, varmint shooting is supposed to be fun, and I don’t see that much joy in stopping the action every 15 or so shots to thoroughly scrub the bore.
My experiences with the .17 Remington Fireball, on the other hand, have been much more pleasant. Before I left for Wyoming to try the cartridge on prairie dogs, I could depend on the SPS Varmint to consistently deliver 100-yard groups of about 3/4 inch. With the Model Seven, five bullet holes usually were inside 11/8 inches. I easily put 200 rounds through each rifle during the two-day shoot and, in the name of arduous evaluation, never swabbed their bores. Though both rifles kept hitting the mark, prairie dogs are poor targets for assessing group size. I wanted measurements for comparison, so upon returning home I took the guns to the range. After all that firing, the SPS Varmint still put five bullets in 11/4 inches several times, and the Model Seven turned in groups that averaged just slightly more than 1 1/2 inches. So much for fouling being an issue with the .17 Remington Fireball.
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DOING BUSINESS AS A STORE FRONT FIREARMS DEALER SINCE 1983