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SAVAGE A17 Synthetic.17 HMR! – Review – (&Heads Up Current Rebates)

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The A17 from Savage Arms offers shooters a reliable .17 HMR semi-automatic rifle at a great price. And, you can get a rebate now to lower that price even further.

The A17 from Savage Arms offers shooters a reliable .17 HMR semi-automatic rifle at a great price. And, you can get a rebate now to lower that price even further. Image courtesy of manufacturer.

Savage has a well-earned reputation for offering amazing products at prices that will not break the bank. And, in an effort to further take some pressure off of your checkbook balance, Savage is offering a great rebate program for some of its most popular offerings.

Including the synthetic-stocked variant of the A17 rifle reviewed here, the rebate program also covers several of the company’s popular centerfire bolt-action rifles as well rimfire bolt actions. This rebate program will run from October 7th through November 13th of this year and will give you an opportunity to save some real money on some great guns. Here are the specifics:

  • $30 rebate on the A17 Synthetic
  • $75 rebate on Savage 14/114, 16/116, Trophy Hunter and DOA rifles
  • $25 rebate on Rimfire Bolt Actions (includes B.Mag and Rascal)

But let’s take a close look at the impressive A17 itself. The diminutive .17 HMR is a fun little rimfire round. Let’s be honest; shooting rimfire is just plain fun. I used to say cheap and fun, but the cheap part has become a bit relative the past couple of years. However, over the past six months or so I have been seeing more and more .22 on the shelves in gun shops and big box sporting goods stores. But, even when you had to sell a kidney to get a brick of .22 Long Rifles, it was still pretty common to find .17 HMR on the shelves. It does cost a bit more than most of its rimfire brethren, but it also solidly outperforms most of them. Up until recently if you wanted a reliable rifle in .17 HMR your choices were pretty much limited to bolt-actions. Thanks to Savage Arms, that has changed with an affordable and reliable semi-auto in the Savage A17.

Tiny Little Bullets Going Really Fast

CCI Makes a .17HMR designed for the A17. It moves about 100fs faster than other loads.

CCI Makes a .17 HMR load designed specifically for the Savage A17 rifle. It moves about 100 fps faster than other loads.

Before we get to the Savage rifle itself, let’s take a look at the .17 HMR cartridge. I must confess that I did not have a ton of experience with this round before taking on this review, but I was really interested in trying it out and learning more. I get the basic principle: Take a lightweight bullet and make it go really fast and flat. Not a new idea here. This is part of the idea behind the change to 5.56mm from 7.62mm by militaries all over the world.

The “HMR” part stands for Hornady Magnum Rimfire. The round Hornady created is based on the concept of necking down a .22 WMR magnum case to a .17-caliber projectile. So how much faster is the .17 HMR compared to a .22 WMR?  The 17-grain .17 HMR moves about 2,550 feet per second (fps), while the 30-grain .22 WMR about 2,200.  The .17 HMR has about 7 inches of drop at 200 yards while the .22 WMR is closer to 17 inches. A bit faster and a lot flatter, for sure.

CCI made a version of the .17 HMR load designed especially for the Savage A17. They were able to get another 100 fps out of the round. However, you do not have to use the A17-marked rounds in this gun. They are just tuned specifcally for the rifle and therefore a good option for it. I shot at least 100 rounds of some different loads that also functioned flawlessly short of one failure to fire. My chrony read a Hornady load I was using to be moving about 90 fps slower than the CCI A17.

An Autoloading .17 HMR

I averaged 2,532 over 5 rounds. Takes a lot of pressure to move even a tiny bullet that fast.

The author averaged 2,532 fps over five rounds. It takes a lot of pressure to move even a tiny bullet that fast.

There have been a handful of autoloaders chambered for .17 HMR with mostly mixed results (and recalls). The issue is the extra pressure inherent in a bottlenecked cartridge and its use in the straight blowback designs that most rimfire rifles use.

By design, bottleneck cartridges take a lot of pressure on the shoulder area. When fired, this area stretches a bit in even the tightest of chambers and if the shoulders are not properly supported there is a big risk of case rupture. Case ruptures are bad news. Gasses come back into the action, bolts can fail, magazines can blow out of the rifle and serious injuries can happen. Reportedly what has happened in some of the autoloading .17 HMR autoloaders is that the blowback actions do not keep the case fully seated in the chamber while the pressures are still high enough to cause the case to split and all that bad stuff happen. Savage came up with a design that fixes this.

The Delayed Blowback Action

The notch in the top of the bolt is where the lug that holds the bolt closed is located.

The notch in the top of the bolt is where the lug that holds the bolt closed is located.

To solve this issue, the engineers at Savage came up with a mechanically delayed blowback action for the A17. Delayed blowbacks are nothing new and there are a lot of ways to achieve it, but the basic idea is to engineer a system to hold the bolt closed for an extra fraction of a second to allow chamber pressures to drop before the bolt begins to move to the rear. Here is how it works. The steel bolt has on top what Savage calls an “interrupter lug.” If the bolt is all the way forward, then the lug is in the up position and the bolt is locked. The lug protrudes above the bolt and it is pushed into a notch inside the top of the receiver. The interrupter is locked until the carrier and bolt handle start to move rearward under recoil. This provides just enough of a delay to let the pressures drop. Once the carrier moves, the lug drops out of the way, allowing normal blowback-type operation. One other thing that the interrupter lug does is not allow an out-of-battery discharge. If the lug is not in the “up” position, the firing pin cannot strike the cartridge rim.

The Review Gun

The Savage A17 Sporter.

The Savage A17 Sporter variant of the design the author tested. The standard synthetic-stocked version is covered by the current rebate program.

Savage makes the A17 in a couple of different setups. The base model is the A17 Synthetic, and this is the variant that you can apply the current rebate against. Savage has also developed several laminate-stocked versions, including the Sporter (model number 47008) variant I was able to test here. The variants are also offered in a couple of different barrel weights. All models come with the excellent AccuTrigger. These are great triggers that Savage has been putting on more and more of their rifles. One thing that is a bit different with it than your typical rifle trigger is the use of a plunger/paddle like those found on GLOCK triggers. The plunger (which Savage calls the “AccuRelease”) in the trigger may seem off-putting to some who expect the trigger to be a simple curved piece of metal. The plunger blocks the sear until it is engaged by the trigger finger. Also, the AccuTrigger is adjustable for pull weight. If you want a 1.5-pound pull, you can dial it down. The range of pull weight adjustment of an AccuTrigger is from 1.5 to 6 pounds. Because the sear is blocked until you pull back the plunger/paddle, dropping or jarring the rifle should not cause it to fire. It is also a very crisp and creep-free trigger right out of the box. The AccuTrigger on the review rifle broke at 4 pounds.

There is very nice metal to stock fit on the Savage A17.

There is very nice metal to stock fit on the Savage A17.

SPECS

  • Chambering: .17 HMR
  • Barrel: 22 inches
  • OA Length: 42 inches
  • Weight: 5.41 pounds
  • Stock: Synthetic (laminated also available)
  • Sights: None
  • Action: Semi-auto
  • Finish: Black
  • Capacity: 10 round
  • MSRP: $473, synthetic stock (starting price, and covered by rebate program)

Shooting

Shown here is five rounds in one hole from 100 yards off a bench and sled.

The review gun did not come with iron sights, so the mounting an optic was in order. Savage shipped the A17 to me with the bases already installed which is a nice little extra. Remember up above when I said rimfire is fun? The Savage A17 carries on that tradition. Everything about my shooting experience was enjoyable. I do not often say that, especially when talking about a review gun and even more so one that requires sighting in a scope. The first round was about 7 inches low and 5 inches to the right. Turning the knobs as needed, about 10 rounds later I had the A17 hitting an inch low at 25 yards and set to work poking holes in paper.

Overall I fired just over 500 rounds through the Savage with only one failure to fire (that I suspect was ammunition related). I did run a brush and patch down the barrel every 20 rounds when shooting groups and then every 100 when just plinking. I found that this is a sub-MOA rifle. I was consistently getting .25 inch groups from 25 yards and about .75 at 100. Tiny little bullets going fast, flat and straight!

screen-shot-2016-10-07-at-8-50-20-amI also wanted to see what I could do out to 200 yards. The drop on the .17 HMR is about 7 inches at that distance. I didn’t shoot paper but I was able to ring a 6-inch steel plate round after round after round.

Thoughts

I only punched paper and rang steel with the Savage A17 and it was very enjoyable experience. But this rifle and the little round that could, would make an excellent varmint gun.  Prairie Dogs, squirrels, and rabbits would not stand a chance. Alligator hunters would also be well served by this rifle.

One other thing to say about the Savage A17 is how easy it is to take down, clean and put back together. To make it even easier the fine folks at Savage made a great video (see below) to show you how to do it. It is little things like that that really help a company stand out. Of course making a great product helps too.

TOO GOOD TO PASS UP

This is definitely a great time to buy a Savage. You can find some of the lowest prices of the year and have the chance to get a great new rifle such as the A17 or any of the others covered by the rebate program (which can save you even more cash). Rebate coupons are available at https://sporting.myonlinerebate.com/10901/.

This rebate program will run from October 7th through November 13th of this year and will give you an opportunity to save some real money on some great guns. Here are the specifics:

  • $30 rebate on the A17 Synthetic
  • $75 rebate on Savage 14/114, 16/116, Trophy Hunter and DOA rifles
  • $25 rebate on Rimfire Bolt Actions (includes B.Mag and Rascal)

For more information, visit http://www.savagearms.com/.

To buy a Savage A17 rifle on GunsAmerica.com, click this link: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=A17.

To get access to a rebate on a new Savage A17 Synthetic rifle, click on this link: https://sporting.myonlinerebate.com/10901/

The other side of the A17.

The other side of the A17 as tested. The author found the rifle to be handy and easy to shoot well.

The Savage A17 ready to punch tiny holes in paper. Also punches tiny groups.

The Savage A17 ready to punch tiny holes in paper, and also punch tiny groups.

This is 10 rounds from 100 yards, I floated a couple of them.

This is 10 rounds from 100 yards.

The scope bases come installed. But the scope didn't on this model. Savage does offer one with a scope.

The scope bases come installed, but the scope didn’t on this model. Savage does offer one with a scope as a package deal.

If you have not shot a Savage with the Accutrigger do so. They are very nice right out of the box and this one broke cleanly at 3 pounds.

If you have not shot a Savage with the Accutrigger, do so. They are very nice right out of the box and this one broke cleanly at 3 pounds.

Recoil pad even though this rifle is soft shooting and doesn't really need it.

A recoil pad tops off the stock, although this rifle is so soft shooting it doesn’t really need it.

Bolt back and after about 200 rounds there is some grime in there. No one ever said rimfire is clean.

Bolt back and after about 200 rounds. There is some grime in there, but no one ever said rimfire is clean.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Mike B. October 19, 2016, 2:54 pm

    I bought one a couple of weeks ago. even while sighting the scope, I had numerous miss-fires ( approx. 10 out of 50). The rim of the cartridge shows impact from the firing pin, but the round did not discharge. I guess I will call the factory and see what to do.
    I have only used Winchester Super X 20 grain 2,375 fps XTP jacketed hollow points.
    I have a Savage bolt action version and it has problems feeding the cartridges into the chamber.
    So far, I am not impressed with Savage quality.

  • JC October 17, 2016, 8:00 am

    I have the A17 in the synthetic stock variant. I have tried 4 different kinds of ammo and get 1.25 – 2″ groups at 100 yards but that works for me. Recently had the chance to try it on a large grey fox facing me at 40 yards. I was using the A17 branded ammo and it performed flawlessly, entering the front of the chest and destroying the heart and most of the lungs. The fox was dead instantly and there was no hide damage. I threw a 2-7x scope on it and it is my predator gun for when the country is brushy but I may be presented with a 100 yard shot type of gun. I got sick of carrying a rifle and a shotgun for this common scenario in my area. Very happy with it.

    • Juan Santos October 17, 2016, 7:17 pm

      I bought an A17 and was very impress with the accuracy, however after approximately 15 shot it started to drop the magazine and jammed, I ‘m retired law enforcement officer so I’m familiar with firearms, I pushed the magazine in every time I shot but it still dropped the magazine, I google the problem I found that I was not the only one that was having this problem and returned the rifle, does anyone know if Savage has fixed this the problem?

  • Victor Pirie October 17, 2016, 7:39 am

    I Own one and I love it. That little .17 cal is capable of bringing down some rather Large critters. Would not let it go for anything.
    Wish I could get a Price Break on a few Magazines.

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