Prairie Dogs Vs 17 hmr


New member

How effective is the 17 hmr on Prairie dogs? This will be my first trip to Wyoming to shoot the. Until this year, all my shooting has been on Belding ground squirrels.
It works fine until you get past maybe 150 or so, 200 in a pinch imo. Think of your beldings like a pdog pup, with adults probably triple the mass. If you're coming out when the pups are everywhere and dumb, the hmr is perfect for that. Late in the summer, it might be pretty limited. However, I do consider it an essential part of a pdog arsenal.
17 HMR is a great little round for P dogs with some limitations like mentioned above . Distance and wind. Play with your rifle a bit . Choose the most accurate make of the round for your rifle and I recommend torqueing the stock down to find the sweet spot. All the Savages in our shooting group has been 12.5 pounds of torque on the action screws and it really was a noticeable difference. Have fun.
The .17 Hummer was still a pretty new cartridge when I first tired it on the pasture poodles. My hunting partner had bought one of those cheap H&R single shots in that caliber and had an equally cheap 3x9 scope mounted on it. Anyway he offered it to me to try and so sure..why not? I leveled on a critter about 100-110 years out and hoped for the best. Look, I was astonished when I saw guts blow out of him. I never would have thought that little round had that kind of ability. It was not long before I bought my own .17 HMR (a Ruger 77/17) and never has there been a PD shoot that I have gone on where that round did not come along. If all your shots are never more than 150 yards or so it is just about as perfect a round as can be in my opinion.
My single shot hmr out shot 2 rugers repeatedly. It's now trimmed to 16" and wears a can and has killed a lot of vermin. Still fun as [beeep] to shoot.
It was my favorite PD rifle till I got a suppressor. It's quiet enough to not send them all back under ground every time you fire at one inside 200 yards.
It's perfect inside of 150 yards. If you have a windy day you might as well leave it at home though. Definitely wouldn't take it as my "primary" rifle but it sure is fun if the conditions are right. Shot a lot of them with the HMR when I lived in Montana but my all time favorite for prairie dogs is the .204 ruger.
One year we took 2 17 HMRs west for dogging, mid June with little ones around. I decided to just stick with my 223’s, simple. Yes we had shots at 100 yards & some under. I do like the 17 HMR for pest control, inside of 50 yards I like them very much.
just for clarification - the main reason folks are saying 150yds and under for the cartridge, aside from wind drift, is based on its MV and the terminal performance designs of the vmax bullets the cartridge primarily uses.

vmax are only engineered to expand dramatically at >1600 fps. the closer you get to there, the less... spectacular... the impact result is.

based on the MV and BC of a typical rifle/bullet combo for the HMR, somewhere just shy of 150 yds is when the bullet falls below that velocity threshold, therefore often turning it into the proverbial ice-pick, barring it doesnt make contact with something relatively substantial (bone) during its travels thru the furcoated meat sacks we're throwing it at.

at 100-125 yds... impacts are usually spectacularly impressive. at 150-175... usually quite lackluster on the terminal performance department.

My experience is much like 204AR's.

My longest shot (and it was mortared in with the first two shots) is 308yds. That bullet went through a pup without expanding. I think the velocity at that point would be too slow to expand even the minute 17gr Vmax.

However, to echo 204AR's comments, when you have high volume shooting inside of 150yds with uneducated pups there really isn't anything better and more cost efficient. You won't get the high back flips and the massive explosions like you would with a centerfire, but you do get them dead.

I've always said that they would be perfect with a supressor, because the report of the rifle is very minimal.
I’ve had great luck with the 17 hmr. They seem to not scare the pd from the mild report. I’ve shot out to 300yds with plenty of kills. That was about the end of the bullets effective range in my opinion. 200yds or less was super fun. My rifle had a scope with mildots so I could adjust for hold over and wind. Out of all the pd hunting if done the 17 hunts were my favorite.
I know these are some OLDER post, but I enjoy reading different opinions. As for me, I've only shot P Dogs once, two years ago. Looking to go again April /May 2024. I used my Savage .17 HMR with Great success. Since then I have the CZ 457 .22 & 17 HMR. (Bull Barrels) I use them for Pig Matches shooting 6X8 inch Metal Pigs at 235 yards with great success. The 17 HMR likes the VNT, My 17 Savage HATES the Hollow Points, They do not feed. Savage is aware of the problem but has no fix. Some PD I had to pop twice for humane reason. It just punches holes in them for the most part. But then again, they are rats! Anyone out there can guide me to a place to shoot in Colorado would be greatly appreciated as most will keep these areas to themselves. I'm in Arizona so need plenty of targets to make it worth the travel if you please.
The past couple of years, I've started using my 17 HMR before going to center fire. 17 gr VMax does the trick. With the suppressor, I get so many more shots before they go down.

I walk the fields to get the best advantage with the wind. When the wind is really strong, I relocate to shoot into the wind or with the wind and still have great success. Walking the fields, I really have to watch for snakes.

17 HMR & PD.jpg