I've shot 18's but I too didn't know they made 15's. I shot H322 with the 18's and ran somewhere in the ball park of 4300 from a 21" barrel. I shot a few groundhogs with them but I felt they had a pretty short effective range on a varmint that big and tough. Had several manage to crawl back to the hole and I didn't like that happening. On the other end of the spectrum the 30 Berger MEF is just flat wicked.
I always wanted to try the 15 grainers, but never could find any. Next best thing for me was 19 grain Calhoons. My objectives were reduced velocity & lighter report, but with consistent accuracy. BlueDot has worked great for me in that application.
My loads in 17MachIV with 24" barrel:
19 grain Calhoon DHP 9.0 gr. BlueDot 3495 fps
19 grain Calhoon DHP 9.5 gr. BlueDot 3564 fps
Starke 20 gr. RPVP 10.0 gr. BlueDot 3642 fps
These BlueDot loads were very consistent and clean burning. Also the report is more of a loud pop than the usual boom sound. Gotta be really careful not to double charge with BlueDot. The load density is low and it's not really a low pressure load, so double charging could be very bad mojo. I had a few runners on solid hits out around a hundred yards on groundhogs. It's definitely a short range proposition done this way. Never tried to see how fast I could push them. That could be an interesting project too.
very accurate. Exploded Montana gophers just fine.
I also loaded a lot of 17 HMR 17 grain Vmaxes in 17AH,,great results. I liked the miniboat tail for ease of fingering them into case mouths just before running up into seater die.
However, using 17 caliber rifles seems to now make me more interested in the heavier bullets, at least for Montana ground squirrels. The "norm" bullet my gopher shooting buddies use the most is the 20 Vmax, but I think the new 25 Vmax is the next "let's load a bunch of them" bullet for us. Especially since my 221FB CZ 527 is ready for the PacNor 17 cal 9" twist SS Match barrel I have. Slowed down for the holidays. The action has had the front action ring 'faced' to give a true flat for measuring purposes.
Gonna have a 17 Mach IV in the next week or so. I need to order a BUNCH of Vmax 17 cals soon.
The 15 Bergers should make a fine "crow in tree top" bullet if you are able to take aerial shots where you are. Hopefully [?] it might destabilize before it starts it's downward trajectory. Light, super fast, quick to DEstabilize bullets is what I thought would be nice for 17s. The 15 grain Berger is the closest to it.
.1" in the case-neck. Rifle is a Cooper M21 (has the newer short-throat chamber). Did these load experiments thinking of the really stupid close-range pups. Longest shot with them was around 200yds and they were like a lazer. With a BC similar to a toaster-oven, long range shooting is pointless. Do most shooting of the Mach IV using Berger 25gr Match HP @ 3850fps.
I played with them in my 22" Sako Mach IV just for kicks. I was able to reach 4700 fps with them using N-120 powder. Start at around 16.5 grains, and go from there.
The first shot I took with them at a prairie dog was right at 300 yards, shooting out the window. He just tipped over, not too exciting and about what I expected given the remarkable velocity loss due to the poor B.C. Closer shots were more fun, but that little bullet just doesn't have enough mass to totally disassemble a big prairie dog. It's hard to explain, the effect was quite different and interesting. Give them a try just for the educational value..
A forum community dedicated to varmint den hunters and enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about optics, hunting, gunsmithing, styles, reviews, accessories, classifieds, varmint calls, guides, and more!