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anyone have a 17 mach 4??
toad67 Member Posts: 12,218 ✭✭✭✭
edited October 2019 in Ask the Experts
Have a chance to get one on a 700 action. Comes with brass, dies and some loaded ammo too. Never played with a 17, and reading about it, it looks like a guy needs to be on top of things. Anyone have any experience with this wildcat? TIA...
Lots of reading if you search 17 mach 4
I have both the 17 Mach IV and the 17 Rem. Fireball.
I've been loading for the Mach IV for 24 years now and the Fireball for about 8 years. There's really not enough difference between the two to make a case for it.
Yes, you need to be on top of your game when loading for this cartridge. The small capacity leaves almost no room for even the slightest error.
I know that the folks familiar with the case will laugh but my favorite powder is IMR-3031 with the grains being so long you nearly have to load the case one grain at a time. But my best accuracy has been with IMR-8208 BRX, 15 shots into about 0.200 at 100 yards. This included the infamous 'cold bore' shot from a clean barrel.
Shooting on bluebird days is really the best when the slightest wind can blow these tiny lightweight bullets into the next county. However, a few of us did accept the challenge of shooting at 1,000 yards for a few months. We were using 37 grain custom made bullets through 26" barrels. Surprisingly for most, on the calmer days, every bullet made it to the target. Add a little wind and 50% was a miracle!
I like the cartridge even though my big hands make it tedious to handle those miniature bullets when loading.
Oh, and don't believe all those hyper velocity claims either. I run the 25 grain Hornady almost exclusively although I tried shooting some 15 grain bullets a couple of times...
An interesting concept wildcat that was the equivalent of Sudoku for hand loaders looking to explore accuracy and velocity and bullet weight and architecture and powder and OAL profile and primer / brass selection combinations...
Rifling type and twist rate and direction - barrel crown and chamber designs - wind speed and chronographs and stock type and OAW - scope selection...
It's a complex puzzle with infinite variables and serves no actual purpose beyond fun and intellectual puzzles / a hobby.
Needless to say projectile selection is rather limited and component choices are rather scarce.
While I enjoyed some tinkering with it and with the .270 Gibbs and .256 Newton and the believe it or not the much more common .236 Lee Navy and .700 Nitro Express that aspect of the game is not really within my mental warehouse.
But please do post your experiences and real life usage - so the rest of us can live vicariously through your eyes...
It's a very mild cartridge with little recoil but excellent accuracy potential when shooting small game. I have used it primarily for shooting jack rabbits out on the desert. They are considered to be vermin so there is no season, we can shoot them all year 'round. The Mach IV is also a first choice for prairie dogs early in the morning and when they aren't skittish, with the usual shots running about 200 yards and under. We switch cartridges when the wind starts to come up.
Brass prep from .221 Fireball is relatively simple with one intermediate case die for .20 caliber, then the final .17 Mach IV full length sizing die. I did 500 in each of two sessions without hand fatigue so it's just a couple of hours of concentration while running the press. The powder charge will really stretch a one pound bottle of powder! I run nearly 18 grains for the 25 grain Hornady over IMR 8208 BRX. That's 388 loads for that combination as compared to the 46 loads of slow powder I get for the .338 SnipeTac!
I recommend the .17 Mach IV to nearly everyone as long as they have some skill with reloading.