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Can You Shoot 17 HMR in a 17 WSM Rifle [Surprising]

L.p. Brezny | Updated February 25, 2024 | Why You Should Trust Us | How We Earn Money
Can you shoot 14 HMR in a 17 WSM rifle cover photo showing hands loading a magazine with bullets in black and white

The 17-caliber cartridges are some of the best we have in the market. But just because one categorizes them in the same family, does it mean you can shoot a 17 HMR in a 17 WSM? Keep reading to find out.

More Reading: Best Scopes For The 17 HMR

After reading this, I’d highly suggest you check out our article on the best scopes for the 17 HMR.

So: Can You Shoot 17 HMR in a 17 WSM Rifle?

The 17 HMR (Hornady Magnum Rimfire) and the 17 WSM (Winchester Super Magnum) have a few similarities, such as caliber and bullet diameter. So, can you shoot 17 HMR in a 17 WSM rifle? The simple answer is no because they also have a few differences.

Here’s the deal: you can’t safely fire a 17 HMR in a 17 WSM. The psi of the 17 HMR cartridge is about 26000 psi, while the 17 WSM cartridge is about 33000 psi.

That pressure difference makes shooting a 17 HMR cartridge in a 17 WSM rifle unsafe.

The 17 HMR was introduced in 2002 by Hornady as a rimfire cartridge for small game hunting. With a bullet diameter of .172 inches and a case length of 1.058 inches, the cartridge has attracted many shooters because of its accuracy potential and high velocity. (Reference 1: Can You Shoot 17 HMR)

This rifle uses a 17-grain bullet that can travel about 2550 fps, making it an excellent choice for shooters and hunters who require accuracy at midrange shooting.

On the other hand, the 17 WSM was developed around 2013 by Winchester. It’s a descendant of the .27 caliber and was introduced as a rimfire cartridge for predator hunting and long-range shooting.

And just like the HMR, the bullet diameter for 17 WSM is .172 inches, but the case length is slightly longer, measuring 1.200 inches.

The 17 WSM uses a 20-grain bullet that travels up to 3,000 fps, making it among the fastest rimfire cartridges you’ll find on the market today. (Reference 2: 17 WSM Rifle)

Three different types of bullets in a palm

What Are the Dangers Associated with Shooting a 17 HMRS in a 17 WSM Rifle?

Here are some of the reasons why you shouldn’t fire a 17 HMR in a 17 WSM rifle.

  1. Pressure problems: From the features we’ve discussed of these cartridges, a 17 WSM has been designed to operate at a higher pressure than a 17 HMR cartridge. Trying to fire a 17 HMR cartridge in a 17 WSM rifle will lead to issues, particularly overpressure, resulting in injuries or damage to the firearm.
  2. Chambering issues: The 17 WSM is longer than the 17 HMR. Attempting to load a 17 HMR in a 17 WSM chamber will cause the bullet to get stuck. This can cause the gun to malfunction.
  3. Accuracy issues: Lastly, the ballistic profiles for both these cartridges differ. Trying to fire a 17 HMR in a 17 WSM rifle can lead to accuracy problems because of varying bullet weights and velocities.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between the 17 HMR and the 17 WSM?

The main difference between the 17 HMR and the 17 WSM is speed. The 17 WSM fires a bullet at 3000 fps, while the HMR fires a bullet at 2550 fps.

Is 17 HMR and WSM the same?

The 17 HMR and the WSM aren’t the same cartridges. Both cartridges share the same caliber but are very different and shouldn’t be interchanged.

Is 17 WSM being discontinued?

The 17 WSM hasn’t been discontinued. The ammo is still in production but in lower volumes than when it was introduced in the market in 2013.

What rifle uses 17 HMR ammo?

Rifles that use the 17 HMR ammo include Ruger American Rimfire, Savage A17, Alexander Arms Tactical, and Henry Varmint Express.


  1. Eric Conn, “.22 vs. .17 HMR: Which Cartridge is Better?”, Retrieved from: https://resources.mossberg.com/journal/which-cartridge-is-better
  2. John Dunn, “Ruger’s 77/17 a .17WSM that shoots!”, Retrieved from: https://nioa-dpdg-prod.azureedge.net/uploads/products/7717WSMR/Ruger%2077-17WSM%20Review.pdf

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