The 17 Mach 2 is, as its title suggests, a 17-caliber. It shoots bullets .172” in diameter. The case is a CCI 22 Stinger case necked down to hold the .172 bullet. About the same time it came to market, Aguilla launched its 17 Aguilla based on the standard 22 Long Rifle case length, so it was for a time the smallest commercial cartridge, but it’s no longer made, from what I’ve been able to uncover. The Aguilla reportedly pushed a 17-grain bullet 1,850 fps. The Mach 2 takes it to 2,100 fps, which is pretty close to the speed of sound, which is why it was given the racy sounding Mach 2 handle.
Hornady was the creative force behind the Mach 2 following its wildly successful 17 HMR release in 2002. But by the Mach 2’s release in 2004, most rimfire hungry shooters had already bought the HMR, so found little need for a shorter 17 that went 400 fps slower. Shooter interest quickly died and so did the cartridge. Ammo companies stopped loading it. But Savage, I’ve heard, never stopped making at least a few rifles to shoot it. I don’t think T/C did either. You could get barrels for the Contender handguns and rifles, too.
Somewhere along the line shooter interest climbed and suddenly the 17 Mach 2 is a hot — or at least relatively warm — property. You might want to consider it. Here’s why:
World’s Smallest Rifle Cartridge (and friends) — Ron Spomer Outdoors is written by Ron Spomer for www.ronspomeroutdoors.com