17hmr or 22mag for turkey


August 30, 2009, 05:41 PM
I am going to buy a Marlin in one of these rounds. Which one for Florida Osceola? My shots distance will be 60-130 yards.

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August 30, 2009, 05:46 PM
I can't use rifles where I'm from, but if its legal for you I would go for the .17. It will probably damage less and still do a good job.

August 30, 2009, 05:52 PM
.17 will give you flatter trajectory. I group 1.5" 100 yards with my .22 mag, but it's not as flat as a .17 and either will do the job once it hits. I don't have a place to hunt 'em and the time I did hunt 'em, the ranch required shotguns. Shame, cause I'd much rather use the rifle. It's a better tool for the job IMHO and it's legal in Texas. I managed to bag a turkey, anyway.

August 30, 2009, 06:04 PM
My concern with the 17hmr is if I hit the body a little lower than I would like, will it penetrate a lot of feathers and make a good kill. I know it is accurate, but I really don't think head shots are reasonable with turkeys, because of all that head jiving they do. I am caught between the two calibers.

August 30, 2009, 06:11 PM
given the speeds you are working with (2300-2500 FPS)... I would not be worried about the feathers being much of an obstacle...

then again, screw kevlar.. give me some feathers...

August 30, 2009, 06:21 PM
the 17HMR shoots so flat and is so accurate head and neck shots would be a cinch out to 75yds and the little bullets are so explosive I'll wager such a shot would pop their head clean off. Out past that the bullet has bled off enough velocity to allow for body shots without excessive meat damage This is how I hunted squirrels back when I had a 17 using 20grn gamepoint ammo

August 30, 2009, 06:34 PM
and the little bullets are so explosive I'll wager such a shot would pop their head clean off.

So, turkey, you just gotta ask yourself....do I feel lucky....

Don't they offer various bullets, solids, in 17? I'd think a solid with a flat point would kill just fine with a body hit and not mess up much meat.

August 30, 2009, 06:42 PM
I shot a bearded hen last year (7-1/4") with my 325WSM 180gr. Both breast were not worth straining for meat. So I need something smaller, but I have never shot the 17 or 22mag and I don't want to go to the other extreme and get to small of a round. Has anyone ever shot a bobcat or coyote with the 17 and noted how much penetration. Did it pass through? This might help with my decision. By the way, was that bearded hen a freak or is that common? I see about 50 Osceolas a year and have never seen one with a beard.

August 30, 2009, 06:55 PM
Well, I KNOW you can get a flat point solid in .22 mag and the larger diameter might make it worth getting instead. I was just thinkin' of the .17s flat trajectory. I can tell ya, at 100 yards, dead turkey with my 597 Mag. It shoots 1.5" at 100 yards and I could stretch it to 130 yards with some practice, probably. I haven't shot it beyond 100, shoots flat enough to that range. I have a box of flat nosed CCI Maximag solids in my ammo box for the rifle.

Kurt S.
August 30, 2009, 08:58 PM
The .17 might be fun.

Every turkey I've ever shot has been with a rifle. You can hunt Rio Grande turkeys down here in TX pretty much with any firearm. Eastern turkeys are shotgun only.

I've yet to get an Eastern turkey with a shotgun, no matter how much I try to sound like an ear of corn. :D

I took my first turkey in TX with a neck shot with a .243. All the others have been with a .22 mag hollowpoint.

August 30, 2009, 10:31 PM
I wish we could hunt them little pest with a rifle here in Kansas. I used to think that Turkerys were great now I have as much like for them as people do for ferral hogs. The field behind the house has on average 40-50 turkeys in a group per night. The most I have counted was approx 85 at one time. Now there is a large group of chicks about the size of crows running around the place. I would love to use my 22-250 or my .17 and treat them as pasture poodles for a couple days.:cuss:

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
September 4, 2009, 01:03 AM
I'd go .22 mag definitely, as it would be better for body shots - more penetration and less explosiveness to ruin the breast meat. The .17 would be fine for head shots, but the .22 mag is good for both head and body shots. Besides, it's hard to hit that head a-bobbin and a-weavin and a-peckin.

September 4, 2009, 02:05 AM
17 HMR hands down, i couldn't even tell you the last time I touched a 22. I have a heavy barrel on my HMR and its just scary at 100yds. You want some real fun get a 17 Fireball and blast 4000fps!

September 4, 2009, 09:11 AM
I've used a 22 Mag to down a pretty decent bird...I believe his beard was around the 10 inch mark and weighed a little over 20 pounds. One shot, DRT.

IF you can get one sighted in at shotgun ranges...take the head shot.

With high-powered rifles, get within your comfort range and take either a head shot or neck shot. That way, you won't have to strain the breast meat.

September 4, 2009, 11:45 AM
I neck shot a turkey with a v-max .17. Their neck is so thin that the even that v-max failed to expand. The hole out the skin on the other side didn't even bleed. Basically, all it did was paralize him, and I had to shoot him again. Yea, birds always flop around a lot, but this critter was still alive. Anyhow, I think a CCI Gampoint 20 gr. would be well suited for a body shot on a turkey. I like those bullets a lot for anything. They just holt togeter like a tiny game bullet.

Anyhow, either a .22 mag or .17 is probably fine, the .17 does lose energy pretty fast after 150 yds or so.

September 11, 2009, 08:54 AM
careful if you shoot broadside. the wingbone will stop a .22 round! Ask me how I know! I was just lucky that it stunned the bird enough to cause it to squat down and I got a head shot! I never shot at a turkey again with a rimfire!

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
September 11, 2009, 09:27 AM
And a .17 would be even worse (explosive). Which is why I said .22 mag, without any question, as the better choice. You're talking about a .22lr right wleggart?

September 11, 2009, 09:58 AM
A .22 mag solid will not be stopped by any bone in a turkey to 100 yards. I really would doubt if a hollow point could be stopped.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
September 11, 2009, 10:16 AM
Exactamundo. Nor will it ruin as much meat as either .17 cal rimfire.

September 11, 2009, 10:51 AM
22mag - much better choice for a large bird like a turkey. Think large bird, heavy feathers, thick body. You want good penetration, not rapid fragmentation. .17HMR is not a good choice for this application, especially since you intend to eat the turkey. Too much of a chance of damaged meat, and/or superficial flesh wounds allowing said turkey to escape to die slowly somewhere else. Leave the .17HMR for the ground squirrels, chipmunks and rabbits.

September 11, 2009, 11:13 AM
You want good penetration, not rapid fragmentation.

Right on. The HMR is a rapid fragmentation bullet with a diameter smaller than a BB. It is fantastic for varmits, etc.

Still, I'd go with the penetration of the 22 mag over the rapid fragmentation of the 17 hmr.

September 11, 2009, 02:21 PM
Clearly, nobody here has ever used a 20 grain CCI Gamepoint bullet in a .17 HMR. They do not fragment. They work very well on critters larger than those the 17 grain V-Max bullets are commonly used for. There may be less penetration than a .22 mag, but FAR more than a V-Max.

September 11, 2009, 02:51 PM
Wow. I learn something new everyday. NEVER even considered using anything but a shotgun for turkey. Is this common?


October 20, 2009, 09:37 PM
Thanks for all the info. I went with the 17hmr using 20gr. xtp hollow point hornady. I will let you know what happens to a turkey if I get to shoot one. I do know it won't pass through a coyote! (see my other thread)

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