On Newsstands Now!


Get a copy delivered to your door every month for just $19.95 a year or $34.95 for 2 years. Click here to subscribe.

Savage B-MAG 17 Winchester Super Magnum

I’d had a Savage B-MAG 17 Winchester Super Magnum on order for a while, and when it showed up I was a little disappointed. The rifle is very small – like a youth model .22 – but the biggest problem is in the design.

When the bolt is closed and I extend my index finger to get it on the trigger, my finger contacts the bolt. It is so bad I had to position my hand on the wrist of the rifle in a way that was not comfortable.

Now that I have given you the “cons” on this rifle, let’s talk about some of the “pros.” It has the famous Savage Accu-Trigger and a real nice rotary magazine that holds 8 rounds of the fastest little, tiny bullets you have ever seen.

The available ammo is Winchester-only at this time, but if this caliber catches on, there will surely be other companies joining in. The two offerings from Winchester are a 25-grain polymer tip that leaves the barrel at an advertised 2,600 fps and a 20-grain polymer tip that leaves the barrel at a whopping 3,000 fps.

That’s fast!

The .17 HMR 20-grain bullet moves about 2,400 fps. The .17 WSM means a lot flatter shooting, better wind resistance and better terminal performance. This equates to the downrange energy at 150 yards being more than twice that of the .17 HMR. When this little bullet is sighted-in at 100 yards it only drops 4 inches at 200 yards. This means an all-around more efficient round than the .17 HMR. Now, if Winchester would concentrate more production capacity on this ammo, you could find them at or close to normal retail, instead of up to 10 times the normal retail price.

Once I got a scope on this little fireball of a rifle, I was off to the range. I managed to get a total of 2,000 rounds – half of them in 20-grain and the other half in 25-grain. I intended to shoot most of them – or until I grew tired.

The rotary magazine is easy to load and fits nice and flush under the stock. This is a plus when you are in the woods, because it does not protrude and get hung up on things that want to reach out and grab your rifle (like twigs and vines).

The bolt is smooth and locks up nice and tight with the solid feel you would expect from a more expensive gun. The Accu-Trigger is what I have come to expect from Savage, with a nice, no-creep, solid, smooth pull.

It had been a while since I had shot a rimfire rifle. What a surprise when I pulled the trigger and experienced NO recoil! But, who would expect recoil from a little rimfire?

After firing a few rounds to get it sighted-in, I was off to the 100-yard range on what was a calm to light wind day. This little bullet is more than remarkable, as my chronograph measured the 20-grain bullets moving at 3,080 fps average and the 25-grain traveling at 2,660 fps.

Both were a little faster than Winchester advertised, but not enough to be a concern.

The trigger broke cleanly at 2.8 pounds, which is perfect for a long-range varmint gun, and it is easily adjusted by the shooter. As with most newer Savages, the barrel is free-floated in a hard, synthetic, very durable stock. The metal is coated with a weather-proofing that should keep rust to a minimum when exposed to wet weather.

The rifle is cocked when the bolt is closed, which is just the opposite of most rifles that cock the firing pin when the bolt is pulled back. However, this is not a problem and might be a little safer.

This little rifle comes drilled and tapped for a scope and includes scope bases. My bases were already mounted on the rifle, but I took them off and added a little Loctite. It also comes with the Savage soft recoil pad, but I’m not sure why, as there is no felt recoil. Maybe I didn’t feel any because my most recent range time was with a .416 Rigby, and I am still numb from that experience.

The Savage B-MAG 17 Winchester Super Magnum comes with front and rear sling studs already mounted. As light as this rifle is (weighing in at around 4.5 lbs.) you won’t notice it on your shoulder or in your hands.

Both the pistol grip and fore grip have heavy texturing for a secure grip, even with wet hands.

The groups I shot with both the 20-grain and 25-grain ammo were disappointing. Some were under a 1/2 inch and others more than 1-3/4 inches. The chronographed ammo had a velocity spread of nearly 70 fps, which is probably the reason for such large differences in the groups.

Most factory ammo has a spread in the 20 to 30 fps range, and good handloads vary only 5 to 10 fps. I was truly disappointed in the accuracy of this rifle, due to shooting the only ammo available. This rifle/ammo combination is marketed as a 200-yard varmint gun, but the groups of 1.75 inches at 100 yards on a calm day equate to groups of 3.5 inches at 200 yards.

Both of my .17 HMRs shoot groups of 1/2-inch at 100 yards, but I also have several flavors or .17 HMR ammo to choose from to find the most accurate load. Other than the bolt that rubs my finger and the lack of accuracy with the only available ammo, this is a pretty good rifle. Taking into consideration all of the Savage rifles I have shot over the years, I suspect the accuracy problems are a product of the ammo and not the rifle.

I have shot and owned a pile of Savage rifles, and all of them are very accurate. It is too bad Hornady does not make ammo for this rifle, as I’ll bet it would shoot much more accurately.

At this time I am going to keep this gun in hopes other companies will soon offer some different ammo choices, but at this time, this is not a rifle/ammo combo I can recommend.

If all firearms were treated as if they were loaded, there would be no more accidental shootings. Shoot Straight, Shoot Safe!


Jim Hammond has had some sort of gun in his hand since he was 5 years old. He started with a Daisy BB gun as a small boy, and with careful instruction from his very safety-minded father, has become a skilled and knowledgeable shooter now willing to share his knowledge and experience as he has FUN SHOOTING. “Safety first and everything else will follow.”