The Ruger 10/22 is one of the most popular and widely available rifles ever made. Over four million of these handy little guns have come off Ruger's lines since 1964. It's so well known in fact that it's on the banner of our website. With that being said, some of the subvariants of this go-cart are super rare and this rarity leads to an interest in these guns all out of proportion. There may be no better case of this than the 10/22 rifle chambered for the zippy .17 HMR round, the 10/17.
The Classic 10/22 was the design starting point for the short-lived 10/17
Why the .17HMR
Firearms do damage to their target due to the mathematical factor of weight x velocity = energy. If you have a round that travels fast enough, it can still cause a lot of damage downrange even if it's very lightweight due to this factor. In 2002, Hornady released their .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire, commonly known as the .17 HMR to the public as an example of this. Taking a super-lightweight 15-20 grain bullet (about half the size of a typical .22LR), putting it the case of the longer .22WMR, making it centerfire and giving it a little more propellant pushed the tiny bullet out at over 2500fps. This gave an impressive 250-ft.lbs of energy downrange. This meant that in the same size cartridge as your average 22, you could have twice the performance, a longer range, and laser-like accuracy with less likelihood of a ricochet.
The 10/17, produced from 2004-06 only, is well liked and often customized greatly as this one shows.
The 10/17 Specs
When the cartridge was introduced in 2002, it created a stir in the gun community and soon buyers were writing and calling their favorite manufacturers to see just when they had a .17HMR rifle coming out. Within months, all of the big names had one on the drawing board. Ruger decided that since it was a .22-sized round, all that was needed was a simple redesign of their standard 22 to pull off the new 17. Changing out the 18.5-inch 22-caliber barrel for a 20-inch 17-caliber version and modifying the action to the slightly different dimensions pulled off the trick well. Instead of the 10-round rotary 22LR mag of the 10/22, these slightly different dimensions required the same larger, nine-shot magazine as the 10/22 Magnum. To handle the pressures of the hot new round, the 10/17 was designed from the outset with a steel receiver and bolt.
The 10/17 is quick to spot with its flat buttstock and the absence of the barrel band on the forend.
Introduction and short life
On January 16, 2004 the following was released by Ruger, " Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. (NYSE: RGR), the nation's largest firearms manufacturer, announced today the introduction of the new Ruger 10/17 Magnum Rifle. The Ruger 10/17 Magnum Rifle is designed to take advantage of the exciting new, flat shooting .17 HMR cartridge that took the shooting industry by storm in 2003.
The Ruger 10/17 Magnum Rifle features a new rifle-style hardwood stock that shoulders quickly and is light and easy to handle. The new stock is slimmer, with an increased length of pull and a tapered forend consistent with its rifle styling. A flat, synthetic buttpad replaces the curved carbine-style buttpad on the Ruger 10/22 Magnum Carbine, and the barrel band featured on Carbine models has been eliminated on the 10/17 Magnum Rifle. "
The problem was that aftermarket parts makers, anxious to get in on the 17 bandwagon, sold conversion kits for owners of steel receiver Ruger's 10/22 Magnum carbine to convert their old gun to the new round. Here is where the problem came in. Apparently, some bought the kit to use with aluminum receiver 10/22s and the rest is kaboom history.
With problems out there like this through no fault of their own, Ruger pulled the plug on the 10/17 and by 2006 it was no longer in their catalog. The fact that the guns were never made in great quantity and the steel receiver meant that the MSRP was much higher than the regular 10/22 also contributed to their demise as a viable product.
This super abbreviated lifespan, just three years from introduction to quiet fade away, had given this gun something of a cult status with collectors. Today these guns often go over $600 in good condition when you find them.
If you can find them.