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I'm looking at getting a single action army style revolver and am torn between 22 mag and 17 hmr. There are both calibers available on buds for cheap, by either heritage or Chiappa. On Chiappa has the 17 hmr but it's only 5 bucks more. It would be mostly for plinking but I'm also curious which would be more effective as a manstopper if it came right down to it. The .17 seems a little gimmicky in a revolver but for 160 bucks I don't mind taking a chance on a gimmick. Logic says the heavier bullet would win, but from what I've seen with varmint hunting etc, 17 hmr seems to do more damage than 22 mag. Any thoughts or experience?
 

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I'm with you on what I've seen 17 HMR do to varmints vs 22 mag, but I just read this break down:

Compared: .17 HMR and .22 WMR (Magnum)

And it basically says at <50 yds, the stopping power and bullet size of the 22 mag is going to be a winner (as in with a pistol).

The 17 HMR shines at 100+ yards in trajectory, accuracy, velocity, and maintenance of ft pounds of energy.

But at <50 yds (as in with a pistol), I'd probably go 22 mag.
 
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It's that old trade off between bullet weight/diameter and velocity. In a revolver, I doubt there would be much advantage to the .17 over the .22 mag, since there is .22mag designed specifically for short barrels. Hornady has a 45gr ftx that is nearly as effective as a .380 in short barrels. I don't think there is a .17 that is designed for short barrels so the velocity advantage would be minimal. JMO.

There's also a loss of velocity due to pressure bleed off in a revolver due to the cylinder gap, in addition to the shorter barrel as BBTI discusses.

BBTI - Ballistics by the Inch :: Cylinder Gap
 
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Just as you said with the heavier 22mag would win out over the 17, the 380 will win out over the 22 mag. Even Hornady's own specs reflect this.

As far as the 22 mag or the 17 I would get the 22 mag.
 
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