I have been wanting a .17 HMR for years. But could never justify purchasing one as the round is almost as expensive as a .223 yet barely has better range than a .22LR. But I have always loved how small and sleek the round is and how pleasant the rifles are to shoot.
A couple months ago, the range near my house had an event sponsored by Sportsman’s Warehouse where all of their firearm and bow vendors were invited. And most of them accepted. When you arrive, you buy tickets. Each caliber cost a specific amount of tickets per shot or per group of shots. Like any true keeper of testosterone would do, I spent quite a few tickets on the Barrett .50 and the Savage chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum. Well, I also got to shoot probably 10 other rifle calibers (and a bunch of pistol as well). But I always found myself wanting to shoot that Savage 93R17TRR-SR. I hogged that thing up for a good 10+ tickets worth. I think each ticket got me 5 shots.
So as soon as I left, I went straight down to Sportsman’s Warehouse to buy one. All they had in stock was a different 93R17 that felt like it had a little kid’s stock on it. Or some horrible abortion of a gun with a laminate thumbhole stock made with bright red and blue wood. The basic little kid version was $230. The abortion was a little over $400. They couldn’t even get me a price on the one I shot at the event. So I talked to another gun shop which quoted me around $480 for the one I shot at the event or $440 for the version without the terrible quad rail thing the TRR-SR has.
Wow, over $400 with no scope or ammo or anything? I could get a decent gun in a real caliber for that and I REALLY want something chambered in 25 WSSM.
Well, weeks went by and I came across Cabela’s running a deal on a silencer ready (like the TRR-SR) model for just $230. So I called them to make sure it was in stock and drove straight there. Turns out, it had the same kid’s stock, and while it was a threaded barrel, it was a skinny little needle dick barrel. However, right next to it, was a Marlin. It had a very basic cheap wood stock. But it had the fat barrel. I felt it, and wow, it was actually made for an adult. The stock was slick and about slipped out of my hand and right through their glass display case. But it had a trigger that is supposedly very similar to the Savage (the Cabela’s employee told me they were identical, this is not the case) and a couple sling swivels so mounting a bipod would be easy. It did not come with sights at all which I think is good as it makes for a cleaner look and does not leave an easily rusted hole in the barrel.
The Marlin was just $20 more than the little kid Savage with the needle dick barrel. It wins. I took it home. And the next day stripped it apart to get ready to paint. After taking all the components off, I spend about 15 minutes sanding the stock to rough it up so the paint would stick.
Here is the stock after the first coat of paint:
And here is the stock on the gun put back together all painted and dry after 2 days of coating then allowing to dry:
As soon as I bought it I began the search for the scope. I have typically had cheap scopes. However, after purchasing a Vortex Viper for my .300 Win Mag, I have been spoiled and must have better glass. I wanted to stay under $300 as I did not want the scope to cost that much more than the gun. Especially for something that realistically is useless over 300 yards. Under $300 you get all the Chinese garbage that is surprisingly overpriced such as: BSA, Barska, NCStar, etc… Over $300 you move into some decent scopes, but usually lower power until you get around the $450-$500 price range. I turned to Natchez who I have purchased scopes from before and found the winner. A Weaver V24 6-24×42 that can focus down to 50 feet. Turns out this is the same scope that my cousin uses for silhouette competition. It was on sale for $270 off from the regular price of well over $500. Granted, they can be had for about $340 online, but $270 was still a great price.
Now since I was already paying shipping from Natchez, I figured I would add some rings and a bipod to the order. The bipod I got last time for my .300 Win Mag was out of stock. As was every variant of that bipod. So I took a chance and ordered a UTG OP-1 Picatinny mount bipod. It comes with the picatinny adapter and an extension for the sling mount. It looked pretty slick and was cheap. Turns out it is very solid feeling. It does not swivel, but I found I dislike swiveling bipods.
And slap the whole contraption together and we get this:
All said and done, I have a gun that should shoot just as well as the Savage, I think looks just as good, with a quality scope and decent bipod for around $70 more than the Savage would have cost me without any accessories.