We have made the decision to no longer offer the .17 WSM in the Contender. We have now seen more variation in the ammunition, making it difficult to maintain the tolerances that we require in our custom barrels to hold up to our accuracy guarantee. This factor, and the bullet stabilization as mentioned in our previous update (below) have created too many variable for our liking. In addition, the firing system of the Contender and G2 actions is not the same as the rimfire systems used by the bolt action rifles offering the .17 WSM. This slight variation in firing pin strike positioning, paired with the variable ammo dimensions can lead to misfires. This doesn't make us happy and it certainly isn't the experience we want our customers to have.
Customers who have already taken delivery of .17 WSMs made by us are welcome to return those barrels for rechambering to .17 caliber centerfire rounds for just the cost of shipping. Refinishing and restamping to the new caliber will be included at no charge.
We have produced quite a few of these now and are hearing from those shooters that the 20 gr. bullets are performing well, but the 25 gr. seem to need a tighter-than-our-standard twist as they are printing sideways at range. We have yet to test either ammo in a 1:9 twist barrel, but it is our suggestion at this stage should you be planning on using the heavier bullets. 17 Caliber barrels in 9 twist require a special order Douglas barrel and therefore carry a premium price.
We have confirmed that the .17 WSM does work with the standard rimfire firing pin in the Contender and G2 actions. To date we have concluded a testing session using a newly built Encore barrel and our Bullberry-designed and made Rimfire Adapter (as described on our Accessories page). Unfortunately we have found that this angled pin design will not detonate these oversized rimfire cases. Since we have no intention to make offset pinned barrels, nor can we increase the angle of the rimfire pin in our adapter it is decided that the .17 WSM will only be available in the smaller T/C actions, or in select rimfire bolt actions as a rebarrel.
We are currently running a 4-month lead-time on average, so if you're interested in having a .17 WSM for the upcoming varmint season, now is a great time to order.
I'm leaving our original information on this page (below) for reference as to our initial concerns and the limited ammo availability plaguing the cartridge's release.
Original post (6/5/13):
We have received so many calls and emails regarding this new rimfire cartridge in the last few months it only made sense to add a note about its future availability in our custom barrels.
For starters, we plan to chamber for it, so you are welcome to place an order at any time. HOWEVER . . . this chambering won't be available immediately. Over the years we have rushed to add new reamers to our collection and have in turn regretted it. Until Winchester has a steady supply of the .17 WSM on shelves throughout the country, AND we're able to have a small variety of cartridges in our hands we will be patiently waiting. Once cartridges from different case lots can be measured we will order a custom reamer to minimum specs and begin chambering! To date (9/19/13) we have received one box of ammo from a customer and are beginning the testing process.
As this cartridge only debuted at the 2013 SHOT Show in January, we anticipate continued delays before the ammo is readily available. Please be patient with us while we wait to ensure the best possible chambering! Current industry "gossip" is suggesting full availability during the holiday season.
Initial information and measurements of the .17 WSM lead us to worry that our custom rimfire firing pin bushings will need to be modified or redesigned for this cartridge to be usable in the Encore. This would be as a result of the larger-than-standard-rimfire rim and body diameters. This issue will also require testing of the cartridge in the Classic Contender or G2 frames to ensure the factory rimfire pin is offset enough for consistent detonation.
If you have any further questions regarding the .17 Win. Super Mag. feel free to contact us.