Caliber is Important



The very basics of firearm parts is essential knowledge prior to actually operating one. Every firearm is a specific caliber and only the matching caliber cartridges will fire correctly from each respective firearm. The caliber is stamped on the barrel of each firearm in the factory when it is made and in some cases, the caliber can be found on the lower receiver of AR type rifles.

Ammo and firearm matching is a basic skill taught in several types of shooting classes as well as in hunter education courses. Safety is key. Knowledge is safety.

There was a teachable moment at the gun counter this morning.

Within the last week, a young person came in to purchase a Ruger Precision rimfire rifle chambered in .17 HMR (Hornady Magnum Rimfire). Now Ruger makes the rifle pictured here in three calibers: .17HMR, .22LR and .22WM. There are several rimfire rounds and on our store shelf we have these three and another, the. 17WSM. All four of these rounds are pictured here as well. However, only one fits into the rifle purchased. Ammo boxes are also clearly marked with what is inside the box. At the store, only new ammo is sold and boxes are sealed and there are no returns on sold ammunition for safety and liability purposes.

Rimfire cartridges, pictured here, do not always have their stamped caliber on them so it is important to know what you are purchasing and to not just throw rounds you have under the seat in your vehicle excepting your firearm to fire them correctly.

Left to right the four cartridges pictured are .17HMR, .17WSM, .22LR and .22WM.

This is the rifle purchased. The person specifically asked for the Ruger Precision Rimfire in .17HMR.


The young person purchased ammo on another occasion or had ammo, and took the rifle out to shoot. He was perplexed as he could not fit the ammo into the mag of the .17HMR rifle that he wanted and purchased. He just so happened to have some .22LR with him and decided he should see if they would fit into the mag and the chamber of the rifle since we obviously sold him the wrong gun (he stated when he brought it into the store this morning.) He actually fired a couple of .22LR rounds through this thing. A .22LR bullet is larger than a .17HMR bullet as obviously shown in the photo above. So, if you know firearms, you know what the inside of his barrel looks like now. If you don’t, the larger. 22LR bullet left a lot of pieces and nicks and gouges if you will, along the length of the barrel.

The reason the ammo he thought was for the gun he wanted and purchased didn't fit into the mag or the chamber is because he was trying to force .17WSM cartridges into a .17HMR mag and chamber. This particular rifle doesn't even come in .17WSM. So either this person was in a hurry, or clearly needs some education, which they humbly received this morning, and hopefully they will not make the same mistake again.

This young person was very lucky to say the least, that this barrel didn’t blow up, most likely due to the small calibers and small amounts of powder used in this situation. Had this been a larger caliber, they could have been seriously injured.

Firearm parts and operation are simple and easy skills to acquire, however that doesn't mean that you can just pick one up and use it without any instruction or training. If you think firearms are scary, it is only because you’re unaware of how to operate them. For the safety of yourself and everyone around you, be sure you know and understand what you’re doing and don’t pretend to be a know-it-all when it comes to using firearms for any purpose. There are no stupid questions. If you don't know, ask. Those of us who do know, will gladly help or point you in the right direction.


Jessica Haavisto

ReelCamo Girl Pro-Staff


Facebook: Jessica L Haavisto




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