Wet newspaper vs 25g .17cal Vmax vs 22LR 40g


Nov 3, 2012
Thought I’d see how a 17 calibre varmint bullet would fare in the wet newspaper test. I’m almost exclusively using the Hornady 25g Vmax in the 17 Fireball at present, loaded to a mild 3500fps muzzle velocity from the 20” bbl. Accuracy is excellent with this load.

I stacked up a wad of 9” of wet newspaper, though not totally saturated as it had a couple of winter days to slightly dry. I figured 9” would be enough to capture and stop the Vmax at the distance of 50 yards I intended to shoot it. It certainly was enough.

For a fun comparison I thought I’d shoot a 22LR 40g high velocity solid into the same stack at the same distance.

So the results:

25g Vmax
Impact speed 3250fps
Penetration 3.5 inches
Retained weight 6g
Expanded diameter .300

Here’s the interesting bit - the 40g 22LR which would have impacted around 1100fps at 50y - sailed right through the 9 inches of newspaper and if not for the dirt bank, might still be going as far as I know!

The 22 obviously expanded very little if at all from the looks of the newspaper.

Anyway a couple of pics. The Fireball is the top hole...

One inch into the stack


Two inches


Three inches


The recovered Vmax


The shallow penetration, explosive expansion and almost complete breakup of the Vmax didn’t surprise me. The complete penetration by the 22 did take me aback just a bit. I thought 9” of semi dried paper would have stopped it!

Hope someone finds some interest in this test.

Ya, often a bullet at lower velocity can have tremendous penetration.

Cool test. Thank you.
Yes. Interesting. Have a friend that likes to run the deer off his crops. He’s using a 223REM Frangible bullets and aiming 10 yards short. Does not want to injure them. Told him I’d handle, they’d not feel a thing and wouldn’t come back... he did not like my attempt at humor, bust asked about the 17 cal...

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Cool test Bob! I have never used anything but the 17 HMR but the .17 cals are pretty interesting. Seem like dynamite on small animals..