Original A&M .17 Javelina
by Jim Saubier
As fortune would have it, good fortune in this case, I was contacted by a friend of mine who works part-time in a gun shop in Pennsylvania when they traded in an odd rifle. His questions of me were initially trying to gather information in order to determine if he wanted to keep this rifle for himself or place it in the rack for sale with a fair market value price. I wasn't certain what fair market value was, but was able to give him enough information on this particular chambering to determine that he did not need this rifle. I did express interest in the rifle and asked that he let me have first shot at buying it. After a few e-mail exchanges, a description of the rifle condition and features, an agreement on price was reached and I asked him to hold it for me until we could close the deal. As the holidays came around, we made arrangements to meet one weekend evening so that I could pay for the gun and fill out the necessary paperwork that would entitle me to call it my own. Upon inspection of the rifle, I was unsure if it had ever been fired. I'm still uncertain after cleaning the rifle and inspecting it well. It is built on a Remington model 700 action with a low serial number (73835), the barrel is engraved elegantly on the top with the words A&M Rifle Company and on the side in typical fashion with the chambering .17 Javelina.
I have tried to capture this engraving with my digital camera to show here and apologize in advance for these photos as I found it difficult to get a good close-up picture of these. I will try to get some better lighting and get some better photos at some point. The stock has stamped checkering of the likes I've not seen on other older Remingtons, on the tang area and the grip and on all 3 sides of the forend portion of the stock. The barrel is blued nicely and the overall condition of the gun is very good considering its age. A few light handling marks on the stock, but the metal appears to be near perfect. The bore is bright and clean, the bolt face looks new without any signs of firing, and everything appears original as it left the A&M Rifle Company of Prescott AZ many years ago. I'm not certain of the age of this rifle, I can get a rough idea by looking at the serial number but have not done so at this time. I am also uncertain of the chamber dimensions, and will probably do a chamber case. I have a standard Redding FL die for sizing and a Wilson seater die as well as a Wilson neck die. I already own a .17 Javelina that I had made some years ago that has been a favorite varmint rifle since I had it built in 2001 by Bob Green or York, PA.
As far as case capacity, the photo above shows the placement of the Javelina among the other small caliber variants, between the Mach IV and the full size .17-222. The javelina is made from either .222 or .223 parent brass.
According to the load data in Todd Kindler's "Sensational Seventeens" loading manual, H4895 is a top performing powder in this cartridge. While I've not personally tried this powder in mine, I've had good results with n135 and Tubal 3000. I realize that Tubal 3000 is a powder that now falls into the category of unobtainium. I have a couple of jugs of this powder in my possession and it seems to work well in this cartridge. I have also used n540 which has given me mixed results. I would like to tinker with this powder more for the 30 grain bullets but have not done so yet. All of my experience with this cartridge thus far has been with a custom rifle that I had built using a Remington 700 Classic that was originally chambered in .17 Remington, but has since been re-barreled with a 1-9" twist PacNor stainless barrel with a reamer made to my specs by Manson with little freebore intending to shoot the 27 - 30 grain bullet high BC bullet offerings. This rifle has long been a favorite varmint rig, accounting for many critters from foxes, to woodchucks, to crows, to prairie dogs, to ground squirrels.
I've formed 50 pieces of brass so that they have just enough resistance to ensure good contact on the shoulder of the case during fireforming. Without knowing the neck dimension of the chamber, I will probably load up a case or two with 8 or 9 grains of Unique powder with a toilet paper wad on top to hold the powder in place, fireforming the brass and then measuring the resulting neck O.D. taking into account a little springback to get the rough chamber size. I've rummaged through my reloading bench and scrounged up a set of Burris scope rings and will mount a B&L 36x scope on the gun for preliminary load work until I can decide what scope to put on the gun for the long term. Spring is just around the corner and I spotted my first ground hog of the season 2 days ago so it is time to get this classic gun up and running. I've also still got to do something with the trigger on this thing, it is truly horrendous even compared to the triggers on rifles from the factory today.
I am hopeful that the A&M rifle that I have just added to my collection will be just as enjoyable. I will be testing it soon, as the weather breaks, and possibly even shoot it in the spring postal match.