The Volquartsen Summit .17 Mach 2

For precision target shooting or early-season squirrel hunting, it would be hard to beat the Volquartsen Summit .17 Mach 2.

Mach 2 sits in a Boyd’s laminated keyhole stock.
This Volquartsen Summit .17 Mach 2 sits in a Boyd’s laminated keyhole stock. The rifle is deadly accurate on small game, and it looks cool, too.Shot Business

Few rifles in my safe trigger a deep sense of jealousy in my shooting friends. But the Summit rifle from Volquartsen sure does. Essentially, the Summit is a 10/22 modified with a straight-pull or toggle-link bolt action. Think of the Browning T-bolt or Anschutz Fortner action, but in Ruger 10/22 packaging. With a locking bolt action on the Ruger platform—the bolt does not slam back and forth—it’s ideal for suppressor work, and used with a .22 LR barrel and subsonic loads, the loudest part of the Summit is the sound of the striker hitting primer.

Volquartsen introduced the Summit in .17 Mach 2 at last year’s SHOT Show, and the result is a thoroughly modern small-game rifle. If you have customers interested in precision rimfire shooting or hunting, you should stop by the booth for a firsthand look.

Primary Weapons System developed the straight-pull 10/22 concept for competition shooting and hunting. The top-flight rimfire specialists at Volquartsen took over the patent a few years ago and now sell complete Summit rifles and standalone actions for home builders. Because it’s built on the 10/22 footprint, any 10/22 magazine, stock, barrel, and trigger group will work with the Summit. The action has a milled-in 20 MOA Picatinny rail.

The complete Volquartsen Summit rifle is available in .22 LR and .17 Mach 2, and ships with a very good carbon-wrapped Volquartsen barrel threaded at the muzzle to 1/2x28, bedded in a Magpul X-22 Hunter, Hogue, or Boyd’s laminate stock, with an excellent Volquartsen trigger that breaks just shy of 2 pounds. Prices range from $1,135 for the Hogue version to $1,383 for the laminate.

My test rifle in .17 Mach 2 with the Magpul stock weighs 5.8 pounds. With a sling and a Nikon P3 rimfire scope, it tips the scale at exactly 7 pounds. Thanks to the stock and the ultralight Volquartsen barrel, it handles exceptionally well. This is why so many people who shoot the Summit fall in love with it. It balances great, points quick, and just feels right, perhaps because so many of us learned to shoot on the 10/22. And, of course, with the Summit, there’s the toggle bolt—so no 10/22 blowback under chin.

Straight-pull bolts were largely designed for biathlon shooting, where speed and accuracy are paramount. Semi-auto recoil can throw the precision shooter off. A traditional 90- or 60-degree bolt throw is slow. Straight-pulls eliminate the slam of an auto bolt and are markedly faster than swing bolts. To fire, the shooter holds the rifle with the thumb to the side, not wrapped around the stock (the right thumb remains on the right side of the rifle for a right-handed shooter). After the shot, the bolt is drawn back with the index finger and closed with the thumb. It’s remarkably intuitive, and after a few magazines of practice, it’s easy to run the gun fast and accurately while keeping the head to the scope.

The Volquartsen Summit in .17 Mach 2 bedded in a Magpul X-22 Hunter stock was used by the author (far right) on a Kentucky squirrel hunt.
The Volquartsen Summit in .17 Mach 2 bedded in a Magpul X-22 Hunter stock was used by the author (far right) on a Kentucky squirrel hunt.Shot Business

Last fall, I brought the Summit to Kentucky for an annual tree squirrel camp with a few friends. There’s always hot shooting around Kentucky Lake in September. Over four mornings, three of us knocked down 52 bushytails and ate a pile of squirrel fajitas.

Sneaking through the woods, listening for the sound of cutting squirrels, setting the Summit on a tripod mount, and then dropping tree rats out to 80 yards was fun. Deer hunting is great. So is duck hunting. But if the only thing I had to hunt were bushytails in the hardwoods of the Southeast, I’d be okay with that.

With the tripod setup, the rifle barely moved on report, so I could watch ballistic tips impact in the scope, much like you can with a good rig on a prairie dog hunt. It was not uncommon for us to shoot our limits from a single tree, as the squirrels were mobbing a big pignut, hickory, or beech. The straight-pull action really shined with this kind of quick shooting. Running a suppressor took the crack out of each shot, too. The total package was as fast, accurate, and deadly a rimfire combo as I’ve ever seen.

More on the Mach 2

The .17 Mach 2 was designed in conjunction by Hornady (Booth #13140), CCI (Booth #14551), and Eley (Booth #14207) in 2004. Following the wide success of the .17 HMR—the .22 WMR necked-down to .17 caliber—it only made sense to neck down America’s favorite round, the .22 LR, to .17 caliber, too.

Dedicated squirrel hunters were over the moon. Here was a 17-grain that climbed and fell less than 2 inches out to 130 yards and hit with enough power to take small game. That laser-beam trajectory means that when you hold on a tree squirrel’s head from 15 to 130 yards, it’s not going anywhere.

And yet, widespread sales languished. The .17 Mach 2 is made on the same factory lines that make .22 LR. When the ammo shortage hit, all machine hours were sharply dedicated to .22 LR, so .17 Mach 2 ammo soon vanished from store shelves.

Fortunately, that has changed. The round has come back on the strength of its rep as a great killer of small critters. It’s a remarkably fun “long-range” rimfire round. Last year, Volquartsen and Anschutz (Booth #15158) announced new rifles in .17 Mach 2. CCI and Hornady are actively loading it now. There are currently three loads on the market for .17 Mach 2: CCI 17-grain V-Max, at 2010 fps; Hornady 17-grain V-Max, at 2100 fps; and Hornady 15.5-grain NTX, at 2050 fps.

Booth #11229 (