I need some advice from the good people of the Stalking Directory. I am after a rifle for some rabbit and hare shooting. I have read the comparisons between .17 HMR and .22 LR, I have seen the videos, I think I understand the main differences between the two, as well as their advantages and limitations. Being the inquisitive type I am, I would still like to hear from you with regards to which of the two calibres you would recommend to me, and why. Please be as exhaustive in your argument as you want, I really need to hear as much detail as possible. Did I mention I am terribly indecisive when it comes to that sort of thing?
Some facts about where I will be shooting:
1. Noise is not a problem, so the fact that the .17 HMR is 'snappier' than the .22 LR is not a disadvantage.
2. Ranges I am hoping to be shooting them are between 20 yards and 150 yards (off a bipod or a rest, I have this luxury in this ground)
3. The terrain varies between a hill with quite a slope on it, to a long, long flat plain.
4. There are corvids I might want to shoot too.
5. Wind can be an issue sometimes, and I am aware that the .17 HMR does suffer from this. I doubt it will put me off getting one though.
6. Soft ground everywhere, so no problem with the .22 LR being quite problematic with ricochet.
7. I want to eat what I will shoot, so meat damage is an issue. I was told that with the .17HMR I will get more meat damage but I can more reliably head shoot the rabbits/hares.
I am kind of convinced that I want/need a .17 HMR as everyone I spoke to said they are the better calibre, flatter, safer etc. Is there any reason that I should chose a .22 LR instead? What do you use? I am aware that there are people who will say 'get them both' but neither do I need them both, nor can I afford to buy them both. I just want a rifle that will do the job reliably and I will enjoy. I already own a .22 LR, but it is an Anschutz target rifle, so not much comparison to what I want the new rifle to do. I have never fired a .17 HMR before.
I am thinking of a bolt action CZ 452/455 (in .22 LR or .17 HMR) just so you get an idea of where my research has taken me so far.
Any suggestions gratefully appreciated! Thanks!