I thought I might add a few things to think about on that Savage you are looking at.
First, the one in question with the thumbhole stock...it might just be me but I really find that stock to suck. You need really high rings to make up for the stock with no drop at all. I don't like a high scope and I don't like that style of stock, very hard to shoot from a rest. My opinion only.
I own a Savage 17HMR, I bought it right after they started making them and have shot it a lot, hunting and target shooting. Mine is way before the "Accu-Trigger" but they can be improved with a simple shim which I did right after I bought it. (I can explain how if anyone wants to do it)
It's very accurate...most of the time. Wind is not friendly to such a light bullet but it's speed sort of makes up for it... somewhat. It has no problem shooting a 3/4" group at 100 yards if there isn't a strong cross breeze.
It's hell on small game and will blow up the small critters so it's not a good squirrel gun at all IMO. Some guys say they are if you only head shoot them. Well...could be.
I would much rather have the 222 over the 17HMR. The 222 is a great round that seems to be a dying caliber for some reason. You don't need to reload because there are now many good 222 factory loads that shoot real good, Hornady is one.
If you look at the ballistic chart for the 17HMR you see that it's semi flat out to 125 or so then it drops quickly. If your P-dog hunting is within 200 yards it will work but you will have to know your range and holdover well.
Here's pic of mine.
I did have more to say but my phone rang three times while trying to post this, spent an hour on the phone and forgot what else I had in mind.
Now I have to get out of here and get some things done.