Re: Remington 597
While some in the past have thought of the 17 cal pair of 17HMR and 17HM2 as the best new rimfires to come along, there have been lots of problems with them and guns made for them. When the cartridge was designed, a fast pressure rise powder had to be used to get significantly better performance than 22 Mag and 22 LR.
The bolt guns have little problem if head spaced correctly but the semi-auto's have had significant problems. It seems most of the ones on the market that manufacturers and home gunsmiths attempted to convert to 17 caliber (among them the 10/22) resisted modification. It took more than a barrel change. It took real engineering to get the recoil spring rate correct, and the mass of the bolt correct (since those two things provide the delay in opening required to allow the pressure to subside before opening the bolt even a little). If anything goes wrong in the cycle, like the bolt fails to completely close, the high pressures blow out the side of the case or at least bubbles it significantly. The home converted 10/22 was the worst offender due to poorly designed conversion "kits", poor home gunsmithing usually lacking adequate gunsmithing knowledge, and the general crudeness of the Ruger design that was, by the way, totally adequate for the lower slower pressures of the 22LR. What was need was a totally redesigned gun made adequate to the job. But gun manufacturers apparently never felt the market was there and only did minimal efforts or none at all. It is not an easy design task if you have to live in a somewhat crude and inexpensive existing design.
I have a CZ452 varmint bolt gun in 17HM2. The gun is no disappointment but actually one of the best rimfire bolt guns available in its price range. But the performance of the cartridge is not that much better than the classic 22 LR. The ammo is expensive compared to 22 LR and only ammo my gun liked was the Eley 17HM2. Group sizes with it were half the size of Hornady or CCI 17HM2 ammo.
The point is, the 17 caliber rim fire cartridge may be a godsend to some (namely hunters) but to those of use that just plink, it is a bust. That is, of course, only my opinion and yours may differ.