The 5 Best Scopes for .17 HMR Rifles — Reviews 2024

best scope for 17 hmr, How to find the best rifle scope for 17 HMR? The .17 HMR is a hard-hitting round for your rifle, which also needs a good corresponding riflescope. The best .17 HMR scopes must note the bullet coming out of your rifle is much faster than a .22lr long rifle round and must have a bullet drop compensator to track the rifle bullet’s trajectory.

Photo by Bruce Wilson / CC BY

In 2002 an interesting cartridge hit the shooting world by storm. Inspired by wildcatters who had been necking the .22 magnum rimfire down to .17 caliber, the .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire (HMR), developed in cooperation with Marlin and Ruger, was released to a marketplace eager for a flat shooting, hard hitting magnum rimfire cartridge. Capable of shooting up to 2,250 feet per second, and impacting with about 250 foot pounds of energy, the .17 HMR has become a very popular varmint and target shooting cartridge.

Naturally, such a round calls for optics. There is a bewildering array of rifle scopes on the market, but we hope to narrow it down for you by offering showing you 5 of the best scopes for .17 HMR rifles currently available.

1. The Nikon ProStaff

Nikon rifle scopes are known to be high quality, reliable scopes. The ProStaff is no exception. Designed for hard recoiling hunting rifles this 3 to 9 power scope with a generous 40mm reticle is right at home on the easy shooting .17 HMR. Featuring industry standard nitrogen purged tube, fully coated optics, and O ring sealed body for maximum waterproof and fog-proof performance. Designed for far more demanding applications than a rimfire shooter will see, the ProStaff is a .17 HMR scope that will never let you down and is among the best .17 HMR scopes.

NIKON Prostaff 3-9X40 And the RRA LAR-15

2. BSA Sweet 17

BSA is one of the oldest names in firearms and firearms accessories. A venerable British company that has built rifles used in both world wars, they continue a tradition of reliability and quality. Their Sweet 17 scope for the .17 HMR brings BSA quality and BSA pricing to the .17 HMR game. Featuring fully coated optics, a 40mm objective lens, 3 to 12 magnification, fog-proof construction and most importantly, calibrated for the bullet drop of common .17 HMR rounds, the BSA Sweet 17 is a fantastic bargain for your rifle. The best scope for .17 HMR, after all, might be the one that’s easiest on your wallet.

Scope Setups For The 17 HMR

3. Simmons ProTarget Dedicated .17 HMR Scope

Some rifle scopes can be used on any rifle, the tradeoff though is that you sacrifice specially calibrated reticles designed around a particular type of cartridge. However, a great many scopes have reticles that are meant for use of one or a small group of cartridges. After all, the best scopes for .17 HMR rifles are scopes designed for that caliber–makes sense, doesn’t? This gives the shooter the benefit of a scope built expressly for what they are shooting. The Simmons ProTarget calibrated for .17 HMR is one such scope. Featuring 3 to 12 power magnification, a 40mm objective lens, fully coated optics, and adjustable target turrets, the Simmons ProTarget is a .17 HMR scope designed specifically for .17 HMR shooters.

4. Bushnell Banner Dusk and Dawn

The .17 HMR is a popular hunting round for small game and varmints. Many a coyote has fallen to the hard hitting .17 HMR, and sometimes that requires being up ready to hunt at the crack of dawn. Unfortunately, as many hunters know, that time just as dawn is breaking or dusk is falling can be some of the best moments to hunt, with some of the trickiest light to see in. These sorts of situations are where the Bushnell Dusk and Dawn shines. Designed to maximize light gathering and for optimum optical clarity in the fading low light of early and late day, this is the scope to use on your .17 HMR rifle when hunting. Featuring a proprietary optical coating to enhance your sight picture under low light conditions, a reticle calibrated for .17 HMR, this scope is perfect for hunting in low light conditions or for any other use you might have for a .17 HMR scope.

5. The Barska Hot Magnum

Barska is well known for their budget friendly scopes that deliver uncompromising quality and performance at a price point well below what you would expect. The Hot Magnum is no exception to that reputation. Featuring a large 40mm objective lens, six to eighteen power magnification, fully coated optics, fog-proof, waterproof and shockproof construction, fully coated optics, parallax adjustable objective lens, and a reticle compensated for the bullet drop of .17 HMR, the Hot Magnum lives up to its name, and packs big money features into an affordable .17 HMR scope.

Why the .17 HMR, and Why Scope It?

As previously mentioned, the .17 HMR is a hard hitting, fast moving, flat shooting magnum rimfire cartridge. As such it is suitable for precision target shooting, small game hunting and varmint hunting. Based off the venerable old .22 magnum, the .17 HMR filled a need for a small caliber high performance rimfire round. The most common choice for .17 HMR rifles are bolt action target rifles. While iron sights may be standard on many rifles, they fall short on performance, and long range precision and accuracy. For this reason, if you expect to truly take advantage of all that .17 HMR has to offer, you really should scope your rifle.

The best .17 HMR scopes will feature fully coated optics to reduce glare from sunlight and to enhance light gathering abilities. Further, they will have their bodies purged with an inert gas to prevent fogging up during cool weather or sudden temperature changes. A quality .17 HMR scope will also have a calibrated reticle that features a bullet drop compensator so you can adjust your aim to the point of impact without complicated calculations and measurement to determine the correct spot at which to aim. Lastly, the best scopes for .17 HMR rifles will feature large, 40mm or better objective lenses to give maximum light gathering ability and a wide field of vision. Smaller objective lenses will give a reduced sight picture, and may suffer a bit in clarity.

However, regardless of which .17 HMR scope you eventually select for your rifle, you should be pleased with the fact that you are wringing the best performance from your rifle and the ammunition you use. The .17 HMR is a fantastic cartridge and suitable for any task that a magnum rimfire might be up for, from target shooting to varmint hunting. Adding the best .17 HMR scope you can find, only makes it that much better.

One Final Note

Because the .17 HMR was designed to be an accurate, powerful round, it is no wonder that there is a broad range of projectiles available for it (and a lot of manufacturers too:  Savage, Ruger, Marlin). One of the most common is a polymer ballistic tipped bullet, which allows the shooter the advantages of a pointed nose bullet, while giving the explosive impact and performance of a hollowpoint. These types of bullets are most common when hunting. You can also get traditional full metal jacket rounds, best suited for target practice, and of course traditional hollowpoint bullets, which are designed to expand and dump energy onto your target. Like the poly-tipped bullets, hollowpoints are best suited for hunting when you need to get the most possible damage out of the little, lightweight .17 caliber bullet. Regardless of the bullet choice though, the .17 HMR remains a highly accurate, flat shooting round whose advantages are best served by a high-quality scope.

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