The .17 HMR cartridge is most famously known as a small varmint vanquisher. However, there are other talents people often tend to overlook. As a hunter and homesteader’s favorite, it’s also working its way into the shooting range.
So what makes it so great?
- Flat Trajectory up to ~100 yards
- Extremely Powerful at Close-Range
- High Accuracy
Going the Distance: Maximize your Shooting Range
In a 22” barrel, the 17HMR cartridge can shoot accurately up to 100 yards with less than 1 MOA. With the right scope and enough practice you can triple that distance and shoot even further.
You are probably wondering which is the right scope for you? They aren’t all built the same, just as our shooting styles aren’t uniform either. Read on to find out.
A Quick Guide to Distance: How Far will Your Bullet Go?
For a rifle chambered in .17HMR keep these rough measurements in mind.
- Long Range: 200 yards and above
- Medium Range: 100 – 200 yards
- Close Range Up to 100 yards
These ranges are only a rough estimate and may differ by grain of the bullet and length of the barrel.
What magnification do you need?
Exactly how much magnification do you need depends on how far is your target. For medium and longer ranges you will need higher magnification, while for short ranges, high magnification will only blur your vision and is unnecessary.
- Long Range (200 yards and above)
At this distance, you will need as much magnification as you can get, especially for small targets. We suggest 7x magnification and above.
- Medium Range (100 – 200 yards)
The .17 HMR is perfect for that range. For medium range shooting, we recommend 4x – 7x magnification.
- Close Range (Up to 100 yards)
While .17 HMR is best known as small varmint ammo, you can go bigger at this distance. Here, you’ll have a chance of snagging possums, bobcats, and coyotes using 2x – 4x magnification.
The 4 Best .17 HMR Scopes
If you are confused which are the best scopes for the .17 HMR on the market, don’t worry, we have done the research for you. Here’s the best of what we found in no particular order.
- Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 3-9x40mm
- Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32mm SFP
- Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9x40mm BDC
- Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-9×40 BDC
A quick note: why do some scopes say “BDC” and others don’t? BDC stands for “bullet drop compensation.”
Simply, this means that you will not have to adjust the elevation for longer range shots. All you have to do is use the reticle that matches the distance you are shooting and pull the trigger.
We only chose from the best names for the best gun owners. Which one of them catches your eye? Read below to find out more!
Finding Your Next Scope
No matter who you are, these fantastic scopes match all of your different tastes and styles. If you are a fan of bigger cartridges, check our 30-06 optics guide.
1.Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 3-9x40mm
Do you know the best time to hunt? Bushnell knows that dusk and dawn are the prime times. Now they have a scope just for those early mornings and late evenings.
They’ve taken their ground-breaking optics and set them to the flow of nature with their Dusk & Dawn Brightness (DDB) multi-coat. Tuning in the clearest shot is no problem for this hearty lens since you get more precise ¼ MOA clicks.
Although it is a morning person’s lifesaver, what makes it so great for the .17 HMR cartridge? It stands up to the most powerful recoils while protecting your brow. The generous eye relief of 3.3in definitely comes in handy as well.
If all of this sounds great so far, we’ve got one more piece of good news for you.
What is a Multi-X reticle? Unlike Jason X, it’s not a horrible sequel that no one asked for.
In fact, the Multi-X reticle is exactly what the traditional huntsman desires in a scope. While the outer part of the lines is thicker, the most crucial, center area is thinner. Thinner lines mean a more accurate aim. However, the thickness of the outside areas keep you from losing sight of your center.
If this doesn’t fit your style, don’t worry, Bushnell has plenty more to choose.
The Bottom Line
With this scope, the only thing preventing you from a successful morning hunt is the temptation of the snooze button. Even on groggy mornings, you can mount it and zero in before you ever get your first sip of coffee. It’s that simple to install and use. You just can’t beat the price for what you’ll get out of this accurate scope from a lens innovator. The Bushell would also be a perfect scope for 243.
2. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32mm SFP
Vortex brings together their greatest innovations for a reliable sight in this scope.
Using ¼ MOA clicks for elevation and windage will make sure you always get the most precise shot. All of its controls are smooth and straightforward to guarantee you maximum confidence.
Get an even sharper view with the fast focus eyepiece that can quickly adjust at a moment’s notice. Making for an even clearer view is the anti-reflective, multi-coat lens to reduce haze and increase light transmission.
Could it get any better? If you prefer mid-to-long range shooting then the answer is yes! The second focal plane (SFP) adjusts as you zoom, rather than staying one size. Since it is ideal for long-range and works decent in close range, it’s obvious why it’s the most common.
Our only complaint is the little bit of weight that might require a small learning curve for adjustment. While weight of 14.3 ounces isn’t much, it can make a difference after you mount it.
Other than this one small setback, there’s nothing else bad we can say. In fact, there’s just one more fantastic feature we want to tell you about.
Why settle for one reticle? With this model, you can choose between three that cover all shooting styles.
The more traditional shooters can stick with the infamous Dead-Hold BDC that has hash marks you’re used to. However, you don’t have to give it up completely.
If you want more options, the V-Plex and its illuminated counterpart, V-Brite are all-purpose reticles. When we say all-purpose, we mean all environments, weather, and light conditions. With the illuminated option, you’ll get up to 11 different illumination options
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re just starting out or a hunting veteran, this scope is easy to use for anyone. With the variety of distance and weather conditions you can explore, you might not ever want to use another scope. Although it’s not the best for a fast-moving hunter, it fulfills everything it’s made to do. Best of all, you can have it all for a reasonable price. The Vortex would also be a great fit for 30-30 lever action rifle.
3. Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9x40mm BDC
Can you imagine optics so great that you don’t even need illumination? Nikon and Buckmasters came together to make it possible for the most serious hunters.
In fact, the view is so unbelievable that you almost don’t have to use Nikon’s Spot On Ballistic app! While the eye box is a little tight, the fast focus eyepiece and maximum light transmission will compensate. After the full multi-coat lens process, you can read the classic BDC reticle with no problem.
Since it has open circles on the BDC marks, you’ll always be 100% confident in every shot. How could you not be when utilizing a field of view ranging from 11 – 34 feet?
Other than the lack of parallax adjustment, there’s only one minor complaint. Since this scope does have a somewhat large diameter, it might require taller rings to fit some rifles. Although this is an easy fix, it’s something you should know ahead of time.
Speaking of, there’s one more thing you should know about this scope.
For a scope in this price range, they are crisp, tactile, and offer zero-reset. When you’re using powerful ammunition like the .17 HMR, this is a crucial feature. Not only will it save you time, but a lot of stress too. Even better, they’re simple to use and hand-adjusted. No frills, no flare – just good ol’ fashioned firing fun.
The Bottom Line
While it’s not the cheapest scope on our list, every dollar spent here is worth it. Simple controls and amazing optics come together to give you the full package. If you never know when your next shot will be close-range, long-range, evening, or morning, this is the scope for you. Why wouldn’t you want the highest quality for the most reasonable price? Would also be one of the best 270 scopes.
4. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-9×40 BDC
This 3-9x40mm scope is a great choice for those of you who liked our second suggestion but want that extra magnification and a bigger objective lens.
The first thing you’ll notice about this scope is the quality of the craftsmanship. The hard-anodized single-piece tube that makes up this scope is made from aircraft grade aluminum. This ensures durability and keeps your scope protected from whatever battering you or nature might throw at it. Rest assured this scope, will last you a good, long number of years.
When it comes to the optical chambers, they are nitrogen purged, and O-ring sealed. This protects them from water, fog, dust, and shock from recoil. The lenses aren’t just as sturdy as a rock; they are also outfitted with several layers of anti-reflective coating. This feature, along with the broad objective lens of 40 mm ensures near HD picture quality with fantastic brightness and vividity.
No matter how dimly lit your environment is, these lenses will pick up on available light and form a clear picture on your lens.
Dead-Hold BDC MOA Reticle
The dead-hold BDC reticle is perfect for shooting at various ranges where estimating holdover is a concern. The personalized dot design of the reticle lets you eliminate all guesswork when it comes to holdover and windage corrections.
What adds to the accuracy of the reticle is that it is a Second Focal Plane reticle. What this means, is that your target stays the same size no matter how much you zoom in or out. It always maintains the same appearance.
The eye relief is very generous, and the eye box is at a comfortable distance away from the glass. The fast focus eyepiece makes for quick and easy work of your targets.
The Bottom Line
The Vortex Optics Crossfire II is one of the most widely sold and popular lines of rifle scopes available in the market today. This particular scope scores top marks for the Dead-Hold BDC reticle which is very useful and accurate at all ranges. Add the super affordable price tag on top of it, and this scope is an extremely worthwhile investment.
What are you waiting for?
Whether you’re out morning or night or shooting long-range or close, the .17 HMR cartridge offers something for everyone.
For the all-season, versatile hunter, the Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn or the Nikon Buckmasters II is just what you’ve been looking for. They were made to loyally accompany you through thick and thin.
Close-to-mid range shooters that care for the land they hunt upon will appreciate Nikon’s P-Rimfire model. When you mount this one on your rifle, you’ll witness the impact of your ammo up close.
Finally, the Vortex Optics Crossfire II is ideal for mid-to-long range shooters that move quickly and efficiently. With such smooth and simple controls, it’s even perfect for beginners to use.
If none of these sounds like you, then we’re really curious to know what exactly you do with your rifle! Actually, maybe it’s better that we don’t know. Despite your rifle style, it’s not optimal until you mount the best scope for 17 HMR cartridges!
If you like more powerful rifles check the best ar-10 optics guide.