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. (Source: 17 HMR ballistics Chart)
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
- Hawke Vantage IR 4-12×40 AO IR Riflescope
- 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.
You can also check our full Bushnell Banner 3-9×40 Review.
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. Hawke Vantage IR 4-12×40 AO IR Riflescope
Folks in need of a quality varmint hunting and target shooting scope should certainly check out the Hawke Vantage 4-12×40 model. As a quality rimfire scope, it features 11 fully multicoated lenses to ensure optimal light transmission and color contrast: a key concern when trying to hit small animals whose fur coats may blend in with their environments.
But this is also a great scope for additional reasons, such as the inclusion of an adjustable objective. Such an objective will allow you to compensate for parallax at farther ranges, like when using the 12x magnification power.
We also really like the top-tier materials quality. The scope is made with a single tube of aircraft-grade aluminum and each scope comes with a lifetime worldwide warranty. Therefore, if you ever experience a manufacturer issue with the scope, you can get a quick refund.
Illuminated Rimfire Reticle
Perhaps the best part of the scope overall is the quality rimfire reticle. It’s an illuminated variety and exclusive to this manufacturer. Even better, it’s perfectly tailored for use with .17 HMR cartridges since it features dedicated aiming points for this caliber of bullet.
Fortunately, you can adjust the different illumination settings using a dedicated dial on the side of the scope. The dial is set next to high-quality windage and elevation adjustment turrets, which are included so you can compensate for these variables when hunting outdoors or in inclement weather. The aiming points are all precalculated for extra ease-of-use.
The Bottom Line
All in all, the Hawke Vantage Rimfire Riflescope is a great piece of equipment for both target shooters and varmint hunters who need something reliable and accurate when taking down small game from afar. It’s relatively affordable, too, so you won’t have to break the bank just to pick up a quality optic for your .17 HMR rifle. 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The History of The .17 HMR Rifle?
The .17 HMR was one of numerous attempts to duplicate the 5mm Remington Magnum Rimfire’s ballistics. The RMR was developed in the 1970s and was the quickest rimfire cartridge available at the time.
RMR barrels and ammo were nearly tough to come by, therefore it was phased out in favor of a more easily produced replacement.
Because it requires a specific bolt and magazine, the.22 WMR casing was chosen over the RMR. In addition to being more frequently accessible, the WMR casing was also larger and stronger than other.22 LR casings. A simple barrel swap was all that was required to make firearms capable of firing the cartridge with this casing.
Although the.17 HMR flies past the RMR and WMR’s muzzle velocities and trajectories, it has a lower downrange energy potential than the RMR. This leaves the door open for the development of a more powerful rimfire round in the future.
In 2002, the first HMR rifles and ammunition were released. Numerous manufacturers offer hollow point, soft tip, and FMJ rounds.
What Is the .17 HMR Rifle Best Used For?
The.17 HMR is typically utilized for small game and varmint hunting at medium ranges. The bullet’s high velocity and pinpoint precision make it perfect for hunting rabbits, possums, and raccoons at distances of up to 200 yards.
What Is The Range of a .17 HMR Rifle?
A .17 HMR bullet has a range of roughly 150 yards. The.17 HMR cartridge has a bullet drop of roughly 3′′-/+ at 150 yards, allowing for consistent accuracy.
What Does .17 HMR Stand For?
The name stands for 17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire.
What Is The Most Powerful .17 HMR Bullet?
Most consider the .17 Winchester Super Magnum, which is not only going to be the world’s fastest rimfire round, but also one that offers a significant performance increase, to be the most powerful and strong .17 HMR bullet.
Is The .17 HMR or .22 More Powerful?
The .17 HMR rifles are considered much more powerful than the .22 LR, as well as having better trajectory and range.
Is The .17 HMR Good For Squirrel Hunting?
Yes, under ordinary conditions, from a mid-range distance, with a medium grain expanding bullet, and proper shot placement, the. 17 HMR Hornady Magnum Rimfire is a great choice for squirrel hunting.
How Loud Is the .17 HMR?
An unsuppressed .17 HMR is around 117 dB.
Can You Take Down A Coyote With An .17 HMR?
Squirrels, rabbits, and other small animals are great targets for the.17 HMR. If you fire a coyote with.17 HMR, you might get a speedy kill, but you’ll almost certainly need numerous bullets and the animal will suffer for a long time.
What’s The Difference Between The HMR and WMR?
The ballistic coefficient of the.17 HMR is consistently higher than that of the 22 WMR. This, along with the fact that its muzzle velocity is far higher, results in a flatter trajectory. Despite this, the 22 WMR’s heavier bullet allows it to transfer more energy at any point along the effective ranges of the two cartridges.
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.