Best Scope for 17 WSM – The Top 5 Optics in 2024

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I’ve found that there aren’t many rounds as versatile as the .17 WSM cartridge. Being a rimfire round, it’s become my top choice for hunting, and I’ve noticed it’s particularly effective for taking down targets at close to medium range. The lightweight and excellent design of this cartridge allows it to travel up to 3000 ft./s.

Of course, I knew I needed a fantastic scope to go with my 17 WSM rifle. Finding the right scope for my hunting expeditions proved to be tricky without doing extensive research and testing beforehand. That’s why I decided to put together this guide and do the testing myself, so you don’t have to.

My Top Pick – Vortex Crossfire II 2-7×32

In my opinion, the best scope for 17 WSM is the Vortex Crossfire II 2-7×32. It comes from one of the best brands in the industry and has a magnification which is enough for most rimfire applications. Below you can find a my detailed review of it plus you’ll find my other recommended scopes for 17 WSM rifles.

My Top 5 Scopes for 17 WSM

1. Vortex Crossfire II 2-7×32 Riflescope – Best Overall

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 Rimfire, Second Focal Plane, 1-inch Tube Riflescope - V-Plex Reticle

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Out of all the available scopes I tried with .17 WSM firearms, the Vortex Crossfire II 2-7×32 Riflescope impressed me the most, largely thanks to its versatility and durability.

My Feelings After Using the Vortex Crossfire II 2-7×32

As soon as I tried the Crossfire II scope, I found it to be an excellent optic through and through for a variety of reasons. For starters, the magnification settings are perfect for .17 WSM cartridges and their short to medium ranges. Over several weeks, I used this scope extensively while hunting prairie dogs at ranges between 100 to 300 yards. The 7x maximum magnification provided excellent visibility of targets at 300 yards when properly focused.

But in my opinion, the 32mm objective lens is one of the best for the price range of this scope. Special coatings guarantee top-tier light transmission and, in my experience, capably protect the lenses from water and dirt damage, even on longer expeditions. The fully multi-coated optics provided very good light transmission and image clarity across the entire magnification range. I could clearly see my targets and the surrounding environment even at dawn and dusk.

Good light transmission is always needed, especially when hunting in low-light environments or at certain times of day.

Naturally, the rest of the scope is similarly well constructed. I discovered that it comes with waterproof and fogproof functionality, enabling me to use it in inclement weather. The argon purging definitely kept the scope fog-free even in cold early morning temperatures around freezing. After getting caught in a heavy rainstorm during one hunt, I found no issues with fogging, water spots or image degradation afterwards. The fast-focus eyepiece and reticle-focusing controls are just cherries on top of the proverbial ice cream.

Product Highlights

I want to especially point out the top-notch adjustment turrets that the Crossfire II comes with. When you need to adjust your scope for windage or elevation, you can rest assured this scope has comfortable, easy-to-adjust tools to get the job done. The turret adjustments tracked accurately and consistently with audible clicks. I had no issues dialing in my shots for elevation or windage out to 300 yards. They click audibly so you can make your adjustments while keeping your eyes on your target.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

After extensive testing, I did not find any significant weaknesses or common problems with this scope. It performed reliably in all conditions. The only minor downside is that long sessions shooting at high magnification caused some eye fatigue. This is typical for most scopes though, and I mitigate it by taking occasional breaks.

Key Features

  • Fast focus eyepiece
  • Multicoating lenses
  • Made of aircraft-grade aluminum


  • Very durable
  • Very affordable price
  • Lenses are very long-lasting and transmit good light
  • Responsive and easy to use or adjust for windage or elevation


  • A little heavier than you may be used to

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, the Crossfire II from Vortex is a top-notch scope in every way and a perfect companion for .17 WSM firearms, in my opinion.

My rating: 4.8/5

It would be also a perfect scope for .22 LR and M&P 15-22.

2. Vortex Optics Diamondback 2-7×35 Rimfire, Second Focal Plane Riflescope – V-Plex Reticle (MOA)

Vortex Optics Diamondback 2-7x35 Rimfire, Second Focal Plane Riflescope - V-Plex Reticle (MOA) , black

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I next found another Vortex optic to be the number two best scope for .17 WSM weapons: the Diamondback Rimfire scope, designed for second focal plane shooting.

My Feelings After Using the Vortex Optics Diamondback 2-7×35

Right out of the box, I had a lot of fun with this optic, and for good reason. It magnifies 2-7x, just like the scope above, but comes with a larger 35mm objective lens: ideal for getting the full sight picture around your target.

I also really liked the precision windage and elevation adjustment turrets that the Diamondback comes with. After mounting the scope on my rifle and sighting it in at the range, I was impressed with the smooth and precise adjustments of the windage and elevation turrets. I could make incremental and repeatable adjustments to precisely dial in my zero. The audible clicks provide good feedback on each adjustment. Throughout several range sessions, I found the metal-on-metal turrets maintained their position well and held zero reliably even under the repeated recoil of my rifle. In my experience, these metal-on-metal, zero-resettable adjustment turrets are perfect for hunters who like to make frequent adjustments on the go when pursuing varmints and small, mobile game.

Then there’s the precision glider erector system – in my opinion, it’s a good added bit of functionality that ensures the scope swaps between magnification settings quickly and easily without any hiccups or jams.

I tried the scope between 2x and 7x magnification, and the precision glide erector system provided a smooth zoom transition throughout the magnification range. At all magnifications, the image was clear and free of distortion or chromatic aberrations.

I tested the eye relief and eye box of the Diamondback scope and found it provides 3.1-3.5 inches of eye relief, allowing comfortable shooting while wearing heavy clothing or gloves. The eye box is also nicely forgiving, quick target acquisition and a consistent sight picture is maintained even if your eye positioning shifts slightly behind the scope.

Product Highlights

What most impressed me during my time with the Diamondback scope, though, is the simplistic, V-plex reticle. When sighting in the rifle and taking it to the range for testing, I found the clean V-plex reticle uncluttered, helping provide a clear sight picture. The basic intersecting lines allowed for precise aiming while not obstructing the target at any magnification level. This helped in consistently hitting small targets, even when fully zoomed in at 7x.

The reticle goes well with the second focal plane. As you may already know, a second focal plane or SFP scope doesn’t change the size of the reticle as you swap between magnification settings. Therefore, this could be a great scope if you like always keeping your reticle the same size, so you don’t have to continually adjust your vision each time you zoom in or out in the pursuit of your target.

Multicoated lenses ensure optimal light transmission and long-term lens durability. Add to that a fast-focus eyepiece, and it’s clear why I found this scope to be one of the best on the market for .17 WSM rifles.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

All that said, I did find some issues with parallax and maintaining a clear sight picture at closer ranges under 50 yards. However, this is common for most scopes without an adjustable objective parallax knob. To compensate when shooting at closer targets, I made sure to consistently position my eye centered behind the optic to minimize parallax issues. Also, the fast focus eyepiece helped tune the reticle focus and alleviate some parallax effects when dialed in properly.

Key Features

  • Made of aircraft-grade aluminum
  • 35mm lens
  • V-plex reticle
  • Metal on metal turrets


  • Still a very affordable scope
  • Reticle is excellent
  • Durable scope and lens construction
  • Great windage and elevation turrets in terms of performance


  • Windage and elevation turrets are not marked

The Bottom Line

All in all, I’d easily recommend the Vortex Diamondback Rimfire scope for fans of SFP shooting who want their .17 WSM rifles to perform as well as possible.

My rating: 4.7/5

3. Leupold FX-I Rimfire 4x28mm Fine DuplexLeupold FX-I Rimfire 4x28mm Riflescope, Fine Duplex Reticle, Matte Finish

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If you’re in the market for something a bit pricier yet highly effective, I can’t recommend the Leupold FX-I Rimfire 4×28 Fine Duplex Scope enough.

My Feelings After Using the Leupold FX-I Rimfire 4×28

When I tried the Leupold FX-I, I discovered it to be a non-variable or fixed rifle scope. Don’t let that dissuade you from using it; this fixed magnification optic has a magnification setting that’s perfect for .17 WSM cartridges and their effective ranges.

More importantly, this rifle optic is ultralightweight and built with aircraft-grade aluminum to ensure long-term durability and performance. It comes with similarly high-quality windage and elevation adjustment turrets, which are finger sensitive and click audibly each time you shift them even one increment.

Through extensive testing, I found the glass clarity to be excellent, providing a bright and crisp sight picture even in low light conditions. The fine duplex reticle stayed sharp across the entire field of view with minimal visible distortion. I tested the scope for parallax error at various ranges and found it to be well adjusted, with no noticeable issues while panning across targets at 100 yards.

The turret adjustments tracked accurately during my testing, with 1/4 MOA clicks that were repeatable and aligned precisely with the reticle. I was able to dial in my zero stop after sighting in and use the windage and elevation knobs to compensate for bullet drop and wind drift out to 200 yards. The eye relief  is great at 4.5 inches and was adequate for most shooting positions.

As for durability, the scope retained zero after being bumped and banged around without any degradation in optical performance.

Product Highlights

When I tested this scope, the most notable feature was easily the scratch-resistant lenses. Not only are these lenses highly durable and resistant to wear and tear, but they also complement the proprietary Leupold Twilight Max Light Management System. This delivers top-tier, truly unparalleled brightness in my experience, so it’s ideal for hunting small targets in the twilight or early morning hours of the day.

In multiple early morning and late evening hunts, I found the light transmission exceptional, providing a bright, crisp image even when natural light was fading. This allowed me to extend my effective shooting hours and capitalize on prime hunting conditions when other optics struggled.

The Management System isn’t overly complex. It’s essentially just a differently-designed lens system that collects trace light at the beginning and end of the day for your benefit. In my eyes, it adds anywhere between 10% and 20% more light to a low-light sight picture, but your mileage may vary on that point.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

While testing in cold weather conditions, I found some issues with maintaining focus at temperature extremes. The optics would take longer to acclimate when going from a warm indoor range to freezing temperatures outside, resulting in a blurry sight picture initially.

To mitigate this, I started storing the scope in an insulated case when transitioning between different environments. Allowing the optics to slowly adjust to the outside temperature before shooting eliminated the focusing issues and restored sharp target image.

Key Features

  • FX Rimfire model
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum body
  • Nitrogen-sealing for weatherproofing


  • Very durable, quality lenses
  • Turrets are tactile and easily adjustable
  • Totally weatherproof scope functionality
  • Excellent for hunting in low-light environments


  • You might find the eye relief to be a little too long

The Bottom Line

All in all, I found the Leupold FX-I to be a top-notch rifle scope in more ways than one, and a perfect choice for early morning or evening hunters with .17 WSM rifles.

My rating: 4.5/5

4. Simmons 3-9x32mm .22 Matte Black Riflescope

Simmons 3-9x32mm .22 Waterproof Fogproof Matte Black Riflescope (511039)

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As I continued my search for the top .17 WSM scopes, I stumbled upon the Simmons .22 Matte Black Riflescope, and I’m very glad I did, thanks to its numerous excellent features.

My Feelings After Using the Simmons 3-9x32mm

Once I got a little time on the range with this rifle scope, I found that the standard magnification ranges of between 3x and 9x really suited the .17 WSM cartridge. When looking through the scope, I was impressed by the glass clarity which provided a bright and crisp sight picture even at 9x magnification. At all magnifications, I did not notice any distortion or chromatic aberration. The fine duplex reticle was easy to see and helped with precise shot placement. Through testing at the range, I found the parallax and magnification adjustments to be smooth and accurate with the reticle staying centered at all distances. It’s an ideal scope for varmint hunting and similar work. The 32 mm objective lens is also good for varmint hunting and similar work.

The windage and elevation turrets were tactile and audible, with 1/4 MOA finger adjustable clicks. I tested the adjustments for tracking accuracy and repeatability and found them to perform as expected. The generous eye relief and forgiving eye box made it easy to get a full sight picture quickly when getting on target. After extensive use, the scope has held up well in terms of durability with no mechanical issues or degradation in optical performance.

The textured focus and zoom rings provided a positive grip, even with wet or gloved hands. I found the controls to be intuitive and ergonomic, allowing me to make quick adjustments when timing was critical.

Product Highlights

What most impressed me about the Simmons .22 Matte Black Riflescope is the titular matte black coating. Not only did I find that it offered me superior stealth (since it prevented sun glare from giving away my position), but it also helped to keep the scope durable and protected in the field.

That same benefit extends to the superior multiple coatings for the lenses. The HydroShield coatings gave me a very clear sight picture, even in rainy and foggy conditions, so I would definitely consider this to be a go-to optic for hunters in wet climates.  The rubberized grip also makes it a great choice for wet hunting conditions since you’ll be less likely to drop the scope by accident.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

The only major problem I discovered with the Simmons rifle scope is the lack of markings on the windage and elevation adjustment turrets. In my experience, that means you need to have a good memory to use the turrets accurately. Alternatively, you can mark the windage and elevation turrets using a white marker, although you’ll need to calibrate your rifle perfectly before doing this.

Key Features

  • Rimfire design
  • Truplex reticle
  • Waterproof and dogproof
  • Comes with lens cloth and caps


  • I really liked the dovetail mounting rings
  • Good coatings on the lenses and body
  • Rubberized exterior makes for easy grouping
  • Automatically comes corrected for parallax from 50 yards and up
  • Very lightweight


  • No markings on the windage and elevation adjustment turrets

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, the Simmons rifle scope could be a great pick for .17 WSM fans who want an adaptable, versatile rifle scope that will suit them well in any climate or environment.

My rating: 3.5/5

You can have a look at my selection of scopes for 45-70.

5. UTG 3-12×44 Compact ScopeUTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, Rings

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When I spent some time with the UTG 3-12×44 Compact Scope, I found it was an excellent optic in more ways than one.

My Feelings After Using the UTG 3-12×44

This lightweight, easy-to-mount, and compact scope comes with good magnification ranges for .17 WSM cartridges. With up to 12x magnification, I was able to take some pretty far shots at the very upper end of the cartridge’s effective range, and you likely will be able to, as well. When testing this scope, I took it to the range on several occasions and mounted it on my .17 WSM rifle. At 12x magnification, I was consistently able to place tight groups on targets out to 200 yards. The high magnification paired with the clear optics allowed me to visually spot bullet holes in paper targets at that distance. However, at 12x magnification, the scope’s eye relief gets quite small at 3 inches which took some practice to master proper cheek weld and sight picture.

Bolstering that fact are the multicoated lenses, which I found provided extra durability and top-tier light transmission. The UTG scope comes with flip-open lens caps, helping to preserve the lenses when they aren’t in use (by preventing dirt from scratching them, particularly while you are walking around). The fully multi-coated lenses maintained excellent clarity across the entire magnification range in a variety of lighting conditions from dawn to dusk. Glare and reflections were minimal. I subjected the scope to extensive abuse including drops onto gravel and mud without any noticeable degradation to the glass.

But I also really loved the premium zero-locking and resetting target turrets. These make adjusting for windage and elevation of breeze. Don’t forget the parallax knob; after a bit of fiddling with it, I found it was like its counterparts in that it offered tactile, precise responses with audible feedback. The turrets provide clear, audible clicks when making adjustments, with no noticeable slop. I reset to zero several times after making adjustments and the scope reliably returned to the original point of aim. The side parallax knob provides easy adjustment to focus the reticle on targets from 10 yards out to infinity. At 12x magnification I was able to achieve tack sharp focus on targets anywhere within the adjustment range. Talk about a fun-to-use optic.

Product Highlights

For my money, the UTG scope’s standout feature was the illuminated reticle. Not only does the reticle glow on your command, but it also swaps between 36 different illumination colors. I tested the illumination in a variety of lighting conditions from bright sunny days to pitch black nights on a new moon. Even at the highest brightness settings, the reticle remained crisp and useful. Battery life has been excellent even with the illumination on its highest settings for extended range sessions. The circuits integrated into the scope’s interior prevent the brightness from fading, even when your gun kicks in your hands.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

As noted above, the only real problem with the UTG scope is the fact that learning the illuminated reticle controls may take a bit of getting used to.

Key Features

  • Mil-dot reticle
  • Fog, shock, and rainproof
  • Flip-open lens caps


  • Comes with an excellent illuminated reticle
  • Turrets are fun and easy to use
  • Lenses and body are coated and durable
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty


  • Illuminated controls take some practice

The Bottom Line

I would easily recommend the UTG Compact Scope for any fan of .17 WSM cartridges purely thanks to the illuminated reticle and the phenomenal turrets.

My rating: 4/5

What is a 17 WSM Rifle Good For?

These weapons are designated vermin-hunters. The size and velocity of their rounds make them ideal for stopping coyotes and similarly sized animals. At the same time, these rounds don’t tend to produce a lot of recoil, so they can be used with a broad selection of scopes.

What to Consider in an Ideal 17 WSM Scope

17 WSM scopes can vary drastically in their features and functionality. Let’s go over the major things to consider as you browse so you pick the right scope for your rifle or hunting expedition.

Magnification Settings

Any scope will come with a series of zoom levels or magnification settings that determine how far it can increase your vision. Higher power scopes will narrow your field of view but will be exceptional for hitting targets upwards of 1000 yards away.

However, the 17 WSM round is best used for more common hunting scenarios that take place below 1000 yards. For this reason, I’d recommend that you look for scopes with magnification settings no higher than 12x or so. Naturally, I provided scopes within this range for your consideration below.

First or Second Focal Plane?

All rifle scopes will have a reticle either on the first or second focal plane. First focal plane reticles will seem to increase in size as you increase the scope’s magnification power. They’ll also seem to get smaller as you decrease magnification. This is useful because the reticle’s holdover points will stay accurate relative to your target no matter what magnification setting you use.

On the other hand, second focal plane reticles never change size no matter how far you’re zoomed in or out. This can be helpful for hunters that have scopes without a very wide magnification range, such as scopes with zoom levels between 3x and 8x.

There’s no right or wrong answer for every hunter. That’s why I provided scopes with both types of focal plane reticles for your consideration below.


You’ll also want to find an excellent scope that is built to last. Not only does this save you money in the long run (by preventing you from having to purchase a new scope shortly after your first pick), but it also ensures that the scope can work in any weather or in a variety of hunting situations.

Always try to find scopes that are built with waterproof and fog proof functionality in mind. You should also look for scopes that have lenses that have been multicoated or otherwise insured against damage from dust or dirt. Multicoated lenses also usually provide superior visibility and light transmission.

All of the scopes below have some or all of these advantages that make them well worth your time and money.

Parallax Turrets

Finally, try to find scopes that give you the ability to compensate for parallax, either in the form of a side-mounted turret, like windage or elevation turrets, or in the form of an adjustable objective. Either of these tools will let you better land your shots at a distance and up close.

Many of the scopes below have some kind of tool to help you deal with parallax and its effects on your accuracy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is The .17 WSM A Good Choice?

By far the most powerful modern rimfire in the 17-.22 caliber category, the 17 WSM is an incredibly powerful rimfire round.

It’s a relatively new product, having been produced in 2012 and based on a 27 caliber nail gun blank cartridge. It has even less unfavorable wind drift or drop than the 17 HMR, and was designed with the goal of shooting exceptionally flat and carrying farther than any other current rimfire offering. It can withstand internal pressures that are 27% higher than the HMR, resulting in increased velocity and energy.

What is the history of the .17 WSM?

Because the.17 WSM has only been in production for less than a decade, it has a brief history. It was released in 2012 by Winchester and put into production in 2013, and it is still available in a limited number of rifles, with Savage Arms and Ruger producing the most commonly disseminated. The Volquartsen series rifles are ideal for shooters who like a conventional semi-auto rifle chambered in.17 WSM.

The round was designed by Winchester to be a dominant force in varmint eradication while maintaining the rimfire’s simplicity and compactness. When overshooting is a problem and the targets are under 50 pounds, this is a suitable in-between cartridge.

How fast does a 17 WSM shoot?

3,000 ft/s

What has more energy: 17 WSM or 17 HMR?

The enhanced energy of the 17 WSM is especially crucial if you’re going to be targeting predators like coyotes as well as lesser varmints like squirrels. This can mean the difference between aggravating an animal and causing it to become aware of your presence, or actually killing it in a clean, ethical manner. 

As can be seen, the 17 WSM has significantly more energy than the 17 HMR. The 17 WSM boasts 155 ft-lbs more energy out of the muzzle than the 17 HMR. This means that while the 17 WSM can be used as a coyote rifle, the 17 HMR lacks the stopping power required in most situations.

What’s better: 17 WSM or 17 HMR?

Within 150-200 yards, each of these calibers will fly quickly. If you plan on plinking or target shooting, the 17 HMR’s easier availability may be a compelling incentive to choose with that more established cartridge. However, if you intend to use this rifle for pest control and want to be able to take down larger animals than a ground hog, you’ll need the 17 WSM’s greater power and heavier bullets.

Who all makes a 17 WSM rifle?

Savage B-Mag bolt action, heavy barrel B-mag target edition rifles are now firing the 17 WSM. Ruger Model 77/17, Winchester 1885 Low Wall single shot, and Franklin Armory F-17 semi-automatic.

Is the 17 WSM or HMR more expensive?

The 17 WSM is a little more expensive than the.17 HMR—the HMR costs between $0.20 and $0.30 per round, while the 17 WSM costs between $0.30 and $0.35 per round—so if price is a factor, the HMR would be a better choice. There are even more ammo options for the 17 HMR.

Concluding my 17 WSM Scopes Guide

Overall, the right scope for your 17 WSM depends on how often you want to use it, what features you prioritize, and your budget. Hopefully, one of the above scopes checks all the boxes for you and your search is done. Thanks for reading and good hunting!

For fixed scopes, check my 1-8x scopes and 1-6x scopes guides.

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