Best Scope for 17 WSM – The Top 5 Optics in 2023

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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. Below, you’ll find my top scope picks for 17 WSM rifles.

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.

The 5 Best Scopes for 17 WSM

1. Vortex Crossfire II 2-7×32 RiflescopeVortex 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 Feeling After Using the Product

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.

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. 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 you to use it in inclement weather. 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 or it’s 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. They click audibly so you can make your adjustments while keeping your eyes on your target.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

On the downside, I did discover that the Crossfire II weighs 1.5 pounds. That marks it as a little heavier than similar scopes on the market. In some situations, that could mark a problem for your upcoming hunt. After all, a heavy scope will change the balance or feel of your rifle.

That can actually matter a great deal for varmint cartridges like .17 WSM. These cartridges don’t produce a lot of kick, so even one extra heavy component can throw off your aim and the feel of the weapon from start to finish, at least in my experience.

To deal with that, I’d recommend just practicing with the scope until you get used to it.

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

Basic Parameters

Manufacturer Vortex Optics
Weight 24 oz
Eye Relief 9.45”
Magnification 7x
Field of View 42’-12.6’

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: 5/5

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 Feeling After Using the Product

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. 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. Rest assured when I tell you the turrets are audible and accurate.

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.

Product Highlights

What most impressed me during my time with the Diamondback scope, though, is the simplistic, V-plex reticle. Unlike many other crowded, busy reticles you may have to contend with, this reticle provides a very clean sight picture and makes it easy to hit small targets that might normally be covered up by holdover points or hashmarks.

The reticle goes well with the second focal plane scope overall. 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 that the turrets mentioned above were not marked, which did represent a small downside in my eyes. However, you can solve this by marking the turrets yourself after calibrating your weapon for the first time, which is what I did.

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

Basic Parameters

Manufacturer Vortex Optics
Weight 14.2 oz
Eye Relief 3.1”-3.5”
Magnification 2-7x
Field of View 19.3’-64.3’

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: 4.8/5

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 Feeling After Using the Product

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.

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.

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

Though there’s a lot to like about this scope, I found that the Leupold FX-I eye relief was a little long in some hunting situations. In other words, I discovered that using the Leupold scope required me to change how I held my .17 WSM rifle. That’s a pretty big change, which any experienced hunter will know.

To solve this issue, I would recommend extensive practice with the scope before taking it into the field. That way, you’ll get used to the eye relief. Since this is a fixed scope, you can’t swap to a different magnification setting with better eye relief, unfortunately.

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

Basic Parameters

Manufacturer Leupold
Weight 14.8 oz
Eye Relief 4.5”
Magnification 4x
Field of View 25.5’

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: 4.7/5

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 Feeling After Using the Product

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 cartridges. It’s an ideal scope for those who like to swap between different magnifications in the pursuit of their prey. The 32 mm objective lens is also good for varmint hunting and similar work.

The windage and elevation turrets, I noticed, were responsive and adaptable, but I especially liked the dovetail mounting rings. These come included with the purchase, and I’ll just bet that most other shooters will love being able to mount this scope on their rifles rapidly after taking it out of the box. Plus, it only weighs 9.6 ounces, so it’s lightweight and not very liable to throw your rifle’s balance off. Mounting the scope is easy, thanks to the rubber surfaces along its length.

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

Basic Parameters

Manufacturer Simmons
Weight 9.6 oz
Eye Relief 3.75”
Magnification 3x-9x
Field of View 33’-11’

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: 4.5/5

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 Feeling After Using the Product

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.

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).

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. 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 brightness levels. You can adjust these using the parallax knob, which admittedly took a bit of getting used to when I experimented with this scope. 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

Basic Parameters

Manufacturer UTG
Weight 23.2 oz
Eye Relief 3.4”-3”
Magnification 3x-12x
Field of View 32-10’

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: 4.5/5

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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