The 17 HMR is a popular cartridge that is widely used for ranges around 100 yards. You definitely need a scope to improve target acquisition at that distance. Which ones are the best rifle scopes for the 17 HMR? Have a look below!
What are the Basics of a Riflescope for 17 HMR?
Commonly called the 17 HMR, the 17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire is a rifle cartridge created in 2002. The 17 HMR round is made by decreasing the size of a .22 Magnum case for .17 caliber projectiles.
The developers wanted to create a cartridge to replace the obsolete 5mm Remington Magnum Rimfire (RMR). Produced between 1970 and 1974, the 5mm RMR was the fastest rimfire round produced.
The 17 HMR quickly became a favorite for a variety of uses from plinking and target shooting to hunting. The accuracy of the 17 HMR makes it popular for hunting varmints, deer, and coyotes.
The design was refined over the years. Compared to the 22-caliber rounds it was based on, the 17 HMR offers higher velocity and flatter trajectory. The result is a cartridge that’s a great choice for long-range shooting.
How Accurate is a 17 HMR – Does the Best Scope extend the range?
Rifles that use 17 HMR rounds are accurate up to 100 yards, depending on the conditions. The best scopes can extend the range up to 200 or more yards.
Finding the best scopes depends on the range. For close ranges, you do not need parallax adjustments. However, a fast-focus eyepiece is still useful for quickly targeting your shot when varmint hunting.
The medium-range with a 17 HMR rifle is up to 200 yards. With this range, it helps to have a larger objective lens size that the best scopes come equipped with. The larger lens increases light transmission, which is needed when you start magnifying your view. Lens sizes for most 17 HMR scopes range between 32mm and 42mm.
For medium to long-range shooting, the best scope should offer convenient adjustments for windage and elevation. This becomes more important as you increase the distance to your shot.
The reticle depends on the range and target. Use a reticle with bullet drop compensation (BDC) for long-range shooting and hunting. When hunting small animals or deer, you may deal with shorter ranges and require a basic crosshair on the best scopes for lining up your shot.
Looking for the best scope for 200 yards? Find them here!
What Magnification do you need for the Typical Use of a Scope for the 17 HMR?
2-7x magnification should cover most typical uses with a rifle loaded with .17 HMR rounds. For shorter ranges, you typically do not need a lot of magnification. With 2x magnification, objects about 50 yards away appear closer to 25 yards.
Fixed or Variable Magnification?
If you only intend on using the rifle for close-range shots, a fixed magnification scope may meet your needs. A 2x or 4x scope provides enough magnification for hunting small varmint at short distances.
Variable magnification scopes may range from 1-5x to 4-12x. 2-7x and 3-9x are the two most common configurations, which should cover close-range and medium-range targeting.
For long-range distances beyond 200 yards, a more powerful scope may be needed, such as a 4-12x variable scope. If you’re going even further out in range then check out the best 500 yard scopes!
Keep in mind that the field of view (FOV) gets smaller as you magnify the image. A smaller FOV often makes it harder to track fast-moving targets such as coyotes. For long-range and high magnification, look for the best scopes with a larger FOV.
With a 3-9x variable scope, you may get a FOV of about 30 feet with the lowest magnification setting and seven or eight feet with full magnification. However, some options may offer slightly larger or smaller views.
The size of the target also impacts the ideal magnification level (How do scope magnification and distance relate to each other?) If you plan on hunting small animals at medium range, consider using slightly higher magnification, such as 12x or higher magnification instead of 9x.
The quality of the glass will affect the clarity at higher magnification levels. When shopping for 12x or 16x scopes, ensure that the scope has high-quality glass with optimal coatings. This improves sharpness and reduces blurring around the edges of the reticle.
What do you have to know to pick the Best Rifle Scope for 17 HMR
There are a number of factors and features you have to consider when you’re looking for the best 17 HMR scope. The list below is not exhaustive but should provide you with enough consideration to find the important features you require for your shooting and hunting. Let’s have a look at the essential features when you’re looking for a 17 HMR rifle scope.
There’s certainly a difference in quality depending on the price of the scope, etc. However, you can expect that a reliable and rugged scope today is made from aircraft-grade aluminum and built to sustain heavy recoil.
Furthermore, you can expect to get a scope that is completely sealed and is fogproof and waterproof. Good lens coatings will increase light transmission but also scratch-resistance of the lens!
Glass Quality and Lens Coatings
One aspect of lens coatings is to improve and optimize light transmission (Light Transmission: The Key to Success) to give you a vivid scope image. In addition to that, they are also helping to increase the life expectancy of the lenses as they provide improved scratch resistance.
The glass quality and clarity depend a lot on the price category. Typically, you can assume that more expensive scopes use ultra-clear glass, while cheaper models will have clear glass with less capable transmission of light.
There are various scopes available that are calibrated to the 17 HMR. You can get scopes with bullet drop compensation (BDC) reticles. These compensate for bullet drop matching the 17 HMR caliber across the different ranges.
This calibration is typically for a specific 17 HMR ammunition and takes the bullet weight, style, and velocity of one specific cartridge. While close, that does not 100% match all of the available 17 HMR ammunition.
Find more about reticles in our exhaustive post at Different Types of Rifle Scope Reticles for Hunting and Tactical Shooting
Turrets and Adjustments
If you are going for a scope with a BDC reticle for the 17 HMR, you will typically get turrets specific for this ammunition. After you sight in the scope at your preferred distance, you can simply use the markings on the turret to adjust for hold over (and hold under).
Check out more information on turrets at Rifle Scope Turrets – Guide to Getting to Know The Different Turrets!
The 17 HMR is not a long-range caliber but is most often used for relatively short distances. Having parallax adjustments on the scope ranging from 10 yards upwards can be helpful. It can help you to avoid having to align the scope with your eye perfectly.
In that case, make sure that the rimfire scope you’re looking at has parallax adjustment down to 10 yards or so. Many fixed parallax scopes will have it set for 50 or 100 yards, giving you slight distortions at short ranges like 25 yards. Check out our post on whether you need a scope with parallax adjustment or not!
The 17 HMR produced low recoil, and as such, eye relief is less of a worry. Even scopes with short eye relief of 2.5 inches or so will work great. You’re not running the risk of the scope hitting your eye socket due to too short of eye relief!
As mentioned above, this is not a complete list of all the features and functions you need to look for in the best scopes for 17 HMR. It does give you a good starting point to pick the right optic for you.
Which of these features are more important to others depends on your personal needs. If you never shoot under around 25 yards, you should be able to skip the parallax adjustment. If you only hunt in broad daylight, having top-notch ultraclear glass is not the highest priority.
Other features that are important for many other calibers are not that important for the 17 HMR. Due to the rather short range of the 17 HMR, you, for example, do not require a rifle scope with a large objective lens diameter. Instead, a 40 mm objective lens on the maximum should be sufficient for pretty much all needs. This will also reduce the scope’s weight and help you keep your rifle and scope setup balanced.
You can find excellent rifle scopes for the 17 HMR and we compiled the list of our favorite and best 17 HMR rifle scopes in this article.
What are the best scopes for 17 HMR?
After reviewing the main features, the following options stand out as the best scope for 17 HMR rifles.
BSA Optics Sweet .17 AO Riflescope
The BSA Optics Sweet .17 AO Riflescope is one of the most affordable scopes for 17 HMR cartridges. It provides the standard 3-9x magnification range and a fully waterproof, shockproof, and fog-proof tube.
The 3-9x magnification range is common for 17 HMR rifles, offering a versatile solution for any distance.
The BSA Sweet .17 Scope comes with a 40mm adjustable objective lens. That size gets more light transmission compared to the 32mm lenses found on some models. The extra light helps keep the image clear when dealing with cloud cover or limited lighting.
The lens is adjustable. This allows you to adjust the focus for increased sharpness after adjusting the magnification level or targeting at a different distance. The eye relief is on the lower end of the spectrum at 3 inches.
The 17 HMR scope has a one-inch tube. As with most scopes, it is nitrogen purged and sealed to protect against moisture and shock.
The BSA Sweet 17 is made for weaver mounts instead of Picatinny rails. This is important as it does not come with mounting rings.
The lenses on the BSA Sweet 17 are fully coated but not with multiple coats. All sides of the lens are coated to reduce glare and provide a fuller spectrum of colors. However, only a single layer is applied. You may notice that the clarity decreases dramatically in limited light surroundings. This is common with budget scopes such as the BSA Optics Sweet Rifle Scope.
- Comes at an affordable price for a decent scope
- Provides a versatile range for a variety of uses
- Includes an adjustable lens
- Loses clarity in dim light
- Does not come with covers or mounting equipment
BARSKA 6-18x40mm AO Hot Magnum Scope
With the BARSKA 6-18x40mm Rifle Optic, you receive relatively clear optics without needing to spend a lot of money. It is a low-cost, entry-level scope with a wide magnification range making it suitable for long-range shooting.
The 6-18x magnification range allows you to test the limits of your 17 HMR rifle. 18x is more than enough magnification for long-range shooting. However, the 6x magnification level may be awkward for close-range shooting.
Overall, the configuration is best suited for the distance between 100 and 300 yards. It also comes with bullet drop technology with pre-calculated trajectory compensation for those ranges.
The lenses have multiple layers of coats. The clarity and performance are decent for this price point but inferior compared to some of the high-end scopes.
The 17 HMR scope comes with interchangeable turrets. You can easily change the turrets for .17-caliber rounds or .22-caliber rounds.
The viewing field is limited with this scope. You get a 14.5-foot FOV with low magnification at 100 yards. With full magnification, the FOV is only 4.5 feet. You may struggle to scan your perimeter or track moving targets. Eye relief on the Barska scope is 3.1 inches which could end up being a little low for some setups.
- Low-cost scope
- Lens caps and cleaning cloths included
- An adjustable lens that helps you focus at any range
- Interchangeable turrets for .17 or .22 rounds
- The FOV is small, making it hard to track moving targets
- The scope lacks clarity at full magnification
Hawke Vantage IR 4-12×40 .17 Rimfire Riflescope
The Hawke Vantage IR Riflescope provides a good overall value, thanks to its 11-layer fully multi-coated lenses, parallax correction, and reliable performance.
The Hawke Vantage IR Riflescope has 4-12x magnification and an adjustable objective lens. It is well suited for use at almost any range with a 17 HMR rifle.
The Vantage scope includes a reticle designed specifically for .17 HMR cartridges. The aim points for bullet drop compensation are set for distances between 100 yards and 350 yards. The eye relief on this scope is 3.5″ which is sufficient.
The reticle is illuminated, helping to increase accuracy when your target is in front of a dark landscape. The combination of high-quality lens coatings and an IR reticle ensures that you get a clear image in dim light environments.
The crosshairs are a little thin. Even when illuminated, you might struggle to see the lines. If you have limited eyesight, you may need a scope with thicker markings.
The rifle optic comes equipped with everything that you need except for the mounting rings. It includes lens covers, a lens cloth, and a battery for the IR reticle.
To adjust for windage and elevation, the 17 HMR scope has low-profile turrets with 1/4 MOA clicks. The adjustments reset to zero after sighting in. The eyepiece also stays focused when changing magnification.
- Affordable price for a scope with quality glass and lens coatings
- 11 layers of lens coatings to reduce glare and increase light transmission
- A reticle that includes BDC specifically for .17 HMR rounds
- The crosshairs are thin and difficult to see if you have poor eyesight
Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm Riflescope
The Leupold VX-Freedom offers crisp images even at full magnification. It is a durable scope but costs a little more compared to other options.
The high-quality Leupold VX-Freedom comes with 3-9x magnification and a 40mm objective lens. The magnification range should suit most situations. It provides a good low-level magnification for close-range shooting while the 9x magnification is more than enough for long-range with a .17 cartridge.
The VX-Freedom is a quality scope with Leupold’s patented Twilight Light Management System. This system adds up to 20 minutes of shooting light at dusk or dawn. It is basically a lens coating that reduces glare and improves light transmission.
The 17 HMR scope includes turrets with 1/4 MOA clicks for windage and elevation adjustments. The turrets are low-profile and finger adjustable. They offer precise adjustments that stay in place even after firing dozens of rounds.
As with most 17 HMR scopes, the VX-Freedom is waterproof, shockproof, and fog-proof. It also has multiple coated lenses made from scratch-resistant material. The optic is made from aircraft-quality aluminum. These features protect the scope against the elements, decreasing the risk of damage.
- Quality light transmission improves clarity in dim light settings
- The turrets are low-profile, keeping them from snagging on clothes or gear
- The turrets are easy to adjust and have clear markings
- Generous eye relief up to 4.17 inches
- It is relatively expensive compared to other options
- The Tri-MOA reticle is a little small, depending on your preferences
Do you want to read more about the VX-Freedom? Check out our review of the Leupold VX-Freedom scopes. Leupold also added a VX-Freedom red dot sight that we evaluated!
Simmons Truplex 3-9x32mm Riflescope
The Simmons Truplex 3-9x32mm Riflescope is a budget optic suitable for first-time hunters and experienced marksmen. It offers surprisingly clear optics for a low-cost scope.
The Simmons 560520 Truplex Riflescope is one of the most affordable options that you can get. It has a 3-9x magnification and a 32mm objective lens. The eye relief, depending on magnification, is around 3 to 4 inches.
The lenses are fully coated but not with multiple layers. Without additional layers to protect against glare, you may notice decreased clarity depending on the lighting.
The 17 HMR scope includes turrets for adjustments based on windage and elevation. The turrets are finger-adjustable and feature audible clicks with 1/4 MOA adjustments.
The Truplex reticle has thick vertical and horizontal lines with extremely thin lines in the center for the crosshairs. If you have poor eyesight, the Truplex reticle may be a little easier to work with compared to some of the Duplex reticles found on comparable models.
Unfortunately, the turrets are not resettable to zero and do not include zero stops. This is a little inconvenient but not a major drawback when you consider the price of the scope.
The FOV is standard, with a 31.4-foot FOV at 3x magnification and a 10.5-foot FOV at 9x magnification.
- A low-cost option for those with limited budgets
- Truplex reticle that is easy to read
- Turrets that are easy to adjust
- The turrets may need readjusting after several rounds
- The optics do not perform well in dim light settings
Bushnell Optics Drop Zone-22 BDC 2-7x32mm Rimfire Reticle Riflescope
The Bushnell Optics Drop Zone-22 Rimfire Riflescope comes with several useful features for hunting moving targets, including a fast-focus eyepiece and side-focus parallax adjustment.
The Drop Zone-22 is a reliable scope with 2-7x magnification. It has a 32mm objective lens size and fully multi-coated lenses. It offers a generous 3.7 inches of eye relief.
When fully zoomed in, the scope has a visible field of 17 feet at 100 yards. The impressive FOV and the fast focus eyepiece help you track your game.
The tube is made from durable aluminum alloy and features an anodized finish to protect against the elements. The construction is completely fog-proof and waterproof and includes multiple coatings on the lenses.
The windage and elevation turrets include 1/4 MOA click adjustments. The tube has side-focus parallax adjustment.
The lens includes a BDC reticle. You may not need the BDC reticle for distances of 100 yards or less. However, it helps you maintain accuracy when targeting further distances.
The 17 HMR scope weighs about 19.6 ounces. With mounting rings, the weight is closer to two pounds. The weight of the scope may become uncomfortable during a long hunting trip.
The optics are clear and the large FOV helps you track targets but the sharpness decreases as you adjust the magnification. At 7x magnification, you may notice a blur around the sides of the reticle.
- Affordable price for a quality scope
- Clear optics for a scope in this price range
- Durable design that is suitable for any environment
- The scope is a little heavy and may become uncomfortable in the field
Burris Scout Riflescope 2-7x32mm
The Burris Scout 2-7x32mm scope is a great option for the 17 HMR. The ultra-long eye relief allows mounting the scope in a forward position. This is a preferred location for many hunters as it’s less straining on the eyes. It also helps with faster target acquisition and allows to aim with both eyes open.
The Burris scope has a 2-7x magnification combined with a 32mm objective lens. The scope’s tube measures 1 inch in diameter. The tube is made from high-quality aluminum. The improved visibility and increased field of view allow for more accurate shots.
The scope offers enough magnification to shoot 150 to 200 yards without a problem. It’s a great magnification range for varmint hunting at short to medium ranges.
The Ballistic Plex rear focal plane reticle works well with the 17 HMR. The low-profile turrets allow precise adjustments with a 1/4 MOA click value. Windage and elevation have ranges within 66 MOA which is sufficient for the typical range you’ll shoot a 17 HMR.
Burris uses high-grade optical glass for the lenses. The lenses are multi-coated to eliminate glare and improve low-light performance.
The Burris Scout 2-7×32 scope comes with an eye relief between 9.2 and 12 inches. The field of view at 100 yards is 23 feet at 2x down to 8 feet at 7x magnification.
- Not the cheapest scope but offers good bang for the buck
- The capped and spring-loaded turrets are easy to adjust
- The scope holds zero well
- Not enough magnification for long-range shooting
Check out our Burris Rifle Scope Reviews
Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Riflescope
The Crossfire II is a popular riflescope from Vortex Optics. It provides one of the best overall values with high-quality optics featuring anti-reflective lens coatings.
The Vortex Optics Crossfire II come with 2-7x magnification. This magnification range with a 17 HMR should work well for hunting or target shooting at up to 200 yards.
The 17 HMR scope has a 32mm objective lens and clear glass. The lenses are fully coated with multiple layers for increased brightness and clarity. These features provide quality light transmission, which helps to maintain a clear image through the reticle.
The clarity remains solid at 300 to 400 yards. You should not notice any blurring or reduction in clarity at full magnification. In low-light settings, you naturally lose sharpness. However, the Vortex Optics Crossfire II still gives you a crisp image at dusk or dawn.
The turrets of this 17 HMR scope are finger-adjustable, capped reset turrets with MOA clicks. You can easily adjust for windage and elevation and rest to zero after sighting in. The eye relief is three to four inches, depending on the magnification. This is more than enough to keep you from hitting your eye on the scope from the recoil.
The Vortex Optics Crossfire II includes a BDC reticle with MOA markings. It is a second focal plane reticle, which may not work well for bullet drop compensation at long ranges. However, the reticle stays large when using lower magnification levels.
- Clear optics even in low light conditions
- SFP reticle that remains large and clear at 2x magnification
- Wide field of view
- Costs a little more compared to the budget scopes
- May not offer the magnification needed for long-range
Leupold VX-3HD 1.5-5x20mm Riflescope
The Leupold VX-3HD is a high-end scope for hunting small game at close or medium ranges. With the advanced light management system, you get up to 20 extra minutes of light at dusk and dawn.
The VX-3HD (similar to its predecessor, the VX-3HD from Leupold) is configured with 1.5-5x magnification and a small 20mm objective lens. While the lens size is small, the scope still offers a wide field of view. The FOV is 68 feet at 100 yards with 1.5x magnification and 23.8 feet with 5x magnification.
The large FOV combined with the Twilight Max Light Management System gives you a clear view through the reticle in low light conditions. Due to the superior optics used in the VX-3HD, the image through the Duplex reticle remains clear at any magnification.
This 17 HMR scope is lightweight, weighing just 9.3 ounces. It also has a shorter tube, measuring 9.5 inches. The size and weight make it a good choice for long days in the field. The Leupold VX-3i has a generous eye relief ranging from 3.7 to 4.4 inches.
The scope tube is waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof. It is tested at depths of 33 feet and various pressure changes. The durability of the Leupold VX-3i is suitable for tough environments and any conditions. It can even perform in extreme temperatures from -40 degrees to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Offers a wide field of view
- Is suitable for close or medium range
- Includes clear optics with fully multi-coated lenses
- Features a durable design and quality craftsmanship
- This is one of the more expensive options
- It does not include lens covers
Final Thoughts – Best Scope for your 17 HMR
The scopes for 17 HMR discussed provide a wide range of options for improving accuracy with a 17 HMR rifle. When comparing options, focus on the features that matter most for your intended purpose.
If you plan on hunting, it helps to have a 17 HMR scope that works well in all light conditions. For plinking and casual target shooting, finding a scope with fully multi-coated lenses is not as important.
Fast-focus eyepieces and superior lenses also have less of an impact. However, you still need to pay attention to the magnification.
What is the Best 17 HMR Rifle Scope?
The Leupold VX-3i and Nikon P-Tactical are among the best scopes for shorter distances. For medium ranges between 100 yards and 200 yards, the 3-9x magnification on the Leupold VX-Freedom and Simmons Truplex scopes should work well.
Before picking the best scope for 17 HMR, review the features while focusing on the details that impact your typical uses.
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We took the Nikon P-Tactical Rimfire scope out of our list of the top 17 HMR scope simply for the reason that Nikon does not offer rifle scopes anymore. If you can find this scope somewhere then don’t hesitate to go for it!
Below is our take on the Nikon P-Tactical Rimfire 2-7×32 before Nikon pulled out of the hunting and shooting market.
Nikon P-Tactical Rimfire 2-7X32 Matte BDC150
The Nikon P-Tactical Rimfire Riflescope has a compact design and generous eye relief. With 2-7x magnification, it is well-suited for close- to medium-range targeting.
The Nikon P-Tactical Rimfire Riflescope has 2-7x magnification and a BDC 150 reticle intended for use at ranges of 50 to 150 yards. It is a good close-range scope for hunting varmints.
The windage and elevation adjustment turrets are spring-loaded for instant zero resets after sighting in. It also offers generous eye relief. The turrets are clearly marked, making them easy to read during dusk or dawn.
The tube is made from aircraft-grade aluminum. As with most scopes in this price range, it is O-ring sealed to keep moisture from reaching the internal components. It is also nitrogen purged to make it shockproof.
The lenses fully coated in multiple layers and include a 3x zoom ratio. You should receive a crisp, clear image through the reticle at most magnification levels. However, clarity tends to decrease in lower light conditions or full magnification.
The P-Tactical 17 HMR scope measures 11.5 inches long and 1 inch wide. It weighs about 13 ounces.
- It provides a great overall value for your money
- The knurled turrets and zoom ring are easy to adjust
- The elevation and windage adjustments hold zero well
- The exterior matte finish provides superior resistance to surface wear
- Does not offer the magnification needed for long-range shooting
- Does not include lens covers or mounting rings