The 17HMR (short for Hornady Magnum Rimfire) is a chambered firearm, introduced in 2000, that serves as a substitute to the popular .22 caliber rifle. With a flatter trajectory and higher velocity upon firing, as well as the ability to shoot farther, this rimfire cartridge rifle has become increasingly preferred over its .22 competitor due to its perceived ballistic superiority, for everyone from hunters to target shooters.
A massive aspect of any strong 17HMR rifle, however, comes from the scope you equip, as it can be the difference between consistently strong shots and consistently disappointing misses. Consult the list below to help ensure that the scope you end up choosing is the best possible option for your particular rifle.
- What you need to consider before purchase
- Top 9 Scope for 17HMR 2019 - Comparison Table
- 1 Nikon ProStaff 4-12 x 40 Black Matte Riflescope (BDC)
- 2 Burris Timberline 4.5-14 x 32 Riflescope with Ballistic Plex Reticle
- 3 BSA 3-12X40 Sweet 17 Rifle Scope with Multi-Grain Turret
- 4 Leupold 110827 VX-2 Rimfire Rifle
- 5 Nikon ProStaff 3-9 x 40 Black Matte Riflescope
- 6 Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope with 3.3-Inch Eye Relief, 3-9X 40mm
- 7 Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9x40mm BDC 1in Waterproof Matte Riflescope
- 8 Vortex Optics Crossfire II Second Focal Plane, 1-inch Tube Riflescopes
- 9 Nikon P-RIMFIRE BDC 150 Rifle Scope, Black
- Things to Consider When Buying a 17HMR Scope
What you need to consider before purchase
Before you select your desired 17HMR scope, there are a few matters you’ll need to consider. The very nature of the 17HMR means that you’ll be able, with the right scope, to take your rifle everywhere from the shooting range to the forest. As a result, a scope that complements that variety and diversity of opportunity is essential.
With most 17HMR scopes, you’ll be looking down at targets in anything from a short to long range. As a result, you may encounter issues with parallax when needing to aim down long-range targets, which can be frustrating.
Parallax, which is an issue that can occur when the reticle and target are not on the same plane, is one of the most important things to recall when trying to find the right scope for a 17HMR. Many of you will want to find a scope with an adjustable parallax, so that you can guarantee you don’t get a blurry or unclear shot when the time comes.
Many rifle scopes come with a preset, 100-yard or 150-yard parallax setting. Those that go above and beyond will come with an adjustable side parallax, often ranging from eight or ten all the way to infinity. This ensures that, no matter the range, you’ll be able to correct any errors in the scope before even needing to test out the shot.
Much like parallax, magnification is absolutely something with which any 17HMR shooter should be concerned. Magnification, or the degree to which a shot can be zoomed in or out, is an essential aspect of any 17HMR scope decision, since the very versatility of the rifle is part of its wide appeal. As a result, its shooters want to be able to nail a target at three hundred yards just like at a hundred.
Since the 17HMR is largely employed by range shooters and hunters of big and small game alike, its magnification should be adjustable to at least a certain extent. The 1-2x magnification settings are admittedly not necessary, as generally the 17HMR is not a rifle used in such close quarters, but the best scopes will have magnification ranging from at least 3-12x. This will grant the shooter full control over the distance at which they want to shoot.
Reticles, the dot or sight in the center of the scope, is another quintessential element of the scope-browsing process. While reticles can be illuminated or designed differently in order to serve different purposes, 17HMR shooters will each need to make their own individual decisions on which reticles best aid their shots.
Reticles can range from the basic crosshairs to more complex ones that factor in distance and angle, so choosing a reticle that complements the type of shooting you would like to do is definitely something to keep in mind when deciding on your 17HMR scope.
If magnification power is the degree to which a distance can be zoomed in without losing any clarity of the shot, objective deals with the inverse. Lens objectives are the measurement of the diameter of the outside lens, where you look into the scope.
A larger objective means a wider field of view, which is a necessary tenet of shot construction when it comes to longer distances. Too small of a scope diameter will greatly limit the shots one can take, as they have to continually adjust and move their rifle around for a strong, clear view. Meanwhile, the opposite, in the form of a too-large objective, can easily become a nuisance and a discomfort to the shooter.
When choosing the right scope for a 17HMR rifle, much of the conversation should come down to a consideration of magnification and objective. Frequently, these two measurements will be paired in scope descriptions, with the general format being 4x32, where 4 is the magnification and 32 the objective.
Top 9 Scope for 17HMR 2019 - Comparison Table
Set: 100 yards
Set: 100 yards
Adjustable: 10 to infinity
Adjustable: 10 to infinity
Set: 100 yards
Set: 100 yards
Set: 100 yards
Set: 100 yards
BDC, V-Plex, V-Brite
Set: 50 yards
Our Top 9 scope for 17HMR recommendations:
1 Nikon ProStaff 4-12 x 40 Black Matte Riflescope (BDC)
Without a doubt, Nikon makes a strong argument for the best 70HMR scope with their ProStaff Riflescope. The ballistic BDC reticle on this scope is no joke, and it features a good diversity in magnification and a wide, 40mm-diametered lens objective. Past that, the quick-focus eyepiece is a special gift to shooters, as it lowers potential eye strain. All the while, a 3.7-inch eye relief leaves plenty of room for good vision and a safety from the recoil, demonstrating good foresight by the Nikon crew.
The lens is also a strong selling point, as good coating and a powerful high resolution imaging system leads to 98% light transmission, no matter how thick the fog is or how little light there is. With the exception of perhaps short-range shooters hoping to stay under 100 yards, who may find the magnification power and objective settings a bit too advanced, the Nikon ProStaff is a definite leader in terms of 17HMR scope evaluations.
2 Burris Timberline 4.5-14 x 32 Riflescope with Ballistic Plex Reticle
Arguably the scope with the widest-range magnification adjustment, the Burris Timberline is a premium quality 17HMR scope that doubles as both a gift to long-range shooters hoping to push themselves, and an essential choice for first-time shooters. For the latter, especially, the 5-inch eye relief provides a great safety net, while the tough build and strong, shock-resistant build is a welcome style. The Timberline is also top-of-the-line in its lens clarity, which is multi-coated for an overall better light absorption, no matter the amount of darkness or density of foliage. It admittedly does not have the widest objective (32 millimeters, which falls slightly below its Nikon competitors who consistently hit 40) for those seeking the largest field of view, but make no mistake. The Burris Timberline does not come to play, and is a sturdy, consistent choice as a quality 17HMR scope.
3 BSA 3-12X40 Sweet 17 Rifle Scope with Multi-Grain Turret
A slew of factors combine to create the high quality of the BSA Sweet 17 Rifle Scope. For one, its 4-inch eye relief is a good safety development, guaranteed to hold you back from danger with even the most high-caliber rifles. From there, a multi-colored (RGB) illuminated glass etched reticle, coupled with multicoated lenses that leave a starkly clear image no matter the amount of light, is part of the sighting beauty of this scope. Its adjustable parallax setting, which ranges from 10 to infinity, sets it apart from much of the competition, as it promises a cleaner, clearer shot with less work. Finally, its durability, which is in part due to its shockproof, waterproof, and fog proof exterior, as well as in part to its nitrogen-filled lenses, which ensure that no bad weather ruins your aim.
Other than a slightly-resistant magnification ring, which can make adjusting the power slightly more challenging, the BSA is a winner’s scope. Its forty millimeter objective lens is as wide as the best of its competitors, while the sleek black matte provides a comfortable, stylish appearance. Finally, a quick change turret system that can adapt to different calibers with ease is a game-winning element for the BSA Sweet 17, placing it high in any best-scope list when it comes to the 17HMR.
4 Leupold 110827 VX-2 Rimfire Rifle
The name Leupold is understandably prestigious within scope circles for the 17HMR. This is because a tradition of pristine quality and consistent developments keep the Leupold Rimfire a near-perfect scope for any 17HMR shooter.
The game-changing Custom Dial System (CDS), which allows shooters to set elevation and ranges to certain values with ease in order to ensure prime ballistics, is just one key part of the Leupold argument for best scope. The CDS is how experienced shooters can take their long-range game to the next level, by being set to adapt to various calibers, ammunition loads, and environmental and lighting conditions.
From there, with the exception of a comprehensive 10-infinity parallax setting that is at times a bit difficult to implement, the Leupold Rimfire makes it case for top scope position with a condensed balance of magnification and objective lens. The range on this balance is not very large, but the Rimfire compensates with an impressive 3.40-inch eye relief, as well as a Fine Duplex reticle for optimal aiming down. Finally, while the CDS is definitely a main selling point, the build of the scope is also worth noting, as its tough DiamondCoat exterior lens coating protects it from abrasion and damage, while also promising some of the best light transmission in the industry. All this and more culminates in a truly game-changing 17HMR scope.
5 Nikon ProStaff 3-9 x 40 Black Matte Riflescope
While it can boast a smaller range in terms of magnification power than its BDC sibling, the Nikon ProStaff NikoPlex Riflescope has the same diameter lens, and is also of the same quality optics. A preset 100-yard parallax setting is not as all-encompassing as the 10 to infinity adjustable parallax setting of many of its competitors, but the Riflescope makes up for this with a quick eye adjustment that makes zeroing in and sighting a target a matter of just seconds. The vivid Nikoplex Duplex reticle is a welcome addition, while the nitrogen-filled and sealed O-ring is a good protection from less-than-favorable environmental conditions.
On the topic of environment, the NikoPlex Riflescope can be lauded for its high-resolution images and clarity of lens, even in foggy or wet conditions, while its spring-loaded adjustment knobs are a welcome change for anyone tired of intense firearm recoil.
6 Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope with 3.3-Inch Eye Relief, 3-9X 40mm
With a magnification power ranging from 3-9x and a 40-millimeter diameter, it can appear at first that the Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn is just like many of the other 17HMR scopes mentioned previously. However, while it surely deserves its place on this list for those reasons (and it’s definitely in good company), where the Dusk & Dawn excels is…well, exactly as its name suggests. Dusk and dawn, often cited as the prime hunting hours, are also intensely restricted for most rifle/scope combinations, due to limited light.
However, with a genius pairing of a multi-coated lens that enhances all light visibility and a multi-X reticle that tricks the eyes into sticking to the direct center with a unique, ingenious design, the Bushnell Banner team has truly outdone themselves on this scope.
7 Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9x40mm BDC 1in Waterproof Matte Riflescope
Another home-run for Nikon, the Buckmasters II is a treat of a scope, no matter the shooter using it. The patented BDC reticle, when coupled with a set 100-yard parallax setting, gives the eye of the beholder a perfect ‘dead-on’ at untold ranges. This makes the Buckmasters II another in a long line of great hunting scopes from Nikon, especially when considering how elements such as the precise hand-turn ¼ inch knob serves to make adjustments on the go not only easy and convenient, but pleasurable. The generous eye relief and multicoated lenses, which when paired lead to a comfortable, clear path for any ace shooter-in-preparation, demonstrates why the Buckmasters II is a scope for shooters of all sorts.
8 Vortex Optics Crossfire II Second Focal Plane, 1-inch Tube Riflescopes
With a 2-7x range that differs from most of the other entries on this list, the inclusion of the Vortex Optics Crossfire II is surely a relief for short-range shooters who are less interested in the untold capabilities of a long-range scope. The Crossfire II offers a kind nearly four inches of eye relief, protecting your sensitive areas, while also guaranteeing the multicoated lens type you need from a strong hunting rifle scope like this one.
Where it sets itself apart is with its reticle – or, rather, with its reticles. The Crossfire II understands that rifles firing 0.17HMR ammunition are versatile firearms, and adjust their reticles accordingly. Shooters can decide between three different reticle types, from the classic hash-marked “dead area” BDC reticle to a V-Plex and illuminated V-Brite reticle.
9 Nikon P-RIMFIRE BDC 150 Rifle Scope, Black
Rounding out our list is a third Nikon Riflescope extraordinaire, the P-Rimfire BDC 150. Similar to its more complex sibling the Nikon NikoPlex, the P-Rimfire is a scope that will match your desires and needs. Case in point: the reticle actually changes, depending on the range you’re firing. Up to one hundred yards, the Nikon patented BDC reticle is there, only to be supplemented by the Rapid Action Turret system afterwards, to ensure a cleaner, more precise shot. Factor in Nikon’s SpotOn Ballistic Match application, and you can see why they remain the industry kings.
Things to Consider When Buying a 17HMR Scope
Balance Is Key
With a gun as versatile as the 17HMR, knowing how to keep your chosen scope in balance is vital. At its core, the balance between magnification power and lens objective is perhaps the most important part, as this will ensure that at any distance you can comfortably hit your target. When it comes to long-range, adjusting to a higher power will be necessary for the clearest image, while the objective will keep you with the highest possible quality shots no matter the distance.
Quality & Price
With the price range of various scopes being so high, there truly is a massive diversity of choices for any 17HMR shooter. For the newer shooter, hoping to shoot casually but unsure if they will be committing to it long-term, a cheaper option is surely acceptable; meanwhile, experienced 17HMR shooters will likely seek to invest in a higher-class scope to perfect their shots. Regardless, keeping in mind that price and quality are not intrinsically linked, as at the end of the day any 17HMR scope you purchase just needs to be the right fit for you.
Are you a big-game hunter, or a casual target-shooter on the weekends? Are you hoping to make long-range shots on grassy hills, or take your rifle to the swamps? Your intention with the 17HMR is a quintessential question when it comes to choosing the right scope. This is more than just a question of purpose, due to the specifications outlined above, but also one of price, quality, and necessary protections. Certain scopes are better suited to certain activities; meanwhile, depending on the environment, investing in certain protective gear, such as humidity-resistant, shockproof, waterproof, and fog-proof cases for your scope may be vital. The last thing you want is to finally find the perfect scope for your 17HMR, just to have it be damaged in transport or during use by factors outside your control.
Turrets, the adjustable knobs frequently found on many scopes, can be an important consideration when deciding on your dream scope. At their simplest, they help automatically move the reticles (such as crosshairs) up and down, ensuring the most precise shot possible. From there, they grow more complex, factoring in angles and eventual drop for targets over 150-200 yards. Depending on the purpose of your scope and your 17HMR aspirations, looking into which scope comes with the best turrets may be in your best interest.
Don’t Skimp on the Lens
With all of the other factors to remember, it may be tempting to forego intense study of the lens quality offered by each of the scopes you peruse. But a poor lens quality will greatly limit your shots, even if all of the other boxes are checked, so make sure that you get a scope of the highest possible lens quality – trust us, you’ll regret it otherwise. Generally, coated lenses will provide a better image, by reducing glare, protecting from abrasion, and providing better field view and light transmission.
From magnification power and lens objective to parallax adjustment capabilities to even smaller concerns like options in the reticle and turret departments, finding the best possible scope for your 17HMR is clearly a complex and multifaceted issue. Hopefully, this article has provided a comprehensive, in-depth analysis of some of the many options out there, providing examples of great 17HMR scopes for you.
There are definitely many factors to consider, but the most important thing when browsing 17HMR scopes is to remember that the ideal scope is one that will enhance the natural versatility of the rifle, which is arguably its biggest advantage.
As a result, it’s essential the scope you eventually decide on is one that can handle both short-range target shooting and long-range hunting, and vice versa. It needs to be one that can be handled and adjusted with care to match your needs, and perfect your accuracy and precision so that every shot fired is a shot landed.