To most shooters, .17 HMR ammo is new to the shooting world. Yet, many shooters are already extremely happy with the results they get from it. Moreover, since the ammo is extremely accurate and fast, it is likely to remain on the scene for a long time.
The ammo is fun to use for target practice or as a pest control round, but it also can do a lot more, especially if you have a good quality scope that can match the cartridge’s abilities. This article has the answers for you if you are in the market for a great HMR scope, even if you have a tight budget.
Best 17 HMR Scopes
- Bushnell Engage 4-16×44
- Tasco Target/Varmint 6-24×42
- BSA Optics Sweet 17 SP 3-12×40
- Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 3-9×40
- Hawke Riflescope Vantage IR 4-12×40
- Nikon Prostaff P5 3-12x42SF
- Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×40
- Vortex Optics Crossfire II Rimfire 2-7×32
- Barska Hot Magnum 6-18×40
- Primary Arms Classic Series 4-16×44
1. Bushnell Engage 4-16×44
The 16x magnification works extremely well with the long-range abilities of the .17 HMR cartridge. However, a lot of magnification is needed when shooting with the .17 HMR since it can hit targets twice as far as a .22 LR.
The Bushnell Engage is more than just impressive magnification; and it also has an anti-reflection coating that gives the scope an amazing brightness and allows the shooter to see true colors, even in low light situations.
2. Tasco Target/Varmint 6-24×42
The .17 HMR rifle and the Tasco scope are a great fit for each other, no matter if you are shooting up-close or long-range. It is made with a Mil-Dot reticle, high magnification, and a ¼ MOA windage and elevation adjustment so that long-range shooting is a breeze.
With multi-coated optics and a 42mm objective lens, this scope has an extremely bright, quality image no matter what magnification is needed for your target. The last feature that is very helpful is that the turrets on this scope are excellent and allow for adjustment even while wearing gloves.
3. BSA Optics Sweet 17 SP 3-12×40
You can’t go wrong with features like a BDC reticle, adjustment turrets are specifically calibrated for the .17 HMR, and it even comes packed with 17- or 20- grain projectiles. In addition, this scope is meant for long-range shooting with adjustable parallax settings from 10 yards to infinity. This scope also comes standard with fully multi-coated lenses to give an extremely bright view.
The tube is made with aluminum alloy milled from a single piece, so this scope is extremely durable. The housing is also sealed by an O-ring and filled with nitrogen to prevent fogging in wet conditions.
4. Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 3-9×40
The Bushnell Banner series are always amazing scopes that make the top ten lists, so of course this scope is a great option for your .17 HMR rifle.
If in low-light shooting situations, the Dusk & Dawn scope is one of the best choices. With a big 40mm objective lens, completely multi-coated lens, and ED prime glass. This scope can give you one of the best images you will get in low-light situations.
This scopes’ tube is made out of a one-piece tube of aluminum. Also, the O-ring is sealed and the tube filled with nitrogen, making this scope shock resistant, fog-proof, and is 100 percent waterproof.
5. Hawke Riflescope Vantage IR 4-12×40
The Hawke Vantage scope is built with the exclusive Hawke X-ACT reticle, making this a great scope for target shooting or varmints. In addition, this scope has an amazing illuminated reticle that comes with pre-calculated aiming points calibrated only for the .17 HMR cartridge. To calibrate, you just need to zero the optic on the highest magnification at 100 yards, and then all the aiming points are calibrated and ready to go.
The Hawke Riflescope has an adjustable objective that can be used to correct parallax from 10 yards to infinity. With multi-coated lenses that give an image that is bright, clear, and with amazing contrast. The Hawke Vantage IR is waterproof, shockproof, and has been nitrogen purged to prevent fogging. Furthermore, the scope has a one-piece aluminum housing to be extremely durable.
6. Nikon Prostaff P5 3-12x42SF
The Nikon Prostaff has unique multi-coated optics that allow 98 percent of light transmission, which makes low light varmint shooting easier. With an easy-to-read BDC reticle makes precise shots no matter what the size or distance of the target.
To make field adjustments easier, Nikon added their spring-loaded Instant Zero-Reset turrets to the P5. This also includes a turret-mounted side focus parallax adjustment that will let shooters adjust their sight picture without changing their head position.
To make the scope durable, the O-ring is sealed to keep inside dry and fog-free. The housing is also nitrogen purged to prevent any possible thermal shock if in cold climates.
7. Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×40
Leupold makes some of the best scopes in the industry. However, when it came to the .17 HMR, the number of scopes they had that would work great with this rifle made it hard to narrow down one to pick.
The VX-Freedom is budget-friendly and packed with great features. The scope is made from 6061-T6 aircraft quality aluminum, making it extremely durable in rough conditions. The O-ring is sealed and nitrogen purged, making the scope shockproof, waterproof, and fogproof.
One of the best features on the scope is the Leupold Twilight Management system. The system has several layers of proprietary lens coatings that will reduce glare and boost light transmission. With the Twilight Light Management system, you will get some of the best high-contrast, intense images that you will ever see out of a scope.
8. Vortex Optics Crossfire II Rimfire 2-7×32
Vortex Optics is recognized for making amazing scopes that are also budget-friendly. And the Vortex Crossfire II Rimfire is a great choice to pair with a .17 HMR rifle. The scope is great at close to medium range shooting and is perfect for varmint hunting or plain target shooting.
A nice feature is the budget-friendly price of this scope, but don’t let the price mislead you; this scope also has many great features that give you an amazing scope at a lower price.
The Crossfire II has a large field of view and forgiving eye box that makes it a great scope for beginners or young shooters who are still learning their way around a scope. It also has a fast-focus eyepiece that lets the shooter find the target fast and get a good sight picture for precise shooting.
9. Barska Hot Magnum 6-18×40
With an extremely strong 6-18x magnification range, you can get a sight picture that makes it look like you are very close to your target, whether it is a live or steel target.
The scope also comes with multi-coated optics and high-density glass that give the shooter a bright view even in lower-light situations, and comes with an adjustable objective to easily correct parallax distortions.
10. Primary Arms Classic Series 4-16×44
The Primary Arms Classic is a great scope for novice shooters and is affordable too.
The 4-16x scope features an illuminated SFP Mil-Dot reticle that is great for live targets. For low-light shooting situations, the scope has 12 different brightness settings that will maximize reticle visibility.
The Classic Series has high-quality locking turrets that give audible and tactile ¼ MOA clicks for precise adjustments. Other adjustment features include a resettable zero function and side know for easy access parallax adjustments.
Why Does a .17 HMR Need a Scope?
Developers made the .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire, or the .17 HMR, using a standard .22 Magnum casing that was necked down to a .17mm caliber projectile. As a result, in 2002, when the .17 HMR rifles and ammo came to the market, they had faster muzzle velocities and trajectories than other rimfire cartridges.
The .17 HMR can fire a 17-grain polymer-tipped round at an amazingly fast 2,650 feet per second. They also do not slow down much over distance, and they can completely shred a varmint that is over 200 yards away.
This cartridge is great for hunting varmint and other small game animals, with its accuracy and speed. However, if you want to be able to hit small vital areas and be at a distance, you will need a great scope to complement the abilities of this rifle.
Finding the Best 17 HMR Scope
Finding the right optic to go with this great cartridge, you will need to keep a few things in mind before buying a scope for a .17 HMR rifle.
To make humane kills on prairie dogs and other small creatures using a .17 HMR cartridge, you will need to have magnification on your scope. The magnification on the scope needs to be enough to keep very small vital areas clear, and you are probably looking for a magnification range of 4x to 16x.
2. Optical Clarity
While looking for a scope, you need to keep optical clarity in mind; a scope with great magnification doesn’t help if you can’t see what you aim to shoot through the scope. High-density glass and an objective lens that is at least 40mm will give you the best outcome when it comes to hunting small animals or varmints.
The downside for small 17-grain, .17 caliber rounds in HMR cartridges is that they don’t fire well in even gentle wind. A small crosswind of 10mph can throw off the HMR bullet, making it bound off sideways. When using these cartridges, it might be good to get a reticle with windage markings, specifically if you are shooting in an open-range situation.
4. Parallax Adjustments
For long-range shooting with shooters using a high power scope, parallax problems can occur. Looking for a good HMR scope with some type of parallax adjustment is key if you think you will have this issue. The adjustment for this on an HMR scope often looks like an adjustable objective or other side focus knob.
An HMR scope will probably not have to be durable enough to withstand high recoil because the .17 HMR cartridges are known for having a pretty light recoil. But what will be important in this type of scope is the ability to resist thermal shock or internal fogging. So it will be a good idea if you are someone who tends to shoot in temperature shifts or wet weather to find an HMR scope that has an O-ring that is sealed and has been purged with an inert gas such as nitrogen or argon.
What About Red Dots?
Red dots are great for target shooting or close-up cqb work; they are not necessarily meant to work on rifles such as the HMR as a main optic. The .17 HMR was made to hit targets quickly at a distance accurately. And if you want to use a red dot, you may lose some of the long-range capability of your HMR rifle.
It can be difficult to find the right scope for your .17 HMR, especially with all the options out on the market. However, there is a scope on this list for most, if not all, shooters. But no matter how many features or expensive a scope is, it won’t make anyone a better shooter.
A person needs to spend time target shooting to be well acquainted with their rifle and scope to become a better marksman. We hope this breakdown can guide you in making that final purchase of your own.