.17 HMR with a scope

Best Scopes for .17 HMR

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The .17HMR (Hornady Magnum Rimfire) has become a widely popular rimfire rifle caliber over the last decade for plinking and varmint hunting purposes. As you would expect, the need for a quality .17 HMR scope was quickly recognized.

There is a myriad of scopes designed for rimfire rifles and range from cheap and useless to some of the best, and expensive, optics available. Now, not all rimfire scopes make proper scopes for .17HMR chambered, and we will also look at characteristics of the best .17HMR scopes.

In this article, we will take a look at the four best scopes for .17HMR chambered firearms. All four choices for the best 17HMR scopes were picked based on performance specs and affordability.

The .17HMR

The .17HMR was designed in the early 2000’s to fill the niche for a better functioning hunting rimfire cartridge as an alternative to the .22. The .17 was initially just a necked down version of the .22 Magnum, but the design was improved, and it now offers a lot of ballistic advantages compared to the .22.

  • The .17 has much higher velocity than the .22.
  • The .17 has a much flatter trajectory for more accurate and easier to estimate bullet drop.
  • The .17 has a much farther range than the .22.

So, given these advantages, what should you look for in a .17 HMR scope? The answer to that question depends on the shooting you plan on taking part in. Our next section will be a basic buyer’s guide to examine several components to think about when buying the best scope for your .17HMR.

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.17 HMR Buyer’s Guide

  • Material: Regardless of the shooting style, you want a scope that is built to last and will not ding and bend when you are in the field. This is especially true for scopes intended to be used for hunting purposes. Aircraft grade aluminum is the go-to material for the scope body, and you should not go for anything less regarding quality.
  • Environmental Resistance: Whatever the intended uses for the scope is, you need to to be fairly resistant to the elements. A hard anodized coating on the body is a big plus. You also want a scope that has been water and fog-proofed. This entails a nitrogen purging of the interior of the scope and helps prevent moisture from entering and corroding the interior components. On top of this, a scope that is well sealed with O-rings will increase the longevity of the scopes weather resistance.
  • Lenses: You will also want a scope with lenses coated to increase light transmission, reduce glare, and provide a clear and bright field of view. Any scope that is worth mentioning or mounting onto your .17 chambered rifle is going to have lenses that have been put through multiple coatings to give them these qualities. You might also be interested in a scope that has lenses coated for extra abrasion resistance as well.
  • Reticle: There are hundreds of different reticle designs that are used in modern rifle scopes, but which one is the best for your .17HMR scope? Well, its really a personal preference, but the most popular reticle is the duplex. This reticle is essentially a crosshair, but at the edges of the scope the line bases are much heavier, and they taper into finer lines as they approach center making lining up a target in low light conditions much easier.Duplex reticles with utilizing range compensation markings are also very popular. For most rimfire scopes, they are not needed, but given the flatter trajectory and increased range of the .17 caliber, quick range adjustment markings on your reticle could be very useful.
  • Objective Power: Regarding objective power, a .17 HMR scope for varmint hunting needs to be a variable powered scope. The range of magnification can vary, but with the .17 HMR’s ability to shoot long distance you are going to want a max magnification of at least 9X.For target shooting, you can utilize a high power scope as well, but it just depends on the distances you see yourself taking shots. Given the range of this caliber, you shouldn’t limit yourself to a fixed magnification scope and should look for a variable powered model.
  • Adjustment Turrets: While maybe not as critical a feature as it would be with larger caliber rifles that can be used for shots over 500yds, having well-designed windage and elevation turrets is a plus for your .17 HMR scope. High profile turrets are excellent for target shooting, while those looking to slog through the woods and brush might want lower profile turrets to protect the from being knocked off setting.While a .17 caliber doesn’t have knock down recoil, extended shooting can knock a poorly designed scope off zero eventually, so it is important to not only have turrets that can be easily adjusted on the fly but also keep that zero shot after shot.In terms of adjustment, having a scope with ¼ to 1/2 MOA click turns gives you much finer control over the windage and elevation adjustments and can be a game changer for long distance shooting.

The 4 Best .17 HMR Scope Models

So, with this information in your back pocket, let’s jump into our four best scopes for .17HMR chambered firearms.

17 hmr scope nikon

Nikon P-Rimfire 2-7X32 Nikoplex

The Nikon P-Rimfire scope is an excellent choice for those looking for an exceptional hunting scope for their .17hmr chambered firearm.

The 2-7X magnification makes this an excellent scope for both casual target shooting as well as varmint hunting. This .17HMR scope offers 1/4MOA click hand turn adjustments with audible clicks for adjustments on the fly.

The windage and elevation adjustments are extremely easy to make while in the field with the extended tactical style turrets on this rimfire scope.

This Nikon P-Rimfire utilizes a clear BDC 150 reticle that features quick elevation adjustment markers in the reticle for quick shot adjustments taking bullet drop into account.

The lenses of the Nikon 17 HMR scope are multi-coated for anti-reflective properties. It also allows this scope to have optimal light transmission and brightness.

This scope offers generous and consistent eye relief of 3.8″ although the .17hmr is not going to produce enough recoil to cause scope eye. Still, it gives you some more options for mounting the scope.

This scope is nitrogen filled, and O-ring sealed for a waterproof and fogproof .17hmr scope. Although, some users have had issues with lenses fogging after several trips to the field.

This scope weighs in at 16.1oz and is extremely durable. It will have no problem holding up in the field hunting small game. It has a matte black finish with a standard 1″ tube diameter. The field of view ranges from 22.3-6.4′ at 50 yards.

This is an overall fantastic variable powered rimfire scope that is perfect for either plinking or hunting small game.

  • Variable power
  • Easy to adjust turrets
  • Fantastic BDC 150 reticle
  • Very affordable
  • Not the best design for weather resistance

BARSKA 6-18x40mm AO Hot Magnum .17

BARSKA 6-18x40mm AO Hot Magnum .17
The Barska 6-18x40mm AO Hot Magnum Rifle Scope is designed to work with rimfire rifles that are chambered fire either the .17 or .22 LR calibers. This stands in stark contrast to many other rimfire rifle scopes that are just designed to work with one or the other of the two calibers.

As far as construction is concerned, this scope uses a multi coated lens with 30/30 reticles. It’s a 100% waterproof and fogproof scope with extra shockproof construction as well.
The finish of the scope itself is a matte black finish, which admittedly is not the nicest type of finish because it can scratch or rust more easily.

The high density optical glass on the lens will also give you great clarify, and even in darker or dimmer lighting conditions as well.

The overall weight of this scope is just over twenty ounces, which is a bit on the heavier end when it comes to rimfire rifle scopes but is also very sturdy and durable. The length of the scope is just over sixteen ounces.

This scope has a 40mm objective lens with a 6-18x variable magnification. There are also knobs on the side of the scope that allow you to adjust its performance for different grains of .17 or .22 caliber bullets.

Specifically, this scope can be adjusted to work with 40 grain, 38 grain, and 36 grain bullets. The reason these adjustments are necessary is because it will account for bullet drop when you fire the rifle.

In short, if you own either a .17 or .22 caliber rifle, the Barska 6-18x40mm rifle scope will be a great choice for you. The adjustment knobs on the side will help account for drop from the different bullet weights, and the scope itself is a very sturdy, durable, shockproof, waterproof, and fogproof product. In other words, this is a rimfire scope that you will be able to put through adverse environments if need be.

  • 100% Waterproof and Fog Proof Construction
  • Designed To Work Well With Both .17 and .22 calibers
  • Shockproof
  • Ships With Lens Covers and Lens Cloth
  • Not Built In USA (many shooters prefer American made products)
  • Designed To Be Effective To One Hundred To Three Hundred Yards, But Not Beyond That
  • Matte Black Finish Is Not The Nicest On The Market

nikon 17 hmr scope

Nikon Prostaff Target EFR 3-9X40 Rifle Scope

As far as scopes for the 17 hmr go, the Nikon Prostaff Target EFR is one of the best with the variable power between 3-9X magnification and can be effective as both a casual target shooting or hunting scope.

This .17hmr scope features a quick focus eyepiece that allows you to get on target quickly; this is especially useful when trying to key in on quick moving small game you might be chasing.

This scope is parallax free down to 10meters, which is not going to be a shot you will find yourself taking if you are using this scope for hunting, so it’s a non-issue.

This scope features a clear and crips precision target reticle with a crosshair design that is easy to line up on the target.
The windage and elevation turrets are easy to adjust and are zero reset.

The lenses are multi-coated for anti-reflective properties. The coatings also ensure maximum brightness, contrast, and light transmission.

As any scope worth buying should have, The Nikon Prostaff Target EFR is waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof.

The scope has a standard 1” tube and a 40mm objective lens. The field of view is between 5.7 to 16.9’ given the magnification at 100 yards.

This is a durable scope that is also lightweight and comes in at 15.7oz with an overall length of 12.5”.

  • Quick focus eyepiece
  • Excellent light transmission
  • Great parallax correction
  • Very durable body
  • More pricey

Leupold VX-2 Rimfire Scope

Leupold VX-2 Rimfire Scope

Leupold is one of the top optic makers in the world, and their VX-2 scope is one of the best scopes for 17 hmr firearms.

It features a duplex reticle with heavier base lines at the perimeter of the lens that taper as they move to the center of the cross hair for easy target acquisition even in low light environments.

The lenses are coated with Leupold’s patented coating system that provides superior brightness and clarity coming through the ocular lens.

The windage and elevation turrets are easy to adjust and feature 1/4 MOA finger click adjustments.

This scope is purged and filled with argon and krypton which provides superior waterproof qualities to these scopes.

The VX-2 scope is a variable powered scope with magnification settings from 3-9X with an objective lens of 33mm. The overall length of the scope is 10.96, ” and it weighs an incredible 8.8oz, a testament to the quality of material used by Leupold that does not sacrifice ruggedness.

This scope features between 4-3” of eye relief and has a field of view from 34-13.5” a 100 yards.

This might be the best .17 HMR rifle scope that is available on the market today and will perform flawlessly in the field for years. It is a little pricier than the others.

  • Very lightweight
  • Incredible lens technology
  • All around weather resistant
  • Higher up in the price range


A scope for .17HRM chambered firearms should have a range of magnification settings, be durable, and have quality lenses. This list of .17 hmr scopes should provide you with a great starting point with four of the best options available.

We hope the four best scopes for .17 HMR scopes will benefit you when looking for a high performing and affordable scope to mount to you .17 chambered rifle and you can experience the versatility of using this caliber with a high performing scope for .17 HMR.

Updated: 1/31/2019

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