The .17 HMR is a rimfire rifle cartridge. It has become increasingly popular among shooting enthusiasts and hunters, especially those who value long-range performance in a small cartridge. For those people, it is essential they mount a scope on their 17 HMR rifles to ensure they capitalize on the cartridge’s excellent ballistics.
This article aims to help you decide which 17 HMR scope to buy based on our own experience and opinions on each scope. After reading this article, you’ll be able to identify quality 17 HMR scopes and also what scopes have the right magnification based on your use case and needs.
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What Is A 17 HMR Rifle?
The 17 Hornady Magnum Rifle (HMR) is a rimfire rifle cartridge. It was developed in the early 2000s. Its design is rooted in taking the popular .22 Magnum case and necking it down to accept a .17 caliber bullet, hence the name “17”.
The necking down process results in a cartridge with a flatter trajectory and higher velocity than traditional rimfire rounds, making it one of my go-to cartridges for varmint hunting and long-range target shootings.
Who Needs To Mount A Scope On Their 17 HMR Rifle?
If you are going to do varmint hunting, target shooting, or participate in casual shooting, you need to mount a scope on your 17 HMR rifle.
Given the high-velocity and flat-shooting characteristics of the 17 HMR, it is often used at distances where iron sights would be insufficient, so that’s why you need a 17 HMR scope.
5 Best 17 HMR Scopes
Below are the 5 Best 17 HMR scopes we tested.
- Vortex Diamondback 4-16x44mm 30mm Tube First Focal Plane Rifle Scope
- Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44mm Rifle Scope
- NightForce NX8 4-32x50mm Rifle Scope
- Burris Fullfield E1 4.5-14x42mm 1in Tube Second Focal Plane (SFP) Rifle Scope
- Vortex Crossfire II 4-12x40mm Rifle Scope
1. Vortex Diamondback 4-16x44mm 30mm Tube First Focal Plane Rifle Scope
Meet the rockstar of rifle scopes. The Diamondback is not just a scope – it’s a statement. With an impressive 4-16x magnification range and a large 44mm objective lens diameter, it screams versatility and clarity.
This scope doesn’t just shine; it’s built like a tank – thanks to the aircraft-grade aluminum and waterproof resilience. My favorite feature is the large objective lens paired with the fully multi-coated lenses, allowing excellent light transmission for both medium and long-range shooting.
The Diamondback is fitted with a first focal plane reticle, ensuring constant subtensions, which can be helpful for that long shots. Overall, at $499.99 and given its plethora of features and quality, the Diamondback is the best scope for the 17 HMR – offering pristine value at an affordable price.
What Other Customers Say About The Vortex Diamondback?
I have 3 of the FFP diamondbacks. The reticle is easy to understand, and no need to dial. I use them ranging from NRL 22 matches to long-range predator hunting. No complaints are hard to beat for the price, excellent clarity, and bullet proof warranty. – Matt B
2. Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44mm Rifle Scope
The Leupold VX-5HD isn’t just another scope – it’s a masterclass in optics. This scope’s 5:1 zoom ratio and 3-15 magnification range make it very efficient for toggling between different target ranges.
Rain, shine, dusk, or dawn – thanks to its Guard-Ion Rain Shedding coating, you’ll have unblemished visuals. It is a second focal plane scope and has a 44mm objective lens, which makes it a great scope for low-light conditions.
At $1,399.99, it is more on the expensive side. But I had a great time shooting with it. That said, if you can afford it, the Leupold will be your 17 HMR’s best companion for medium-range shooting and hunting.
What Other Customers Say About The Leupold VX-5HD?
Like all things Leupold, this one hit the nail on the head. It was exactly as described and in perfect condition when it arrived. All the dials and knows worked right out of the box and any questions I had, Leupold was able to help with. Another win. – Amber
3. NightForce NX8 4-32x50mm Rifle Scope
The Nightforce NX8 packs a punch with its jaw-dropping 4-32x magnification. You might feel a 32x magnification scope is overkill, especially for the 17 HMR. But, if you’re a range shooter, you always try to test the limits of what your rifle is capable of, and the Nightforce makes testing a little bit easier.
Furthermore, this scope promises a visual treat, be it day or night, with its Digillum digital reticle illumination. And with the 50mm objective lens, you’ll have no problem seeing your targets in low-light conditions.
A little rain, some unexpected bumps – this tough scope is built to handle it all. If you’re looking for a quality long-range shooting scope from a reputable company, the NightForce is your best. However, at $2,100, it is our most expensive scope on this list, so make sure you’re buying it for the right reasons. Otherwise, just stick with our #1 varmint hunting scope for the 17 HMR – the Diamondback.
What Other Customers Say About The NightForce NX8?
This is my second Nightforce scope and I’m extremely satisfied. This scope is flawless in glass quality, ease of use and construction. I have looked through tons of scopes thanks to my shooting buddies over the years and i can honestly say this scope in particular beats them all. The brightness and clarity of the glass is unbelievable. – YZGUY
4. Burris Fullfield E1 4.5-14x42mm 1in Tube Second Focal Plane (SFP) Rifle Scope
Elegance meets efficiency. The Burris Fullfield E1 is sleek, stylish, and performance-rich. Its trajectory-compensating technology is my favorite feature of this scope, ensuring you shoot with unmatched precision.
Plus, its Hi-Lume Multi-coated lenses promise crisp visuals across the 4.5-14x magnification range. It’s also very durable – boasting waterproof and fog proof capabilities. If you want an affordable scope ($286.99) that doesn’t compromise on performance, the Fullfield is your go-to scope.
What Other Customers Say About The Burris Fullfield?
Purchased for a “Christmas rifle” that I received. I’ve had BURRIS scopes in the past and quality has always been excellent. After using for a period, I’m not disappointed! Love there “Forever” warranty too. – David G
5. Vortex Crossfire II 4-12x40mm Rifle Scope
Last but not least, we have our budget-friendly pick of the list. The Vortex Crossfire II offers something the other scopes don’t – a performance-rich scope with a dead hold bdc reticle under $250.
The Vortex Optics Crossfire II might look humble, but this little dynamo boasts a magnification range of 4-12x, ensuring you never miss a detail when hunting small game. It also has a fast-focus eyepiece and capped turrets, meaning you can whisk through terrains without a hitch.
If you’re on a tight budget but still want a Vortex scope for your 17 HMR, this is the scope to get!
What Other Customers Say About The Vortex Crossfire II?
This scope is very clear and very bright. Love the reticle and amount of eye relief. Hard to find a scope comparable at this price. Will buy again if I get another rifle. Highly recommend. – Noah Floyd
What Makes A Great 17 HMR Scope?
A great 17 HMR scope should adhere to features such as durability, clarity, reticle quality, adjustability, and value.
A great 17 HMR has optimal durability, withstanding recoil, and rugged usage. It should also offer great optical clarity with sharp, clear images.
Furthermore, I enjoy seeing a BDC or mildot reticle – it just makes it easier to shoot at different ranges as it assists with holdovers.
The most important factor, and one that caters to the everyday user, is value. For a 17 HMR scope to qualify as great, it needs to offer value, which is a blend of affordability and features, such as a ZeroStop, an illuminated reticle, and a versatile magnification range.
Which Magnification Is Best For A 17 HMR Scope?
The best magnification range for a 17 HMR scope depends on your use case, but a 3-12x is generally adequate. If you use your HMR for varminting, I’ll opt for a smaller magnification, like the Bushnell Banner Dusk Dawn and Vortex Crossfire with a 4-12x magnification. Remember, for close-range and fast-moving targets, lower rifle scope magnification is always better.
On the other hand, if you want a scope for target and range shooting, you can go for something with a larger magnification, such as the Nightforce with a 32x magnification.
Is Variable Zoom Important For 17 HMR Scopes?
Variable zoom is important for 17 HMR scopes if you want flexibility. While fixed power scopes have their advantages, variable zoom scopes are more versatile, allowing you to adjust the scope’s magnification based on the situation, whether it’s varminting, range shooting, or self-defense.
Which Mounts Should You Use On A 17 HMR Scope?
Weaver mounts are the best mounts to use on a 17 HMR scope. They are widely popular, so you’ll have no problem finding compatible parts and accessories. They also tend to be cheaper than your Leupond One Piece and 0MOA rail mountings.
When picking a scope mount, always ensure the mount is durable, compatible, and stable, as well as you know how to mount a scope.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is reticle illumination an essential feature for a 17 HMR scope?
How much should you spend on 17 HMR scopes?
The Bottom Line
Choosing the right scope for your 17 HMR can significantly enhance its performance and shooting experience. The Diamondback is our number one pick, followed by the reputable Leupold. When buying your next scope, consider factors like magnification, durability, and intended use before making a final selection. With the right scope, the .17 HMR can be an extremely effective and versatile cartridge.