Home » Scopes and Optics » Best Scope for 17 HMR Rifles [2024 Reviews]

Best Scope for 17 HMR Rifles [2024 Reviews]

L.p. Brezny | Updated February 26, 2024 | Why You Should Trust Us | How We Earn Money
Cover photo of best scope for 17 HMR showing a scope on a transparent scope holder

When it comes to target practice or varmint hunting, nothing really beats a 17 HMR bullet. However, if you really want to get the most out of this cartridge, you need to have an adequate scope. 

Luckily you’re in the right place. Collectively 50 years of firearm experience went into writing this article to bring you the best scopes for 17 HMR in 2024.

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12x40mm: Best Scope for .17 HMR Rifles

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12x40mm beside its box

Pros

  • Durable aircraft aluminum housing
  • Excellent light transmission with a multi-coated and anti-reflective lens
  • Generous eye relief with a fast-focus eyepiece
  • Ideal for medium and long-range shooting
  • Versatile scope that works for many different bullet sizes

Cons

  • Can be tricky to zero out at long distances
  • Parallax adjustment can be sensitive in some cases

If you know anything about rifle scopes, you should be familiar with the brand Vortex Optics. When it comes to shooting 17 HMR ammunition, the Crossfire II is a perfect scope.

This is a rugged and dependable scope that gives you the accuracy and speed you need to maximize your shooting for a rimfire bullet like the 17 HMR.

However, what I like best about this scope is its versatility. Yes, it’s good for small-game hunting, but you also want to get a scope that can take down larger animals with ease. Plus, it has a fast-focus eyepiece, so you can react fast enough to kill your target with as few shots as possible.

I’ve shot the Crossfire II for years, and it remains one of my favorite scopes. 

Glass Clarity & Reticle

Vortex Optics Crossfire II on its side with a white background

The Vortex Optics Crossfire II uses a Dead-Hold BDC reticle, which is ideal for shooting at different distances. So, it’s perfect for a quality scope that works for both long-range and medium-range shooting. 

I’ve used it for both, so rest assured that this has plenty of zoom for a 17 HMR. 

The glass clarity is also excellent, thanks to the multi-coated and anti-reflective surface. With this, you can see your target clearly, particularly on a sunny day.

Eye Relief & Eye Box

Lens of Crossfire II

One of the challenges of varmint hunting is that your target can move incredibly fast. So, I like the Vortex Crossfire II because it has a very forgiving eye box and 3.9 inches of eye relief, which I measured and was right on the money. 

This way, you don’t have to waste time centering your eye to find your prey. Instead, you should be able to target them almost immediately, even from a long range. 

Durability

Crossfire scope mounted on a rifle

This rifle scope is made from a single-piece tube of aircraft-grade aluminum, which helps in making it shockproof. The o-ring seals make it waterproof and fog proof. The interior is sealed to prevent water and fog from seeping in and ruining your shot. 

My field tests back this up. I’ve shot hundreds of rounds with the Vortex II in different weather conditions, its sturdy as hell, and you could definitely swap it out on another rife to use with larger rounds. 

Overall, it’s a very rugged scope that you don’t have to worry about damaging no matter the environment, which is why it’s also the heaviest of this group. Still, it’s not so heavy that you’ll fatigue quickly or miss your target.  

Elevation & Windage Knobs

Fingers turning the elevation knob on a scope

The Crossfire II uses MOA adjustments for its elevation and windage. MOA is standard for most hunters as it ensures precision and accuracy when firing. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about accidentally knocking the knobs out of alignment when adjusting your target. 

Plus, having capped reset turrets means that you can zero it out as soon as you’re finished. This makes it easier to zero the scope after sighting in and just makes things more convenient.

I found the turrets and magnification adjustments to be seamless. 

Parallax & Magnification

The Vortex Optics Crossfire II has a variable magnification range of 4-12x. While the 17 HMR isn’t ideal for long-range shooting, this scope can work for multiple bullet sizes. This way, whether you’re small-game hunting or going out for whitetail deer, you can use the same scope and just swap rifles as needed. 

I was impressed with how clear it was at 12x, at 300 yards out, it held its own against scopes three times the price. 

As far as the parallax, this scope is designed to remove parallax so you can focus on your target and not have to readjust the settings when targeting your prey further out.

Mounting & Rings

Mounts and rings of Crossfire II

With a 1-inch tube diameter, this rifle scope has a common tube size. It doesn’t come with mounting rings, but finding rings that can fit a scope of this size should be no sweat.

Is It Worth It?

This riflescope is a great addition to anyone’s arsenal, especially if you love shooting small game or small targets on the range. It is highly versatile and works well for many different bullet sizes. Although it’s my pick for the best scope for 17 HMR, it’s a great scope that can be used on many different firearms. 

We just updated the link on May 10, 2024 to our certified retailer which currently has the lowest price of the Crossfire II online. Use the link below and it will automatically go to the page:

Vortex Crossfire II review

Mueller Optics 4.5-14x40mm: Best Value For Your Money

Mueller Optics scope and rifle on the ground

Pros

  • Wide field of view
  • Long eye relief at 3.5 inches
  • Extended magnification setting
  • Durable shockproof housing
  • Excellent glass clarity
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Cons

  • High minimum magnification can be tricky to master at first
  • In rare cases, the scope may come out of zero after multiple shots

Technically, something like this scope from Mueller Optics is designed for long-distance sniper shooting. With a maximum range of 14x and a wide field of view, you should be able to find your target at over 1,200 yards out. 

However, when it comes to firing a 17 HMR, this scope also helps you pinpoint your shot, particularly on small prey. The glass clarity and wide FOV means you can hunt varmints and small game faster than you would with another rifle scope. 

Best of all, this is an affordable model, so you don’t have to break the bank to get this level of performance. This makes it the best scope for your money by far. 

Glass Clarity & Reticle

If there’s one thing that Mueller Optics is known for, it’s glass clarity. The lens is multi-coated for sharper images, making it easier to find your target and pinpoint your kill shot. When I was field testing the optics, I noticed about a 85% light transmission and very little image distortion when zoomed at the full 14x. 

Target and reticle seen through the lens of a Mueller optic

This particular scope comes with an adjustable objective. This feature means you can adjust the parallax as necessary to fit your preferences. While other scopes have a fixed parallax, you get more flexibility with this model and can change it according to the distance of your target.

The reticle for this scope is either a flex or APV flex design. When shooting at short distances, the crosshairs are perfect for lining up your shot. However, if you’re targeting at longer ranges, you may have to spend more time zeroing your aim. 

Eye Relief & Eye Box

The Mueller scope has a 3.5-inch eye relief and a very forgiving eye box that lets you find your target faster. This way, you can spot movement in the brush and then find your prey almost immediately without having to adjust your eye position. 

Scope mounted on a rifle and a forest background

And as mentioned, this scope also comes with an extra wide field of view, which is super helpful when hunting varmints and other fast-moving targets. 

Durability

This scope is built for the field and should hold up to almost any weather conditions or recoil. It’s waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof, meaning you can bring it along for all hunting excursions. 

What really sets Mueller Optics apart is that the company offers a limited lifetime warranty. So, if something breaks when it shouldn’t, you can contact Mueller and get a replacement. That’s peace of mind you can’t find with many other rifle scopes at that price point. 

Elevation & Windage Knobs

Hand adjusting the elevation knob of a Mueller scope

As with other models on this list, the Mueller Optics scope uses a ¼ MOA adjustment setting. However, this scope goes a step further by providing caps for the knobs. This way, you don’t have to worry about bumping them by accident once you’re zeroed out. 

Parallax & Magnification

With the adjustable objective, you can adjust your parallax (minimum 10 yards) as you see fit. Having a fixed parallax is helpful for some types of hunting, but having this flexibility means you can hunt game at varying distances with the same scope.

This model also has a magnification range of 4.5 to 14x. When shooting small game with a 17 HMR, it can take some time to get used to the magnified image. If you usually shoot something with a 1x or 2x minimum range, having double that can be tricky to master at first. 

Zoomed in view of the target and the reticle of a scope

That said, if you decide to mount this scope to a bigger rifle and shoot long-distance ammo, you’ll appreciate its capabilities. 

Mounting & Rings

This scope doesn’t come with mounting hardware, but it uses standard rings to attach to your rimfire rifle. 

Is It Worth It?

Mueller has done the impossible by making a world-class scope at a working man’s price.

Once you get used to having a 4.5x minimum zoom, you’ll like using the Mueller Optics scope with a 17 caliber. Thanks to the wide field of view and extended eye relief, it’s very easy to find your target. 

This is also a very versatile scope that works for all kinds of hunting and long-distance shooting. Plus, with a limited lifetime warranty, you can feel confident buying this product no matter what. 

Burris Fullfield E1 3-9x40mm: Best For Less Zoom

Burris Fullfield E1 3-9x40mm and its box

Pros

  • Durable aircraft aluminum
  • Ballistic Plex E1 reticle for better targeting
  • Hi-Lume glass for better light transmission
  • Waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof housing

Cons

  • Not as versatile as other scopes
  • In rare cases, the knobs may stick and be hard to turn

Next we have the Burris Fullfield E1. Since we’re focused on 17 HMR rounds, you’ll notice that this scope has the shortest magnification range of anything else on this list. So, if you’re hunting small game or shooting with just rimfire ammo, having a 9x max range should be ideal. It’s not the best however if you want something a bit more pragmatic for big-game hunting. 

Burris Fullfield E1 on top of a wooden table

That said, many users have reported that this scope works for big game hunting, so don’t assume you can’t take down a deer or elk with it. However, a shorter range means you have less flexibility when finding your target. 

Overall, this feature isn’t a dealbreaker, but make sure you know what to expect. 

Glass Clarity & Reticle

The lens of the Fullfield is High-Lume and Multi-Coated to provide the best image quality possible. So, even in low-light conditions, you should still be able to see your target clearly and pinpoint the best place to shoot. 

I field-tested it in various light conditions, I was happy with the performance. I estimate it to have about a 90%+ light transmission rate. 

Burris Fullfield E1 held by two hands

The reticle of this scope is a Ballistic Plex E1 style. This design is great for both long-distance and mid-range shooting, although this scope’s reticle doesn’t change with the zoom as it’s in the second focal plane. 

Bottom line, the reticle is perfectly matched with the zoom of the scope. 

Eye Relief & Eye Box

At just over three inches, the eye relief is pretty forgiving for firing 17 HMRs. I measured it to be 3.5 inches. That said, if you’re in the heat of the moment and trying to track a small varmint, you may struggle a little bit as the space you need to gain a clear view is more limited.

The relatively shorter eye box is one reason why the Burris Fullfield is a runner-up and not the top pick.

I also measured the field of view to be a little over 30 feet at 100 yards, which makes it the largest on the list. 

Durability

What you’ll notice about this scope is that it’s much lighter than the Vortex Optics model (by about six ounces), mine weighted in right at 13 punches on the money. While this may not seem like much on paper, it can make a difference when you’re out in the field. So if you’re looking for light weight, this is the optic for you. 

The lighter weight is designed to make it easier to pick your target at longer distances without straining your arm. However, even though it feels less substantial in your hand, the material is still high-quality so it can still take your gun’s recoil no problem. 

Since it’s made of durable aircraft aluminum, you don’t have to worry about rusting or substantial damage when moving around. I also submerged it in water and the glass didn’t even fog up, so you could definitely shoot on a wet day. 

Elevation & Windage Knobs

Finger pointing at the elevation knob of a Burris scope

Burris has equipped the Fullfield with ¼ MOA knobs for both windage and elevation. This setting is pretty standard for rifle scopes, especially one designed for longer distances like this one. I tested the MOA accuracy at various distances, and I found it to be right on the money. 

Parallax & Magnification

Unlike the other scopes on this list, the Burris Fullfield has the shortest magnification range with a max zoom of 9x. On the one hand, having a lower range means this scope is meant for more medium-range shooting, like what you could expect with a rimfire round. 

On the other hand, this scope isn’t as versatile, meaning you can’t also use it for larger rounds for big game hunting or similar sport shooting. Given that, the parallax adjustment is very easy to use, so you can focus on your target faster and more efficiently. 

Mounting & Rings

Burris Fullfield E1 on top of a wooden table

Although this scope doesn’t come with its own mounting hardware, it has a 1-inch tube diameter and is built for a standard ring mount. Also, it has a 40mm objective lens size, so make sure to buy a mount that can fit it. 

Is It Worth It?

If you’re looking for a rimfire scope exclusively, the Burris Fullfield is a good choice. It’s relatively affordable and offers excellent clarity and targeting. However, if you want something that can handle longer-range targeting easily, this scope falls a bit short. 

Hawke Vantage IR 4-12x40mm AO: Top-End Option

Hawke Vantage IR 4-12x40mm held by both hands

Pros

  • Durable shockproof housing
  • Fast target acquisition
  • Adjustable objective scope
  • Fast second focal plane reticle
  • Waterproof and fog proof scope
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Can take a while to get used to a minimum 4x magnification
  • Higher price point

So far, we’ve seen scopes that work well for both medium and long-distance shooting. However, the Hawke Vantage IR 4-12×40 AO is the only one that’s designed for rimfire shooting. So, if you want something exclusive for your 17 HMR rounds, this is the best option. 

That said, this is also the most expensive scope on the list, so make sure you’ll get enough use out of it. Overall, it’s worth the price and it is great for hunting small game. But not if you don’t hunt varmints and small game very often. 

Glass Clarity & Reticle

The glass clarity of the Hawke Vantage IR is unmatched. With 11 fully multi-coated lens layers, you can spot your target better than you would with a set of binoculars. The image quality is stunning, and the edges stay sharp no matter what setting you’re at. Even at 1,000 yards, the image stayed crisp. 

Forest view seen through the lens of the Hawke Vantage IR

This scope uses an illuminated X-ACT reticle, which is perfect for fast target acquisition at close ranges. So, whether you’re shooting squirrels or rabbits, you should be able to see them clearly, even if there are obstructions. 

Eye Relief & Eye Box

This scope also has a 3.5-inch eye relief, making it easy to adjust your eye position when tracking a moving target. Overall, you don’t have to be as precise as with other scopes, making your shots more efficient and lethal. I found the eye box comfortable, and quick to find the target. 

Durability

Like the other models on this list, the Hawke Vantage IR is made from aircraft-grade aluminum. It also uses a single-tube design, meaning there are no edges or seams to worry about. This setup ensures that the scope stays waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof. 

Hawke also provides a limited lifetime warranty on this scope, so you can feel assured about bringing it into the field. I only got to shoot a few hundred rounds with the Vantage mounted, but it maintained its zero with only one random shift around the 150th shot, which I think may have been the ammo. 

Elevation & Windage Knobs

Fingers adjusting the elevation knob of a Hawke scope

The side of the scope has “no-snag” knobs, which are perfect for when you’re wearing gloves while shooting and want to avoid the cloth from messing things up. The adjustments are ¼ MOA, so you should be able to zero your shot pretty easily. I took shots at 500, 800, and 1,000 yards, and the ¼ clicks were right on the money. 

Parallax & Magnification

The Vantage IR is another scope with an adjustable objective. This feature makes it much easier to set your parallax for short-range shooting. Even with a minimum 4x magnification, you can still find your target incredibly fast. 

Zoomed in view of the wall seen through a scope lens

That said, as with the Mueller Optics scope, it may take a while to get used to having such a zoomed-in view as the lowest zoom in 4x. 

It’s worth noting as well that the Vantage IR preferred the best in terms of light transmission, getting roughly a high 92% transmission rate. 

Mounting & Rings

Man aiming a rifle with a scope in an outdoor setting

This scope uses standard ring mounts and should fit on any rimfire rifle that already has mounting positions installed. 

For more on scope rings, see our guide to the best scope rings on the market. 

Is It Worth It?

If you’re looking for a scope for rimfire shooting, this scope is well worth the money. That being said, it is also perfect for hunting bigger game as well, you’ll still appreciate the glass’s clarity and ease of use. Plus, the limited lifetime warranty can give you peace of mind. 

Best Scope for 17 HMR Comparison Table

NameMagnification RangeFocal PlaneWeight
Vortex Optics Crossfire II4-12xSecond Focal Plane19.2 oz
Burris Fullfield E13-9xSecond Focal Plane13 oz
Mueller Optics4.5-14xSecond Focal Plane17.5 oz
Hawke Vantage IR4-12xSecond Focal Plane14.2 oz

17 HMR Scope Buying Guide

Before you can find the best scope for 17 HMR, you need to know how you’ll be shooting this bullet and what kind of rifle you’ll use. However, because those variables can change from one person to the next, here are some factors to consider during your search. 

Price and Build Quality

Just because a scope works well for a 17 HMR cartridge doesn’t mean it can’t work for other cartridges. So, if you want a scope that can function for both varmint and small game hunting and big-game hunting, you’ll want to spend a bit more money on it. 

That said, expensive rifle scopes aren’t necessarily “better,” especially if you’re not attaching them to the right gun. However, you still want to look at this as an investment, not an outright cost. 

For example, if you do a lot of small game and varmint hunting, you want a scope that can keep up with you. 

On the other hand, if you rarely use this scope because you don’t shoot 17 HMR very often, you don’t need to worry as much about its durability and price. 

Magnification

Although the 17 HMR bullet isn’t built for long distances, it’s often best to avoid a fixed magnification scope. Since this bullet is relatively small, you want to be able to zoom in on your target as much as possible to pinpoint where it’ll go. Otherwise, you may miss your prey entirely and have to start over from scratch. 

Reticle and lens of a scope

That said, if you’re not varmint hunting with a 17 HMR, you may not need as high of a magnification range. As a rule, this bullet is accurate up to 250 yards. After that, it drops significantly, so you have to compensate accordingly to hit your target. 

Overall, a magnification range of about 2-12x is ideal for this bullet size. Again, you’re not trying to hit targets at a distance, but rather get up close to your prey by zooming in as much as possible. That being said, all of the scopes on this list work for both hunting and target shooting. 

Parallax

Parallax is a tricky thing to overcome, particularly when you’re long-range shooting. Fortunately, because the 17 HMR is a medium-range bullet, you don’t have to worry about parallax as much. 

However, if you’re using a higher magnification to pinpoint your target, you need a scope that allows for fast parallax removal. When your target is fast and wily, you can’t spend too much time fiddling with the reticle to get it on target. 

Some scopes are more sensitive than others, so be sure to look at what other shooters are saying. Also, consider the distances you’ll use the scope for the most. 

Eye Relief and Eye Box

If you’re using a 17 HMR for small-game hunting, you need to be fast and accurate. So, a small eye box won’t do you any good because you’ll take too long to line up your shot. Instead, you want something with a large eye relief and eye box to find your prey as quickly as possible. 

One of the best ways to ensure a larger eye box is to buy a wider lens. Not only does the extra width help with light transmission, but it also makes it easier to shoot at shorter distances. 

Scope Diameter

As you might’ve noticed, the scopes I listed all have a 40mm diameter. As a rule, the wider the scope, the more light can go in, and the easier it is to spot your target. That said, most wide rifle scopes are designed for long-range hunting. 

Fortunately, having such excellent light transmission also makes it easier to spot fast-moving prey like varmints and small animals. Plus, it’s easier to move back and forth between magnification ranges. 

Overall, while you could use a 30mm scope for a 17 HMR, I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s better to stick to the wider models. 

Lens Coating and Clarity

Lens of a Vantage scope

When shooting at medium ranges, you want clear and bright images so you can fire as accurately as possible. Although the diameter of the scope can help improve the image quality, what really matters is the lens coating. 

As we’ve seen, scopes like the one from Vortex Optics come with multi-coated lenses. The coating helps remove reflections and sharpen the image so you can find your target more easily. 

Clarity and image quality can also be improved by buying a scope that is both waterproof and fog proof. Condensation can ruin the image from the inside, so no amount of multi-coated lenses can fix the problem.  

Turret Design

The turrets include windage and elevation adjustment knobs; both of which are essential in zeroing out your shot. When looking for the best scope, you want turrets that work well for the 17 HMR.

Elevation knob of a scope

Since you’re not shooting at long distances, you want turrets that are easy to twist and lock in place. This way, you can stay true to your shot and not have to readjust every time you pull the trigger. 

MOA adjustments are pretty standard, but some individuals prefer MRAD instead. Either way, just make sure you don’t have to worry about knocking the turrets by accident and throwing your reticle out of alignment. 

Material

Since the 17 HMR has a relatively short shooting range, you want a scope that won’t weigh your gun down too much. 

As a rule, aircraft-grade aluminum is the best option because it’s lightweight and highly resilient. Plus, aluminum doesn’t rust, so you can use the scope in all weather conditions (not so with other scopes). (Resource: 17 HMR)

Conflict of Interest Disclosure

All scopes in this article have been field-tested and included based on their merits only. We did not accept any form of payment or free products in exchange for the products being listed. For more information on how this website earns money and how we make our reviews, see the appropriate links at the bottom of this article. 

For similar reading, see our post on the top scopes for long-range target shooting with 6.5 Creedmoor, and can you shoot 17 HMR in a 17 WSM rifle?

FAQs

What to shoot with 17 HMR?

What you’ll want to shoot with 17 HMR are targets or small game. This is because the 17 HMR is a rimfire bullet, so it has a significant drop after 250 yards (228.6 meters). It’s not ideal for long-range targeting. 

Can you put a scope on a Henry 17 HMR?

Yes, you can put a scope on a Henry 17 HMR bolt-action rifle. However, if you shoot the Golden Boy, you’ll have to drill and tap the holes for mounting. Alternatively, you can use the Varmint Express model, which is already built for scope mounting. 

How far will a 17 HMR shoot accurately? 

A 17 HMR will shoot accurately for up to 250 yards (228.6 meters). After that, there is a significant bullet drop, so the round is far less likely to hit its target. 

What size scope should I put on a 17 HMR?

The best size scope you should put on a 17 HMR rifle is one with an objective lens of around 40mm. 

Top Pick: Vortex Crossfire II

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12x40mm beside its box

References

  1. Eric Conn, .22 vs. .17 HMR: Which Cartridge is Better? Retrieved from https://resources.mossberg.com/journal/which-cartridge-is-better


Leave a Comment