Are you looking for the best scope for your .17 HMR rifle? You are in the right place. Choosing a scope is tough, especially if you have never used one.
That is because you need to take into consideration multiple factors ranging from the brand, model, durability, cost, and obviously, performance in different lighting and weather conditions.
Don’t worry, we did all the research for you. Taking into account all these factors and others like expert reviews, ratings, etc. we compiled a list of the top 5 17 HMR Scopes to buy in 2023.
But if you want a quick-fire purchase rather than having to go through the ardent process or reading the entire article, here is a summary of my top picks.
- Nikon Prostaff P3 – Our Top Pick
- Vortex Optics Crossfire II
- Bushnell Banner Riflescope
- BARSKA Interchangeable 30/30 Rifle Scope
- BSA Sweet 17 Rifle Scope
You can also get a brief review of them in the comparison below.
Best 17 HMR Scope for 2023
|Nikon Prostaff P3||• Quality multi-coated lens for excellent visuals at full magnification|
• BDC reticle shows holdover and bullet drop
• Aircraft-grade aluminum build makes it rock-solid
|Vortex Optics Crossfire II||• Nitrogen purging and o-rings deal with fog, moisture, and dust|
• V-Brite Illuminated Reticle is ideal for low-light conditions
• Multiple magnifications and reticles available to suit your budget
|Bushnell Banner Riflescope||• Costs less than $100 thus ideal for budget buyers|
• Water and fog-resistant
• Crosshair reticle for precision
|BARSKA Interchangeable||• It has an excellent 12-15x magnification|
• Pre-calculated trajectory compensation for precise aims
• SFP reticle appears big even on the lowest magnification
|BSA Sweet||• It is specially designed for .17 caliber|
• Good magnification till 9x
• Super easy to mount and has adjustable parallax
And if you are the type who loves to dive into the details, read below.
#1: Nikon Prostaff P3
If there is one 17 HMR Scope that pretty much checks all the boxes in terms of quality and durability, it is the Nikon Prostaff P3 and here’s why we think so.
For years Nikon has been producing amazing cameras, and that lens quality has been carried forward to their scopes as well.
When you are out in the wild looking through the scope, they are your eyes and sharp, bright visuals under any light or weather are a must for accurate aims.
So how does Nikon manage that?
They use a proprietary multi-layer coat that helps with better light transmission to give you vivid visuals. Also, the quality of the glass is top-notch (dawn or dusk, you get clear pictures each time).
Now, let’s come to the functionality.
You want to scope and aim at targets hundreds of yards away, right? For that, you can go with either the 9x magnification or the 12x magnification. And no there is no tunneling, plus, you get a good view even at full magnification (well, at least way better than most others would give you).
I also love the BDC reticle that is tailor-made for both long-range and close-range shooting, even targets like deers that move at lightning speed.
That is because it does not cover the target giving you a clear view. Plus, you also get estimates of the bullet drop and holdover for excellent precision. And it is compatible with almost any caliber thanks to Nikon’s Ballistic Match Technology app.
Further adding to the ease of aiming are the consistent eye relief and the quick focus eyepiece that helps you nail down your targets in a matter of seconds.
The wild is unforgiving and Nikon knows it. That is why aircraft-grade aluminum has been used in the construction making it a rock-solid scope that can handle all the bumps and falls.
Furthermore, they have used a single tube build, which means it also tackles recoil pretty well. Even the turrets are aluminum ensuring you don’t have to worry about replacement and repairs for years.
On the downside, I felt the knobs were slightly tight in the beginning. Also, it costs above $300 but considering its high-end build and amazing features, it is well worth the money.
- Comes with quick focus eyepiece
- You get good images at full magnification
- Suit your needs and budget with 9x or 12x zoom
- BDC reticle gives details like bullet drop and holdover
- Top-notch durability
- High-quality multi-coated lens for vivid visuals
- Compatible with almost any cartridge
- SFP reticle is clear to view at any magnification
- On the expensive side
- Knobs are tight at first
#2: Vortex Optics Crossfire II
Just like Nikon, Vortex is one of the pioneers when it comes to scopes and aims to provide great features but at more affordable prices, just like with their Crossfire II.
With the Crossfire II, you have options galore. For example, you can go from 7x magnification to 12x magnification depending on your budget and usage.
You also get multiple reticles to choose from. This includes the BDC reticle, V-Plex reticle, or the V-Brite Illuminated Reticle. So how do you choose?
BDC keeps guesswork to minimal as it gives you details about bullet drop and holdover and thus is a great all-purpose reticle but isn’t suited for low light conditions
V-Plex, while great for close-range combat also fails in low light. So if you’re expecting to run into cloudy weather or hunt at dawn the V-Brite illuminated reticle is ideal. Here the reticle is lit using batteries to ensure a good view even in low light.
Talking about the reticle, it is a second focal plane reticle which is great for hunting with the Vortex’s magnification range and doesn’t obscure the view either.
It also has a pretty big viewing window so you can acquire targets in a jiffy, scope for long hours, and not worry about a black eye from all the recoil. Another reason acquiring targets is quick and easy is the fast-focus eyepiece.
The lens isn’t as good as the Nikon when it comes to low-light usage but much better than most of the other scopes in this price range.
I like the turrets though. They are smooth, clearly marked, and conveniently placed so the windage and elevation can be adjusted in seconds. Plus, they are capped so they maintain zero well and don’t break easily.
Durability extends beyond just the turrets. This scope also has a single tube aluminum construction so it stands strong against all the abuse including recoil.
Adding to the durability and ease of use are the sealed-rings that also keep out dust and moisture while the nitrogen purging means fog build-up will never be a hindrance.
- Multiple reticles and magnification variants available
- Nitrogen purging keeps fog away
- Great durability, good shock-resistance
- Smooth and conveniently placed turrets
- Sealed o-rings keep dust and moisture out
- Comes with quick focus eyepiece
- Comfortable viewing window
- Good price point
- Lens quality isn’t at par with the Nikon
#3: Bushnell Banner Riflescope (Best 17 HMR Scope on a Budget)
Are you looking for a 17 HMR Scope on a tight budget? Well, that doesn’t mean you need to opt for a weak, frail scope. What if I told you that you can grab an above-average 17 HMR scope for less than $100?
Say hello to the Bushnell Banner Riflescope and there’s plenty to love about it. For example, it has a 9x magnification, which is much higher than most cheaper scopes that rarely go beyond 4x.
And even at full magnification, the display was better than expected though you don’t want to use this in dim light.
It doesn’t have a BDC reticle, so you do not get the details here, but some might prefer the thin crosshair reticle. It is dark and thin and thus does not obscure the view and also ensures precise aims.
And, just like with high-end scopes, providing a helping hand with that is the quick focus eyepiece and the long eye relief.
I also love the fact that it has nitrogen purchasing and tightly sealed o-rings. That not only prevents dust from entering the scope but prevents fog build as well keeping your view clean and clear.
It also means great water-resistance and while it is usable in the rain you do not submerge it in water.
Turrets are pretty smooth and you can adjust them in seconds. Plus, the capping keeps them protected from harm while also ensuring they maintain the set position well.
For a 17 HMR scope costing less than $100, I was pretty impressed with its sturdiness as well. It doesn’t have the same aircraft-grade build but can hold its own against recoil. And with a little care, will easily last you for 2+ years.
Lastly, it is one of the lightest scopes on the list at a mere 0.81 lbs, so whether you are carrying it on the weapon or in a backpack, you barely feel the weight of it. It is also easy to mount and detach and thus perfect for first-time scope users.
- Costs less than $100
- Thin crosshair reticle keeps the view clear for accuracy
- It has a fast-focus eyepiece for quick target acquisition
- Good eye relief
- Nitrogen purging prevents fog build-up
- It is water-resistant and thus usable in rain
- Turrets are smooth and easy to adjust
- Comes with a decent 9x magnification
- Decent durability for the price
- Should be handled with care for longevity
- Image isn’t clear in low light
- Reticle doesn’t give bullet drop or holdover details
#4: BARSKA Interchangeable 30/30 Rifle Scope
If you need more magnification and are willing to pay a tad higher than the Bushnell for that, the BARSKA scope is just the 17 HMR Scope for you.
It has an 18x variable magnification which is the highest on the list. And though the images start to blur a bit at that range, you get decent visuals till about 15x, which is still higher than others on the list.
It is also a very versatile scope. Equipped with an interchangeable reticle, it works perfectly well with both .17 and .22 and the switch is quick thanks to the smooth knob.
The reticle is a BDC reticle which means the trajectory compensation is already calculated in the case of a .17 Magnum rimfire, and 40, 38, and 36 grain .22 bullets so getting accurate aims is a breeze (just what a starter needs).
I also prefer an SFP reticle and it is just that. The reason being, these reticles do not zoom in and out with the magnification and provide a big reticle irrespective of whether you are zoomed in or out.
Furthermore, as the name suggests, it is a 30/30 reticle and I like it. If you do not prefer the ultra-thin reticle of the Bushnell, this one gives you the best of both worlds.
The reticle has a thicker outside for a clear view while the inner area is thin, which is great for accuracy.
It is also pretty lightweight and comes with nitrogen purging to deal with the fog and moisture making it weather-proof. To top it all, it comes with a lifetime warranty which means most repairs and replacements won’t cost you a dime.
On the durability front, I found this sturdier than the Bushnell with a good recoil-resistance making it worth those few extra dollars you would spend.
On the downsides, the low 3” eye relief is a slight disappointment considering the scope is designed for long-range shooting. I would have preferred 4” +.
The turrets aren’t as conveniently located as with the others and require you to reach out a little, and that’s something that could take time to get used to.
The lens is at par with the Bushnell, so while you get good image quality in the day, the image starts to blur at full magnification or in dim light.
- You can switch between .17 and .22 with knobs
- 30/30 reticle is great for long-distance shooting
- Good durability
- Costs about $100
- BDC reticle means you get pre-calculated trajectory compensation
- SFP reticle is easily viewable at all zoom levels
- It is lightweight and easy to mount
- Nitrogen purging keeps out fog
- Good recoil-resistance
- Comes with a lens cloth for easy maintenance
- Visuals blur at full 18x magnification
- A bigger eye relief would have been better
- Turrets are located slightly further than I like it
#5: BSA Sweet 17 Rifle Scope
Last on the list is another decent mid-range buy, this time from BSA, another brand well-known for their affordable yet good scopes, and the BSA Sweet 17 scope proves just why.
In my opinion, parallax while aiming is like having a warm beer, it just su*ks. That is because you are sure to miss your aim. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about it with the Sweet 17 Rifle Scope.
That is because it is equipped with an adjustable parallax so you can shoot with point accuracy each time. But keep in mind that making this adjustment requires some practice. Though once you get there, the image quality makes the hard work worthwhile.
Another thing helping with that is the 30/30 reticle, which is the same as the BARSKA giving you a thicker outside and thinner inside for a clear view and accurate aim.
The aluminum build also puts it at par with some of the top picks so you know you get good value for your money.
Apart from the build, adding to the durability are the o-rings and nitrogen purging. You can drop in the water, use it in rain, or fog without having to worry about breakage or significant damage.
Compared to the BARSKA scope, I like that BSA has a slightly bigger eye relief at 4” which is optimal for scoping for long hours and also prevents damage to the eye from recoil.
It is also the easiest and quickest to mount. The reason being, this is one of the few scopes to be specially designed for .17 HMR cartridges. It is also lightweight and better lens quality means it outperforms the BARSKA and Bushnell in low light.
The turrets aren’t just ergonomically located for easy adjustments but being multi-grain turrets with deep, big markings, you are also able to get precise settings in seconds.
My only issue with this scope is the magnification. While it is said to have a magnification of 12x, anything beyond 9x will get blurry.
- 30/30 reticle for long-range shooting
- Adjustable parallax for a precise aim
- Aluminum build provides good durability
- Water and Fog-resistant for use in any weather
- Performs better than the Bushnell and BARSKA scopes in low light
- Decent eye relief of 4”
- Good shock absorption
- Turrets are well-placed and easy to adjust precisely
- A pocket-friendly 17 HMR scope
- Magnification above 9x is poor
- Adjusting the parallax takes some experience
Well, that’s it, folks. That’s my list of the best 17 HMR scopes for 2023. I am sure with this guide, you’ll be able to find a scope that not only fits your budget but also one that will last you for years and make aiming easier (trust me, with these scopes, it will be nothing like before).
I am sure you have questions, so whether they are about these scopes or others, feel free to write to me through the contact page or drop it in the comments below and I’ll get back to you asap.
Also, share your experience with scopes you have been using for your .17 HMR and help other users make more informed buying decisions ;).