Best 17 HMR Rifles – 2020 Round-up

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.17 HMR is the smallest caliber currently under production and being used worldwide. Due to its small size and impressive ballistics, the round is quite popular among small game and vermin hunters. Having a .17 HMR rifle in your inventory becomes necessary sometimes, because you need different calibers for different purposes.

Here we will try to elaborate on the uses and effectiveness of a .17 HMR cartridge.

Following this discussion will be a review of the best .17 HMR rifles on the market, so you don’t have to fuss about buying one. So focus your eyes on the screen as we delve into the smallest cartridge in the world. 

Comparison of the Best .17 HMR Rifles

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Best Overall .17 HMR Rifle On The Market.
  • Quick-Fit Adjustable Butt Stock Assembly.
  • Free-Float Aluminum Handguard With M-Lok Slots.
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  • High Capacity and Rate of Fire.
  • Best Lever Action .17 HMR Rifle.
  • Historical Rifle With Aesthetically Pleasing Finish.
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  • Best for the Money
  • Heavy Profile Barrel for Better Performance.
  • Includes a 3-9x40 Scope With Scope Mounts.
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How Accurate is a .17 HMR?

A good .17 HMR bullet can be the most effective and deadly accurate round under its ideal shooting conditions. To get the exact estimate, we’ll put some numerical calculations to use. 

A 17 grain poly tip V-max .17 HMR bullet has a muzzle velocity of 2550 ft/sec which comes down to only 1915 ft/sec at 100 yards. A 36 grain CPHP .22 bullet has a muzzle velocity of 1260 ft/sec which comes down to 1000 ft/sec at 100 yards.

CZ 455 .17 HMR (Source)

Similarly a .17 HMR bullet has a trajectory of 0.0 (no drop-no rise) at 100 yards whereas a .22LR bullet has a trajectory of -3.2(drop in inches) at 100 yards. So the .17 HMR shoots flatter than most calibers in a range of 75-125 yards. 

A .17 HMR can give you 1 inch or less groups at 100 yards under ideal conditions (no wind, good ammo, and properly adjusted rifle). Plus the maximum effective range of this caliber is approximately 200 yards. 

Best Uses For a .17 HMR

Due to its flat trajectory and high muzzle energy, the .17 HMR is widely used for hunting small game and vermin. However, this caliber is not very good for hunting small vermin like squirrels and rabbits at a range below 75 yards. The reason being the high muzzle energy of the round which will just cause the poor vermin to explode and splatter, rather than being of any consumable use. Although, if your motive is only vermin eradication, this round is an amazing choice.

.17 HMR is an expensive cartridge, compared with other rimfire ammo. For instance, a .17 HMR bullet costs three times more than a .22LR. So it’s definitely not very budget friendly for plinking, but you can still use it for fun shooting if your wallet allows you to do so. 

The .17 HMR is however, a good teaching cartridge. It is almost a recoilless cartridge, and can be used to teach amateurs the basics of shooting, and introducing them to the recoil of rifles. 

Quick Take - The Best .17 HMR Rifles

Review of the Best .17 HMR Rifles

Based on the above-mentioned aspects, you can choose a .17 HMR rifle appropriate for your taste. We have scoured the online market to come up with the best .17 HMR rifles on the market. 

Pros

  • Flat picatinny bag rider in stock
  • Manufactured using glass filled nylon
  • Extra large bolt handle for easy loading
  • Tactical design with customization options
  • Ruger marksman adjustable trigger an AR style grip
  • Buttstock adjustable for LOP and cheek weld height
  • 10 round magazine (also accepts higher capacity mags)

Cons

  • No iron sights, cannot be used without a scope

What Recent Buyers Report

The features most popular among users are its accuracy, compatibility, and aesthetics. The adjustable LOP and cheek height are also helpful for shooters with long arms. Plus the QD and M-lok slots also help with attaching slings and bipods. The rifle is quite comfortable to hold and shoots with exceptional accuracy.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Ruger Precision Rimfire is a successful rifle, especially for the .22LR caliber. Plus, it can be customized in every other way as an AR. The barrel has threads to accept muzzle devices, since the .17 HMR is a very loud round. The high capacity mag allows you to shoot more rounds, and the tactical design makes it useful for every possible situation. 

Who Will Use This Most

.17 HMR is not really a home defense round, so with all its tactical capabilities the Ruger Precision Rimfire rifle is best suited for hunting and range shooting. One can also use it for competitions because of its accuracy and oversized bolt. It can also be a show-off rifle if you want a single .17 HMR rifle in your inventory. 

What Could Be Improved and Why

Had Ruger decided the make of this rifle semi-auto, it would have been an AR type rifle chambered in .17 HMR. It is almost perfect and has limited room for improvement, but you may still consider keeping a set of back-up iron sights in case your scope gets broken.

Bottom Line

The Ruger Precision Rimfire is an exceptionally accurate tactical .17 HMR rifle that can be coupled with multiple accessories. It gives you the feel of an AR while shooting, plus the stock adjustments also help different shooters with different physiques. 

Pros

  • 11+1 round capacity
  • Good looking ​lever action rifle
  • Includes pre-installed weaver base
  • Good for hunting quick moving targets
  • Lightweight and high-quality construction
  • Quick to reload compared with ​bolt action rifle

Cons

  • Trigger is not adjustable
  • Can’t be reloaded in cramped spaces

What Recent Buyers Report

Most buyers seem intrigued by the finish and build quality of the rifle. It is one of the oldest models of rifles so it has some history attached to it. The rifle has a nice and smooth action, and is also widely praised for its accuracy. Another more liked aspect is the ammo capacity. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The rifle can fire multiple rounds within a matter of seconds. Plus, the 12 round capacity is enough to take down multiple targets on a single fill. The shooting speed of the rifle is comparable with semi-auto weapons, and it has a pre-installed weaver base to accept scopes. 

Who Would Use This Most

The rifle is great for hunting vermin and small sized game. It can be used to kill fast moving targets because of the quick reloading time. The rifle is also great for self defense since it carries more rounds and shoots quick. The gun is quite beloved to recreational shooters as well.

What Could Be Improved and Why

The Henry Golden Boy .17 HMR has absolutely no room for improvement. However, one drawback of using the rifle is its loud sound and the absence of muzzle threads. So, make sure to use ear muffs while shooting. 

Bottom Line

The Henry Golden Boy rifle has a history associated with it. Plus, it offers quick successive shots compared to any bolt action rifle. It has a smooth lever operation and carries more rounds. The rifle is also great for people who love to use classic weapons. 

Pros

  • Easy to clean
  • Exceptionally accurate rifle
  • Ergonomic design for easy handling
  • Aesthetically pleasing hardwood finish
  • Detachable magazine and two-stage safety
  • Comes pre-installed with a 3-9x40mm scope
  • Good quality construction with precise cuts

Cons

  • Bull barrel makes it a bit heavy
  • Hardwood stock requires care and maintenance

What Recent Buyers Report

This gun has almost 100 percent positive reviews from its buyers. Most people talk about the accuracy, smooth operation and finish of this rifle. The rifle can be easily field stripped, and gives 1” or less groups to the shooter, right out of the box. Another admirable aspect of the rifle is its apt price. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The rifle has been meticulously designed and features an exceptional finish and ergonomics. It is deadly accurate within its effective range, and features a floating bull barrel for better harmonics, and rigorous shooting sessions. The trigger pull is adjustable and extremely crisp and lightweight. Plus, the mounted scope also adds to the value.

Who Will Use This Most

The rifle is more likely to be used by hunters, competition shooters and people trying to practice or plink. The rifle’s dead-on accuracy makes it a lethal killing weapon for vermin and small game in close quarters (100 yards). Additionally, the rifle is also good for introducing a novice to the basics of .17 HMR rifles. 

What Could Be Improved and Why

Other than the heavy weight of this rifle (which is still light compared to other rifles) there’s no scope for improvement. The rifle has been meticulously designed to perfect specifications. There’s nothing more you can expect from a rifle of this caliber and class.

Bottom Line

The Savage 93R17 is the best .17 HMR rifle on the market. It has a heavy profile bull barrel, an adjustable trigger, two stage safety and a wooden stock. Plus the scope and sling mounts along with the detachable magazine make it complete. Plus, its price is on-par with most rimfire hunting rifles.

Pros

  • Adjustable rear sight
  • Best survival and camping rifle
  • Folds down in a compact shape
  • Accepts scope regardless of size
  • Lightweight wire stock for lightweight
  • Stock has slots for carrying extra ammo
  • Double set trigger and top tang safety

Cons

  • Single shot only
  • Long scopes or scope position can interfere with cocking hammer

What Recent Buyers Report

Most buyers regularly use it as a camping, survival, recreational shooting and truck rifle. The gun is very simple and easy to maintain, plus the double set trigger offers extra safety to the shooter. The rifle folds down and has a lightweight design. Plus, the rifle is quite accurate considering its design. 

Why It Stands Out To Us

The rifle has been meticulously designed considering it is a  single shot break barrel model. The rifle accepts a scope/red dot and has extra space over the stock for carrying ammunition. The receiver has pre-existing rails which allows you to mount a light or bipod. The muzzle is also threaded to let you mount muzzle devices. 

Who Would Use This Most

This rifle has been exclusively designed for camping and survival. It can be folded down and kept inside a backpack without occupying much space. Plus, it can also be used to hunt small game, by mounting a scope for distant shots. Most recreational shooters would also find the design pleasing and fun to shoot. 

What Could Be Improved and Why 

The rifle does have factory installed sights, but most users report to getting them changed with a new pair because of their material and quality. Other than that, there’s nothing much to be improved with this single shot rifle. 

Bottom Line

The Chiappa Badger is a one-of-a-kind single shot break barrel action rifle that can be used for camping or survival, where storage space is quite limited. The rifle accepts scopes, lights and bipods and functions like a normal rifle. Except for the fact that it is a single shot weapon. 

Pros

  • Molded-in swivel mounts
  • Pro-fire adjustable trigger
  • Heavy varmint barrel with 1:9 twist
  • 22 inch barrel for long range and accurate shots
  • Simple and ergonomic design grooved/drilled/tapped receiver for scope mount

Cons

  • Muzzle not threaded
  • Bolt takes time to break-in

What Recent Buyers Report

Most users review it as a simple and fun shooting rifle. The Marlin XT-17 features only the basic components of any rifle, and has been designed quite ergonomically. The pro-fire adjustable trigger is very crisp and makes shooting even more fun. The heavy varmint barrel helps with accuracy as well. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The palm swells and textured forend offer a good grip, whereas the tapped receiver makes installing scope mounts easy. The design of the rifle is quite simple, and the best feature of this rifle is its inexpensive price. The rifle uses a detachable magazine which can be 5, 7, or 10 shots depending upon your choice. 

Who Will Use This Most

The rifle has a basic design and a heavy profile varmint barrel. Which makes the rifle ideal for squirrel hunting, along with other similar sized game. The rifle is also good for casual plinking and target practice. Especially if you want to improve your aim with iron sights. 

What Could Be Improved and Why

The rifle is not threaded for accepting muzzle devices, which can be a drawback especially when shooting indoors. So, you may consider wearing some ear protection. Plus, adding a buttpad will also help if you plan on using the weapon for long stretches of time. 

Bottom Line

The Marlin XT-17 is a simple and basic rifle that is ideal for hunting squirrels and rabbits. It has an adjustable trigger which allows you to choose you pull weight. Plus, the thumb safety along with the red safety indicator adds to its functionality.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

Before you choose a .17 HMR rifle for yourself, consider these factors and aspects to get the most out of your purchase. 

Operation - Semi, Single or Lever

Since the .17 HMR is a good varmint and small game hunting rifle, you may want to check out its type of operation. These rifles are available in bolt action, semi-auto and lever action models. Since this is going to affect your rate of fire and accuracy.

Customizability

A good .17 HMR must accept customization, at least to the extent of mounting a good scope. These rifles aren’t very popular for home defense, but having a few upgrades doesn’t hurt either. 

Intended Use

You must evaluate your intended use with the rifle before choosing one for yourself. Whether you want it for hunting, plinking, target practice or camping/survival. Different kinds of rifles have their own use and effectiveness under specific scenarios. 

Reloading Time and Mag Capacity

The type of rifle you choose will determine the reloading time. Bolt action rifles take some time to reload, whereas mag fed rifles require just a quick swap of mags. Additionally, each rifle  has its own ammo capacity, which should match your intent and application. 

Conclusion

The .17 HMR is a small but exceptionally accurate, high velocity and flat shooting round. It can be used for hunting small vermin like squirrels up to small deer. A good .17 HMR must be accurate and effective in function. Plus, you must also consider several other factors like ammo capacity, rate of fire, and customizability before choosing such a rifle. 

People Also Ask

The 17 HMR is an interesting caliber, but also attracts a lot of questions being very small in size. This section will try to cover some very common queries and concerns associated with the 17HMR caliber.

Can You Kill a Deer With a 17 HMR?

Absolutely, not. There are two very good reasons for that. First, the 17HMR is a low-grain bullet that doesn’t pack enough punch to kill a deer. Humanely or not. Second, the 17HMR is an illegal round to hunt deer in almost every state. While good shot placement counts, it is still not a bright idea. 

What is the Effective Range of a 17 HMR?

While many shooters claim the best effective range of a 17 HMR to be about 200 yards. People also claim shooting down targets in the 400-yard range under perfect conditions. Conclusively, the best bet is to go with 200 yards as an effective range, which can be exceeded. 

Does Ruger Make a 17 HMR Rifle?

Yes, and a very good one. The best 17 HMR rifle on our list is the Ruger Precision Rimfire rifle. The Ruger American is the new 17 HMR rifle after the company discontinued the M-77 rifle in 2017. 

About Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis the managing editor at Gun Mann and when he isn't writing about guns he is more than likely tinkering with them. He also enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time outdoors. As a lifelong gun owner he knows his stuff!

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