April 12, 2022
Hornady’s .17 HMR has set the varmint world ablaze as a wonderfully accurate, light-kicking, hard-hitting and flat-shooting little rimfire. Sure, a puff of wind will send bullets on a cook’s tour, but until the wind picks up, there’s honest performance out to 200 yards—something the .22 LR and WMR don’t offer. The cartridge’s popularity has resulted in plenty of options when it comes to rifles. Following are some of the best, presented from least expensive to most expensive. All prices are manufacturer suggested retail unless otherwise noted.
1. Mossberg International 817
The Mossberg International 817 is a budget-friendly turnbolt hunting rifle in .17 HMR with a 5+1 capacity and a 21-inch barrel. The synthetic stock has a length of pull of 14.25 inches and includes a thick, vented recoil pad. While that might seem superfluous for a .17 HMR, a recoil pad keeps the gun solidly in the shoulder while shooting. The stock is stippled for a sure grip, and dual swivel studs are handy for attaching a sling. Finish is blue, Weaver-style scope bases are provided. Overall length is 40 inches and weight is very light at 4.5 pounds. $252, Mossberg.com
2. Tikka T1x MTR
The Tikka T1x MTR .17 HMR is a 10-shot synthetic-stock bolt-action rifle. The T1x comes in a right- or left-handed action. The barrel can be had in lengths of 16 or 20 inches. Both are medium-weight barrels heavy enough to hold steady but still light enough that the 6.5-pound rifle is easy to carry afield comfortably. The suppressor-ready muzzles are threaded 1/2x28, and a single-stage trigger is provided. The stock has the Tikka interchangeable pistol grip and accepts most T3x accessories. The stock and barreled action are matte black. The top of the receiver is grooved for scope rings. $569 (street price), Tikka.fi/en-us
3. Ruger Precision Rimfire
The Ruger Precision Rifle is equally at home punching paper or shooting varmints, and its 6.8-pound weight makes it a true pleasure to shoot. The heart is the 18-inch target barrel made from cold hammer-forged 1137 alloy steel threaded 1/2x28 for a suppressor. The one-piece chassis and adjustable buttstock assembly are molded from glass-filled nylon giving a solid foundation for accuracy. A molded-in window provides a tether point for your squeeze bag, and a metal QD pocket makes it easy to secure a sling. A flat Picatinny bag rider making it easy to affix a rear monopod, and the free-floating M-Lok fore-end accepts rail sections for a forward bipod. The Ruger Marksman Adjustable trigger is externally adjustable, with a trigger pull range of 2.25 to 5 pounds. Most AR-style grips and safety selectors can be used. A 15-shot detachable magazine is standard. $599, Ruger.com.
4. Henry Varmint Express
Henry offers 11 models of lever-action rifle in .17 HMR, and the Varmint Express .17 HMR carries 11 .17 HMR rounds in a tubular magazine under the 19.25-inch round, blue barrel. The checkered American walnut stock featuring a Monte Carlo comb for scope use. The receiver is grooved for 3/8-inch scope rings, and the rifle features front and rear Williams Fire Sights with fiber-optic inserts. There’s a safety at the 1/4 cock position of the hammer. Overall length is 37.5 inches. $636, HenryUSA.com
5. CZ USA 457 American Combo
One of the more elegant little rimfires offered is the CZ USA American 457 Combo, which has both .22 LR and .17 HMR barrels that are easily swapped out. The 457 comes in a classic, checkered Turkish walnut stock, with a high-polish 24.8-inch cold-hammer-forged barrel. A 60-degree bolt throw works fast, and it more easily clears the larger scopes many desire today. Scopes mount in 11mm dovetail mounts integral to the receiver. An adjustable trigger and two-position push-to-fire safety are standard. The 457 Combo comes with a 5-shot magazine for each caliber and tools to change the barrels. Overall length is 38.2 inches, and weight is 6.17 pounds. $725, CZ-USA.com
6. Browning T-Bolt Target/Varmint
Browning’s T-Bolt is an elegant .17 HMR. Its straight-pull bolt action is quick to fire, and the 10-shot double-helix magazine fits flush with the receiver. The free-floating 22-inch heavy target barrel is polished blue with a semi-match chamber and recessed crown. The high-comb, Monte Carlo, satin-finished walnut stock has 20 lpi checkering, ending in a wide fore-end suitable for the bench. The trigger is adjustable and the safety atop the tang. The receiver is drilled and tapped for scope mounts. Overall length is 40.25 inches, and weight is a mere 5 pounds 5 ounces. $860, Browning.com
7. Savage B17 Precision Lite
The B17 Precision Lite delivers accuracy, performance and balance. With a 10-shot rotary magazine, the bolt-action B-Series features an exclusive Modular Driven Technologies one-piece aluminum chassis with an adjustable cheek riser and spacers to adjust length of pull. Savage’s 18-inch stainless steel, precision button-rifled barrel has been given a carbon-fiber wrap for optimum weight distribution and heat dissipation. A 20 m.o.a. Picatinny rail provides plenty of elevation to shoot as far as you want to. Overall length is 36.5 inches, and weight is 6.77 pounds. $949, SavageArms.com