When it comes to shooting there are few things as fun as varmint hunting with a small caliber rifle. I used to us a .22lr rifle for ground squirrel and prairie dog hunting in our horse pastures, but after trying a .17HMR rifle a friend recently purchase I decided to get one for myself.
The .17 HMR rifle has become popular as a small game hunting rifle that offers similar power to a .22 but with a slightly flatter trajectory and a bit more velocity at close ranges. If you’re into small game hunting I highly recommend giving one a try. They’re a lot of fun.
So what is the best .17HMR rifle on the market?
Top 8 Rated .17 HMR Rifles Comparison Table
|Name of Product||Weight||Barrel Length||Full Length||Price|
|Ruger 77/17 .17 HMR Rifle||6.5 lb||22 inch||41.25 inch||$$$|
|Browning T-Bolt Rifle||5.5 lb||22 inch||40.25 inch||$$$|
|Savage Arms 93R17 BVSS Rifle||6 lb||21 inch||39.5 inch||$$$|
|CZ 455 American Rifle||5.85 lb||20.5 inch||38.2 inch||$$$|
|Marlin XT-17 VR Rifle||6 lb||22 inch||41 inch||$$$|
|Alexander Arms .17 HMR Rifle||7.5 lb||18 inch||37.2 inch||$$$$|
|Cooper Arms Varminter Firearm||7.25 lb||24 inch||40 inch||$$$$|
|CZ527 .17 HMR Rifle||8.25 lb||24 inch||41 inch||$$$|
Ruger 77/17 .17 HMR Rifle
First and foremost, the Ruger rifle comes with a detachable rotary magazine that perfectly mounts together with the stock to prevent protrusions at the rifle’s balance point so you are able to shoot with maximum ease. Also, the magazine is rather sturdy as it is made from tough nylon polymer material.
Moreover, it is one of the most expensive rimfire rifles in the market which includes impressive features. That being said, the bullet of this advanced bolt action rifle, also referred as the .17 Winchester Super Magnum (WSM) is able to fire between speed ranging from 2600 to 3000 feet per second (fps). Imagine how powerful your shot would be with that speed, especially at short ranges!
This product includes scope mounts which are machined directly onto the solid-steel receiver. The solid scope mounts on the other hand provides a stable mounting place for the scope rings (included) to be attached as well as eliminates any scenario of your mount being loose or inaccurate, with improper alignment during field use.
Deemed as durable, it includes a solid, heat treated alloy metal as well as stainless steel action in terms of construction, thus contributing to its durability in the long run. Measuring 22 inches, the cold-hammer forged barrel comes in handy in ultra-precise rifling which contributes to the exceptional longevity, accuracy and not forgetting, making it extra simple to clean, in terms of maintenance.
Weighing 6.5 pounds, the barrel measures 22 inches (as mentioned above) meanwhile the full length of the firearm measures 41.25 inches. The ammo capacity on the other hand is 9+1 round. In terms of precision, this product produces accurate shots beyond 300 yards. And that’s not the best part yet; it has no recoils when fired.
The stock is made out of wood with a rugged and attractive finish. However, one of the drawbacks of this product is that you are not able to make trigger adjustments. In other words, you can’t make it adjust the trigger weight for instance, to further ease on trigger pull. Nevertheless, don’t fret, it still works fine and I don’t find the absence of that feature a big deal.
In terms of safety, it features a 3-position safety system. The forward position allows you to fire the weapon whereas the middle position allows you to lock the trigger, but not bolt it for safe reloading. The rearward position locks both the trigger and bolt, meaning it’s in a safe position.
Suitable for :
- Comes with scope mounts and rings
- Cold hammer forged barrel
- 3-position safety system
- Detachable rotary magazine
- Solid, heat treated alloy
Browning T-Bolt Rifle
Weighing 5.5 pounds overall, the Browning T-bolt rifle is basically a bolt action rifle that has a rather rapid operation for precision shooting. In other words, it has a fast repeating bolt action style so you are able to take repeated shots at your target. Well in my experience, it especially comes in handy if you are dealing with hundreds of moving pests because you get to shoot all of them down quickly in a short period of time.
That being said, it is perfect for varmint hunting, especially at closer ranges. It is rather easy to feed because you can simply take the weight off the spring slightly and then feed it in with maximum ease.
The semi-match ammo chamber on the other hand is visible so you are able to see the rounds being used up which comes in handy when you’re firing repeatedly. Not only that, it fits up to 10+1 rounds of ammo. However, they might get jammed if not properly taken care of and cleaned regularly.
Moreover, its double extractor feature contributes to the ease of feeding and excellent accuracy. Apart from that, the trigger is adjustable so you can make adjustments to the pull weight for instance, in order to ensure simple trigger pull.
However, be careful not to over-adjust them because the accuracy might be affected. That being said, the trigger pull weight is perfect, about 3.5 pounds. It breaks cleanly and consistently, thus allowing you a perfect and precise shot.
The barrel measures 22 inches while the overall length is 40.25 inches. The stock is made out of tough polymer. It incorporates a raised stock comb which comes in handy for shooters to align their eyes with the mounted scope. Not only that, it is able to chamber in .17 HMR rounds. However, it doesn’t include iron sights or blued metal finish.
For the magazine on the other hand, it is removable according to your preference. The mag fits in perfectly and releases well from the firearm. In other words, the magazine functions as an ammo storage and feeding device where they move the cartridges to be loaded into the firing chamber of the firearm.
Suitable for :
- Fast repeating bolt action style
- Raised stock comb
- Removable magazine
- Adjustable trigger
- Double extractor
Savage Arms 93R17 BVSS Rifle
The BVSS is manufactured by a popular firearm company, which is the Savage Arms company. It is extremely well known for its solid products and it doesn’t fail in its bidding, with this .17 HMR rifle as the proof. In my opinion, it is very well worth your investment if not mine, at least.
First and foremost, the BVSS is equipped with a built-in adjustable AccuTrigger. The AccuTrigger is extremely useful as it provides a crisp and clear trigger pull, therefore making it a lot easier for you to pull the trigger when firing at your target, which further contributes to the accuracy of your shot.
In other words, the rifle is fitted with a key-like trigger which has a great design, to be honest. The trigger comes pre-adjusted from the factory and provides you with a smooth and crisp relief. You can adjust it according to your preference, however refrain from making the pull weight too light or it will go into a failsafe position and needs to be re-adjusted.
Apart from that, this product is basically a 17 series bolt action rifle that enhances rimfire shooting. That being said, it provides excellent accuracy and is powerful enough to dispatch small games and varmints. The gun utilizes a turn bolt system, where it is equipped with a laminate thumbhole stock. As a result of that, the excellent thumbhole configuration gives a real nice and stable position for improved grip on the weapon.
The safety catch on the other hand consists of a simple 2-position rolling lever. The operation is rather simple; the red being visible allows you to fire the rifle meanwhile the red covered ensures that your weapon is in a safe position. All in all, it is smooth to use with negligible recoil, for your added convenience.
In addition to that, this product comes with a detachable box magazine as well as a stainless steel heavy varmint barrel set in a gray wood-grained laminate stock that is equipped with a Monte Carlo style comb together with cut checkering to provide you with the best shooting experience. Also, the magazine includes 5 rounds.
In other words, it is basically a stainless steel barreled action with a wood laminate stock. Weighing 6 pounds, the barrel measures 21 inches in terms of lengths. The ammo rounds on the other hand comes with a capacity of 5+1 round.
Suitable for :
- Adjustable AccuTrigger
- Stainless steel barrel
- Detachable box magazine
- 17 series bolt action rifle
- Safety catch feature
CZ 455 American Rifle
The CZ 455 is referred as the next generation of C2 bolt action rimfire rifle, replacing the older version, CZ 452 for enhanced accuracy as well as smoother operation. This new generation bolt action rifle is fully machined from bar stock. Its Boyd stock basically utilizes the thumbhole right hand configuration. That being said, the thumbhole stock comes in handy to provide a relaxed grip for the wrist.
In addition to that, it comes with an adjustable trigger in which you are allowed to adjust the pull weight according to your preference. The lowest pull weight is 3.5 pounds which defines the how hard is it for you to pull the trigger before firing your shot. Not only that, this rifle includes a thick and free-floated barrel measuring 20.5 inches. Meanwhile, the full length of rifle measures 38.2 inches.
That being said, the barrel is of large diameter (thick) therefore contributing to lesser vibration when the rifle is fired because the large barrel is able to absorb the shock. Not only that, the barrel is cold-hammer forged meanwhile stock comes with a Turkish walnut stock, which is really attractive in appearance. Also, it weighs 5.85 pounds and it is able to accommodate ammo with capacity of 5+1 round.
A standard 11mm dovetail is milled into the receiver. Nevertheless, it is a little hard to get the suitable scope rings to accommodate the dovetail mount style. If you can’t get the right scope rings, I suggest you to get an adaptor (sold by CZ itself) that enables the 11mm dovetail to be mounted using the weaver-style. Hence, this results in easier mounting as well as better clearance on bolt handle.
Moreover, this product has 3 sling studs. The sling studs comes in handy to be utilized with bipod and sling. The pistol grip-style design on the other hand provides fantastic grip thus contributing to the precision of the shot. Another plus point is that it has negligible recoil once the firearm is fired.
Deemed versatile, you can either utilize a .22 lr or .17 hmr caliber in a single rifle. That being said, it is rather simple and quick to swap barrels to put in different caliber cartridges. You just need to remove the inserts which makes way for the insertion of bigger magazines.
Suitable for :
- Thumbhole Boyd stock
- 3 sling studs
- Pistol-grip style design
- 11mm dovetail mount
- Hammer-forged barrel
Marlin XT-17 VR Rifle
This rifle is perfect to be used for varmint hunting, which generally includes small games such as rabbits and squirrels. In terms of construction, it is equipped with a heavy barrel together with a laminate stock. In lay man terms, the stock is generally the handle of the weapon meanwhile the barrel is defined as the metal tube that the ammo travels through when the rifle is fired.
In addition to that, the barrel measures 22 inches (full rifle length is 41 inches) and has a blued finish that comes together with front and rear scope bases only. For mounting purposes, this rifle comes with dovetail rings however, I suggest that you get strong and solid weaver-style rings for better and secure mounting.
Regarding the shot itself, it includes a polymer-tipped bullet rocketing downrange at 2500 feet per second (fps), which comes with a laser-flat trajectory that is highly precise. Imagine the high speed of your ammo fired! Also, its rugged black synthetic stock includes molded sling swivel studs that comes in handy to attach bipods or sling, according to your preference.
Moreover, this firearm is equipped with the XT pro-fire adjustable trigger. The adjustable trigger (fancy a Remington replacement trigger?) allows the pull weight to be adjusted therefore resulting in a consistent trigger pull with a clean break. As a result of this, you won’t have any problem pulling the trigger with maximum ease.
Weighing 6 pounds, it has an ammo capacity of 4+1 round. The receiver on the other hand is tapped, grooved and drilled to ensure convenient scope mounting options, for your added convenience. Not only that, it has a bowl barrel (where the projectile passes through) that comes in handy to improve the accuracy of your shot.
Moving on to the magazine, the rimfire rifle has two types of mags which are the 7 round and 4 round magazine. The 4 round one would be more than enough, however it is good to be bring them both along with you as a spare.
Conversely, the 7 round mag sticks out a little from the rifle. The bolt action on the other hand is rather smooth. In terms of safety, it has a toggle safety feature. The forward position allows you to fire the rifle meanwhile the rearward position means that your weapon is locked and safe.
Suitable for :
- Laser-flat trajectory bullet with 2500 fps
- XT pro-fire adjustable trigger
- Convenient scope mounting options
- Toggle safety feature
- Bowl barrels
Alexander Arms .17 HMR Rifle
The Alexander Arms rifle is one of the most popular and well sought out firearm in the market. That being said, it consists of an 18 inch stainless steel barrel with flash hider. For your information, a flash hider is a tubular device that is fitted to the muzzle of the rifle to conceal burning powder gases.
Apart from that, the rimfire rifle is equipped with a collapsible stock where the length of pull can be adjusted according to your preference. In other words, it is basically an adjustable standard butt stock with a rugged M4 style. Not only that, it comes with a monolithic magazine which comes in handy for ammunition storage and feeding.
Deemed versatile, it can utilize the .17 hmr or .223 caliber cartridge, according to your preference. Moving on to its feed system, the feed is made from molded plastic with 10 mag round which is strong and sturdy to handle the powerful caliber. However, the good thing is, this rifle has negligible recoil.
The typical muzzle velocities operate at a speed of 2600 feet per second (fps). In other words, the ammo is fired through the rifle at 2600 fps. Therefore, this semi-automatic action is rather smooth and easy for follow-up shots, especially if you plan to kill many pests at once, for instance. Also, it comes in a soft carry bag with 2 10-round mags upon purchase.
This .17 HMR rifle features the blowback operating system. What does this system mean? To answer your query, the system is for self-loading firearms that gets their energy from the motion of the cartridge when it is moved to the rear. Basically, it is a simplified form of gas operation.
Moreover, it is equipped with a flat top receiver. The trigger pull on the other hand is 3.5 pounds, which is a common pull weight. In other words, it is not too hard for you to pull the trigger when firing a shot hence, providing you with a clean and crisp pull.
Moving on to the barrel, it has a free-floating hand ground barrel which is rigid and easy to clean. In terms of construction, the barrel is made from G10 composite and non-vented material therefore contributing to its durability. All in all, this product is of excellent quality and produce accurate shots (it should be in your must-have list).
Suitable for :
- Collapsible stock
- Monolithic magazine
- Flat top receiver
- Free-floating barrel
- Blowback operating system
Cooper Arms Varminter Firearm
First things first, this product features the slim turn bolt action that is able to accommodate .17 Remington cartridges. It makes a sleek addition to your varmint hunting adventure. This rifle won’t disappoint as it provides great accuracy, especially for hunting at short ranges. So, stay tuned and keep your eyes open for its amazing features below!
Its hammer-forged barrel is tough and durable hence able to project your ammo out of the rifle without any issues. Another plus point is the gun will have close to none recoil. Not only that, it includes an adjustable trigger option which comes in handy so you are able to adjust the trigger pull weight for easier trigger pull. However, refrain from lowering it too much because it might affect the precision of your shot.
Furthermore, it comes with a rather attractive dark walnut finish. I’m not joking, it is really beautiful in terms of appearance. The dark walnut finish is topped with a hand-rubbed oil finished wood which makes the whole stock of the rifle.
The barrel on the other hand is coated with a matte finish therefore contributing to the durability of this product. Also, the barrel is of stainless steel straight taper premium match grade construction. It measures 24 inches in length.
That being said, it is durable to the point it only shows light handling marks. Its screw heads are also intact. However, it has no provision for iron sights. The top of the receiver comes with 2 integral scope mounts so you can mount on scopes for better aiming at your target. Also, it includes scope rings attached to the integral bases.
Apart from that, it has hand-checkered grip for enhanced grip on your rifle which comes in handy if you’re wearing gloves. In other words, the pistol grip is highly increased with decorative checkering, finger grooves as well as a rubber recoil pad that functions to eliminate the recoil of the rifle when fired.
All in all, this product features a bolt action with detachable magazine. It also includes sling swivels which functions to attach your bipod or sling for instance, for your added convenience when hunting.
Suitable for :
- Hand-checkered grip
- Slim turn bolt action
- Detachable magazine
- Stainless steel barrel
- Sling swivel studs
CZ527 .17 HMR Rifle
Traditional shooters are going to love this rifle because it utilizes the controlled-freed action similar to the old-style guns. The tough barrel, measuring 24 inches is hammer-forged and free-floats. That being said, it provides you with great accuracy over 100 yards, with the bullet travelling over 3600 fps.
This product is rather unique because it can be field-stripped without any tools, however be careful to rotate the inner body into the correct alignment with the rear part to ensure the bolt handle can be slotted in easily.
Speaking about bolt handles, it has an 18mm bolt knob at the end of the handle that curves upwards to separate it from the stock. Also, the neatly screw cut crown comes with a ½ inch thread to accept moderators.
Furthermore, the single steel mag is detachable in order to ensure easier reloading. The mag has 5 rounds which fits well in front of the trigger guard. The trigger on the other hand is fully adjustable hence making it suitable to be used for bench-shooting. That being said, the trigger can be pushed forward to set position.
The pull weight and over travel can be adjusted along with the set function. If the shot is declined with the trigger set mode on, it is allowed to be clicked back to the normal position. Moving on to the thumb safety feature, you get to flip it forward to be on the safe mode and backwards to shoot your firearm.
In addition to that, the bolt release button is just located at the opposite of the thumb safety. You can push the button to release and remove the bolt which comes in handy for easy and quick cleaning of the gun. Also, this product provides you with a scope mounting option, however you can only use special CZ rings to mount the scope on it, instead of the usual dovetail or weaver style scope rings.
It comes with a large side mounted extractor. The extractor functions to remove the cartridge case from the chamber which includes pulling the case to the rear. Basically, it makes room for an unfired cartridge to be loaded, therefore reducing the possibility of it getting jammed overtime.
Suitable for :
- Detachable single steel mag
- Adjustable trigger (set position)
- Large side mounted extractor
- Thumb safety feature
- Bolt release button
- Controlled-freed action
Key considerations when purchasing a rifle:
All modern firearms/rifles are broken down into 3 parts which are the action, barrel and stock. Let’s have some insight about these 3 parts.
The action is basically the moving parts of the weapon which involves the firing mechanism such as loading firing and ejecting the cartridge. Most rifles utilize the bolt action. So, what does it mean and how does it work? To answer your doubt, the bolt of the firearm is manually operated by the opening and closing of barrel.
The barrel on the other hand is controlled with a small handle. Once the bolt is released, the spent cartridge case is ejected and a new round of ammo is placed into the barrel. That being said, it is a popular type of action for target shooting as well as hunting (in your case, varmint hunting!).
The firing option is controlled by the trigger. Some products come with adjustable trigger which comes in handy so you are able to adjust the pull weight (how hard to pull the trigger) according to your preference, for easy trigger pull. However, reducing the pull weight to an extreme minimum might affect the precision of your shot.
The barrel is a long metal tube, about half the length of your overall rifle length. The ammo is fired through the barrel. Most barrels are hammered and forged with either blued or matte finish to ensure that it’s strong and sturdy, therefore contributing to its durability. These type of rifles have negligible recoil so you don’t have to worry about strong impacts from damaging your weapon.
Apart from that, most barrels comes with a free-floating design that comes in handy to improve the accuracy of your weapon. As a result of that, they are utilized particularly in match grade rifles. With the free-floating design, the stock and barrel are not supposed to touch at any point along the length of barrel.
Thicker barrel, the ones with larger diameter are useful because they absorb the vibration caused by the weapon. Hence, there will be less vibration and voila, less noise so you can pay full attention to the shot, without any minor distractions.
In lay man terms, stock refers to the handle of the firearm. They mostly come in a rugged color (really easy on the eyes, might I add!). Most stocks are made of laminate wood to ensure you have a great grip on them.
For example, some of the stocks include the thumbhole configuration. This type of configuration comes in handy to provide a relaxed grip for the wrist. The popular Alexander Arms rifle for instance, is equipped with a collapsible stock.
In other words, the length can be adjusted according to your preference. Besides that, some rifles includes raised stock combs which is useful as it allows shooters to align their eyes with the mounted scope for better aiming.
All in all, the .17 HMR caliber is one of the most widely used cartridge in the market due to its great accuracy as well as fast flight path. If you’re planning to go varmint hunting, bring along your .17 cartridge together with one of these rifles and you’re good to go.
Additional Hunting Resources from Epic Wilderness
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And the good thing is, it produces close to none recoil, for your added convenience. From the name of the rifle itself, you should know that it fires .17 caliber round. The famous brands for this type of caliber rifle are Alexander Arms, Savage, Ruger, Marlin, Copper Arms and many other smaller brands.
They vary depending on their design and structure, and mostly importantly price. To ensure that your firearm performs well, it needs proper maintenance where you need to clean and lubricate the gun frequently for smoother working operation. That together with your shooting license and voila, you’re good to go for a hunting trip.
Happy hunting folks and don’t forget your very own hunting jacket!