.17 HMR
Savage Arms/Cabela's/Marlin

.17 HMR: 8 of the Top Rifles for Plinking and Varmint Hunting


These are our top picks for rifles chambered in .17 HMR.

It has been on the market for less than 20 years, but it is probably safe to say that .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire is here to stay at this point. If you are not familiar with this round, it uses a parent case .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire that has been modified to fit .17 caliber bullets.

The idea behind a .22 WMR case was to create a necked down rimfire round capable of the incredible speeds and flat trajectory of the long-discontinued 5mm Remington Rimfire. It is safe to say the designers succeeded. The .17 HMR round has a blistering muzzle velocity of 2,500 fps or more. That is almost double what you are likely to get with a standard .22 long rifle rimfire cartridge!

The round is not only fast, it is also capable of longer distance shots. Oh, and it still has minimal recoil. This round has proven to be a great for plinking and firearms safety training. Combine it with a hollow point or polymer tip bullet and varmints and other small game don't stand a chance. With that in mind, here are some of our top picks for .17 HMR rifles on the market right now. These guns are well worth your hard-earned money.

Savage Arms 93R Bolt-Action

This rifle is built to start hunting varmints straight out of the box. The Savage 93r17 has a 21-inch barrel length with a 1:9 rate of twist. The barrel is offered in either carbon steel or stainless. The overall length is just 39.75 inches, making this rifle a compact package. The gun has a 5+1 capacity for quick follow-up shots. Savage includes their popular Accutrigger that can be adjusted for the exact type of pull you want. Savage offers a few different stock options including synthetic, camo, brown hardwood and a sharp-looking gray laminate. The BTV variant features a thumbhole stock for even more accuracy. Another feature we like about this gun is the inclusion of a 3-9x40 Bushnell scope on some models that is already installed and boresighted, saving you time and money.


Ruger American Rifle Rimfire

When it comes to bolt action rifles, the American Rifle line has proven to be a gigantic hit for Ruger. We are not surprised to see them offer a full line of rimfire rifles based on the design. These rifles include an 18-inch barrel length standard with a 1:9, 1:14 or 1:16 rate of twist. As another bonus, Ruger has pre-threaded the barrels for a suppressor. Now the varmints will never know where the shots are coming from. One variant also offers a muzzle brake. The trigger allows you to adjust the weight between three and five pounds. The receiver is already pre-drilled and tapped for weaver style mounts or it has an aluminum scope rail depending on which model you select. Either way, this synthetic stock rifle should give plenty of varmints permanent dirt naps!

Henry .17 HMR

Henry rifles makes a few different variations of their famous lever action rifles in .17 HMR. Most notable here are the Varmint Express and Golden Boy .17 HMR. These rifles give a classic, old west cowboy look without the huge price tag of a lever action centerfire rifle. Both rifles have 20-inch octagon barrels with a 1:9 rate of twist. The finish is a classic blue with a walnut stock. The Golden Boy is the slightly more expensive version with the brass finish on the receiver and buttplate that give the rifle its name. These guns have a generous 11+1 capacity that should help you get a quick follow-up shot in on a sneaky predator or simply some fast plinking fun on the range.

Tikka T1xMTR

The Tikka name is known for serious precision rifles that deliver unheard of accuracy. The T1xMTR is no exception. The 20-inch heavy barrel is cold-hammered forged and is already threaded for a suppressor. Despite a heavier barrel, the crossover profile allowed Tikka to keep the weight down to just 5.3 pounds with this gun. It has a 10-round ammo capacity. The fit of this rifle can be adjusted easily thanks to a modular pistol grip system. Tikka modeled much of this rifle's design, including the stock and action off their popular T3x line of centerfire rifles, so you are getting field-tested quality here. The receiver is dovetailed and tapped for attaching your choice of scope to a picatinny rail. Varmint hunting at a distance will be no problem with this rifle.

Marlin Model XT-17VSL

The Marlin name is synonymous with rimfire guns, but Marlin has not put out a ton of .17 HMR offerings yet. The XT-17VSL is one notable one. This is a great long distance varmint option with its 22-inch stainless steel barrel. It has a 1:9 rate of twist. The receiver is already drilled and tapped for mounting the optic of your choice. This rifle has a great look with the limited hardwood stock that comes in a grey and black color. This gun is built to handle either four or seven-round magazines. This rifle should be as much fun on the range as it is in the field.


Mossberg International 817

The Mossberg name is better known for shotguns, but this rifle would be a solid option for introducing a young person to shooting. At just 40 inches overall length and a weight of five pounds, it will be easier for younger hunters to tote into the field than many other guns. The 21-inch barrel has a 1:9 rate of twist to ensure good accuracy. The gun has a decent 5+1 capacity that should be more than enough for newer shooters. The gun has weaver style bases for attaching the optic of your choice. The best part about this gun is the price. The MSRP is $230, but you are likely going to be able to find it selling for under $200 from most dealers. That makes it easier than before to recruit a new person into shooting and the outdoors.

Savage Arms A17 Semi-Automatic

Surprisingly, there is a distinct lack of semi-auto .17 HMR rifles on the market right now. The Savage Arms A17 is one of the few. The company designed this gun with a delayed blowback system that really cycles this round well. This rifle also features that signature Savage AccuTrigger that has become so popular on many of their hunting rifles. The gun has a 22-inch free-floating barrel with a 1:9 rate of twist and it is a reliable tack driver, as we found out last year when we tested and fed it a bunch of CCI V-Max ammo. The rotary magazines allow for a 10+1 capacity. The Savage A17 is a reliable and accurate gun that would be dynamite on prairie dogs and other small varmints.

CZ 457 American Combo

.17 HMR

This package from CZ USA seems custom-tailored for people looking to make their hard-earned money go further. That is because this rifle is chambered for BOTH .22 long rifle AND .17 HMR! The rifle comes with two different 24.8-inch barrels with a 1:16 rate of twist. These can be swapped out to change between rifle cartridges in just minutes. The stock is made of Turkish walnut for a classic hunting rifle look and the detachable magazines hold up to five rounds. The overall length of this gun is just 38 inches. That means this would be good training tool for youngsters. This rifle is more expensive than the other guns on this list, but considering that you are getting two guns for the price of one, that is to be expected.


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