.17 HMR rifles
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Top 8 Rifles for Plinking and Varmint Hunting

It has been on the market for less than 20 years, but the .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire is here to stay. If you are unfamiliar with this round, it uses a modified .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire parent case that fits fit .17 caliber bullets. This novel idea proved timeless, and there are plenty of terrific .17 HMR rifles today.

The idea for a .22 WMR case was to create a necked-down rimfire round capable of the long-discontinued 5mm Remington Rimfire. The .17 HMR round has a blistering muzzle velocity of 2,500 fps. The round isn't just fast. It's also capable of long-distance shots. Oh, and it still has minimal recoil.

This round is excellent 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 our top picks for .17 HMR rifles on the market. These guns are well worth your hard-earned money.

Savage Arms 93R Bolt-Action

This rifle lets you hunt creatures straight out of the box. The Savage 93r17 has a 21-inch barrel length with a 1:9 rate of twist and comes 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 you can adjust for the type of pull you want.

Savage offers 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 already installed and bore-sighted models, saving you time and money.

Ruger American Rifle Rimfire

The American Rifle line is a massive bolt action rifle hit for Ruger. They offer a full line of rimfire rifles based on the design and include an 18-inch barrel length standard with a 1:9, 1:14, or 1:16 rate of twist. Ruger has pre-threaded barrels for a suppressor. Now the varmints will never know where the shots are coming from.

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. This synthetic stock rifle should give plenty of varmints permanent dirt naps!

Henry .17 HMR

Henry makes a series of lever action rifles in .17 HMR, like the Varmint Express and Golden Boy. These rifles are a classic western 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 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 on a sneaky predator or simply some fast-plinking fun on the range.

Tikka T1xMTR

The Tikka name is well-known for serious precision rifles. The T1xMTR's 20-inch heavy barrel is cold-hammered, forged, and threaded for a suppressor. Despite a heavier barrel, the crossover profile allowed Tikka to keep the weight down to 5.3 pounds. You can adjust the fit of this rifle easily.

Tikka modeled much of this rifle's design, including the stock and action, on their famous 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

Marlin has not put out many .17 HMR offerings, but the XT-17VSL is a superb long-distance varmint option with its 22-inch stainless steel barrel. It has a 1:9 rate of twist. The receiver is drilled and tapped for mounting the optic of your choice.

This rifle has a great look with the limited hardwood stock that comes in grey and black. Marlin builds this gun to handle either four or seven-round magazines. This rifle should be as fun on the range as it is in the field.

Mossberg International 817

The Mossberg name is better known for shotguns. Still, this rifle would be a solid option for introducing a young person to shooting. At just 40 inches overall length and weighing 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 reasonable 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 likely to find it selling for under $200 from most dealers. That makes recruiting a new person into shooting and the outdoors easier.

Savage Arms A17 Semi-Automatic

Surprisingly, there is a distinct lack of semi-auto .17 HMR rifles on the market. The Savage Arms A17 is one of the few. The company designed this gun with a delayed blowback system that cycles this round well. This rifle also features the 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

People looking to make their hard-earned money go further will love this package from CZ USA. The rifle chambers for a .22 long gun AND .17 HMR! The rifle comes with two different 24.8-inch barrels with a 1:16 rate of twist. You can swap these out to change cartridges in minutes. The Turkish walnut stock gives a classic hunting rifle look, and the detachable magazine holds up to five rounds.

The overall length of this gun is 38 inches. That means this would be a good training tool for youngsters. This rifle is more expensive than the other guns on this list. You get two guns for the price of one.

This article was originally published on November 25, 2021.

For more outdoor content from Travis Smola, follow him on Twitter and check out his Geocaching and Outdoors with Travis YouTube channels