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Scope suggestions for .17HMR?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/27/2012 at 09:52
JoeFriday View Drop Down
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howdy everyone. I've been lurking on the site for a while now, and thought I'd stir up the pudding a little with my first post. I've never bought a rifle scope before, so I'm trying to learn as much as possible before jumping in. 

I'm about to purchase a CZ 455 American in .17HMR and I'll need a scope for target/varmint shooting in the 100-200 yard range. This will be the first rifle scope I've ever bought.

While I'm new to scoped rifles (the only rifle I've owned up until now is a '61 Winchester 94 with peep sights), I know quite a bit about photography optics. I've owned Contax and Leica glass for many years, and I'm a bit spoiled by the quality. So I fully understand the mantra I've read many times on here that good glass will beat magnification every time. Amen!

Actually, my plan is to eventually get two scopes.. something for target shooting at first, since that will be the main use of the CZ... most likely a fixed power scope in 16x or 20x. Then, a variable power scope in a lower range for varmint use later. That way I can afford better quality scopes that are specific to my use, rather than looking for one 'do it all' scope of equal quality (and I probably couldn't afford up front anyway). Also, I would prefer to have a smaller/lighter scope in the field, but care more about optical quality for target use.

So I have two questions...

1. Is my Two Scope Plan the best way to go? My immediate budget is around $400, but eventually I would expect to spend about $800-1000 for both scopes.

2. I'm considering the SWFA SS20x42 for the first purchase, altho I'm not sold on the reticle for target use. Any other suggestions?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/27/2012 at 11:46
Chris Farris II View Drop Down
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I would go with the SS16x42, the 20x42 is to much power IMO, with the Milquad reticle. You won't find a better fixed power scope with Adujstable parallax and target knobs for Target shooting for under $400.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/27/2012 at 12:13
3 Tuns View Drop Down
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  Since this is your first scoped rifle it might be a good idea to get a variable power scope first.  Something in the 4x12 range would be a good all around target/varmit scope for the .17 HMR.  Most rifles chambered for the .17 are very accurate (however, mine is not) once you find the right ammo, but I have never seen one with "benchrest" accuracy.  They make fine varmit rifles, and you may find that 12X is all you will need.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/27/2012 at 12:54
JoeFriday View Drop Down
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I appreciate the advice, 3Tuns. I know I'll get a variable power scope eventually. That's kinda the reason I want to get a fixed power scope initially, actually. If I got a 4-12X scope to begin with, I might decide to 'quit while I'm ahead' and not get a fixed power scope. If I do it in the opposite order, I'll be able to get a taste of what a high quality 16 or 20X scope can do for target shooting. And i suspect that'll be 90% of what the gun is used for. And if I decide the fixed power scope isn't necessary after getting the second scope, I'm sure I can find a buyer at a lower price and attribute the difference to a rental fee for me. I do that all the time with camera gear and never regret it. Of course, I don't want to swap out scope after scope after scope, either.

Chris, I'm not sure why you recommend a 16x scope over 20x for targets. I realize I'm not planning to shoot LR, but wouldn't higher magnification be better, to a point? I see benchrest shooters recommending 32X scopes online pretty often. Is it because any movement is magnified in the viewfinder, making shooting harder? Comparing the field of view between the SS 16X (7.21ft) and 20X (6.23ft) at 100 yards, sure it's a smaller window, but isn't that better for targets? How is the magnification significant, otherwise?

Since I don't have any personal experience (and likely won't get any before purchasing) I'm having a hard time divining real world experience versus theoretical logic. Ironically, I use high dollar telephoto glass pretty often on cameras, so I can understand that sort of principle, if there is a comparison. Between my photography experience, and my job as a professional Photoshopper, I'm used to being able to zoom in and see details that nobody else notices. Granted, taking a photo and getting accurate shot placement are a little different.  Big Smile
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/27/2012 at 17:06
helo18 View Drop Down
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I don't think you need a 20 for shooting 100-200 yards with this setup.  20 might be alright for targets, but I rarely use 20x on the scope I have that goes that high unless I am shooting at 1000 yards on a cool day.  At 20x, I have too much problem with mirage on warm days, even at closer ranges (200) yards.  16x is much better due to that in my opinion.

As for the mil-quad reticel,  It is quickly becoming or has become already, my favorite reticle.  I shoot with a 3-9 on my 17 hmr for gophers, pds, rockchucks.  I have never wished for more mag, but sometimes for a better reticle.

I don't think you could go wrong with the 16x SS mil quad for what you are going to do.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/27/2012 at 18:11
Sparky View Drop Down
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Originally posted by helo18 helo18 wrote:

I don't At 20x, I have too much problem with mirage on warm days, even at closer ranges (200) yards.  16x is much better due to that in my opinion.

As for the mil-quad reticel,  It is quickly becoming or has become already, my favorite reticle.  I shoot with a 3-9 on my 17 hmr for gophers, pds, rockchucks.  I have never wished for more mag, but sometimes for a better reticle.

I don't think you could go wrong with the 16x SS mil quad for what you are going to do.


Another vote for the SS 16x over the 20x. Mirage can be an issue.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/06/2013 at 16:32
Wolfie View Drop Down
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I recently got in to the 17HMR rounds myself.  The reason is its about the only ammo other than shotgun shells that I can walk into every wallyworld and pick up a few boxes any day of the week.

My choice was a Savage Model 93r17.  The price difference between the rifle and the rifle with the scope was only $20.  Rings are $12-15.  So I figured it was a crap scope. I could simply replace it later.  Turns out, I actually like it a lot better than the Nikon 2-7 P22 I put on my .22 LR.  The Savage came with a Bushnel 3-9x40.

I punched this hole at 70yd 10-15mph crosswind from the right using that Savage with the Bushnel 3-9x40 scope:



I won't recommend this scope as I am still trying to learn about scopes myself but I can tell you that on the .17 platform at 100yd its a decent scope and me and my granddaughters are pretty happy with it.

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