The obvious birth of the 17 HMR rimfire craze started with the development of the famed 22 WMR back in 1959. Over many years, the hot 40 to 50-grain rimfire had a solid place in the small case sub caliber community. However, the 22 WMRs were in for some stiff competition.
Hornady, the well-known bullet and cartridge designer, took a fresh hard look at a replacement. He at least hoped to create something on par with the Winchester 22 WMR. Enter the 17 HMR. In 2002, it came on the scene as the new super speed rimfire rifle cartridge. The HMR 17 was light in terms of grain weight projectiles, but it was more accurate and even cut trajectory.
Along with the development of the necked down 17-caliber cartridge came turn bolt rifles. These were the direct result of a paired design from both Marlin and Ruger. This innovation allowed the 17-caliber rimfire cartridge to take off.
Typically, finding 17 HMR rifles has never been an issue. In fact, there is quite a broad selection out there! The main thing to think about when buying a 17-caliber is what you’re going to do with it. Just wanting it to shoot won’t cut it!
The 11 Best 17 HMR Rifles of 2019: Outdoor Empire Reviews
- Best for the money: Ruger M-77
- Best for the money #2: Ruger American
- Best for the money #3: CZ 455 Turn Bolt
- Best lever action: Henry “Golden Boy”
- Best bolt action: Savage New Model B
- Best bolt action #2: Savage 93R17 TRR-SR
- Best overall: Anschutz Model 1517D
- Best overall #2: Anschutz Model 1517 American Varminter
- Best semi-automatic: Savage Model A-17
- Best semi-automatic #2: Alexander Arms AR-15
- Best single shot: Thompson Contender G2
|Category||Best for the money||Best bolt-action||Best semi auto|
|Barrel Length||24 in||21 in||22 in|
|Overall Length||43.25 in||39 in||42 in|
|Weight||7.5 lbs||6 lbs||5.75 lbs|
|Rate of Twist||1:9||9||1:9|
|Magazine Capacity||9 rounds||10 rounds||10 rounds|
|Cost||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
Best 17 HMR Rifles For The Money
1. Ruger M-77
Over the past several years right up to the summer of 2017, I was involved in some extensive testing of the 17 HMR as applied to the Ruger M-77. If you are searching for a 17-caliber with the feel of a “big rifle”, you needn’t look any farther than this model.
My first Ruger M-77 was put to work against the Rocky Mountains of central Wyoming. I hunted at The Silver Spur Ranch for over 10 years using various ammunition and optics manufactures. During that time I evaluated each product and learned about the 17 HMR as well as the Ruger turn bolt rifle.
Why choose Ruger? This brand was first to come out with a 17 HMR. As a result, the company has the most experience regarding the cartridge’s history and performance standards. Ruger has built a very high-quality rifle chambered in this equally fine cartridge.
The Ruger M-77 is not a working “tractor” rifle, but instead retains an element of elegance that should be respected. It features a metal bottom, deep blue polished barrels and actions, and American walnut fittings.
A year or two ago, Ruger discontinued the M-77 as a factory offering and introduced the newer Ruger American to fill the hole. Now, for 2019, the M-77 is offered in the newer 17 WSM. Happily, the 17 HMR has already appeared in the company’s American Series rifle lineup.
The M-77 makes use of the famed Ruger rotary magazine, a solid receiver milled from a single block of steel. It also features the usual hammer forged and accurate barrel. Tack on the manufacturer’s special base rings and mounts, and you have a one-of-a-kind winner!
The only real drawback is that it could be hard to find an M-77 in 17 HMR. However, with a quick search, I had no trouble finding plenty. Guns America and similar outfits stand tall in this sales arena.
It’s a bit strange to feature a rifle no long manufactured on our list of preferred rifles. Be that as it may, this is one of the best rifles in this chambering. Also, be advised that the M-77 in a 17 HMR was being sold as of 2016, so the whole marketing change is quite recent.
2. First Runner-up: Ruger American
The Ruger American it is a nice rifle, and I have tested several of them here on my range in western South Dakota. This manufacturer offers a very extensive line of composite and wood-stocked American rifles. The polystocked 17’s can take a pounding in the field as “ tractor” guns. However, they lack the fine tuning and finish of the old M-77s.
I carried the American on my grain cart pickup tractor for several years while harvesting corn in South Dakota. The heavy steel and glass cab of a John Deere 8-wheeler is no place a rifle like this to be bouncing around. Yet, the Ruger American did well and fought off the days of rough ground pounding. It even killed a few badgers and raccoons during its time aboard my big green machine.
Ruger M-77 used or almost new will run about $500.00, whereas the Ruger American comes in at $500.00 brand new.