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What scope do you have on your .17s?

70362 Views 290 Replies 195 Participants Last post by  ThisIsFun
I am trying to decide on a scope for my Ruger 77/17 VM/BBZ, I would like to keep it under $400. I have thought about the Weaver V-24 not sure I like the reticle, the V-16 is nice. I have also looked at the Leupold VX II 6-18x40. I plan on shooting paper and small fuzzy animals. Any thoughts would be great.
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My 17HMR is zero'd at 135 yards, so I don't have any of those issues out to 150 yards. I can guess close enough to make those kinds of shots regularly. If I think it might be a little past 135, I'll just aim an inch high- aim for the neck or head instead of the chest. I have a little chart handy that references all yardages from 0 to whatever in case I forget. If one pops up under 50 yards, I can see that I need to aim a little this way or that way.

You don't need a laser rangefinder to be "serious". It's quite easy. I don't know the exact yardage of my longest shot. Does that make me non-serious?

Stiff neck you obviously are serious.

Just not as serious as I am. :D
mrmarklin said:
The problem one has in comparing scopes is that no one ever counts the costs of misses, and failures to pick up a good shooting sight picture after having put the binoculars down. There is also a potential failure to spot other varmints a cheaper scope (while shooting the current varmint) that would be seen in a scope with better contrast, less flare etc. I agree that there is a point of diminishing returns, but to some extent that also depends on the accuracy of the rifle used. Obviously a $1200 scope on a cheap rifle is a waste, because even on a good day, the rifle can't get the accuracy the scope can see.

If we can allow that a box of .17HMR costs $8 that's .16 a shot. Doesn't sound like much. But if you were on a ranch like I was last week, where you may make literally 500+ shots a day, misses etc. can really add up. If you have a cheap scope that leads to missing 10%, failure to get a sight picture quickly enough for a shot, and contrast failures you are wasting approximately one box a day of ammo. That's $8 per day. If you only shoot once a week in summer that's $80 per year. Project that over the life of a scope, say 10 years, and it can be easily seen that you almost can't spend enough on a good scope. And of course many of us are much more addicted to the sport than that.

Based on my experience hunting with people that have inferior equipment, I really think the miss ratio is greater than 10%. And all the guys on this forum with cheap scopes that brag about the distance of their supposed shots are full of S*%&, because they tend to over estimate distances. These are the cheapskates that are far less likely to have laser range-finders to actually measure their shots.
BTW, I find it very difficult to do serious varmint hunting without a laser range-finder.

So spend what you think is appropriate, but I really think most of you underestimate the worth of a good scope.
You make some assumptions that sound good but IMHO don't really hold up under close scrutiny. First of all, I challenge the 10% figure that you use. Ten per cent that you can isolate to the quality of the scope??? I don't think so. I WILL admit that those who use their variables AS variables (moving the power up and down instead of just leaving it on one magnification) are going to experience more inexplicable misses, especially at the far side of a .17's range. With that said though, I refer you to the Gun Digest Book of Sporting Optics written by Wayne Van Zwoll. He tested the zero retention capabilities of just about every variable on the market from Tasco and Simmons on the low end to Zeiss and Swarovski on the other, plus everything in between. Although I'd PERSONALLY want a higher end scope for a given shot, the truth was that some of the WORST performers as far as holding zero from one magnification came from the high end of scopes. Some of the lowest price scopes did very well indeed. Others did as you'd expect them too. Same with the mid-priced scopes.
I've never hunted ground squirrels or prairie dogs before but from what I've seen on video and from what others have told me, it seems that they are USUALLY shot under pretty good light conditions. Assuming the use of a 20X scope, it seems to me that a squirrel at 200 yards brought up to 10 yards (perceived by the eye) would be a pretty good aimpoint ESPECIALLY under good lighting. If the scope is properly zeroed, I do NOT see that as much of an optical challenge. Perhaps, and I use the word perhaps advisedly, a better scope with better resolution COULD provide the shooter with a more clear aimpoint on a squirrel half hidden in grass. I could see where that might be a possibility but even then I would have a hard time believing that one could not see such a tiny critter posing 10 yards away! I remember stalking a crow with a cheap rim-fire scope that made a 25 yard crow look like a big black blob (the scope was in obvious disrepair but still held zero). I got the crow I was stalking and then threw the scope away. My point? I did NOT need to see that crow clearly in order to make a good killing shot AND even cheap Tasco's and Simmon's do better than THAT!!!
The TOUGHEST conditions I've yet seen to find game with a scope have been in the woods hunting for squirrels in the early morning and evening. There you DO need good resolution to penetrate shadows. Still, a wide variety of scopes are up to those tasks and they are definitely not all in the expensive range.
Finally, your post was doing fine except for the last paragraph. Is there really any need to disparage others personally (calling them cheap skates for example) for their choice in sporting equipment. Some of us don't have the extra money to buy a high end scope and others of us don't perceive the need, especially when the scopes we DO use serve us just fine. Questioning the honesty of those who use lower priced scopes is also uncalled for. If these guys who do some great shooting with lower priced scopes are making the shots they say they are, who are we to question their integrity and imply that they are lying or exaggerating? If you can PROVE that they're lying, that's one thing. Otherwise, I say we should applaud their efforts! Kind of inspiring if you were to ask me!
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yea, well, guess i'm a cheapskate, as far as scope go. in the past 5 - 6 years have bought a few scope and dont think i paid more than $125.00 for any one. that is with ship, lol. these are for rimmers and within 150 yds and dont see the need for a zeiss.

BUT to each their own, IMO. ya wanna spend $1800.00 for a rimfire scope go for it.


Re: Good scopes.

I HAVE done a lot of ground squirrel hunting. And I don't think a 10% miss ratio is a lot using junk scopes. I agree that there are a lot of scopes that can do the job, and one doesn't need to spend 4 figures to get reasonable quality. It's true that most varmint hunting is done in good light, because varmints are diurnal animals. But one still has to deal with flare, and bad contrast many times, because we can't always pick our shots.

I didn't mean to insult anyone, but I've hunted a lot in wide open spaces, as well as woods. And I don't think anyone's judgement about distance is that good. Even people who've grown up in wide-open spaces. When some one that doesn't use a rangefinder starts talking about the distance that he/she shot such and so, I really doubt it.

I personally was taking 250+ yards shots all the time.....until I got the rangefinder.

Now, I consider that a really long shot. Most of my shots are well under 200 yards. To do a 200+ yard shot I have to get prepared and find a rock steady rest. And I use a centerfire rifle to minimize holdover, if any.

BTW I don't have a scope that's over 16X. I use a 2.5-10x56 for my .17HMR and a 4-16x50 for my .223 Rem. Resolution, contrast and flare control, are much more important than "power".
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I have a Nikon Buckmasters 4.4-14x40 SF with mildot coming to my house in the next few days. I am going to slap it on my ruger 77/17 with green mnt barrel.
hope i like it
Well I'm getting in kind of late on this, but I'm using a BKL 261 mount with a Tasco 8X32X44 (yes I'm cheap, but it has been working good so far)

Dave Z.
I have a Simmons All Target Variable on my 17vs. It works good for my purposes, mostly punching paper.
Gee....my very first post on this site. Just started yesterday after purchasing my Marlin 917V equiped with the BSA Sweet 17 in the 3x12x40mm. I shot around 75 rounds yesterday afternoon and was totally surprised in its accuracy. Even with a crosswind gusting 20mph I was able to get a 5 shot group at 100 yds under 3/4 inch. I'm told that it just gets better with age. Just like wine and women! I'm hooked for good on these little "pellets on fire".
What about Vortex scopes?
NCjones, you are gonna like that buckmaster, I garonetee it, pics please. :bthumb:

Welcome in Mailman Bill, appears that setup you have is gonna work nice for ya.
9 year thread necro...

I guess I'll bump with an update, my bsa is still on my .17, it still holds zero. The non reflective coating turned sticky and I scrubbed it off with a toothbrush and some greased lightning.
I guess I could add my opinion...I was not here 9 years ago. :D My 17 hmr wears a V-24.

Signalman :)
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Serious Zombie thread!!!

Here is a pic of my Anschutz 1717 with the S&B 2.5-10x56mm scope. Some things never change :)

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I have a Mueller APT (4.5-14X) on my CZ .17HM2 and a Nikon 6-18X on my Anschutz 1517MPR.
Serious Zombie thread!!!

Here is a pic of my Anschutz 1717 with the S&B 2.5-10x56mm scope. Some things never change :)

Great to "hear" from you sir! Some things (such as your rig) don't HAVE to change! Yours is the perfect example of "Buy once, cry once, smile all the time."
I like to try different rifle/scope combinations until I think I've found the perfect match.

CZ 452 Varmint HM2/Weaver Grand Slam 6-20

Browning T-Bolt .17 HMR/Burris 6X Mini AO

or Leupold VX-2 3-9 EFR

or Burris Timberline 4.5-14

or Nikon Buckmasters 6-18

or Bushnell Elite 4200 4-16

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I have just mounted a Zeiss 3-9x40 conquest on my marlin 17xt haven't shot it yet

I love Leupold scopes. I have one on my deer rifle and LOVE it. However, for my 9317 TRR SR I have a Mueller scope. Bang for the dollar, I don't think you can beat it. It holds zero very well and have the illuminated mildot scope. Great for early morning and late afternoon / evening squirrels.
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