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Zero For .17 HMR?

by Scott E. Mayer   |  May 24th, 2011 6

Q: What do you think is a good zero to have for a .17 HMR rifle? I was thinking of 150 yards. How high would I be at 100 yards to have a 150 yard zero? Have you shot the .17 HMR at extended ranges, say beyond 200 yards? What were the results?

A: I think a good zero to have for a .17 HMR is exactly 100 yards. If you sight your rifle so that your bullets hit the bullseye at 100 yards, the bullets will be 0.1 inch high at 50 yards and 2.6 inches low at 150 yards. If you want to be zeroed at 150 yards and have access to a range that is only 100 yards long, then sight the .17 HMR to be about 1.7 inches high at 100 yards.

I have not shot the .17 HMR at long range. I did, however, read a report in a past issue of Shooting Times on shooting at ranges to 200 yards for accuracy and expansion. At that distance the author found that there was essentially no bullet expansion, though the tip did separate from the body of the bullet. That agrees with information from Hornady, though Hornady has experienced some expansion at 200 yards. As far as accuracy, I have found the cartridge to be inherently accurate. Some folks claim the .17 HMR is very sensitive to wind, though excellent accuracy at long range is possible under ideal conditions.–sem

  • Steve Crea

    I believe that you could successfully use 100, 125, or 150 yards as your zero, and your choice would depend on the shooting that you intended to do. If you contemplated few or no shots at under 100 yards, but many at 125 to 175, and some out to 200 or so, I would choose either a 125 or 150 yard zero. However, if 150 yards, you would be 1.0 inch high at 50 and 1.7 inches at 100.

    For larger targets such as rockchucks or woodchucks, the killing power past 125 or 150 yards is questionable, and may not result in a killing and humane shot unless using a head or neck shot.

    I have used the HMR at 150 to 200 yards on squirrels and chucks. On squirrels, the killing power is adequate, but on rockchucks, it is certainly suspect, but is possible with excellent shooting skills and no wind.

  • MS Barber

    I generally agree with Steve Creas' assessment of the .17 with some additional information about shooting in the wind. I use a 100yd. zero on mine shooting South Dakota flickertails and other gopher sized critters. I usually go for a chest shot while facing the critter no matter what the range. Bullet drop of a couple of inches at 150 yds still produces a hit and gives a good amount of lift that sends the critter or small water bottle tumbling. Shots at 50 yds. or less held dead on usually score even under windy conditions, adding credibility to the theory that less flight time in the wind equals less wind drift. One of the largest factors involving wind drift is the amount of time the bullet spends in the wind while traveling to the target. Having shot time and again alongside .22 magnums under windy conditions I have found the .17 less affected by wind drift than my venerable .22 magnums although once the proper amount of correction is applied while looking through the scope, both are equally deadly in or out of the wind. On one particular windy (20 mph plus steady crosswind) afternoon we routinely shot out to 150yds going through over 100 rounds each with just about as many gophers being dispatched. With over 1,000 rounds already through my Savage .17 I still prefer a 100 yard zero.

  • chuck powell

    My 17 Savage is sighted in at 125 yards..I have killed more than 150 ground hogs in Colo.from 100 to 200 yards with no problems..where I live we only have ground squirrels and cayotes.Have killed 11 coyotes all 1 shot hills out to 250 yards.Shooting in the heart chest area.

  • Dan Bates

    WOW ,I needed a new squirrel gun to hunt with legally, I got a savage 93btvss and put a 4 1/2-14 nikon on it. I learnd to just make head shoots or mid shoots so I do not lose too much meat .ON a windy day I do see a noticable difference at 75 yards . I shoot win 17 gr hd v-max.I zeroed the gun in at 50 yards.print paper. NO PA Squirrel is safe

  • bernard

    i also use the hummer for squirrels where i live in md. the problem i have is wlth shots less than 25 yds. the bullet is low because the axis of the bore is far enough below the scope that it results in a miss on head shots. i have tried with varied success using the bottom post of the reticle for close shots. i haven't been able to verify this as the gun range i shoot at only has 25,50,100,& 200 yards. for now i just take body shots(front third) at close range. some but not many md squirrels are safe

  • paul m

    100 yard zero is a very good starting point as most people who shoot can quite well judge 100 yard range better than any other distance, over that range it becomes very sketchy to say the least as far as judgement goes what is 125 ,150 etc .

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