May 24, 2011
By Scott E. Mayer
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