A speedball cartridge with some serious potential for accuracy, the .17 WSM cartridge is the answer to our varmint hunting prayers. To milk the most out of this capable little cartridge, you need a quality riflescope. However, finding the best scope for .17 WSM isn’t easy.
The .17 WSM is a relatively new cartridge that’s just beginning to gain traction in the shooting world. That means you aren’t going to find many dedicated .17 WSM optics.
We’ve scoured the internet and hit the shooting range to bring you the best of the best in .17 WSM scopes. We’ll show you exactly what type of scope pairs best with this speed demon. We even have a few specific recommendations to get you started.
If you don’t have time for the details, check out the list below for the best rated Scope for .17 WSM:
- Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12×40
- Leupold FX-I 4x28mm Rimfire Riflescope
- BSA Optics 17 Super Mag Riflescope 4.5-14×44
- Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50
- Bushnell Engage Riflescope 3-9×40
- Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×40
- Primary Arms SLX 4-14×44
- Hawke Vantage IR 3-9×40
- Tasco Target/Varmint 6-24×42
- ATN Thor LT Thermal Riflescope
Table of Contents
- What is .17 WSM?
- Choosing the Right Scope for .17 WSM
- Best Scopes for .17 WSM on the Market Reviews
- 1 Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12×40
- 2 Leupold FX-I 4x28mm Rimfire Riflescope
- 3 BSA Optics 17 Super Mag Riflescope 4.5-14×44
- 4 Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50
- 5 Bushnell Engage Riflescope 3-9×40
- 6 Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×40
- 7 Primary Arms SLX 4-14×44
- 8 Hawke Vantage IR 3-9×40
- 9 Tasco Target/Varmint 6-24×42
- 10 ATN Thor LT Thermal Riflescope
- Final Thoughts
What is .17 WSM?
Developed in 2012, the .17 WSM (Winchester Super Magnum) is the fastest rimfire cartridge ever released to the public. This spitfire cartridge can reach blistering velocities of up to 3000 feet per second. This lands .17 WSM solidly in the realm of some centerfire cartridges.
Designed as a capable, long-range varmint cartridge, the .17 WSM is based on a .27-caliber nail gun blank. The case has been necked down to accommodate a .17 caliber projectile, usually weighing 20 or 25 grains.
The most popular firearms chambered in .17 WSM include the Savage B-Mag, the Ruger Model 77/17, the Winchester Model 1885, and the Franklin Armory F-17.
Choosing the Right Scope for .17 WSM
Although .17 WSM is a rimfire cartridge, its performance is enough to give small caliber centerfire cartridges some serious competition. That means the scope Grandpa used on his .22 long rifle just isn’t going to cut it. You’ll want an optic worthy of this round’s performance, so wander on over to the centerfire scopes and find one with higher magnification and crystal clear glass.
Best Scopes for .17 WSM on the Market Reviews
Here are a few of our favorite optics to pair with a .17 WSM rifle.
1 Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12×40
The Vortex Crossfire II riflescope makes a bunch of our “Top 10” lists, and for good reason. This optic has tons to offer, and it comes with a refreshingly affordable price tag to boot.
Incredibly durable, the Vortex Crossfire II is constructed using a single piece of aircraft-grade aluminum that is crafted into a one-inch tube. The tube is nitrogen-purged and o-ring sealed for reliable fogproof, waterproof performance. The housing also features a hard anodized finished for extra durability.
This scope comes with Vortex’s exclusive Dead Hold BDC reticle, which is perfect for shooting targets at longer ranges. The SFP (second focal plane) reticle isn’t illuminated, so if you’re planning to do some night coyote hunting, you’ll want to find another option. However, with quality glass and fully multi-coated lenses, the image quality is impressive, even in low light shooting conditions.
2 Leupold FX-I 4x28mm Rimfire Riflescope
Because the .17 WSM cartridge doesn’t perform like your average rimfire cartridge, you don’t necessarily need a rimfire scope. However, the FX-I from Leupold is one of the best scopes we’ve seen paired with this speed-demon cartridge.
The FX-I Rimfire Scope is made from rugged, yet lightweight aircraft grade 6061-T6 aluminum. The scope is also completely fogproof and waterproof, making it suitable for even the worst hunting conditions.
It has a multi-coat, four-lens system and features Leupold’s exclusive Twilight Light Management System. This design ensures razor-sharp edge-to-edge clarity and a brilliant sight picture, even in low-light conditions.
All Leupold optics are insanely durable, ultra reliable, made in the USA, and backed by a lifetime warranty.
3 BSA Optics 17 Super Mag Riflescope 4.5-14×44
This awesome optic from BSA is one of only a handful of scopes specifically designed around the .17 WSM cartridge. It features a patented drop compensation reticle calibrated for .17 WSM loads with 20-grain or 25-grain projectiles. Shooters can choose from red, green, and blue reticle illumination and three brightness settings.
The optic has a rock-solid construction with a main housing made from a single piece of one-inch aluminum tubing. The tubing is nitrogen filled and o-ring sealed, making it reliably waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof.
Although we’ve seen better image quality from similarly priced optics, the BSA 17 Super Mag has fully coated lenses that provide better than decent low light clarity.
Other notable features include a fast focus eyepiece, an adjustable objective, and oversized target turrets for quick, easy adjustments in the field.
4 Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50
If you’re looking for a tactical style optic for your .17 WSM rifle, the Vortex Viper PST is a terrific option. With generous magnification, a massive FOV, and an ample 50mm objective lens, this scope is also well-suited for busting small varmints or targets at a distance, especially during those dusky moments around dawn and dusk when many animals are more active.
With laser-etched target turrets, adjustable parallax, and an RZR zero stop, the Viper PST has impressive long-range capabilities. It even has a fiber optic rotation indicator that takes all the guesswork out of your turret adjustments.
This version of the Viper PST features an illuminated FFP reticle with ten brightness settings.
Made with extra-low dispersion glass, XR fully multi-coated lenses, and Armortek treatments, this scope offers impressive light transmission and a crystal clear sight picture.
Built for tough tactical environments, the Viper PST has a single-piece, aircraft-grade aluminum construction. The main tube is argon purged and o-ring sealed, making it completely waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof.
5 Bushnell Engage Riflescope 3-9×40
Bushnell is best known for producing high-quality hunting optics. If you want to use your .17 WSM for hunting varmints or small game, this riflescope will certainly help you do it.
The Engage features a unique ultra-wide band, anti-reflective lens coating. This lens treatment allows plenty of light to travel from the wide front objective all the way back to the eyepiece. This provides bright, vibrant images through the scope’s entire magnification range, even in low light.
All exterior glass surfaces are also treated with Bushnell’s patented EXO barrier. This treatment is molecularly bonded to lens surfaces to protect them from oil, water, dirt, and debris. The EXO barrier protects the optic from scratches, smudges, and fogging, ensuring you always have a clear, unhindered sight picture in the field.
The Bushnell Engage comes with an illuminated SFP Multi-X reticle. Designed to provide high contrast between the target and your crosshairs, the Multi-X makes it easy to get on target. It has a floating center dot for rapid acquisition and six brightness levels to maximize reticle visibility in any light.
The Multi-X has BDC marks calibrated for .223 Remington. However, once you become familiar with the capabilities of your rifle and ammunition, you can modify the aiming points for accurate .17 WSM shooting.
6 Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×40
Leupold regularly churns out some of the best optics on the face of the planet, so it isn’t surprising that we’ve included two Leupold riflescopes on this list. We’ve fallen in love with the VX-Freedom for many reasons, including its durable construction, crystal clear sight picture, and Leupold’s Twilight Light Management System.
Twilight Light Management is a system of quality glass and proprietary lens coatings that maximizes light transmission, reduces reflection, and produces impressive brightness and clarity in less-than-perfect light conditions. This one feature really makes the VX-Freedom an ideal topper for a coyote rifle, allowing you to push your visibility to near darkness.
The scope is also tough enough to handle rough hunting conditions. Made from 6061-T6 aircraft quality aluminum, the scope is nitrogen filled and o-ring sealed for reliable fogproof, waterproof performance, even in the wettest outdoor conditions.
7 Primary Arms SLX 4-14×44
If you’re looking for a high-quality, entry-level optic, the Primary Arms SLX is a great option. Its affordable price tag makes it ideal for both new and budget-conscious shooters.
The 4-14x magnification range is perfect for long-range shooting. The scope also features side adjustable parallax, a fast focus eyepiece, and a traditional mil-dot FFP reticle. It has premium-quality turrets that provide both tactile and audible 1/10 milliradian windage and elevation adjustments. The SLX also has a zero reset function so you can easily return to your zero no matter how many adjustments you dial in.
The SLX is crafted from high-strength aircraft grade aluminum and is shockproof, waterproof, and fogproof. Built like a tank, the scope is covered by a lifetime warranty, although we doubt you’ll ever need to use it.
8 Hawke Vantage IR 3-9×40
The Hawke Vantage is an affordable riflescope that pairs nicely with the .17 WSM cartridge, whether you’re shooting paper targets or popping prairie dogs.
With a glass-etched, illuminated mil-dot reticle, shooters can use multiple aiming points for range estimations and holdovers. The scope offers both red and green illumination to ensure maximum visibility against dark targets and in any lighting condition.
With an adjustable objective, shooters can correct for parallax from 10 yards to infinity.
The Vantage IR is made from a single piece of aluminum tubing, which provides serious durability. The scope is nitrogen purged and o-ring sealed to prevent internal fogging and resist shock and water. Hawke also backs all their riflescopes with a lifetime worldwide warranty.
9 Tasco Target/Varmint 6-24×42
Perfect for shooters on a shoestring budget, the Tasco Target/Varmint riflescope is one of the most affordable optics on the market today. Don’t be fooled by its price tag, however. This is a sturdy, reliable optic.
Whether you plan to use your .17 WSM for casual backyard plinking or for keeping the groundhog population in check, this optic is up to the task.
It features multi-coated optics and a wide objective lens which combine to provide better-than-decent optical quality, even in fading light.
For engaging targets at longer distances, the Tasco Target/Varmint has a robust magnification range, 1/4 MOA windage and elevation adjustments, and an easy-to-use true mil-dot reticle.
10 ATN Thor LT Thermal Riflescope
Because .17 WSM is highly effective on varmints, it makes sense to equip your rifle for nighttime shooting. If you want to pursue coyotes, raccoons, or other after-dark varmints, you’ll need a good thermal optic like the ATN Thor LT.
The Thor LT is relatively simple and affordable compared to some other thermal scopes, which makes it a nice partner for .17 WSM rifles. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better performing thermal optic for under $2000.
This scope is ultra lightweight, incredibly easy to mount, and provides up to ten hours of power on a single battery charge. It also has a one-shot zero function that makes sighting in your rifle a quick and simple process.
Finding the best scope for .17 WSM can be tricky. Since this hotrod cartridge is a relative newcomer to the shooting scene, there aren’t many optics designed around the cartridge. However, all of the optics on our list pair nicely with it and will help take your rimfire shooting to the next level.
Once you’ve decided on an optic, it is important to spend some time familiarizing yourself with your new set-up. Taking time to carefully zero your optic will help ensure you get lead on target each time you pull the trigger.