Sighting Tips .17 HMR


March 25, 2010, 07:22 PM
I've been more or less a casual plinker my whole life. I've sighted in many rifle scopes but never anything real serious. Just tape up some paper with a black dot made by a magic marker or whatever. A big step up was using a Black & Decker Workmate with built in vice to clamp the gun steady.:) Hey, it works.

Anyway, I got a Marlin 917V for my boys and I this Christmas and I would like to get more serious about sighting this rifle in. I've read many stories of the amazing accuracy that can be achieved with this round and we want to step it up a bit. Your tips would be very helpful.

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March 26, 2010, 10:37 AM
The accuracy of the .17 HMR makes it really fun to play around with. If you want to get serious about sighting it in, here are a few suggestions:

1) Fit the rifle with a proper scope. I wouldn't spend several hundred dollars, but something in clamshell packaging from Wal-Mart will not do the .17 HMR any justice. I suggest at least a semi-serious variable scope with a top magnification of about 15X. I have a $175 Bushnell Legend on my Savage .17 HMR, and it's nice. A $125 Mueller APV is a good option, too. Oh, and don't skimp on rings and mounts either.

2) Get a decent set of shooting bags that includes a support for both the front and rear of your rifle. These are relatively cheap and work quite well.

3) Try out lots of different loads. Since you can't reload .17 HMR, try out all the variations you can. Rifles often seem to like one particular loading more than all others. Mine seems to like the original Hornady 17-grain V-Max load. I hear that most .17 HMRs like the 17-grainers, but some do prefer the 20-grain loads, so try both.

4) Get some real targets with a proper bullseye and a one-inch grid background. Shoot whatever you like after dialing in your scope, but a good target with the one-inch squares will make it much easier to make adjustments.

5) Last, but certainly not least, have FUN with your boys. :)

March 26, 2010, 10:54 AM
what he said
the preference of an individual hummer for some particular flavor bullet weight/style cannot be overstated
try 'em all before you decide whats best in your's
a buddy's same make/model is not a reliable indicator on that

one inch shoot-n-see dots (and/or the 1/2" and 3/4" dots that come with larger bulls to cover up holes) make real good targets for 50-100 yards

if you fire 3 rounds in a row, and see only one hole, don't be real surprised

use a scope with 16X, 18x, 20X something like
9X or 12X not real satisfactory

March 26, 2010, 12:25 PM
My savage wears a 3x9 Banner with drop compensating turrets. Its was a nice idea but not applicable when im out ghog hunting. I keep mine hitting 2 inches high at 100 yards. With that setting Im good on east coast chucks out to 250 with comfortable hold over.

March 26, 2010, 05:35 PM
Well if you are trying to get everything out of that rifle I have a few suggestions. First would be to bed the rifle. I have a 917v and for a while I was all over the place. I bedded the stock and things came together all at once. It was amazing what a proper fitting stock made. After that would be to replace the stock trigger. Mine was junk. It was heavy, creepy, and gritty. Even with the home mods it was creepy and gritty, though a bit lighter. I bought a rifle basix trigger and it is a huge improvement. After those two items I found things became much more consistent and good groups were much easier to accomplish. With just the bedding it took a ton of concentration to get a clean shot off. After the RB trigger, breaking the shot was easy. As others have said, use a front rest with a quality bag that fits the profile of your stock. Use a quality rear bag as well. It becomes much easier to shoot small groups when the bags match the stock and the stock glides on the bags rather than hop. This should get you on your way. At the least I would bed that stock with some compound. That was the single best help for my 917v.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
March 26, 2010, 05:53 PM
Well, generally, you need to pick the range at which you'll be doing the most shooting. 100 yards is a good choice for a zero on a .17 hummer. But 75, 80, 85, 90, 95, 105, 110, 115, 120, and 125 are also fine zero choices. After that, it drops and drifts a fair amount.

Suppose you pick 100 yards as your zero. First, bore sight. Then, sight in at 25 yards, and get centered. Then go immediately to 100 yards. You should be on paper. Then center. If you're not on paper at 100, then back up to 50 yards and you should be on paper. Center. Then go to 100. Then you'll be on paper. Then center (zero).

If you have a relatively low line of sight (less than 2.0"), then you'll be essentially dead on (say, "minute of plum/charcoal briquet"), all the way from 1 yard out to about 115 yards. This would be your PBR (point blank range).

Take kids & reactive small targets to range, and voila - have fun & be safe! Potatoes, veggies, fruit, charcoal briquets, baloons, filled water bottles, reactive steel targets, paper targets, whatever. Just don't put steel targets closer than 25 yards.

Then go to 150 or farther and start praticing making hits with holdover with the kids.

But watch your ricochets over the berm, as always, by putting "ground targets" very close to a berm.

Only thing else I can think of without a more specific question, is use at least at moderately high quality scope, and high quality rings, tightened up nicely.

In my view, .22lr and .17 HMR are the funnest rounds to shoot!

Oh yeah, above advice about bedding stock, or at least making sure the stock screw is tight, is good advice. No need to bed though, until you shoot it to see if it needs it. Also, as mentioned, find the ammo type that your rifle shoots the best, whether CCI, Remington, etc.

March 26, 2010, 07:18 PM
If you push the scope height higher you can extend your point blank range, though you will give up a few yards up close depending on how high you go. The other drawback is that you will be struggling to get a good cheek weld the higher the scope sits. An add on cheek rest can solve the cheek weld issue. Most people claim to mount the scope as low as possible but outside of cheek weld I don't see the point. I want it as high as possible, while still accomplishing good cheek weld. That gets you the longest PBR possible.

March 26, 2010, 09:09 PM
everything has pretty much been covered but I would like to add that the BSA sweet 17 scope has served me just fine over the last 4 years.

March 27, 2010, 01:03 AM
first off, channel out the stock on that rifle; I have never seen a marlin 17hmr that didn't improve afterwards. Secondly, try all ammos you can for testing. So you will spend money on about 11 to 15 diff types of ammo, which will cost you about what you paid for the rifle.
When you find the one it likes, don't get rid of the other boxes. After about 600 rounds, some 17's will like a different ammo all of the sudden.
when you have found the ammo it likes, make sure to try a little pressure pad up front, just to make sure your rifle doesn't prefer this, even though you have channelled out the stock some.
Get at least an 18 power scope; I like the Tasco Varmint series for this; 6x24x42, I have 3 of them on varmint rifles, for over 3 years now, and none of them have lost zero, still shoot the square, and still nice and clear.
the Weaver T-36 is also an excellent scope, a far superior one actually, and will let you see holes on paper at 200 yds. Very nice!!!!
Lastly, either do a trigger job on that rifle, from tips over on, or replace it with a riflebasix trigger.
Get 2 boresnakes, 1 for cleaning/lubing with cleaner/lube while out at the range, and the second one for getting that crap left by the first. also take a few rags with you, to damp off the crap from both.
usually a 17hmr, likes a few good cleaning pulls between 25 and 50 rounds put downrange.

Oh yeah, I would either zero it 1 inch high at 100 yds, exactly, or if you can zero it at 125 yds.
this will give you a zero that only drops about 2 inches at 150, and about 7 inches at 200.

March 27, 2010, 08:10 AM
Excuse my ignorance, what is "bedding" the stock? I guess I better google it. I sure wish the wind would die down here in Ohio a little, no use to even start with it blowing like this.

March 27, 2010, 10:27 PM
Your stock and the metal of the action/barrel are not a perfect fit. As such the action/barrel can wiggle around a little bit. When the screws are tightened it won't be much, but it can often be enough. As such the action can shift around when the rifle is being shot. This shifting in the stock puts slightly different stresses on the action. When you shoot the next shot, these stresses cause bullet impact to be off a little bit. To fix this fit issue people bed their stock. Typically a two part epoxy is applied to the inlet of the stock where the action sits. The action is coated with a thin layer of releasing agent so the epoxy won't stick to the metal. Then the stock and action/barrel are placed back together, sandwiching the epoxy in the middle. The epoxy dries and the action/barrel are removed. The cured expoxy is stuck to the stock. Now when you put the action/barrel back in the stock the epoxy has formed a near perfect bed for the action to lay in. The problems with the action shifting in the stock are removed. This is known as glass bedding.

There is also a function called pillar bedding. When the screws are tightened on a wood stock, the wood itself compresses a bit. Over time the wood breaks down a little bit with this compression. With wood, weather changes will change the dimensions of the wood. These changes, both naturally over time, and with the weather, lead to changing stress on the action. This again leads to shots not hitting the same as they did last time you went shooting. You typically don't see these changes during a given outing, but if the rifle is a hunting rifle, you hate to go on a hunt only to find out the zero is no longer accurate with a missed shot. To fix this metal pillars are placed in the holes that the screws go into. These pillars are fitted to touch the bottom of the action and extend all the way to touch the bottom metal at the trigger guard. Now when the screws are tightened you are tightening into solid metal rather than relying on the wood. This makes the mounting more sturdy and more consistent.

Glass bedding plays another role here as well. With these changes in the wood, the stock won't touch the action the same all over, not just at the screw holes. Now when you glass bed as well as pillar bed a rifle you will give the action a solid and consistent bed to lay in over the entire action, regardless of weather changes or aging wood. To accomplish this though you typically need 1/8"-1/4" thick bed of epoxy. To get a bed this thick you need to remove all but the same amount of wood from the stock. Often people will only skim bed a rifle, meaning apply a thin coat of epoxy on top of the existing wood, rather than relieve the wood to allow for a thick and strong epoxy bed. These skim coat beddings typically won't be sturdy enough to hold back on the changes a stock makes with changing weather and is of little use. Laminates tend to warp vary little and are often ok to skim bed and synthetic stocks don't warp with the weather and a skim bed is fine there as well.

All of this is to get more consistency out of the rifle. Some rifles have a very good fit from the factory and bedding does little to help. Others fit poorly and a bedding is of great benefit. I found myself in the latter group with the 917v. Your rifle may fit better than mine, but I wouldn't doubt bedding would make a difference. There are MANY guides out there on how to properly bed a rifle and a few video downloads floating around going into great detail how professionals bed stocks. Before you start potentially gluing your rifle to your stock, read up on it some more as this was all fairly basic as to what all is required to bed a stock well.

March 28, 2010, 01:37 AM
For a poor man's bedding job, but it is not permanent because eventually it will expand/contract with moisture; use aluminum tape, around the insides of the receiver. cut some strips about the length and thickness of a band-aid, and put inside the stock, down and around where the receiver/magwell fit into the stock. Usually 2 or 3 layers max, for the front back/ sides/ bottom.
this will keep the receiver/action area nice and snug inside the stock.
Like I said, this is non permanent, but will give you a darn good idea if your accuracy immediately picks up for the better, then you may wanna go ahead and do a full bedding, or at least a pillar bedding job...

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