17 HMR Rifles vs 17 HMR Handguns

17 HMR rifles are widely used for Varmint hunting and small game at mid-range. These rifles are preferred for small-game hunting for various reasons. They feature excellent bullet accuracy and velocity ideal for small games. The 17 HMR rifles were designed by Hornady with assistance from Marlin and Ruger hence the name HMR.

Buying a 17 HMR rifle looks like a great idea when hunting small game at 2000 yards. However, 17 HMR handguns are also great choices. So what is the best choice when deciding between 17 HMR rifles and 17 HMR handguns? For example, when hunting at longer ranges of let’s say 200 yards, you use the 17 HMR rifle and a quality 17 HMR scope.

However, when hunting small targets at short ranges, you can use the 17 HMR handguns. You can read a great article here more about optic for 17 HMR.

So deciding between 17 HMR rifles and 17 HMR handguns can be challenging for most shooters. In this article, we discuss these two under different categories and see which gun works best in different situations.


The Ruger 77/7 and the CZ 455 American are among the most common 17 HMR rifles on the market. They are styled action rifles with numerous modern features. These rifles are both extremely easy to carry since they feature fixed swivel mounts. This makes it easier to trek with them underbrush with ease. However, the HMR handguns are the obvious winner when you consider portability. This is pretty obvious because of their size.

Most of the 17 HMR rifles are revolves and easy to carry with the right sling. If portability is your main concern, then hangs are your ideal choice. However, portability is not a major difference since the rifles are also lightweight and extremely easy to carry.


Both 17 HMR rifles and 17 HMR handguns are suitable for hunting small game. 17 HMR rifles have excellent speed and accuracy. This makes them suitable for small game hunting. You can be sure of hunting rabbits, raccoons, and possums at ranges of up to 200 yards. However, the rifles produce pretty high energies that can be too destructive when hunting chipmunks and squirrels. This is important especially when you want to preserve your kill. In such cases, 17 HMR handguns are the preferred choice. However, if you don’t look to preserve the kill, then rifles are great choices.

If you’re looking to hunt bigger game like deer or coyote, then you need excellent shooting skills. You need a hell of a shot at 50 yards to kill a hog using a 17 HMR rifle. Moreover, the shot must be precise to the head or chest. You don’t want to try the same when using 17 HMR handguns.

As you can see, both weapons are excellent for small game hunting. Handguns can only kill small game at short ranges. 17 HMR rifles are good at short ranges and mid ranges but only for small game. Only hunters with skilled marksmanship can kill large game at mid ranges.

Choices on the market

You’re better off choosing the 17 HMR rifles since there are a variety of choices to consider. This cannot be said of handguns. There are limited to 17 HMR handgun choices with shooters having a few options to choose from. In fact, most available 17 HMR handguns are usually revolvers. A good example is the Taurus Tracker which is an excellent revolver. It is a durable revolver ideal for small game hunting.

However, if you’re looking for a quality 17 HMR rifle, then there are great choices out there for you to consider. We’ve already mentioned the two commonly 17 HMR rifles out there.


The 17 HMR is a suitable choice for plinking. If you’re looking to enhance your accuracy, then choosing the 17 HMR rifle is a great idea. The rifle is extremely affordable and balances that with accuracy and speed. However, it features a big limitation at long ranges. This is why 17 HMR rifles are not used for competition shooting. 17 HMR is highly susceptible to wind. The .17HMR bullet and 17 gr bullet with speeds of 10mph will drift around 3 inches at 100 yards.

While you can use both the rifle and handgun for plinking, the rifle stands out as a great choice. This is because it offers a better range for practice. However, when it comes to plinking, there are varieties of ammunition to consider.

Ease of use and control

Ease of use and control of any weapon is a great consideration when choosing any weapon. Most 17 HMR rifles feature contemporary styles and are pretty easy to use. Moreover, they are lightweight when compare to various other rifles on the market. The 17 HMR rifles usually feature stainless steel action and portable rotary magazines. They also allow for easy and quick mounting of 17 HMR scopes. There are included scope rings on most of these rifles for immediate scope mounting.

The rifles also come with fixed sling swivel mounts to allow for easy carrying. You can comfortably move around with the rifles on the field as you target the game. When you consider 17 HMR handguns, there are also portable and quite easy to use. Most revolvers feature nicely grooved grips to ensure a firm grip. You can be sure of making multiple shots without losing grip. They are also safe to avoid cases of unintended shooting.

Final thoughts

Most shooters are hunters are always on the lookout for ways to improve their accuracies. The 17 HMR rifles and handguns provide a perfect opportunity to practice that through plinking. The 17 HMR guns are also suitable for small game hunting. There is no better choice when deciding between a 17 HMR rifle and a handgun.

Before making any purchase, make sure you consider your needs and choose a matching choice. If you’re hunting small game at short ranges and need to preserve them, then choose a handgun. The rifle is also a great choice for small game at short ranges. However, the bullet speed can be too destructive for small game like a squirrel.

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