I like single shot rifles. I especially like the H&R/NEF single shots that Marlin/Remington produces. When I went looking for a .17 HMR, I only knew one thing. I wanted a heavy barrel. The bullet from a .17 is so small and moving so fast that I think a heavy barrel is the way to go for getting the most from the gun. So I was happy when I found the H&R Sportster with a heavy barrel at a price I liked.
I like single shot rifles because you have to make that first shot count. As I’ve said, I like thump and I like accurate. Now the .17 HMR doesn’t have a lot of thump, but for the type of game you’d use it on, it packs plenty of thump for the size of the bullet. I took one to task on prairie dogs a few years back and it worked them over good. You do have to be careful with the wind, though, as it’ll push the bullet all over the place.
The weakest link on the H&R/NEF platform is the trigger. It is creepy and heavy and not so great. But if you can overlook that for the price, heck, most people wouldn’t notice or care.
The gun is accurate, light and nimble. I set mine up with a Caldwell XLA BiPod. The Caldwell is the best bipod out there right now because it is easy to adjust and mounts rock solid. I went with the 6-9 inch pivot model. I also used Weaver Grand Slam rings and a Cabela’s Caliber Specific scope for the .17 HMR. The scope is calibrated to be rangefinding for the specific bullet and has crosshair reticles out to 100 yards. I used Remington 17-grain ammo and went to work sighting the rifle in.
With the heavy barrel, there isn’t even the slightest hint of recoil and the gun shoots well enough that it only takes minute to get it right in the center of the target. I was shooting in 60 degree weather with no wind. I sighted in at 25 yards and moved all the way back to 75. The rifle and scope were dead on. With this combo, You don’t have to guess. There is no “Kentucky windage” when it comes to targeting as long as you know the range. Thanks to my rangefinder, I did.
The Outwrite Truth.
This is one good shooting rifle. Combined with the scope, rings and bipod, I know I can do anything from serious plinking to small game and varmint hunting and will have the most fun I’ve had in years. If you’re looking for a .17 HMR, give the H&R a serious look. You’ll be happy you did.