The .17 Winchester Super Magnum (WSM) is the fastest rimfire cartridge on the market, and its 3000 fps muzzle velocity lets varmint hunters reach out to 200 yards and beyond. Bullet drop at extended ranges is a factor, of course, and hitting a small target at long distance requires knowing the little polymer-tipped projectile's path. BSA Optics has a new riflescope designed specifically for the .17 WSM that promises to help hunters with holdover. If you're looking for glass to top your Savage B-Mag or Winchester Low Wall, here are five things you need to know about the BSA 17 Super Mag scope.
1. Its ballistic reticle is calibrated for 20- and 25-grain bullets. BSA designed the reticle in its new scope to provide holdover marks for both bullet weights loaded by Winchester and Hornady in the .17 WSM. Hash marks and dots provide holds in 50-yard increments out to 400 yards for the 20-grain load and 350 yards for the 25-grain load, assuming a 100-yard zero. I tested the scope on a Savage B-Mag, firing the 20-grain load out to 350 yards. Impacts remained within 2.5 inches of my point of aim from 150 to 350 yards, at least as far as elevation was concerned. My wind calls weren't as precise at the longer ranges, and the reticle does not provide windage holds beyond two generic hash marks on each side of the horizontal crosshair.
2. It has an adjustable objective. Unlike most rimfire-specific scopes that have a fixed parallax setting for a distance usually between 50 and 100 yards, the BSA 17 Super Mag has an adjustable objective. The large dial surrounding the objective bell lets you fine-tune parallax from 10 yards to infinity. Up close or far away, it gives you a sharp reticle on the target. One drawback is the adjustment dial adds to the external diameter of the objective bell; I had to use high rings when mounting it on the B-Mag.
3. BSA offers the scope with two ranges of magnification. For most hunters, the 4.5X-14X version will suffice. If you want to count the whiskers on a prairie dog at 300 yards, go for the 6X-24X model. Both have a 44mm objective and a 1-inch main tube.
4. Elevation and windage adjustments are in 1/8-inch increments. In keeping with optics designed for long-range varmint shooting or precisely punching paper, the scope's adjustments equal 1/8 inch at 100 yards. The target-style turrets click positively, but I encountered a couple mushy-feeling spots when rotating the windage knob. Nonetheless, the scope proved its adjustability when I shot the "box" drill. After 128 clicks of vertical and horizontal travel, less than a half-inch inch separated the centers of the first group and the last group, and each corner of the "box" had an evenly dispersed group surrounding it.
5. A three-color illuminated reticle is available. To make the hash marks and dots stand out against dusky hide, BSA offers a version of the 17 Super Mag scope with what it calls the RGB reticle. A rheostat on top of the eyepiece illuminates the etched reticle in red, green or blue. Each color setting has three levels of intensity. Somewhere in that mix is a setting suitable for just about any light condition. The RGB reticle is available only on the 4.5X-14X version, which has an MSRP of $159.95. The 4.5X-14X with a non-illuminated reticle is $20 cheaper. The non-illuminated 6X-24X model has an MSRP of $159.95. For specs on each BSA 17 Super Mag scope, go to bsaoptics.com.