BSA Super Mag 17 WSM 4.5-14x44mm RGB Riflescope

By Dr. Jim and Mary Clary

BSA Super Mag 17 WSM 4.5-14x44mm RGB Riflescope.
Illustration courtesy of Gamo Outdoor USA.

This is a specialized scope for serious varmint hunters who use the new .17 WSM cartridge. It has a built in drop compensation reticle for both 20 grain and 25 grain bullets. We had the opportunity to test it using 20 grain .17 WSM Winchester Elite Varmint HV ammunition. The drop compensations in the reticle go out to 400 yards, but we seriously doubt that many shooters could "read the wind" beyond 200 yards to be accurate. (The little .17 caliber bullets are even more wind sensitive than most .22 varmint bullets.) That said, we are reasonably experienced F-Class long range match shooters and did our test shooting early in the morning with no wind on the Zia Rifle & Pistol Club range, near Albuquerque, NM.

We mounted the scope on a Savage B.MAG rifle. After carefully zeroing the rifle at 100 yards, we fired the rest of the rounds at 200 yards using the drop compensations indicated on the reticle. They were right on. The ballistics engineers at BSA got it right for this scope, just as they did for their .223 Remington /.300 ACC tactical riflescope. (See our "BSA Tactical TW223 6-18x40mm AOCP Riflescope" review for details.) The RGB illuminated reticle is a nice touch for those who like to get out early in the morning and catch prairie dogs or coyotes out for breakfast.

Features and Specifications

            Magnification 4.5 - 14

            Objective Lens Diameter (mm) 44

            FOV @ 100 yards 16.6'

            1/8 Click Adjustment Value

            Adjustment Range 35 elevation/35 windage

            Parallax setting (yards) 10,15, 20, 30, 50, 75,100, 200, infinity

            Ballistic Ranging Glass-etched Reticle for 20gr. and 25gr. weight rounds

            3.5� Eye Relief

            Fully Coated Optics

            Fast � Focus Ring w/ Adjustable Objective lens

            Illuminated RGB Reticle

            1" diameter Aluminum body

            Weight 21.70 ounces

            Haze Filters

            Water-Proof, Shock-Proof, & Fog-Proof

            Limited Lifetime Warranty

            2014 MSRP: $139.95

This is a good scope, well designed and priced right. The only problem concerning its intended application will be the availability of .17 WSM rifles and ammunition. (As this is written, Savage and Winchester offer .17 WSM rifles, but--so far--only Winchester loads the ammunition.) If Winchester expects this cartridge to catch on, they are going to have to produce enough ammunition to meet the demand.

With all of the above said, we will admit that we prefer our .22-250 Remington for varmints, but this scope got us to thinking. Was it made to the same standards as the BSA Lifetime Warranty centerfire scopes? If so, we wanted to keep it and mount it on one of our regular hunting rifles. There was one sure way to find out. Mount it on a high-powered rifle and shoot. What tougher test than on a .50 caliber muzzleloader?

We didn't inform our regular contact, Fedor Palacios, the Marketing Communications Manager at GAMO, of our intentions. We wanted to find out for ourselves. If the Super Mag 17 stood up to the recoil, not only would we have a new scope, but it would be an excellent selling point for the scope.

The downside of such a test was if we destroyed the scope, we'd have some explaining to do and probably be required to shell out some money. However, it was worth the gamble.

As you read this you have probably figured out that if our tests weren't successful, we would not have included the preceding paragraphs in this article. We would have simply reported how the scope performed on the Savage B.Mag .17 WSM rifle and left it at that, along with a caution to use it only on rimfire rifles.

The Super Mag 17 not only withstood the recoil from the .50 caliber muzzleloader, but the 1/8" click adjustments allowed us to make very precise adjustments while shooting. This is not just a rimfire scope; it is adequate for centerfire rifles and muzzleloaders.

Mary's footnote: Jim fired over 100 rounds through his .50 caliber CVA Optima muzzleloader, using 110 grains of Blackhorn 209 powder and came home on more than one day with a bruised shoulder, but a smile on his face. He informed me that the scope was "solid as a rock." I told him it would be a really great scope for my new CVA Accura MR. Yep, he loses another good product to me!

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Copyright 2014 by Jim and Mary Clary and/or All rights reserved.