The 4 Best Scopes for 17 HMR in 2021 [Field-Tested]

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You most likely use your 17 HMR rifle for varmint/small game hunting (prairie dogs, rabbits, raccoons, possums, etc.), pest control, and target shooting. 

If so, we need to make sure the best scope for 17 HMR matches these criterias:

  1. Magnification. Since you’re most likely hunting at short to medium ranges (<300 yards), you don’t need much magnification. (Min: 3-6x, Max: 10-15x)
  2. Clarity. The glass needs to be clear and bright — especially during low light conditions like dawn/dusk. 
  3. Parallax. You’ll be shooting at continually changing distances, so a parallax adjustment feature to kill parallax on the fly is a must.  

I own a Savage B17 that I’ve used on countless hunts through dozens of optics. I’ve tried all the leading brands from Bushnell to Leupold. And from my extensive research and personal experience, I’ve found the Vortex Diamondback 4-16×44 to be the best ‘all around’ .17 HMR scope. 


The Vortex Diamondback has everything you need for your 17 HMR.

The 4x magnification is great for close/fast acquisition shooting and 16x will easily take you out to 200+ yards. It comes with a side adjustable parallax which removes parallax from 10 yards to infinity. The glass is also clear and the exposed turrets make adjustments super easy.

This is the optic I personally use on my 17 HMR setup, and it’s one of the best long range scopes on the market


Runner-up
Burris Optics Fullfield E1 Riflescope 4.5-14x42mm, Matte Black (os) (200344)
170 Reviews
Burris Optics Fullfield E1 Riflescope 4.5-14x42mm, Matte Black (os) (200344)
  • High magnification extends your long-range shooting capability
  • Features the Long Range MOA reticle, offering details and enough ultra-fine precision to get this scope into the long-range competition
  • Trajectory-compensating technology and cascading dots to compensate for wind drift

The Burris Fullfield is very similar to the Vortex Diamondback.

It has clear glass, the right magnification, and a side focus that eliminates parallax from 50 yards to infinity. 

The biggest difference between them is the Fullfield E1 is slightly heavier, slightly shorter field of view, and the Diamondback has a zero-reset feature (which makes adjustments easy). They also use different reticles (Fullfield E1 vs. EBR-2C).

That said, I personally like the Diamondback better. But the Fullfield E1 is a great alternative if the Diamondback isn’t available. 


If you can’t afford the Diamondback or Fullfield E1, I’d recommend getting the Vortex Crossfire II. 

It has an adjustable objective (removes parallax), generous eye relief, clear glass, and a focus eyepiece which allows quick reticle focusing. It can also be used as the best AR-15 optic

My go-to pick if I were on a budget. 


Runner-up Budget
Sale
Bushnell 614124 Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Adjustable Objective Riflescope, 4-12X 40mm
289 Reviews
Bushnell 614124 Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Adjustable Objective Riflescope, 4-12X 40mm
  • 1/4 M. O. A, fingertip wind age and elevation adjustment
  • This product is manufactured in South Korea
  • Bushnell 614124 banner Riflescope

If you don’t want to spend more than $100 on an optic, then the Bushnell Banner is for you.

Just like the Crossfire II, it has an adjustable objective and a fast focus eyepiece. It’s also relatively lightweight (15 oz). However, it’s a bit short on eye relief (3.3 inches) and the glass isn’t as clear as the Burris Fullfield E1.

Highly recommended if you’re on a tight budget.

Why should you trust me?

Because it’s all I do. 

I’ve reviewed hundreds of scopes so far. In fact, my work has been featured on the gun industry’s largest sites like: 

  • SOFREP
  • The National Interest
  • The Truth About Guns
  • And more

I’ve also been featured on huge scope manufacturer blogs like Bushnell, Burris and other sites. 

In regards to the .17 HMR cartridge, I own a Savage B17 that I use daily for hunting and target shooting. I’ve taken down dozens of small game like prairie dogs and possums. I’ve also tested dozens of 17 HMR scopes by hand.

Speaking of testing, each of these scopes were bought from my own money. No outside scope manufacturer contribution or sponsorship was used. In fact, I don’t accept any sort of advertising on my blog (as you’ve probably noticed). 

This allows me to share everything about the scope: the good, the bad and whether or not I’d personally use it. 

With all that said, I hope you find the 17 HMR scope that’ll serve you for life down below.

Quick Answer: The 6 Best 17 HMR Scopes On The Market

ProductBest forPrice
Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-16×44Overall$350
Burris Fullfield E1 4.5-14×42Runner-up$220
Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12×40Budget$190
Bushnell Banner 4-12×40Tight Budget$100

Best Scope for 17 HMR Reviews

  1. Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-16×44: Best Overall
  2. Burris Fullfield E1 4.5-14×42: Runner-up
  3. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12×40: Best Budget
  4. Bushnell Banner 4-12×40: Runner-up Budget

1. Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-16×44: Best Overall

I’ve hand-tested dozens of .17 HMR variable scopes, and my favorite one is the Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-16×44.

It’s perfect for varmint hunting, pest control, big game, and even target shooting. But what makes this optic better than the others?

Let’s take a look.


Glass Clarity & Reticle

Looking through this optic, it is completely distortion-free and crystal clear — even in low light conditions. That’s because the lens is fully multi-coated and uses extra-low dispersion glass.

The Vortex Diamondback HMR uses an EBR-2C that’s set in the first focal plane reticle.

This means the reticle will grow and shrink as you adjust the magnification. The transition from 100 yards to 250+ yards is entirely smooth, with no tint or glare. 

The EBR-2c reticle was designed specifically to track movement and distance for small game and varmint hunting. The extra-fine crosshairs won’t block the view, and the built-in bullet drop helps account for long-range shots.

If you are looking for a fixed magnification scope for big game hunts, then check out my review of the best 30-06 scopes instead.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

The Diamondback has 4 inches of eye relief, which is a good amount.

The eye box is wide too. I shoot with both eyes open, so I need an optic with plenty of room to aim. I was not disappointed.

If you are looking for red dot optics with unlimited eye relief, check out my review of the Bushnell TRS-25 red dot sight.


Durability

The Diamondback is very durable.

In fact, it’s made of lightweight, aircraft-grade aluminum with a fully anodized finish. I’ve dropped it on cement, submerged it in water and hit it a few times with a wooden block, and it still works perfectly fine. 

However, it’s quite heavy at 1.42 pounds. 


Elevation & Windage Knobs

I absolutely love the tactical turrets.

Fully exposed and zero resistance, the elevation and windage turrets adjust back to zero with ease. The turrets have a good texture for easy grip and click audibly with each ¼ MOA, allowing you to change without taking your eye off the cross-hair.

For tactical shooting at multiple distances, I couldn’t be happier with the turrets and their ability to adjust in the field. 


Parallax & Magnification

The Diamondback 4-16×44 provides as clear of a shot at 50 yards as it does at 250 yards. 

It’s a versatile scope that can be used with various weapons in the mid to long-range. While it can be used short-range with reasonable accuracy, you might be better off using a red dot pistol sight under 50 yards.

The parallax turret is an easy adjustment that can be done in the field. From ten yards to infinity, this scope was able to hold zero with no parallax. 


Mounting & Rings

The Vortex Diamondback didn’t come with any mounts, so I used the Vortex Optics 30mm tactical rings.

I also bought a set of Defender Flip Caps to protect my investment. Eyepiece: E-10 (41.5-46mm) & Objective Lens: O-50 (55-59 mm):

Vortex Optics Defender Riflescope Flip Caps
3 Reviews
Vortex Optics Defender Riflescope Flip Caps
  • Virtually indestructible, the Defender is the most versatile and durable flip cap on the market, this is the last flip cap you'll ever need
  • A stainless steel spring flips the cap into multiple stop positions at 45 and 90 degrees
  • Made in the USA

And if you want to improve your accuracy for long-distance shooting, I highly recommend attaching a 30mm Bubblevel.


Summary

If you need an affordable HMR scope that can be used from varmint hunting to long-distance target shooting, I’d highly recommend the Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-16×44.

It has:

  • Fully exposed turrets
  • Fully multi-coated glass
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum
  • EBR-2c tactical glass etched reticle
  • High-fidelity vision from 50 yards and up

It also comes with a lifetime warranty. So if anything happens to the scope, Vortex will take care of you. From personal experience, they’re super helpful and will do everything they can to fix your problem. 


2. Burris Fullfield E1 4.5-14×42: Runner-up

The Vortex Diamondback 4-16×44 is pretty hard to beat for the 17 HMR. But that optic is pretty expensive — costing a bit over $350.

That’s where the Burris Fullfield E1 comes in.

Runner-up
Burris Optics Fullfield E1 Riflescope 4.5-14x42mm, Matte Black (os) (200344)
170 Reviews
Burris Optics Fullfield E1 Riflescope 4.5-14x42mm, Matte Black (os) (200344)
  • High magnification extends your long-range shooting capability
  • Features the Long Range MOA reticle, offering details and enough ultra-fine precision to get this scope into the long-range competition
  • Trajectory-compensating technology and cascading dots to compensate for wind drift

It’s a fantastic scope at a much lower cost. Here’s why it’s a great alternative to the Diamondback…


Glass Clarity & Reticle

The glass on the E1 is surprisingly clear for a budget scope. 

That’s because the lenses are multi-coated for glare resistance and light transmission. Plus, the glass is precision-ground for optimal image clarity.

Burris Fullfield E1 glass clarity

Whether I’m plinking steel or picking off varmints, the E1 lets me clearly see and identify my targets, even at 14x zoom.

Plus, the Ballistic Plex E1 reticle is one of my favorite. It’s a duplex with elevation lines and windage dots.

Burris Fullfield E1 reticle

I love this reticle because it’s simple and easy to use, while still helping out with wind drift and bullet drop calculations. The extra information is helpful, but doesn’t block my view. This is especially important when I’m hunting for small game because a crowded reticle can obscure a small target.

It’s even great for tactical shooting uses.

Related: Best 300 Blackout Scope


Eye Relief & Eye Box

Eye relief on the Burris Fullfield E1 sits between 3.1 and 3.8 inches.

This is plenty of room to avoid scope bite, even on higher powered rifles and muzzleloaders. Speaking of which, check out these muzzleloader scopes if you need some. 

The eye box can be a little tight, but as long as I keep a good cheek weld, it’s not really an issue.


Durability

Despite its low cost, the E1 is built to be sturdy and tough.

The tube is made from a single piece of high-grade aluminum, so it doesn’t have any gaps or seams for moisture to get in. In fact, the whole thing is fogproof and waterproof.

Burris Fullfield E1 scope

Plus, the scope was built with a double internal spring tension system to keep everything in line through the harshest of recoils and impacts.

Solid durability features like these mean that the E1 is going to maintain its function even on the longest hunts with the wildest weather. 

However, it comes at a cost: heavy weight (1.5 pounds).


Elevation & Windage Knobs

The adjustment knobs on the Fullfield E1 are positive and precise.

They are hand adjustable, and provide pretty good “clicks” on each adjustment.

After bore-sighting, I was able to zero in with very little adjusting. ¼ MOA clicks mean I was able to get a very precise zero, which is important when your targets are small.

And after months of use, the E1 has held it’s zero.


Parallax & Magnification

The Burris E1 gives you variable 4.5-14x magnification.

Burris Fullfield E1 zoom dial

This is pretty versatile, and allows you to make very accurate shots at long range. It’s also great for dialing in on small game and varmints that are otherwise hard to pick out because of their small size.

You also have a parallax adjustment knob on the side for quick and easy parallax fixes in the field.


Mounting & Rings

Unfortunately, the E1 doesn’t ship with any rings or accessories. Got to save on costs somehow. 

So I bought a pair of Burris Zee Rings (size Medium, 1 inch.) They’ll attach your scope to any picatinny rail and are pretty lightweight, too.

Burris 420084 Zee Rings (1-Inch, Medium, Matte Black)
363 Reviews
Burris 420084 Zee Rings (1-Inch, Medium, Matte Black)
  • Burris 420084 zee Riflescope rings
  • 1 inch, medium, matte
  • This product is manufactured in United States

I also opted for some flip covers to protect my glass. I recommend the Butler Creek Flip Caps.

Sale
Butler Creek Flip Open Scope Cover Black 1 MO30010
147 Reviews
Butler Creek Flip Open Scope Cover Black 1 MO30010
  • Truly ambidextrous silent spring hinges won't spook game
  • Instant action lids pop open at the touch of a thumb
  • Performs from 40 to 120 Degrees F and weighs less than an ounce

Summary

The Burris Fullfield E1 brings a lot of top-end features to a budget scope.

It’s got:

  • 4.5-14x variable zoom
  • Ballistic Plex E1 Reticle
  • Side parallax adjustment
  • Multi-coated precision ground lenses
  • Fogproof, waterproof, and shockproof

So if you need a quality scope for your 17 HMR and don’t want to break the bank, the Burris Fullfield E1 4.5-14×42 is the scope for you.

Runner-up
Burris Optics Fullfield E1 Riflescope 4.5-14x42mm, Matte Black (os) (200344)
170 Reviews
Burris Optics Fullfield E1 Riflescope 4.5-14x42mm, Matte Black (os) (200344)
  • High magnification extends your long-range shooting capability
  • Features the Long Range MOA reticle, offering details and enough ultra-fine precision to get this scope into the long-range competition
  • Trajectory-compensating technology and cascading dots to compensate for wind drift

Looking to upgrade the optics on your shotgun? Check out my guide to the best shotgun sights.


3. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12×40: Best Budget

The Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12×40 is the best 17 HMR budget scope. 

In fact:

I bought this scope because I needed an affordable beater optic to take out some varmints in a hurry. Was it worth it or a waste of money?  

Let’s find out…


Glass Clarity & Reticle

For a sub-$200 optic, the glass is great. 

The lenses are fully multi-coated with an anti-reflective covering ensuring that you’ll have a great picture without alerting your targets. 

Vortex Crossfire II 4-12×50 Lens

The picture is clear especially at lower magnifications. At the higher magnification ranges, the picture does become soft and muted, but still readable. 

With that in mind, this scope is used with the 17 HMR cartridge for small game and pest control. That’s where the 50mm objective lens made a huge difference. 

In low light hunting, the 50 mm objective was able to gather in light really well. 

In fact, I took this on a night hunt and paired it with a red light. This scope was gathering light from my shooting light all the way out to 300 yds at 12x. 

RELATED: The Top Red Dot Magnifiers

It won’t compare to high end optics, but for what you’re paying the glass is great. It will do the job and then some. 

The Dead-hold BDC reticle is what makes this scope great for hunting/shooting at varying ranges where estimating holdover is a concern. 

Vortex Crossfire II 4-12×50 Shooting

It’s a great reticle for fast target acquisition. The delineation of the lines are well designed and spaced well enough apart that you can actually see between each line without crowding the image. 

The reticle is set on a second focal plane, so the reticle doesn’t change size when you change the magnification. It’s an absolutely necessary feature for an optic with such a broad magnification range. 


Eye Relief & Eye Box

The eye relief is between 3.9 in – 4.4 in. Even at 12x, there’s no concern for shooting your eye out, but always practice good form. 

The eye box on the Vortex Crossfire II is especially forgiving.

At 4x, it’s open and easy to get behind. This makes it easy to snap to in a hurry when you’re hunting small game. 

At 8x, the eye box is still good and much better than any other scope in its price range. 

At 12x, you need to be directly behind the scope. But when you’re looking out behind a scope at 12x, you generally have more time to take your shot and perfect your angle anyway. 


Durability

When I’m moving around hunting for small game, my optics take a beating. So I was pleasantly surprised with this sub-$200 optic outlasted my buddy’s more expensive scope.

VORTEX OPTICS CROSSFIRE II 4-12X40 scope

The single-piece tube is constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum. That translates into a strong optic with rigid strength that’ll endure your heavy hitters. 

Along with being shockproof, the scope is also waterproof and fog proof. The o-ring seal and nitrogen purged body ensures that it stays that way. 


Elevation & Windage Knobs

The Vortex Optics Crossfire II has crisp, audible turrets. 

Both elevation and windage knobs are finger adjustable with MOA clicks that can be reset to zero after sighting. 

The dials are precise and repeatable, which surprised me for a scope in this price range. The magnification dial was smooth with enough resistance to not move inadvertently.

Vortex Crossfire II 2-7x32 MOA Turret

Zeroing was a seamless process. 

My first shot at 200 yds was about 3’ low and 6” to the right. A few adjustments on the knobs later and I was producing 2 MOA groups ringing steel at 100, 200, and 300 yards consistently. 

Once you get your scope sighted, you can take off the top turret and place it back at zero. It’s a nifty low-tech feature. 

I use my 17 HMR for small game and targets so I like to be able to get close groupings and speed. But if you want to forgo that for a one-shot kill, I definitely recommend checking out a prism scope.


Parallax & Magnification

This optic has 4x-12x magnification, but I say that with an asterisk. 

The scope performs pretty good at 4x with very little distortion. At 12x, the image tends to go soft with reduced contrast and a lack of clarity. 

Parallax is fixed at 100yds so anything inside of that range will be slightly out of focus. That’s also why the image quality is reduced at 12x. 

Vortex Crossfire II 4-12×50 Parallax

The optic excels at 10-300 yard shots which is where you want a small game/target shooting optic to perform. 

If you’re not looking to buy more scope than you can realistically use in this range, a 1-4x scope may work better for you. 


Mounting & Rings 

No rings/mounts are included with the base optic. However, Vortex includes a lens cloth, removable lens cover, and sunshade pro bono. 

Your mount and rings ultimately depend on what you’re mounting it to, but typically you will need high rings for the 50mm objective on a 1″ tube. 

You can get by with medium height rings, but it’s the shooter’s preference. I went for the Monstrum Offset Cantilever Dual Ring Scope Mount 1 inch Diameter.

Monstrum Offset Cantilever Dual Ring Scope Mount | 1 inch Diameter
2,566 Reviews
Monstrum Offset Cantilever Dual Ring Scope Mount | 1 inch Diameter
  • Dual ring scope mount for mounting standard 1 inch tube rifle scopes
  • Mounts to any flat top Picatinny rail equipped rifle
  • 2 inches of forward extension allows extra flexibility for optimum eye relief and shooting position

Summary

The Vortex Optic Crossfire II 4-12×40 is the best budget scope for varmint and small game hunting, pest control, and target shooting. 

Here’s why it works:

  • Clear glass
  • Second Focal Plane Reticle
  • Waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof

In short, it’s the best budget optic for a 17 HMR, and it’s all backed by Vortex’s VIP no-questions-asked warranty. 

If you’re wondering if the Vortex Optic Crossfire II 4-12×40 is the optic you need, I say, give it a shot.


4. Bushnell Banner 4-12×40: Best Tight Budget

If you’re on a super tight budget (can’t spend more than $100), then the Banner is a great option.

Runner-up Budget
Sale
Bushnell 614124 Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Adjustable Objective Riflescope, 4-12X 40mm
289 Reviews
Bushnell 614124 Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Adjustable Objective Riflescope, 4-12X 40mm
  • 1/4 M. O. A, fingertip wind age and elevation adjustment
  • This product is manufactured in South Korea
  • Bushnell 614124 banner Riflescope

Here’s why…


Glass Clarity & Reticle

The glass clarity on this scope is decent, especially considering the price.

There is some slight distortion throughout the magnifications — especially at higher power settings — but still usable. At night, the image is pretty clear. 

Moving on to the Multi-X reticle. 

Bushnell Banner 4-12x40 reticle

I’ve tried other scopes and the crosshairs were so fat that it was difficult to shoot small targets at short range. This simple duplex reticle doesn’t have that problem at all. The crosshairs get finer as you look towards the center of the target, drawing your eye right to the center.

Plus, this scope comes with a fast-focus eyepiece which makes it easy to get it adjusted to the right setting quickly.

RELATED: Best ACOG Alternative


Eye Relief & Eye Box

The eye relief is 3.3 inches.

This works out great for me, but I do have a taller buddy that says it’s a little tight.

The eye box gives a nice, wide field of view and makes it easy to switch targets fast for competitive shooting. It’s not as good as the best M1A scout scope for long range, but what is?


Durability

At such a low price, I didn’t expect this scope to hold up as well as it has.

My Bushnell Banner has seen many a fall and I’ve even dropped it in a creek. Even with all that, I haven’t noticed a difference in its performance.

Bushnell Banner 4-12x40 Scope

It has O-rings that seal out any water and keep it the insides dry, even if you’re a dolt like me and submerge it.

This scope also uses Argon purging to keep it fogproof in any weather. 

Whether you’re using this for your 17 HMR or as the best airgun scope, the Bushnell Banner will hold up to the task. It even comes with a limited lifetime warranty.


Elevation & Windage Knobs

One thing that I really love on this scope is the elevation and windage turrets.

They’re ¼ MOA adjustments that you can easily turn with just a fingertip. The knobs are not mushy at all and have a tactile click.

What about zeroing?

It’s relatively easy. It only took me about 10 minutes to get the Bushnell Banner zeroed in. After that I could shoot a dime-sized group at 100 yards.

At this point, I’ve dropped it a bunch of times and shot over 200 rounds with it. I’ve made one adjustment to the zero and it was one click. I’d say it holds zero pretty darn well!


Parallax & Magnification

The variable 4-12x magnification is perfect for hunting varmints and target shooting.

I typically use it for 100-250 yards when I’m out in the wild, but it works well for target shooting at 50 yards too.

Bushnell Banner 4-12x40 Magnification dial

I’ve even made a clean kill at almost 400 yards, which is about as far out as I’ve needed for the type of game I usually hunt. 

The best part is that it has a parallax adjustment knob from 10 yards out to infinity. Most similar scopes are fixed parallax at 100 yards, which makes it distorted when you’re trying to shoot targets at 30-50 yards. 


Mounting & Rings

At such a low price, it’s not surprising that this scope doesn’t come with a mount or rings.

Even though this scope isn’t comparable to high end scopes, I still chose slightly more expensive rings for it. I recommend the 1” High Leupold PRW Weaver-Style Cross-Slot Scope Rings. 

If you can’t afford it, then go with these Leapers 1” High rings set:

'Leapers RGWM-25H4 Inc., 1'', 2Piece, High Profile Picatinny/Weaver', multi, one size
2,122 Reviews
"Leapers RGWM-25H4 Inc., 1"", 2Piece, High Profile Picatinny/Weaver", multi, one size
  • precision machined from aircraft-grade aluminum alloy with anodized black matte finish
  • friendly hex screws with retention features and full length locking plate to guarantee easy installation and secure fit
  • fits all picatinny/weaver rails

It does, however, come with a bikini style lens cover. Keep in mind that it’s opaque though, not clear and see through like some others.


Summary

The Bushnell Banner is a great choice for an affordable 17 HMR scope.

It has:

  • Clear glass
  • Fast-focus eyepiece
  • Parallax adjustment
  • Variable magnification
  • Dusk & Dawn Brightness multi-coating

For varmint/small game hunting and target shooting, try the Bushnell Banner 4-12×40. It’s a great scope for a great price.

Runner-up Budget
Sale
Bushnell 614124 Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Adjustable Objective Riflescope, 4-12X 40mm
289 Reviews
Bushnell 614124 Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Adjustable Objective Riflescope, 4-12X 40mm
  • 1/4 M. O. A, fingertip wind age and elevation adjustment
  • This product is manufactured in South Korea
  • Bushnell 614124 banner Riflescope

Conclusion

After reviews dozens of optics, these turned out to be the best scope for 17 HMR.

They’re all capable of varmint and small game hunting, so just pick one based on your budget and give er’ a try. If it doesn’t work out for whatever reason, then return it back to Amazon within 30 days.

Now I’d like to hear from you:

Which scope will you pick for the 17 HMR cartridge? Or maybe you have a question about my reviewing process. Either way, let me know in the comments down below.

2 thoughts on “The 4 Best Scopes for 17 HMR in 2021 [Field-Tested]”

    • 2005! Ya’ hear that folks! 15 years and going strong.

      Yep, the Banner is a solid scope for sure 🙂 Thanks for commenting Ivo!

      Reply

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