I've had a Marlin VSS 17HMR for years and it is an absolute tackdriver. Just for the helluvit I mounted a cheap 4-16x44mm varmint scope on it for around $120 and have had good results so I kept the Nikon I had for another piece.
I do some mid to long distance squirrel hunting with it shooting them in the head at 100+ yards from our deer tower stands as they cross cleared paths. We also do some target shooting and I routinely shoot the thumbtacks holding my competitors target so it will fall away before he gets a good group going.
I haven't tried anything but Hornady ammo because it has been flawless and extremely accurate for me. A couple years ago it shot the primer from spent shotgun shells at 100 yards...3 of them in a row without messing up the rest of the head. So if it ain't broke, don't mess with it. Your gun may prefer other but mine loves Hornady so I stick with it.
"Shoot low boys, they're riding shetlend ponies in search of true grit"...Lewis Grizzard