There are a ton of different scopes available .22 LR rifles from cheap Chinese imports, to high-end custom bench rest style rifle scopes that cost the same as a brand-new pickup truck. Choosing the correct one for your rifle and hunting style is as much an art as it is a science.
Buying scopes online have added a new dimension and availability to every manufacturer available, it also makes it difficult to choose the between different budget ranges and models. Here are the five best scope for 22LR both for hunting and target shooting, and how to choose which one is best for you.
Best Rimfire Scopes - Comparison Table
Magnification & Features
To most people rimfire rifles or just use shoot tin cans, and fool around the range with. Unless you’re doing serious hunting, this is a pretty relaxed class of equipment and you don’t need too many features to get the job done. Even for squirrel hunting, high-quality optics aren’t a prerequisite to success.
Decent optical quality that will give you a headache combined with an intelligently designed reticle is all you need to nail squirrels at the very edge of the .22 LR’s ballistic capability. If you will be stand hunting for squirrels and no the distance you're shooting at target turrets can be helpful but are not required by any means. Remember, if you offer target turrets on your rifle you will have to contend with dragging through the vines and shrubs as you want and getting caught on every leaf and branch in the way
However, the one place where you may want to spend a little bit of money and get good equipment is for either bench rest shooting or varmint hunting. Both of these activities require crystal-clear optics and high-quality scopes with full features like target turrets, BDC reticles, and comfortable eyepieces. For the most part, you will need too much magnification for bench rest shooting but for varmint hunting you want as much as you can get.
Even though you are likely to be hunting varmints out to 100 yards with a .22 LR, you are certainly shooting small targets like woodchucks and groundhogs. Oftentimes in tall grass, these present very small targets and the extra magnification can help you deliver accurate shot placement when the time comes. Making you a more ethical and effective hunter. If you want the feel and quality of a centerfire rifle scope, stick to compact scopes like the best scopes for marlin 336.
Best Scope for 22lr Reviews
1. Simmons 511039 3 - 9x32mm .22 Mag
There’s a ton of 22 LR rifle scopes on the market, there are comparatively few 22 Magnum rifle scopes on the market. This is an excellent rimfire rifle scope that while the design for 22 mags is one of the absolute best options you can have 22 LR. Reason being is overbuilt and extremely durable without being too expensive or having too many bells and whistles.
With this scope, you get a purpose made high quality fully multicoated lens system with parallax correction set to 50 yards. The range is that you use a rimfire rifle at need a custom parallax setting that the engineers included on this rifle scope.
Small nice to have features like a hydrophobic lens coating make sure that you won’t have an occluded sight picture because of rain or fog, and the entire exterior scope is coded in shock resistant rubber to make sure you have good purchase on the eyepiece when dialing in and out magnification or making adjust adjustments for windage and elevation.
This scope is already an excellent value but comes with 3/8 inch dovetail rings pre-installed on the scope. Making this not only an exceptional value but ready to go out of the box to add nine power magnification capability to your 22 LR rifle.
- Large magnification bell
- Purpose made reticle and construction
- Large for rimfire scope
2. Nikon ProStaff Rimfire with BDC Reticle, 3-9 x 40mm
Nikon is known for being the go to company when it comes to exceptional optical quality for low price. This is their premier rimfire rifle scope from the pro-staff line. You get a classic 3-9x power magnification and 40mm objective Bell commented on many centerfire rifle scopes.
In fact, one of the nice things about this scope is that is full-size compared to other compact and more lightweight rifle scopes that are more suited to a youth style rifle. If you are using one of the larger adult sized rimfire rifles on the market, this is an excellent well-balanced scope for you.
The entire scope is made from a single aluminum two and is nitrogen filled in O-ring sealed guaranteed to be waterproof and fog proof. Everything about this scope was designed around the 22 LR cartridge including 50 are set parallax, a quarter inch at 50-yard adjustments on zero stop turrets, and a custom BDC reticle specific to the 22 LR.
If you are going to be hunting often with your rimfire rifle or want a superior optic card shooting in getting the most out of your rimfire rifle, this is a hard scope to be both in price and capability.
- Excellent optical quality
- BDC reticle
3. Bushnell Optics Drop Zone-22 BDC Rimfire
Bushnell makes scopes that can be found on the rifles of elite military and law-enforcement units as well as on the shelves of Walmart. They make a ton of different models including purpose built rimfire an AR 15 scopes that are top-notch and include features that maximize the potential of these weapons. This is one of those scopes, a rimfire inspired scope made specifically for 22 LR carbines, especially AR 15’s.
Everything about this scope is lightweight, compact, and fast. You get everything you would need including fully multicoated optics, fast focus eyepiece, a drop zone BDC reticle made specifically for 22 LR, and side focus parallax for dialing in and out corrections depending on the range you will be shooting at.
If there’s a downside to this scope, it’s the low magnification. Designed primarily as a hunting rifle where you may not need as much magnification while hunting heavy brush, it tops out at seven power with a 32 mm objective Bell. This can lead to some range and brightness limitations if you are judicious about positioning your shots, but it’s nothing that can be worked around especially in situations where you’ll be using a 22 LR.
For any rifle that you will need extremely flexible capabilities, paired with a lightweight and fast designed this scope excels. Whether it be on a small game hunting rifle or bench rest shooter this is an exceptional scope, especially when you weigh the value and quality against the price. The value of the scope is outstanding and it leaves nothing to be desired.
- BDC reticle
- Excellent value
- Compact and lightweight
- Lower magnification
4. Nikon P-RIMFIRE BDC 150 Rifle Scope
Nikon is that it again with an excellent value packed scope with features that you won’t find anywhere else. First and foremost, this scope features fully monkey multi coated ego class lenses made and coded without lead or arsenic in all manufacturing processes and in the multiple layers of anti-reflective compounds added to the glass.
This means that your scope isn’t harming the environment you’re trying to enjoy when you step out into the woods. This scope is designed around getting the maximum range and accuracy out of your rifle with targets out hurts and seven power magnification. In fact, this scope was designed from the ground up to provide fast holdovers and effective for turrets dialing in long-range rimfire shooting.
One of the best features of the scope is the unique BDC reticle that offers circular aiming points from 50 all the way up to 150 yards optimized for the 22 LR cartridge. That brings a level capability that allows you to wring every ounce of range and lethality from your 22 LR rifle. Whether it be for hunting or target shooting.
If you are looking for an excellent target style scope for your 22 LR rifle this best 22lr scope for target shooting is an excellent option, albeit more expensive than other scopes available. It brings levels of quality that are excellent with innovative features that can allow you to do more with a 22 LR than most other scopes.
- Excellent optical quality
- BDC reticle
- Lightweight and compact
- Large turrets
5. BARSKA 4x32 Plinker-22 Riflescope
There’s something to be said about simplicity and low cost. Barska has done exactly that for 22 LR market by coming out with a fixed 4x power scope with a 32mm objective Bell that performs up to its name sake of being a plinker.
It doesn’t get any more simple and easy to use than this. All you have to do make this scope of work is use the included rings to slap on to your rifle, and cited in. There’s no magnification adjustment, no obtrusive objective bell to worry about clearing or really any other set up and tightening down the thumb screws and dialing in the windage and elevation.
If you have a beat up old .22 rifle that is seen better days, this is an excellent way to get an optic on it for plinking and fully around the range. It is simple ways too, and fully multicoated lenses along with a classic crosshair reticle for simple shooting.
It is an excellent value for someone who doesn’t want to spend much money but once a decent scope that will give them a splitting headache like some of the cheaper options out there. If you have a young hunter or extra 20 rifle that needs the best rimfire scope under 100 that you won’t worry about getting damaged, this is as good as it gets, for a cheap reliable plinking scope.
- Excellent value
- Lightweight and compact
- Fixed magnification
- Small objective bell
Durability & Centerfire Scopes
Rimfire scopes aren’t made to a lesser standard and centerfire scopes but they are built with less armor because the regal impulse of rimfire rifles is much less than a centerfire rifle. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use a centerfire rifle scope on a rimfire, quite the contrary if you are in love with the scope that is designed for a centerfire rifle feel free to use it on a rimfire.
It will be substantially heavier and more overbuilt than a rimfire scope but at the end of the day it’s your rifle, use the equipment that you are most proud of and feel comfortable with. This is a good strategy to use if you are varmint hunting or completing a bench rest shooting where weight won’t be as much as an issue but the quality afforded by the scope’s manufacturers is leaps and bounds ahead of 22 rimfire rifle scopes.
That doesn’t mean, however, you can put a rimfire scope on a centerfire rifle. Doing this will not only break the scope, it will most likely void the warranty leaving you with broken equipment and no customer support.
At one point in time .22 LR and ammunition were scarce. It was cheaper to shoot centerfire pistols and it was to shoot rimfire ammunition, that’s not the case anymore. While it’s not as low as it was historically the cost of shooting rimfire is still the cheapest around and there’s little reason not to be out plinking as often as you can.
If you enjoy shooting rifles, you’ll enjoy them, even more, shooting with the scope and the cost of getting a rimfire scope has never been cheaper. When you find the best scope for 22lr you like, buy it, mount it up, and get to the range. It won’t do you any good looking at it on the Internet or sitting in your gun safe!