If you ask us one bright, sunny day, what could be the perfect addition to your most-prized gun cabinet? The answer is plain and simple: the good-old rimfire rifle!
The .22lr is one of the most shot and bought calibers in the U.S, you know. Its caliber is available in various rimfire cartridges and is used for anything from casual plinking to small game hunting. But hey, if you have the .22lr, you must have the very best hunting scope to complement its beauty and functionality. Because of this, you must be familiar with the best scope for .22lr rifles.
Product Reviews on the Best Scopes for Rimfire .22lr rifle
1. Nikon PROSTAFF RIMFIRE II 3-9X40 – Best rimfire scope
The first scope on our list the Nikon .22lr scope with its accurate and clear optics. This piece is guaranteed to be a worthy addition to your rimfire rifle. This is considerably the best selling rimfire scope and a well-deserved favorite of ours.
- It has a sufficiently large 40mm objective lens.
- The scope is quite compact yet lightweight at 12.3 inches in length and a weight of a meager 13.1 ounces, carrying this around is piece of cake.
- From 3- 9X, the magnification is absolutely stellar and lets you see pictures in HD for quite a great distance. Also, this variable magnification ensures that you can use it in various shooting scenarios. The 9X magnification power is enough for the full range that a rimfire rifle can shoot on.
- The power selector is very smooth but also resistant enough to accidental changes in power.
- A generous eye relief at 3.6 inches which is adequate for basically all rimfire applications.
- Its optics is fully multicoated, maximizing the light transmission (touted as 98%) giving you visibility even when there are very low-light conditions. The focus is fast, sharp and guarantees that nothing is going to get past you, no matter how fast it is.
- The scope is equipped with the BDC 150 reticle with several open circles for bullet drop compensation. But the reticle is not illuminated and is wired, instead of being etched on the glass as we would like it.
- It provides you with a pretty good field view, from 4.4 feet-33.8 feet at 100 yards.
- Nikon has left no stone unturned when in guaranteeing durability. The optic chambers are nitrogen purged, and the lenses have been sealed with 0-rings. This makes the whole scope waterproof, fog proof, and also shock resistant. Ideal for use in extreme weather conditions.
- Is guaranteed to last for a really, really long time without worries.
- Multi-coated optics
- Reticle designed for 22 LR rounds
- Excellent image quality
- Lifetime warranty.
- Not suitable for shooting within 25 yards.
2. Simmons Truplex .22 Mag – Best .22lr scope
According to the design of it, this one from Simmons can safely be the best one on our list here. It is sleek, it is sophisticated, and it has a one-piece body which allows for super-light and more flexible handling along with the much-needed added durability.
Simmons focuses on the development of products that are dependable and at the same time extremely affordable, so their rifle scopes will only contain features that are needed most by the shooter. Unlike most brands, Simmons specializes in simplicity and does not produce scopes with excess features. This is why you will lesser options here than the Nikon one.
- With a weight of 10 ounces and a 12-inch length, it’s a little on the heavier side
- It excels in durability and aesthetic appeal.
- It really does look like it has been drawn straight out of a movie screen.
- It’s effortless to mount since it comes packaged with a total set of mounting rings.
- The eye relief is a decent 3.5 inches, but the scope holds steady even with decent recoil. So there are no worries of injury.
- Simmons True Zero windage and elevation systems lock on to your target with dead set accuracy, which is further bolstered by the Quick Target Acquisition-QTA eyepiece.
- Getting your target in your sights has never been easier.
- To make things even more comfortable, this scope features sure-grip technology which allows you to make adjustments seamlessly even while you are wearing gloves in hand.
- The lens is fully coated and features a HydroField technology, which lets shooters use the lens flawlessly under all weather. Light reflection and glare of the gear are negligible.
- It has a truplex-reticle and a field of view that goes from 5 to 31.4 feet at 100 yards.
- Its 3-9X 32mm objective lens offers a crisp and clear field view under the entire magnification range.
- It performs effectively at a distance under 150 yards.
- Highly Affordable
- Sleek design
- QTA eyepiece
- Hydroshield Coating.
- Slightly on the heavier side
- Does not have the clarity of Nikon.
3. Vortex Optics Crossfire II – Long range 22lr scope
In the world of professional-grade scopes, nobody does it better than Vortex. Vortex is the company to keep an eye out for in the world of optics. It continually gives the bigger guns a run for their money by producing better and more advanced scopes.
Vortex Crossfire 2 rimfire edition is built to the same specs as its bigger centerfire sibling, but it is toned down for .22lr rimfire calibers. Vortex Optics Crossfire II one of the best long range scope for hunting.
- The piece includes aircraft-grade aluminum, multi-coated lenses, multiple reticle options, and fog and waterproofing.
- One of the best options for medium to long-range shooting, the V-Plex MOA Reticle gives shooters unmatched accuracy. It is very functional, intuitive, and has plenty of hold points without getting too cluttered. Also, the reticle was etched in the second focal plane to keep the image always at an ideal size.
- The multi-coated lenses as mentioned earlier, have an anti-reflective coating for maximum light transmission and minimal glare. This provides sharp, high-contrast, and bright images even in extremely low-light conditions.
- The eye relief is at 3.9 inches, and the parallax is factory set at 50 yards.
- The field of view is quite impressive and goes from 12.6 feet to 42 feet at 100 yards.
- Being made out of aircraft-grade aluminum, it’s a one-piece model that has an anodized exterior coating to protect the tube from scratches, oil, bumps, and dirt. Other than that, nitrogen purge and O-ring seals make for a waterproof, fog-proof, and shock-resistant body.
- It is hash-marked for ranging, windage corrections, and holdover.
- The high-precision laser etching on the reticle is set to keep up with the tightest tolerances.
- The crosshair is perfectly designed for an optimal balance between precision aiming and light visibility.
- The gear’s capped, tactical turrets give you precise control for quick elevation and wind adjustments. This is also complemented by a well-integrated lock-mechanism which prevents inadvertent alterations.
- It is a 2-7X 32mm objective lens.
- Intuitive reticle
- Quality of materials and durability
- High-level craftsmanship
- Multi-coated lens
- Size is a wee bit bulky.
4. Primary Arms 6X SFP Rifle Scope with Non-Illuminated ACSS 22LR Reticle
One of the most popular rifle scope manufacturer in the market today, Primary Arms had to make it to the list. The novel design of this gear combines the patented .22lr ACSS reticle, near-instant, intuitive ranging of targets to as much as 800 yards with a built-in bullet drop, windage, and running target compensation markings. Here are the features, pros, and cons:
- It has a non-illuminated, second focal plane, ACSS 22LR reticle ideal for plinking, hunting, or competition which utilizes bullet drop compensation correlated with range estimation and windage.
- Increases first hit ratio and decrease time on target specifically designed for range clays, cans, bottles, etc.
- Low profile, capped finger adjustable turrets allow for quick elevation and windage adjustments
- Covered by a 3-year manufacturer warranty for defects due to materials, workmanship or normal wear and tear
- It is compatible with Butler Creek flip-cap: OBJ-15, Eye-17
- The 1-inch tube diameter for compatibility with a variety of scope mounts.
- It also features a generation 3 scope body, which is much easier to handle.
- Diopter is adjustable so that it maintains a clear reticle despite your eyesight.
- Turrets click without the need for tools. Each of the clicks is 1/4 MOA. By loosening the bolts and removing the turret, it can be re-zeroed against the zero indicator dot.
- Fixed 6X zoom is excellent for 25 to 200 yards with the image being bright and clear and parallax-free. Actually, the scope has a magnification of 1-6x plus a red partial illumination reticle. The reticle has up to 11 brightness settings, allowing the user an easy view on any target in any light condition.
- The scope is rugged, featuring a type II hard 6063 aluminum body, with a matte black finish, and is powered by a CR2023 battery.
- Great for standard velocity ammo.
- Planking is super-easy with the awesome reticle.
- Lightweight and gives crystal clear images and the magnification is just right.
- The reticle is smaller than would be liked.
- Complains are that the scope will not hold a zero at all.
5. Vortex Optics Diamondback Second Focal Plane
The Vortex Diamondback 1.75-5x32mm Rifle Scope delivers a quick target acquisition when hunting at short range or in dense cover. Not only is this Vortex Diamondback Dead-Hold BDC Riflescope waterproof and fog proof, but it is also Argon gas purged, targeting corrosion in a very unchallenged way.
You can count on this Vortex Diamondback 1.75-5×32 Durable Riflescope for smooth handling when the heat is on.
The Diamondback (which equates to high-performance) riflescope from Vortex offers a full-on array of features that discerning hunters are sure to appreciate. Optically, these scopes hit the proverbial mark. With increased resolution and color fidelity, your shooting experiences are bound to be great. Besides its highly versatile magnification, there’s much more to it. Have a read.
- The Diamondback’s magnification power is 1.75-5×32
- It is ideal for a big game, muzzleloader, slug shotgun, and brush hunting applications.
- The Dead-Hold BDC reticle is good for any shooting or hunting at varying ranges where figuring or estimating hold-over would be a concern.
- The metal-on-metal precision turrets offer the ability to zero reset after sight-in.
- A precision glide erector system of the gear ensures accurate tracking and repeatability.
- The solid one-piece tube with a hard anodized finish creates a shockproof and durable
- The lenses are fully multi-coated for crystal clear, bright images from dawn till dusk.scope while helping camouflage the shooter’s position.
- Being argon purged and O-ring sealed the scope will deliver a lifetime of fog proof and waterproof performance.
- Parallax setting is of 100 yards
- Anodized aluminum housing
- Adjustment graduation 1/4 MOA.
- It can be used for predator hunting.
- Glass is highly clear and the reticle is perfect
- Turrets are adjustable with fingers and white in color for visibility and you can zero set them.
- It comes with a lifetime warranty.
- Waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof
- Glass gets a little blurry on the edges around 10x-12x in low light.
- Turrets are a bit mushy.
- Short eye-relief.
- Non-illuminated reticle.
Difference between Rimfire and Centerfire Scopes
Before we tell you about rimfire and centerfire scopes, we want you to know about their corresponding ammo. The primer in a rimfire rifle is situated in the rim of the casting, whereas in a centerfire rifle, the primer is in the center of the casting. Then there are differences of loading, shooting possibilities, and usage frequency, but hey, let’s not divert from our main concerns: the scopes.
When it comes to affordability, Rimfire makes the mark, but when you have to consider versatility, centerfire is the boss! Which boils things down to the fundamental question: to save for the future or to splurge for better service? It actually depends. But for now, here are the common differences:
You probably had heard about parallax errors when you were in school, in Physics lab classes. Say, you measure something with a ruler in one hand, and you are eyeing the mark with your eyes parallel to or in level with the plane.
Your friend who is observing from the left says that you did wrong in the calculations, and the point is actually further, whereas your friend on your right tells you that you’re ahead of the mark, and the point is behind.
This is just for some casual visualization and nothing to take seriously; we did it to explain to you exactly how important it is while shooting at the target that you do not make this error.
Parallax helps shooters like us hit the long-range target. A parallax may appear as an out-of-focus image or as a movement of the reticle. But wait, adjusting the parallax never means that you are adjusting the focus or reticle of the picture. They’re both different. Adjusting the parallax will arrange the planes into one, simple as that. So, you’re cleared of optical illusions!
Depending on the brands, the parallax setting of rimfire scopes can range from 50-75 yards, and for centerfire scopes can be 150-300 yards. In low light and in close-range, you won’t find any significant difference between the two. In low-light and close-range a centerfire would be better. For all things long-range, we’d definitely go for centerfire for the power it unleashes.
If you want to remove the parallax at any distance, you will need the help of Adjustable objectives. Centerfires are more advanced than rimfires when it comes to such things, giving you lesser possibilities of missed shots.
Surprisingly or not, rimfires would do better in terms of efficiency. Because they have a lower recoil. For this culprit that we call recoil, we sometimes miss the mark or flinch enough to hit somewhere entirely off the charts. To tackle this misalignment with ease, we think Rimfire would be the better option.
There is another difference in terms of caliber. Rimfire ammunition uses many small-caliber cartridges such as .22 short, .22 LR, .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire, .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire, .17 Hornady Mach 2, etc. meant especially and sequentially for revolver lovers, rookie shooters, vermin hunters, flat shots and lastly, for higher power than the .22 LR. On the other hand, be it shotgun, pistols or rifles, centerfires are everywhere. You’ll frequently hear 9 mm, .45, .40, .380, etc. when speaking of centerfires.
Video Explanation of Rimfire and Centerfire Scopes
How to Choose the Best .22lr scope
To choose the greatest scope, you have two goals: to either find great scope for the bucks or the best rimfire scope that money can buy. Both ways, don’t forget to consider each of these points to choose the best one:
Before you decide on the scope to buy, decide what magnification you need and that is generally based on your ideal shooting distance. If you shoot on all distances avoid the talk and just get a scope that has a wide variety.
The ranges are approximations based on a standard barrel length of 18.5″.
- If your targets are near or at a close range of up to 50 yards, your scope has to have a 1-4x magnification.
- For the medium range of 50-100 yards look for 4-7x magnification.
- Shooting at a long-range of over 100 yards, the scope should reach 7-9x magnification at least.
There are different options for everyone from starter to advanced:
- A plain crosshair reticle is good enough and easy enough to start with and so you will quickly outgrow them.
- Duplex reticles are all-purpose ones that you can easily use to gauge a bullet drop within a 100-yard circle. The problem is not all are tuned to the .22, few are.
- The high-powered scopes usually have a full BDC reticle (as is in some of the products we mentioned). Even though they are a little complicated, they can be used for various things once you get used to them. Another problem is that some might find it confusing to use, especially if you’re a beginner (in that case, go back to number one suggestion), but these are the ones that work really, really well.
If you didn’t know, there are two possible types of adjustments you can see on a scope, these are often called capped/turret adjustments. The capped adjustments are the set-and-forget option when you are using holdover and Kentucky Windage to put rounds on the target. Again, the turrets are made so as to adjust on the fly so that your crosshairs are always on target and you can adjust your elevation and windage such that the bullet always hits the crosshairs. This is not the set-it and forget-it type. For ease of understanding, remember that:
- For a .22, most people do not generally need the turret adjustments. And the bad side t it is also that it is a bit costly but other than that it doesn’t have any problematic downsides. For a hunting rifle or a scope that is under 10x magnification, this isn’t quite a bonus.
- If you are someone who shoots small targets in competitions/games (do look at our best scope for .22lr competition) with a high powered scope or if you are someone who enjoys some long range plinking, the turrets can make you more consistent than before and help you handle extreme bullet drop.
The final word is that you have to balance the usefulness of the turrets with the cost. For more details, We discuss here How to Adjust a Rifle Scope Before Hunting.
Ruggedness & Weatherproofing
A rugged gear is always better than a fragile one, even kids know that and even if it comes with a little price. Your gear should be able to take in a little abuse. With that being said, the .22lrs do not see that much abuse and have very little recoil.
- Always opt for pieces that are water and moisture-resistant.
- If you are shooting indoors, or you shoot in bright, sunny weather, it isn’t necessary that you must have weather-resistant pieces, but it is good to have much anyway.
You may wonder why purpose is listed so down below, but here the purpose isn’t what you are thinking. This isn’t the purpose of using a scope but the purpose of optics on a rimfire, particularly, a .22lr chambered firearm. There are plenty of options in the market, but here is what you need to understand:
- You do not need extreme magnification since you will not hopefully shoot beyond 500 yards.
- High power magnifications are very expensive
- The best scope for .22lr will be lightweight.
Any scope that is will be put on your firearm, needs to be made of quality materials. They should be:
- Able to handle environmental conditions
- Abl to stand up to bumps and scrapes.
- Built from a single piece tube.
- Built from materials such as aluminum or high-quality graphite.
- Purged and sealed-in key areas to keep the scopes water and fog proof, as we mentioned earlier.
Although it is major for every scope, if you are looking for the best .22lr scope for squirrel hunting, the perfect lens is a must. There are a few things you should know about scope lenses:
- It should be able to perform in different conditions and provide a clear image.
- Your scope should be able to transmit a good deal of light from the ocular lens to your pupil, especially for those who want to hunt.
- The lens coatings should help cut down on glare and light reflection on your lens.
- There should be an abrasion resistant coating to increase the longevity of your glass and reduce scratches.
With the right optics, weatherproofing, ruggedness, and all, your scope shouldn’t be off-balance. A scope can be responsible to make your .22lr to be imbalanced and heavy for you to carry. So, when you are buying scopes, make sure that it doesn’t throw the lightweight piece out of its comfortable weight on you. Also, not just the scope, the other accessories of the rifle should not compromise with its overall weight. The ideal weight of a .22lr rifle, even with the scope on it, should be 15 oz, more or less.
The adjustable objective is what allows the users to adjust the scope’s parallax to aid hitting very small targets. It helps to enhance the accuracy at various levels and ranges, besides providing a clearer picture.
Can You Use a Centerfire Scope on a Rimfire Rifle?
Of course, you can! Using a centerfire scope on a rimfire rifle is nothing you can’t but something you must try out. But if you’re planning to mount rimfire scopes on centerfire guns, steer clear! An adjustable objective will help a lot in the first case, to bring down the parallax if you wish to.
Are all .22lr Rimfire ones?
Undoubtedly. These are moderations of .22 caliber rimfire ammo, so that’s what you would expect. Most often, their working capability depends on the rimfire ammo: standard and high-velocity/performance or not.
Which is better? (Personal opinion)
To say that would be super tough because reliability does not compare with affordability. Neither does long-range shooting compare with short-range shooting?
Centerfires are more readily available these days, yet more expensive. For security, long-range hunting, etc. this is the better deal. Again, for small game hunting, as starters, Rimfire used to be a favorite, but its availability is on the downside. So, according to purpose, the likeness of one against the other may vary.
With the ever-advancing science and modern technology, we know it is difficult for any budding or pro rifle enthusiast to choose any of the Best rimfire scope’s.
If you are looking for a piece that is durable and at the same time serves you for an extended period, you can choose one from the five that we have mentioned. While the Vortex ones are more for the professional hunter and are the best scopes for competitions and all, the Simmons is for accuracy and precision. Overall, the Nikon Prostaff is the winner.
However, it is important to keep in mind that getting a .22lr on a target at a long-range or even with small targets is a joint effort of both the rifle and the scope. The best scope in the world won’t make you or your rifle shoot any better, it will only help you be more consistent. So, whatever your aim, don’t forget to grab the best gear and practice!