Right, so you’ve got yourself a brand new rimfire rifle? Then welcome aboard the .22LR hype train! We’re happy to have you. As proud owners and shooting enthusiasts, we’re sure your shopping endeavor won’t stop at getting the gun, right? To complete your setup, you ought to get yourself the best rimfire scope that you can find!
Truth be told, right out of the box, a .22LR can accurately shoot from 50 to 100 yards, depending on your exact rifle. If you know this too, you might be wondering why you need the scope in the first place.
Indeed, the accuracy range is not bad, but keep in mind that this type of shotgun is not built for big game hunting.
Whether you decide to use this gun for small game hunting, close-range shooting or even just for plinking, you’ll want a scope that will maximize your shooting range. We’re here to help you with that. Before we start talking about the best scope for .22lr, let’s discuss what magnification you might need.
What magnification do you need?
Based on your usual shooting distance here are the most suitable magnifications.
Close Range (up to 50 yards)
For a perfectly accurate close-range shot, you’ll need a scope with 1 to 4x magnification power.
Medium Range (50 to 100 yards)
If you’re shooting within this range, you’re most probably dealing with pests or rodents. To shoot a mole or a rat from a safe distance, you need a scope that offers 4 to 7x magnification.
Long Range (100 yards or over)
Generally speaking, it takes a lot of practice to get good at long-range shooting, especially when it comes to small game hunting. Therefore, you’ll need all the clarity you can get, and we recommend looking at scopes that offer 7 to 9x magnification power.
The 4 Best Scopes For .22LR
Now, you might not be new to hunting or rimfire shotguns. What’s more, you might have even skipped reading the previous section. Still, looking for a .22lr scope can be exhausting no matter how enthusiastic or knowledgeable you are about the whole thing. The choices seem to be endless, and it seems every scope is just perfect. But we all know that’s far from being true.
We took it upon ourselves to narrow the options down for you in an attempt to help you find the best .22 scope. In short, here’s what we’ve got:
- Nikon 3-9x40mm ProStaff Rimfire w/ BDC Reticle
- Bushnell Optics 2-7x32mm Drop Zone-22 BDC Rimfire Reticle
- Nikon P-RIMFIRE BDC 150 Rifle Scope
- Simmons 3-9x32mm, .22 Mag(R) Matte Black
There are numerous reasons why we believe any of these could be the best rimfire scope for you. If you keep reading, you’ll find out what those reasons are. Let’s get started.
1. Nikon 3-9x40mm ProStaff Rimfire Riflescope
Not only does the Prostaff offer a 3–9x magnification power, but it also comes with a 150-yard bullet drop compensator reticle. If you’re sure of your target, its multicoated 40mm objective lens guarantees an accurate shot once you pull the trigger.
In fact, a clear visual on the target is possible throughout the zoom range. Users report that the image is crispy clear and HD-like regardless of whether you choose 3x or 9x zoom. In addition, you don’t have to worry about accidentally changing your settings — the magnification selector offers a good amount of resistance. That, however, does not mean it doesn’t spin smoothly.
Moreover, although .22 long rifles usually have negligible recoil, it’s good to know that this particular scope comes with a 3.6-inch eye relief. However, that is not why the Prostaff is so highly praised.
Great Light Transmission
The thing that makes it so desirable in the hunting circles is its incredible light transmission. Namely, Prostaff offers 98% light transmission, thus excelling in the category. As such, it ensures a clear sight even on the tiniest and quickest of targets.
Furthermore, it is worth noting that you can expect quite a wide field of view when using this scope. Namely, it provides between 4.4 to 33.8-feet view at a range of 100 yards.
Despite seeming bulky, the scope is actually quite compact and lightweight. In fact, it is 12.3 in long and it weighs 13.1 oz. It is as high quality as it seems — there’s absolutely nothing flimsy about it.
The great quality of the Prostaff is reflected in one more thing — the ease with which it is mounted on a rifle. Namely, as long as you have the proper scope rings, it’s incredibly easy to mount it. However, you shouldn’t expect to find those in the box, as they don’t come with the purchase.
The Final Verdict
Overall, the Nikon Prostaff is an incredibly durable yet sleek scope. You can rely on it to do the job in any weather and on any terrain, as long as you don’t try to shoot anything closer than 25 yards.
2. Bushnell Optics Drop Zone-22 BDC Rimfire
If you’re looking for a close to mid-range scope, then read this section carefully.
The Drop Zone-22 is an incredibly lightweight optic fit for .22lr as well as AR-style rifles. It features a precise BDC reticle and offers a clear view of the target even on the cloudiest of days. With this scope, there won’t be a cloudy day that would prevent you from catching small game.
While you’ll be able to aim at up to 125 yards, you should know that you can expect to deliver an accurate shot at about 100 yards. The zeroing, on the other hand, comes at about 50 yards.
Generous Eye Relief
Furthermore, you won’t have to worry about recoil either. The Drop Zone-22 has a handy 3.7-inch eye relief, so there’s no way for you to get injured when you shoot.
When it comes to shooting precision, this scope has a lot to offer. First of all, the target turrets ensure a steady shot if you’re not targeting game. In case you’re running or moving quickly, you can’t expect them to work with you. However, you will be able to rely on the magnification even while you’re on the move. That is, unless you’ve set the scope to the 7x setting.
Despite its defective performance while on the move, you will be amazed by what the Drop Zone-22 can do while you’re standing still. In fact, many users claim it’s perfect for long-distance hunting.
The Final Verdict
The bottom line is that this scope is not flashy or extravagant, but it gets the job done. It’s made in the USA, and it is absolutely a safe choice if you’re looking for a budget scope.
A good choice for the 17 HMR as well.
3. Nikon P-Rimfire BDC 150 Rifle Scope
With P-Rimfire, Nikon has managed to find something that other brands rarely can — the balance between price and features. Indeed, this is a budget scope that packs a lot at a very reasonable price.
The first impressive feature we must mention are the scope’s lenses. Namely, the manufacturer used anti-reflective compounds without lead and arsenic. Therefore, the so-called Eco-Glass lenses provide an incredibly clear view at up to 150 yards.
In addition to that, the P-Rimfire offers a field of view ranging between 6.4 and 22.3 feet despite being smaller than average. That sort of range gives you quite a lot of space to target the game even if it’s on the move. However, it’s good to keep in mind that its most reliable performance comes at about 100 yards.
Although users report the vision getting blurry above 100 yards, you can rely on Nikon’s RAT system. The Rapid Action Turret will help you keep your center at all times.
Nikon’s SpotOn Ballistic Match Technology
One thing that makes this scope particularly high-tech in comparison to other optics on the market is the SpotOn Ballistic Match Technology. This app helps you see all the possible shots before you even pull the trigger. Traditional shooters might disagree, but we think it’s cool that this technology is making game hunting more like a video game. Anyone can relate to that, right?
When it comes to mounting this optic, it should go smoothly as long as you obtain a set of medium or high scope rings. The eyepiece is quite large, so the smaller rings won’t do. Also, you’ll have to make a separate order to get the rings since they don’t come with the scope.
The Final Verdict
Ultimately, this scope is sure to provide an ultimate shooting experience to anyone who mounts it on their rifle. It’s a bit more pricey than the others on the list, but if you plan on taking down some serious game, it’s the best choice you can make.
Would also be one of the best M&P 15-22 scopes.
4. Simmons 3-9x32mm, 0.22 Mag(R) Matte Black
Don’t let the bargain price tag on this scope fool you — the Simmons .22 Mag is a decent scope that can offer a lot.
First of all, it is an elegant piece of equipment, seeing as it is only 12 inches long, and it weighs 13.2 oz. Indeed, it is not the smallest of the scopes, but it is incredibly easy to mount on a rifle. What’s more, unlike its competitors on the list, the Simmons .22 Mag comes with its own set of rimfire rings on a ⅜-inch rail. In case your rifle has a Picatinny or Weaver rail, you’ll need one-inch rings, after all. Otherwise, you won’t be able to mount the scope.
Once you mount it, the first thing you’ll notice is the HydroShield lens. It’s manufactured in such a way so that it gives maximum protection from light reflection and glare. In terms of light gathering, you can use this scope on moderately cloudy days. However, some users warn against relying on it in heavily overcast conditions.
Although highly praised, the windage and elevation controls sometimes tend to be a bit sloppy, so sighting in might be a bit troublesome at first. However, once you get a hang of it, you’ll get a chance to test the TrueZero system locks.
As far as the field of view is concerned, you can expect to get about 31.4 feet at the lowest magnification setting, while you can expect about 10.5 feet at the highest setting. Both of these, naturally, apply to the 100-yard shooting range mark. In addition to that, the scope offers a good 3.75 inches of eye relief, which is rather nice.
With possible recoil in mind, the good people at Simmons decided to include the Quick Target Acquisition technology. They created a large eyepiece which offers a clear and focused view. In fact, this scope makes it easier to shoot from the most awkward positions.
The Final Verdict
On the whole, it’s quite clear that Simmons has invested a lot into producing a budget scope that would be both reliable and durable. We must admit that it comes with a couple of flaws, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a shot.
As we’ve said at the beginning, we understand the difficulties of choosing the best scope for .22lr. We did our best to choose four scopes that we deemed the best of the best.
At this point, we’d like to offer a quick recap of what we’ve found. The Nikon Prostaff is an exquisite piece of equipment if you’re looking for a scope that’ll serve you for a long time. Its cousin, the P-Rimfire, is an optic that might turn hunting into a video-game-like experience. On the other hand, Bushnell’s DropZone-22 offers superb shooting precision at a very reasonable price. Finally, the Simmons .22 Mag is a durable eye candy.
If we had to be entirely honest, we’d have to admit that we still can’t make a decision on the best rimfire scope. No matter which way we look at the four choices, we simply can’t point at one and declare it the winner.
Because that decision should be up to you. Only you know in which conditions you’ll be using the scope. The only piece of advice that we can give you is — go with your gut. Don’t go with the cheapest, but don’t fall for the flashiest either. Look carefully, and find a scope which you will be able to rely on in rain or shine.
The Final Verdict
Remember — you’re looking for a scope that you’ll hopefully be using for quite a while. So choose wisely.