Rimfire rifles are very popular nowadays.
A .22LR rifle can shoot to about 50 yards with less than 1″ bullet drop, but just owning the gun alone will not give you the optimal experience that this cartridge can provide.
Sure, this may cater to some of your shooting needs, but when it comes to hunting small game or even plinking, the range might feel extremely limited.
And this is precisely when a rimfire scope comes in. Not only will it be able to maximize your gun’s range but significantly improve the accuracy as well.
But with so much variety in the market, finding the best .22 scope that fits both your needs and your gun can be complicated.
So, in this guide, we’re about to tell you about the best rimfire scopes you can buy right now.
So, sit back and read along!
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What Magnification Do You Need?
But before you decide on the scope, it’s a good idea to determine what magnification you need beforehand. That is based on your usual shooting distance. If you want to shoot on different ranges, get a scope with variable magnification. If you are new to rifle scopes, check what variable and fixed scopes are here.
The ranges are rough estimates based on a typical barrel length of 18.5″.
Close Range (up to 50 yards)
If your targets are at a close range, then for the best accuracy and view, you will need a scope that has a 1 to 4x magnification.
Medium Range (50 to 100 yards)
For shooting targets within the 50 to the 100-yard range (like pests and rodents), then a scope that offers 4 to 7x magnification would be the ideal choice.
Long Range (100 yards and over)
When it comes to shooting at a long-range, clarity is of utmost importance. When shooting at 100 yards and above, and it’s best to look for a scope which can reach at least 7 to 9x magnification power.
The 5 Best Scopes For .22LR
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 (The Best Overall)
- Bushnell Optics 2-7x32mm Drop Zone-22 BDC Reticle (The Best Bushnell .22 LR scope)
- Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40 Rimfire Scope (The Best Leupold Rimfire scope)
- Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Rimfire – V-Plex MOA (The Best Vortex Rimfire scope)
- Simmons 3-9x32mm, .22 Mag(R) Matte Black (The Best Budget Option)
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 ProStaff Rimfire II 3-9x40mm BDC150
First, on our list, The Prostaff Rimfire II is guaranteed to be a worthy addition to your rimfire rifle with its ultra-accurate and crystal clear optics. This is probably the best selling rimfire scope and a personal favorite of ours.
What Makes It So Awesome?
Even though it has a relatively large 40mm objective lens, the scope is quite compact and lightweight. At 12.3 inches in length and a weight of a meager 13.1 ounces, carrying it around is a cinch. Rimfire rifles are not supposed to be heavy after all, right?
From 3X to 9X, the magnification is stellar and lets you zoom into your target at almost HD quality. The crispness, clarity, and contrast in the image are top-notch throughout the entire zoom range. The power selector is, at once, very smooth but also resistant enough to accidental changes in the power.
The variable magnification ensures you can use the scope in various shooting scenarios. The 9x power is enough for the full range a rimfire rifle can shoot on.
The scope offers generous eye relief at 3.6 inches, which is more than adequate for a rimfire rifle.
Moving on to the optics, it is fully multicoated, maximizing light transmission (touted as 98%), giving you visibility even in very low-light conditions. The focus is fast and sharp and guarantees that nothing is going to get past you, no matter how fast.
This scope is equipped with the BDC 150 reticle, with several open circles for bullet drop compensation. It was designed with rimfire rifles in mind and caters to the ballistics of the cartridge. The only drawback here is that the reticle is not illuminated and is wired, instead of being etched on the glass.
The Prostaff Rimfire II provides you with a pretty good field of view, from 4.4 feet to 33.8 feet at 100 yards.
Nikon has left no stone unturned when it comes to 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.
Add to that a lifetime warranty, and this scope will last you a long time.
- Multicoated optics
- Reticle designed for 22 LR rounds
- Crisp image quality
- Lifetime warranty
- Not suitable for shooting under 25 yards
The Bottom Line
All in all, the Nikon ProStaff is just incredible when it comes to durability and sleek design. No matter what weather or condition you decide to use it in, it’s incredibly reliable and will not let you down when you are shooting anything above 25 yards. If you are looking for just a bit extra magnification, check the Nikon Prostaff Rimfire 4-12X40mm.
2. Bushnell Optics Drop Zone-22 BDC Rimfire Reticle
Bushnell has been a household name when it comes to optics for 65 years now. They are dedicated to churning out quality products that are reliable, precise, sturdy, and affordable. And the best part is that the company blends modern technology with their tried-and-true techniques and then make it accessible for every American.
What Makes This Scope a Good Choice?
Let’s start with what makes this scope worth the money. What we really enjoyed about this rifle is the BDC reticle (Bullet Drop Compensating) and the adjustment features. As is typical with BDC reticles, it is a second focal plane article, which means that the image of your prey stays the same size, whether you’re zooming in or out.
The magnification is 2-7x, which makes it a perfect choice for rimfire rifles, especially if you like to shoot on short and medium ranges.
The reticle features a zero at 50 yards with additional aiming points up to 125 yards. In order to hit those long-distance shots, this scope is also outfitted with target turrets for wind and elevation adjustment. They offer quick, precise adjustments of 1/4 MOA with every click.
Next comes the picture quality. Several layers of anti-reflective coating on the lens ensure that most of the ambient light gets transmitted through, forming a picture that is bright and clear, with vivid contrast. Whether you take it out under the blazing noonday sun or in the wee hours of dawn or at the end of the day, this scope will form bright images without fail.
Another aspect where this scope does well is in sturdiness. Made out of aircraft-grade aluminum, the scope is resistant to scratches, rust and will hold its own regardless of how rough and unforgiving the conditions are.
The lenses, themselves are just as durable. Nitrogen purged, and O-ring sealed; they are entirely waterproof, fog proof, and dustproof. Foreign particles won’t be able to get into it. The scope can stay totally immersed in water, and the scope will be as dry as the day you bought it. The optical surfaces will never fog up due to extreme changes in temperature or humidity.
- BDC Reticle
- Target Turrets and parallax adjuster
- Very durable
- Perfect picture quality
- You cannot use low mounting rings with this scope
- It is rather heavy
The Bottom Line
This scope does a great job of accounting for bullet drop compensation over long ranges with its adjustment turrets and the BDC reticle. This accuracy and precision, coupled with the sturdiness and longevity, makes this one a winner in our books.
An excellent choice for the 17 HMR as well.
3. Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm Rimfire Riflescope
Built with exceptional materials and some of the best innovative features you can find on a rifle scope, the Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40 is a top-tier piece of equipment. Built specifically for rimfire ammunition, what more can you ask for?
What Makes it so Awesome?
This rifle scope has plenty of features to warrant our high praise. For starters, it features 3x to 9x magnification and a 40 mm objective lens, providing you a great sight picture and a decent field of view across all zoom settings. But it also has scratch-resistant lenses that have been multicoated to resist abrasive damage far beyond many other rifle scopes on the market.
The rest of the scope is similarly durable, as it’s been made with aircraft-grade aluminum and has been thoroughly tested by the manufacturer to ensure proper performance even in harsh conditions or after lots of wear and tear. It’s 100% waterproof and fog proof, to boot. You can mount it on your rimfire rifle and take it whenever you like. The dark matte finish makes the scope look stylish and prevents it from glaring, possibly giving your location away to your target.
But that’s not all. This scope has already been parallax adjustment for 60 yards. While it doesn’t have a parallax adjustment turret for further changes, this setting is ideal for rimfire cartridges, so it’s likely that parallax won’t have too much of an effect when you use the scope. It does have precision finger click adjustment turrets for windage and elevation; these are quite durable over the long term.
It also features excellent eye relief no matter what magnification setting you prefer to use: 4.17 inches at low magnification and 3.6 inches at high magnification. More than adequate for the .22 LR.
The only notable drawback is the lack of an included lens cap; instead, Leupold has you purchase a separate piece, which can up the asking price greater than we anticipated.
- Has a matte black finish
- Provides extra shooting light
- Lenses are super durable
- Eye relief is great
- The scope is water and fog proof
- Doesn’t come with a lens cap
The Bottom Line
All in all, the VX-Freedom 3-9×40 Rimfire rifle scope is a top-tier piece of gear with plenty of exceptional features and durable and functional design. You won’t go wrong if you choose it to accompany your .22 LR rifle.
4. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Rimfire – V-Plex MOA
When it comes to professional-grade high-quality scopes, nobody does better than Vortex, and they have come up with yet another frontrunner.
What Makes This A Great Buy?
Vortex has packed a ton of features into this without hiking up the price or sacrificing on the quality. These include multi-coated lenses, aircraft-grade aluminum, multiple reticle options, and fog and waterproofing.
One of the best options out there for medium to long-range shooting, the V-Plex MOA Reticle gives you unmatched accuracy. It’s highly functional, intuitive, and has plenty of hold points never once getting too cluttered. The reticle was etched in the second focal plane to keep the image always at an ideal size.
The lenses are multi-coated with an anti-reflective coating for maximum light transmission and minimal glare. This provides sharp images, high contrast, and bright images, even in very low-light conditions.
The eye relief is at a decent 3.9 inches, and the parallax is factory set at 50 yards. As for the field of view, it is quite impressive and goes from 12.6 feet to 42 feet at 100 yards.
Made out of aircraft-grade aluminum, it’s a one-piece model with an anodized exterior coating that protects the tube from scratches, bumps, oil, and dirt. Apart from that, nitrogen purge and O-ring seals make for a waterproof, fog proof, and shock-resistant body.
What takes the cake is the craftsmanship of the reticle, though. It is hash marked for ranging, holdover, and windage corrections. The high-precision laser etching on the glass reticle is set to keep to the tightest tolerances possible. The crosshair is perfectly designed for a maximum balance between precision aiming and light visibility.
The capped tactical turrets give you precise control for fast elevation and wind adjustments. This is also complemented by an integrated locking mechanism that prevents inadvertent alterations.
- High-level craftsmanship
- Intuitive reticle
- Quality of materials and durability
- Multi-Coated lens
- Size is a little bulky
The Bottom Line
The Crossfire II Rimfire Riflescope is the latest addition to the Vortex lineup with its V-Plex reticle, which some shooters prefer over the BDC reticles. Another ideal choice for .22 rifles.
5. Simmons 3-9x32mm, 0.22 Mag(R) Matte Black
Design-wise, this one from Simmons might be the best one on our list. Sleek, and sophisticated, it has a one-piece body that allows for lighter and more flexible handling along with added durability.
Why Should You Buy This Scope?
With a 12-inch length and a weight of 10 ounces, it’s a little on the heavier side, but it more than makes up for it in durability and aesthetic appeal. It does look like it’s straight out of a movie.
It’s effortless to mount as it comes packaged with a whole set of mounting rings. The eye relief is a modest 3.5 inches, but the scope holds steady even with decent recoil. So there are no worries of injury.
Simmons TrueZero windage and elevation systems lock on to your target with dead set accuracy, which is further bolstered by the QTA (Quick Target Acquisition) 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 wearing gloves.
The lens is fully coated and features a HydroField technology, which lets you use the lens flawlessly under all weather conditions. Light reflection and glare are almost negligible.
It has a truplex reticle and a field of view that goes from 5 to 31.4 feet at 100 yards.
- Highly Affordable
- Sleek one-piece design
- QTA eyepiece
- Hydroshield Coating
– Slightly on the heavier side
The Bottom Line
When it comes to the category of low-cost budget-friendly scopes, the Simmons 3-9x32mm, 0.22 Mag(R) is indeed one of the best that the current market can provide. And if we compare all its pros to the cons, then the positives win out by a long shot. It would also be one of the best M&P 15-22 scopes.
Concluding our Rimfire Scopes Guide
In today’s age of ever-advancing science and modern technology, we know how difficult it can get for any budding rifle enthusiast to choose a .22lr scope.
So, if you are looking for a piece that is quite durable and can serve you for an extended period, then the Nikon Prostaff can be the best rimfire scope. And if you’re new to the field of rifle shooting, then the P-Rimfire is going to be your ideal match.
While the Vortex, on the other hand, is more for the professional hunter, the Simmons is just amazing for accuracy and precision.