One of the most popular, best-selling cartridges around, the .22-250 Remington stands out as a preferred hunting and long-distance ammo.
The now-well-known .22-250 started its days in the 1930s as a wildcat combination of a .250 Savage case with a .224 bullet. Its humble origin belies the popularity it would continuously maintain between the 1960s and today. The reason for its long-lasting success has a lot to do with its usefulness as a varmint-hunter. But that’s not all that has maintained this cartridge’s popularity.
What else makes .22-250 guns and ammo so well-liked, even today?
- Reliable and consistent performance
- Powerful with great accuracy
- Very fast – can travel more than 4000 feet per second
- Flat trajectory
- Well-known and popular
.22-250s are great for small to medium game hunting (and possibly precision deer hunting though some states may have restrictions for this).
.22-250s travel so fast that they can cut through windy conditions and still stay accurate, but because .22-250s use the friendly .22 caliber rifle – you don’t have to worry about a lot of kickback!
The Quest for the Best .22-250 Scope Begins
A powerful rifle that can shoot longer distances is only useful with a quality scope. You may be wondering:
- What are the best scopes to use with .22-250s?
- What is the best varmint scope for .22-250?
- How do I know which scope to pick?
With these questions in mind, let’s get started tackling how to choose a .22-250 scope for your specific needs. The first step is to learn more about riflescopes in general.
How much magnification power do I need?
The answer to how much magnification you need in a scope is the same as the answer to what type of gun or ammunition you need. It depends on how you plan to use it, experience, and frequency of usage.
Consider the following questions:
- Are my targets going to be relatively close (5-50 yards) or far off in the distance (upwards of 500 yards)?
- What kind of budget do I have for my .22-250 scope purchase?
- Will I be using my .22-250 for varmint hunting, larger game, or target practice?
To help answer these questions, check out the following helpful guide on shooting distances.
Quick Guide to .22-250 Ranges
To help determine the best .22-250 scope for under $300, here are some general distance guidelines to consider:
- Close Range: <25 yards up to 100 yards
- Medium Range: 75 yards up to 150 yards
- Long Range: 100 yards to 500 yards
- Very Long Range: >500 yards
Keep in mind that the farther out you shoot, the more powerful your scope has to be. Since we’re only looking at scopes under $300 dollars, only the “Close” to “Long” ranges are applicable. “Very Long” distances would require larger, more powerful – and typically much more expensive – riflescopes.
Scope Magnification by Distance
We know more about shooting distances; now let’s look at which magnification levels work best for each range:
- Close Range (up to 100 yards): 3x to 5x magnification
- Medium Range (up to 150 yards): 3x-9x magnification
- Long Range (100-500 yards): 4x-12x magnification
- Very Long Range (>500 yards): 10x to 14x magnification
Remember that these are generalized recommendations and that these suggestions are subjective. There can be a lot of overlap between the magnifications you can use at different distances. For example, a 4x-12x scope could work well for any of these ranges, even if it may be best suited for longer range (100-500 yard) shots.
Armed with a little background about distances and magnification levels, you are now prepared to check out the .22-250 scopes themselves. Let’s see some awesome .22-250 riflescope options for under $300!
The 4 Best .22-250 Scopes
The best scope for .22-250 ammo should be able to hold its focus, be resistant to wear, water, and fog, and be easy-to-use. And in the case of the best .22-250 scope under $300, it should be affordable, too! Naturally, there are tons of .22-250 scopes out there that one could take the time to choose between.
We’re going to help make this important choice much easier for you. With quality brands like Simmons and Nikon, you can choose the best scope for .22-250 that’s just right for your specific needs. And you won’t have to pay hundreds upon hundreds of dollars to do it!
Here are the top .22-250 riflescopes that we recommend:
- Simmons 3-9x 32mm .22 Mag Riflescope
- Nikon ProStaff Rimfire 3-9x40mm
- Nikon ProStaff Rimfire 4-12x40mm
- Nikon 6729 ProStaff 4-12x40mm
Some of these riflescope names mention “BDC”. “BDC” stands for “Bullet Drop Compensation”. Basically, “BDC” tries to compensate for the natural fall of a bullet as it’s traveling towards its target.
If you threw a ball straight to your friend at a long distance, your friend would have to catch it lower than the height you started out throwing it. Gravity pulls the ball down to the earth as the ball moves through the air. The same thing happens to bullets, and it’s especially noticeable over long distances. Bullet Drop Compensation in a riflescope adds little circles to the crosshairs to let you know where your bullet will land at various distances (such as 50 yards, 100 yards, 200 yards, etc.).
Now that we have some names of high-quality scopes, it’s time to move on to their specs.
Choosing the Right Scope
We now know lots of information about riflescopes and ranges, as well as what makes shooting .22-250s great. It’s time to take a closer look at some of the best .22-250 scopes out there under $300.
Which of these four scopes will be the best .22-250 scope for you?
1. Simmons 3-9x32mm .22 Mag Riflescope
Are you new to hunting or plinking? Maybe this is the first scope you’re buying for your .22-250 shooter. Or perhaps you’re not new to this at all, but you want to spend less than $100 on your scope. What is your best option for a great .22-250 scope?
The answer is the Simmons 3-9x 32mm .22 Mag riflescope. With its favorable ratings (and its truly appealing price), it’s hard not to give this riflescope a chance. This lightweight scope offers clear viewing through its HydroShield lens coating. What’s more, Simmons makes sure this scope is user-friendly through its SureGrip adjustment feature.
One disadvantage of this scope is its lack of bullet drop compensation (“BDC”). Unlike the Nikon scopes, you cannot use the Simmons reticle to “plan” for how far the bullet will fall as it travels. However, you can probably figure out this drop compensation yourself with a little practice.
Quick Target Acquisition at an Affordable Price
The Simmons .22 Mag riflescope is a popular – and highly affordable – riflescope. As if that weren’t enough, it features a Quick Target Acquisition (QTA) eyepiece that also provides 3.75 inches of eye relief.
With the QTA eyepiece and consistent eye relief, Simmons ensures an easy-to-use riflescope experience. This makes it great for beginners. It is also appropriate for more seasoned enthusiasts who just need a decent scope to get the job done – without having to pay too much.
Is this scope the one the serious pro shooters use? Probably not. But do those pros pay well under $100 for their .22-250 scopes? Absolutely not – they’re more likely to pay 20+ times that price point.
If you (or perhaps a family member) are starting out in the .22-250 hobby – or if you don’t have a lot of cash to spare – this scope is great. With it, you can enjoy shooting your .22-250, and you’ll learn more about using scopes or about hunting/sharpshooting in general.
If you need a .22-250 scope that’s very easy on the wallet, this is the one for you.
2. Nikon ProStaff 3-9x40mm Rimfire with BDC Reticle
Nikon is a ubiquitous brand name in the world of optics. Whether it’s binoculars, fieldscopes, digiscopes, or riflescopes, Nikon is always a solid choice. Many enthusiasts choose this brand over other scopes that cost several times what Nikon offers. In short, it’s hard to beat consistently well-made, reliable products – and Nikon shows that great quality doesn’t have to come at a ridiculously high price.
The Nikon ProStaff 3-9x 40mm Rimfire scope is a perfect example. For around $100, you can rely on this scope for hunting or target practice with your .22-250. With its multi-coated lenses, shock/water/fog resistance, and its accommodating eye relief, this scope is a sure-fire win for the price.
The Nikon 3-9x Rimfire is a great .22-250 scope for the 50- to 100- yard (Close) target range. However, this Nikon scope may start to suffer once you push beyond 100 yards. When it comes to 22 caliber ammo, .22-250s are pretty powerful, so make sure you know how far you’re planning to shoot before committing to this scope.
That being said, this Nikon scope has a distinct advantage over the Simmons scope: the BDC 150 reticle.
The BDC 150 Reticle
Without bullet drop compensation, you have to determine through trial and error how much your bullet is going to drop before reaching its target. The Nikon BDC 150 reticle allows you to see how your bullet will land while you’re pulling the trigger.
By using open circles to mark points between 50 and 150 yards out, the BDC 150 Reticle allows you to still see your target as you aim. This Nikon 3-9x scope provides for a clean, accurate, and reliable shot with your .22-250 gun of choice!
Even with its well-made and useful features, the Nikon ProStaff 3-9x 40mm Rimfire scope is still a close- to medium- range scope. You may struggle to hit targets accurately at 200 or 500 yards out. But could this Nikon be the best varmint scope for .22-250 in your life? It absolutely could be; again, it depends on the range and type of uses you intend for your .22-250 scope. Would be an excellent M&P 15-22 scope.
3. Nikon ProStaff 4-12x40mm Rimfire with BDC Reticle
We already know that the Nikon ProStaff 3-9x Rimfire riflescope is a pretty great scope. However, it’s not perfect – especially when it comes to long-range shooting. One possible solution? The Nikon ProStaff 4-12x Rimfire riflescope!
The Nikon ProStaff 4-12x Rimfire riflescope has similar features as the Nikon 3-9x scope, which means it also has:
- Fully multi-coated glass for a clear view
- Waterproof and fog proof body
- Zero-reset turret with a spring-loaded adjuster
- Compatibility with the Spot-On Ballistic Match App
What does the ProStaff 4-12x Rimfire have over the ProStaff 3-9x Rimfire? It’s right in the name – the Nikon ProStaff 4-12x has a wider range of magnification power than the ProStaff 3-9x. Also, the Nikon 4-12x extends to a more powerful magnification level than the 3-9x. That way, you can see and shoot more reliably at longer distances with the 4-12x than the (otherwise very similar) 3-9x scope.
However, as much as a 4-12x Rimfire riflescope can improve upon its 3-9x version when it comes to distance, this scope may be at a disadvantage for some long and very long range shooting situations.
Great Price and Farther Reach
If you think the Nikon ProStaff 3-9x Rimfire might fall a little short of your targeting range, then you are in luck with the Nikon ProStaff 4-12x Rimfire riflescope! What’s even better is that you won’t have to break the bank paying for this difference in range capability.
Since the Nikon ProStaff 4-12x Rimfire and the 3-9x scopes are so similar, the question may come back to “Why spend more for the Prostaff 4-12x?”. It’s a reasonable concern, one that only you can answer. Is the modest extra cost of the 4-12x worth the extended range of the 4-12x? If you are planning on shooting well within 100 yards, maybe that extra cost won’t add very much value to you.
At the end of the day, both of the Nikon ProStaff Rimfire scopes are solid products at a fair price. You are the only one who can decide what’s best for the range and uses you have in mind for your .22-250.
4. Nikon 6729 ProStaff 4-12x 40mm Black Matte Riflescope (BDC)
Designed for distance, this Nikon ProStaff 6729 4-12x 40mm riflescope is a fantastic choice to match the power and yardage your .22-250 is capable of. With claims of successful shooting at distances greater than 500 yards away, this Nikon won’t disappoint.
On the other hand, some complain that the glass isn’t as clear on this scope as other scope brands. Others, however, say it functions as spectacularly as intended, with impressively clear and light-gathering lenses. This discrepancy could be a factor to keep in mind when thinking about trying the ProStaff 6729 4-12x scope.
What makes the Nikon 6729 ProStaff 4-12x a better distance shooter than its ProStaff Rimfire cousins? A BDC reticle that allows for longer range shots!
Long Range BDC Accuracy
Unlike the BDC 150 of the ProStaff Rimfire scopes, the Nikon ProStaff 6729 doesn’t limit its BDC reticle technology to 150 yards. Plenty of folks talk about successfully hitting targets 300, 400, even 600 yards out! For a scope priced well under $300 (sometimes even on sale to under $200!), the praise could hardly be better than that.
Although some find the BDC reticle difficult to use at certain ranges, the overall satisfaction with this scope is very high. If you don’t want to feel limited to the 100-150 yard practical upper limit of the ProStaff Rimfire series scopes, then the ProStaff 6729 could be the right choice for you!
Even as the longest distance scope of this review, the Nikon ProStaff 6729 is still well under $300 in price. It’s hard to beat that kind of cost for what you get.
If you know you’d like to shoot .22-250s at distances exceeding 100 yards, you owe it to yourself to be able to aim and see your targets as accurately as possible.
Why wait when the perfect scope is out there?
Finally: you’re fully armed with knowledge about .22-250s and the scopes to help them shine. What’s holding you back from making your .22-250 plans and dreams a reality? With these four spectacular scope options all under $300 (and one even less than $100), there’s no reason not to have one.
Those varmints and targets aren’t going to shoot themselves. And they’re certainly not going to at distances of several football fields away.
You know which scopes are good (and affordable) out there. Don’t keep yourself from enjoying your .22-250 and showing off all its best qualities!