You are the proud owner of one of the most successful rimfire rifle designs in history. Since 1964, Ruger continues to pump out the semi-automatic that everyone loves. Its inspiration was found in the standard US military firearm from WWII into the Vietnam War: the M1 Carbine.
Although you won’t be fighting battles with this rifle, it’s ideal for small game hunting and relatively close-range shooting. They serve every purpose, from hunting to defense, to target shooting.
They’re so popular that Ruger released 11 different models to suit every niche of their users.
In addition to its origins in a trusted, American company, the Ruger 10/22 is popular for its:
- Negligible recoil
- Inexpensive ammunition
- Easy handling
- Easy customization
- Lightweight (around 5lb)
Although this isn’t a youth rifle, it has the characteristics of one. That means it’s perfect for teaching a first-timer how to shoot. Even without an interest in hunting, who doesn’t love some innocent can or bottle targets in the backyard?
Let’s see exactly how far you can place those targets.
Going the Distance: Maximize your Shooting Range
Out-of-the-box, a Ruger 10/22 can shoot accurately up to 50 yards with less than 1 MOA.
It doesn’t sound like much, but they aren’t made to be a long-range rifle.
Otherwise, this timeless classic does precisely what it’s made to do. It hits small targets from a considerable distance without completely obliterating them. For many people, it also comes with a light wind of nostalgia. That’s because it’s the first gun we ever got to practice with as kids and still tote around today.
So what can you expect on your next trip to the range with your Ruger 10/22?
A Quick Guide to Distance: How Far will Your Bullet Go?
For an out-of-the-box Ruger 10/22 with an 18.5-in barrel length, keep these rough measurements in mind:
- Long Range: about 100 yards and above
- Medium Range: 50 – 100 yards
- Close Range: under 50 yards
Remember, these ranges are simply an out-of-the-box standard. Ammo and aftermarket parts can cause the average range to deviate considerably. Believe it or not, they can make a noticeable difference. That’s why some people opt for longer barrels – a longer barrel gives a longer shot.
What magnification do you need?
If you’re new to the game, you might not think that a scope is necessary for shooting a football field length or less. That’s far from the truth. Since this rifle is ideal for small targets, all the extra magnification power makes a difference in precise shooting. Besides, you have to be able to see what you are shooting to hit it, don’t you?
Generally, longer shots require higher magnification. What is magnification, and what does it mean? Check out our guide here to understand how lens measurements and magnifications work.
So which one will work best for your average shooting distance?
- Long Range (100-yd and above)
- Adept long-range shooting takes practice. Hitting small targets from this distance takes even more practice, better clarity, and higher magnification. The best 10/22 scope for long ranges has a magnification of around 6 to 9x.
- Medium Range (50 – 100yd)
- Shooting within this range probably means you have rats loose in the barn or moles digging up your yard. If you want to get an edge on them, you’ll want somewhere between 4 – 6x power.
- Close Range (up to 50yd)
- The Ruger 10/22 is ideal for close-range shooting. If you want a pinpoint shot to win that bet against your buddies, try 1 – 4x power. They’ll definitely be buying the next round and asking where you got your Ruger 10/22 scope.
The best scope for Ruger 10/22 owners is the one that matches their marksmanship style. If you don’t require high power, stick to one that packs in more features with less range.
Alternatively, if you’re never sure when the next shot will be, play it safe with a wide variable. A proper scope will adjust quickly from 1x to 9x right when you need it!
The 5 Best Ruger 10/22 Scopes
Finally, you’ve chosen to step up your game. Besides a little bit of practice, all you’re missing is the best scope for Ruger 10/22 rifles. So which one is it?
You don’t have to do all of the exhausting browsings and digging through the internet, we’ve already done it and narrowed the top five options down.
- Nikon 3-9x40mm ProStaff Rimfire w/ BDC Reticle
- Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Rimfire – V-Plex MOA
- Simmons 3-9x32mm, .22 Mag(R) Matte Black
- Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40 Rimfire Scope
- Nikon P-Tactical Rimfire 2-7×32 BDC150
A quick note: why do some scopes say “BDC” and others don’t? BDC stands for “bullet drop compensation.”
Simply, this means that you will not have to adjust the elevation for longer range shots. All you have to do is use the reticle that matches the distance you are shooting and pull the trigger.
Don’t settle for any less than the best. They’re all right here and can be mounted directly on your Ruger 10/22 today!
Finding Your Next Scope
Let’s get down to business!
If you are a fan of Ruger, you can check Ruger mini 14 scope recommendations.
1. Nikon 3-9x40mm ProStaff Rimfire w/ BDC Reticle
The Nikon Prostaff Rimfire offers 3-9x40mm power with a BDC reticle that shoots out to 150 yards. The superbly accurate adjustments offer a definitive shot for every pull. The scope offers generous eye relief of 3.6 inches, which is always a nice addition, no matter that the recoil, which the Ruger 10/22 has is negligible.
Then when you’re chasing small game, the quick zero-reset turrets don’t mess around. You won’t waste one second in the field fumbling with knobs. It’s as simple as zeroing in and enjoying a locked-in target through the rough use of several rounds.
So far, it offers a lot of the most desired features that a budget scope should have. However, there’s one hidden spec in the fine print that raises it to a level of superiority.
Excellent 98% Light Transmission
This is where the ProStaff really shines – literally! Right when you think an already clear, sharp view couldn’t get any better, it does. While most scopes offer 90% or lower light transmission, this one goes above and beyond. Of course, what else do you expect from an industry leader like Nikon? It only makes sense to put in the effort for high light transmission on a scope that helps you see small, quick targets.
The Bottom Line
There isn’t one solid complaint about this sleek, quality scope. It does everything a true budget scope should do without fail. However, if you plan on shooting close-range targets, prepare for a little bit of blur. The parallax settings are not adjustable at 25 yards or closer. Otherwise, there’s no way you can go wrong by mounting this one to your rifle.
2. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Rimfire – V-Plex MOA
When it comes to manufacturing high-quality riflescopes, Vortex Optics is always on target (no pun intended). And if you’re looking for a scope that is ideal for close to mid-range shooting, then the 2-7×32 Crossfire II Rimfire is surely worth checking out.
The Rimfire version of the Crossfire II comes with a V-Plex reticle that makes it suited to a wide variety of shooting applications. With this version of Vortex Optics’ rifle scope, you get a field of view of hundred yards. And the 3.9-inch eye relief ensures that all the shots you take are comfortable.
However, at higher magnification levels, it can get a little washed out. So, if you’re looking to use your rifle scope over longer distances, opt for some of the other choices on our list with magnification more than 7x and a bigger lens.
Incredible build quality
One of the best things about every Crossfire II model is how well they are built. These riflescopes are crafted out of a single piece of an aircraft-grade anodized aluminum tube. Moreover, the scopes are O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged, which ensures they are waterproof and fog proof even under the most challenging situations.
The Bottom Line
Apart from long-range shooting, the Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Rimfire impresses on almost every front. It is durable and well built, fitted with excellent optics, and comes with a simple yet effective reticle. You surely can’t ask more from it.
You can also check our best rimfire scopes guide, in which this scope also features.
3. Simmons 3-9x32mm, 0.22 Mag(R) Matte Black
Do you want true ingenuity for pocket money price? This riflescope features technology made especially by Simmons. This includes the HydroShield lens coating to prevent reflection and glare. Their steel-on-steel TrueZero system locks in “true zero” hunt after hunt while improving windage and elevation.
When you go to adjust your elevation, the SureGrip rubber surfaces let you handle your scope in any condition. However, like a lot of low-budget scopes, a screwdriver is necessary to make adjustments. Additionally, the adjustment clicks are not clearly distinct but are still helpful.
Otherwise, there’s one more fantastic Simmons specific feature that neatly ties it all together.
Simmons Quick Target Acquisition (QTA)
Are you using heavier loads in your rifle and suffering from heavy recoil? Simmons ceases the suffering with its QTA technology. The eyepiece has a large, clear optical view that gives you a more in-focus vision. It saves time from wiggling and repositioning when you’re shooting from awkward spots. You won’t waste a second on the field or miss out on any cheeky creatures.
The Bottom Line
Simmons pours a lot of heart into this product to offer you a good, budget scope. Although it has its share of downsides, consider all that you get for an amazingly low price. It’s by far the cheapest on our list and is such a good deal; it’s almost highway robbery. However, don’t use this scope for actual highway robbery!
4. Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm Rimfire Riflescope
The Leupold VX-Freedom Rimfire Riflescope isn’t your average piece of equipment. For starters, it features some of the most abrasion-resistant lenses on the market; these are capable of resisting scratch damage to a military standard, so you know that they are high-quality compared to the lenses of many other scopes on the market.
The scope as a whole reflects this commitment to durability, as it’s built out of aircraft quality aluminum and designed to function in inclement weather thanks to waterproof and fog proof sealing.
That’s not all. This scope, which features magnification settings between 3x and 9x with a 40 mm objective lens, also has been pre-adjusted for parallax up to 60 yards. This is a perfect setting for most rimfire cartridge types and offsets the minor drawback that it lacks a parallax turret.
It does have a set of excellent windage and elevation adjustment turrets; however; these provide audible clicks each time you move them.
Twilight Light Management System
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the scope is its special light management system. This arrangement of lenses and special coatings provides you with not only a clearer and brighter sight picture in general but also gives you an extra 10 minutes or so of shooting light during dusk or dawn.
Basically, it allows you to continue or finish a hunt as the day begins or draws to a close. Needless to say, this can be extremely valuable to many hunters out in the wild.
The Bottom Line
Overall, we’re very impressed with the VX-Freedom. It offers excellent magnification settings for rifles of this type and extreme durability, plus some of the best lenses on the market; where else can you find scope lenses designed for extreme scratch resistance and better light transmission?
5. Nikon P-Tactical Rimfire 2-7×32 BDC150
Few scope manufacturers measure up to the quality and visual clarity that Nikon can offer, as we can see with this excellent scope. With a 1-inch body tube and low overall weight of just 0.96 ounces, this scope is perfect for pairing with a lightweight rifle. It comes with bright, fully multicoated optics and the entire piece is made with aircraft-grade aluminum for added durability without making things too heavy.
Even better, the scope comes with a set of spring-loaded instant zero-reset turrets. These exposed windage and elevation knobs can help you easily make field adjustments and land shots up to 150 yards away. They’re also clearly marked for quick adjustments and come with directional indicators, so you never get lost when you adjust them.
The scope also comes with phenomenal eye relief up to about 4 inches at the lowest 2x zoom and closer to 3.5 inches that 7x. Either way, this gives you plenty of space and prevents the rifle scope from bucking into your eye and giving you a nasty bruise.
The most impressive feature is, without a doubt, the BDC reticle, a 150-variant that offers special hash marks with unique open circle aiming points. In a nutshell, this gives you the advantage of regular BDC reticles by allowing you to estimate bullet drop off up to 150 yards away. But it also allows you to see small animals through the open circle holdover points. Thus, the reticle always works in your favor even if you are trying to hit small targets or critters.
The Bottom Line
All in all, this scope is an excellent choice for a Ruger 10/22 rifle, in addition to other rimfire rifle types. Whether you want to have some fun at the target range for takedown varmints, this scope can help you accomplish either goal.
What are you waiting for?
If you are after a red dot, check our Bushnell TRS-25 Review.
Do you want to get the advantage of those pesky creatures in your yard? Perhaps you want to get an edge on your buddies at the range? Either way, it won’t happen without the best scope for Ruger 10/22 rifles.
With so many low-budget options with high-quality performance, it’s hard to resist. You can go all out on high-dollar optics, but they won’t make a noticeable difference above other 10/22 scopes.
Beyond that, there isn’t any customization or special ammo that will match what the perfect scope can do. Find yours today and finally realize what you’re capable of accomplishing with that trusty old rifle on the wall.