The rimfire technology first became available over 100 years ago, and today, it remains unchanged. Even with the development of the centerfire bullets, the rimfires remain one of the most popular choices among shooters.
While the rimfire rifle can shoot quite far, the distance effectiveness is not extremely impressive. When shooting at 100 yards, you get almost a foot more of drop. The rimfire doesn’t have a purely practical long range.
However, because of short distance accuracy and affordability, the .22lr remains the favorite of target shooters and small game hunters. The rifle weight is light and the recoil minimum, making it one of the better choices for teaching beginners. More people learn to shoot with a .22lr than any other rifle.
The Best 22lr Scope: What to Look For
The biggest misconceptions shooters have with the .22lr rifle is that its versatility lets you pair it with any scope. This way of thinking means most .22lr owners put their money in a scope that is a bad fit and limits the rifle’s use.
While shooting at long distances is possible, the .22lr is not the best rifle for the job. With the approximately one foot of drop or more, at 100 yards, a high magnification optic is unnecessary. Plus, when using high magnifications for close range shooting, you get eye fatigue and blurriness.
When matching a .22 rifle with an optic that delivers the rifle’s full potential, you need a well-made scope.
There are four main features you need in a scope for the brilliant performance of your .22 rifle:
- 1-inch or larger tube
- Nitrogen-purged and O-ring sealed
- 32mm or larger objective lens
- Should be a dedicated .22 scope
Because the .22lr rounds have low recoil, you can find great, inexpensive optics for your rifle. The more casual your shooting, the less the cost of a scope. In this case, a Simmons scope might work for your purposes. If you competition shoot and need to pinpoint your target, then Nikon and Leupold offer scopes made for this purpose.
Our Top Choices for the Best 22lr Scope
When it comes to the best 22lr scopes, you have many brands and models to choose from. Whether you’re a plinker or a championship competitor, there are dozens of lens options in a wide range of prices.
Here are our five choices for the best scope to use with your .22 rifle.
Leupold, a universal brand known for their rugged and versatile scopes, remain unsurpassed in the market. While their products come at a higher price, their optics are consistently of the highest quality.
The Leupold 120617 VX-2 is a high-quality, durable rimfire scope that’s waterproof, fog proof, and recoil proof. Add to this a lifetime warranty, and you have a scope built and sold with confidence.
A focusing range that’s extendable allows parallax adjustment from 10-10,000 yards with the turn of a front located ring. Extendable adjustment means you have extreme shooting accuracy at all distances. While a simple parallax correction significantly impacts the efficiency, it becomes more apparent when short distance shooting.
You get accurate and repeatable elevation and windage corrections and ¼ MOA increments. The scope also has a 3-4-inch eye relief with no effect on the ease of looking through.
A 3-9 power magnification with low profile 33mm objective lens makes the VX-2 an ideal short to medium-range scope. The high magnification power minimizes blurriness, and the compact size makes the VX-2 great for traveling or prolonged shooting.
Finally, the VX-2 Multicoat 4 lens coating delivers the shooter clear and bright sight pictures. The coating makes shooting comfortable by preventing optic flares while coin turned turrets have smooth turning. ¼ MOA adjustments enhance these features with perfect and precise target engagement.
The unique reticle with rapid action turrets let you lock on the target at a known distance while adjusting elevation. Also, the reticle’s multi-coated anti-glare optics increases the light transmission while reducing the reflection.
The scope itself is parallax-free at fifty yards with an adjustable 2-7X magnification power making it perfect for versatile targeting. You can shoot almost any size target with a wide range of distances.
Material quality, precision, versatility, and price make the Nikon P-Rimfire a favorite when compared to other available rimfire scopes. The P-Rimfire has some solid features and quality that makes it a perfect addition to your shooting arsenal.
Vortex Optics is one of the up and coming companies to watch when it comes to firearm optics. With their ever-improving production of higher quality, more advanced scopes, they’re quickly catching up to the big name brands.
The Vortex Optics Crossfire II rimfire scope has a build like the bigger centerfire but minimized for rimfire calibers.
Crossfire II has 2-7X optics with a 32mm objective lens. The fully multi-coated lens delivers a clear, high-definition picture with the bright light transition. With the 2X magnification, you get excellent close range, small target shooting. A fifty-yard parallax makes the Crossfire II a good optic for most of your plinking or hunting operations.
Besides the great optical features, the Crossfire II has a sturdy build of aircraft grade aluminum. The single piece aluminum makes this scope waterproof, fog proof, shockproof, and field-ready.
With the Crossfire 2, you won’t find a more sustainable performance at this value price point.
If you need long range accuracy, the Drop Zone-22 is the scope to buy. With this scope, you can shoot sub MOA at 50 yards and get a 1.5 MOA at 100 yards. Easily achieve these ranges with Drop Zone’s magnification range, side parallax adjustment and ¼ MOA elevation and windage turrets.
The Drop Zone-22 with its 3.7-inch eye relief makes this optic perfect for small quarry and target shooting. Drop compensation capability means a target hit at over 125 yards.
While the Drop Zone works great with federal factory ammunition, it still has the headaches of second focal optic scopes. However, the Drop Zone makes up for this with target turrets for increasing bulls-eye accuracy.
Besides being fully multi-coated for reducing reflections, the Zone-22’s objective lens works similar to the Leupold and Nikon. This lens’ light transmission allows brightness through the 1-inch scope tube. Plus, the lens clarity aids in fast target acquisition.
The Bushnell Zone-22 BDC is easy to handle with a light weight of 19.6-ounces and a length of 11.3-inches. It has a body made of rustproof, durable anodized aluminum alloy. If you do a lot of long range shooting, then the Bushnell Zone-22 is a good choice.
Simmons products are dependable yet very affordable and have the most needed features for shooters. Scopes manufactured by Simmons are simplistic yet extremely functional, without all the fluff from excess features you don’t necessarily need.
Even though the Simmons Truplex .22 doesn’t have Nikon’s clarity or Leupold’s ruggedness, it still offers great value. The Truplex has the basic features any shooter needs for getting the job done at an affordable price.
With the Truplex .22, you get superior control with easy turning, wind and elevation adjustment knobs, even when wearing gloves. Every magnification gets a clear and focused view with the 32mm objective lens and adjustment knob.
This best-selling scope has a price tag that’s well under $100, yet it has an impressive performance at distances under 150 yards. While the target appears slightly blurry at 9X magnification, you still get a good quality scope for sighting most targets.
10 Buying Tips to Consider for the 22lr Scope
Before ordering your .22 rifle scope, here are ten buying tips to consider:
- You need the right scope for the job. When your scope is too powerful, you get more missed or wounded shots than with a small scope.
- Magnification numbers matter. The higher the 12 magnification range, the more expensive the scope. However, the higher magnification numbers mean closer targeting.
- Mount your scope correctly. Mount at its highest power and place, so your neck and head are comfortable when sighting.
- External parallax adjustment, or adjustable objective, affects how you see the target. A bad parallax setting can make your target appear out of focus.
- Don’t overdo it on the objective lens size. Large objective lens scopes are heavy and bulky, and make mounting and using more difficult and are not necessary.
- Choose your lens coatings carefully. Coatings can reduce glare and give better lighting and sharp contrast while making the lens scratch resistant.
- Field of view or FOV is how much you see through the scope and has no relation to the objective lens. FOV is all in the scope construction and varies by manufacturer and scope model.
- Tactical is an advertising draw for the general public. When you see a tactical scope, this sometimes means higher magnification than needed and added weight. Military sniper rifles normally carry fixed 10X scopes with mildot reticles.
- High-quality scopes mean repeatability. When adjusting elevation and windage to one setting and move for different shooting places, you need the same impact point. This is where repeatability comes in.
- Minute of angle or MOA adjustments for point of impact. Bullet drop compensators, or BDC, for more accurate long shots.
Additional Considerations for Choosing a 22lr Scope
While there are some features needed on larger scopes, they’re not necessary for use with a rimfire scope. These missing features don’t distract from the optic’s functions, but adding them gives you a much higher price tag.
The features you don’t need with a .22 rimfire:
- Oversized Objective Lens – For the shooting you do with a rimfire, anything above a 40mm objective is overkill and not needed. All these huge lenses do is add to the optic’s weight and make it necessary for higher mounting.
- Illuminated Reticles – This option is for tactical applications, and if the quality is low, you have issues with the use. If the reticle is too bright, you get a washout which makes smaller targets hard to see.
- Fingertip Adjustable Turrets – A great long range shooting and hunting feature, however, you don’t need them for a rimfire.
Our Final Review
Choosing the perfect scope for your .22 rimfire rifle may seem overwhelming. Hopefully, our .22lr reviews help point you in the right direction. When using a gun for small game and target shooting, high priced scopes don’t always mean a better scope. In many instances, all the extra features just weight your rifle down and throw it off balance.
The 22lr rifle scope is light and nimble and the perfect accessory for an all-day hunting trip. Adding an over-accessorized optic takes too much away from the comfort level and the enjoyment you get from shooting.