The Best Scopes for .22 Hornet in 2020

The .22 Hornet cartridge is highly acclaimed for its speed, power, and accuracy. While the cartridge has already fallen out of favor and has been replaced with the more modern .220 Swift and the .223 Remington, it remains a reliable cartridge for hunting varmints. It is a vintage cartridge that is more versatile than some modern projectiles.

best .22 Hornet scope

However, it is essential to use the right scope if you want to obtain the many benefits that the .22 Hornet cartridge can offer. Whether you have a rifle from Ruger, CZ, or any other mass-market rifle manufacturer, only the best scope for .22 Hornet will suffice.

Quick Answer: The 5 Best .22 Hornet Scopes for 2020

  1. Nikon Prostaff Rimfire 3-9×40 Riflescope
  2. Leupold VX-Freedom 2-7x33mm Riflescope
  3. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-9×40 SFP Riflescope
  4. Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 3-9x40mm Riflescope
  5. BSA 3-9×40 Sweet 22 Rifle Scope

First, let’s take a look at the top-rated .22 hornet scopes, then we’ll talk about how to choose the right one for you in our buying guide below.

Best Scope for .22 Hornet Reviews of 2020

#1 Nikon Prostaff Rimfire 3-9×40 Riflescope

Nikon Prostaff Rimfire 3-9x40 RiflescopeMany varmint hunters consider the Nikon Prostaff Rimfire II 3-9×40 Riflescope their favorite. For some people, the Rimfire II is the best scope for CZ 527 .22 Hornet rifle. It has unquestionable optical quality, smart adjustment mechanism, robust construction, and an affordable price tag. The Rimfire II is, without a doubt, one of the best .22 Hornet scopes you can get.

The multicoating of the Prostaff Rimfire II is noteworthy. We were able to use the scope in near-dusk conditions and it still afforded us very clear images. In broad daylight, the glass never created annoying glares that would have made it difficult to spot a varmint from about 200 yards.

We find the Prostaff Rimfire II’s scope power for .22 Hornet to be just right for varmint hunting. It is easy to spot groundhogs from a distance. Zeroing the scope is also quick. Nikon uses a technology that allows the scope to retain its zero, while also allowing for very quick resets.

You will love the Rimfire II’s sleek scope body. It feels very solid and can take any abuse that your hunting adventures can bring.

The downside to this Nikon product is its lack of accompanying scope rings. This is not really a downer as it is easy to buy a high quality mounting ring to attach the scope to your rifle.
  • Very accurate aiming because of its ballistics compatibility
  • Comes with automatic zero turrets for very rapid shot compensation
  • Multicoated unequalled light transmission
  • Excellent all-around hunting/shooting performance
  • Dependable construction for all-terrain, all-weather use
  • Does not come with scope mounting rings
There is no denying the quality of Nikon’s optics for rifles. The Rimfire II may not have accompanying mounting rings. However, its remarkable construction and unparalleled all-around performance make the Prostaff a great rifle scope for your .22 Hornet firearm.

#2 Leupold VX-Freedom 2-7x33mm Riflescope

Leupold VX-Freedom 2-7x33mm RiflescopeIt would be unjust to come up with a list of the best rifle scope for .22 Hornet if we do not include a product from Leupold. After all, this brand is one of the hunting world’s most trusted. The company has been in the business of making high quality scopes since the early 20th century.

Leupold never compromises on the quality of its glass. This is evident in the VX-Freedom. From its lowest scope power to its highest magnification, the VX-Freedom was able to provide crystal clear views. It is as if our target was only several yards from us. This is perfect for optimizing the .22 Hornet’s unique ballistic characteristics.

We were also impressed with the light transmission of the VX-Freedom. We hunted prairie dogs late in the afternoon and well into the evening. The light transmission capabilities of the VX-Freedom were everything we had hoped for.

The construction of the scope body is classic Leupold. It comes complete with exceptional fog-proofing and additional protection against the elements. These are all characteristics of a high quality rifle scope for the .22 Hornet.

We found that the VX-Freedom’s turret is not as snappy as what we have imagined. There is some play in the turrets when you try to compensate your shots. Of course, some people may not even recognize the “wobbly” feel.
  • Good light transmission for a better target tracking
  • Repeatable turret dynamics for faster target acquisition
  • Bright reticle for more precise aiming
  • Solid and lightweight construction for all-weather use
  • Good overall value
  • Turrets not as “snappy” as others
We do not mind the less-than-ideal turret characteristics of the VX-Freedom .22 Hornet riflescopes. Considering its price, the scope’s optical quality, wide power range, and excellent construction provide great overall value. It makes the Leupold VX-Freedom an excellent choice for varmint hunters.

#3 Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-9×40 SFP Riflescope

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-9x40 SFP RiflescopeThe Crossfire II from Vortex Optics is perfect for those who want the best .22 Hornet rifle scope. This rifle optics features excellent lens clarity and unquestionable targeting performance with a price that feels right.

Our tests showed that the Crossfire II is a great platform for discriminating shooters and varmint hunters. You can rely on the quality of the scope’s lens, giving you a very clear shot. There are no glares and reflections to worry about. What you get is the clearest target for your .22 Hornet bullet to hit.

The eyepiece of the Crossfire II focuses faster than other devices. It guarantees better acquisition of targets that may move from one place to another. The turrets are also very crisp and responsive. You can make multiple shots without ever losing the scope’s zero.

As a top rated scope, the Crossfire II performs well in various settings. The scope will help you perform at your best. It does not matter if you are hunting varmints or are sharpening your shooting skills at the range. This high end rifle scope can make you hit your target with a single shot.

While it is not a big deal for many people, we do find the weight of the Crossfire II to be less than ideal. Our rifle is hefty enough. Fitting the Crossfire II onto our rifle can really make lifting and aiming the rifle a bit tiring.
  • Good quality glass for better light transmission and image quality
  • Fast-focusing eyepiece for instant target acquisition
  • Resettable and repeatable turrets for precise shots
  • Excellent for shooting and hunting at different ranges
  • Reliable weatherproofing and fogproofing
  • A bit on the heavy side
Heavy or not, the coolest Vortex Optics Crossfire II remains a great option for those who have .22 Hornet rifles. Its craftsmanship and performance are always a given.

#4 Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 3-9x40mm Riflescope

Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 3-9x40mm RiflescopeSome species of varmints love to go out at either dusk or dawn. This time of the day can make it difficult to hunt for these animals. That is why you will need a rifle scope that is perfect for such a shooting scenario. One such device is the Banner Dusk & Dawn 3-9x40mm Riflescope from Bushnell. The scope combines low price with Bushnell reliability to give you a good platform for hunting or shooting in low light environments.

We can never question the capabilities of Bushnell to produce excellent optical products for rifles. After all, this brand is well-known for designing and manufacturing very nice scopes for many decades. The low light performance of the Banner Dusk & Dawn is a testament to the scope’s glass quality.

Not only is the Banner Dusk & Dawn excellent for hunting in low light environments. It has a very stylish design, too. The turrets of the Banner Dusk & Dawn scope are also crisp and they hold their zero very well.

The Banner Dusk & Dawn could have been the best scope for Ruger .22 Hornet if not for some issues of canted reticles. It was unfortunate that our test scope exhibited the defect after only several shots. The reticle canted some 5 degrees to the left.
  • Very clear glass with advanced lens multicoating
  • Great for hunting and shooting in low light conditions
  • Quick to zero and maintains its level
  • Elegant design and rugged construction
  • Inexpensive
  • Some issues of canted reticles
Canted reticles are a very serious issue that can confront scope manufacturers. We can only hope that this issue is an isolated case and not representative of the Bushnell Banner Dusk &Dawn 3-9x40mm Riflescope line. That said, this Bushnell product still gets our nod as one of the best 22 Hornet rifle scopes.

#5 BSA 3-9×40 Sweet 22 Rifle Scope

BSA 3-9x40 Sweet 22 Rifle ScopeThe Sweet 22 is not actually a budget scope for the .22 Hornet platform. However, it does offer a few innovations that can make varmint hunting a lot more exciting. This scope is currently one of the best-selling devices for the .22 Hornet on the market.

One thing we love about the BSA Sweet 22 is its specificity to standard .22 rifle systems. While it is possible to mount the scope on other rifles, the scope works flawlessly on the Hornet. Its glass is very characteristic of the kinds of optics that BSA is known for. The images are clear whether you use the lowest scope power or the highest magnification.

We also like the Sweet 22’s turrets. They are precise and are quick to adjust. The knobs are similar to what we see in military-spec’d scopes. The turrets offer the kind of feedback we all need when adjusting our aim to compensate for the effects of gravity and/or windage.

The Sweet 22‘s scope body is also expertly crafted. Its build quality is one that will make you want to take the scope to the roughest and toughest terrain.

Many hunters we’ve talked to consider the Sweet 22 as the best .22 Hornet scope. However, we find it heavier than other scopes we have tested. It can be very tiring to lift and aim the rifle with this scope.
  • Quality of the scope optics is great for its price
  • Turrets are very easy to change
  • Large size of objective lens for image brightness
  • Good feedback from the turrets
  • Good weather proofing and fog proofing
  • Quite heavy
We like to believe that the weight of the BSA 3-9×40 Sweet 22 is more an indication of its quality craftsmanship. It would be nice to fit one of the and high-performance scopes onto your .22 Hornet firearm.

Buying Guide

What Makes a Great .22 Hornet Scope?

best scope for CZ 527 .22 Hornet

The .22 Hornet is best known for its accuracy, speed, and power. A great .22 Hornet scope should be able to enhance these ballistic characteristics of the Hornet for improved predator and vermin control.

It is a must that the scope has a high quality glass. Such a feature can enhance the precision of the projectile by improving light transmission through the lens. A scope for a .22 Hornet rifle should also have an accurate shot compensation system. Hunters and varmint controllers need to be able to adjust their turrets on the fly so that they can hit moving predators quick.

Since the primary use of a .22 Hornet is for varmint control, a reliable scope should have a magnification range of between 3x and 9x. Most predators and vermin can be tracked and shot within a 150-yard range. The power of the scope should allow for both close- and medium- range shots.

A great .22 Hornet scope also has exceptional construction. The scope body should be purged to prevent fogging. At the same time, a unibody construction will help prevent the ingress of both solid and liquid particles. Such a design characteristic ensures the optimum function of the scope’s sensitive internal components.

What Magnification Do You Need?

best scope for Ruger .22 Hornet

Choosing the right scope power or magnification depends on how you intend to use the device. For varmint hunting, the scope magnification you will need depends on the type of varmint that you will hunt.

Two of the most common varmints that people hunt are prairie dogs and groundhogs. These are small animals that are very alert. They can be very tricky to approach from a close distance. That is why you will need to hunt these varmints using a rifle with a medium-range scope. A good starting scope power will be 3x. You can then extend your scope power to about 7x or 9x.

One needs to remember that the magnification of a scope is useless if the quality of the glass is mediocre. A good .22 Hornet scope should have an excellent combination of clear optics and a wide objective power. Many varmint hunters prefer a scope with a 3-9x power as it gives them the versatility they need to track and kill the majority of pests.

If you are into hunting a specific species of vermin, then you can get a fixed scope. You can always pick one that has a magnification that will help you aim at the target at its maximum distance.

Factors to Consider when Buying a .22 Hornet Scope

best scope for .22 Hornet

Choosing from the best scopes for .22 Hornet rifle can be challenging to novice hunters. The confusion is almost always related to the newbie’s insufficient knowledge about the characteristics of a rifle that chambers the .22 Hornet cartridge. You need not fret, however. Your knowledge of the various scope factors can contribute to the selection of the right optical device for your .22 Hornet rifle.

Optical Quality

Glass quality is the single most important determinant of rifle scope performance. Viewing the target in exceptional detail is the inherent purpose of any scope. You want the scope to provide you with a very clear picture of what you want to shoot. When you look through the eyepiece, you would want the target to look as if it were only several yards away from you.

Evaluating the quality of the scope’s optics can be difficult. However, there are trustworthy brands that always put emphasis on the quality of their glass. They are your best choice when it comes to picking a scope for your .22 Hornet rifle.

Objective Size

The clarity of the target in your crosshairs can be enhanced by the amount of light that can enter through the scope. If there is more light entering, then you will be able to view the subject with greater clarity. This is especially true if you are hunting varmints at dusk or dawn.

Go for a scope with at least 33mm diameter of the objective lens. The ideal will be to get a scope with at least 40mm diameter. The problem with scopes with larger objective lenses is that they tend to be pricey and heavy.


Your choice of scope power depends on the intended purpose of the .22 Hornet rifle. If it is for varmint hunting, then you need a scope magnification of about 3-9x. For tactical purposes, a fixed 4x scope will be fine.

We recommend trying the scope yourself. Adjust the scope to its highest magnification and check whether there is a reduction in image quality. There are some scopes that provide excellent image quality in the lower range of magnification. Unfortunately, they may not provide the same level of quality when the scope is in its high power.


Varmints are remarkable creatures. They are cunning and can sense predators from a few hundred yards away. That is why you will need a scope that has very crisp adjustment mechanisms. Compensating your shots for the effects of gravity and windage can help you track these animals with greater accuracy.

It would also be good if the scope comes with turrets that retain their dynamics. You do not want to constantly calibrate your scope after every few shots.

Scope Body Construction

You will be mostly hunting in the wild. Your scope and rifle will be exposed to sand, dust, moisture, and other particles. That is why a good .22 Hornet scope should always have excellent protection from the elements. Check the seals of the scope body. Determine if the device has adequate fog-proofing.

(Source: [1], [2])


The .22 Hornet may have been overshadowed by the .223 Remington and other modern cartridges. However, one can never deny that the Hornet remains one of the most powerful, most accurate, and fastest ballistic systems on the planet.

Whether you are controlling varmints in your area or satisfying your lust for small game, you will need the right rifle scope. Scopes for the .22 Hornet more than complement the remarkable characteristics of the Hornet. These optical devices can make varmint hunting or small game hunting more exciting by giving you more accurate shots all the time. Now is the time to get your hands on the best scope for .22 Hornet rifles.

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