The .22LR is one of, if not the most popular rifles sold today. It is mainly because it is quite reliable, and the ammunition is fairly cheap. However, the range of this particular ammo is not that far. You can extend it though using the best rimfire scope for .22LR rifles.
When you use the right scope, you can virtually unlock capabilities of the .22LR that you previously were not aware of. However, there are so many models and brands out there that picking just one can be hard. If you know what to look for, though, the search will be much easier and that is what you will be learning through this article.
Quick Answer: The 15 Best Rimfire Scopes for 2020
- Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Rimfire Riflescope
- Nikon Prostaff Rimfire II 3-9×40 BDC 150 Reticle Riflescope
- Nikon Prostaff Rimfire II 4-12×40 BDC 150 Reticle Riflescope
- Bushnell AR Optics 2-7×32 Drop Zone-22 BDC Rimfire Reticle Riflescope
- Simmons Truplex .22 Mag Riflescope
- Vortex Optics Diamondback 2-7×35 Rimfire V-Plex (MOA) Riflescope
- Leupold VX-Freedom 2-7x33mm Rimfire MOA Reticle Riflescope
- BARSKA 3-9×32 Plinker-22 Riflescope
- Primary Arms 6×32 Non-Illuminated ACSS 22LR Reticle Riflescope
- BARSKA 4×32 Plinker-22 Riflescope
- Nikon Prostaff Target EFR 3-9×40 AO Matte Precision ReticleRiflescope
- BSA Sweet .22 3-9x40mm Riflescope
- Burris Droptine 2-7x35mm Ballistic Plex .22 Reticle Riflescope
- Bushnell Rimfire Optics 6-18×40 Riflescope
- TASCO Rimfire Series 3-9x 32mm 30/30 Reticle .22 Riflescope
First, let’s take a look at the top-rated rimfire scopes, then we’ll talk about how to choose the right one for you in our buying guide below.
Best Rimfire Scope for (.22LR) Rifle Reviews of 2020
#1 Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Rimfire Riflescope
The Vortex Crossfire II has many different iterations but the Rimfire scope is probably the most popular of the bunch. If you are in search of an all-in-one hunting rifle then this one is it. The thing I liked the most about the Crossfire II Rimfire scope is its wide range of intended applications.
You can use it for plinking, squirrel hunting, and homesteading, among many other uses. You do not need to buy several different scopes anymore. You just need this one. This is especially true if you are looking for your first .22LR optics.
One of the signature features of Vortex scopes is the excellent lens coating. All Crossfire II scopes are fully multi-coated. This means that both the objective and the focal lenses are covered with multiple layers of anti-reflective film.
However, it still allows the objective lens to gather as much light as it can from the environment to make sure that the sight picture is as clear as possible. There is one gripe that I have against the Crossfire II rimfire optics, though, and that is the reticle always seems out of focus.
#2 Nikon Prostaff Rimfire II 3-9×40 BDC 150 Reticle Riflescope
Nikon knows that rimfire rifles are here to stay. Aside from being very fun to shoot, they are also quite accurate at their maximum effective ranges. This is why the company has a variety of rimfire scopes in their catalog and one great option for the best rimfire riflescope is the Prostaff Rimfire II.
This variable scope has a range of 3x to 9x zoom, which is the perfect power for most .22LR rounds and similar caliber bullets. When you are shooting at targets at the maximum effective range of 200 yards using the maximum power of the scope, it will seem like your target is just a little over 22 yards away.
The thing I love the most about the Prostaff Rimfire II is that it has a specialized reticle for .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire rifles. The BDC reticle does not only allow the rifle to shoot accurately at targets up to 200 yards but also lets you use the bullet-drop compensation to shoot at targets up to 500 yards away.
#3 Nikon Prostaff Rimfire II 4-12×40 BDC 150 Reticle Riflescope
This is one of the best .22LR scopes from Nikon but this time, the magnification is slightly increased. This scope is good for those who want to push the limits of the .22LR, specifically for those who wish to hit their targets that are set beyond 200 yards. This variable scope has fully multi-coated lenses and a large 40mm objective lens.
With all of these options in place, it ensures efficient light transmission, thus producing a clear and crisp sight picture. You can be sure that you will be getting a clear image regardless of the magnification. However, the edges will seem to blur at maximum zoom.
I liked the specialized reticle developed by Nikon, especially for scopes for rimfire rifles. With the combination of the increased magnification and the specialized BDC 150 reticle that allows for effective bullet drop compensation, a skilled marksman can efficiently and accurately hit targets that are far beyond the .22LR’s max effective range of 200 yards.
#4 Bushnell AR Optics 2-7×32 Drop Zone-22 BDC Rimfire Reticle Riflescope
Bushnell has been in business for many decades and the reason being the company has only been pumping out quality products ever since it started. The Bushnell AR Optics 2-7×32 is one of the top rimfire scopes that ever came out of their factories.
This .22LR BDC scope has a specially designed reticle by Bushnell that makes shooting beyond the .22LR’s maximum effective range possible and quite easy. The reticle has a BDC especially made for rimfire rounds, making it easy to make adjustments.
I particularly liked the Bushnell’s turrets that have deep knurling. I noticed that this makes them easy to adjust. Also, the auto-reset to zero is nice. This makes making adjustments on the fly much faster and easier than ever.
There is one issue I have with this scope and that is its weight. This scope is probably one of the heaviest .22LR scopes around. Even though it is not so heavy that it affects the aiming of the rifle, you can still feel the weight after a while. This scope is almost twice the weight of most rimfire scopes.
#5 Simmons Truplex .22 Mag Riflescope
If you are looking for a quality rimfire optic but you do not have that big of a budget, then the Simmons Truplex .22 rimfire scope might just be up your alley. This best cheap rimfire scope is packed with so many features that you would think that it costs much more than it truly does.
I particularly liked the lens coating on the Truplex. The Truplex has fully multicoated lenses that allow maximum light transmission while still preventing reflection quite efficiently. Also, you do not have to worry about the lenses getting fogged up as the tube is nitrogen purged to prevent it from happening.
You will get a clear picture regardless of the weather. It is also completely waterproof, so you do not have to worry if you happen to get caught in the rain. It would not do anything to your scope. The turrets are also equipped with Simmons’ SureGrip knurling that I find helpful in easily and conveniently adjusting the elevation and windage.
The turrets are also spring-loaded so they will spring back to zero so you can make corrections easily. The thing that I did not like about the Truplex, even though it is one option for the best scope for .22LR rifle is the built-in ring.
#6 Vortex Optics Diamondback 2-7×35 Rimfire V-Plex (MOA) Riflescope
The great thing about the Vortex Optics Diamondback 2-7×35 Rimfire is that it is not just a good scope for .22LR rifles. You can also use it for short-range shooting. This makes this the ideal scope for hunting small animals and even varmints.
You can even use this for hunting big game as you can make your shots count taking into account just how accurate this is. One pleasing fact about this scope is the sturdy built. I noticed that it is sturdy enough that you can mount it on shotguns and even in muzzle-loaders.
This scope can withstand quite a lot of recoil without getting damaged. It will not even lose its zero after consecutive firings. With that said, this scope is also quite shockproof, which is good news if you have butterfingers and would usually drop your rifle.
The tube is purged using Argon gas, which yields better results compared to using nitrogen and the ends are sealed using beefy O-rings. This ensures that the scope is completely waterproof and fog-proof. You can use this scope for hunting regardless of the weather. Even when it is drizzling outside you will have a clear view from this scope.
#7 Leupold VX-Freedom 2-7x33mm Rimfire MOA Reticle Riflescope
Leupold has been making quality optics pretty much since the day the company started, and the VX-Freedom 2-7x33mm is not an exception. This rimfire scope provides all of the things that are expected from it and more. If you are out shopping for your first riflescope, then this is one of the best value rimfire scope options.
The VX-Freedom uses a system called Twilight Light management to help it gather more ambient light from the environment, ensuring that you will always get a clear sight even when it is dark outside. This makes this scope the ideal companion when you are out hunting small or big game at any time of the day.
You can also use this for plinking at your local range. I truly liked the ¼ MOA click adjustment. The turrets have a satisfying clicking feature to them, making them easy to adjust. Also, they spring back to zero, so making quick corrections on the fly is possible.
#8 BARSKA 3-9×32 Plinker-22 Riflescope
The .22LR is not just great for hunting and homesteading. Another reason why the rifle is so popular is that it is also great for plinking, which is another term for target shooting at the range. For those who mainly want to use their .22LR rifles for plinking, the BARSKA 3-9×32 Plinker-22 is the best budget rimfire scope to use.
The Plinker-22 is probably the best .22LR scope for target shooting made by Barska, thanks in part to rimfire rifles’ continuing popularity. This scope is specifically designed with rimfire ammunition and rifles in mind. What’s more? It is mainly designed for plinking, especially with the ¼ MOA adjustments.
With this, I am sure that it can help make shots beyond 100 yards accurate. The Plinker-22, although designed for plinking, is also a formidable scope for hunting. It is completely waterproof, weatherproof and shockproof. It can survive any kind of punishment Mother Nature can dish out on it.
The fully multi-coated lenses also maximize light transmission, ensuring that you will get a bright and crisp sight image regardless of the light condition outside. Furthermore, I am impressed with the anti-reflective coating as it prevents light from bouncing off the lenses. This further prevents you from giving out your position to your target.
#9 Primary Arms 6×32 Non-Illuminated ACSS 22LR Reticle Riflescope
If you are one of those who are quite particular about using fixed power scopes instead of variables, the Primary Arms 6×32 Non-Illuminated ACSS 22LR Reticle Riflescope might just be the scope that you are looking for. This is one of the best choices for .22LR rifles and it is definitely worth your time.
This compact rimfire scope has an ACSS reticle that is perfect for plinking and for hunting small animals and varmints. It has integrated BDC, range finding capabilities, and windage adjustments. I noticed that it can get all of the information that you will need just from the reticle alone.
One of the things I liked about the scope is the low-profile capped turret. The turrets have enough knurling on them that allows for easy adjustments on the fly. The turrets are also set low to give the scope a nice, sleek look.
#10 BARSKA 4×32 Plinker-22 Riflescope
If you are in the market for a good quality riflescope for your .22LR rifle but you do not have that much of a budget, this scope is a perfect choice. The Barska 4x rimfire scope is one of the best budget fixed power scopes that are in the market these days.
This fixed power scope is perfect for plinking, which is what it is designed for. The reticle of the Plinker-22 can provide you with quite a lot of information. You can get BDC, windage, elevation, and range finding from this reticle alone.
I am also giving a thumbs up on this scope’s anti-reflective lens coating. The fully multi-coated lenses maximize the amount of light transmitted through the scope, thus providing you with the brightest and clearest sight image possible.
#11 Nikon Prostaff Target EFR 3-9×40 AO Matte Precision ReticleRiflescope
If you are one of the people who take precision and accuracy seriously even if you are only shooting .22LR ammunition, then you need to check out the Nikon Prostaff EFR a look. This scope is one great choice for high-quality rimfire scope for the money that ever came out of the Nikon factories.
This is according to a lot of top shooters out there who have used this scope themselves. One neat feature I noticed in this scope is the adjustable objective lens. I find it useful in making adjustments to the scope to minimize the amount of parallax to just a little over five yards.
It also lets the scope make precise shots even at maximum range. There are only a few rimfire scopes with this feature. I am also impressed with this scope’s turrets, especially their auto-reset to zero functions. It is because of their usefulness in making quick adjustments and corrections.
If you make the wrong adjustment to your windage, for instance, you can just reset it to zero so you can make new adjustments quickly. However, one fault in this scope that I observed is that the center dot of the reticle is a bit too large, making aiming with complete precision a bit too hard.
#12 BSA Sweet .22 3-9x40mm Riflescope
If you want to maximize the capabilities of your .22LR, you need to slap on the best scope that you can find. In this case, it is the BSA Sweet .22 scope. The neat thing about this scope is that you can easily alter it to handle other rounds.
The BSA Sweet 22 is specifically calibrated so that you can use it accurately on .22LR rifles without too many adjustments. You can use this scope without much trouble. The moment that you mount it on your rifle, it is just that good. Now, if you will be using higher velocity rounds, you can just swap out the installed turrets for the appropriate ones.
This scope also comes with an adjustable objective lens. This means that you can make parallax adjustment to the point that it will be almost negligible. This scope has features that you usually only find in high-powered riflescopes for snipers.
The thing that I like about this scope is that it has turret adjustments at ¼ MOA clicks, making it highly accurate. You do not have to do any guesswork as you can set everything to your ideal values. This will make an already accurate rifle even more accurate.
#13 Burris Droptine 2-7x35mm Ballistic Plex .22 Reticle Riflescope
Long-range accuracy does not need to be complicated. In the case of the Burris Droptine scope, it can be simple, easy, and quick. If you have a marginally decent budget, you can get a good quality scope in the form of the Droptine 2-7x35mm scope.
The Burris Droptine scope is probably one of the sleekest-looking scopes out there. All the curves are clean, the joints are fine, and it is just overall a beautiful looking scope that would add a lot of style to any rifle. However, take note that those are not the only benefits that you can gain from this scope.
However, the Droptine is not just all style and no substance. It is quite the contrary. The lenses are crafted using high-quality optical glass, giving the user high clarity sight images. The lenses are precision-ground for faster focus and efficient light transmission.
Add to that the efficient lens coating used. The amount of light transmitted by the objective lens is more than enough to give the user a clear and contrasting image.
#14 Bushnell Rimfire Optics 6-18×40 Riflescope
Do you want to find out just how far you can accurately shoot your rimfire rifle? If you do then you need to check out the Bushnell Rimfire 6-18×40 scope. This high-powered scope is specially calibrated for rimfire cartridges so you can shoot at dimes from 50 yards away right out of the box.
The scope has ¼ MOA adjustments so you can adjust your aim with pinpoint accuracy. You will not be doing any guesswork anymore. You just dial in your sight and you can hit anything square in the center. It is almost impossible to miss your target when you are using this scope.
The scope also comes with a side focus parallax adjustment, which I genuinely like. This is a nice little feature that you would usually only see in high-powered sniper scopes. I am also impressed with the solid built of the scope. With its solid structure, even small falls and bumps will not make it lose its zero.
#15 TASCO Rimfire Series 3-9x 32mm 30/30 Reticle .22 Riflescope
The Rimfire Series of scopes by Tasco is specifically made for .22LR rounds and similar. This variable powered scope is ideal for a multitude of tasks. However, this scope shines when you use it for hunting. The wide viewing angle makes the scope one of the most widely used optics available.
It also uses a Magenta lens coating. The color makes the lenses less reflective. The light transmission of the objective lens in conjunction with the Magenta lens coating provides the user with high contrast yet crisp sight images even at low light conditions.
I like the mono-tube construction as it virtually guarantees that the scope will be waterproof and fog-proof. The fact that it is nitrogen-purged and sealed with beefy O-rings will only make the scope perform even better. I think that this makes the scope the ideal partner when you are out hunting small or big game.
If there is one thing that I did not like about the Tasco Rimfire scope, it would be the included scope rings that are not that great as they would often come loose. You should get a quality set of mounting rings as a replacement for the ones that came with the scope.
- What is a Rimfire Scope?
- What Makes a Great Rimfire Scope?
- What Magnification Do You Need?
- Factors to Consider when Buying a Rimfire Scope for .22LR Rifle
What is a Rimfire Scope?
The rimfire scope is called as such because of the ammunition used by the rifles that it is primarily used for. Rimfire scopes are made for rifles chambered for .22 LR and similar ammo. Rimfire ammunition is typically low recoil, which is why rimfire scopes generally have short eye reliefs.
One reason why rimfire ammunition is called as such is that its cartridge is made of thin brass. At the bottom of its casing, you will see a thin sheet of primer. This means that the hammer just needs to hit any part of the rim to ignite the primer and make the powder charge combust and expel the bullet.
Rimfire cartridges are limited to only low caliber rounds (.17 and .22 caliber) because of the way they are constructed. If you were to make a .45 caliber rimfire ammunition, the powder charge will be too much for the thin brass cartridge, causing the ammunition to explode in the chamber.
Rimfire vs. Centerfire Scopes
You can use centerfire scopes on rimfire rifles but you cannot use a rimfire scope on a centerfire rifle. As mentioned earlier, rimfire ammunition is limited to small calibers because of how fragile their construction is, which means they have low, if any, recoil whatsoever.
This is the reason why scopes made for rimfire are made without considering the recoil strength. If you use a rimfire scope on a centerfire rifle, the recoil produced by each round will jar the scope so much that it might mess up the zero. In some cases, the recoil of the rifle might even be strong enough to jar the lenses out of their bases.
On the other hand, although you can technically use centerfire scopes on rimfire rifles, they are so heavy that it makes them so awkward to use. Also, most centerfire scopes’ mounting brackets do not fit the receivers of rimfire rifles. You need to find mounting rings that fit both the scope and the rails of the rifle.
Another reason, and probably the most important one, is because they are sighted differently. Rimfire scopes have their parallax sighted for fifty yards and most centerfire scopes have their parallax sighted at 100 yards.
Of course, you can remedy this by buying a centerfire scope with an adjustable objective lens, but that would be such a huge waste of money if we are going to be practical.
What Makes a Great Rimfire Scope?
A great rimfire scope is the one that suits your needs. However, since this might be a pretty broad term for many, this specific section will focus on some of the more specific things that make a great rimfire scope.
First of all, the scope should be lightweight. The rifle that the scope will be placed on will be lightweight so putting a heavy centerfire scope on it will make it extremely heavy. If a good part of the rifle’s total weight comes from the scope then it defeats the purpose of using a lightweight scope.
Also, a great riflescope has clear lenses. This will allow more light to get inside the scope and give you a clearer sight picture. The lens should be clear all over, not just at the center. Also, if you will be getting a variable magnification scope, the focus should be sharp at all magnification settings.
What Magnification Do You Need?
If you will be using the scope for rifles chambered for the .22LR then you will be mostly using it for medium-range target shooting or for hunting small animals and varmint. Medium-range is usually 100 to 200 yards, but with the right scope and lots of skills, this range can be extended up to 500 yards.
If you want to shoot at targets at the maximum effective range of the .22LR, which is around the 200-yard mark, you can compare different scopes quite easily using some basic math.
For instance, if you are comfortable shooting with iron sights at say 25 yards, you just need to divide 200 yards with 25 yards, which gives you 8x. Also, since there are no scopes that are just 8x power, you can use variable scopes using 3-9x magnification scopes.
If you will be using the scope for homesteading or for exclusively hunting small animals and varmints, you can choose to use fixed 9x scopes. The advantage of fixed magnification scopes is that you can acquire your targets much faster since you do not have to fiddle around with the magnification.
This is best when your targets are small and fast-moving. On the other hand, variable power scopes provide you with more range literally. You can use variable scopes for shooting at short ranges and even for CQB. If you want to have a scope that you can use for different tasks, it is better to get a variable scope.
Factors to Consider when Buying a Rimfire Scope for .22LR Rifle
When you are in the market for the best rimfire scopes, there are some things that you must take into consideration to make sure that you do not waste your money on a product that you will not even find useful.
Objective lens size
The objective lens refers to that part of the scope positioned or located in front. The main function of this lens is to transmit light into the scope. If the lens can gather a lot of light, the image that you will see in the focal lens (the one at the other end) will be clearer.
If you want it to be able to transmit a higher amount of light then consider going for a bigger objective lens. However, remember that bigger lenses also translate to them being heavier. This is why you should spot for a balance between the two.
The lens coating prevents light from reflecting off the lens of the scope. There are several different configurations when it comes to lens coatings. However, these days, most scopes are fully multi-coated. In other words, both external lenses have multiple layers of anti-reflective film installed.
Find the scope that has the best light transmission while also preventing light from reflecting off the lenses. With this capability, you have a guarantee that nothing will ever give away your position to your target and allow it to escape.
Because the .22LR only has a maximum effective range of around 200 yards, you do not need a powerful scope. For this distance, you can get by with a 9x magnification.
You can also use a 12x scope if you want but that will be a bit overkill. Keep in mind that if you get a scope with a stronger magnification then expect it to work in magnifying even the slightest movement as well. Also, you do not want to use a magnification that is beyond the range of your rifle.
Fixed or variable power
There are advantages and disadvantages to using either fixed or variable power scopes. For instance, variable scopes can be used for a myriad of applications, from CQB to medium-range shooting.
On the other hand, target acquisition is much faster when you are using a fixed power scope. You can expect this to be suitable for hunting and homesteading. You need to find out what you will be using your scope for, so you can figure out if you need to get a fixed or variable power scope.
The weatherproofing capability of the scope is necessary, especially if you intend to utilize your rifle for hunting. When you are in the great outdoors, you have no power to predict the weather so you will never know if it is at risk of turning for the worst.
It could be clear and sunny one minute and then drizzling with rain the next. You will need your scope to be clear all the time, so look for one with complete waterproofing, fog-proofing, and dust-proofing capabilities.
This is the max distance between a pair of eyes and a scope’s focal lens that can still promote the clarity of pictures. In rimfire scopes, this detail is not that important as the rifles chambered for rimfire rounds do not have that much recoil, to begin with. This is why rimfire scopes usually have eye reliefs of three inches or less.
With all this information in your hand, shopping for the good rimfire scope that you can buy will be enjoyable and hassle-free. Taking all key points and factors into full consideration can assure you of getting a hold of a scope that adheres to your unique requirements.
Rimfire rifles will always be popular. Aside from being easy to use, they can serve and fulfill plenty of functions. The ammunition they use are dirt cheap. You can buy .22 rounds for less than 3 cents each. Because the .22 rounds do not pack that much in terms of stopping power, you need to make sure that every shot that you make counts.
One way to ensure this is by using the best rimfire scope for .22LR. Many different rimfire scopes are available these days but not all of them work quite as well as you thought they would. With the information you gained from this article, you now know all there is to know about rimfire scopes, which will make buying the best one a whole lot easier.