Find the Best Scopes for a .22 LR – Reviews and Buying Guide
The .22 LR Rimfire is one of the oldest and most commonly used cartridges. The .22 comes in the .22 short, .22 long, .22 Long Rifle (LR), and .22WMR (Winchester Magnum Rimfire).
You have a .22 rifle and now you’re looking for a scope for the .22? We’re having a look at the best rifle scopes for the .22 (LR) Rimfire to help you make the right choice.
- 1 How to find the top optic for the .22 (LR)
- 2 Our Top Picks of Rifleoptics for the .22(LR)
- 3 Best Rifle Scopes For .22 – Our Recommendations for a 22
- 4 Things to Consider When Buying a .22 Gunoptic – A Short Buyers’ Guide
- 5 Which Is the Best .22 (LR) Hunting Optic?
How to find the top optic for the .22 (LR)
You are a skilled shooter who is passionate about his craft. Why shouldn’t your equipment match your abilities by matching your rifle with the best 22LR scopes?
Picking the right scope is just as important as choosing a gun that satisfies your needs. After all, your shots will not be as precise unless you are both relaxed and confident in your products.
Our Top Picks of Rifleoptics for the .22(LR)
Here’s our list of the top scopes for a .22 LR Rimfire:
- Nikon ProStaff Rimfire with BDC Reticle
- Leupold VX-Freedom Rimfire
- Simmons 3 – 9 x 32mm .22 Mag
- Nikon P-Rimfire 2-7×32 BDC150
- Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7X32 Plex Rimfire
- Bushnell Optics Drop Zone-22 BDC Rimfire Reticle Riflescope
With so many brands on the market, it may be difficult to determine the best rifle scope for your .22 LR Rimfire.
You’ll find everything you should look for along with a few product suggestions in the following sections.
Best Rifle Scopes For .22 – Our Recommendations for a 22
Nikon ProStaff Rimfire with BDC Reticle
Nikon is recognized as a leader in its class because of the fantastic camera lenses it produces. Why, then, wouldn’t it be considered among the best when it comes to rifle scopes?
This Nikon Prostaff Rimfire has multi-coated optics that allow for up to 98 percent of light transmission. The 22 LR Specific Quick Zero-Reset Turrets make adjustments precise and easy to repeat.
This rifle scope is both water and fog proof, which means that you can use it when the sun is shining or on a cloudy day. The nitrogen-filled O-ring sealed keeps moisture out so that your shot is clear.
The Nikon Prostaff Rimfire comes with 3-9x magnification power. The forward lens measures 40 mm in diameter. Eye relief on the Nikon Prostaff optic is 3.6 inches and the field of view @ 100 yds is between 33.8 and 11.3 feet.
There is also a quick focus eyepiece attached that further contributes to the clarity and precision for the shooter. This product offers a full lifetime warranty from Nikon as do all other scopes from that manufacturer.
- Durable feel
- Sleek appeal
- Amazing clarity
- BDC is especially useful at long range
- Magnification is great
- Parallax requires adjustability
- Not ideal when you want to zero in on objects and hold the position for a while
Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm Rimfire Gunoptic
The Leupold VX-Freedom Rimfire scope is comprised of the highest quality materials and designed to be waterproof. This optic is tested for durability to ensure that it holds up when you need it most.
The VX-Freedom Rimfire scopes from Leupold come in 2-7×33 and 3-9x40mm variants and they both are a great match for the .22LR. They are surprisingly affordable while still providing you with the legendary Leupold quality and lifetime warranty.
The Leupold VX-Freedom scope is easily zeroed and adjustments when shooting are quickly performed. The optic comes with a (standard) 3:1 zoom ratio and multi-coated lenses. You get the VX-Freedom with either 2-7x or 3-9x magnification power.
Leupold’s VX-Freedom Rimfire offers what they call the Twilight Light Management System. It is designed to help you gather more ambient light in low-light conditions for a clear sight picture during dusk and dawn.
The reticle on the rifle scope is a traditional duplex reticle and is located on the second focal plane. It’s minimalist and highly versatile and allows for easy compensation of wind, elevation, and bullet-drop.
The VX-Freedom rimfire scope comes with Leupold’s lifetime warranty. It’s fog proof, waterproof, and shockproof. The aircraft-grade aluminum tube is designed to withstand the most demanding environments without letting you down.
The eye relief on the VX-Freedom 2-7×33 ranges from 3.7 to 4.17 inches. Elevation and windage adjustments can be made within a 75 MOA range. The field of view at 100 yards ranges from 43.8 to 17.8 feet.
- Sleek design
- Excellent precision
- Finding the target can be a bit challenging
Simmons 3-9x32mm .22 Mag Rifleoptic
Top-quality comes in the form of the Simmons 3-9×32 .22 Mag riflescope. There is a fully-coated optical glass lens that works well with the parallax preset that reaches from 50 yards and beyond.
Your view is that much clearer with the Simmons rifle scope because of the HydroShield coating that covers the lens.
Adjustments are made easy with SureGrip rubber surfaces that guard against slips and mistakes. This tool is great for those hunting in the rain.
The Simmons rimfire scope is coming with a 3.75 inch eye relief and 60 MOA adjustment range for windage and elevation. The field of view at 100 yards is between 33 and 11 feet.
- Great value for the price
- Mounting rings included
- Eye relief
- Lightweight and sleek
- Good quality
- Reticle is too thick
- Scope mounting rings do not fit mounting rail
- Not as durable as some in its class
- Crosshairs gets lost in the shuffle
- Clicks are hard to adjust due to stiffness
Nikon P-Rimfire 2-7×32 BDC150
There’s a second Nikon rifle scope that is a great choice for a .22LR. It’s the Nikon P-Rimfire BDC150. It’s specifically designed for the 22LR and provides great targeting between 50 and 150 yards.
The objective lens is matched to the magnification and use on a 22. It’s 32 mm which would be quite small for a long-range scope but it’s a great diameter for the zoom range or 2x to 7x.
The additional advantage is that the rifle scope is just slightly over a pound in weight which makes it easy to carry and also doesn’t impact the balance of your rifle too much.
The P-Rimfire offers rapid action turrets. In combination with the BDC reticle, it makes it easy to lock onto a target at a specific distance while you’re at the same time have a quick way to adjust for elevation.
The glass used by Nikon is ultra-clear and multi-coated. The image is clear and crisp and the coatings improve the light transmission and reduce glare. The multi-coated lenses provide an impeccable sight picture. Additionally, the scope is parallax free at 50 yards.
The rifle scope is a great match for a 22. The magnification is offering a great range for shooting with a .22 LR. The exit pupil is between 4.6 and 16 mm. The eye relief is a great 3.8 inches.
The scope tube measures 1 inch and is made from aircraft-grade aluminum. The optic is shockproof, waterproof, and fog proof and comes with Nikon’s lifetime warranty.
All features combined make this a great, if not the best overall, scope for a .22. Feedback from other shooters and hunters is overwhelmingly positive and it’s a great and affordable choice out of all the rimfire scopes available.
- Easy adjustments
- Perfectly matched reticle for the .22
- Fixed Parallax at 50 yards, not adjustable
Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7X32 Plex Rimfire
The Vortex Optics Crossfire 2 Rimfire scope comes with a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer. The Rimfire variant is just one of a number of different options you have within the Vortex Crossfire II scope family.
The Vortex Optics Crossfire II Rimfire scope is probably the top all-in-one optic for your .22lr for hunting purposes. It’s an all-purpose optic that is a great fit for hunting, target shooting, plinking, or homesteading, to name a few.
It has a one-inch tube diameter which is sufficient for light transmission and adjustments for shorter to medium-ranges.
The Vortex riflescope consists of a scope tube from aircraft-grade aluminum that adds a fantastic sense of durability with which others in its class may not be able to compete.
One of the advantages that Vortex gunsights, not only the rimfire scopes, have over many other optics is the coatings. The Crossfire II .22LR Rimfire is no different as it comes multi-coated to reduce glare, improve scratch-resistance, and light transmission which all contribute to making this a great choice for hunting. The improved light transmission helps with getting a clear and precise sight picture when aiming.
The scope tube measures 1 inch in diameter which is the standard for a 22 rifle scope. The V-Plex MOA Reticle is located on the second focal plane and is overall a great choice for hunting. The V-Plex reticle works very well for the 22LR and is one of the non-fuss reticles that makes your life easier when hunting.
The Vortex Crossfire II 2-7X32 Plex Rimfire scope comes with 3.9-inch eye relief. The rifle scope has a field of view at 100 yards between 42 and 12.6 feet. The windage and elevation adjustments range between 60 MOA.
The Vortex Crossfire II Rimfire is specifically designed for scoped 22 rimfire rifles. It’s one of the more compact rimfire scopes with an overall length of 10.71 inches. The overall quality of components and capabilities make it a serious contender as being the best 22LR scope you can get today.
- Excellent price for the quality
- Awesome clarity
- Great mounting
- Reticle focus is not that great
- Not ideal for precision shooting
Bushnell Optics Drop Zone-22 BDC Rimfire Reticle
The purpose of the Bushnell Optics DropZone-22 BDC is to detect targets and present a clear picture to quickly acquire a target. This optics has a fast-focus eyepiece along with target turrets with ¼ MOA click value that allow for precision when adjusting.
Fully multi-coated optics come standard with this sight so that the elements do not keep you from taking your best shot. The side focus parallax adjustment also helps with the goal of accuracy.
The Bushnell Optics Drop Zone-22 scope offers 3.4 inches of eye relief. It offers a 3.5 to 10x magnification and offers parallax adjustment to optimize performance for long-range shots.
- Excellent drop meter
- Quality build
- Flexibility with adjustments
- Too heavy
- Zero reset feature not available
- Performance is just decent and not great
- Glass may bubble when exposed to excessive heat
- Poor mounting capabilities
Things to Consider When Buying a .22 Gunoptic – A Short Buyers’ Guide
The optical power of a scope determines the level of magnification and overall usefulness of the product. Lower optical power less than 6x lets you get a better handle on target tracking at closer ranges along with more intuitive shooting.
Higher power above 16x gives incredible target resolution but is more massive. Your 22LR scope will also have less Field of View at such higher power, which will make it harder to acquire a target, specifically if it’s an animal on the move.
You may not want a large riflescope if you are not willing to pay more and prefer lightweight over heaviness. A higher magnification scope is typically ideal for someone shooting from a bipod or other form of support.
Most rifle owners avoid the debate between high and low magnification by purchasing a variable power scope. These devices let you choose different optical power levels without having to change scopes.
The objective lens is critical because it helps to capture natural light so that you can better view the target at hand. More light can transmit through the scope tube when you select a larger lens size.
More light equals a brighter sight picture and sometimes clearer image. You should keep in mind that, although a bigger objective lens size presents the notion of greater clarity, a larger lens requires higher mounting of the scope on your 22LR rifle. This will make your setup on your rimfire rifle bulkier and heavier to carry.
Depending on your shooting needs, this may or may not be an issue but if you’re trekking through the brush you want to pack lighter and a scope with a large lens will be heavier. Such a large scope definitely impacts the balance of your 22LR rifle.
A larger objective lens on a scope does help with shooting longer distances in lower light conditions.
There are many types of reticles, but three are the most common: duplex, mildot, and BDC.
Duplex reticles are the most common among their peers. Such a reticle is characterized by its thin center crosshairs that grow in thickness as the scope travels out.
The purpose of duplex reticles for scopes is to help the eye focus on the center. The width of the design going outward may also help when you are shooting in areas of low light. Duplex reticles are perfect for hunting trips.
Mil-Dot reticles are similar to duplex with the one significant difference of the mildot being that it has dots that assist in locating targets and estimating hold-over.
Precision can be honed using such scopes that have this type of reticle as the dots and reticle lines correspond to specific angles. Scopes with this kind of reticle are best for range shooting.
Bullet drop compensator (BDC) is becoming more popular than ever because of its ability to provide accuracy for shooting various target ranges.
Scopes with a BDC reticle allow you to go from near-sighted aiming and firing to far-sighted shooting without making any adjustments when you have a BDC reticle. This sort of rifle scope provides more flexibility than your average duplex reticle would give.
The Minute of angle (MOA) measuring system is the most common in the shooting arena. One primary benefit that comes with this sort of system is precise zeroing, which comes with fewer adjustments because of MOA’s small increments of measurements. This method is ideal for beginners and advanced persons who want to focus on precision.
The main problem associated with MOA is the complications that a shooter faces when he wants to calculate adjustments that exceed 100 yards. Such is the reason why using this measuring option is best when you have a duplex or BDC reticle.
Milradian (MRAD) measuring represents a fraction of an angle, which leads to more straightforward adjustments in the long run. You can use this form of calculating like you would an ordinary school ruler. Range shooters and those getting their feet wet in the industry may find this measuring option the most helpful.
Other things to consider
In addition to the features above, you should consider adjustable fingertip turrets on your scope. These accessories are great for hunters as well as long-range shooters. Beginners in the field may not find adjustable fingertip turrets as life-savers or anything special. Such shooters and hunters may consider sticking with the basics until they become more experienced and can appreciate such nuances on their rifle scopes.
Another point to consider is whether to consider scopes with illuminated reticles. You want to make sure that you purchase high-quality scopes in this class so that the additional perk does not become a hindrance in your quest to hunt and shoot your target. The last thing that you want is to make what should be a help something that is detrimental to your shooting and targeting.
Weight of a Scope with a large front lens and its impact on the balance
Lastly, you should consider the impact that a massive objective lens of a scope has on the usability and balance of the rifle. Generally speaking, scopes with an objective lens diameter above 40mm can get heavy and bulky and throw off your balance if you’re not shooting in bad light conditions and long ranges.
Still, larger lenses on a 22LR rifle scope come with perks, such as greater clarity of the sight picture and the possibility of more range, that some shooters cannot go without. It is generally a good idea to choose correctly sized scope rings if you know that your objective lens will be larger. You should also have a smaller gun with scope on-hand to assist when you want to be discreet while hunting.
Which Is the Best .22 (LR) Hunting Optic?
When comparing the devices with each other, the best rifle scope for a .22 is the Simmons 3-9x32mm .22 Mag Riflescope. Eye relief means a lot when you are in the wild for hours.
It’s the best affordable scope for the 22LR rifle. You do not want a scope that is too heavy to hold up, and you absolutely need a scope that is comfortable to hold and use. The Simmons scope provides all of the right features at a very affordable price.
The Nikon P-Rimfire is the overall best scope for the 22LR rifle in our opinion. It’s a more recent entry to the market for rifle scopes and offers all the perks you can ask for. It’s light, has superior glass, and is a perfect fit for the .22 LR Rimfire!
Another scope and brand you should never rule out is Vortex Optics. The Vortex Crossfire II 2-7X32 Plex Rimfire is affordable and provides good value for what you pay. It’s in our opinion the overall best rimfire scope. It’s one of those rimfire scopes that won’t shine in any category but that is a solid (best?) choice that will make you want to go out and shoot with it.