Best Rimfire Scope Reviews: Target Shooting With .22 Rifle
FACT: The best rimfire scope enables your .22 rifle to reach its full potential.
As you already know, the .22LR rifle has beaten all odds to become an all-time favorite option for all target shooters and small game hunters across the states.
It is budget-friendly, comes with a remarkable accuracy…
…and the fact that it has no recoil makes it ideal for young shooters learning the ropes of shooting.
To maximize the performance of your .22 rifle, you must equip it with a great rimfire scope.
Luckily, the market has multiple of them at your exposure.
BUT…we want you to spend more time shooting and less time worrying about which scope to pick. So, we set on a trip to find the best-performing scope for you.
And yes, we found the 10 top-rated models that we can assure you that they’ll outperform any other scope you’ve used before.
For more details about these top-of-the-line scopes (plus the criteria we used to pick them) read the following post…
What is a Rimfire Scope?
For those who don’t know, a rimfire scope refers to a riflescope dedicated for accurately shooting the .22 rounds.
Some hunters might argue that any other scope can work with these rounds. While this might be true to some extent, it’s good to know that a rimfire scope comes specifically ranged and calibrated for the .22 rounds.
And this means you can easily adjust and aim this type of scope precisely (using the built-in bullet drop compensator) to match the type of round you’re using.
You just need to determine your shooting range, set the correct range, and that’s it!
Other than this, it’s important to note that a great rimfire scope should be a 1” or longer tube- just like for the other scopes you use with your hunting rifles. Don’t get fooled into buying the smaller models for their low prices.
Just like any other scope you’ve used before, a rimfire scope comes well built. It features nitrogen purging and O-ring seals to make it suitable for use even in the extreme weather conditions.
As I’ve hinted you earlier, the market offers you many, many rimfire scopes to pick from. This means you should be extra careful when making a selection to ensure you choose the most suitable model for your needs.
In the next part, I’ll take you through the rimfire scope review list of the 10 top-quality rimfire hunting scopes I promised you…
10 Best Rimfire Scopes For The Money (.22LR):
1. Simmons 511039 3 - 9 x 32mm .22 Mag(R) Matte Black Riflescope:
We open our rimfire scope review list with the Simmons 511039 3 - 9 x 32mm riflescope. This is one of the most popular rimfire rifle scopes in America. It is a budget-friendly scope whose functionality is unquestionable. It presents you with a set of unique features that are sure to instantly overhaul the performance of your .22 rifle.
On purchasing this scope, you’ll receive the rimfire 3/8" dovetail mounting rings. These are ergonomic rings which makes it extremely easy for you to set up the scope. The Quick Target Acquisition aspect of this scope allows you to fire fast, visible shots- giving you the best target shooting experience. Note that it comes with a longer eye-relief of 3.75 inches which works together with the 50 yards parallax setting to make it easy for you to acquire targets. And thanks to its precise calibrations, shooting with crosshairs becomes possible and easier.
The 3-9x magnification range allows you to zoom in your targets for easy shooting. Regarding construction, this Simmons features a super-sturdy, one-piece tube design. Moreover, it is fogproof, waterproof, and shockproof. It is incredibly lightweight to prevent offsetting your rifle balance on mounting it. Overall, this rimfire scope will give you a new experience with your .22 rifle.
2. Bushnell Optics Drop Zone-22 BDC Rimfire Reticle Riflescope:
The Bushnell Optics Drop Zone-22 BDC Rimfire Reticle Riflescope is the best option for those planning to do to target shooting at longer distances. This is made possible by its power magnification range, 1/4 MOA windage/elevation turrets, and side parallax adjustment- all of which come together to make it possible for you to shoot sub MOA at 50 yards (or even achieve 1.5 MOA at 100 yards).
Add this to its drop compensation capability, and you’ll have an easy time shooting targets 125 yards away!
Some of the top features that put this riflescope on the map include the 32mm objective lens whose performance is only comparable to top-end models from reputable brands. The fact that this lens maximally transmits light through the 1-inch tube, enhancing the overall image clarity- as well as fast focusing on targets. The lens is also multi-coated to keep off reflections that might affect the image clarity.
Other key factors include a more extended eye relief of 3.7-inch and availability of sufficient wiggle room. It comes with target turrets which magically increases your “bull’s eye” accuracy. With a lightweight (weighs 19.06 oz.) and a compact (11.3 inches long) design, this scope is extremely easy to handle. Above all, it features a premium anodized aluminum alloy construction to withstand regular use.
3. BARSKA 3-9x32 Plinker-22 Riflescope:
Want to buy the best 22 rifle scope with a limited budget? Try this BARSKA 3-9x32 Plinker-22 Riflescope. Looking at its list of features as well as its overall performance and capabilities, you’ll also agree with me that this is a great deal at such a price. It comes specially engineered to enhance the already great performance of your rimfire or .22 rifles.
Suitable for general hunting and plinking, this monotube scope presents you with variable magnification of 3-9x. This lets you zoom in all your closer range targets for better clarity and high-precision shooting. It comes with top-end optics that offer you brighter clear images. The lens is also multi-coated for reduced reflection, improving the pictures of your target. Even better, the scope’s adjustable knob lets you fine-tune for windage and elevation with the 0.25-inch click adjustments.
This Barska is also built to withstand the toughest outdoors. This is evident from its shockproof, waterproof, and fogproof design. As a bonus, it comes with the 3/8 dovetails rings for easy, quick setup. With additional, great features like fully coated optics and 30/30 reticle, this is simply the best scope deal you can get for your .22 rifle on the market today.
4. CVLIFE Tactical 3-9x40 Optics R4 Reticle Crosshair Air Sniper Hunting Rifle Scope:
We couldn’t resist the urge to include CVLIFE Tactical 3-9x40 riflescope on our list of the best-performing riflescopes for rimfires. This is because it comes at an insanely low cost that’s no match for its overall construction quality and great features. Four your information, it shares the same great (aircraft aluminum alloy) construction with the high-end models.
One thing that compels target shooters to add this scope to their rifles is its ability to deliver superior images. It comes with fully multicoated optics with 90%plus light transmission capabilities, resulting in brilliant target images plus exceptional color contrast. Besides, the optics feature a scratch-resistant coating to prevent possible damages to its exterior. The precise windage and elevation adjustment couple up with the smooth 3-9x magnification power range to offer you the most accurate shooting experience.
Just like our previous model, this rimfire scope also offers you two FREE Scope Mounts for 20mm Rail for easy, hassle-free setup. The manufacturer even manages to make this scope 100% waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof- making it a highly reliable model you can trust to walk with you through countless sessions of your target practice.
5. Bushnell Performance Optics 510513 Simmons Rifle Scope:
Bushnell Performance Optics 510513 Simmons Rifle Scope stands halfway our list of the best scopes for 22lr. This particular scope made it to our list due to the premium features it offers you at an unbeatable price. It’s another living proof that you don’t have to spend a lot of cash to obtain a high-end rimfire riflescope. All target shooters, hunters, and plinkers will find this scope quite a gem.
One thing you’ll instantly note about this 8-point 3-9x40mm riflescope is its trueplex plate. This means that it comes with a trueplex reticle featuring a cross that extends all the way to the left, right, top, and bottom of your lens. And towards the middle, the crosshairs get thinner to allow you to let you easily view where your point of impact will be. For its price, there’s no doubt that this scope offers you the best image quality. It features fully coated optics which goes a long way in improving the contrast as well as enhancing the brightness- for clearer, crisper images.
Something else you’ll adore in this scope is its fast focus eyepiece- commonly knowns as European style system- which has become more popular nowadays due to its faster target acquisition capabilities. To endure the rugged shooting/hunting conditions you’ll be using it in, the scope comes with a shockproof, waterproof, fogproof, and fogproof design.
With such a list of impressive features, the Bushnell Performance Optics 510513 Simmons Rifle Scope has the power to tempt any target shooter looking for a great deal at an affordable cost!
6. Nikon ProStaff Rimfire with BDC Reticle:
Nikon is a respected name in the optics industry; they have given us countless high-end optics. And today, they present to you the Nikon ProStaff Rimfire with BDC Reticle. Like all their other products, this rimfire scope comes designed with the ultimate quality and offers you a list of remarkable features- all at an incredibly affordable price.
With a magnification range of 3-9x, this scope offers you a fantastic performance! It maintains consistent clarity, contrast, and crispness throughout the whole zoom range- allowing you to get even closer and more personal with your targets. Not only that, it comes with fully multicoated optics that maximizes light transmission like nobody’s business, further enhancing your image quality, even in low light conditions.
Unlike most of its competition, this Nikon comes with the BDC 150 type reticle, ensuring you enjoy more compensation markers for all your shooting conditions.
Similar to all the other models we’ve reviewed on this list, this Nikon rimfire scope comes with waterproof and fogproof design, plus its shock resistant, to suit it for use in the extreme shooting conditions.
And if anything goes wrong with your scope, you’ve nothing to worry as it comes with Nikon’s limited lifetime warranty as well as No-Fault Repair/Replacement Policy.
7. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7X32 Plex Rimfire:
Moving on with our best 22 scope reviews, we take a look at this Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7X32 Plex Rimfire. Characterized by exceptional light transmission, clarity, and accuracy at 25, 50, and 100 yards, this Vortex is a real deal when it comes to enhancing the performance of your rimfire riflescope.
The fact that this scope falls in the line of the Crossfire II line of products means it comes with all features similar to the other scopes in the same series. Case in point, it features a one-inch continuous tube constructed using hard anodized, aircraft-grade aluminum. This makes it a genuinely durable piece while giving it a lightweight feel. In addition to this, it features nitrogen purging as well as O-ring seals to provide you with outstanding performance in extreme weather conditions.
For optional, no-nonsense performance, this Vortex features resettable 1/4 MOA (elevation & windage) turrets that are cap protected. Besides, it comes pre-adjusted for parallax at a distance of 100 yards, providing you with a more precise sight picture. Better yet, it presents you with greater range windage and elevation adjustments- with maximum 60 MOA and ¼ MOA clicks for the ultimate precision when you’re sighting in.
Other notable features that make this rimfire scope the best option for target shooters on a budget include fast focus eyepiece, larger (42-12.6 ft.) field of view and a longer eye relief of up to 3.9 inches.
8. UTG 3-9X32 1" BugBuster Scope:
The UTG 3-9X32 1" BugBuster Scope comes designed such that it can endure shock as well as various adverse weather conditions. This makes it an excellent option for using when shooting/hunting in foggy or rainy weather conditions. Apart from this, it comes with other amazing features that make it a killer rimfire scope at its price.
One of the top aspects of the UTG falls in its Tactical Range Estimating mil-dot reticle. If you didn’t know, this refers to a more refined and improved Range Estimating concept and goes a long way in enabling you to shoot more accurately. Unlike the other mil-dots out there featuring 4 dots only, this one comes with up to 9 dots in all the crosshair directions- resulting in over 21 aiming points for your target. Thanks to the RGB illumination, you’ll always enjoy easy and fast access to the reticle light.
The durably constructed scope boasts emerald coated lens which gives you clearer and brighter images of your target. Moreover, it allows you to adjust its objectives from around 3 yards to infinity, allowing you to enjoy a parallax-free view that takes your shooting precision to a whole new level.
Other factors that contribute to the scope’s high performance include maximum light transmission, large field of view, and the premium zero lockable turrets & resettable turrets.
9. Simmons .22 Mag TruPlexReticle Riflescope:
Our second last spot for the best rimfire scope list goes to another Simmons product- the.22 Mag TruPlexReticle Riflescope. This best words to describe this scope are an elegant, decent, and budget-friendly rimfire scope. It comes with a set of innovative, user-friendly features that make not only make it unique but also a highly functional scope.
Equipped with fully coated optics plus top-quality optical glass, the scope delivers the best in terms of image quality so that you’ll never have to miss a shot with your .22 rifle again. Keep in mind that the optics are 100% fogproof, waterproof to keep adverse weather conditions from affecting the scope performance. Thanks to the custom parallax setting, making adjustments to this scope is pretty easy. And this translates to quick target acquisition- making the shooting process a snap.
Unlike most of the scopes on the market today, this scope comes with an ergonomic design to make it easier for you to use. This is well illustrated in its surefire grip rubber surfaces as well as adjustments which allow you to make adjustments easily, even when you’ve your hunting gloves on. Thankfully, FREE rimfire mounting rings also come included in the box to make the mounting and set up process a snap.
10. Nikon ProStaff Rimfire with BDC Reticle:
Finally, we have another great rimfire scope from the reputable Nikon company- the Nikon ProStaff Rimfire with BDC Reticle. Like all the other products from this manufacturers, this particular scope works tirelessly to ensure it brings virtually any shot closer to you for easier and more precise shooting.
It boasts Nikon’s fully multicoated optical system that promotes up to 98% transmission of the available light. This promotes maximum brightness in the low light, low contrast shooting conditions to give you a clearer target image for increased shooting precision. The scope goes a step further to simplify your field adjustments by presenting you with the zero-reset turret. You simply need to sight in as you usually do, then lift the spring-loaded adjustment knob, rotate to your “zero,” and final re-engage…it’s that easy!
All the target shooters will fall in love with the patented BDC reticle. It allows you to hold “dead on” at the ranges exceeding those that were previously thought possible in the earlier scope models. Because the BDC has unique see-through ballistic circles, they’ll offer you a huge plus during long-range shooting, while allowing normal sight image for short range shooting (where the crosshair acts as the aiming point).
Rimfire Rifle Scopes Buying Guide:
I know I’ve repeated this many times, but allow me to remind you one more time…
If you head to the market right now, you’ll be met with thousands of rimfire scopes- with different costs, designs, performance capabilities, manufacturers, and so on.
For sure, you’ll have to sweat to get the best rimfire scope for use with your .22lr.
As promised earlier, I’ve decided to share with you the selection criteria we used to pick our top-rated rimfire scope. This will save you time, headaches, and confusion.
Let’s look at this criteria for buying a rimfire rifle scope:
1. Check the scope construction
Considering that you’re about to make a significant investment that will cost you your hard-earned money, it’s important to check its overall construction quality.
Ensure the scope you plan to buy is designed from premium materials that will give it the strength and durability it needs to hold up to regular firing from your rifle. Most of the models come with aluminum construction to provide them with exceptional durability while giving them a lightweight feel.
Besides, make sure the scope tube is nitrogen purged and has O-ring seals. This will keep it safe from water and fog damages, enabling it to perform exceptionally well in harsh environments.
2. Is the scope dedicated to .22lr shooting?
The main reason you’re investing in the rimfire scope is that you want to use it with your .22 rifle.
That said, it goes without saying you should for a scope dedicated to enhance the performance of the rifle. By this, I mean that you should invest in a riflescope that's precisely ranged and calibrated for the .22lr rounds.
This will give you an easy time when aiming and adjusting the scope for the round, increasing your chances of hitting your target accurately.
3. What’s its magnification power?
Next, check the magnification power (or zoom range) of your scope…
As an experienced shooter/hunter, you already understand that rimfire ammo doesn’t perform well at long-range. This is usually because they’re small and lack the punch to travel over long distance.
With that in mind, I recommend you to go for lower magnification. If you go for longer zoom range, it’ll be useless and impractical because you won’t even use it.
Find a scope with a moderate range of around 3-9x. This would serve your needs excellently.
A word about fixed magnification:
A fixed rimfire scope should also be among your considerable options. Even with its fixed magnification, it still gives you the power you need to use your weapon at its usable range, plus it’s designed to be parallax-free.
If you’re planning to do some small game hunting, plinking or light/simple target shooting, fixed scopes come handy!
4. Lens quality and size contribute to the scope’s performance
There’s no debate on whether to check the lens quality or not. I strongly advise you to take note of the lens quality of the model you plan to buy as this will affect its overall performance.
Buying a multi-coated optics is highly recommended as it facilitates maximum transmission of the available light with minimized reflections- allowing you to see your targets better.
While still on it, go for lens with just the right size. Anything less than 32mm will give you poor quality images. And anything bigger than 40 or 42mm will feel/look too bulky for your .22lr rifle.
5. Ease of use
One thing you need to know about the new scope you’re about to buy is that it comes with some factory settings that you’ll need to adjust to meet your shooting needs.
Besides, different target positions will require you to make different scope settings.
Therefore, it makes sense that you should look for an easy to use rimfire scope so that you don’t take hours to fine tune it to match your shooting needs.
The size and type of the mounting rail might also affect your scope parallax settings, causing errors in your shooting.
Factor in all these aspects when looking for .22lr rimfire rifle scope to ensure you end up with an easy to use model.
6. Ensure you check the scope weight
A typical .22lr rifle has a lightweight design, is quite handy, and is ideal for young shooters. It weighs roughly 5 pounds in its stock configuration.
If you attach a too heavy scope to the rifle, therefore, it’ll significantly affect its balance, and this will cause difficulties in ease of handling as well as speed of movement. All this will amount to problems when hunting small games or the fast-moving varmints.
Take my advice: go for a lightweight (feather light, if possible) rimfire scope if you want to get the best out of it.
7. Finally, check your budget
When it comes to price, things are no different from other hunting equipment. You’ll get what you pay for.
If you want better features, you’ll need to spend more. If you spend on a cheap model with poor features, you’ll get frustrated.
But again, if you know what features to look for, you can get the best rimfire scope for targeting shooting with a limited budget.
I’ll explain this to you in our next section…
Rimfire Scope Under Budget: How To Select Yours
You don’t have to spend several thousands of dollars to get the best-performing rimfire scope.
But don’t get me wrong…you shouldn’t invest in a cheapy, delicate model to save your cash. As much as we’ve said that the .22 rifles have minimized kickback (and cheaper too), you need to understand that they tend to be shot more often and should hold up to frequent use.
Here are my thoughts on how to pick the best model under budget:
First, make a list of all the scopes that fall within your limited budget. Write them down on a piece of paper to make them easier to analyze.
Next, you’d want to compare their features side by side.
And when doing so, pay attention to the critical factors I’ve explained below:
Overall quality: look at the overall scope construction. It should bear a strong and durable material that will enable it to hold up to regular use for an extended period of time. Besides, it should feel light to avoid adding unnecessary weight to your rifle. Don’t forget to check the lens scope too.
Eliminate all the models that do not match your quality standards, then move on to the next feature…
Dedication: while any scope can do the job at hand, a rimfire scope suited for use with the .22 lr rifle is more suitable since it comes precisely ranged and calibrated for the common .22 rounds. Make sure your scope is a dedicated rimfire scope.
Magnification: Remember what we said about magnification in our buying guide section? Well, you should settle for low magnification always (something ranging from 3x to 9x). If you go for higher magnification range, it’ll be a waste of your time and money as you won’t use it.
At this point, you’re left with only a few options that are sure to meet all your shooting needs- having survived the elimination ax above.
You can make a decision on which of the remaining scopes to buy. You can make use of additional factors like brand to help you make a final decision for the best-performing rimfire scope at a lower price.
What Is A Rimfire Scope Good For?
Hunters into pest control, varmint hunting or those just practicing are well known for using rimfire rifles. And one of the fantastic aspects of these weapons is their bullets.
Even though they were the first cartridge ammunition to come into the market, these bullets have remained relevant and popular among shooters notwithstanding the emergence of centerfire bullets.
Of course, there's only one explanation we can give for this: rimfire bullets are ridiculously cheap to produce. And thanks to their smaller powder chamber, they don't require much gunpowder like most bullets.
This makes rimfire guns the prime choice for budget hunters. And due to their lightweight, you can carry them about all day without feeling exhausted. And even if you're practicing with them, it will take quite long before your arms get tired.
The scope is one of the most common accessories available for the rifle. Not only does it help you to use your gun more comfortably, but it also helps you to aim better so that you can become a better shooter. Every severe hunter is aware of this, which is why they would always have the scope in their rifle collection.
Among other uses, the rimfire scope is perfect for varmint hunting, plinking, and target shooting. And even if you're hunting little animals, you will still need a proper scope to help you locate them. Interestingly, most rimfire scopes can be used to hunt both large and small games.
Choosing the right ammo from the fray can be an incredibly hard decision especially if you're just starting out as a beginner. However, this may not be easy given the broad array of scopes in the market.
Hopefully, with our review of the best rimfire scopes in the market, choosing gear for your weapon shouldn't be overwhelming. Feel free to explore your options and choose a scope that will fit into your application.
Frequently Asked Questions About Rimfire Scopes
1. What is rimfire ammo?
Rimfire ammo refers to a different ignition method employed by the .17 HMR, .22 rifles, and so on. They show significant differences compared to the centerfire ignition method.
2. How should I use my rimfire scope?
A rimfire scope is just like any other rifle scope. You start by mounting it to your rifle correctly with the help of the correct bases and rings. Ensure the rest remains stable as this can affect the steadiness of your gun. When all is set, start aiming at your target, while making the necessary adjustments to suit your shooting conditions. And when the conditions are right, pull the trigger.
3. Can I use my rimfire scope while shooting rounds apart other than the .22?
As we’ve said time and again, a rimfire riflescope comes precisely ranged and calibrated for shooting the most common .22 rounds. It, therefore, does not make sense to use such scope for shooting anything else apart from .22
4. How much does a rimfire scope cost?
The cost of a rimfire scope varies from model to model based on key features such as overall quality, brand, performance, etc. That said, you can find an affordable scope with a limited budget (under $100) that comes with quality features.
If budget isn’t an issue, you can invest in the top end models that come with even better features and capabilities.
5. Can I use a rimfire scope for long distance shooting?
Not really. The .22 rounds are usually small and lack the power and punch to travel for longer distances. Also, keep in mind that the rimfire scopes are highly recommended for use with the .22 rifle as well as handguns since they’re meant for shooting closer range targets.
Why Use The Best 22LR Scope For Target Shooting?
It’s no doubt that nearly all shooters and hunters own some form of rimfire firearm- whether it’s a rifle or pistol.
This is a good thing, given that these rifles are highly affordable and fun to shoot with. Plus, they’re the most recommended firearms for beginner shooters (due to their reduced kickback).
Pairing your .22 rifle with a rimfire scope makes them shooting process even easier and more fun; this is especially the case for the new, young hunters as the act of hitting their targets right away makes them remain interested in learning shooting.
Keep in mind that rimfire scope is capable of making more precise shots, given the fact that they offer you a more detailed picture of your target, unlike the open sights.
Let’s look at some of the top reasons why should use the best 22LR scope for all your target shooting needs:
The difference between the costs is mainly based on the fact that centerfire scopes are usually large, consume more manufacturing material, and need to be overbuilt to hold up to calibers like the 300 Remington Ultra Magnum. Rimfire scopes are meant for use with the rimfire rounds which produce less recoil.
These models also come calibrated and ranged precisely for the most common .22LR rounds, so you’re sure that they’ll take the already brilliant performance of your .22 rifle a level higher!
If you’re hunting for the best rimfire scope, the above post will act as your guide as you sort out the countless models on the market to find the perfect one for your rifle.
Keep in mind that your end goal is to find a scope that gives your .22lr rifle the maximum potential- enabling you to fire the rimfire rounds with pinpoint accuracy.
Thus, ensure the scope you buy comes dedicated to .22 lr rounds shooting (that is, it should be precisely calibrated and ranged for all the common .22 rounds).
Our reviews section of the 10 top-rated rimfire hunting scopes will also set you in the right direction when doing your shopping.
If you order your scope from the above list right now, you’ve our full assurance that you won’t get disappointed or frustrated.