Rimfire rifles make for great starter rifles, with many people choosing them to get used to hitting the target with a rifle.
Unfortunately, this means that they’re often less effective over long ranges. In fact, you’ll deal with a foot of bullet drop or more for any shot above 100m. That’s a huge drop that will affect your accuracy, especially if you’re a novice.
That’s why many decide to use a .22 rifle scope instead of shooting via the rifle’s sights. These improve accuracy and allow you to account for bullet drop, though you will have to accept that a .22 rifle has its limits.
The best .22 scopes have a light weight and allow you to fire off multiple shots in a short period of time. You also need to choose a scope that meshes well with your own needs. These are 10 of the best, broken down into key categories.
Primary Arms Fixed Power 6X32 Rifle Scope - Best Overall .22 Rifle Scope
With its fixed magnification of 6x, this is a scope that keeps things simple. The magnification level allows for medium-range shooting, though it also works fine over shorter ranges too. It offers a good middle-ground, making this a versatile scope.
The ACSS reticle really stands out. Instead of a line-based crosshair, you get an almost-complete circle with a dot in the middle. This really helps with zeroing in on your target, though some may prefer more traditional duplex sights.
However, it’s how the reticle lets you account for wind and bullet drop that makes this an attractive scope. It has five levels below the reticle, which allow you to shoot over a max range of 200m without bullet drop becoming an issue. The dots to the side of these levels also help you to adjust for winds of up to 5mph.
Unfortunately, the scope doesn’t come with an illuminated reticle, so it’s not a great choice for nighttime shooting. However, the 32mm lens does let a good amount of light in, so you may be able to muddle through with it. It also has a three-year warranty, which is a testament to Primary Arms’ confidence in the scope’s durability.
The scope also offers a wide field of view (FOV), clocking in at 17.5ft despite the 6x magnification setting. A 3.2-inch eye relief also makes it ideal for getting off quick shots, and it should account for recoil.
It’s not perfect though, as the reticle is quite small. This may cause problems if you use glasses, as it’s easy to lose sight of the reticle when shooting in brushy areas.
Anybody who needs a simple, yet versatile, scope should consider the Fixed Power. Those hitting targets over short and medium ranges will appreciate the detail in the reticle too.
Nikon ProStaff Rimfire with BDC Reticle - Best .22 Rifle Scope Below $200
The Prostaff impresses immediately with its wide magnification range. You can adjust between 3x and 9x magnification, meaning this scope allows you to shoot up to a distance of 400m. However, that does mean you’ll have to account for a lot of bullet drop at the higher settings.
Thankfully, the scope has Nikon’s Bullet Drop Compensator (BDC) reticle to help with this. Each circle accounts for a certain amount of bullet drop, depending on the distance to the target. They also have see-through centers, which give you a clearer sight of the target as you prepare to shoot.
The optics have multi-coating, which means that they let in about 98% of the available light. While this means it handles low-light conditions better than many other scopes, it’s still not designed for nighttime use.
It comes with a couple of turrets, which offer great accuracy. You won’t have to deal with any stiffness, plus they don’t overrun their marks with each twist.
The O-Ring seals keep out any grime, as well as ensuring no water or fog affects the scope’s innards. Nikon also blast each scope with nitrogen before sealing it to ensure that no moisture remains in the interior.
It’s a durable scope too, which Nikon reinforces by offering a full lifetime warranty. Very few scopes match this, so you can feel confident taking the ProStaff out in any conditions.
Unfortunately, you may find that the eye relief is a little unforgiving, which limits your ability to take quick-fire shots. It also has some trouble keeping its focus at the higher magnification levels.
The combination of the BDC reticle and high magnification settings make this a good choice for shooting over larger distances. Anybody who’s worried about their scope not lasting for a long time will also appreciate the lifetime warranty.
Bushnell Optics Drop Zone-22 - Best .22 Rifle Scope Below $100
An extremely versatile scope with an affordable price, the Drop Zone-22 has a variable magnification range of between 2x and 7x. This allows for shooting up to distances of about 200m. The three turrets help you make smaller adjustments, plus they turn quickly with none of the stiffness that can delay shots.
The fast-focus eyepiece really stands out here, as it helps you to zero onto your target with ease. The BDC reticle is simple, offering a crosshair and three dots to allow for compensation over larger distances. It’s not illuminated though, which means this is another scope that’s not suited for nighttime conditions.
Having said that, the multicoated lenses do a good job of letting the maximum amount of light in when shooting in low-light conditions. Its 32mm diameter lens also helps with this too, so you shouldn’t struggle too much as long as there’s a little light around.
The O-Ring seals ensure that dust and moisture can’t get into the scope. Nikon also use a nitrogen-blasting technique to get rid of any internal moisture before they ship the scopes out. This all combines to ensure a clear view of the target, even in difficult conditions.
It is one of the heavier .22 scopes though, weighing in at almost 20 ounces. This may make it difficult to keep steady, especially if you’re using it for clay pigeon shooting. It also doesn’t have any way to reset your zero.
This is a good scope for those who prefer shooting while balancing their rifle on the ground or another surface. If you’re a standing shooter, you may want to look elsewhere.
Also check out our list of top 10 best rifle scopes.
Simmons 511039 3 - 9 x 32mm - Best .22 Rifle Scope Below $50
Though it’s imported, the sheer quality of the 511039 helps it to stand out from other scopes in its price range. The 32mm lens has full coating, which protects against glare as well as letting more light into the scope. It also has a variable magnification ranges of between 3x and 9x.
As a result, it’s a decent scope for mid-range shooting. It also comes with its own set of rings. Unfortunately, they’re not of the highest quality, so you’ll likely have to buy another set to keep the scope mounted securely.
The turrets aren’t the easiest to adjust, but they do have rubber grips. This really helps in wet conditions, as it means your fingers don’t end up slipping while you’re trying to line your shots up.
It’s quite light too, weighing in at 9.6 ounces. This means you won’t have to change your shooting style due to the scope.
Simmons claim a generous eye relief of about 3.75 inches, which offers plenty of space for recoil absorption and rapid-fire shooting. Some may prefer to get a little closer to their scopes, but this large eye relief works well for novices who are still getting used to the mechanics of shooting.
This scope works best for novices who want something affordable that will help them get used to using a scope. It also makes for a good substitute for your main scope.
Vortex Optics Crossfire II - Best .22 Rifle Scope for Durability
Clumsy hands may appreciate the shockproof nature of the Crossfire II. Drops don’t seem to affect this scope, which may make it a great choice for people who shoot in difficult conditions regularly. It’s also fog and waterproof, which adds another layer of protection.
The use of a single piece of aircraft-grade aluminum also helps the scope in the durability stakes. There’s no welded joints that might allow grime to get into the scope, plus the aluminum offers plenty of resistance to outside influences. However, it does add to the weight, so you may want to reconsider your choice if you shoot while standing.
The scope has a huge eye relief, coming in at 9.45 inches at the lowest magnification setting. This may frustrate some, as it means you have to hold the rifle further away to get an accurate shot. However, it does mean that recoil will never become a problem.
The simple reticle narrows down as it reaches the center point, which allows for more accurate shots. However, there’s no way to account for bullet drop, which means you may struggle to hit your mark when using the higher magnification settings.
Still, it offers a clear picture at all of its magnification settings, plus it has a large 18.3ft FOV.
This may be the best scope for people who face difficult conditions regularly while shooting. It’s also a good beginner’s scope thanks to the large eye relief.
Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 4-12x40 - Best .22 Rifle Scope For Low-Light Shooting
Few .22 scopes offer much in the way of low-light shooting capabilities. The increased lens size required, plus any IR technology, generally increases the scope’s weight to the point where you can’t mount it on a .22 rifle.
However, Bushnell finds a way around that with its Dusk & Dawn scope. It’s a touch bulky, with a weight of 15 ounces putting it among the heavier scopes on this list. However, the trade-off is a special lens coating that allows more light in, plus a 40mm lens diameter that does the same.
You also benefit from a wide range of magnification settings, with the scope capable of reaching a top range of 12x. Clarity remains good throughout all of these settings too, so you won’t have to worry about blurriness affecting your shot.
The large lens diameter also contributes to an excellent FOV of 29ft over 100 yards, though this decreases to 11ft at the higher settings. It has a simple duplex reticle too, though there’s not much help for accounting for bullet drop. You may have to rely on your own judgement when shooting over large distances.
Still, the fast-focus eyepiece helps with this because it allows you to get target back in your sights if you underestimate bullet drop. The 3.3-inch eye relief allows for plenty of room, plus the scope’s durable enough to handle higher-powered rifles too.
The special coating makes it an ideal choice for low-light shooting, so it’s worth bringing this scope out if you anticipate spending a long time outdoors. It also has a strong top magnification setting, so distance shooters may get more out of it.
Leupold 113872 VX-1 Rimfire Scope - Best Lightweight .22 Rifle Scope
Every .22 rifle has a limit when it comes to the weight of the scope that it can carry. The Leupold 113872 falls well under that limit. At 8.2 ounces, it may be the best scope for people who prefer shooting while standing.
This low weight, coupled with a 3.5-inch eye relief, also means this scope can handle rapid-fire shooting without losing its zero.
The lens has a 28mm diameter, which is on the smaller side, even for .22 scopes. As a result, it doesn’t let as much light through as many of the other scopes on this list. The multi-coating used on the lenses helps with this, but this may not be a great choice for low-light shooting.
It does have variable magnification, which ranges from 2x to 7x. The scope maintains a clear view at its top end, with eye relief never falling below 3 inches. Leupold’s dedication to quality construction shines through with the scope’s fog and waterproofing too.
They also keep things simple in regards to the reticle, which is a simple duplex crosshair that narrows down at its center point. This helps you to get accurate shots off. However, it won’t help you over longer ranges when you have to adapt for bullet drop.
People who like to experiment with shooting styles may find that this scope’s lightweight offers them the versatility they need. It’s also a good starter scope, especially for younger shooters.
Simmons .22 Mag TruPlex Reticle Riflescope - Best .22 Rifle Scope for Short-Range Shooting
A simple scope, the TruPlex offers a single 4x magnification. This makes it a good choice for short-range shooting, especially when targeting fast-moving marks. Just point and shoot, with no real adjustments required.
The scope also offers plenty of clarity, with a HD-quality image helping you to see exactly where you’re shooting. The TruPlex reticle is really just a standard crosshair that tapers into a small circular reticule in the center though. It doesn’t account for bullet drop, but you don’t need that when firing over short ranges.
The 32mm lens lets in plenty of light, plus the coating adds a little more. It also prevents glare from causing an issue when you’re lining up your shots.
It’s also surprisingly durable, being shock, fog, and waterproof. Simmons also claims that it’s recoil-proof, but that’s unlikely to be the case on any rifle more powerful than a .22.
It also comes with a set of mounting rings, which should do the job nicely in most cases. The grooves on the turrets also make it easy to make quick adjustments as needed.
Anybody who has to deal with pests in their property will appreciate the simplicity of this short-range scope. It’s also a good choice for practicing at the range.
You may also like our list of best rimfire scopes.
BARSKA 3-7x20 Rimfire Riflescope - Best .22 Scope for Medium-Range Shooting
An exceptionally affordable scope, you may expect the BARSKA to be the definition of the “you get what you paid for” cliché. However, it’s surprisingly versatile.
Though it only has a 20mm lens diameter, the range of magnification settings make up for that. It doesn’t lose much clarity at the higher settings either, which makes medium-range shooting much easier. On top of that, the high FOV of 21ft per 100 yards is at the top-end of the scale for scopes of this type.
The optics also have a coating, which allows some more light into the narrow lens. Of course, having a narrow lens also means this has a streamlined design, so you won’t have to deal with much extra weight while shooting.
The 30/30 reticle is pretty basic, offering no markers to help you to account for bullet drop. However, the thick lines keep it visible when there’s a lot going on in the background. Like the rest of the scope, its no-frills approach gets the job done.
The scope does fall down somewhat when it comes to eye relief. You only get 2.5 inches at the lowest magnification setting, with the relief falling further as you zoom in. On the plus side, you do get a set of rings with the package, so you can mount the scope straight away.
Those looking for a cost-effective scope that can hit targets at mid-range may want to take a look at the BARSKA. It’s simple too, so it’s an excellent choice for novices.
BSA 6-18X40AO Sweet 22 Rifle Scope - Best .22 Rifle Scope for Long-Range Shooting
It’s not often that you see a .22 scope that offers 18x magnification. But that’s what you get with BSA’s Sweet 22. All told, you can choose any magnification between 6x and 18x, plus you get a surprisingly clear view at the top magnification.
It offers a 3-inch eye relief, which is at the lower end of the scale. You’ll have to get in close for long-range shots, which means accounting more for the recoil. It also makes shooting less repeatable, though that’s rarely an issue when shooting over long ranges.
The basic duplex reticle does the job well enough, but it could use some way to help with bullet drop. As it stands, you’ll have to manually adjust depending on the distance of the shot.
The 40mm lens diameter makes up for that though, as it allows plenty of light in. This should help with taking shots in low-light conditions.
It also has three turrets to help you adjust for elevation and wind speed. They’re easy enough to adjust with an Allen key, though you don’t get one with the scope.
This is a great scope for long-range shooters who can adjust for bullet drop on their own. Beginners may shy away though, as it’s not the easiest scope to use.
The Final Word
Before choosing a scope for a .22 rifle, you need to know which features benefit you the most. For example, those shooting in low-light conditions should look for multi-coating and large lens diameters. Alternatively, higher magnification levels and BDC reticles become more important for long-range shooting.
The Primary Arms Fixed Power 6X32 Rifle Scope wins out here because of its combination of simplicity and precision. It also has one of the best reticles around, plus you get a long warranty with your purchase.
However, each of these scopes has something unique to offer. Consider your needs and compare them to the information in this review to find the .22 rifle scope that works best for you.