When you first start shooting, you need a rifle that can help you to get to grips with the basics before you start dealing with high power. A rimfire rifle provides the answer.
Rimfire rifles typically have .22 caliber bullets that don’t use a lot of gunpowder. This means they create less pressure, which results in less recoil. You can get several rapid shots off in succession, but you sacrifice some power to do so.
A good scope improves your accuracy, but you can’t use any old scope on a rimfire rifle. Going for the most expensive scope available won’t help if it’s so heavy that it takes away from rifle’s light weight and rapid-fire capabilities.
You need a scope that suits the rifle and this guide will help you to find it. Here are 10 rimfire scopes that offer great quality.
Best Rimfire Scopes 2018
Bushnell Optics Drop Zone-22 - Best Overall Rimfire Rifle Scope
The Drop Zone brings everything that you need from a rimfire scope into a single package. It has three turrets, all of which you can adjust easily with quick turns. There’s no stiffness, and each turret allows you to adjust a different setting so you can line a shot up perfectly.
The fast-focus eyepiece aids in these quick changes, meaning you don’t spend an age dealing with a blurry image following your adjustments. You just turn the turret and the image snaps back into clarity quickly.
You’ll also notice excellent build quality throughout. Bushnell use aluminum alloy to lend the scope durability, with the O-ring seals ensuring nothing gets inside the scope. They’ve also blasted the interior with nitrogen to get rid of any moisture before sealing it all up.
As for the lens, it has a 32mm diameter and variable magnification. You can switch between 2x and 7x magnification at will, making it a versatile scope for close and medium-range shooting.
You’ll also notice a couple of dots on the crosshair, which allow you to account for bullet drop. This is particularly useful when firing at the higher end of the magnification scale, as it lets you adjust based on your distance from the target.
The large 3.7-inch eye relief means that recoil shouldn’t become a problem. However, it’s on the heavier side, so you may have to adjust your shooting style to use it effectively. This weight also makes repeat shots slightly more difficult too.
Anybody who needs a versatile and durable rimfire rifle scope will find that this does the job well. It handles recoil well, allows for shooting over large distances, and focuses quickly on targets.
Leupold 113872 VX-1 Rimfire Scope - Best Lightweight Rimfire Rifle Scope
Weighing in at 8.2 ounces, this may be the best rimfire scope for people who enjoy shooting from a standing position. You barely have to compensate for the weight it adds to the rifle, which facilitates repeat shots as well.
It’s also an accurate scope, with its 28 mm diameter allowing quite a lot of light in. It may not be ideal for shooting in pitch black conditions, but it does the job well in most other conditions. The multi-coating on all of the glass components also guards against glare, so you don’t lose a shot because of the sun.
The duplex crosshairs keep things simple, plus they narrow down as they reach the center point. Unfortunately, there’s no way to account for bullet drop using the crosshairs, so you’ll have to rely on your own skills for that. However, the turrets do allow you to account for elevation and wind conditions.
Unfortunately, the turrets also don’t seem as well-fitted as they could be. They don’t adjust perfectly accurately, which means you may waste valuable seconds lining up a shot.
It also performs well for close and medium-range shooting thanks to its variable magnification settings. These range from 2x to 7x, though you may notice some blurriness around the edges of the scope at the higher settings.
Still, it’s both waterproof and fog-proof. The weather won’t affect your shots and you won’t have to keep wiping the scope down to get a clear image.
Anybody who shoots from a standing position will appreciate this scope’s lightness. It’s easy to use too, making it a good choice for novices.
Tasco .22 Rimfire Red Dot Scope - Best Rimfire Rifle Scope for Short-Range Shooting
Simplicity is the name of the game with this scope. It’s 1x fixed magnification makes it ideal for quick short-range shooting. Just point at the target and don’t worry about making too many adjustments.
However, it’s the red dot laser system that really makes the scope stand out. With short-range shooting, it’s all about zeroing in and getting the shot off fast, especially when shooting fast-moving critters. The laser lets you see exactly where you’re shooting, meaning even less time spent on making adjustments.
It’s versatile too, as it’s just at home on most handguns and some shotguns as it is on a rimfire rifle. However, its dovetail rail only fits Weaver-style bases, so you may need to buy a mount if your rifle has a different type of base.
The scope also stands out when it comes to image clarity. You get a full-HD view and don’t have to worry about how changing magnifications may affect clarity. The 30mm coated lens also allows enough light in for most conditions.
It also comes with a battery, though you may find it doesn’t last too long. You’ll need several batteries to hand if you want to shoot for an extended period of time.
This is a great scope for quick target shooting at short range, with the laser sight helping you zero in quickly. The versatility means you can use it across several guns too, so it’s good for handgun and shotgun owners.
BARSKA 3-9x32 Plinker-22 Riflescope - Best Rimfire Rifle Scope for Medium-Range Shooting
With its wide magnification range, this is an excellent scope if you like to vary your shooting. At the 3x setting, it offers enough magnification to zero right into close-range targets. The 9x setting works best at medium-range, though talented shooters may be able to use it over longer distances too.
The scope has a duplex crosshair, which narrows down as it reaches its center point. There are no dots to help you account for bullet drop, but the elevation and wind turrets make up for that. The 32mm lens also lets in enough light to help you rattle off shots in low-light conditions.
It’s a durable scope too, being shock, fog, and waterproof. You can take it out in practically any condition and still feel confident that it will help you to hit your target. BARSKA have enough confidence in the scope to offer a limited lifetime warranty, which covers manufacturing and material defects.
At 11.5 ounces, it’s light enough to allow for most shooting styles. You also get 3.5 inches of eye relief, which barely changes as you go up the magnification levels.
The aluminum body adds to the durability, but it is prone to scratching. This is more of an aesthetic issue, rather than a performance one. Such scratches don’t affect the internal mechanisms, but may make the scope a bit of an eyesore.
This scope’s sturdiness makes it an ideal choice for hunters, as it can withstand most conditions you may find yourself in. While it struggles over really long distances, it’s a good scope for medium-range shooting.
You may also like our list of best overall rifle scopes 2018.
Nikon ProStaff Rimfire with BDC Reticle - Best Rimfire Rifle Scope for Long Range
Nikon’s scope offers a magnification range between 4x and 12x, which means targets appear 12 times closer than they actually are at the highest setting.
It also has a 40mm lens diameter, which means the scope lets in plenty of light. It’s not great at dusk or dawn, but it should handle most other conditions well. The multicoated optics add to this, allowing up to 98% of all available light into the scope.
The turrets reinforce the quality on display, as you can reset your zero at any point. They’re spring-loaded too, which allows for quick adjustments when you’re out in the field.
The O-ring seals ensure no grime or water can get into the scopes interior, plus Nikon use a nitrogen filling. This gets rid of any moisture that may have gotten inside during manufacture, so you don’t have to worry about water clouding your view.
Bullet drop becomes an issue over long ranges, and the scope has you covered there too. The Bullet Drop Compensator (BDC) crosshair helps you adjust for your bullet’s trajectory. The circles also have see-through centers, so they don’t get in the way when you’re shooting at close-range targets.
The focus on long-range shooting does affect versatility though. It has a fixed parallax of 75m, so it struggles with targets in the 50m to 100m range. The scope also takes a while to come back into focus when you change magnifications.
This is an accurate and clear scope for long-range shooting, aided in no small part by the BDC crosshair. It’s recommended for hunters who need to hit small targets over large distances.
Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Scope - Best Rimfire Rifle Scope for Low-Light Shooting
Many of the rifle scopes on this list struggle with low-light conditions. That’s not a problem with this scope, as it performs brilliantly when the sky starts darkening. The 40mm objective lens diameter helps here, as does the lens coating that allows more light in.
It’s a good scope for distance shooting too, with a magnification range of between 4x and 12x. Importantly, the scope doesn’t lose any clarity when on the highest magnification settings. The duplex crosshair also keeps things simple, though it doesn’t help you to account for bullet drop over long distances.
Bushnell use a single piece of material to create the tube, meaning you don’t have to worry about bad joins allowing water and grime into it. In fact, it’s both waterproof and fog-proof.
The optics don’t just improve low-light shooting though, as they’re fine for use in bright conditions as well. In these cases, the coating wards off glare so you can keep a clear view of the target.
It has a fast-focus eyepiece, so you can quickly zero back in after changing your magnification setting. The 3.3-inch eye relief offers plenty of room, and doesn’t change as you move up the settings. It’s a versatile scope too, as it’s just at home on more powerful rifles.
Unfortunately, its size lets it down a little. At 12 inches long, it can look out of place on a rimfire rifle. The large lens also adds to the width, which can make it feel clumsy on lighter rifles.
Hunters who often find themselves out until dusk will appreciate this rifle scope’s focus on low-light conditions. It also has good range thanks to the high maximum magnification.
Vortex Optics Crossfire II - Best Rimfire Rifle Scope for Durability
The word “imported” sometimes sets manufacturing quality alarm bells ringing, but that isn’t a problem with the Crossfire II. In fact, it’s one of the most durable scopes around.
It starts with the single-piece tubing. Made using aircraft-grade aluminum, it has no gaps and can take a beating. This makes the scope shockproof, in addition to its being water and fog-proof.
The scope also has one of the longest eye reliefs available, maxing out at 9.45 inches. This is about three times more than you can expect from most scopes, though you likely won’t use all of it. However, it does mean you have plenty of room when using it at its highest magnification setting of 7x.
The 32mm lens diameter means it works well in light conditions, plus it offers a wide 18.3ft field of view (FOV). The multi-coating also prevents glare from affecting you as you aim at your target.
It has a versatile crosshair too, which you can use to estimate bullet drop, as well as the effect wind and elevation, will have on the shot. It’s a bit on the thick side though, which some may find intrusive. The scope also tends to lose some clarity on the higher magnifications.
Anybody who needs a rugged scope will appreciate the Crossfire II’s build quality. It’s ideal for close and medium-range hunting, though the scope blur can affect it at the highest magnification levels.
Vortex Optics Diamondback Rimfire Riflescope - Best Rimfire Rifle Scope below $200
Another durable scope from Vortex Optics, this works equally well on a rimfire rifle or on handguns up to powerful magnums. The use of aircraft-grade aluminum adds to the scope’s strength, allowing it to absorb high recoil easily.
The use of O-rings ensure tight seals around the lenses, plus Vortex use argon gas to get rid of any moisture inside the scope. It’s also resistant to water, fog, and shocks, making it a good all-purpose scope.
A lot of care has gone into the optics too, with the multi-coating having a dual function. Not only does it allow plenty of light into the scope, but it ensures light doesn’t reflect off the scope to give your position away.
Its 35mm diameter lens offers a nice middle-ground between the sleekest rimfire rifle scopes and the bulkiest. It also has several magnification settings, ranging from 2x to 7x.
Having said that, the eye relief lets it down a little. Though it’s sturdy enough for use on more powerful guns, the 3.1-inch relief may not be enough. The duplex crosshair does the job, but more advanced shooters may want to look elsewhere.
Another durable Vortex Optics scope, this is a great choice for hunters working in rough conditions.
Simmons .22 Mag Truplex Rifle Scope - Best Rimfire Rifle Scope below $100
A surprisingly durable scope given the price point, this offers shock and recoil resistance. It’s also fog and waterproof, so you can use it in practically any environment. The one-piece construction also aids with durability, as it means there’s no material welding at play.
Simmons’ big selling point is its patented Quick Target Acquisition (QTA) eyepiece, which the scope contains. This allows you to zero in on targets quickly and keep them in your sights. It has variable magnification to help with this too, going from 2x to 9x at the twist of a turret.
While the scope claims to have HD clarity, you may find that it falls a touch short of that claim. However, it’s certainly not foggy and should provide a clear enough image on the higher magnification settings.
The scope also comes with a set of rings for attaching it to your rifle and they’re of a fairly decent quality. Certainly not top-end but they do the job well for those on a budget.
It’s not perfect though. The turrets feel a little loose, which may affect adjustments if you aren’t careful. You may also notice that colors tend to wash out, which can make it difficult to pick out camouflaged targets.
Those looking for a functional and versatile scope on a budget should find all that they need here. The QTA eyepiece also helps when tracking fast-moving targets.
Tasco Rimfire 30/30 Reticle Scope - Best Rimfire Rifle Scope below $50
A no-frills package, Tasco’s 30/30 scope offers variable magnification up to 7x. There’s some blur and color washing at the highest levels, but you get surprising clarity given the low price.
Functionality is the most important thing here, as you’ll note when checking out the bare bones design. You still have turrets for making adjustments based on wind and elevation. Again, they’re not as accurate as costlier options, but they’re functional enough
The 20mm lens diameter means it’s not suitable for shooting in low light conditions. But as a bog-standard scope for daylight shooting it does the job. The optics also have a magenta coating, which let a little more light in than you may expect.
The small lens diameter also means a small crosshair, which can make it difficult to shoot at long ranges. Again, it’s functional enough for basic use, but it has a small FOV.
The hermetic seals should ensure that no moisture gets inside the scope. It’s easy to install too.
This makes a good substitute for a more advanced rifle scope, as you can pop it on and get back to firing if something goes wrong with your main scope. It’s also a good choice for novices who don’t want to spend too much on a new hobby.
The Final Word
Rimfire rifle scopes offer less versatility than standard rifle scopes. The size of the rifles they attach to mean that large lens diameters go out the window. Even those that have 40mm diameters look slightly out of place on a rimfire rifle.
Simplicity coupled with accuracy make up the formula for a good rimfire scope. Each of the scopes on this list offers that, though each has its own positives and negatives. Some also perform better than others, depending on the conditions that you’re shooting in.
The Bushnell Optics Drop Zone-22 ranks as the best overall scope, with only its weight being a point of concern. It offers clear optics, a large eye relief, and easily adjustable turrets. It also has a good crosshair that accounts for bullet drop and variable magnification.