Best Scope For .22 250 – 11 Best Scopes [Reviewed 2021]

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The .22-250 is a flat-shooting, long-range and high velocity round that finds plenty of support in the varmint hunting circles, especially those who go after prairie dogs and other varmints up to coyote size. Because this round can reach more than 1,000 yards, many shooters want a riflescope that takes full advantage of the cartridge.

Just want scope recommendations? Skip the technical talk and data and skip to the reviews for a handy buying guide.

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Products

BEST FOR QUALITY

NightForce Competition

NightForce Competition

  • Diameter: 52mm
  • Magnification: 15-55x
  • Length: 16.2 in
BEST FOR CRISP IMAGE

Leupold Mark 5HD 7-35x56

Leupold Mark 5HD 7-35x56

  • Diameter: 56mm
  • Magnification: 7-35x
  • Length: 15.7 in
BEST FOR MAX RANGE

March Scopes High Master 10X-60X56

March Scopes High Master 10X-60X56

  • Diameter: 56mm
  • Magnification: 10-60X
  • Length: 16.25 in
BEST FOR BETTER TARGET

Burris Optics Xtreme Tactical 5-25x50mm

Burris Optics Xtreme Tactical 5-25x50mm

  • Diameter: 50mm
  • Magnification: 5-25x
  • Length: 16.31 in
BEST FOR LONG RANGE

Athlon Optics Ares ETR 4.5-30x56

Athlon Optics Ares ETR 4.5-30x56

  • Diameter: 56mm
  • Magnification: 4.5-30x
  • Length: 15.3 in
BEST FOR HQ GLASS

Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II

Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II

  • Diameter: 50mm
  • Magnification: 4.5-30x
  • Length: 14.3 in
BEST FOR ACCURACY

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-24X50 AO

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-24X50 AO

  • Diameter: 50mm
  • Magnification: 6-24x
  • Length: 14.5 in
BEST FOR DURABILITY

Primary Arms SLx 4-14x44mm FFP

Primary Arms SLx 4-14x44mm FFP

  • Diameter: 44mm
  • Magnification: 4-14x
  • Length: 13 in
BEST FOR CLEAR IMAGE

Sig Sauer Whiskey 3

Sig Sauer Whiskey 3

  • Diameter: 50mm
  • Magnification: 4-12x
  • Length: 16.25 in
BEST FOR NIGHT VISION

ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Edition

ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Edition

  • Diameter: 70mm
  • Magnification: 5-20x
  • Length: 14.9 in
BEST FOR THERMAL VISION

ATN ThOR LT 320 5-10x

ATN ThOR LT 320 5-10x

  • Diameter: 50mm
  • Magnification: 5-10x
  • Length: 11.5 in

Using industry data, Chuck Hawks lists the .22-250 as the 10th most popular centerfire rifle round in the United States.

Need For Speed

The round is a screamer with speeds of more than 4,000 FPS possible.

The .22-250 is not the original screamer. The .220 Swift is actually two years older. However, the .22-250 is on the list of the fastest commercial rounds available today. The list does not include wildcats such as those David Petzal writes about.

In terms of performance, the .220 Swift pushes a 48 grain bullet past the 4,000 FPS mark. The .22-250 achieves almost identical results with less powder and a cartridge shape that feeds better from a box magazine. A 40 grain pill can hit 4,200 FPS, according to Hodgdon Powders.

Few other commercially made rounds can approach this kind of speed. For those who demand even more, wildcats are the place to seek more velocity.

Terminal Performance

The .22-250 excels at taking down varmints from coyote-size down. Because the bullet is moving so fast and is so small, exit wounds on bigger animals generally do not happen. The bullet fragments, some people call it "explodes," within an inch or two after impact.

That's fine on thin-skinned critters. On bigger animals with hefty bones, the .22-250 is just not the right round.

The bullet delivers plenty of energy at the muzzle, but dumps it in a hurry. Also, it sheds energy rapidly. At 300 yards, the punch is less than half what it was at the muzzle with a 50-grain projectile.

Still, in states where it is allowed, the .22-250 sees use as a deer hunting cartridge. With proper bullet placement, it will take down any game animal in North America. Shot placement must be exact for a humane kill.

Range

Because of the energy dump, the .22-250 is not particularly well-suited to long-range shooting, and should be considered a mid-range cartridge for use on yote-sized varmints. The max range for song dogs with this gun is 500 yards.

Yes, people kill coyotes at greater distances with a .22-250, sometimes dropping them on the spot. This does not change the fact that a .22-50 is not an ethical gun for long-range coyote hunting. If you pop prairie dogs or other small game, then reaching out to 1,000 yards is ethical.

Barrel Life

The .22-250 was developed in 1937 and had a reputation as a barrel burner. It stayed a wildcat until 1963 when Browning came out with the Browning High Power in .22-250. At the time, no one was offering mass-produced ammo. Remington released a version in 1965 and the .22-250 has been a mainstay ever since.

With advances in metallurgy, barrel life is greater than it used to be. Still, the .22-250 is going to wear out a barrel much faster than a .30-30.

22 250 Barrel

Barrel life depends in large part on the loads. Hotter loads and faster speeds will wear it out faster. Estimates range from 1,000 to as many as 4,00 rounds, depending on the load.

In general, the throat wears out first. This makes sense because the heat of the gas reaction is most concentrated in the throat area.

Shooting a powder-operated gun is essentially putting a torch to the barrel, especially at the throat. The more you shoot it, the more the metal there is impacted. In guns with bigger powder loads and higher velocities, the torch is hotter. For instance, wearing out the barrel of a .22 long rifle can take 10,000 rounds because the pressure and heat at the throat is much lower than a .22-250.

Shooting a powder-operated gun is essentially putting a torch to the barrel, especially at the throat. The more you shoot it, the more the metal there is impacted. In guns with bigger powder loads and higher velocities, the torch is hotter. For instance, wearing out the barrel of a .22 long rifle can take 10,000 rounds because the pressure and heat at the throat is much lower than a .22-250.

Handloader Info

Many people choose to load their own ammo to get maximum accuracy. If that's you, here is some useful information.

The .22-250 is based on the .250-3000 Savage. It is necked down to take a .224 bullet, the same as a .223/5.56. The case head, where the primer is seated, is the same as a .30-06 and the various calibers also based on the venerated '06.

22 250 Handreloader

The .22-250 uses a large rifle primer. Handloaders have a variety of powders available. Hodgdon H380 is one of the most popular and is named for the round. Bruce Hodgdon used 38.0 grains under a 55 grain pill to get the most accuracy possible.

Most factory barrels are a 1:12 twist, which is perfect for bullet weights of 55 grains or less. Using a heavier bullet needs a slower twist, 1:8, but few rifles are offered with this. Most shooters want speed, which means smaller bullets.

MOA or MIL

Some scopes offer adjustments in minutes of angle (MOA) and some in milliradians (MIL or MRAD). It is a shooter's choice which one you pick. Fractional adjustments, or click values in both formats, are very similar.

For most shooters, the difference between MOA and MRAD will never matter. Certainly, your target will never care about the difference.

Keep This In Mind

When picking a .22-250 scope, keep in mind this is a gun that will hit small targets at moderate to long range. You need high magnification to get maximum use.

Good light gathering capability is also important. Parallax correct or parallax focus, is critical.

The focal plane is important. If you are going after small targets that like to move, a second focal plane is the best way to go. If you just punch paper, then a first focal plane will get the job done.

You need the second focal plane to keep the crosshairs from obscuring your target too much at long range. A prairie dog moving two inches at 700 yards might be covered up by a first focal plane scope reticle.

If your crosshairs completely cover the target part of the area around the target, target acquisition will be slow and you will be investing a lot of guesswork into making that shot count.

1. NightForce Competition 

22 250 scope

Nightforce appears on top scope lists for long-distance shooting because the scopes are simply that good. Nightforce accounts for more modern military sniper kills than any other scope. The scopes also hold the lion's share of world-record target shooting trophies.

Superior glass, a light-gathering capability that is a field leader, pulls in 92 percent of the available light. Some light loss is always going to happen as the light travels through the scope.

The reticle adjustment for sighting is .125 MOA, half that of the standard 1/4 MOA. This is another major reason why this scope leads the pack.

The Competition model comes in four reticle choices:

  1. CTR-2 is .016 crosshairs and a .095 MOA dot in the center.
  2. CTR-3 is the .016 crosshairs and nothing else.
  3. DDR-2 is two .172 MOA horizontal crosshairs, a .095 MOA dot in the center and a 3 MOA dot below the center. Vertical indicators are place at 1/2, 1, 2 and 2.5 MOA increments.
  4. FCR-1 has .016 MOA crosshairs with vertical and horizontal hash marks in 1 MOA increments.

Every model has adjustable turrets for making shot-to-shot adjustments. When you are done, the reset turrets will bring you back to your range-set zero. NightForce scopes are also some of the most durable in the industry, boasting an aircraft-grade aluminum construction and a sealed interior design that is waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof - in other words, it's going to hold up to pretty much anything you can throw at it.

NightForce Competition

The price of NightForce Competition varies, so check the latest price at

2. Leupold Mark 5HD 7-35x56mm Riflscope

best scope for 22 250

Leupold's reputation for excellence and quality is just as good as Nightforce's. However, a few things separate the two, especially when it comes to finding the best scope for the .22-250.

This scope comes in a 35 mm tube and a 56 mm objective lens, which combined with Leupold's patented Twilight Light Management System means it has top-level light gathering capabilities even in low light conditions. The drawback is 35mm rings are harder to find than rings for a 30mm tube.

The 35x magnification range delivers a wider field of view than scopes with a higher setting. At the same time, this a lot better than scopes with a low maximum magnification.

It has eight reticle choices, some of which are illuminated. Optics Planet allows you to see each reticle to pick the right one for your shooting needs. The Tremor 3 provides the most through-the-tube information.

This scope has tactical turrets to allow you to make shot-to-shot adjustments. Once you are done, it returns to the zero you set. It has a fast-focus throw lever on the side. All of these features combine to make this one of the best varmint scopes on the market.

Leupold Mark 5HD 7-35x56

The price of Leupold Mark 5HD 7-35x56 varies, so check the latest price at

3. March Scope High Master 10X-60X56

best scope for 22-250

If maximum magnification is your need, the March High Master is the way to go. With a 60x zoom feature, you are covering about 2 feet at 100 yards. That is 20 feet at 1,000 yards. You should be able to see the whites of their eyes with this scope.

March has been around a while but does not enjoy the same brand recognition as other makers. It has a solid reputation with air rifle competitors. Give them time and they will catch up in the centerfire market.

The only issue some shooters have with the March is the eyebox, which, in simple terms, is the combination of eye relief and exit pupil that determine what kind of sight picture you get down the tube. Leupold explains eyebox in this video. Bear in mind, eyebox is relative. Some shooters find the March is ideal and others say it needs help.

The scope comes with six reticle choices, some illuminated and some not.

The turrets allow you to make in-field shot adjustments. The return to zero means you quickly get back to your range settings.

The parallax focus will take a bit of getting used to. The settings are tighter, closer together than on many other scopes. Just go slow when making adjustments.

The glass features a typical lens coating to improve light collecting ability. That, combined with the big front bell means shooting in the twilight hours should be easy, while still providing enough anti-reflective protection to shoot in broad daylight without the need for a sunshade.

March Scopes High Master 10X-60X56

The price of March Scopes High Master 10X-60X56 varies, so check the latest price at

4. Burris Optics Xtreme Tactical 5-25x50mm

22-250 scope

Burris offers this long-range scope in seven different models. You can get desert camo, tan or black. You can get illuminated or not-lighted reticles. You can choose from MOA or MIL-dot.

The Hi-Lume glass coating improves light transmission down the tube.

The 25x maximum magnification puts this scope in the moderate range for a .22-250. If you only plan to shoot to 500 yards, this magnification level is all you should need. If you want to reach farther out, especially on smaller targets, considered another scope.

Burris Optics Xtreme 5-25x50mm

The price of Burris Optics Xtreme 5-25x50mm varies, so check the latest price at

5. Athlon Optics Ares ETR 4.5-30x56 Riflescope

scope for 22-250

The Athlon is a first focal plane reticle optic. Out to 500 yards or so on smaller targets this should not be an issue. It's certainly ideal for coyotes. On prairie dogs past that, the reticle may cover too much for a decent shot.

The reticle comes in choices, two in MOA and one in MRADs. The tan-colored version only comes in the MOA reticle.

The reticle is engraved on glass. Etched reticles stand up to heavy recoil better than wire. However, the recoil on the .22-250 is extremely light so this does not make a difference either way for this rifle.

The zero stop turrets mean you can return to your true zero even in the dark. With 110 MOA available windage and elevation adjustments, this scope offers the most travel of any in the review.

It has a fast focus throw lever.

Athlon Optics Ares ETR 4.5-30x56

The price of Athlon Optics Ares ETR 4.5-30x56 varies, so check the latest price at

6. Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II Riflescope

best varmint scope for 22 250

This is Bushnell's flagship scope. The company optimistically calls this one "the King of 2 Miles." With a 30x maximum zoom, getting tight on a target is easy enough.

The scope comes in matte black, FDE or gray colors. Only the gray version has an illuminated reticle. Otherwise, you have three reticle choices.

Adjustments are made in mils (see discussion above).

This scope is made in Japan, a country known for producing superior optics for many different applications, and this one is no exception, easily pulling double duty as a bench rest optic or a hunting scope.

The scope has a removable focus lever.

Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II

The price of Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II varies, so check the latest price at

Best Budget Scopes

If you are looking for a high quality scope that is easier on your wallet but still delivers adequate performance, here are our top picks. These scopes will miss a few of the features and some of the durability of top-end scopes, but most hunters will not care about the differences.

Two things you still want in a good .22-250 rifle are magnification and a large front bell.

7. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-24X50 AO

best 22 250

The glass in this scope is not quite as good as some of the high end scopes. You can expect about a few minutes less shooting time around dawn and dusk compared to some others. If most of your shooting is during day hours, this is a great scope. The fast focus eyepiece is also a nice feature for varmint hunting, especially for something like prairie dogs that could be appearing across multiple distances.

It has a Dead-Hold BDC reticle, which is the Vortex version of a reticle with hash marks for bullet drop and windage, allowing you to make quick holdover adjustments on the fly. Vortex says, "The Dead-Hold BDC reticle can be used effectively with a variety of firearms, including high powered rifles, rimfire rifles, black powder rifles and slug shotguns. This reticle also provides reference marks which can be used to compensate for bullet drift in windy conditions or to range distances."

The online spec sheet gives you the bullet drop for each of the hash marks.

Like many scopes with a much higher price tag, the Vortex comes with a lifetime warranty. If something breaks, you are covered. I personally find Vortex optics to be quite sturdy, and this one should have no problems with whatever weather conditions or general wear and tear you throw at it.

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-24X50 AO

The price of Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-24X50 AO varies, so check the latest price at

8. Primary Arms SLx 4-14x44mm FFP

best 22-250

In addition to retailing a wide variety of shooting supplies, Primary Arms has its own line of products. The SLx 4-14x44mm is an excellent budget-minded scope that delivers. This is a tactical scope as well.

The reticle is illuminated.

The scope is designed around a .308. This may sounds like a drawback, but it is not. Every scope with fixed marks on the reticle requires the shooter to know where the bullet impacts along the sight trees. No reticle will exactly match any bullet and gun performance because of variables in loads and shooting conditions.

If you load the .308 on the lighter side, it and the .22-250 share similar ballistic drops over distance.

It has a side-mound parallax focus knob, but Primary does not say what the range is.

Primary Arms SLx 4-14x44mm FFP

The price of Primary Arms SLx 4-14x44mm FFP varies, so check the latest price at

9. Sig Sauer Whiskey 3

22 250 varmint rifle scope

If you shoot handguns, you know about Sig Sauer. This handgun company recently entered the optics market. The Whiskey3 series offers several zoom range choices. This model with a 12x maximum setting offers three reticles, one illuminated.

This is a short to moderate range scope because the parallax is fixed at 100 yards. That becomes an issue when you reach past 500 yards. Anything under that and you should know your setup well enough that parallax should not be an issue.

Sig Sauer Whiskey 3

The price of Sig Sauer Whiskey 3 varies, so check the latest price at

Night Hunting

In many places, coyotes and some other varmints made be hunted at night. Night hunters have three choices where night hunting is allowed.

• Use a spotlight and a regular scope.
• Use a night vision scope.
• Use a thermal scope.

If matched with a decent spotlight, any of the above scopes will give you enough sight picture to take down a songdog or a hog at the max distance for the light. We recommend using a red or green filter on your spotlight.

10. ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Edition Night Vision

ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Edition

Night vision, the green screen images, has come a long way. It is considerably cheaper than thermal optics, but does not have the same range. Night vision needs moonlight or infrared illumination to give the sensors enough information for a sight picture. You can add an IR illuminator.

The ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Edition is a day and night scope, which means you do not have to wait until dark to head to the range to sight in. This scope gives you a choice or reticles.

This scope records video in 1080p and is recoil activated. In other words, you pull the trigger and it records. That is less for you to worry about.

This and the ATN below both offer 1-shot zeroing.

ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Edition

The price of ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Edition varies, so check the latest price at

11. ATN ThOR LT 320 5-10x Thermal Scope

ATN ThOR LT 320 5-10x

The advantage to thermal optics is you do not need any illumination source. The scope picks up heat signatures. In the LT 320, you can choose black or white as the image.

The disadvantage is the price, which is several times more than a night vision scope.

The effective shooting range of this scope is about 300 yards on good conditions. Thermal scopes are not as affected by fog drifting through the area, but a pea-soup fog will limit the effective distance.

It is waterproof, and the matte finish will hold up against minor scuffs and scrapes.

You can get a stock-mounted battery back to extend your shooting time.

ATN ThOR LT 320 5-10x

The price of ATN ThOR LT 320 5-10x varies, so check the latest price at

Final Thoughts

The .22-250 is an excellent rifle within its capabilities. If you check the lists of the most popular centerfire rifles in North America, the .22-250 is usually in the top 10 list. Ammo, once the panic is over, is readily available.

It packs more punch than the .223 and nearly as much as the .220 Swift with less powder and less barrel wear than the .220 Swift. If you load your own, the .22-250 has more options than the modern .204 Ruger.

A bull-barrel rifle has no appreciable recoil. If you tap the barrel and add a can, it tames the blast noise considerably. Stick on a bipod and you have a combination even kids can shoot comfortably.

Other rounds will certainly do the same thing as a .22-250, but bring more recoil or the ammo is harder to find. Much can be said about owning a varmint rifle and knowing a good hardware store stocks bullets for it.

I have a .22-250 in an H&R bull barrel single shot in the gun safe. With the kind of shooting I do with the rifle, the single shot is entirely enough.

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