Everyone should own a 22LR. They are cheap and simple learning rifles to build your fundamentals without wrecking your budget. Using a 22LR to learn how to target shoot costs 1/10 the price of an AR-15.
Since most people don’t have access to long-distance ranges, there is no shame for drilling on a 22LR as your practice rifle.
The best way to scope your 22LR for target shooting is by using an older rifle scope built for larger calibers and upgrade your main rifle. Check out our Scope guides for the best scopes in your budget.
If you want to have a dedicated 22LR scope for target shooting, don’t worry we have you covered.
Leupold VX Freedom
Vortex Crossfire II
BSA Sweet .22
Primary Arms 1-ACSS
Primary Arms ACSS
Bushnell AR Optics
Simmons 8 Point
The Top Ten Scopes for a .22LR Rifle
1. Leupold VX Freedom Rimfire
It’s Leupold. Leupold is America’s optic. The VX Freedom line gives you everything you need and keeps costs down by removing everything you don’t need.
They spent their time focused on the glass at the expense of parallax adjustment, target turrets, and multiple reticles. The VX-Freedom Rimfire gives you a solid scope for your 22LR.
The VX Freedom is built like a tank. This scope features clear glass with an almost excessive amount of eye relief. The Rimfire MOA reticle is perfection, 25 MOA in 1 MOA hash marks at max magnification. This allowed us to shoot from 50 to 200 yards with few adjustments.
On our test rifle, we started getting bored and were plinking shotgun shells off the target stands at 75yds. with a 22LR!
If you want to hit with a rimfire at 200, this is the scope for you. Just try not to laugh at the AR-10 next to you having trouble hitting the plate. Remember the rifle can do it, the problem is the Tasco.
2. Nikon P-Tactical Rimfire
Nikon, in the land of sub $500 optics--The best glass is king and Nikon has the best glass.
Released to compete with the new Leupold for rimfire scopes, the P-Tactical uses a much better reticle design. While the Leupold only uses MOA marks for elevation, the Nikon gives you full elevation and windage for holdovers.
Nikon has been the leading manufacturer of entry-level scopes for years because of its focus on glass quality. Their zero-reset turret allows you to quickly zero your rifle and allows you to treat a $200 22LR scope like a $1000 main scope.
The MK I MOA reticle allows for quick holdovers at the range for both elevation and windage. It works just like my Vortex PST 6-24x on my target rifle. I’ve seen the Nikon on AR-15s and even AR-308. I don’t know if it is a long term solution but they have seemed to hold up.
3. Nikon ProStaff Rimfire II
The other Nikon that makes the list is the Nikon ProStaff Rimfire II if you want a bit more magnification. It works great in a dual role as a spotting scope and a target/hunting scope. The 4x-12x is becoming a standard much like the older 3-9x. There isn’t much else to say about the scope.
It doesn’t have many drawbacks.
The parallax is set on 75 yards. This is perfect for a 22LR but most ranges are 100, 50 and 25 yards so it will lose a bit on correct parallax. This will sometimes give you an unexplainable variance in your shots.
The other problem is less of a concern for most people.
The Nikon P-Rimfire only comes with a BDC. I hate BDC for target shooting. The problem is that most BDCs use standard ammunition out of a very specific rifle and you do not have either.
So the rifle may shoot high or low; therefore, you need to fudge the shot with some Kentucky Windage. I feel this negates the point of a zeroed scope with target knobs.
4. Vortex Crossfire II Rimfire
Vortex makes some great rifle scopes for the price. They are a bit cheaper because they are made in China. Nevertheless, they are amazing scopes. The Vortex Optics Crossfire II Rimfire shows just how well they understand the market.
It is a simple V-Plex reticle, the easiest crosshair to understand. Just a simple point and shoot interface. Adjustable elevation and windage allow you to adjust for your targets quickly and easily while being able to go back to the zero holds every time.
It still has the problem of the parallax, but at the ranges, you will use a 7x scope with a 22LR. I don’t think you’ll mind.
The Crossfire is just simple and only narrowly gets beaten out by the Nikon Prostaff because of the Nikon's slightly better glass. If you prefer Vortex and their amazing customer service and warranty, that is no reason to ignore this scope.
5. BSA Sweet .22
BSA has a very cost-effective riflescope line. Their Sweet series features 2-7x, 3-9x, and 6-18x. They are the best budget models I have found for 22s. But remember, you get what you pay for.
The glass is just a bit off and looks discolored compared to the Leupold. However, this is a great budget scope for a 22LR. We looked at the 6-18 for our CZ-455 target rifle. It was an interesting experience. I don’t think you can get a better scope for the cost. Also, it is waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof.
Once again, for the cost, it wasn’t that the scope was bad. We didn’t have the issues like other reviews with the BSA Sweet not holding zero. We liked the side parallax adjustment. For another C-note, you can get a great SWFA 3-15 that is much clearer and has much better windage and elevation adjustments.
6. Primary Arms ACSS 22LR
Primary Arms, a company out of Texas, produces what may be the most effective BDC reticle for the 22LR. The glass quality suffers because it is made at a low cost in China. The glass quality pales when compared to Nikon or Leupold but keeping the cost down allowed them to add other features.
This scope includes features such as an illuminated reticle, adjustable parallax, a larger 30mm tube for increased brightness. These do a decent job of making up for the lower glass quality.
The 1-6x24mm with ACSS reticle features a unique range finder, bullet drop compensation for 22LR in one of the most common configurations and great windage holds for shooting moving targets or shooting in 5 or 10 mph wind.
7. Primary Arms 6x ACSS
Primary Arms ACSS 22LR reticle can be yours for half the price. You just have to give up is the variable magnification and illumination but a 6x is a good magnification for 22LR rounds.
Fixed magnification optics are a mixed bag. They are built with fewer moving parts, which makes them less prone to damage from abuse but you can have trouble finding your target at the higher magnification.
Fixed magnification simplifies shooting. It allows for more durability compared to similarly priced scopes. The turrets are near perfect on a box test. The glass is clear but the scope lacks target turrets and parallax adjustments.
8. Bushnell AR Optics DropZone 22LR
While I honestly recommend saving for a Nikon or Leupold, I can’t help but love Bushnell. The glass is on par with the Primary Arms. It doesn’t have the ACSS reticle or Illumination; however, features it does have include parallax adjustment and target turrets. The reticle might be a Bullet Drop Compensator but it was about dead on at 100 yards.
If you want a solid scope, it won’t let you down. It is heavy at 19 ounces. After payday, you will be wishing you had held out for a keeper. The turrets are a bit mushy, especially compared to the Nikon, and the build quality just isn’t as good.
9. Simmons 8 Point
Simmons 8 point is a great scope, especially for the price, $10 after a rebate. I recommend that you wait for the rebate to purchase. Even for $50, they are the best bang for the buck scopes.
They know all you need a duplex and 3-9x Magnification for a 22LR Turrets track. They are finger adjustable underneath the protective caps. You’ll adjust to zero your CCI MiniMags and never touch them again. The 8-Point is a fun generic workhorse of a scope.
10. Leupold VX-6
The VX-6 7-42x56 is the Competition Series upgraded for the modern shooter. Leupold worked with F-Class shooters to build some of the nicest glass I have ever seen mounted on a rifle. The extreme magnification ranges allow shooters to center on a target and “zoom” in much faster than just a simple fixed power scope.
The objective is a quarter larger than the Competition series and allows much more light transmission. At 42x, that is worth every penny. The easily readable marks and open center allow for extreme precision and accuracy.
At 200 yards, I was able to zero my lowly CZ-455 in just two shots by reading the hash marks and adjusting the rifle. Then, I was on for the rest of the day.
The VX-6 is also a much more rugged scope than most others on this list. It is able to handle the recoil of both my AR-15 and M1A loaded. I was able to shoot 50 rounds out to 800 with each before we ran out of range.
11. Leupold Competition Series 45x
The Leupold Competition Series 45x provides a hell of a lot of magnification. But when you are shooting NRA Smallbore F-Class targets with a 22 at 200 yards, you’ll need every advantage you can find. The Leupold Competition Series is what most of the higher end competitors used for F-Class.
It is an amazingly clear scope that can show a .22 hole at 375 yards with no issues. This is especially useful for those with poor eyesight.
Leupold is the big name in F-Class and Smallbore because the glass is so clear and the turrets so accurate. This excellent rifle scope features a matte finish. If you want to put sub-MOA 22 rounds into a target at 300, this is the scope for you.
Everyone needs a 22LR
22LR is the cheapest round you can buy. It is great for target shooting and training because of the cost. A good .308 rifle can cost $1,000, while a great 22LR costs about $300. The cheapest .308 costs $0.50 per round and needs to be purchased in bulk.
Meanwhile, CCI Standards can be purchased at any Walmart for $0.07 per round. It is cheaper shooting a 22LR for two hours than going to a movie. And, if you want your practice to be meanwhile for your main rifle, you need to outfit it with a similar scope.
The Features you want in a Scope
The standard crosshair is known as Duplex, V-plex, or fine. They are great for the average shooter. Hunters and target shooters have used them for years without needing to upgrade. Today the standard for most scopes under $200 is the Duplex or a Bullet Drop Compensator.
The problem is that they are not what you want for target shooting. Horus, Mil, and the other scope reticles with standard hash points allow you to quickly repeat shots, adjust your scope and experience a huge bump in precision and accuracy.
If you are looking for a target scope, start with the reticle, find the one you like and the one that matches your main big bore shooters.
Magnification is a complicated decision. Finding the best balance between the short range of a 22LR and being able to see your shots at range can be annoying. Start with a 4-14x or a 3-9x because they are the standards.
If you want a bit less, look into 2-7x. They make great small game scopes and give you a wider field of view.
Swinging the other way, a well-built 22LR with a high magnification like a 45x works amazing as a spotting scope for larger rifles. This scope allows you to make those precision shots.
Most 22LR rifles only weigh 5 pounds. Adding a big heavy scope on top changes the balance of the rifle unless you are shooting F-Class for target shooting. You want a balanced rifle. Unless you shoot entirely from a bipod, you will not want to pull a 2-pound scope on a 4-pound rifle.
Turrets on a rimfire scope are either essential or they are an afterthought. You will either set it and forget it or you will be playing with them for every last bit of precision.
Target Turrets have strong detents and a great range of elevation and windage. They are also uncapped so you can adjust on the fly for your windage and target distance.
If you are looking for a target scope, you will want target turrets.
Target scopes are always dependent on the range. A 22LR Scopes is no different. If you are looking for an F-Class target scope, you will want the Leupold Competition Scopes. The high zoom allows you to shoot tight groups, adjust with real-time visuals and know your next shot will hit right where you aim.
If you want a training scope for your larger caliber rifles, it is best to find a scope that matches your current setup. While if you are looking for the most fun, you are best served to look into the dedicated 22LR scopes like the Freedom series from Leupold or Nikon P-Tactical.
I will always recommend a scope with dedicated hash marks or a shooting tree. A scope lets you hit at any range your rifle's maximum caliber. However, the choice begins and ends with you and your budget.