Best Rimfire Rifle Scopes for .22LR

best scope for 22lr

Unlike most people I didn’t learn to shoot on a 22LR rifle, I learned on a surplus M1 Garand with iron sights. By the time I was looking at my first rifle I was looking at the AR-15 or the M1A. A 22LR never entered my mind because it wasn’t a real caliber rifle to me. Boy, was I wrong.

I bought my first rimfire, when I was 19 and ammo prices were sky high. 

I hated the sights and quickly switched them for TechSights. I built a Liberty Training Rifle before Project Appleseed was the primer for rifle shooting in the United States.

I loved it, I loved it then and I love it now.

I scoped my 22LR because for my father. It is a great little gun that is absolutely fun at 100 yards. Finding a range near you with more distance is always difficult. 100 yards and 200 yards is great for the little rimfire round. Iron sights, thanks to the great options for scopes are slowly disappearing.

Now that there is a perfect 22LR scope, I don’t blame them.

Why you should buy a dedicated Rimfire scope for your .22LR?

Some people love the standard V-Notch iron sights, I can’t stand them. TechSights makes the perfect product for most rifles that do not yet have Back up Iron Sights(BUIS). Iron Sights are great for the beginning shooter, cheap, durable, and they are perfect for those 20 yards or less shots. But what if you want to take it out farther. Reach out to the extremes of the Rimfires accuracy. Better scope up.

The Features you want in a Rimfire Scope

Reticle

Rimfire Reticle

For the common man the duplex reticles is the crosshair of choice. Simple, clear. None of that pissing around with the Bullet Drop Compensator, you zero it at your distance of choice and until you get outside of your effective point blank range you are golden. The Duplex is like an Iron sight in that you can use it to adjust for ranges but with the duplex you have magnification.

Magnification

22 rimfire scope

I have to admit I never thought I would need magnification on a 22LR. But once you scope a rifle you rarely go back. The most common hunting magnification is 3-9x, it is effective for 100 to 200 yards before most hunters think maybe a bit more magnification. Since 200 yards is near the effective range of most hunters to ethically hunt at we were happy with it.

But what about the 22LR, I prefer a 2-7. It is never going to go out to 300 yards effectively without significantly modified rifle, But it is perfect for 100 yards at the range and varmint hunting,

Weight

Most 22LR rifles only weigh 5lbs, adding a big heavy scope on top can change the balance of the rifle, while this isn’t a factor of benchrest shooting. Offhand shots with an unbalanced rifle are difficult, in the best conditions. A light scope built for the 22LR should be a priority if you plan on using it as a hunting, varmint rifle, or even as a cheap training rifle for offhand positions.

Turrets

Nikon Turret
Leupold Freedom Turret

Turrets on a rimfire scope are either essential or they are an afterthought. The Leupold VX Freedom has terrible turrets in their standard scopes ¼ MOA friction, while not as bad as many hunting scopes they are designed to be zeroed and left. The NIkon P-Tactical rimfire are made for quick and easy changes of elevation and windage. YMMV but I prefer good solid turrets on my scopes.

The Top Ten .22 LR Rifle Scopes

Name

​Magnification

​Diameter

Price

Leupold VX Freedom

2-7x

33mm

​Nikon P-Tactical

2-7x

32mm

Primary Arms 1-6x24 ACSS

1-6x

24mm

Primary Arms 6x ACSS

6x

32mm

Bushnell AR DropZone

2-7x

32mm

Simmons 8 Point

3-9x

50mm

Bushnell Trophy TRS-25

1x

25mm

1. Leupold VX Freedom Rimfire - Best Rimfire Scope

best rimfire scope

Its Leupold. If you think the new VX Freedom line was built to compete by one of the most successful optics companies to compete at the low tier market you are, dead on. 

Scope arrived on Saturday, I purchased the 2-7x, the build quality is just amazing. Clear glass with an almost excessive amount of eye relief. 

Leupold Freedom top
Leupold freedom glass

The Rimfire MOA reticle is perfect, 25 MOA in 1 MOA hash marks at max magnification allowed us to shoot from 50 to 200 yards with no adjustments.

Leupold Reticle

If you want to hit with a rimfire at 200, This is the scope for you, just try not laugh at the AR-10 next to you having trouble hitting the plate. Remember the rifle can do it, the Problem is the Tasco.

Leupold VX Freedom

Magnification

2-7x

Obj Diameter

33mm

Field of View

43.8-29.8 ft @100 yds

Reticle

Second Plane

nikon rimfire scope
nikon tactical right side

Nikon, in the Land of sub $500 optics, The best glass is king and Nikon has the best glass. Not to be outdone by Leupold Nikon Released their new P-Tactical Rimfire to compete with the VX-Freedom Series.

nikon tactical glass

Nikon has been the leading manufacturer of entry level scopes for years because of their glass quality. Their push to include a instant zero reset turret allowing you to quickly zero your rifle without tools might push them ahead of leupold once again. 

nikon rimfire top

The MK I MOA reticle allows for quick holdovers at range.

Nikon Reticle

Nikon P-Tactical Scope

Magnification

2-7x

Obj Diameter

33mm

Field of View

6.4-22.3 ft @ 50 yds

Reticle

BDC reticles

best 22lr scope

Primary Arms out of Texas may have created the best reticle for the 22LR. The scopes made in China lack the glass quality of the Nikon and Leupold but in exchange it adds features, Illuminated reticle, adjustable parallax,and a 30mm tube for 15% more incoming light makes the scope competitive with the other offerings.

Primary Arms Reticle

The 1-6 Power Advanced Combined Sighting System, allows for fast ranging and holdovers, the 1 power allows for those close shots at moving targets like rabbits and racoons. While the 6x and reticle allow for shots out to 200 yards. We can’t say for certain the parallax adjustment allowed the rifle to be more accurate but we were 20 for 20 on clay pigeons scattered out to 200 yards.

Primary Arms 1-6x24

Magnification

1-6x

Obj Diameter

24mm

Field of View

Low: 110.00 Ft / High: 19.30 Ft

Reticle

ACSS 22LR

PrimaryArms 6x

Want the Primary Arms ACSS 22LR for half the price? All you have to give up is the variable magnification and the illumination. I like the reticle, I like Fixed Optics for rifles, especially when you use Bullet Drop Compensators under 10x. You won’t be shooting this rifle out past 200 yards in the best of times but you can hit the 200.

rim fire rifle scope

While I see guys on the range time and again with their optics at max magnification, save the money, save the weight and just purchase a fixed magnification scope. They are more durable, the glass is clearer and brighter while with less complications.

Primary Arms 6x ACSS

Magnification

6x

Obj Diameter

32mm

Field of View

17.50 ft

Reticle

ACSS 22LR

Bushnell AR Optics 2-7x36

While I honestly recommend saving for a Nikon or Leupold, I can’t help but love Bushnell. Glass is on par with the Primary Arms it doesn’t have the ACSS reticle or Illumination, what it does have is parallax adjustment and target turrets, the reticle might be a Bullet Drop Compensator but it was about dead on at 100 yards.

Bushnell AR Reticle

If you want a solid scope it won’t let you down but it is heavy at 19 oz and after pay day you will be wishing you had held out for a keeper. The turrets are a bit mushy, especially compared to the Nikon, while the build quality just isn’t as good.

Bushnell AR Optics

Magnification

2-7x

Obj Diameter

32mm

Field of View

50/15 @ 2x

Reticle

BDC reticle

best 22 rifle scope

Simmons 8 point is a great scope. 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 and are finger adjustable underneath the protective caps. You’ll adjust it to zero your CCI MiniMags and never touch them again. The 8-Point is a fun generic workhorse of a scope.

Simmons 8 Point

Magnification

3-9x

Obj Diameter

50mm

Field of View

31.4 ft @ 100 yds

Reticle

Truplex Reticle

Red Dots

Red Dots for 22LR

Why a red dot? The 22LR Rimfire does have tons of power. At about 100 yards it will lose ⅓ of its energy and will be falling like a stone in another 100 yards. If you are only shooting critters or training with your rifle there is no need to spend a significant amount of money on magnification. 

Bushnell Trophy TRS-25

Never change Bushnell, The Trophy TRS-25 is everywhere, and for good reason it is dirt cheap, for the price of 5 boxes of 22LR you will have the perfect red dot,3 MOA dot means you can Zero for 75 yards and hit between 0-100 with no Adjustment. Clear, quick, if you need pest control or don’t care for magnification. This is the optic for you

Bushnell Trophy TRS-2

The Trophy is a great cheap little red dot sight. It can work on the AR-15 or a 10/22 while it doesn’t have the durability of an Aimpoint, EOTech or even a holosun.

Bushnell Trophy TRS-25

Magnification

1x

Obj Diameter

25mm

Field of View

Unlimited

Reticle

3 MOA Red Dot

Iron Sights 

The 22lr is a great gun to learn on especially when it comes to Iron Sights.

TechSights

Tech Sights makes M4 Aperture Sights for a variety of rifles. The benefit of the adjustable Iron Sights or BUIS over the standard v-notch irons is increased accuracy, simple adjustability and training for larger rifles like the M1 Garand, AR-15 and the M14.

Wide field of view allows shooters to get out of the tunnel vision of the scope and see their surroundings. While Glass is great, iron sights are durable, lightweight, and just dead simple.

Tech Sights TSR200

Best for

Ruger 10/22

Radius

8"

Aperture

Dual Adjustable

Sight

Front and Rear

The Other Option

22LR Rifles are some of the cheapest training rifles to use. Many shooters practice on a Rimfire before they use those skill on rifles of higher calibers. When buying for your setup look at your rifles maybe it will be better to upgrade another scope, and use that scope for your 22LR While I don’t think it is the best way I believe in maximum cost benefit. Many Scopes works great on the 22LR if you can stand the weight.

Scope Pick

The best scope is going to be the one that fits your budget and use but I will recommend the Nikon P-Tactical Rimfire, Leupold is a very close second, having a great reticle and slightly better glass but the lack of target turrets inch the Nikon P-Tactical into the lead. Leupold nearly made the perfect scope, and while I will probably never adjust the turrets it is a fun option for a cheap little 22LR rifle to big able to work like the big boys. 

But if you can’t find the P-Tactical, or don’t think that you need the Target turrets go Leupold and don’t look back. Leupold has a great custom shop that will make custom turrets for Leupold scopes or replace the finger click dials with the custom dial system. While I don’t recommend for the Leupold Rimfire Scopes, the VX Freedom Line has great looking scopes, with few downsides.

References

Andrew Maurer is a Precision Rifle Series competition shooter and gunsmith. Building competition rifles for over 12 years. He works as a big game hunting guide in Iowa, South Dakota and Arizona. He is also a political scientist studying the effects of gun control on society. He teaches youth rifle shooting.

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