Best Rimfire Scope Under 100 Dollars – [Top 8 Scopes]

Rimfire is almost synonymous with short range and small caliber. Conventional wisdom is that most rimfire cartridges won’t go out past around 150 yards, and while controlled tests show that the .22 LR can still be fairly consistent out as far as 500 yards, that’s only as long as there’s no wind, the air isn’t too humid or too dry, and no one within a 50-mile radius happens to sneeze during the 3 seconds while the bullet is in the air.

The two most common rimfire rounds are the .22LR and the .17 HMR, neither of which I would recommend for shooting out beyond 200 yards, except perhaps in the name of science. The close-range nature of rimfire rounds alone will narrow down what the best scopes would be, but there are other factors to consider as well. 

Centerfire rounds will usually be larger caliber, and centerfire will also have a longer effective range. Let's have a quick look at the best rimfire scopes under $100.

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Products

BEST FOR ACCURACY

Simmons 3-9x32mm .22 Mag(R) Riflescope

Simmons 3-9x32mm .22 Mag(R) Riflescope

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 3-9x
  • Length: 15.25 in
BEST FOR ACCURACY

Barska 3-9x32mm Plinker-22 Riflescope

Barska 3-9x32mm Plinker-22 Riflescope

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 3-9x
  • Length: 12 in
BEST FOR BRIGHT IMAGE

Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope

Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn

Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope

  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Magnification: 3-9x
  • Length: 12 in
BEST FOR HUNTING

TRUGLO 4x32mm Compact Rimfire

TRUGLO 4x32mm Compact Rimfire

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 4x
  • Length: 8 in
BEST FOR WEATHER

UTG 3-9x32 1” BugBuster Scope

UTG 3-9x32 1” BugBuster Scope

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 3-9x
  • Length: 8.11 in
BEST FOR SHORT RANGE

Sightmark Core SX 4x32 .22LR BDC Rimfire Riflescope

Sightmark Core SX 4x32 .22LR BDC Rimfire Riflescope

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 4x
  • Length: 9.1 in
BEST FOR FAST FOCUS

Hammers 3-9x40 10/22 .22 Plinker Riflescope

Hammers 3-9x40 10/22 .22 Plinker Riflescope

  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Magnification: 3-9x
  • Length: 15 in
BEST FOR CLEAR IMAGE

TASCO Rimfire Series 3-9x32mm Reticle .22 Riflescope

TASCO Rimfire Series 3-9x32mm .22 Riflescope

  • Diameter: 20mm
  • Magnification: 3-9x
  • Length: 12.75 in

Buying Guide

Different Types of Rimfire Scopes

When you’re shopping for quality scopes under $100, you have a few good options to choose from. You can go the route with zero magnification like a red dot, you can go with a fixed magnification at around 4x, or you can go with a variable magnification in the 3-9x range.

A red dot or other one-power scope can give you the fastest target acquisition and best short range performance, but at long ranges you’ll suffer not only from the lack of magnification but also from the barebones red dot reticle.

Rimfire mil dot

A fixed magnification can be a way to improve on the red dot because fixed magnification scopes will usually come with a duplex and possibly with a BDC reticle or mil-dot reticle. The issue with a fixed magnification is that even though it strikes a decent middle-ground between short range and long range, it doesn’t do either one as well.

A variable magnification in the 3-9x range is the goldilocks option, in my opinion, because the 3x is little enough zoom that it won’t cause a problem for most short range shots, and the 9x is enough to get you out as far as you’d likely be shooting a rimfire anyway.

If money were no object, a 1-8x variable like the Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-8x24 would be my number one choice for a rimfire cartridge, but that’s much more expensive than the scopes we’ll be going over in this list, and may be out of your budget.

Considerations When Choosing a Rimfire Scope Under $100

How Long Will The Scope Last?

You might think that simply because the recoil on a rimfire cartridge is so small that just about any rifle scope should be able to handle it, even over the long run. It’s true that the demands on a rimfire scope will be lower than on a medium-bore or large-bore scope, but the scopes are also generally cheaper as well, so you have the same range of quality in the scopes designed for rimfire.

best rifle scope under 100

Most scopes you look at will perform fine on Day 1; the question is how they’ll perform on Day 100, and Day 1000. There’s no point in trying to save money by buying a scope that’s only going to last you a year, then having to buy a new one and spending more money than you would have if you just bought a better one upfront.

Picture Quality & Low Light Performance

Since the magnification requirements of a rimfire scope aren’t comparatively high even if you want to maximize its effective range, you can find scopes with decent picture quality and low-light performance at more affordable price points. That doesn’t mean every scope will have the same quality and performance though. Quite the contrary.

Brightness during the daytime isn’t much of a challenge, and for the most part even the cheapest scopes will give you a visible target area in perfect lighting. But what if the air is dusty, humid, some thick clouds roll in, or something else causes the lighting to no longer be perfect? That’s where the better scopes start to rise to the top, and what you should consider when shopping.

22 rimfire scope

You’ll also want a scope that’s free from distortion and relatively free from chromatic aberration even when the magnification is maxed out. Some scopes perform fine at the lower magnification and then drop off quickly as you crank it up, so you’ll want to make sure the scope you purchase will continue to give a crystal clear and bright picture at all magnifications.

Another consideration here is eye relief, though most of these scopes will be similar. Eye relief for comfortable shooting is usually between 3 and 4 inches, but if you want longer or shorter you’ll want to check before purchasing. Field of view should be close between ll of these scopes, but some will offer a wider FOV than others at the same magnification range.

Reticle Design

One of the reasons why rimfire cartridges aren’t really used out past 200 yards is because of how quickly the ammo drops. A relatively standard 40gr .22LR round zeroed at 100 yards, for example, will have already dropped 32 inches by the time it gets to 200 yards.

The .17 HMR performs much better but will still drop around 10 inches at 200 yards, and will drop past 32 inches long before it reaches 300 yards.

Rimfire Reticle

What this means as you shop for a scope is that a sight picture that helps you account for this somewhat insane bullet drop could be invaluable. Granted, you can always use the elevation clicks, and once you’ve done it and kept track of how many clicks it takes to get there, but the amount of adjustment it requires starts to get out-of-hand.

To compensate for a 32-inch drop at 200 yards, assuming your scope has .25 MOA clicks like most 3-9x scopes will have, each inch takes 2 clicks, meaning you have to adjust by roughly 64 clicks depending on the exact round you’re firing. And that’s just to get from 100 to 200 yards using .22 LR.

That may be your preferred method of shooting at 200 yards, but I would rather practice with a reticle that gives me dots or hashmarks or something to work with to compensate on the fly rather than sit there clicking away while my buddy empties his magazine, drinks his beer, eats his lunch, takes a nap, and then watches me take my shots.

Jokes aside, let’s dive into our recommendations for the best scopes under $100 for rimfire rifles.

8 Best Rimfire Scopes For The Money

1. Simmons 3-9x32mm .22 Mag(R) Riflescope

best rimfire scope under 100

Simmons is fairly well-known in the budget scope arena, and their 22 Mag Series is possibly the best scope they’ve ever released. It comes with mounting rings and has a lot of nice features. Parallax is set to 50 yards, which would be fine except the scope is advertised as having adjustable parallax, which it definitely does not have.

The rings that it comes with are not compatible with the OEM Ruger rail, so if you’re mounting it on the Ruger 10/22 then you’ll want to purchase rings separately. You don’t have to purchase the black matte version, as there is a silver version as well. Both have the Hydroshield lenses.

Your reticle is standard crosshairs, but the lines have a clear taper a little ways out from the center, which alone could be extremely handy in estimating holdovers on the fly. If you are sighting at 100 yards, a .22LR round can be up to 4 inches higher at 50 yards, so the Simmons Truplex reticle having the same taper on the upper part of the crosshair is nice as well.

The scope is easy to operate and the windage and elevation turrets are rubber-coated, which makes adjustments easy and even possible while wearing gloves. It’s waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof, and should hold up to .22 recoil just fine, although there are certainly some reports of it not holding up past 500 rounds.

Simmons 3-9x32mm .22 Mag Riflescope

Simmons 3-9x32mm .22 Mag Riflescope

The price of Simmons 3-9x32mm .22 Mag Riflescope varies, so check the latest price at

2. Barska 3-9x32mm Plinker-22 Riflescope

cheap 22 scope

Barska’s Plinker-22 is a popular choice, and for good reason. It’s affordable, the glass is high quality and the lenses are multi-coated. The duplex reticle is similar to the Truplex, but instead of a taper, it’s an instant cutoff from thin lines towards the center and thicker lines farther out. Not sure why they went with this design, as it’s not as good as the Truplex, in my opinion.

The Truplex gives you two additional aiming points on each direction from the center; you get both the point where the taper starts and where the taper finishes. With the Barska, you just get the one point where it goes from thin to thick.

It’s a small difference, but if you’re trying to squeeze every modicum of accuracy out of your scope as possible, it will be harder with the Barska’s 30/30 reticle.

The only real problem I have with the Barska is that it is not clear what the parallax is fixed at. The product description actually says 50 yards in one spot and 100 yards in another, and my own experience seemed like it was set closer to 75 yards, so I honestly have no idea what the parallax will be set to on the scope you receive.

Other than that, the optics are clear, picture is bright, and it’s a versatile and durable scope that will do a great job.

Barska 3-9x32mm Plinker-22 Riflescope

The price of Barska 3-9x32mm Plinker-22 Riflescope varies, so check the latest price at

3. Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope

cheap 22 scopes

I’ve always been impressed with the Dusk & Dawn from Bushnell. It’s not, strictly speaking, designed for rimfire but it works great for that purpose. You get a 40mm objective lens and a 3-9x magnification range. The 40mm objective gives you brighter imagery, and the biggest difference is when it’s zoomed all the way in.

The image quality coming off this scope is hard to believe with such a low price tag. It wouldn’t be remarkable if it were 5 times the price, but at a sub- $100 price point, it’s impressive that the image is as bright and clear as it is.

Parallax is set to 100 yards, which may be a drawback for you if you’re planning on using it for more close-range shooting, but having it set further out will help a lot with shooting at 100 and 200 yards if that’s more your jam.

The multi-x reticle is fine, and it gives you a fast taper that technically gives you 2 additional aiming points in each direction like the Truplex, but the taper is so short that the points are much closer together, which is not as useful.

Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Riflescope

The price of Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Riflescope varies, so check the latest price at

4. TRUGLO 4x32mm Compact Rimfire

22 rifle scope for sale

We’re changing gears a bit here from the 3-9x range. The TRUGLO has fixed magnification at 4x, which is one difference, but you can get it with an illuminated reticle as well. The reticle is etched either way, so you’ll be able to shoot just fine without it, but getting illumination can be a nice way to increase the versatility of the scope.

Reticle is a standard duplex, nothing fancy, and considering the 4x magnification it makes sense. Being a 4x, it’s easier on the engineering side to get good image quality and a bright picture than with a variable magnification scope, so you’ll reap the benefits of that if you end up purchasing the TRUGLO.

If your expectations aren’t super-high, then the TRUGLO will meet or exceed them. If you want to get out to 200 yards, this probably isn’t the right choice.

TRUGLO 4x32mm Compact Rimfire

The price of TRUGLO 4x32mm Compact Rimfire varies, so check the latest price at

5. UTG 3-9x32 1” BugBuster Scope

best scope under 100

The BugBuster is well-known, and frankly amazing for the price. UTG puts a lot of work into their scopes, and the BugBuster holds up well to recoil and is more durable than most of the scopes on this list. You get the 3-9x magnification and an illuminated reticle, but if I were choosing out of these scopes, the reason I would choose the UTG is the mil-dot reticle.

The mil-dots are subtle but visible, and they are perfect for estimating those insane holdovers when shooting at longer ranges. Image quality is great, with good light transmission, but the UTG doesn’t stop with just the mil-dot reticle and good image quality; it also includes parallax adjustment, so whether you’re shooting at 10 yards or 300, you can eliminate parallax completely.

An adjustable objective is not unheard of on scopes in this price range, nor is a fast focus eyepiece, but it’s by no means common and is a great feature for plinking or hunting with rimfire. The large sunshade helps keep the objective free from glare.

It’s not designed for massive recoil, but should be able to handle a 5.56 just fine, which means it should last forever shooting .22LR or .17 HMR. It’s a fairly compact scope and should fit well even on a smaller rifle.

UTG 3-9x32 1” BugBuster Scope

The price of UTG 3-9x32 1” BugBuster Scope varies, so check the latest price at

6. Sightmark Core SX 4x32 .22LR BDC Rimfire Riflescope

best rifle scopes under 100

Here’s another option if you like the fixed 4x magnification but aren’t convinced by the TRUGLO. The Sightmark Core SX isn’t as popular as the TRUGLO, but it’s actually a pretty great scope, and what makes it so good for rimfire is its reticle. It has a duplex, but it also has a BDC built in that is designed to adjust for the bullet drop of a 40gr .22LR round out to 200 yards.

It’s a reticle that is perfectly designed for the .22LR, so if you’re shooting .17 HMR it won’t be as useful but still better than a plain duplex. The drop is different for standard velocity and high velocity .22, but the reticle gives you indicators for each one. The eyepiece focuses quickly and may be the best rimfire scope at this low of a price. 

With the scope being fixed at 4x, 200 yard-shots will be tricky, but certainly possible, and the reticle makes it a lot more possible than a bare duplex does. Adjusting for windage and elevation is even easier because the turrets are zero-reset. That way, you don’t have to remember how many clicks you made to adjust for a specific shot, you can just go back to zero.

Sightmark Core SX 4x32 .22LR Riflescope

The price of Sightmark Core SX 4x32 .22LR Riflescope varies, so check the latest price at

7. Hammers 3-9x40 10/22 .22 Plinker Riflescope

Hammers 3-9x40 10/22 .22 Plinker Riflescope

This is a scope that has really flown under the radar, but it’s a surprisingly good scope with a 40mm objective to help with light transmission and 3-9x magnification to cover the effective range of a rimfire cartridge. It comes with mounting dovetail rings and has .25 MOA adjustments as you’d expect.

It also has a mil-dot reticle which is similar to the UTG but the dots are a bit bigger, which may be more or less to your preference (less to mine).

Image quality is just fine; it’s neither the worst in the price range or the best, and considering that it’s a budget option among budget options, the image quality is certainly acceptable, but don’t expect the kind of brightness and clarity at 9x that you’d get with a Vortex, Leupold, or even the UTG BugBuster on this list.

Hammers 3-9x40 .22 Plinker Riflescope

The price of Hammers 3-9x40 .22 Plinker Riflescope varies, so check the latest price at

8. TASCO Rimfire Series 3-9x32mm .22 Riflescope

best scopes under 100

I would say the TASCO is most comparable to the Hammers, with the only main differences being the size of the objective lens and the reticle. The TASCO uses the same 30/30 reticle as the Barska, which has the thicker outside lines and thinner inside lines, while the Hammers has the mil-dot reticle.

Combined with a fixed parallax at 50 yards, the TASCO is going to be better for short-range shooting, whether that’s target shooting or hunting, and the Hammers is going to be better for long-range shooting at 100 yards and beyond. The optics are multi-coated and the images are surprisingly bright off this scope.

If the Barska is a bit more than you want to spend, this is a good way to get essentially the same scope with some small sacrifices. It’s still fog proof and waterproof so it will do fine in the rain and high humidity.

TASCO Rimfire Series 3-9x32mm .22 Riflescope

The price of TASCO Rimfire Series 3-9x32mm .22 Riflescope varies, so check the latest price at

FAQ For Rimfire Scopes Under $100

What Are the Most Important Factors to Consider When Buying a Cheap .22 LR Rimfire Scope Under $100?

Strength and Durability

#1 is going to be if the scope is tough enough to last through as many rounds as you want to put through it. There’s no question that strength and quality of materials tends to go down as scopes get cheaper, as does the amount of quality assurance and stress-testing that each model of scope undergoes before being released into the wild.

If you only put a hundred rounds per year through your rimfire rifle, then a scope that’s only going to last for 500 rounds may not be a problem. Otherwise, you’ll want something that’s tough enough to last longer. I always like to buy a scope that is over-engineered for my purpose, so if I’m buying for a .22 or .17 HMR, I’ll buy a scope that is designed for the recoil of a 5.56.

There are not very many scopes that offer a lifetime warranty in this price range, but the UTG BugBuster is one of them. 

Image Brightness at 9x

The next thing is how bright the image is at the maximum magnification. It’s relatively easy for a scope manufacturer to give good image brightness at 3x, but when you close down all the way to 9x magnification, it becomes a lot trickier to deliver a bright and clear image. Since most of us will be using these scopes at 9x magnification, this is a big deal.

Generally the higher-quality a scope is, the more the image quality will hold up when lighting conditions are no longer ideal. If you only intend to shoot in ideal lighting conditions, then you may not mind getting a scope that isn’t as good. You can check what lens coating they use, and how the scope does in different light conditions and at long distances.

Reticle

In case I haven’t harped on this enough yet, reticle choice is a big deal, at least to me. This is the main reason why no red dots are on this list, even though an option like the Bushnell Trophy TRS26 is in the right price range. You can shoot out to 100 yards with a red dot, but you cannot consistently compensate for bullet drop anywhere past where you’ve zeroed the scope.

Your preference of reticle will depend on your shooting style. I’m willing to pay more for a mil-dot reticle and adjustable parallax because estimating holdovers and getting my eye in exactly the same place every time are things I struggle with as a shooter. If you’ve got that down pat then Truplex, Multi-X, or 30/30 reticle might be preferable for you.

All the options at this price range will be second focal plane. 

What Kinds of Things Do You Need to Avoid When Buying a Rimfire Riflescope?

Buying garbage. Ok, that might be a bit harsh, but in reality what is the point of trying to save money by buying a scope that falls apart after a few hundred rounds? High-end optics can run you several thousand dollars. You’re already flirting with trouble by sticking around $100, and when you try to dip even further below that, there are precious few good options.

The scopes we’ve got on this list are ones that someone on our team has had a good experience with and that we know well, but that doesn’t mean that every scope that comes off the line will be just as good.

Should I Choose a Scope With a Fixed Power or Variable Magnification?

This is, of course, up to your preference, but I’d recommend a variable magnification, and the 3-9x is a great spot to be in if you’re sticking around the $100 price point. If you can go higher, then it’s worth considering something like a 1-8x or 2.5-10x to increase the flexibility for shooting closer or farther, but 3-9x is a nice, versatile range that should do well for rimfire.

Either way, make sure you check that the eye relief is in a comfortable range, usually between 3 and 4 inches. The higher the magnification power, the shorter the eye relief may get, and a scope with 3-9x magnification will have an eye relief range. 

Final Thoughts

Getting a great rimfire scope in a low price range can be a challenge, and if none of these options seem right to you, you can always check other options like the Nikon Prostaff rimfire, the BSA Sweet .17, or a CVLife. Whether you’re plinking at the range or varmint hunting, you can find a scope that will do what you need it to do for your rimfire at the $100 price range.

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