Budget Roundup: 8 Best Rimfire Scopes Under $200

Rimfire rifles like the Marlin Model 60 and the Ruger 10/22 are among the most popular and widely produced firearms in the world, and in addition to being an excellent entry point into the world of shooting, rimfire rifles are also used by millions of people for plinking, competitive target shooting, and varmint hunting.

But to truly unlock the potential of your rifle, you need a high-quality scope. For many years, the words “rimfire scope” conjured images of cheap optics with poor clarity and even worse light transmission, and many scope manufacturers treated them like an afterthought—if they bothered to make them at all.

Thankfully, this attitude has drastically changed in recent years, and not only are there a wide selection of high-quality optics available that are specifically designed for the unique ballistic profiles of rimfire cartridges, but there are also a number of budget-friendly options as well.

Before we get into the scopes themselves, let's look at what you can expect from a rimfire scope in this price range.

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Products

BEST FOR MID RANGE

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 2-7x
  • Length: 11.3 in
BEST FOR DURABILITY

Leupold VX-Freedom Rimfire Riflescope

Leupold VX-Freedom Rimfire Riflescope

  • Diameter: 33 mm
  • Magnification: 2-7x
  • Length: 11.04 in
BEST FOR RELIABILITY

UTG 3-9X32 BugBuster Rifle Scope

UTG 3-9X32 BugBuster Rifle Scope

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 3-9x
  • Length: 9.84 in
BEST FOR ACCURACY

Simmons Truplex .22 Mag Rifle Scope

Simmons Truplex .22 Mag Rifle Scope

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 3-9x
  • Length: 12 in
BEST FOR LONG RANGE

CVLIFE Hunting Rifle Scope

CVLIFE Hunting Rifle Scope

  • Diameter: 50mm
  • Magnification: 6-24x
  • Length: 15.74 in
BEST FOR HUNTING

Nikon ProStaff 3-9 x 40 Riflescope (BDC)

Nikon ProStaff 3-9x40 Riflescope (BDC)

  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Magnification: 3-9x
  • Length: 12.4 in
BEST FOR BRIGHT IMAGE

Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X BDC Reticle

Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X BDC Reticle 

  • Diameter: 36mm
  • Magnification: 3.5-10x
  • Length: 17 in
BEST FOR CRYSTAL IMAGE

Vortex Optics Diamondback 2-7x35

Vortex Optics Diamondback 2-7x35 

  • Diameter: 35mm
  • Magnification: 2-7x
  • Length: 11.6 in

A Word About “Budget” Scopes

There's no way around it: the low-cost optics market is flooded with cheap imitations, shoddy materials, and scopes that just won't hold up to the typical wear and tear of hunting and recreational shooting. Sorting the good from the bad can be difficult, especially since some unscrupulous manufacturers go so far as to buy fake user reviews on popular online shopping sites.

Thankfully, Hunting Mark has done the legwork to filter out these substandard products and bring you a list of optics that are rugged, functional, and won't break the bank.

Still, it's important to realize that budget scopes are always going to lack some of the features of their more expensive competitors—sometimes that means a lower magnification power, glass that isn't quite as clear or sharp, adjustment knobs that don't track quite as precisely—you get the idea. The good news is that if you know where to look, you can still walk away with a perfectly usable, quality optic for under $200 that won't let you down in the field or at the range.

Without further ado, let's get to the list of the best rimfire scopes under $200:

8 Best Rimfire Scopes Under $200

1. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Rimfire 

best rimfire scope under 200

The rimfire version of Vortex Optic's popular Crossfire II scope is a great choice for anyone hunting with popular cartridges like .22 LR or .17. Considering that virtually all rimfire hunting takes place inside of 100 yards, the 2-7x magnification range is ideal, offering you plenty of zoom for your needs while also allowing Vortex to cut back on some of the weight and size that would result from a higher-power scope.

The duplex-style V-plex reticle might be a little boring, especially if you're coming from the world of centerfire rifle optics, but it does the job just fine, whether you're putting holes in paper or bagging squirrels.

Glass clarity is great, and the relatively large objective lens lets in enough light to let you keep shooting for a bit longer in low light conditions. I found the eye box and overall eye relief to both be quite generous, as well.

Windage and elevation knobs are finger-adjustable, have a ¼ MOA click value, and can be reset to zero after sighting in. Parallax is set for 50 yards, and that's where I'd recommend zeroing this scope in at.

In terms of durability, the Vortex Crossfire II feels very solid – it's constructed from a single piece of aircraft-grade aluminum, has a nitrogen-purged and o-ring sealed interior to make it waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof, and is backed by Vortex's VIP Warranty, which is one of the best in the business.

Vortex Optics Crossfire II

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32

The price of Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 varies, so check the latest price at

2. Leupold VX-Freedom Rimfire Riflescope

best rimfire scope under 100

Ok, this one is cheating a bit, since it usually only goes under $200 when it's on sale, but I had to include it anyway.

Leupold has brought their famously clear and crisp glass into the rimfire game with this version of their very affordable VX-Freedom scope line. The Rimfire-MOA reticle features 25 MOA of bullet drop compensation (BDC) holdover markings in 1 MOA increments, making it a top choice for precision target shooting or budget-conscious competitive rimfire shooting.

Like the other VX-Freedom scopes, the rimfire version still comes equipped with a versatile 3:1 zoom ratio and a 3-9x magnification range, which is honestly probably a bit more than you really need for the average .22 rifle. You also get the standard Leupold Twilight Management System and high-contrast lens coatings, providing impressive visibility in low light without sacrificing brightness or image quality.

Parallax is set at 50 yards and isn't adjustable, which isn't a huge issue for most applications but can be slightly annoying if you are trying to make precise shots at extremely close or extremely long distances (by rimfire standards, anyway).

In terms of build quality, it's a one-piece, one-inch aircraft-grade aluminum maintube that is rated to be waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof. The lenses are fully multi-coated to keep dust and grit from scratching up your glass, the matte black finish seems to hold up pretty well against standard wear.

Leupold VX-Freedom Rimfire

The price of Leupold VX-Freedom Rimfire  varies, so check the latest price at

3. UTG 3-9X32 BugBuster Rifle Scope

The UTG BugBuster checks in at just under $100, and while it's not going to be winning you any benchrest competitions any time soon, it's a solid plinking and varmint hunting option for anyone who simply can't afford to stretch their budget.

Unlike most other rimfire scopes, this one has a red/green illuminated reticle – I wasn't sure how to feel about it at first, but I think if you are looking to bag small game or frequently shoot in bright daylight, the faster target acquisition is handy, and it's more than precise enough to put some meat on the table. Plus, when shooting in low light or into dense brush, having a reticle that you can't lose track of is certainly nice.

The BugBuster comes with a set of quick detach rings that are pretty nice for the price point—they aren't locking, but they are adjustable, and seem to hold zero just fine.

The biggest issue with this optic is that you should expect to see some point of impact shift when moving through the magnification range—going from 3x to 9x is a noticeable shift, and eye relief suffers at max magnification as well. It won't be a big deal for everyone, but if you plan on going from 25 yards to 100 and back on a regular basis, it could get annoying.

UTG 3-9X32 BugBuster Rifle Scope

The price of UTG 3-9X32 BugBuster Rifle Scope varies, so check the latest price at

4. Simmons Truplex .22 Mag Rifle Scope

best rimfire scopes

At just over $30, the Simmons Truplex .22 Mag is the least expensive optic on our list. I am generally hesitant to ever recommend anything at this price point because quality control issues can be very inconsistent, but this is genuinely a solid, if unremarkable, scope at a price that is impossible to beat without rolling the dice on no-name brands made with cheap materials.

This scope is very lightweight, relatively robust (though not as durable as most other options on this list), has reasonably clear and bright optical quality, and holds a zero—though take my advice and ditch the 3/8th inch dovetail rings it comes with and at least buy a sturdier scope mount.

Eye relief on this scope might actually be too generous—a rimfire rifle is dealing with negligible recoil, and the cost of such a long eye relief is a smaller eye box. Windage and elevation adjustment knobs track fairly well, but they feel very soft, and you don't get to feel and hear the click like you do with a higher-quality optic.

It may not be a particularly impressive scope, but if your budget is under $50 and you just want something to plink with, you won't find better at this price.

Simmons Truplex .22 Mag Rifle Scope

The price of Simmons Truplex .22 Mag Rifle Scope varies, so check the latest price at

5. CVLIFE Hunting Rifle Scope

cheap 22 scope

The CVLIFE 3-9x scope is another interesting budget option. While it's not a dedicated rimfire scope, it is still perfectly usable on a .22 or .17 rifle, and it makes a solid target shooting and hunting optic.

The CVLIFE 3-9x comes with an adjustable objective lens to eliminate parallax starting from 10 yards out, which is an unusual feature on an inexpensive scope. Optical clarity is impressive for the price, and the fully multicoated lenses still let in plenty of light thanks to a 40mm objective lens.

The only downside I found with this optic is that the elevation and windage knobs have a bit too much play, to the point where I briefly wondered if they had dead spots. For shooting at 100 yards and under it's not really a dealbreaker like it would be if you were using it on a centerfire rifle, but it's still something to keep in mind.

CVLIFE Hunting Rifle Scope

The price of CVLIFE Hunting Rifle Scope varies, so check the latest price at

6. Nikon ProStaff 3-9 x 40 Riflescope (BDC)

best rifle scopes under 200

Though Nikon has officially ceased manufacturing rifle scopes, these can still be found for sale for around $150, and at that price they are an excellent choice for a rimfire optic. The 3-9x magnification range is ideal for most applications, and while the BDC reticle might be a little more than you need for cartridges that tend to have a maximum effective range of around 150 yards, you can still use Nikon's bullet drop calculation software to plug in your range, caliber, and scope model to figure out exact holdover points.

The clarity and brightness of this optic are quite good, and the adjustment turrets are spring loaded with a zero-reset function. I'm not a huge fan of capped turrets, especially when the cap threads are made of plastic, but turrets themselves function well and track accurately. I am grateful for the fast-focus eyepiece though, especially since I tend to set up targets at several different distances when I'm plinking with a .22.

At one pound without rings, the Nikon Prostaff Rimfire is a fairly hefty scope, but it is built to last—the housing is nitrogen-purged and o-ring sealed, making it waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof, and it holds a zero well even after a ride over some pretty bumpy terrain.

Nikon ProStaff 3-9 x 40 Riflescope

The price of Nikon ProStaff 3-9 x 40 Riflescope varies, so check the latest price at

7. Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X BDC Reticle

best 22 scope for the money

Absurdly long name aside, the Bushnell Dusk & Dawn rimfire riflescope is tailor-made for shooting in low light conditions, which makes it an especially attractive option for varmint hunters. The multi-X reticle is easy to use and has BDC hashmarks calibrated specifically to .17 HMR and .22 ballistic profiles, taking out the guesswork that comes with using a centerfire scope.

The multi-coated lenses were designed to maximize light transmission, and this scope does boast a slightly brighter sight picture than most of the competition. Clarity and contrast are also solid, and a 10 foot field of view at 100 yards on maximum magnification gives you enough room to track a moving critter without much trouble.

The adjustable objective and fast-focus eyepiece makes it easy to quickly focus in after changing distance and magnification level, as well as allowing you to eliminate the effect of parallax – both very welcome features on a scope at this price.

Bushnell makes durable optics even in their budget-priced lines, and this one is no exception, with a fully waterproof, shockproof, and fogproof construction. For a very solid dedicated hunting scope under $100, you would be hard-pressed to beat the features on this one.

Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn

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

8. Vortex Optics Diamondback 2-7x35 Rimfire Riflescope

best scopes under 200

Vortex earns another spot on the list with their Diamondback 2-7x rimfire scope, which offers a lot of performance and versatility in a compact, affordable package. The duplex reticle is a simple, no-frills reticle suitable for hunting and target shooting alike, and it's sharp enough that it won't cover up your target while also being thick enough to avoid getting lost against dense brush or fur.

The turrets offer surprisingly accurate and repeatable tracking adjustments thanks to Vortex's unique precision glide erector system, which is something that many budget scopes tend to struggle with.

The one-piece aluminum tube has a hard anodized finish, so on top of being sturdy enough to operate in any weather conditions you might face, it also holds up well against scratches and general wear. And as I mentioned earlier, Vortex really goes above and beyond with their lifetime warranty and customer service, so I'm always happy to recommend their products to people searching for optics that won't break the bank.

Vortex Optics Diamondback 2-7x35

The price of Vortex Optics Diamondback 2-7x35 varies, so check the latest price at

Frequently Asked Questions

Which features should I look for in a rimfire rifle scope?

The most important features are an adequate, but not overly large magnification range (10x power at most, though 7x is usually plenty), a durable construction that can handle the unique recoil patterns of rimfire rifles, and a reticle or crosshair that will hold a rock-steady zero.

What kind of lens features should you be looking for when choosing a rimfire rifle scope?

As with all scopes, you should prioritize lenses that have adequate clarity, sharpness, brightness, and contrast for your needs. Many budget optics manufacturers take shortcuts when it comes to lens quality, but good glass is essential if you want to avoid frustration and missed shots.

What is the difference between rimfire rifle scope and others?

Rimfire scopes are built with specific ballistic profiles, such as .17 HMR and .22, in mind and will be easier and more intuitive to sight in and adjust on those rifles. Rimfire scopes also typically have parallax set at 50 yards, versus 100 or more with high-power centerfire optics, thanks to the much shorter effective range of rimfire cartridges.

Do you need a lens shade in rimfire riflescopes?

If you live in a particularly sunny part of the country or often find yourself shooting during the brightest hours of the day, a sunshade is certainly not a bad idea. Most modern anti-reflective lens coatings do a good job of cutting back on distracting glare, but a sun shade can help if you're still experiencing issues. It's also worth pointing out that a sunshade can also help to keep rain off of your objective lens, as well.

Parting Shots

Rimfire scopes have come a long way since the days when most manufacturers treated them as an afterthought, and there are plenty of high-quality, affordable optics out there that will give your rimfire rifle a little extra reach.

Whether you are shooting for fun, hunting for food, or taking part in competition matches, the scopes on this list offer reliable choices for every budget level.

Have you tried out any of the scopes on this list? Did we leave off one of your favorites? Then sound off in the comments and let us know! And if you've got a budget bigger than $200 for your rimfire optic check out our look at the top .22 scopes!  

References:

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