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This is the Only Guide on the Internet with full depth info about the best scopes for 22LR as of 2020. The field test results plus unbiased straightforward talk is what makes this list so popular. (jump to main section).
My love for 22LR will never go away. The Marlin Model 39 was my first 22LR rifle and all I did was shooting those nasty barn rats dead.
The super cheap ammo and its versatility have made 22LR my go to rifle for general plinking and pest control.
Now talking about hitting those targets or hunting squirrels and those small critters out there you would need a scope regardless of the distance they’re at!
Yea I know, I’ve heard people saying you don’t need a scope for hitting at such small distances and the iron sights will do good.
Let them bellow.
We know if we are target shooting (in competitions) or hunting small animals like squirrels and armadillos, all we need is precision and results!
So either way, if you’re an expert (perhaps you skipped the intro) or you’re someone just starting out, here are the best scopes for the 22LR rifle.
Comparison Table for the Best Scopes For 22LR:
How Were the Scopes for the 22 Rimfire Chosen?
The list is built from scratch for the year 2020, so the 22LR scopes mentioned here have up to date information. The scopes were selected on the basis of:
- Price (No scope listed here is above $200).
Best 22LR Scopes for Squirrel Hunting and Target Shooting:
Nikon Prostaff 3-9x40 BDC 150:
Exceptional toughness, clarity, and functionality are a few reasons why the Nikon Prostaff is on the top of my list.
The Nikon Prostaff is specifically built for 22LR rifles.
The glass is crystal clear and delivers an exceptional sight, all thanks to its fully multi-coated lens.
The scope produces a bright and vivid image in natural lighting and works amazingly well in indoor ranges too.
The reticle is visible in very low light conditions too.
The turrets which come with removable plastic covers are built with good quality and provide a positive feel.
The scope provides an eye relief of 3.6 inches.
Furthermore, the Prostaff is Nitrogen purged hence making it waterproof and fog proof.
The accuracy is amazing considering the quick groupings, the rife and the ammo that were used.
The scope was mounted on Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 and was shooting CCI Standard Velocity.
The Prostaff comes with a BDC reticle and is optimized for Nikon’s Spot On System, hence making it easy to get aiming points for any kind of ammunition.
Tested On (Rifles and Recommended Mounts):
If you’ve Ruger American, you don’t need to spend any more money.
- It mounts well with the factory weaver base + Nikon A-Series 1″ rings (medium).
- If you’re mounting it on CZ 452, 455 series rifles then the BKL-257m rings ( built for 1″ scope tubes) will fit the scope with bolt clearance. Try to torque the bases at 30-35 inch pounds and make sure that they “bite” the rail.
After talking with buyers, we found:
- For Marlin 795 and Ruger 10/22, the Leapers Accushot 1-Pc Mount (it fits 3/8 dovetail) works beautifully even after 1000 rounds.
- Amazing Clarity.
- Premium features at a budget price.
- Compatible with Nikon’s Spot On Program.
- Good quality turrets.
- The view gets slightly purpley at 9x magnification.
If you’re a Nikon fan then don’t waste your time searching alternatives.
This is the best 22 LR scope from Nikon that you can get in 2020. The super affordable price also makes it a great choice for beginners. With this piece and the correct mount, you ought to shoot at those small critters like squirrels and armadillos without any problems.
It’s also a great choice for plinking and target shooting hence making it a great choice for competitions.
Vortex Crossfire II 2-7x32 Rimfire
You can’t complete a list without having Vortex in it, can you? The only thing entry level about this scope is it’s price.
The successor of Crossfire, the Vortex Crossfire II is a versatile piece built specifically for rimfire rifles.
Clarity and Build:
The scope produces a clear, crisp picture and features multi-coated lenses, Fast-focus eyepiece and a V-Plex (MOA) reticle.
The efficient light transmission through the lens makes it a good choice for outdoor as well as indoor shooting.
The Vortex Crossfire II is built on a single-piece aircraft grade Aluminium, hence making it a robust piece and the O-ring seals make sure that no dust or moisture gets in.
The hard ArmorTrek coating protects the exterior lenses from scratches and oil.
The capped zero reset turrets give a positive feel and can be tracked easily.
While testing it, we found it to be clear at 25, 50 and 100 yards.
The scope was mounted on a Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 shooting various ammo. After sighting in, the rifle shot 1/2 inch groups at 50 yards.
We got 4 inch groups on an average with rests in place at 100 yards and 1 inch groups at 25 yards indoors respectively.
The Crossfire II provided generous eye relief and held zero perfectly throughout the test.
Tested On (Rifles and Recommended Mounts):
For Marlin 795-LTR Redfield .22 See-Thru Dovetail Rings work well.
We mounted the scope to be in maximun forward position. We used a standard 1 piece rim fire mount that is 4 inch long with a medium height. A 3/8 rimfire mount was preferred since its smaller and less bulky.
With the scope all the way back 1/16 inch off the zoom ring, we pushed the mount forward, so 1.5 inch of the scope mount hangs off the front of the rail.
At low power, we were able to shoot with both eyes open and the view never got black regardless of the head movements.
- Clear glass.
- As good as others at a half price.
- Turret clicks well.
Aesthetically pleasing, the Crossfire II is built to last and I’m sure you’ll choose this scope for your 22LR as soon as you have a look through it.
Coming with a lifetime warranty, the Crossfire II is one of my favorite scopes for punching paper and hunting small games like squirrels.
Bushnell 3.5-10x36 (Dropzone 22 Reticle):
Built specifically for the 38-40 grain 22LR ammo, the Bushnell 3.5-10x36 scope features a Dropzone 22 reticle.
The reticle includes 3 holdover points for 75, 100 and 125 yards respectively.
This means, once you zero your rifle at 50 yards, you can use the points to aim up to 125 yards without any adjustments.
The scope has an Aluminum housing and is durable and lightweight.
The Nitrogen purged scope tube is waterproof and fog proof.
The capped windage and elevation turrets with medium height and the fast focus eyepiece help in making quick adjustments.
At prices higher than what this scope is available in, the Vortex and Nikons come with a fixed setting at 50 yards, this scope from Bushnell can set parallax from 10 yards to infinity.
The view through the scope is bright and clear and gives a good fight to other scopes available in this price range.
We tested the Bushnell scope with a Savage B22 FV-SR shooting Federal Premium Match 22LR at 50 yards.
One of our colleagues mounted the scope on a Ruger 10/22 shooting HV 22LR at 75 yards and got 1” groups. The BDC was accurate as per him.
Seems he did a better job than us!
We used 1” medium weaver grand slam rings with the Savage B22 FV-SR 22 and everything went well.
For rifles with 11 mm or 3/8” Dovetail Rails, you can simply use 1” scope rings (medium profile), we tested the LIRISY 1″ medium scope rings on Marlin, Savage and Ruger 10/22 without any problems.
- Adjustable objective.
- Limited lifetime warranty.
- Key components like elevation turret dials and hold down screw are made of plastic.
Though the scope works well in this range, the key components made of plastic were quite a turnoff for us.
The adjustable objective from 10 yards to infinity keeps this scope in the fight.
After talking with a buyer, we got to know that his scope held the zero well even after 6 months.
BARSKA 3-9X32 Plinker-22:
The BARSKA 3-9x32 Plinker surely proves this.
With over 480 reviews on Amazon this is one of the best 22LR scopes you could get under $50.
The amazing clarity and the premium features its loaded with will surely exceed your expectations.
BARSKA Plinker-22 is super light and weighs 11.15 oz!
As the name suggests, its built especially for plinking and hunting.
We shot around 120 rounds at 50 and 75 yards with 5 rounds per group sub MOA. All in all, the Barska Plinker turned out to be a pretty accurate scope.
Built with 1-inch single piece tube, the BARSKA Plinker is a tough and aesthetically pleasing optic.
The multi-coated lens provides bright and clear image.
The scope is free from parallax at 50 yards and provides a generous eye relief of 3.5 inches.
The ¼ MOA fingertip adjustments surely make a whole lot of work easy, this means the turrets don’t require tools to make any adjustments.
The BARSKA 3-9x32 Plinker features a 30/30 reticle.
The 30/30 reticle is a duplex reticle which has fine hairs at the inner side and thick hair at the outer side.
If these amazing features weren’t enough, BARSKA also comes with some goodies which include 3/8” Dovetail Rings for easy mounting, lens covers and lens cloth. The Barska Plinker also comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
On further researching we found the scope mounts well with Savage .22, Henry H001 .22 lever action rifle and Mossberg Model 351ka .22 Lr too.
If you’re into a scope that doesn’t cost more than your 22LR rifle then the Barska Plinker is for you.
Its available under $50 range and it can be a good choice if you’re into general plinking and squirrel hunting.
Simmons Truplex 3-9x32 .22 Mag:
With over 1444 reviews on Amazon and with an average rating of 4.2 stars, the only scope that gives BARSKA a tough fight at this price range is the Simmons Truplex 22 Mag rifle scope.
Simmons is America’s one of the most popular rifle scope brands and the scope is available in Black matte and Silver (our favorite) color.
Features like TrueZero adjustment and QTA (Quick Target Action) eyepiece makes Simmons Truplex one of the best scope choices for 22 LR rifles within this price range.
Clarity & Build:
The TrueZero adjustment system provides unparalleled stability since it uses a flex erector system instead of the traditional spring designs.
The patented QTA fast focus eyepiece provides a constant eye relief of 4 inches, thus eliminating the need to move closer to the lens at higher magnification.
The brightness, the glare control, everything works well; all thanks to the HydroShield lens coating.
We will keep this part up to this video, the video pretty much sums up the accuracy once you get your Ruger 10/22 rifle zeroed.
Personally, the fast focus eyepiece helped a lot. With this scope mounted on our Marlin 795, getting 1/2″ groups at 50 yards was easy.
- Super light, weighs around 10.3 oz.
- Turret clicks are mushy.
- Bit of distortion around the edges.
At such a cheap price, the Simmons Trueplex provides a lot more than the price it comes in.
This scope can be a good choice for a 22LR rifle for pest control and varmint hunting.
It looks beautiful on our Marlin 795 and the glint off the sun on its silver body would be the last thing that the pests would see.
UTG 3-12x44 AO (Mil-Dot):
Another on the list is the UTG compact rifle scope by Leaper’s.
Manufactured in the US, it’s a bit different than all the other scopes on this list.
Leaper’s have really put a lot of thought to build this unique optic.
Built on the Leaper’s True Strength platform, the UTG 3-12x44 boasts of its long-lasting reliability in different shooting conditions.
Furthermore, it features lockable and resettable turrets which makes sure that you never lose your zero and get back to it in no time.
Clarity & Something Uncommon:
The thing a bit more uncommon about this scope is that it features a Side Wheel Adjustable Turret which makes it parallax free at 10 yards to infinity. There aren’t many scopes providing such as of now.
Watch this video to see it’s clarity and the reticle color options (Note: The video is not in English).
The advantage of this can be that any kind of color can be chosen depending on the lighting condition (the reticle stays black without any illumination).
This feature is truly a blessing, especially for color blind hunters.
Add-Ons & Mounting:
Apart from the flip-open lens caps, you get a pair of medium profile heavy duty rings and we must say, the rings are of good quality.
The saddle height for the rings is 15mm and can be easily mounted on any Picatinny or Weaver rail.
- Clarity is fair but could be better.
- Feels heavy (maybe because of the metal parts).
- Questionable customer service.
All in all, the price to features ratio for this 22LR scope is amazing and can be a great choice for the shooters and hunters looking for premium features at an affordable price.
Vortex Diamondback 2-7x35 Rimfire Scope:
If you liked the Crossfire II, then you’ll love the Diamondback!
This beautiful beast is carved out of a single piece of aircraft grade aluminum hence making it resistant to shocks and magnum recoils.
Talking about clarity, as usual, the quality is exceptional, the pictures are sharp, vivid and bright; all credit goes to the multi-coated lenses which increase light transmission up to 91%.
You’re simply getting clarity that matches up to the scopes being sold at higher prices.
The turrets are super good, give a positive feel and in no way, they’re soft or mushy.
The low profiled capped turrets prevent any sort of damage to them and yes, the Diamondback features the zero-reset turrets.
The glass etched V-plex reticle is super helpful in various hunting applications.
Furthermore, the scope tube is Argon purged hence making it fog proof and the O-ring seals make sure that the scope remains waterproof and dustproof.
We mounted the scope on a CZ 452 22LR shooting CCI stingers.
It took us 6 rounds to zero at 50 yards. We shot first two rounds for checking and fine tuning. The rest of the 20 rounds were dead on.
- Wide field of view.
- Bright and Clear.
- Lifetime warranty.
If you’re a Vortex guy and prefer a brighter and better alternative to the Crossfire II, simply get this.
Firstly this scope is simply dead on, has a huge field of view and is way clearer and brighter than others because of it’s 35 mm objective lens.
I’ll be straightforward here.
Choose either Nikon Prostaff or Vortex Crossfire II, these are currently the best scopes for 22LR under $200. There isn’t much difference in clarity or features. I’m a Vortex guy so I’ll go with the Crossfire II, if you love Nikons then choose the Prostaff.
Both of these scopes are a great choice for competitions, plinking and small game hunting.
If you need something slightly better with better clarity and wider field of view, then go with the Vortex Diamondback 2-7x35 Rimfire.
If you’ve a budget under $100 and don’t want some important parts of the scope built with plastic, then you can skip the Bushnell 3.5-10x36. Though considering it’s adjustable objective setting and accuracy, you should at least consider it.
Both of these scopes are beasts in themselves and can give a tough fight to scopes available in higher price.
Choose any of the shortlisted scope and you’re good to go.
Thank me later!
How to Choose a Scope for 22LR?
How much Magnification for a 22LR Scope?
If we talk on the basis of the usual range, effective distance, and bullet drop then hunters shooting 22LRs generally don’t go beyond 100 yards. I’ve seen most of my friends plinking or hunting squirrels at no more than 75 yards.
Considering the average distance and the size of animals or pests, you wouldn’t be needing anything more than 9x magnification.
If you’re considering a 22LR scope for long range hunting, then keep reading.
How Much Should I Pay to Get an Amazing 22LR Scope?
Considering all the scope recommendations on my list, you wouldn’t be paying any more than $200 to get a versatile and clear piece of optic.
Where Should I Buy the Scope From?
Amazon. Don’t need to explain much here.
The customer service, quick delivery and easy returns make Amazon my preferred marketplace to buy 22LR scopes. I’ve had very negative experiences with many other websites but Amazon has always been good for me. The scopes are generally available at a discount and the customer ratings help a lot too.
Long Range Hunting & Shooting with 22LR:
As mentioned in my earlier post, 22LR drops like a rainbow after 100 yards.
Personally, having shot the Savage Mark II out to 300 yards with subsonic ammo, I can tell you it isn’t easy to hit with accuracy.
Still there are some amazing people out there doing the impossible and making the 22LR work way beyond its limits.
Guess what? It’s all about how good you are!
Though the scopes on my list are capable of hunting at long distances but distances like 700 yards are just extreme and aren’t a practical effective range for hunting and plinking.