The 4 Best Rimfire Scope [2021 Update]

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Today I’m going to show you the best rimfire scope.

In fact:

I’ve hand- tested over 10 scopes alone for this review.

The best part?

I’ve sorted the scopes by use. So whether you’re on a budget or need the best scope for .22 benchrest shooting, you’ll find it here.

Let’s dive in!

The 4 Best Rimfire Scope

If you’re pressed on time, here’s a quick list of the best rimfire scope:

  1. Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40: Best .22 Rimfire Scope
  2. Athlon Ares 4.5-30×56: Best for Benchrest Shooting
  3. Bushnell Trophy TRS-25: Best for the Budget
  4. Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20: Best Scope for Squirrel Hunting

1. Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40: Best .22 Rimfire Scope

The Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40 is the best .22 rifle scope.

In fact:

I’ve hand-tested it on multiple .22LR AR-15s for a wide variety of hunting applications and casual target shooting. Trust me when I tell you I loved it, especially for my Colt M4.

By the end of this review, you’ll know if the Leupold VX-Freedom is for you.

Let’s dive in!


Glass Clarity & Reticle

The glass is crystal clear, with no edge distortions or color aberrations.

The VX-Freedom comes with a standard duplex reticle in the second focal plane. SFP means the reticle size will remain the same even as the target size increases and decreases through its magnification range. It was effortless to incorporate hold over at varying distances.

If the duplex reticle not your cup of tea, the VX series has mil dots and ballistic reticles as an option.

Leupold also offers a custom dial service (CDS) model to provide a custom adjustable turret tailored to your ballistic specifications.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

The Leupold VX-Freedom has 4.17”/3.66” of forgiving eye relief, which keeps me from getting hit in the eye.

The scope offered a wide field of view between 100-200 yards, which is the distance I typically shoot targets.


Durability and Weight

Despite the price range, I was impressed with the durability and overall quality of the Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40.

The 1″ main tube is 12.39” long and weighs about 12.2 oz. It’s constructed from aircraft quality aluminum, making it waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof.


Elevation & Windage Knobs

The elevation and windage turrets were a little mushy.

It felt like they might twist off or break if I got too rough with them, but I will say the elevation and windage tracked true.

The adjustments are in ¼ MOA for both, a fine level of adjustment detail for under $300.

On the other hand, zeroing was a breeze. In less than ten rounds, I was pounding away at 200-yard steel plates with no issues.

I put 300 rounds on the VX-Freedom with my Ruger AR-556 rifle, and it had no problems holding zero.


Parallax & Magnification

The Leupold VX-Freedom sports a 3-9x variable magnification and 40mm objective, making it an excellent choice for medium to long-range shooting.

The best part?

The zoom ring is super easy to turn. It features a large raised part that worked perfectly with thick gloves and cold, wet fingers.


Mounting & Rings

Unfortunately, this budget-oriented scope doesn’t come with accessories.

I have the VX-Freedom mounted on my Glenfield Marlin 22 model 60 using the Leupold Rifleman Scope Rings (Model #56533 – Rifleman Rings 1″ – .22 RF 3/8-inch Rings).

They come with a hex key and set screws. Furthermore, these rings allow enough clearance to use the front sights without having to remove the scope.

Also:

I purchased the Leupold Alumina Lens Shade 4″ 40mm for anti-reflection and scratch resistance.

Lastly, I replaced the flimsy bikini caps with the Leupold Alumina Flip Back Lens Cover.

Sale
Leupold Alumina Flip Back Lens Cover Standard Ep 59055
  • Country Of Origin : United States
  • The Package Height Of The Product Is 0.5 Inches
  • The Package Length Of The Product Is 5.3 Inches

Is the Leupold VX-Freedom worth it?

If you’re looking for a well-built scope from a renowned optics manufacturer, the Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40 is absolutely worth it.

Why? It’s got…

  • Quality glass
  • Low price tag
  • Second Focal Plane
  • Multiple Reticle Options
  • Great eye-relief distance
  • 3-9x Variable Magnification
  • Weatherproof and shockproof build

To top it all off, the VX-Freedom comes with Leupold’s Lifetime warranty. If it breaks, they will repair or replace the scope without charge: even if you aren’t the original owner or lost the receipt.

For under $300, the Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40 is the best .22 scope that is not only budget-friendly but provides top-of-the-line performance.


2. Athlon Ares 4.5-30×56: Best for Benchrest Shooting

The Athlon Ares 4.5-30×56 is the first scope I have purchased made by Athlon and I am a little annoyed I hadn’t found the brand earlier in life.

They produce high quality scopes that far outperform the price tag.

Here’s why the Athlon Ares 4.5-30×56 is the best benchrest shooting scope I have found to date…


Glass Clarity & Reticle

The clarity of the Athlon Ares 4.5-30×56 has blown me away. I have had scopes that are in the $2000-3000 range that can’t compete with this scope.

Whether it’s indoors or outdoors this scope has outperformed anything in it’s category.

I use this scope outdoors most often and the brightness has been fantastic so far.

I am not the most accurate shooter; however, with this kind of clarity, I have been shooting some of the tightest groupings of my life.

The FFP reticle on the Athlon Ares 4.5-30×56 is beautiful and well illuminated. The configuration fits my needs perfectly.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

The eye relief on this scope has been unbelievably versatile.

I will admit as you move higher in the magnification, it can be difficult to find the sweet spot. Overall, my experience with the eye relief has been simple and reliable.

This scope is the best scope for ruger american rimfire. I have mine calibered in .22 so I don’t have too much of an issue with recoil.

The eye relief is more than comfortable for a .22 recoil and it would definitely still be comfortable with a firearm that has much more recoil.


Durability

The durability on the Athlon Ares 4.5-30×56 has been outstanding so far. It has a few scratches but in my opinion a scope and firearm look better dinged up.

I buy my firearms and scopes to be used and slightly abused and this scope has certainly rolled with the punches.


Elevation & Windage Knobs

The turrets on the Athlon Ares 4.5-30×56 are some of the most premium feeling turrets I have ever used.

An unbelievably satisfying click sound every motion. Chincy turrets irritate me to no end.

The turrets have a 0.25 MOA click value and the adjustment has been perfect for zeroing.

My experience zeroing the Athlon Ares 4.5-30×56 was one of the easiest processes I have gone through.

This thing had to have been perfectly zerod in 5-10 shots.

Although I don’t dislike the process, I am glad it was quick and simple and I could spend the rest of my day enjoying the scope.


Parallax & Magnification

The Athlon Ares 4.5-30×56 has a magnification of up to 30X which is unbelievable to me.

I definitely am not the most capable shooter, but the extra magnification has given me some of my best groupings and confidence to date.

Parallax on the scope has been nonexistent. Even at 30X I haven’t noticed any.

The combination of clarity, magnification, and lack of parallax makes this scope an absolute no brainer in my opinion.


Mounting & Rings

When I purchased the Athlon Ares 4.5-30×56, I also purchased some 34mm Vortex Optics Precision Matched Riflescope Rings.

Vortex Optics Precision Matched Riflescope Rings
  • These Vortex Precision Matched Rings position the center of the riflescope tube at a height of 1.00 inches (25.4 mm) from the base. Will only work with Picatinny spec mounts—will not work with...
  • Our Precision Matched Rings are kept in pairs throughout the manufacturing process — ensuring perfection from one set to another.
  • We start with certified USA 7075 T6 billet aluminum and hold it to an extremely tight tolerance of .0005 using our precision Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) mill.

They work fantastic and add a very good look to a great looking scope. Easy to mount on my rifle and haven’t had to mess with them since.

In addition to this, I also purchased a 56mm Athlon Sunshade which was a must in my book.


Is the Athlon Ares 4.5-30×56 worth it?

The Athlon Ares 4.5-30×56 is in no way a cheap scope; however, for the price you get the quality of a scope that is 2 to 3 times more expensive. This scopes has been one of my favorite purchases this year.

Here’s why:

  • Clarity
  • Build quality
  • High magnification

In short: The Athlon Ares 4.5-30×56 is one of the most expensive scopes I have ever purchased and I do not regret a cent of that purchase. You truly do get what you pay for with this scope and I have highly recommended it to all of my range buddies.

Athlon Optics Ares ETR UHD 4.5-30x56 First Focal Plane Riflescopes
  • Fully Multicoated optics effectively reduces reflected light and increases the transmission of light giving you a brighter image than normal single coated lenses

3. Bushnell Trophy TRS-25: Best for the Budget

Penny for penny, the Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 is the best red dot on the market.

In fact, you’ll get the best rimfire scope for under $200!

I use this scope for target shooting, home defense, and hunting and it performs great in every environment.

Want to hear more? Keep reading…


Glass Clarity & Reticle

The TRS-25 has crystal clear glass.

The lenses are multi-coated, which reduces glare and helps to draw in light for better clarity in dim environments.

The best part is that it has an Amber-Bright coating that helps you distinguish between different shades of brown. You’ll easily be able to tell the difference between a brown tree and a brown animal when you’re out hunting.

This scope has a 3 MOA red dot reticle with 11 brightness settings.

It has an easy adjustment dial, so you can set the brightness to whatever setting works best for your own personal preference or the time of day.

The red dot is bright and crisp both in the bright sunlight and during dawn or dusk.

It also has an extended battery life, so you don’t have to worry about losing your dot in the middle of a hunt.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

With all red dot scopes, you get unlimited eye relief.

This means you’ll be able to have both eyes open, which gives you access to all your peripheral vision and promotes high situational awareness.

On top of that, you get super fast target acquisition because you don’t have to worry about eye or head position like you would with a LVPO.


Durability

The Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 was built to last.

It features shockproof construction to withstand any rough treatment. I’ve definitely banged mine on a few trees, with no evident damage.

It also is O-ring sealed, which makes it completely waterproof, even if it’s dunked under water.

Plus, it is nitrogen purged. This means you’ll never have to worry about it fogging up in humid environments.

It is compact and light, weighing only 4 oz, which makes it the perfect scope for my Ruger 10/22.

It also comes with a 1 year warranty, so you have plenty of time to test it out for any issues.


Elevation & Windage Knobs

The elevation and windage knobs are nice and tight.

You can easily use a dime to make your adjustments and they give a nice, positive click.

I zeroed mine in at 50 yards in a matter of minutes. I’ve shot thousands of rounds with this scope and have yet to need to readjust it.


Parallax & Magnification

You’ll get 1x magnification with the Bushnell Trophy TRS-25.

This is perfect for target shooting, hunting, and home defense. It gives you optimum vision at short range and works well for most intermediate distances as well.

If you want to use it for long range, it is possible if you add on a magnifier. You will lose out on your unlimited eye relief though.

The parallax is fixed at 50 yards and I haven’t noticed any issues with it. If you want to make sure you’re getting something completely parallax free, you might want to check out holographic sights.


Mounting & Rings

This scope mounts easily to most picatinny rails.

It is compatible with rifles, shotguns, pistols, and muzzleloaders, so it is an extremely versatile scope.

Depending on the type of weapon you’re mounting it to, you may need a riser, which is not included. You can choose the height that works best for your firearm. There’s a 0.83

Sale
UTG Med-pro Compact Riser Mount, 0.83" High, 3 Slots
  • New Gen. riser mount for rifles with Picatinny/Weaver rail
  • 1 Picatinny rail with 3 slots
  • Side plate with spring tension for quick and easy installation

or 1” option.

Sale
UTG Hi-Profile Compact Riser Mount, 1" High, 3 Slots
  • New Gen. Riser Mount for Rifles with Picatinny/Weaver Rail
  • 1.6" Long Picatinny Rail with 3 Slots
  • Side Plate with Spring Tension for Quick Easy Installation

You’ll also get a nice rubber scope cover with the TRS-25.


Is the Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 worth it?

This scope is the best red dot you’ll find at a budget friendly price.

It has:

  • Multi-coated lenses
  • Amber-Bright coating
  • 3 MOA red dot reticle
  • 11 brightness settings
  • Best bang for your buck pricing
  • Rugged durability w/1 year warranty

If you’re looking for the best rimfire scope under $100, try the Bushnell Trophy TRS-25. You won’t be disappointed.

Sale
Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope, 1x25mm, Black
  • Matte black featuring a 3 MOA Dot reticle with 11 brightness settings; Mounts easily on most picatinny rails and is compatible with pistols, shotguns, rifles and muzzleloaders
  • Waterproof construction: O ring sealed optics stay dry inside, even when totally immersed in water. Parallax - 50
  • Shockproof construction: Built to withstand bumps, bangs, drops and the rough and tumble environment of the field

4. Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20: Best Scope for Squirrel Hunting

Looking for the best .22 rimfire scope? Look no further than the Leupold vx-Freedom 1.5-4×20.

With all the glass quality and clarity you’ve come to expect from Leupold, you’ll be able to accurately pop tiny varmints in all lighting conditions.

Let me show you…


Glass Clarity & Reticle

The Leupold VX-Freedom has a very clear picture. I was impressed that Leupold was able to maintain such clarity in a lower-price range scope.

Unlike many scopes in the $200-$300 price-range, the VX-Freedom has fully multi-coated lenses and exceptionally clear glass.

Edge-to-edge, I found the sight picture to be crisp. Using Leupold’s Twilight Management System to drastically reduce stray light glare, there’s no haziness or fuzziness in my view. I had perfect color contrast, even in low light situations.

Leupold boasts that their superior light transmission will give hunters an extra 20 minutes of shooting light. After putting this scope through its paces in the early morning and fading daylight hours, I found this to be true.

Armed with my Leupold VX-Freedom and my trusty .22 rimfire, I was able to be out when the squirrels were most active.

The second focal plane fine duplex reticle didn’t obscure even the tiniest target. I easily made headshots on squirrels within 100 yards.

For those interested in a hashed reticle, the Pig Reticle for hog hunting is listed as an option from some sellers.

Even for the range, this scope would be an awesome option for .22 benchrest shooting. No matter what you use your .22 rimfire for, the Leupold VX-Freedom will perform well.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

I found this scope to have a pretty long eye-relief from 3.75 to 4 inches.

The eyebox was generous though, I didn’t have any trouble maneuvering behind the scope and maintaining a clean view through the scope.


Durability

Leupold is king when it comes to making a durable scope, and this little guy was no exception.

The lenses are coated with DiamondCoat 2 which not only improve light transmission, but provide scratch resistance.

The scope is argon/krypton purged making it fogproof in the toughest weather conditions.

It’s also sealed to withstand being submerged in over 30 feet of water.

I do not treat my scopes kindly. I haven’t bothered to cover this scope on my hunting trips. It has been tossed around, dropped, knocked and abused. Still works great, still holds zero.


Elevation & Windage Knob

I think the turrets are where Leupold compromised quality for cost on this particular optic. The turrets on the Freedom VS-Freedom are not at the same quality level that I am used to on higher-end Leupold scopes.

The finger click turrets felt mushy to me. I had a hard time telling when they finally “clicked” when making adjustments.

With that said, I didn’t have to work hard to zero the scope. I was able to sight in my gun in less than 5 shots.

The turret adjustments were definitely better than other budget scopes, but not up to par with what Leupold usually produces.

And that’s to be expected. Leupold has to cut corners somewhere to keep the price of this optic low. I would rather have slightly mushy turrets than crappy glass.


Parallax & Magnification

The magnification range for the VX-Freedom is 1.5-4x. This is perfect for small game hunting. In fact, I have taken it out to squirrel hunt several times and I loved it.

I found it easy to get headshots with this scope. Precision target shooters would be very pleased with this optic.

If I was shooting larger targets and a heavier caliber, I could easily push the range out to 400 yards. This low magnification range scope can outcompete many of the others in its class.

There is no parallax adjustment on this optic, but with such a low magnification range, parallax shouldn’t be an issue.


Mounting & Rings

No mounts or rings are included with the VX-Freedom which has a 1 inch main tube. I choose to mount my optic with Leupold Rifleman rings that include a base.

These rings are affordable and easy to install.

Leupold did not include any lens caps either. I personally don’t have a need for covers. I think that the scope is built well enough, it doesn’t matter. But if you would like covers, you can buy a set separately.

Leupold Alumina Flip Back Lens Cover - 20mm
  • Model #59030 - Alumina flip back lens cover in size 20mm

Is the Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20 worth it?

I think the Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20 is definitely worth the investment for anyone doing close-range, precision .22 rimfire shooting.

Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4x20mm Riflescope, Duplex Reticle, Matte Finish
  • Repeatable 1/4 MOA precision finger clicks offer intuitive, simple adjustment over a lifetime of dependable use
  • Complete waterproof and fogproof integrity: ready for a lifetime in the field, in all conditions
  • Crafted from 6061-T6 aircraft quality aluminum

To recap its features, it has:

  • Fine Duplex Reticle
  • DiamondCoat2 Lens Coatings
  • Twilight Maxlight Management System reduces glare
  • Highly durable design withstands the Punisher, an extreme recoil/shock simulator

Honestly, the glass clarity of the VX-Freedom meets the standard Leupold has set with its higher-end scopes. At about $300 you will be hard pressed to find a clearer picture.

If you are looking to put a scope on your shotgun, be sure to check out my list of the best shotgun scopes.


Now It’s Your Turn

I hope you enjoyed my best rimfire scope guide.

Now I want to turn it over to you:

Which rifle scope will you pick?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment down below.

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