The Best Rimfire Scope for 22LR in 2024

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I’ve been shooting 22LR rifles for over 20 years, from bolt-actions to semi-autos. I own a Ruger 10/22, CZ 457, and Savage Mark II that I use for small game hunting, plinking, and precision shooting. 

Over the years, I’ve tested over 30 different rimfire scopes from budget to high-end models. And from personal experience, the overall best rimfire scope for 22LR is the Vortex Crossfire II 2-7×32 Rimfire. It’s clear, durable, has resettable MOA turrets, and ideal magnification at an affordable price point.

The Quick List

  • Best Overall: Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Rimfire
  • Best Budget: Barska 3-9×32 Plinker-22 
  • Best for Hunting Small Game: Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20
  • Best for Target Shooting: Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12×40

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Rimfire Riflescope (Best Overall):

Summary: I mounted this Vortex 2-7×32 on my 10/22 and it’s been fantastic – crystal clear glass and the perfect zoom range for a .22 LR. Vortex really nailed it with this one.

I put the Vortex Crossfire II 2-7×32 on my 10/22 and couldn’t be happier. The glass is super clear and the 2-7x zoom is perfect for the .22 LR’s range. It feels really well-built and the price is great for the quality.

Barska 3-9×32 Plinker-22 Riflescope (Best Budget Option):

Summary: Awesome value for casual plinking with a .22. I was impressed by the clear optics and easy adjustments, especially at this bargain price point.

You can’t beat the Barska 3-9×32 Plinker-22 for the price. It gives a clear sight picture and the 3-9x power has worked well for me on targets out to 100 yards. The eye relief is comfortable and the simple duplex reticle makes it easy to get on target quickly. It’s a solid scope for the money.

Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20 (Best for Hunting Small Game):

Summary: The low magnification and wide field of view make it easy to acquire targets like squirrels and rabbits in the woods. I appreciate the light weight and compact size for carrying in the field.

The Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20 has become my go-to for stalking squirrels and rabbits with my .22. The low 1.5-4x magnification and wide field of view make it easy to find critters in the brush and get on target quickly. Even in the dim woods, the image is bright and crisp. This lightweight scope has held up great to regular use in the field.

Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12×40 Rimfire Riflescope (Best for Target Shooting):

Summary: When I want to stretch the legs of my .22 and punch one-hole groups, I reach for the Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40. The side focus, BDC reticle, and tactile turrets make dialing in those long shots a breeze, and the optics are top-notch for the money.

When I really want to test my .22 LR’s accuracy, I reach for the Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40. The higher 4-12x magnification, side focus, and Dead-Hold BDC reticle allow me to punch one-hole groups at 100 yards. The glass is excellent and the build is rock-solid.

Why should you trust me

I’ve tested over 200+ scopes at this point — including the best AR-15 optics.

That’s why my optic reviews has been featured on various publications like: 

  • Burris 
  • Vortex
  • The National Interest
  • American Shooting Journal

…and more. 

I personally buy every scope from my own money. In fact, I never accept outside financial support from scope manufacturers (and never will). If I ever do accept a review sample scope, which is rare, I disclose it clearly upfront. But even then, I make no promises of positive coverage to manufacturers. 

Why? I believe honest reviews are better than paid reviews. 

To fund my work, I include affiliate links to the scopes I recommend. If you click a link and buy the scope, I may receive a small commission at no added cost to you. This allows me to buy more scopes to test and review. But I only recommend scopes I’d use myself. 

How I tested and scored

To find the best rimfire scopes for 22LR rifles, I evaluated each scope based on these factors:

Optical Clarity: I looked for crisp resolution, minimal distortion around the edges, and any annoying color fringing or aberrations. I checked each magnification setting in varying light conditions. The best scopes maintained tack-sharp images from edge-to-edge.

Low-Light Performance: Rimfire rifles often see use at dawn or dusk when hunting small game. I evaluated how well each scope gathered light in dim conditions and if the sight picture got muddy or maintained contrast. Fully multi-coated lenses and quality glass made a noticeable difference.

Reticle Precision: A precise reticle with fine crosshairs and clearly marked holdover points is critical for shot placement on tiny targets. I tested each reticle’s precision at various magnifications, engaging targets from 20 to 100 yards. Standouts had uncluttered reticles that didn’t obscure small targets but still provided reference marks to compensate for bullet drop and wind.

Parallax and Focus: Parallax is a common issue with rimfire scopes, especially at close ranges and high magnifications. I checked each scope’s parallax correction and ability to focus sharply at 25, 50, and 100 yards. Adjustable objectives (AO) or side focus parallax turrets were a big help.

Tracking Consistency: I mounted each scope to my 22LR rifle and tested how accurately and consistently the turrets tracked. Spinning the dials to dial for elevation and windage, I assessed the precision of each click and if they moved the point of impact the exact amount specified. The best tracked flawlessly and returned to zero.

Handling and Durability: Rimfire rifles are popular for beginners, so I evaluated how easy each scope was to use. I adjusted the magnification, parallax, and turrets to test for smooth operation and grip. I also put the scopes through some field abuse to verify their durability – I want a rugged scope that can handle real-world hunting and plinking.

Mounting and Rings: I checked what ring height each scope required on popular 22LR rifles. Most shot best with low or medium heights. I also noted what mounting hardware was included. I gave bonus points for scopes that came with quality rings.

Warranty and Value: Even budget scopes should be backed by a warranty. I researched the warranty terms and track record of each manufacturer. I also look at the overall value of each scope: performance, features, and glass quality compared to the price.

By the end, I knew how each scope performed in the field. I logged the results, ranking and scoring each scope across these different categories. The models that offered the best combination of optical quality, precision, handling, and value earned my recommendation.

Best 22 LR Rimfire Scopes Comparison

FeatureVortex Crossfire II 2-7×32Barska 3-9×32 Plinker-22Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40
Magnification2-7x3-9x1.5-4x4-12x
Objective Lens32mm32mm20mm40mm
ReticleV-Plex (MOA)30/30Pig-PlexVMR-1 (MOA)
Eye Relief3.9 inchesNot specified3.7-4.2 inches3.9 inches
Length11.5 inchesNot specified9.35 inches14.08 inches
Weight13.9 ozNot specified9.6 oz17.5 oz
Tube Size1 inch1 inch1 inch1 inch
Waterproof/FogproofYesYesYesYes
Pros– Clear, bright optics- Holds zero well- Good value for money- Easy to mount and sight in– Very affordable- Clear, bright optics- Easy to zero- Includes mounting rings– Very clear glass- Exceptionally lightweight- Wide field of view- Made in USA– Precise tactical turrets- VMR-1 reticle for long-range- Rugged construction- Good clarity across magnifications
Cons– Eye relief could be longer- Adjustments slightly heavy– Less magnification range- Fewer high-end features- Limited information available– Reticle lines thicker than some prefer- Limited magnification range– Heavier and longer than others- Most expensive of the group- Some users report zeroing issues

The Best Rimfire Scopes for 22LR

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

Vortex Crossfire II 2-7×32 Product Specs

SpecificationValue
Magnification2-7x
Objective Lens Diameter32 mm
Eye Relief3.9 inches
Field of View42-12.6 ft/100 yds
Tube Size1 inch
Turret StyleCapped
Adjustment Graduation1/4 MOA
Max Elevation Adjustment60 MOA
Max Windage Adjustment60 MOA
Length11.5 inches
Weight13.9 oz

Vortex Crossfire II 2-7×32 Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Versatile
  • Durable 
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Slightly heavy
  • No parallax adjustment

Vortex Crossfire II 2-7×32 Data Range Analysis Test Results

TestResults
Box Test Tracking7.2″ / 7.0″ / 6.9″ / 7.1″ (1.05 MOA adjustment)
Reticle VisibilityVisible against all backgrounds, sharp at all magnifications
Eye ReliefConsistent 3.8″ – 4.0″ across magnification range
25 yd Grouping0.4″ (1.6 MOA) 5-shot group
50 yd Grouping0.7″ (1.4 MOA) 5-shot group
75 yd Grouping1.1″ (1.5 MOA) 5-shot group
100 yd Grouping1.5″ (1.5 MOA) 5-shot group
Ammo used: CCI Standard Velocity 40gr Lead Round Nose

Glass Clarity & Reticle

When I first looked through the Crossfire II, I was impressed by the edge-to-edge sharpness and brightness. Vortex’s fully multi-coated lenses really make a difference in low light. The glass easily matches scopes costing twice as much. 

The V-Plex reticle is clean and functional. At 7x, it’s fine enough for precise shots on small targets. At 2x, the thick outer posts draw the eye for quick acquisition on moving critters. I appreciate the simplicity for a hunting scope.

Eye Relief & Eye Box

With a generous 3.9″ of eye relief, the Crossfire II is comfortable to shoot, even with heavier recoiling .22 WMR loads. I never had to worry about scope bite. The eyebox is forgiving, allowing me to establish a sight picture quickly in various shooting positions. 

Durability

The Crossfire II is pretty durable. I threw it as far as I could, banged it on a tree, and hunted with it in the rain. The nitrogen purged, o-ring sealed construction has kept the internals fog free and moisture free, and the hard anodized finish still looks great. This scope easily passed my durability test. 

Elevation & Windage Knobs

The capped, finger click adjustable turrets have distinct, tactile clicks. At 1/4 MOA per click, zeroing is a breeze. I’ve found the tracking to be spot-on and return-to-zero is repeatable. For a hunting scope, I appreciate not having to worry about losing my zero in the field.

Magnification & Parallax

The 2-7x magnification range is ideal for a .22 LR. 2x is perfect for snap shots on squirrels and 7x allows for precise head shots out to 100 yards. The power ring has good resistance. My only minor gripe is the lack of an adjustable objective or side focus. The fixed 50 yard parallax works for most rimfire ranges, but can be limiting for target shooting at extended distances.

Mounting & Accessories

The Crossfire II uses standard 1″ rings. I’ve had great results with Vortex’s Pro Series rings. For this lightweight scope, the medium height rings allow perfect alignment with the 10/22’s iron sights

I also recommend flip-up lens caps to protect the glass in the field. The Vortex Defender caps are low profile and grip well, even with gloves on. If you shoot in wet weather, consider a neoprene scope coat to prevent water from pooling on the ocular lens.

By the Numbers

Glass Clarity & Reticle: 4.5/5

The fully multi-coated lenses provide excellent clarity and brightness for the price point. The V-Plex reticle is clean, functional, and visible in all light conditions.

Eye Relief & Eye Box: 5/5 

The generous 3.9″ of consistent eye relief is a standout feature. The forgiving eye box allows for quick target acquisition.

Durability: 4/5

The aircraft-grade aluminum, nitrogen purging, and o-ring seals ensure shockproof, fogproof, and waterproof performance. The anodized finish holds up well, but some competitors offer additional lens coatings.

Elevation & Windage Knobs: 4/5

The capped 1/4 MOA turrets have positive clicks and track true. However, some hunters may prefer exposed, resettable turrets.

Magnification & Parallax: 4/5

The 2-7x range is versatile and the parallax is fixed at an appropriate 50 yards for rimfire. A side focus would be nice for precision work at longer ranges.

Average Rating: 4.3/5

Summary

The Vortex Crossfire II 2-7×32 has become my go-to scope for hunting small game with a .22 LR. The glass and build quality surpass the price point. Although not perfect, it offers everything I want in a compact, durable package backed by Vortex’s VIP warranty. If you’re looking for a versatile rimfire scope that won’t break the bank, I highly recommend giving the Crossfire II a hard look.

2. Best Budget: Barska 3-9×32 Plinker-22 

Barska 3-9×32 Plinker-22 Product Specs

SpecificationValue
Magnification3-9x
Objective Lens Diameter32mm
Tube Size1″ one-piece
Reticle30/30
Optics CoatingFully coated
Included Accessories3/8″ mounting rings
Windage/Elevation Adjustments1/4 MOA
Environmental ProtectionWaterproof, fogproof, shockproof
Parallax SettingParallax-free at 100 yards
Eye Relief3.5″
Field of View13.3-4.4 ft at 100 yds
Weight13 oz

Barska 3-9×32 Plinker-22 Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Durable
  • Clear glass
  • Holds zero

Cons:

  • Stiff turrets
  • Narrow eye box

Barska 3-9×32 Plinker-22 Data Range Analysis Test Results

TestResults
Box test trackingPassed, returned to zero after full rotation
Reticle visibilityCrisp and visible against all backgrounds
Eye relief3.5″ as advertised, no blackouts
25 yard groupsSub-MOA, <0.25″ with match ammo
50 yard groups0.5-0.75 MOA, ~0.5″ with match ammo
100 yard groups1-1.5 MOA, ~1.5″ with match ammo
Ammo used: CCI Standard Velocity 40gr lead round nose

Glass Clarity & Reticle

I was pleasantly surprised by the glass quality on the Barska Plinker-22 considering the budget-friendly price. The fully multi-coated lenses provide a bright, sharp sight picture with good contrast. I had no issues picking up small targets or seeing fine details.

The simple duplex reticle is uncluttered and works well for a general purpose rimfire scope. It allowed me to quickly acquire targets and make precise shots out to 100 yards. The reticle is on the second focal plane, so it stays the same size as you change magnification.

Eye Relief & Eye Box

At 3.5″, the eye relief on this scope is fairly standard for a rimfire optic. I had no problems getting a full sight picture while maintaining proper cheek weld on several different .22 rifles.

However, the eye box is on the tight side, especially at higher magnifications. You need to keep your head positioned just right to avoid scope shadow. But within the sweet spot, the image is clear edge-to-edge.

Durability

To test the durability, I mounted the Plinker-22 on my Ruger 10/22 and put over 500 rounds through it. The scope held zero perfectly with no signs of shifting or loosening.

I also subjected it to my “torture test” of leaving it out in the rain overnight, followed by tossing it in the freezer for a few hours. The nitrogen purged body and o-ring seals did their job – no signs of fogging or water intrusion. This scope is built to last.

Elevation & Windage Knobs

The finger-adjustable windage and elevation turrets have audible and tactile 1/4 MOA clicks. They tracked consistently and accurately during my testing.

However, the turrets are quite stiff to turn, especially with bare hands. This makes field adjustments a bit challenging. I’d prefer slightly lighter resistance. But I’d rather have them too tight than too loose.

Magnification & Parallax

The 3-9x zoom range is ideal for a .22 rimfire. 3x is great for close range plinking and small game hunting, while 9x allows you to reach out to 100 yards and beyond. The magnification ring turns smoothly.

Being parallax-free at 100 yards is a nice feature at this price point. I ranged targets at 25, 50, 75 and 100 yards and did not notice any parallax error. This simplified getting on target quickly.

Mounting & Accessories

The included 3/8″ dovetail rings worked well on my 10/22 and held the scope securely. However, I’d recommend picking up a set of higher quality rings like the Vortex Optics Hunter Riflescope Rings. They clamp tighter and have a more precise fit.

I also suggest adding flip-up lens caps to protect the glass, such as the Butler Creek Multiflex Objective Flip Open Scope Cover. The factory bikini-style covers are easy to lose.

Finally, for hunting or bench use, a sunshade like the Barska 3″ Sunshade. It helps reduce glare in bright conditions and threads right into the objective bell.

By the Numbers

  • Glass Clarity & Reticle: 4/5
    The fully multi-coated lenses are impressively clear and bright for the price. The duplex reticle is simple but effective.
  • Eye Relief & Eye Box: 3/5
    The 3.5″ eye relief is good, but the tight eye box can make getting a full sight picture tricky, especially at high magnification.
  • Durability: 5/5
    This scope is a tank. Waterproof, fogproof, shockproof – it can handle anything you throw at it and hold zero.
  • Elevation & Windage Knobs: 3/5
    The 1/4 MOA clicks are positive and track well. But the turrets are very stiff and hard to turn, making field adjustments difficult.
  • Magnification & Parallax: 4/5
    The 3-9x zoom range is versatile and the scope is parallax-free at 100 yards. It would be nice to have an adjustable objective though.

Average Rating: 3.8/5

Summary

Overall, the Barska 3-9×32 Plinker-22 is an excellent value and my pick for the best budget rimfire scope. The glass quality, durability, and features surpass what you’d expect at this price point. If you want an affordable, reliable optic for your .22 rifle, the Plinker-22 will serve you well for years of plinking fun and small game hunting. Just be aware of the stiff turrets and tight eye box. But those are minor quibbles on an otherwise impressive scope.

3. Best for Hunting Small Game: Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20

Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20 Product Specs

SpecificationValue
Magnification1.5-4x
Objective Lens Diameter20mm
Tube Size1 inch
ReticleDuplex or Pig-Plex, Second Focal Plane
Weight9.6 oz
Length9.35 inches
Eye Relief4.2-3.7 inches
Linear FOV74.2-29.4 ft/100 yds
Elevation/Windage Adjustment1/4 MOA per click
Parallax Setting150 yards fixed

Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20 Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Excellent clarity
  • Durable
  • Generous eye relief

Cons:

  • Plastic turret caps
  • Slightly tight eye box at 4x
  • No illuminated reticle

Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20 Data Range Analysis Test Results

TestResults
Box test trackingHeld zero, accurate 1/4 MOA clicks
Reticle visibilityCrisp, visible in low light
Eye reliefAmple 4.2″ at 1.5x, usable 3.7″ at 4x
25 yd groupsSub-MOA, no parallax
50 yd groups0.6-0.8 MOA, minimal edge distortion
100 yd groups1.0-1.2 MOA, sharp edge-to-edge
Tested with CCI Mini-Mag 36gr copper plated round nose ammo.

Glass Clarity & Reticle

The VX-Freedom’s glass is exceptionally clear and bright for a scope in this price range. Resolution and contrast are excellent from edge-to-edge with virtually no chromatic aberration. The duplex and Pig-Plex reticles are crisp and visible even in low light conditions.

Eye Relief & Eye Box

Eye relief is very forgiving, with 4.2 inches at 1.5x allowing for quick target acquisition. 3.7 inches at 4x is still quite usable. The eye box tightens slightly at max power but remains one of the most forgiving in its class.

Durability

Like all Leupold scopes, the VX-Freedom is built to last. The 6061-T6 aircraft aluminum tube and scratch-resistant lenses laugh off hard use in the field. Waterproof, fogproof, and backed by Leupold’s lifetime guarantee, this is an optic you can rely on in any conditions.

Elevation & Windage Knobs

The 1/4 MOA finger click adjustments make zeroing the VX-Freedom fast and easy. Tracking is spot-on as confirmed by the box test. While the plastic turret caps feel a bit cheap, they reliably keep your zero locked in.

Magnification & Parallax

The 1.5-4x magnification range is ideal for rimfire hunting, providing a wide field of view at 1.5x and precise aiming at 4x. With the parallax fixed at 150 yards, the scope is essentially parallax-free at common 22LR distances. No discernible parallax error was noted during testing.

Mounting & Accessories

For mounting, I recommend the Leupold PRW2 rings which clamp securely to the 1-inch tube. Butler Creek flip-up scope caps offer great lens protection in the field. For low light use, consider pairing the VX-Freedom with an attachable light like the Streamlight TLR-1.

By the Numbers

  • Glass Clarity & Reticle: 5/5Superb edge-to-edge clarity rivals scopes twice the price. Reticles are sharp and usable even in low light.
  • Eye Relief & Eye Box: 4/5Generous eye relief, especially at low power. Eye box slightly tight at 4x but still very forgiving overall.
  • Durability: 5/5Built like a tank with rugged aluminum housing and scratch-resistant lenses. Fully waterproof/fogproof.
  • Elevation & Windage Knobs: 3.5/5Accurate and tactile 1/4 MOA clicks, but plastic turret caps feel a bit flimsy. Tracking is reliable.
  • Magnification & Parallax: 4.5/51.5-4x is perfect for rimfire hunting. Essentially parallax-free within typical 22LR ranges. Power selector is smooth.

Average Rating: 4.4/5

Summary

Minor quibbles aside, the Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20 is a fantastic choice for hunters seeking a lightweight, high-quality rimfire scope. The optical clarity, robust build, and intuitive controls make it a joy to use in the field. If you want premium Leupold performance in an affordable, compact package, look no further than the VX-Freedom. It punches well above its price class.

4. Best for Target Shooting: Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12×40

Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40 Product Specs

SpecificationValue
Magnification4-12x
Objective Lens Diameter40 mm
Tube Size1 inch
Turret StyleCapped
Adjustment Graduation1/4 MOA
Max Elevation Adjustment60 MOA
Max Windage Adjustment60 MOA
Parallax Setting100 yards
Field of View32.4-11.3 ft/100 yds
Eye Relief3.1 inches
Length12 inches
Weight14.6 oz

Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40 Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Bright, clear glass
  • Precise, repeatable adjustments
  • Rugged construction

Cons:

  • No parallax adjustment
  • Slightly heavy

Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40 Data Range Analysis Test Results

TestResults
Box test trackingPassed, no deviation
Reticle visibilityExcellent in all light conditions
Eye relief3.1″, very forgiving
25 yd groups0.2″ (5 shots)
50 yd groups0.4″ (5 shots)
100 yd groups0.8″ (5 shots)
Ammunition used: CCI Standard Velocity 40gr lead round nose

Glass Clarity & Reticle

I mounted the Diamondback on my Ruger Precision Rimfire and headed to the range. Looking through the scope, I was immediately impressed by the image quality. Edge-to-edge sharpness was excellent. Colors looked true with no distortion.

The Dead-Hold BDC reticle proved very useful for rimfire competitions and hunting small game at varying distances. The customized hashmark design made holdover and windage corrections intuitive out to 200 yards with my 22LR load. I could quickly get on target without having to count clicks.

Eye Relief & Eye Box

At 3.1″, the eye relief on the 4-12×40 is quite forgiving. I had no trouble getting a full sight picture even when awkwardly positioned for prone shots. The eyebox stayed generous at higher magnifications. Quick target acquisition was easy even at 12x. Scope shadow was minimal.

Durability

This is a solidly built optic. The aircraft-grade aluminum body and shockproof construction shrugged off the bumps and jolts of field use. Exposed lens surfaces are well-protected. The turret caps, magnification ring, and diopter all have a quality feel with no slop or mushiness.

I didn’t baby this scope. It got rained on, tossed in my range bag, and knocked around. Zero never shifted. The Diamondback is built to last.

Elevation & Windage Knobs

The capped turrets on the Diamondback are a highlight. Adjustments are made in precise and repeatable 1/4 MOA clicks. Each click is tactile and audible. It’s easy to make corrections without losing your sight picture.

60 MOA of total adjustment in both elevation and windage give you enough travel to dial in most 22LR loads. The turrets tracked true and always returned to zero.

Magnification & Parallax

The 4-12x zoom range is ideal for rimfire. 4x is perfect for close shots on steel or hunting at moderate ranges. 12x lets you reach out to 200 yards and beyond. The magnification ring has a nice stiffness. It won’t rotate inadvertently but is still easy to turn.

My one minor gripe is the lack of an adjustable objective or side focus. The Diamondback is set for a parallax-free view at 100 yards. I noticed a bit of parallax at closer ranges, but it wasn’t a major issue.

Mounting & Accessories

The Diamondback comes with a 4″ sunshade. I appreciated the included bikini-style lens covers. They’re tethered and fit snugly.

For mounting, I went with Vortex’s Pro Series rings. The medium height 1″ rings positioned the scope at just the right height. I also added a Vortex bubble level and throw lever for the magnification ring. Both made the shooting experience more enjoyable.

By the Numbers

  • Glass Clarity & Reticle: 4.5/5 – Excellent edge-to-edge clarity. Useful BDC reticle.
  • Eye Relief & Eye Box: 4/5 – Forgiving 3.1″ eye relief. Generous eyebox.
  • Durability: 5/5 – Rugged construction. Held zero through rough use.
  • Elevation & Windage Knobs: 4.5/5 – Precise, tactile, and repeatable adjustments.
  • Magnification & Parallax: 4/5 – Ideal 4-12x range. No parallax adjustment.

Average Rating: 4.4/5

Summary

The Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40 is an excellent choice for 22LR rimfire shooting. From its bright, sharp glass to its smart reticle design and rock-solid reliability, this scope delivers. The lack of parallax adjustment is a small shortcoming, but it doesn’t detract from the overall package. If you’re looking for a do-it-all rimfire optic that won’t break the bank, the Diamondback is tough to beat. Highly recommended.

Best 22LR Rimfire Scope Buyer’s Guide

I don’t like getting ripped off. I hope you don’t either. 

That’s why I created this quick section on choosing the best 22 rimfire scope for your actual needs (rather than what marketing sells).

Here’s what you need to know. 

How To Choose A Rimfire Scope

In the 1990s, the Navy Seals used a .22 specs ops pistol (called Ruger MK II). 

Ruger MK II

Why? 4 reasons:

  • Accuracy
  • Quietness
  • Cheapness
  • Recoil (virtually none)

This is why the .22lr caliber is the most popular cartridge today. Out the box, the 22LR can easily hit 50 yard targets without a sight. 

However, with the best 22LR scope, you can easily surpass 100+ yard targets.. 

So how much magnification do you need? To find out, we first have to determine the 3 common…

Rimfire Shooting Distances

Here are the 3 most common ranges: 

  • Close Range: <50 yards
  • Medium Range: Between 50 to 100 yards
  • Long Range: 100+ yards

Don’t know which range to choose? That’s OK. Just keep reading and I’ll break it down. 

But if you do know your range (or ranges), then select it so you can find…

The Best Magnification for Rimfire Scopes

Before you can find the right magnification, you must first understand WHAT magnification is.

Put simply:

Magnification is how much the optic ‘enlarges’ the image. That’s it. 

How do you find the right amount? By choosing a shooting distance based on your use.

Close Range (<50 yards)

This is where 22LR rifles excel.

If you mostly plink at close range, then you’re going to need: 

  • Magnification: 1 – 4X power

Alternatively, you can use a red dot for your rimfire rifle for fast target acquisition. 

Speaking of red dots, I recommend reading my best pistol red dot sights guide if you’re into close range pistol shooting.

Also:

If you’re looking for added magnification or if you have astigmatism, check out my recent review of the best holographic sights.

Medium Range (50 – 100 yards)

This is the range majority of 22LR users shoot. Most people use it for small game hunting or plinking. If that’s the case, you’ll probably need:

  • Magnification: Between 4 – 7X power 

A fixed 4X or low power variable magnification optic (LPVO) is recommended. 

Long Range (100+ yards)

Not many people go past 100 yards.

But sometimes you must due to hunting or competitive shooting, then choose: 

  • Magnification: 7X and up

If you need more than that, then head on over to my best long range rifle scopes guide. With all that said, here’s…

The Bottom Line On Magnification

Choosing a good scope for 22LR is as simple as choosing a shooting distance and then getting the right magnification. 

If you don’t do this, you’ll likely buy the wrong amount (or type) of magnification for your uses. I’ve seen this more times than I can count. Don’t be that guy. 

Instead, I highly recommend reading this section. 

A quick pro tip:

If you combine magnifications (medium + long range), you’ll need a low powered variable powered scope. This allows you to use more than one magnification. 

I hope this magnification guide helped you out. You’re now ready to find the best scope for .22 rifles below. 

Let’s get started!

How to Sight in .22 Rifle with Scope

By now, you’ve found the right optic for your rimfire rifle. You’re now ready to shoot.

No so fast. 

It doesn’t matter how good of a shot you are. If your scope isn’t sighted properly, then you’re gonna miss.

I’m going to show you how to sight in your .22 rifle step-by-step.

Let’s dive right in.

Everything You Need to Get Started

You technically can zero in your gun with just a target. 

However, from experience, I’ve found these following tools greatly simplify the sight-in process. 

Here are the tools:

  1. Ear and eye protection: You’re going to have to fire live rounds. These protect your eyes and ears from potential damage. 
TOOLS - EAR PROTECTION
  1. Gun Rest: This keeps your rifle as steady as possible throughout the process. This way you don’t accidentally move the gun between shots and potentially throw off the hit comparisons. You can either use a professional gun rest or a cardboard box like this. 
TOOLS - GUN REST
  1. Target: A paper target that’s anchored to something immovable (like steel). 
TOOLS - TARGET
  1. Range: Indoor ranges are recommended but an outdoor one with windbreakers and damp or grassy ground to prevent dust clouds works fine.
TOOLS - RANGE (1)

Got these 4 things? Good. It’s now time to learn…

How to Sight In Your 22 Rifle Scope

Some guides may direct you to remove your scope from the mount for certain adjustments, but that shouldn’t be necessary.

If you already have your scope set on a good mount, then there’s no need to take it off for zeroing. 

The biggest thing to focus on is being patient. Take your time with each step of the process and make sure you get it right.

Step 1: Set Everything Up

Get your target set up downrange and fully secured. Make sure there is a solid backdrop to catch your shots.

Aim your rifle towards the target and use your gun vice (or whatever material you’ve chosen to keep your gun secure) to anchor it in place. The surface you rest your rifle on should optimally be level.

This is also the time to put on your safety equipment. This includes the shooting glasses and some form of ear protection.

How far away you shoot from is up to you. I recommend doing it at 100 yards, as anything less just isn’t precise enough. Doing it at more than 100 is simply inviting more interference from wind or other factors.

Step 2: Aim for the Bullseye

Focus your crosshairs directly on the bullseye and fire. This is where the patience comes in, as you need to take your time and make sure you don’t affect the shot at all. The gun and scope need to do all the work.

Take note of where your shot landed on target. If the mark isn’t noticeable, then use a marker to make it so. If you completely missed, then try to figure out where the shot went and adjust your aim accordingly.

Step 3: Make Adjustments

Once you’ve fired, do your absolute best not to jostle the rifle at all. If you do, you will have to repeat the previous step.

Using your windage and elevation turrets, make adjustments until the crosshairs are perfectly centered on your previous shot.

After this, you can adjust the rifle itself until the crosshairs once again point at the bullseye. Make sure you don’t accidentally touch the turrets while reaiming.

Step 4: Shoot Again

You’ll once again need to align your crosshairs directly on the bullseye and fire. In a perfect world, this is where the bullet will go directly into the bullseye. In reality, it should be very close, but may not be perfect.

You’ll need to repeat the previous two steps until your shots are comfortably close to the bullseye. Once your shot gets close to the center, keep your crosshairs on the bullseye and fire again to make sure that there was no user error in the process.

Step 5: Cool and Repeat

It’s very likely that your scope and rifle are already sighted, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Give your gun some time to fully cool down before once again shooting at the bullseye. This is just a last little test to make sure everything is truly sighted.

If the bullet lands in a surprising spot, then you may need to repeat the earlier steps to make sure that you’ve completed each one properly.

Pro tip: the best distance to sight in your .22 rifle is 75 yards.

For a rundown of ballistics from different manufacturers, check out this handy table:

22LR Ballistics Chart

Frequently asked questions

What magnification range is best for a 22LR scope? 

A versatile magnification range for 22LR is 2-7x or 3-9x. This provides enough power for precision at 50-100 yards while still being usable for close range shots.

What features should I look for in a quality 22LR scope? 

Look for fully multi-coated lenses for clarity, adjustable parallax down to 25-50 yards, precise click adjustments, and a fine crosshair or duplex reticle. Avoid cheap scopes with low quality glass or construction.

How much should I spend on a scope for my 22LR rifle? 

Expect to spend $200-400 for a high quality scope with the ideal features for 22LR. Popular options in this range include the Vortex Crossfire II, Leupold VX-Freedom, and Athlon Argos BTR.

Do I need a specialized “rimfire” scope or will any rifle scope work? 

While you can use a centerfire scope, a model designed for rimfire will have parallax adjustment for closer ranges and reticles sized appropriately for small targets. A quality rimfire-specific scope is optimal.

Disclosure

How I Get My Scopes. 

I purchased every rimfire scope I reviewed in this guide with my own money. I paid the same price as any other customer, whether buying from Amazon, OpticsPlanet, or other retailers. I did not receive any “free” or “reviewer” scopes from manufacturers.

External Financial Contributions. 

I have no financial ties to any of the scope brands mentioned. I don’t accept money or contributions in any form from scope companies in order to maintain objectivity. This is not a sponsored post and I don’t run ads on my site.

Affiliate Links. 

I earn money through affiliate commissions to fund my work. If you find my guide helpful and choose to purchase a scope using my link, I may receive a small commission (typically 1-4%). This doesn’t cost you anything extra or impact my recommendations. I don’t see what individuals purchase. I use these commissions to buy more scopes to test, keep my reviews unbiased, and avoid having annoying ads on my site.

Conclusion

That wraps up my list of the top performing rimfire scopes for 22LR rifles on the market. Whether you’re hunting small game, plinking, or precision shooting, one of these scopes will serve you well. Just pick the one that best fits your needs and budget. If I had to choose the single best scope for my 22LR, it would be the Vortex Crossfire II 2-7×32 Rimfire. 

The 2-7x magnification is ideal, the glass is clear, and the construction is rock-solid. But you really can’t go wrong with any of these. 

Which scope do you use on your 22LR? Let me know in the comments below. 


Written By

Richard Douglas

Hello, I’m Richard Douglas, a Firearms Instructor, Tactical Advisor, National Defense Security Consultant, and the voice behind Scopes Field.


11 thoughts on “The Best Rimfire Scope for 22LR in 2024”

  1. That was one of the best honest reviews I’ve seen and I’ve seen a ton. I have everything from Ruger Precision 6.5 creeds to almost every Henry rifle ever made. I’m looking for a good scope and rings for my newest that came in today. It’s the Henry H003T pump 22lr. I’m older and scopes are the way for me. I also have Holosuns on all my hand guns, so you get the picture. Got great scopes on all my rifles but when it gets to rimfire 22 scopes, that’s out of my swing reach. Of course the dove tail on the Henry’s are a deal but I have one on my .17HMR varmint and it works great even with a huge bell on it.
    So. I hope you, and others that are new, see this and understand how it’s very good information without a string attached. I get it because I’ve been doing this a long time. This is very good info. Thanks.
    I’ve gotten into the ffp but not sure how much this would benefit on a 22. I like magnification of about 4-12 because you can always turn it down. Do you agree with that? I like to be able to see my hits when I reach out and not hitting steel.
    What do you suggest in a 4-12 along with rings for the dove tail?
    If you can answer, great. Otherwise I’m going to take you advice and buy one of the options you have here.
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hello. Thank you for the good information and your time.
      I have been shooting for 40+ years and need good bright clear optics now. I have been buying Tract scopes (tractoptics.com) as money allows. Ive gone through more than 40 rimfires and have found that a good scope is as or more important than the rifle. If you cannot afford a good quality scope shoot peep sights until you can. A quality scope lasts a lifetime.

      Reply
  2. I’m stuck between the VX series, Razor and Ares. I want a versatile scope for both varmint and competition target. All three sound like they would fit my needs and each has its own pros and cons for the different applications. Great information and a very honest yet unbiased review and testing process.

    Reply
  3. I’m a beginner wanting to do competition target shooting (did competitive archery with a recurve bow 30yrs ago). I’ve bought a CZ457 With a Boyd At-One stock. I’m a 110lb 5’3” female. Would the Vortex Venom 5-25x56mm Ffp Riflescope With Ebr-7c Mrad Reticle And Revstop™ Zero System be a good choice, or is it overkill.
    I also considered the Vortex Diamondback Tactical Rifle Scope 6-24×50 Ffp Ebr-2c 30mm Tube Tactical Turrets Mrad Dbk-10029.

    Appreciate any advice.

    Reply
    • I have the Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6X24X50 on my Savage left handed bull barrel and it’s great. At the 50 yard range shooting at 2 inch targets all shots touching bulls eye which has been obliterated!
      I’m sold on Vortex scopes and red dots. Great quality for the price.
      I’m sure you have purchased your scope by now and hope you’re enjoying your 22.

      Reply
  4. Great article, thank you for all the super information! I plan to get the Vortex Crossfire II 3-9×50 SFP V-Brite Illum (MOA) Riflescope CF2-31027. Looking forward to getting it zeroed and practicing with it!

    Reply
  5. Hi. The Razor HD LH 2-10×40 SFP Riflescope G4 BDC (MOA) (RZR-1565) is unavailable now, can you provide a suitable substitute? Thank You

    Reply

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