The .22 Long Rifle is one of the best-selling cartridges in the United States. This rimfire ammunition is readily available for shooting applications ranging from casual backyard plinking to small game hunting and pest control.
Because .22 rifles are lightweight, reasonably quiet, and produce minimal recoil, they are often the gateway to shooting sports. Perfect for young shooters and beginners of all ages, .22 LR cartridges are reliable, extremely accurate, and only cost about $.10 a round on average.
Leupold is known for their high-quality scopes. However, they usually come with a pretty hefty price tag. The VX-Freedom rimfire scope from Leupold was designed for their lower tier market, but it certainly carries all the quality and performance as Leupold’s higher end optics.
Crystal clear glass that reduces glare and enhances contrast will help you feel like you could reach out and touch whatever you’re aiming at downrange.
The Top Performers on the Market Today
Why Your .22 Long Rifle Deserves a Quality Optic
Rimfire .22s have a relatively limited range, and it's easy to think these simple weapons don’t even deserve a good scope. You might even think mounting an optic on your rimfire rifle is a complete waste of money.
Rimfire Weapons Require Special Optics
Due to their limited range, you can't just slap any old scope on your .22 rifle. While you won’t need anything with major magnification, the optical requirements of rimfire shooting can actually be more demanding than long-range shooting with a hefty caliber rifle.
Because most of your targets will be short-range, choosing a scope with lower magnification will give you greater depth focus and be more forgiving at various yardages.
However, with major advancements in optics technology, rimfire long-distance shooting is now a workable reality.
Top 5 Best Scope for .22LR Reviews (Updated 2019)
If you scroll through the scopes on your favorite sporting goods' website, you’ll see a profusion of petite scopes marketed for your rimfire rifle. In fact, there are so many options it can be easy to feel confused and overwhelmed.
That’s why we’ve compiled this list of what we consider the best scopes for your .22LR.
1. Leupold VX-Freedom Rimfire 2-7X33MM Scope - Best Overall .22LR Scope
Leupold has been making world-class optics for over 100 years. The company’s new VX-Freedom line was built to compete with the most affordable scopes on the market today. Although the price tag is small, this scope delivers big.
This scope features Leupold’s signature glare-reducing and contrast-enhancing lens coating, as well as their innovative Twilight Light Management System. The result is a crisp, crystal clear image whether you’re shooting midday or the dusky half light of dawn and dusk.
Built for rugged use, the VX-Freedom rimfire scope is scratch-resistant, fog-proof, and waterproof. No matter what shooting conditions you encounter, this baby can handle it.
On maximum magnification, the VX-Freedom allows you to shoot from 50 to 200 yards without adjustment.
This single feature gives you amazing versatility in the field. If you want to hit 200-yard bullseyes with your .22LR, this is the scope you need.
This quality rimfire scope doesn’t have target turrets for quick adjustment on the fly. However, with a clear image from 50-200 yards, you won’t really miss it
2. Vortex Optics Diamondback 2-7X35mm Rimfire Scope V-Plex Reticle - Best Hunting Scope for .22LR
This solid scope is built to stand up to rough handling and rugged conditions. Constructed from solid one-piece aircraft grade aluminum alloy with a hard anodized finish, this scope is durable enough for even careless young shooters.
When it comes to clarity, this scope earns high marks. Argon is pumped into the space between lenses to prevent fogging. The scope is also thoroughly waterproof. The lenses are fully multi-coated and transmit 91% of the available light.
The compact size of the Diamondback Rimfire Scope make it perfect for hunting small game in thick wooded areas. The turrets on this scope are also set low, keeping a compact profile and preventing accidental impact damage. The turrets are easy to adjust and the markings are easy to read.
The only thing we would change on this great little optic is the eye relief. You may need to mount this one pretty far back to get a clear picture.
Although ample eye relief isn’t entirely necessary on low-recoil rimfires, some shooters may find it uncomfortable.
3. Barska 6-18x40mm AO Hot Magnum - Best Long-Range .22LR Scope
Although built for little rimfire rifles, the Barska Hot Magnum has plenty of “big rifle” features. It has an adjustable objective lens for parallax correction, which is an absolute necessity for long-range shooting. This scope also features a large 40mm objective lens for maximum light transmission.
Built to hold up, even in adverse shooting conditions, the Barska Hot Magnum is 100 percent waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof.
While it was engineered specifically for .17 Magnum rimfire rifles, the Barska Hot Magnum works perfectly on a .22 Long Rifle.
The biggest drawback to this quality Barska scope is it is made in China. While this doesn’t seem to affect the quality of the scope, it does negatively affect the company’s customer service, which is basically non-existent.
4. Primary Arms Classic Series 6x ACSS - Best Scope for Target Shooting
Primary Arms sacrificed variable magnification and an illuminated reticle on this Classic Series scope, but they didn’t give up much in the way of performance. Specifically designed for range clays, cans, bottles, and other stationary targets, this basic scope increases your first hit ratio and decreases your time on target. If you’re looking to log some big scores, the Primary Arms 6x ACSS is just the scope you need on your .22LR.
ACSS stands for Advanced Combined Sighting System. This advanced reticle design is instinctive, fast, and makes leading moving target as easy as shooting stationary ones.
The only problem we have is the reticle is fairly small. Some shooters may find it difficult to see, which negates the benefits of the advanced reticle design.
However, if you can see it, this reticle totally rocks.
The simple design makes this scope lightweight, durable, and more affordable. What more could you ask for in a rimfire scope?
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5. Nikon P-Tactical Rimfire Scope - Best Tactical Scope for a .22LR
Nikon builds their scopes to last, and this P-Tactical rimfire scope is no exception. This thing is seriously durable, provides generous eye relief, and the glass is as crisp and clear as scopes with twice the price tag.
One of the best features on this scope (and there are many) is the instant zero-reset turret which allows you to quickly zero your rifle without any extra tools. This is a handy feature for zeroing your rifle on the fly.
The P-Tactical also has an MK1-MOA tactical reticle which helps you estimate range, target size, elevation holdover, and wind-drift. The asymmetrical design also allows for additional holdover to aid in extreme long-distance shooting.
We can only find a few minor drawbacks to this scope, and only if we’re being super picky.
For example, the turret has no audible or felt “click,” so adjustment requires a mild amount of guesswork. And while we’re being overly critical, we might as well go ahead and mention the scope has no parallax adjustment.
The Final Word
This is our list of favorite .22LR scopes. However, when you boil it down to slow gravy, the best .22LR scope will be one that fits within your budget and improves your shooting accuracy.
Our top pick is the Leupold VX-Freedom because the glass quality is out of this world. You’ll see better looking through this scope than you’ll ever see with your naked eye. Surprisingly, it’s also one of the most affordable models on our list.