There is a common misconception that scopes for rimfire rifles are generally cheap, poorly constructed, or just not worth the trouble. There are certainly a lot of cheap scopes out there that aren’t worth any shooter’s time or money. However, there are also plenty of superb scopes designed especially for rimfire rifles and pistols available on the market today.
They hold a zero, provide a clear and bright sight picture, and are built to last. Some even have reticles designed specifically for rimfire calibers such as .22LR and .17 HMR. Check out the list below to see some of these options and find the best rimfire scope for your rifle or pistol.
Every shooter should have at least one rimfire rifle in their collection. Not only are they cheap to shoot and easy to maintain, but they are also just plain old fun to use at the range. The lack of recoil, relatively low sound level, and rapid action all add up to a good time for shooters young and old.
While they are a blast to shoot with iron sights, adding a scope to a rimfire rifle amps up the fun and accuracy even more. Sure, most shots with a rimfire rifle will be at 200 yards and closer, but that doesn’t mean a scope isn’t a great addition to have. Whether you are plinking tin cans or targeting small game or a pesky varmint, a rimfire scope squeezes every bit of accuracy out of a rimfire rifle or pistol.
Most rimfire shots you take will be within 100 yards. That may make it sound like any old scope would be more than fine, but there are still some features to look for in a rimfire scope for the best results. Cheap scopes can contribute to eye fatigue, frustration, and inaccuracy. Here are a few things to look for when shopping for a rimfire scope.
If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time for the details, here are our best picks for rimfire scopes:
- Primary Arms Classic Series 6x32mm Riflescope
- Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Rimfire Scope
- Tasco .22 Rimfire 1x30mm 5 MOA Red Dot Riflescope
- Nikon P-Tactical Rimfire 2-7X32 Matte MK1-MOA
- Leupold VX-Freedom Rimfire Riflescope
- Simmons ProTarget Rimfire 3-9×40 Riflescope
- UTG Reflex Micro Dot
- Bushnell Prime Rimfire 3.5-10×36 Riflescope
- BSA Optics Sweet .17 AO Riflescope
- Monstrum G3 1-4×24 FFP Riflescope
Table of Contents
- How to Choose Rimfire Scopes?
- Best Rimfire Scope on the Market Reviews
- 1 Primary Arms Classic Series 6x32mm Riflescope
- 2 Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Rimfire Scope
- 3 Tasco .22 Rimfire 1x30mm 5 MOA Red Dot Riflescope
- 4 Nikon P-Tactical Rimfire 2-7X32 Matte MK1-MOA
- 5 Leupold VX-Freedom Rimfire Riflescope
- 6 Simmons ProTarget Rimfire 3-9×40 Riflescope
- 7 UTG Reflex Micro Dot
- 8 Bushnell Prime Rimfire 3.5-10×36 Riflescope
- 9 BSA Optics Sweet .17 AO Riflescope
- 10 Monstrum G3 1-4×24 FFP Riflescope
- Putting it All Together
How to Choose Rimfire Scopes?
The reticle of a scope can either be on the first focal plane (FFP) or on the second focal plane (SFP). Put simply, the reticle on a FFP scope changes size in accordance with the magnification level and a reticle on a SFP scope always stays the same size at any magnification level.
The main difference between the two styles is that holdover distances on the reticle remain the same across the magnification range in FFP scopes while they change at different magnification levels in SFP scopes. For example, let’s say you have a scope and the reticle in that scope features hash marks that are 1 MOA apart. In a FFP scope, those hash marks will always be 1 MOA apart at any magnification level. However, in a SFP scope they will only be 1 MOA apart at a specific magnification level.
Second focal plane scopes are more common and are best suited for hunting situations and shooting at the closer ranges that are usually associated with rimfire rifles and pistols. In a FFP scope, the reticle can become almost too small to even use properly at lower magnification settings.
That being said, FFP scopes are excellent for competition style shooting when ranges may change in the middle of a shot string and for rifles chambered in one of the more powerful rimfire calibers such as .22 WMR which can be effective for plinking and small game at ranges between 100 and 200 yards.
Rifle scopes can either have a fixed parallax or an adjustable parallax. There are several styles of adjustable parallax including side focus and adjustable objective (AO). Choosing a scope that has an adjustable parallax is usually a good idea. Scopes that have a fixed parallax don’t allow for convenient shooting at a variety of ranges. For example, fixed parallax rimfire scopes are usually focused in the 50 or 60 yard range. However, closer shots than that are necessary in both rimfire competition and rimfire hunting.
That fixed parallax scope will present a very blurry sight picture when attempting sub-50 yard shots. A scope with a fixed parallax focused at 50 yards is fine for most small game hunting, but if you want the ability to dial in the focus of your reticle at any range, look for a scope with a side focus or AO parallax adjustment.
Having your reticle in crisp focus is important, but the design and style of that reticle is another important consideration to make. There seem to be almost as many reticle designs as actual scopes to choose from.
Most rimfire shooters will be most satisfied with simple reticle design such as a duplex reticle. Bullet drop compensating (BDC) reticles that are calibrated for specific rimfire ammunition can also be useful for shooters who want to be able to more easily account for holdover and windage. This can be important for rimfire calibers because of how quickly they drop.
Competition shooters, or just shooters who enjoy a challenge, may opt for a more complicated MOA or MIL based reticle with a lot of different hash marks. These can be overwhelming to use at first and definitely require some manual reading and practice to become effective with. You should also keep in mind that a more complicated reticle in a FFP scope may become unusable at lower magnification settings.
Magnification on a scope is one of those features that people tend to overvalue. More magnification is not always better and that is especially true when it comes to rimfire shooting. While there are some situations where an extreme amount of magnification is useful, think competitive shooting at small, static targets from a solid rest, for the most part rimfire shooters won’t need more than 9x magnification.
Now that you are more familiar with the things you should look for in a rimfire scope, check out the list below to help you pick out the best rimfire scope for your specific gun and your specific needs.
Best Rimfire Scope on the Market Reviews
1 Primary Arms Classic Series 6x32mm Riflescope
With one of the most unique reticle designs in a rimfire scope, the Primary Arms Classic Series 6x32mm Riflescope is an excellent option for target shooting, squirrel hunting, plinking, and varmint control. The ACSS-22LR reticle uses bullet drop compensating technology and features a design that allows shooters to quickly and accurately estimate ranges on targets that are common plinking targets such as clays, cans, and bottles. The same ranging works on similarly sized game such as squirrels, crows, and rabbits.
With a low profile design, capped turrets, and fixed magnification, this scope is perfect for Ruger 10/22 rifles. At under $200, the Classic Series from Primary Arms has everything any shooter needs in a rimfire scope.
2 Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Rimfire Scope
The Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Rimfire Scope stands out from the crowd by packing high-end features into a budget friendly package. Constructed from a single piece of aircraft grade aluminum, the Crossfire II features fully multi-coated optics. This scope is O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged for fogproof, waterproof, and shockproof performance.
The V-Plex reticle is ideal for squirrel hunting, varmint control, and target shooting. With capped turrets that can be reset to zero after sighting in, this scope is easy to fine tune for your specific rimfire rifle and ammunition.
3 Tasco .22 Rimfire 1x30mm 5 MOA Red Dot Riflescope
If you are looking for a red dot sight for 22 rimfire rifles or a red dot sight for rimfire pistol models, Tasco has you covered. The Tasco .22 Rimfire 1x30mm 5 MOA Red Dot Riflescope makes a great addition to any .22 rimfire rifle or .22 rimfire pistol. This compact and lightweight red dot scope makes for fast action and rapid target acquisition.
The 5 MOA red dot reticle features 11 different brightness settings which allows it to be effective in a wide range of lighting conditions. The field of view with this red dot sight at 100 yards is 57 feet which offers shooters a wide open shot picture. A built in dovetail mounting rail makes it easy to mount this scope to grooved rimfire barrels or Weaver-style bases.
4 Nikon P-Tactical Rimfire 2-7X32 Matte MK1-MOA
If you are looking for tactical performance combined with tactical design, look no further than the Nikon P-Tactical Rimfire 2-7×32 Riflescope. Ideal for tactical shooting and competition shooting, this scope features ultra-rugged construction, fully multi-coated optics, and 100% waterproof and fogproof performance.
The P-Tactical Rimfire is equipped with exposed turrets that are spring loaded and feature instant zero reset. The exposed turrets also add to the tactical design of the scope with an aggressively knurled texture. This scope also features an MK1-MOA reticle that can be used for elevation holdover, wind drift, target size, and range.
5 Leupold VX-Freedom Rimfire Riflescope
Leupold is well-known for building reliable and effective rifle scopes and the VX-Freedom Rimfire Riflescope is no different. This lightweight and low profile rimfire scope features ¼ MOA finger click turrets for on the fly adjustments in the field or on the range. Featuring Leupold’s Twilight Light Management System can add up to 10 minutes of extra shooting light at dusk.
Completely waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof, this rimfire scope will perform admirably in almost any weather conditions. The Rimfire MOA reticle offers 1 MOA hash marks that are thinner in appearance to work well with rimfire applications.
6 Simmons ProTarget Rimfire 3-9×40 Riflescope
If you shoot a .17 HMR rifle or a .22LR rifle, or both, then the Simmons ProTarget Rimfire 3-9×40 Riflescope is a great choice for you. This variable power scope comes with three sets of interchangeable elevation turrets. One set is calibrated for .17 HMR, one is calibrated for .22LR, and the third features ¼ MOA clicks.
This scope is completely waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof and is equipped with fully multi-coated optics. Shipped with three sets of elevation turrets and a set of Weaver style rings, the ProTarget Rimfire scope from Simmons is an excellent value for under $100.
7 UTG Reflex Micro Dot
The UTG Reflex Micro Dot sight is an ideal option for anyone running a rimfire pistol. This sight is constructed from 6061-T6 aluminum and features a black matte hard anodized finish for extreme durability. This scope is built on UTG’s True Strength platform and is shockproof, fogproof, and waterproof.
The 4 MOA red dot reticle can be set to 6 different brightness settings and features 1 MOA click adjustments. With a one hour auto shutoff feature to preserve battery life and a built-in low profile Picatinny mount, the UTG Reflex Micro Dot sight is ready to go right out of the box.
8 Bushnell Prime Rimfire 3.5-10×36 Riflescope
If you are looking for a little extra magnification in your rimfire scope, consider the Prime Rimfire Riflescope from Bushnell. With a magnification range of 3.5x to 10x, this scope will let you see targets a little closer up than other models on this list. The adjustable objective and fast focus eyepiece keeps the Multi-X reticle sharp and in focus while the 36mm objective lens lets in plenty of light.
The Prime Rimfire features fully multi-coated optics to prevent scratching while also repelling dust, oil, dirt, and other debris. The O-ring seal makes this scope IPX7 waterproof. Interchangeable BDC turrets for .17 HMR make this scope versatile enough to use on multiple rifles.
9 BSA Optics Sweet .17 AO Riflescope
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the BSA Optics Sweet .17 AO Riflescope is a solid option for anyone who shoots a .17 HMR rifle. The adjustable objective keeps the reticle in clear focus at any range. The elevation turret is calibrated to 17 grain .17 HMR cartridges and the 30/30 Duplex reticle allows for rapid target acquisition.
This scope is shockproof, fogproof, and waterproof with fully multi-coated optics and one piece aluminum construction. The Sweet .17 AO also ships with a pair of dovetail rings for mounting the scope right out of the box.
10 Monstrum G3 1-4×24 FFP Riflescope
Tactical minded rimfire shooters will appreciate both the look and function of the Monstrum G3 1-4×24 FFP Riflescope. With aggressive knurling on the turrets and an illuminated reticle, the G3 looks the part and has the features to back it up. The glass etched reticle can be illuminated in green or red and the ranging information on the reticle stays consistent at any magnification level.
The Monstrum G3 has a 30mm main tube for ample light transmission. The tube is also nitrogen purged for moisture resistance. This scope ships with a pair of Picatinny rings, a honeycomb style sun shade, a pair of flip up lens covers, and a battery.
Putting it All Together
The common misconception that all rimfire scopes are poorly made and aren’t worth the trouble simply isn’t true. There are plenty of rimfire-specific scopes available on the market that help rimfire rifles and pistols meet their full potential. Whether you enjoy squirrel hunting, need to do varmint control, want to shoot in competitions, or just want to do some old fashioned target shooting, consider adding a scope to your rimfire rifle or pistol. Use the list above to help you choose the best rimfire scope for your needs and requirements!