7 Best 22LR Scopes For All Rimfire Situations [UPDATED]
No armory is complete without the presence of a 22LR rifle of some type. These little plinkers are often the gateway gun into the firearm world for new shooters. 22LR rifles are lightweight, low recoiling, quiet for a firearm, and often make learning to shoot easy. Outside of being awesome for plinking and target practice, 22LRs are outstanding hunting rifles for small game and pest removal. It is for this reason, that I am constantly asked which one is the best 22LR scope.
22LR rifles come in all shapes and sizes. They can be semi-autos, single shots, bolt actions, lever actions, and beyond. One thing that they all have in common is that they are made better by having a good optic.
Because of this, I am constantly asked, what is the best scope for a 22lr rifle. So, to help those looking to improve their 22LR rifle experience, I decided to make a list of my personal favorite or best 22lr scopes on the market.
WHAT OPTICS WORK FOR A 22LR?
Before we dive into the best optics, let’s talk about the types of optics that work best with 22LR rifles. Now, there are a lot of other types out there. However, because of hte construction and use of a 22LR, there really are only two types we should focus on when discussing the best 22LR rifle scope:
Red Dot Optics: Red dot optics is a name applied to 1X optics that use a simple red reticle. Red is optional, as is a dot reticle. They can be various colors and reticle shapes. The name has been applied as a generic term for optics designed for close-range shooting. Red Dots come in all sizes as well.
Magnified Optics: These allow you to see further and shoot with extreme accuracy. These optics can vary from a low power variable optic which ranges from 1-4X all the way to crazy stuff like 8-64X. Some magnified optics feature fixed power magnification, and you cannot transition between magnification levels.
As a 22LR, you don’t need a superpower level of magnification. A 3-9X at most will get the job done. So will lower magnification ratings. There is no reason to go too big and too heavy.
List of the Best 22LR Rifle Scopes
So, now that we’ve covered the different types of scopes that are usually used for a 22 long rifle, let’s go ahead and take a quick look at my list of preferred scopes for the 22LR. Later, I’ll give a more detailed review of each and explain why I listed them the way I did.
Best Riflescopes For Your 22LR
Reviews of the Best 22LR Riflescopes
As you can see a above, I tried to list them the best I could. However, below, I’m going to go into detail on each one, their specifications and defend why I listed them in that order.
BUSHNELLS OPTICS DROP ZONE SPECS
- Magnification 1-4x
- Objective Lens 24mm
- Tube Diameter 30mm
- Eye Relief 3.5″
- Weight 18 oz
Bushnell’s Drop Zone Review
Bushnell creates tons of optics at all price points. Most shooters are familiar with their affordable brand of optics aimed at hunting and plinking.
The Drop Zone rifle scope joined the AR line of optics years ago as an affordable 1-4X LPVO. For me, the Drop Zone isn’t one I’d toss on my AR and trust for anything beyond target practice.
However, on a 22 LR rifle, it’s perfect. A 22 LR is used in less demanding environments and situations than a AR 15.
I love LPVOs on my AR rifles, so using an LPVO on my 22LR is a natural extension and allows my training to improve and remain consistent.
The Drop Zone gains its name for the bullet drop compensating reticle tuned to 5.56 rounds. So it’s not super useful here, but you aren’t taking 500-yard shots with a 22 LR anyway. The glass is surprisingly clear for a budget optic, and it’s a compact and lightweight scope. The adjustable fingertip turrets make zeroing quite quick and are a nice touch. The .25 MOA adjustments ensure each click is precise.
It’s tough enough to take a little abuse. Not duty levels of abuse, but it can bump around in the backseat, at the range, or in the field for hunting. It’s not a fragile ceramic piece of China. LPVOs are very versatile optics, and the Drop Zone allows you to use your 22LR for both close and moderate range shooting.
The only real issue I have is the drop zone does not have an illuminated reticle, which would be nice. However, I can’t really complain too much about that due to the price being so low. Therefore, because of the affordability LVPO capability and its design, I give this #1 spot for best 22lr scope.
Drop Zone Pros and Cons
- 1-4X Provides excellent versatility
- Compact and Lightweight
- Reticle is not illuminated.
TASCO RIMFIRE SERIES 3-9X SPECS
- Magnification 3-9x
- Objective Lens 32mm
- Tube Diameter 1″
- Eye Relief 3″
- Weight 11.3 oz
TASCO Rimfire Series 3-9X Review
Rarely would I ever suggest a 50 dollar scope for much of anything. On this list, it’s included because it’s cheap and good enough for a 22LR rifle. It’s very simple and provides absolutely zero fancy features. It’s splashproof, shockproof, and nitrogen purged to keep the fog out. Beyond that, it’s not going to blow your mind.
Unless you look at the price tag, for less than 50 bucks, you are getting a 3-9X optic that will hold zero and remain precise. The glass clarity is good enough for the shorter ranges you are shooting with a 22LR.
You won’t get great low light performance or clarity out to 500 yards. However, at 100 yards, you’ll see your targets without issue and hear the ping as that little 22LR round hits steel. Is 3-9X overkill for a 22LR rifle? Not at all, especially if you are shooting at small targets at various ranges.
This little Tasco will let you zoom in on a squirrel or rabbit when hunting and apply an accurate and humane shot. To double up on the affordability, the scope even comes with a set of rings for easy mounting. For a 3-9X scope, it’s rather light as well, at only 11.5 ounces. While it’s far from fancy, it’s a solid budget optic for a 22LR. It gets the job done and allows you to get on target without issue.
So, if you’re looking for a MAJOR budget option, then the TASCO is a good option. Furthermore, staying with the budget component, I love that this also includes rings as well – something the cheap options try to get away with not supplying. So, while this is listed as #2, this is actually my #1 budget 22LR scope.
TASCO Rimfire Series 3-9X Pros and Cons
- Comes with Rings
- Suitable For Most 22LRs
- Far from fancy
BURRIS DROPTINE RIFLESCOPE SPECS
- Magnification 3-9x
- Objective Lens 40mm
- Tube Diameter 1″
- Eye Relief 3.1-3.8″
- Weight 13 oz
Burris Droptine Riflescope Review
If you want a fancy 3-9X for your 22LR rifle, I have you covered here. The Burris Droptine might be one of the fancier 22LR dedicated optics.
The Droptine series comes with a ballistic plex reticle designed around the 22LR round. What this means is the reticle gives you a multitude of drop points that allow you to automatically compensate for range.
Shooters zero the Droptine at 50 yards, and then the marks below the reticle go to 75, 100, 125, and 150 yards.
Dropping rounds at those ranges is deeply satisfying, and the ballistic plex reticle makes it simple to do so. In fact, it’s so reliable and accurate it makes shooting a bit boring. BDCs are often controversial, but I find them handy.
Additionally, we get adjustable fingertip turrets for ease of adjustment and simple zeroing. I doubt you’ll be making on-the-call turret adjustments with a 22LR, but you can. The Droptine provides a good clear image downrange, and the glass is perfect for hunting.
Trying to shoot squirrels in the fall is tough. Brown squirrels blend in with brown leaves, so high-quality glass helps make it easier to see your prey. The little things are also well done. The magnification ring is smooth, the adjustments are accurate, and a 1-inch tube makes it easy to find mounts and rings.
Burris considers the Droptine their budget line, but for a 22LR, it’s one of the higher-quality options. Burris offers an outstanding warranty and great customer service, so your investment is protected.
Burris Droptine Riflescope Pros and Cons
- Clear Glass
- Excellent Reticle
- Well Made Optic
- Parallax is not adjustable
VORTEX SPITFIRE SPECS
- Magnification 1x
- Objective Lens 25mm
- Tube Diameter 25mm
- Eye Relief 3.8″
- Weight 11.2 oz
Vortex Spitfire Review
A 1x prism optic seems specific, and well, that’s because it is. The Spitfire is a simplistic optic that many people may ask, “Why not use a red dot?”
As a prism sight, the Spitfire provides those with astigmatism an option that replicates a red dot.
More so than that, the Spitfire’s reticle is etched and illuminated. If the batteries die, or you don’t want illumination, the reticle is still present.
Etched reticles are the rough and tough option if you don’t trust electronics.
On a 22LR, the Vortex Spitfire gives you a versatile optic that’s also tough as hell. Prisms are tough optics with few failure points. You get a weight penalty compared to a red dot, but Prisms are extremely rugged. For hunting in thickets or removing pests, the Spitfire performs admirably. The forgiving eye box and generous eye relief provide an excellent optic for tracking moving targets.
The reticle also provides an easy to see option for fast sight acquisition. The center dot is 3 MOA with a 44 MOA outside ring. You can see both in crisp and clear high definition due to the etched nature. Throwing the article up and on target is effortless and easy to do. The Spitfire provides a durable but simplistic prism optic for your 22LR rifle.
You can pop squirrels or tin cans with ease and never worry about batteries or blurry reticles with a prism optic.
I personally love using this one on my Ruger 10/22 takedown and recommend it as the best prism of the options listed. I couldn’t argue with those who would say this should be #1, but I still prefer the drop zone for most new 22LR shooters.
Vortex Spitfire Pros and Cons
- Etched and Illuminated Reticle
- Build-in Mount
BUSHNELLS TRS 25 SPECS
- Magnification 1x
- Objective Lens 25mm
- Tube Diameter 25mm
- Eye Relief Unlimited
- Weight 3.7 oz
Bushnell TRS 25 Review
Bushnell appears once more on the list, and it’s another optic from the AR optics line of optics.
This time we are going with a compact red dot that’s been quite the shake-up to the red dot market. The TRS 25 might be super affordable, but it’s proven to be quite durable and perfect for a variety of roles.
A red dot on a 22LR makes perfect sense for rapid, close-range shooting.
The TRS 25 provides a big 3 MOA dot that’s perfect for a 22LR optic. It’s easy to see and works well within a 22LR’s effective range. The TRS 25 is super compact and lightweight, with a number of mounting options available. You can go AR height or super low, depending on what your rifle needs.
I know that a price tag of less than a hundred bucks doesn’t inspire confidence, but hear me out. I beat the hell out of one of these over a week with drops, water, and recoil, and it never gave up. On a 22LR, it won’t face a quarter of the recoil it faced on a pump-action shotgun. Bushnell makes these things water, shock, and fogproof.
I wouldn’t go to war with it, but for a 22LR, it’s more than enough optic. Hunting, plinking, pest removal, or even general training, the optic is more than capable. This little red dot doesn’t tap out for much and can even be paired with a cheap magnifier to replicate a centerfire setup.
This is one of the better optics for kids, to begin with. It’s easy to mount and zero, and the simple nature of a red dot optic makes it easy to be accurate. Soda cans won’t stand a chance with a 22LR rifle equipped with a TRS 25.
So, in the end, I think this is great for someone’s first 22lr optic, or for their kids. Its light, cheap, and easy to operate. Plus it does the trick. So, I’d say this the best 22lr scope for kids or novices.
Bushnell TRS 25 Pros and Cons
- Multiple Mount Options
- Heavy amber tint
TRUGLO RED DOT 2×42 SPECS
- Magnification 2x
- Objective Lens 42mm
- Tube Diameter 30mm
- Eye Relief 4″
- Weight 6.89 oz
Truglo Red Dot 2×42 Review
This optic interested me, but I never saw a use for it until I considered a 22LR rifle.
I like my 22LR optics lightweight, I like a little magnification, and I like a little speed. I also don’t want to spend a ton of money.
Those little factors blend together to make something like the Truglo Red-Dot 2X42. While the name is uninspired, the design is unique.
It’s a red dot optic through and though but features fixed magnification. The 2X design gives you a little extra visibility when you need it most but also keeps the optic very lightweight. Since the magnification is minimal, a red dot is still rapid and easy to use for shooting that requires more speed than precision. You can always slow it down and guide that little red dot in for precise shots on small targets.
The 42mm objective lens makes them bright and opens up a good field of view. A two eye-opening shooting style is preferred and allows for that rapid target acquisition. On average, the optic costs less than 50 bucks and weighs only a little over 6 ounces. It’s an excellent combination of all the features I want for a rimfire rifle scope.
Truglo Red Dot 2×42 Pros and Cons
- Inspired design
- Glass could be clearer
BURRIS FASTFIRE3 SPECS
- Magnification 1x
- Objective Lens N/A
- Tube Diameter N/A
- Eye Relief Unlimited
- Weight 1.5 oz
Burris Fastfire 3 Review
The FastFire 3 and I go back a long way. It’s an optic I’ve kept on hand for review purposes and used on dozens of different guns over the years.
It’s a mini red dot sight that’s perfect for a handgun or lightweight rifle. Lots of 22LR rifles are designed to be take-down or folding designs, and big optics kill their compact designs.
For those types of guns, the little Fastfire 3 is perfect.
It’s a tiny optic, but Burris backs it with an absolute ton of different mounts and accessories for it. From a simple Picatinny mount to dedicated barrel mounts for take-down rifles. It’s ultra-small but provides all you need from a red dot. The Fastfire 3 is super lightweight and very easy to use.
It’s also rugged and can take a real beating. You should see mine; it’s roughed up beyond belief and keeps on functioning. The good thing about red dots like this is that they work with anything. It can fit your S&W AR 22, your Ruger 10/22, or even something like the Chiappa Little Badger. My suggestion is to get the 3 MOA model with the included Picatinny mount; this will work best with 22LR rifles and set you up for success.
Burris Fastfire 3 Pros and Cons
- Extremely rugged
- Only three brightness settings
22LR Riflescope Buyer’s Guide
When it comes time to choose a 22LR scope from the list above, you might be asking how do I choose? Well, good thing you made it this far down the list. We have a few things to consider when choosing a scope for 22LR, but the most important is purpose. The purpose of your 22LR rifle will drive your selection in an optic.
Things to Consider when Choosing your Optics
Use isn’t the only factor you need to take into consideration when choosing your scope. There are 2 other extremely important things you need to look at when selecting an optic.
We all live in a world where Picatinny rails rule, right? We use pic rails to attach accessories, stocks, and even optics. It should be rather simple, right? Well, no, sadly, it’s not that simple. 22LR rifles use Picatinny and Weaver rails, but they also use a mounting system called a Dovetail mount.
Dovetail mounts are not compatible with Weaver/Picatinny attachments. You may need to swap mounts to accommodate certain optics or purchase dovetail rings. It’s smart to ensure you know what amount your rifle comes with and what rings your optic comes with.
Adapters and various rail mounts exist as well. Don’t feel discouraged; simply do a little bit of shopping around. 22LR rifles vary quite a bit, so low mounts and risers are always an option. If you have an AR-type 22LR rifle, make sure you get an optic that sits at typical AR heights for ease of use.
If you’d like to learn more about mounting, then be sure to check out my article on 22LR mounting options.
Quality and Durability
This is where I normally talk about how price matters significantly. You get what you pay for is my usual go-to. That’s still present here, but it’s nowhere nearly as important as with most optic selections. 22LR rifles put very little force and recoil on the optic. Shooters max out with 22LR at roughly 150 yards. Super clear glass is not a huge requirement either. It’s nice for hunting, but it will rarely make a major difference.
No need for a Nightforce, a Trijicon, or Aimpoint here. You also want to avoid those no-name 30 dollar Amazon specials that populate the website. Going budget-friendly is fine, but stick to name brands. Lots of affordable optics work well on 22LR rifles. A name brand often offers a warranty, and a warranty is critical with budget optics.
Those el-cheapo Amazon options rarely offer any kind of warranty, and the ‘companies’ selling them come and go so often you’ll never be able to track them down for warranty work.
So, What’s Your Favorite 22LR Scope?
Who doesn’t love a 22LR rifle? They are a must-have for any collection and offer an affordable, lightweight, and low recoiling rifle that is nothing but fun. Admittedly they are rather handy for small game hunting and pest removal, but target practice and plinking are where the fun comes. Tossing an optic on just increases the fun as it increases precision, range, and speed. A 22LR rifle isn’t complete without a good optic.
May 30, 2023
May 30, 2023