Very common with the .22 LR and .41 Swiss variants, Rimfire ammunition are great cost-efficient options for the frugal shooters out there. Since these are often smaller, different rounds to the larger, centerfire calibers, you’ll want scopes that fit well with the Rimfire rifles that are compatible with these cartridges.
We’ve found five examples of rimfire rifle scopes and have analyzed them below. This way you can read up on them for yourself and choose which one is the most suitable for you, since they span several magnification levels.
There’s also a small FAQ at the bottom of this article, too, so you can get educated on which features you should judge scopes on.
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Best Rimfire Scopes - Reviews
The first scope on our list is the ProStaff Rimfire II from Nikon, a name we’re sure you recognize. It has a modest 3x to 9x magnification range, which should be decent for mid to long range shooting, safely within the effective range of smaller rimfire ammunition, though the scope suffers at shorter ranges.
Despite this, the objective lens is relatively large at 40mm and it measures in at 12.3 inches in length and 13.1 ounces in weight, meaning it’s easily carried.
The visuals it delivers are very crisp and clear, with high contrast throughout the entirety of the zoom range. This is because the optics are fully multi coated, maximizing light transmission at about 98%.
This gives you better visibility in low-light conditions and enables a faster focus so that nothing goes unseen when looking through your scope.
The turret that controls magnification is a handy, smooth way of adjusting the power of these scopes, but they’re also recoil-resistant so that they won’t lose their settings when the rifle kicks back upon firing.
As the listing title says, the scope is equipped with a BDC 150 reticle that features several open circles that compensate for bullet drop.
These scopes were designed with rimfire rifles in mind, and so they cater to the ballistics of popular rimfire cartridges like the .22 LR.
The body of these scopes are very durable, being nitrogen purged to avoid the buildup of fog condensation, and they’re sealed with O-rings that make them waterproof and shock resistant. These design features make the ProStaff Rimfire II perfect for use in harsh weather.
The second scope we have for you is the VX-Freedom Rimfire Riflescope by Leupold. Made by another established name in the market, they’re constructed with innovative materials to make a piece of high-end gear that is designed for use with rimfire ammunition.
Once again, it’s a 3-9x40mm scope, meaning you can get a decent view across all of the zoom settings. These scopes are sophisticated ones, having parallax adjustment capabilities up to 60 yards so that you don’t miss shots because of poor zeroing angles and positioning.
Fortunately, since it’s going to be used for a rimfire rifle, sight discrepancies at longer ranges shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
Alongside the parallax adjustment turret are also settings for windage and elevation, which click at every precise adjustment of the turrets so that you can audibly track how much you’re zeroing in with any one turret. Whilst looking through these scopes, you’ll notice they have a generous maximum 4.17 inches of eye relief.
The lenses have a scratch-resistant multi coating that reduces any abrasive damage that these scopes can take more punishment before suffering any distracting scratches.
The scope body is made with aircraft-grade aluminum that has been quality tested by the manufacturer to guarantee quality. They’re also waterproof and fog proof, and so are perfect for wet weather.
Vortex are the people you want to go to when in search of higher-end, professionally constructed telescopes. They have a reputation of having pricier products, but their rimfire scopes aren’t that expensive when compared relatively.
At the midpoint in our list is the Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32mm Rimfire Scope, a great medium to long range scope.
The standout feature of this scope is the V-Plex MOA Reticle which gives you a functional, intuitive, and accurate sights that stay the same size since they’re etched into the second focal plane.
The lenses are also multi coated with an anti-reflective coating which maximizes light transmission and minimizes glare, meaning you get sharp images at a high contrast, which is great for low-light shooting, but they won’t catch glares that give away your position.
The reticle is hash marked for holdover and windage calculations, with high-precision laser etchings on the glass reticle to stay as fine but effective as possible. That way it doesn’t get in the way of a full sight but is still visible and very precise.
The body of these scopes are the standard aircraft-grade aluminum, which is both durable and treated to be weatherproofed, having O-ring seals and nitrogen purged interiors to be waterproof and fog-proof respectively. It’s also shock-resistant, so you don’t need to worry about dropping it too much.
The fourth scope we have for you is the Simmons 3-9x32mm, 0.22 Mag(R) Matte Black Riflescope, a one-piece body scope that combines durability with flexible handling.
Measuring in at 12 inches in length and 10 ounces in weight, it’s on the heavier side where scopes are concerned but has a lot of aesthetic appeal.
It comes with a series of mounting rings, so it should be easily mounted on pretty much any form of rimfire rifle. The reticle itself benefits from Simmons TrueZero windage and elevation systems which lock your zero accuracy in, made even better by the Quick Target Acquisition eyepiece that this scope has.
Speaking of the named tech used in these scopes, the lenses have HydroShield multi coating which makes light reflection and glare a non-issue whilst also avoiding water damage, meaning these scopes can perform come rain or shine.
Sure-grip tech is also used on the turrets so that you can easily make adjustments, even when wearing gloves.
Our last scope is another from Leupold, it’s the FX-I 4x28mm Rimfire/Ultralight Riflescope with a fine duplex reticle. It’s a standout in our list in that it’s the first fixed scope here, having a 4x zoom.
Built into this scope is a pre-set 60-yard parallax correction that works to about 100 yards, making it great for a short-range rifle.
The fine duplex reticle doesn’t clutter the scope, particularly at the center, but is still easy to follow and place shots with. The lenses that these reticles are on are also multi coated so that it’s more durable against oil and debris that could smudge or scratch the sight.
The body of the scope itself is also built to withstand water, impact, and condensation damage from fog. The body also has a matte black finish that conceals glare, meaning you can be stealthier when hunting with this rifle since animals won’t see it and be alerted to your presence.
You also have ample eye relief with 4.5 inches, a lot compared to other scopes and certainly generous for a scope of this size and power.
Best Rimfire Scopes - Buyers Guide
How to choose the best scopes for your rimfire rifle
When looking for scopes for your rimfire rifle, you’ll need to pay attention to the scopes with weaker magnification. With so many high-powered scopes out there vying for your attention (and your hard-earned cash) you need to be careful not to get a scope that’s too powerful for your rifle.
This buyers’ guide should help you learn the properties of different scopes so you can choose the right ones based on their components and the performance they’ll give you and your rifle.
Variable V Fixed Magnification
Usually we’re firmly on the side of getting as much functionality out of your product purchases as possible, and with how affordable variable scopes are nowadays we think you should often go for variable over fixed scopes.
That said, fixed scopes are much more viable for rimfire rifles since you won’t be working with as much range as you would with, say, a rifle chambered for .308 Winchester.
If your rimfire rifle is capable at both short and medium range, you might want a variable scope just to make sure you have both bases fully covered, particularly if you’re hunting and may need the extra adjustability to land shots on a moving target.
However, a decent 4x or 5x fixed scope should suffice for medium range shooting too if you know what you’re doing, so in this case we’d say it’s up to your budget and preferences.
Magnification and Range
The effective range of rimfire ammunition, which for the sake of argument we’ll run the math with the most common, the .22 LR, is 150 yards. You can give or take ten, maybe twenty, yards depending on other factors like weather and the power of your rifle, but after 150 yards they’ll drop very fast.
You’ll also have to consider that rimfire rifles chambered for .22 LR will throw bullets 50 yards before clearing the 1 inch drop threshold.
The best magnification is usually the lowest you can get away with to meet the maximum effective range of the firearm and the rounds you’re using. Using this criterion is also easier on your wallet, since it can avoid you overpaying on an overpowered piece of kit.
The best magnification range is from 2x to 9x, with the two variable scopes in that range often being 2x to 7x and 3x to 9x. Operating with these magnifications will give you the best results with your rimfire rifle.
When using the terms short, medium, and long range, we’re considering close range to be 50 yards, medium range to be 50 to 100 yards, and long range to be 100 to 150 yards.
Within those range categories, close range is best served with a 1 to 4x magnification whereas medium works well with 4x to 7x. For long range you’ll want 7x plus.
Lens Coating and Weatherproofing
You want the glass of your scopes to be top notch since it’s the main operative component. If your scope’s lenses aren’t up to scratch, then you’ve bought some very expensive aluminum tubing that isn’t good for anything. Speaking of being up to scratch, you’ll want the lenses to have protective coating that stops oil and debris from damaging them.
Often these coatings will also increase light transmission to provide more vivid, high-contrast sights whilst also reducing glare for when it gets too bright outside.
The body of your scopes should also be durable so that they don’t end up breaking or being negatively affected by the weather. Matte black anodized coatings are often applied to the body to stop any rusting, and they work with O-ring seals to keep water out and make sure any water rolls off the scope without getting inside.
Condensation from fog is also dangerous, so look for scopes that have nitrogen purging so that they don’t develop moisture inside.
Reticle and Focal Planes
When it comes to reticles, our favorites are the duplex styles since they should allow you to calculate everything you’ll want from the x and y axes in terms of windage and elevation.
The thickness of these crosshairs is subject to your own preferences, so you should choose the one that you find to be informative but unobtrusive since you don’t want to have a cluttered sight.
Reticles are etched onto focal planes, either the first or the second, and this changes how the scope performs at certain distances. Reticles on the first focal planes will shrink or grow depending on your magnification level, making them more convenient if you’re planning on making a lot of adjustments.
Second plane reticles will stay the same no matter, and so will require manual adjustment on your part if you need them to work.
Turrets are the dials and knobs that control magnification, windage, and elevation settings on your scope, assuming your scope is high-end enough to have the latter two. You want turrets that are firm enough to stay where you leave them but not too firm to be hard to adjust.
Tactical style turrets are best if you’re hunting since they can make quick adjustments whilst having a zero-stop function so that recoil doesn’t knock them off position, making them perfect for follow-up shots against prey.
Minute of Angle
Turrets can get very precise thanks to quarter-inch MOA adjustments that give you a higher degree of accuracy. Minute of Angle, or MOA, is a means of calculating the adjustments that you need to make to land shots further away.
One MOA is one sixtieth of a degree, and when used in the context of scope zeroing it’s known as one inch at one hundred yards. Since the maximum effective range of most rimfire founds caps out at 150 or 200 yards, MOA will only be a consideration for those of you who are maxing out range.
Quarter adjustment turrets work by clicking so you can audibly hear how many adjustments you have made, with four clicks meaning one inch. This means that at two hundred yards out, if your shot falls 2 inches short, you’ll need to adjust the turrets until you hear 8 clicks, then you should be on target.
The eye relief is the distance between your eye and the scope’s lens. This is often given in two numbers, the maximum and the minimum distance you can be from the scope whilst still getting a decent sight but not being at risk of the scope recoiling back into your eye, which is painful and just embarrassing.
This is obviously a detail that gets more important to know the more powerful a rifle is, but it’s something to consider, nonetheless.
Parallax is the term for when the reticle of a scope shifts depending on the positioning of your eyes and head if you’re not looking through the scope perfectly straight. What is usually a slight difference at short range gets more pronounced at longer ranges, to the point where it interferes with accuracy.
This isn’t a big concern with rimfire rifles since they tend to have a much shorter range than other long rifles out there, but you’ll find some rimfire scopes have a parallax adjustment built into them such as the scope at number five which has adjustments for 60 yards.
If you want to be effective at the maximum ranges that rimfires are capable of, then you may want to get a scope with a parallax adjustment option, otherwise it’s not too important.