Best .22 & .22lr Scopes to Buy – 2,G Fretwell Rimfire

Looking for your .22lr?

​Finding the best scope for a .22 or .22lr may not be that easy unless you know what to look for …

That’s exactly why we have narrowed down the list to really find the best .22 and .22 lr scope for you.

Here’s our top 6:

Top 6 Best .22 and .22lr  Scopes

  1. Nikon Buckmasters 3-9x40mm
  2. Vortex Crossfire II 2-7x32mm
  3. Bushnell AR 2-7x32mm
  4. BSA .22 3-9x40mm
  5. Simmons 22 Mag 3-9x32mm
  6. Nikon Prostaff 2-7x32mm

You’ve come to the right spot.  We has reviewed some of the best 22 lr scopes, everything from the cheap to the more expensive and we have put together a list of the top scopes that will fit in your budget. The goal is to find the best 22lr scope for the money!

Best Rifle Scopes for .22 or 22 LR Rimfire in 2024 – Top 6

These 22lr optics may not be for everyone. Some people may be more comfortable with certain brands while others may only be looking for the cheapest scopes, regardless of the brand.

Regardless of what you are looking, these scopes are the best .22lr scopes in 2017 in my opinion. After testing dozens of scopes to find the best .22lr optic, I was able to narrow it down to the top 6.

.22 and .22lr Quick Overview

The .22 remains a favorite for small game and sport shooting. Where I’m from, it’s most often used for cleaning up gophers in the field and my kid loves it for target shooting. 

What makes a .22 ideal for small game is the lack of velocity that doesn’t obliterate the animal upon impact. Couple this with the fact that it’s extremely economical and it’s easy to understand why the 22 long rifle (LR) remains the top selling caliber in North America.

Often compared to a .22 lr, the 17 HMR is becoming more popular as it is much faster and has a flatter trajectory which means the bullet can travel further distances. We’ve taken the opportunity to review some of the best scopes for the 22lr in 2018!

The .22 long rifle rimfire (5.6x15mmR) is a long established rimfire cartridge that can be traced back to the late 1800s and there are everything from rifles, pistols, and even some smooth bore shotguns that have been manufactured in this calibre. Still to this day it is one of the few cartridges that that are accepted by such a wide variety of firearms. 

If you are an old fella, you can probably think back to your early days when you were part of Boy Scouts and you got your first Merit Badge for your skill with the .22 LR.

This cartridge is fantastic for recreational shooting, initial firearms training, and varmint hunting because of its low cost, low recoil, and relatively low noise. I would suggest that novice shooters start shooting the .22 lr or the more recent .17 hmr because as we know, young shooters who are frightened of larger calibre rifles can easily develop bad shooting habits with those higher power rifles.

Get them shooting confidently with the 22 long rifle with proper gun safety before handing them anything larger. You will thank me for this advice later. 

A lot of guys ask me about the performance of the .22 lr. Performance will vary between length of barrel, type of action, and ammunition used.

The .22 long rifle is effective up to about 150 yards although practical uses tend to be something less than that. Anything over 150 yards, the trajectory and ballistics get difficult because you have to compensate for the large drop. 

Types of .22 LR Ammunition 

There are basically 4 different types of 22 long rifle ammunition and each one is categorized by its nominal velocity. The most common .22 lr round is the subsonic and hyper-velocity rounds. 

1. Subsonic .22 LR Rounds

Subsonic .22 lr rounds includes “target” or “match” loads and have a muzzle velocity of about 1,080 feet per second, under the speed of sound in normal conditions.

These rounds are preferred by some shooters because of their superior accuracy and relative reduction in noise.

Within the subsonic category, you can find different variants. Some manufacturers actually produce .22 lr that have less muzzle velocity to compensate for shooting in different conditions to keep them under the speed of sound.

What I mean is that in cold conditions, say 32 F, the speed of sound actually drops to about 1,088 so your standard subsonic round can actually become supersonic in colder conditions. You can find different weighted cartridges within the subsonic category to fit your needs. Subsonic rounds are often used for plinking as well as varmint hunting. 

2. Standard Velocity .22 LR Rounds

Standard velocity rounds for your 22 long rifle are typically slightly supersonic meaning that they travel above the speed of sound in normal conditions. They have a muzzle velocity of about 1,125 ft/s with your standard 40 grain weight. 

3. High Velocity .22 LR Rounds

High velocity 22 long rifle cartridges were originally loaded with black powder however smokeless powder which is more efficient and increases the velocity is now ore commonly used. Muzzle velocity for high velocity rounds is anywhere from 1,200 to 1,300 ft/s. 

4. Hyper-Velocity .22 LR Rounds

Hyper-velocity 22 long rifle rounds are typically lighter and travel anywhere from 1,400 to 1,800 ft/s, partially to due with their reduced weight of 30 to 32 gr. The CCI Stinger comes to mind in the hyper-velocity .22 lr round. These rounds come in all sorts of lengths and with different tips including hollow point. Hyper-velocity hollow point is typically used for varmint hunting because it provides the flatest trajectory with decent accuracy. 

Considerations When Buying a Scope for a .22 LR

  1. Price Point: There is a huge range of price points in this caliber. The cheapest .22 scope is going to run you about $30, while the most expensive scopes can reach into four figures. There are two main points to stress here. First off, consider who it is that you’re buying for. If it’s a beginner or novice shooter you don’t need a $400 scope. Too often, at amateur shooting events we’ll come across $300-$400 scopes on entry level rifles. Typically when you move from a basic $30 scope to a $80 scope there is going to be a significant difference. However, when you bump that up to a $150 scope the improvements are less pronounced. Like any sporting equipment, the best of the best typically is only 2-3% better than the tier down.
  2. Magnification – Variable or Fixed Scope: If you talk to enough gun enthusiasts you’ll hear each answer quite frequently. Here is my take – I prefer a variable scope on my 22.

I also know that it’s largely based on preference and the experience you’ve had. Many enthusiasts will tell you they’ve had cheaper variable scopes go tits up on them and a cheaper fixed scope is more reliable.

There are a number of quality 2-7x scopes for under $150 that will handle all the situations that can arise with a .22LR. For example the Nikon Prostaff is a fantastic 2-7 x 32mm scope at that price point.

Best .22 LR Scopes Reviewed

Bushnell 2-7x32mm AR Rifle Scope Review 

This tactical scope has the famous Bullet Drop Compensating (BDC) reticle which is perfect for your rimfire 22 lr. Fully multi-coated optics for incredible brightness, and fast focus eyepiece deliver maximum accuracy and reliability

The riflescope is rustproof, virtually scratchproof and a great addition to any 22 rim fire style firearm, including ARs.


Magnification: 2-7x

Objective Lens: 32mm

Tube Diameter: 1″

Windage/Elevation: 1/4 MOA


BSA Sweet .22 3-9x40mm Rifle Scope Review

Specifically designed for a .22 LR, the BSA might be the best deal for the money if you are looking for an entry level scope for your rimfire.

Make sure you check whether or not the scope comes with mounting rings. Mine didn’t (as expected) but others have wrote me saying they received rings. I upgraded with some AccuShot mounts.

It’s an extremely clear scope with an amazing reticle for its price point. For a .22 rifle this scope is hard to beat at the price point.


Magnification: 3-9x

Objective Lens: 40mm

Tube Diameter: 1″

Windage/Elevation: 1/4 MOA


Simmons 22 Mag Rifle Scope 3-9x32mm Reviewed

Although only $40, this scope is great for entry level shooters and varmint hunting with your .22 long rifle. I didn’t bother mounting this on my .308 because I don’t believe it will hold up with the recoil and it is not what I would recommend for larger calibre rifles but it provided a lot of fun on my little bush gun at 100 yards!

Note that this product also comes with 1” mounting rings which are surprisingly decent.

I bought this scope for my son due to its size and weight and we mounted it on his pellet gun and let me tell you, he dialed it in and was shooting pop cans at 50 yards with no problem!


Magnification: 3-9x

Objective Lens: 32mm

Tube Diameter: 1″

Windage/Elevation: 1/4 MOA


Nikon ProStaff 2-7 x 32 Riflescope Review

The Nikon Prostaff features a Nikoplex reticle, which is a very basic, but an effective crosshair.

The optics on the Nikon Prostaff are fantastic and we love the clear audible clicking while changing from setting to setting. The eye relief comes in at just under 4” which and it is extremely forgiving. What is great about this riflescope is the versatility that it provides. If you purchase this scope with some detachable scope rings, you can easily swap it from your .22 lr and mount it on your 30-06

The main difference between this scope and a higher end scope is the clarity at 7x zoom.


Magnification: 2-7x

Objective Lens: 32mm

Tube Diameter: 1″

Windage/Elevation: 1/4 MOA


Final Thoughts – Best .22lr Rifle Optics

Thanks to a handful of technological breakthroughs we have a wide range of .22 rifle scopes that are both under $150 and of reasonable quality.

If you are looking for one of the best 22 rimfire optics with great scope reviews, pick yourself up the Nikon Buckmasters 3-9x40mm. This thing offers phenomenal technology packed within an inexpensive scope.

If your budget is tighter but you still want a great .22 scope for the money, I would recommend the BSA Sweet Rifle Scope because it is specifically designed for this caliber and offers a great reticle.

For more affordable rifle scope reviews for your 22, check out “Best Rifle Scope under $100.”

Stay safe and happy shooting.