Top 10 Best Rimfire Scopes (Jan. 2020) : Review & Buyer’s Guide
- Robert Stevens
Many of us Americans enjoy activities such as shooting targets and hunting. The popularity of such sports has grown massively in the last few years with rifle sales shooting through the roof. The first time I went was with my uncle. Not knowing what to expect, we went to the range and fired a few shots. Soon after, 16-year-old me begged him to let me accompany him on one of his hunting trips.
With my uncle’s help, I got my own gun. Then it came to buying a scope. I thought that, because I had bought a good gun with my uncle’s help, buying a scope would be easy. In reality, I ended up making some purchasing mistakes. As it turns out, everyone needs their uncle to ask for help with such things!
I knew I wanted a rimfire scope, but it turns out there are so many to choose from. After my errors, I decided I wanted to help others find the best rimfire scope for their needs. I can be your hunting-fanatic virtual uncle so that you don’t make the same mistakes that I did. Read on to find the best rimfire scopes out there on the market today.
What You Will Get Here
- Things to Look out for in a Rimfire Scope
- How Did We Pick These Products?
- Our Top 10 Product List
- Top Choice : Vortex Optics Crossfire II Second Focal Plane, 1-inch Tube Riflescopes
- Runner-Up : Simmons Truplex .22 Mag Riflescope
- Nikon Prostaff Rimfire with Bdc Reticle
- Bushnell Drop Zone-22 BDC Rimfire Reticle Riflescope with Target Turrets, 2-7x/32mm
- Nikon Prostaff Rimfire Ii 3-9x40 bdc150
- CVLIFE 6-24x50 AOE Red and Green Illuminated Gun Scope with Free Mount
- TASCO MAG39X32D Rimfire 3-9x 32mm 30/30 Reticle .22 Riflescope
- Bsa Sweet .22, 3-9x40mm, Duplex, Rifle Scope
- Barska 3-9x32 Plinker-22 Riflescope
- Other Tested Products
- Final Words
Things to Look out for in a Rimfire Scope
Buying a rimfire scope is quite difficult, as I found out! You will be spending a fair amount of money on it, so you need to get it right. Before you make that all-important choice, you need to know what it is that you need to look for in a rimfire scope.
The scope’s zoom and resolution are closely related. In terms of the zoom, you need to choose between digital or optical. An optical zoom allows you to magnify the image whilst keeping the resolution as it is. The magnification is sometimes shortened to ‘mag.’ But with a digital zoom, there is a chance that with the enhancement of the image digitally, the resolution is lost. If you choose a scope that has both a digital and an optical zoom, the quality of the image and its resolution will be much better over all and will be the best combination to have in a rimfire scope.
Parallax is a phenomenon where the scope’s reticle (also known as reticule or graticule) appears to move off the targets when you change the position of your head. For clarity, a reticle is the line pattern or the markings that are present in the eyepiece of some sighting devices. The word reticle is mostly used to describe these markings in gunsights.
When you choose to buy a scope, you should choose one with a parallax correction that is around 50 yards. This is standard in the majority of the scopes.
As mentioned, the reticle is there for your comfort when you use the scope. The reticle allows you to aim better. There are traditionally crosshairs, wire crosshairs, etched reticles, and illuminated reticles. Have a look at the different types of reticle available and see which ones you would prefer. The reticle gives you an image that is of good quality at which to aim.
A scope’s knobs do not want to be too large to use comfortably or too small to be too fiddly to use easily either.
5. Focusing Mechanism
A focusing mechanism has a crucial role when you’re buying a scope. It outlines the level of comfort that you will have when you use the scope. Scopes have one of two types of mechanisms for focusing the image: a knob on the eyepiece or a focusing collar. The choice between these is largely personal preference. I would recommend that you look at both of these mechanism for yourself to decide which style would suit you best.
6. Budget & Preference
Everyone’s budget is different and so researching what you need is vitally important. Knowing what your budget is will help you to make your choice and rule out scopes that are not an option for you. Knowing what features you are wanting will also help narrow down your research.
Once you have read our best rimfire scope reviews you should have a clear idea of what it is that you are looking for as well as those scopes that are within your budget. We hope that each rimfire scope review will help you to make a decision that is well-informed.
How Did We Pick These Products?
When starting out our research of the top rimfire scopes, we had a rough idea of what it was that we were looking for. However, there certainly were a few surprises along the way! We started our research by reading online reviews and product sites to see which rimfire scopes were available to purchase at the current time. We then focused our research onto twenty of these rimfire scopes and set about testing them to their limits.
Our team of testers included beginners who were interested in trying out a rimfire scope as well as professional hunters and competitive shooters. Throughout the whole testing process, we asked our testers to record their verdict on each of the scopes so that we could ascertain which scopes were the best of the twenty.
Our shortlisted products were also researched further, and their reviews online were analyzed in terms of their number and their average rating. We took into consideration their price too. Eventually, we came up with our top ten rimfire scopes list after over 20 hours of research. Let’s take a look at which ones made the list.
Our Top 10 Product List
Our top ten rimfire scopes are ranked in order of which ones we believe to be the best. Of course, what meets one person’s needs may not meet another’s and so you should take great care in first deciding what it is that you are looking for in a rimfire scope.
Our top rimfire scope is Vortex Optics Crossfire II. This one is specially designed for shooters and hunters to offer the utmost reliability and performance. It has a long eye relief, completely multi-coated lenses, an eye piece that is fast focused as well as MOA turrets that are resettable. There really is no arguing that this is the best rimfire scope out there on the market today.
Its images are clear and bright, and its construction is tough. It is made from a single piece of hard, anodized aircraft-grade aluminum which has been nitrogen purged with a sealed O-ring for complete fog-proofing and waterproofing.
The reticle on this rimfire scope is intended for different uses, including different types of hunting and rifle shooting. There are SFP (second focal lane) reticles positioned near to the scope’s eyepiece. These SFP reticles are behind the image and magnifying lenses. This reticle’s style means that it does not change visually in size as the magnification is changed. This is an advantage that SFP reticles have as the same appearance is always maintained.
This scope also has an eye box that is really forgiving, meaning you can get your target in sight and acquire it quickly. This one is built from scratch with craftsmanship that will exceed all expectations. Indeed, there were over 1490 reviews with an average rating of 4.6/5 stars at the time of our research, which is pretty impressive! However, there’s a catch in the price. This rimfire scope is pretty expensive. It was around $130 at the time we researched, which was the second most expensive scope in our list. Having said that, it still takes the top spot due to all its wonderful features and qualities.
This is our top choice and for good reason! We cannot fault our experience with this one. We really think that this one is the best rimfire scope on the market. It really is worth its higher-than-most price tag. You don’t just need to take our word for it. There are hundreds and hundreds of reviews that agree with us! If you want top quality materials with SFP reticles, multi-coated lenses preventing fogging with amazing images, the Vortex Optics Crossfire II tick all the boxes.
Our Runner Up is the Simmons Truplex .22 Mag Riflescope, a rimfire scope that is designed to offer “big-game performance”. This one is an improvement on a previous model, which the company claims is America’s favorite rimfire scope, and has added innovation and features.
This rimfire riflescope has its own trademarked eyepiece with QTA – Quick Target Acquisition. It has loads of eye relief, making getting those targets super easy. This scope also has trademarked SureGrip, which makes adjusting the scope a snap, even if you’ve got gloves on. The optics are fully coted to ensure there’s no fogging and the whole scope is waterproof and shockproof as well. You really can use this scope for any types of hunting, anywhere, and in any weather; thanks to the Hydroshield lens coating. Indeed, the images are bright, sharp and in high contrast due to the quality of the glass. There’s a full set of mounting rings as well and a Truplex reticle.
The one-piece construction of this scope measures 15.4” x 2” x 5.5” and it weighs just one pound. As for its popularity, it has over 1500 reviews with an average rating of 4.2/5 stars, which is pretty pleasing. The amazing thing about this little beauty is its price. Coming in at under $40 it is actually the second cheapest in our top ten. If you are not sure if a rimfire scope is for you and don’t want to spend a lot of money but still want a great quality product, then this one would be a great choice.
This runner up is a fantastic buy thanks to not only its great price but also its eyepiece features such as the GTA, Hydroshield coatings and Truplex reticle. It has great ratings and reviews and a cost that is pleasing to the wallet too at less than $40. It is easy to adjust and has crystal clear images that appear when you want them to. Lastly, it’s fog-proof, waterproof and shockproof, meaning it can withstand any conditions you face when hunting and shooting.
Our third spot is the Nikon ProStaff Rimfire scope with BDC reticle. This is a great optic for rifles and other long-range guns as it combines the aforementioned 150 reticle with Nikon’s fully-coated lenses. The reticle is perfectly designed for rimfire scopes, allowing the shooter to compensate any bullet drop at longer-range shooting distances. The transparent ballistic circles are unique in the advantages it offers for long-range shooting whilst still giving normal sights for shorter distances.
This scope has a 40mm objective lens with a 4 to 12x magnification. The riflescope is also compact yet manages to transmit up to 98% of light available. The eye relief measures 3.7” and is consistent as well as generous, keeping your forehead safe. This is particularly important with heavy recoil cartridges, hard shooting angles and lightweight rifles.
The performance of the rifle is excellent thanks to an O-ring sealed construction that’s filled with nitrogen making it fog-proof and waterproof. Each of the glass surfaces have multiple layers of compounds which are anti-reflective, giving optimum transmission of light no matter the time of day as well as the clearest of pictures.
The turrets are Zero-reset and have spring-loaded adjustment knobs. The eyepiece measures 14.1 inches and weighs just 13.6 ounces. What is even greater about this product is that it had average rating online of 4.6/5 at the time of our research. However, it was a little pricier than both first and second place, retailing at around $139. For this reason, there aren’t as many reviews either. But you are guaranteed an excellent piece of kit that will suit beginner shooters and advanced huntsmen alike.
This rimfire riflescope is truly impressive with an excellent rating as well as multi-coated lenses to prevent fogging. It is waterproof too so can be used in any kind of weather – what a bonus! The images are crisp and clear and there’s generous eye-relief too. The only drawback that we found when we did our research was the price! It is the most expensive rimfire scope in our list!
The fourth-place spot is the Bushnell Optics Drop Zone-22 BDC Rimfire Reticle Riflescope (more on what this means later!). It comes in a matte black color and has a magnification of 2-7x/32mm.
Bushnell is a well-known brand of optics and have a good reputation for good reason. This one gives maximum accuracy with reliability for almost all tactical scenario in the field. Bushnell say that they have taken the “bedrock precepts” that are the foundations for every riflescope they build and pushed the whole scope even further for this one with AR platform. It has adjustments that are pinpoint precise as well as reticles that are caliber specific. This means that every round is delivered with unrivaled accuracy.
The optics give the utmost brightness with multiple layers of the anti-reflective coatings meaning that the images are not only high in contrast but also don’t cause eye strain thanks to the tiny amount of light loss. The reticle is a Bullet Drop Compensating one (BDC) and has aiming points up to 500 yards away. The tolerances are ultra-tight too. It is calibrated for 22 long high-velocity rifle loads at 38-40 grain. It has aiming points out up to 125 yards and zeroes at 50 yards.
It has side-focus parallax adjustment, meaning its eyepiece is fast to focus. The target turrets with 1/4 MOA click value) give precise adjustments too.
It is made from an aluminum alloy giving it excellent durability with its anodized finish. The whole scope is sealed with O-rings and is nitrogen purged too to make it entirely waterproof and fog-proof.
It had an impressive rating of 4.6/5 stars and, at the time of our research, cost around $115. Whilst this is a little pricier than most in our list, it is slightly cheaper than our number one choice and, with this one, you’re getting a Bushnell optic. There were only 168 reviews at the time we researched, which was a lot lower than all except one in our top ten.
We loved this Bushnell Riflescope. Clearly many others agree thanks to its excellent ratings on sites like Amazon. The lenses were crisp and clear and didn’t fog up even when we took the scope out to shoot in the most difficult of weather conditions. With this one, we found the images to be quick and clear thanks to the BDC reticle. One of the only reasons it dropped out of the top three was because of its price and because it did not have as many reviews as others, despite the Bushnell name. Who knows, with a few more years under its belt, this one may rise to the top!
Next up is the UTG BugBuster Scope. It has a red dot sight that can switch to green with light. This is a great locking system as you can get a perfect aim each and every time, even with some sudden movements if you stumble. It is adjustable with your fingers with W/E knobs.
The scope itself is fully sealed as well as being filled with nitrogen. It is super reliable thanks to its fog-proofing, waterproofing and shock-proofing. It can be used in all weathers and conditions. It has a 2-inch sunshade included as well as having a flip-open lens cap and detachable rings that are quick to operate.
It has an innovative platform, the True Strength Platform, which has an SSS, a Smart Spherical Structure, which controls the interaction of the outer and inner tubes like a joint. Its design gives reliability with responsive and precise elevation and windage adjustments.
The scope has been repeatedly tested with careful analysis of its performance, including on elephant rifles that have extreme recoil, to ensure it performs optimally. It has target turrets give consistent and crisp images with a view free from parallax from 3 yards right to infinity.
As mentioned, there is a side wheel illumination with a pioneered red as well as green reticle. This makes the scope all the more effective. This one has 19 aiming points in its reticle, 21 if you include the duplex cross hair inner tips, which is a lot more than most scopes.
Included was a pair of maximum strength heavy-duty rings with a 15mm saddle height. These are secured with lever locks that are fully adjustable with quick detach.
What we loved about this scope was how many reviews it had that backed up our findings! You do not need to take just our word for it. This one had an average rating of 4.3/5 stars, which was not the best in our list (nor the worst) but it was supported by 2352 reviews. It also cost around $78, which was not the cheapest nor the most expensive either.
We liked this scope thanks to its robustness and reliability it all weathers. The added sunshade was a welcome addition too and meant that the images were even clearer in sunny weather. The images themselves were sharp and crisp and, with 21 aiming points, we were spoiled for choice. It is a little more expensive than some in our list but equally was not amongst the most expensive choices. We really liked this one thanks to the fact that so many people thought similarly to us!
This rimfire scope is another Prostaff from Nikon. It is strong and high-quality it in its materials. We liked it too because of how sleek it looked. The clarity on this one was great too. This was especially designed for .22 long rifle caliber and has Nikon’s famous multi-coated lenses, which deliver an exceptional picture. The .25” adjustments at 50 yards make sighting in super easy and the instant spring-loaded turrets that are Zero-Reset allow the user to reset to zero easily after having sighted in. This makes the whole adjustment process very simple, even out in the field.
There is a 50-yard setting for parallax which is optimized to use with the Spot On Ballistic Match Technology from Nikon. This means that shooters can have exact points to aim for on the reticle with any ammunition or load at specified ranges. The ballistic info of over 5,000 loads and custom loads is already contained. Spot On has actually become the top choice for shooters and hunters the whole world over.
This scope is also fully fog-proof, shock-proof and waterproof too. As well as its amazing features, it is fully backed by Nikon’s Limited Lifetime Warranty. As for its magnification, it has 3-9x with a 40mm objective lens and an eye relief of 3.6”. This scope cost just under 100 dollars, making it a reasonably priced buy in our list. It also has amazing reviews, with an average rating on 4.6/5 at the time we carried out our research. The reviews were not all that plentiful, with 323 at the time, but this is not the lowest number in our top 10.
We really liked this scope thanks to its compatibility with Nikon’s innovative Spot-On Ballistic Match Technology. This makes things a whole lot simpler! Also, we found that the zero-reset turrets and multi-coated lenses meant that shooting in the field was a stitch! With an excellent rating of 4.6/5 and Nikon’s lifetime warranty, this one is a good buy. It’s lower in our list purely because of the fewer ratings to back this up compared to others in the list.
This riflescope features both red and green 5-intensity illuminated parts with a magnification of 6-24x and an objective diameter of 50mm. The field of view was 28ft at 100 yards with a click value of 1/8. The eye relief on this scope measures 3.52” and features an exit pupil of 5.1-16.9mm.
This riflescope measures 40cm in length with a 1” diameter tube. It also comes with a battery included. The construction itself is made of high-tensile and strong aluminum alloy, meaning it is durable and strong. It has a fast tactical lock as well as zeroing adjustment for elevation and windage.
As mentioned, the reticle has red and green Mil Dot with a 5-level brightness. It comes with a lens cover, two scope mounts, an Allen key and a cleaning cloth.
The great thing about this one is its cost! At the time of our research this one only cost less than $40 which is the second cheapest of the ten rimfire scopes in this list. With 2072 reviews when we carried out our research, we can be sure that its 4.2/5-star rating on Amazon is well deserved. Indeed, this was the second highest number of reviews out of all our rimfire scope reviews.
We loved this rimfire scope thanks to its affordability. It is clearly a popular scope and, as such, we can be assured that the ratings are justified. We also liked the red and green illumination options as well as the 5-level brightness. The scope was also very sturdy and comfortable to use. It didn’t feel at all flimsy in our hands. Lastly, we loved the price of this one!
With this riflescope, our testers were first struck by its beautiful design. It was simply divine to look at. It is designed for .22 rimfire rifles and has a wide-ranging magnification from 3-9x. The objective lens is 32mm and it has a 50-yard parallax option with its advanced monotube build.
We found this one to be high in quality and performance with multi-layered magenta lens coatings which gave clear and bright images. The construction is also 100% fog-proof and waterproof so this one really can be used in all weather conditions. The reticles are 30/30 and there’s ¼ MOA click adjustments on board too. The scope has a delightful matte black finish, which is great.
One of the things we loved about this rimfire scope is the price. At the time we were testing out these products, this scope cost around $40! However, there was a catch. This was the lowest rated of all the scopes we tried out with an average rating of just 3.8/5. It also had the lowest number for reviews too, at 148. Perhaps with increased numbers of reviews, the average rating will continue to improve. For your money, you do get a fairly decent scope which would be well suited to beginners particularly.
This won’t be everyone’s cup of tea simply because it won’t meet the needs of the advanced shooters amongst us. But it is a pretty good buy for those who aren’t quite sure if a rimfire scope is what they need or if they are just starting out with their hunting and shooting. There are most certainly better ones available but this one is an affordable rimfire scope that certainly doesn’t break the bank.
Taking the 9th spot is the BSA Sweet .22 Duplex riflescope. This one has precision that is crystal clear and some serious power in the optics. There’s trajectory compensation specific to .22 rifles as well as an adjustable objective. It has turrets that are quick-change for 36-grain, 38-grain and 40-grain bullets as well as 3-9x magnification.
The optics are fully coated making them 100% shock-proof, fog-proof and water proof. There’s a 3” eye relief, a 40mm objective and a field of view that spans 100 yards with 40 feet at 3x and 13’ at 9x. The windage and elevation is also hand adjustable. Lens covers come with it, but the rings are sold separately. There’s an SFP duplex reticle, a 7.5-yard parallax setting and 1/4 MOA adjustment gradation. It weighs 21.8oz and measures 12.2” in length.
This one has an average rating of 4/5, which is actually the second lowest of all our reviewed scopes. However, the price is pretty reasonable compared to some. When we researched, we got this one for around $55, which was not too bad at all. The reviews were based on over 500 sales too, so you know that others’ ratings, as well as ours too, are justified.
This one ticks a fair few boxes in what you are looking for in a rimfire scope. It isn’t the most powerful of scopes, but it is a reasonable price and has steady good reviews, although as we explained, this is one of the lowest-rated scopes in our list. It is largely for this reason that we have had to place this one lower in our top ten. But it does have some great features, especially its flexibility for different rifle and bullet types, not to mention the price.
Last but not least is the Barska 3-9x32 Plinker .22 riflescope. This has a striking performance and only weighs 11.5 ounces. It is one of the most popular riflescopes from the company as it is designed specifically with .22 rifles in mind. It is built for general hunting and plinking applications and is constructed to be able to cope with all of the outdoor conditions and scenarios that hunters and shooters face. Moreover, it can be used as an alternative to compact binoculars to some extent.
The optics are fully coated, and the end result is that they are fog-proof, shock-proof and waterproof. They give great performance and clarity and the adjustment knobs mean that hunters can react quickly to any changes in the environment. There’s 0.25-inch click adjustments meaning that hunters can fine tune their scope for elevation and windage.
This scope has a lovely matte black finish and comes with a lens cloth, lens covers and mounting rings. What is more, there’s also a limited lifetime warranty against any defects in the manufacturer’s workmanship or materials. You know that, with this product, you’re getting a product that its manufacturers trust and believe in themselves.
It measures 12” in length and has a 1” diameter with a 32mm objective lens. There’s 3.5” of eye relief and 0.375” dovetail rings. The field of view at 100 yards is 36 feet at 3x and 13 feet at 9x.
This one was in the $26-30 price range when we bought it to try out. You have to realize, at times, that you get what you pay for and this is why this one dropped to the bottom spot in the top ten. It was the cheapest and, quite frankly, we could tell! That’s not to say it didn’t have its perks. But, really, you can get something a lot better for just a few more dollars. The average rating was 4.2 based on over 500 reviews, so it wasn’t the worst reviewed we had seen.
Our final product was pretty good if you want a cheap rimfire scope to try out and see if this kind of scope is for you. The fact it comes with a lifetime limited warranty from the manufacturer was pleasing but we did find that, overall, it lacked in quality compared with others in our list. Having said that, it is the cheapest and wasn’t the worst rated, so it is not all bad for this rimfire scope review.
Other Tested Products
There you have it! The top ten rimfire scopes available to buy all outlined in one clear and concise review. I’m hoping that this means that you won’t have the same troubles that I had when I was first starting out in looking for a rimfire scope. The best rimfire scope for you might just be sitting there right on our page of scope reviews. If you are still undecided, it is important to weigh up what it is that you are looking for in a rimfire scope. Do you need a long range rimfire scope? Does it need to be compact? High power? Under 200 dollars?
Hopefully, we have managed to provide everyone with a suitable option within our reviews above. If you still can’t make up your mind, then why not opt for our Editor’s Pick? We really believe that this one is the best rimfire scope out there today.