Best Rimfire Scope Reviews – Going for the Best: 5 Perfect Rimfire Scopes

While it might not seem like there’s much of a difference between picking a scope for a rimfire or centerfire rifle, there are definitely some things to take into consideration. We’re here to show you the differences, and then we’ll present to you some of the best rimfire scopes on the market so that you can make an educated decision when the time comes to enhance your optics.

**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

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Choosing Your Rimfire Rifle Scope

There are some pretty major differences to be had between centerfire and rimfire scopes. Understanding the difference is actually the ultimate key to understanding not only what makes a rimfire scope desirable for rifles chambered in these kinds of rounds, but also in understanding what makes for a great scope for a low powered rifle.

Rimfire Scopes vs. Centerfire Scopes

For those who aren’t aware, modern rimfire rifles are invariably low powered. .22LR is the most common you’ll find, but some of the other rounds which use this technology are fairly diverse. Probably the second most common are .22WMR rounds and pretty much any .177 round is going to use this kind of primer.

These rifles aren’t made for the long distances which you’ll find when you’re using a heavier round. They’re also not made as robustly as centerfire scopes which need to take the recoil of heavier rounds like .223 or .30-06. Using a rimfire scope on a centerfire rifle is a huge mistake.

Centerfire scopes, on the other hand, are made for shooting over much longer distances and are able to handle the recoil from the heavier rounds without taking damage or being knocked out of alignment.

While it is possible to use a centerfire scope on a lighter rifle it’s often less than ideal since they’re generally set up for shooting at distances of at least 150 yards, while a rimfire scope will be set up for 50 yards or so as a general rule.

Now that we’ve discussed the differences, of course, it’s time to talk about the qualities which make a rimfire scope stand out from the competition in a world where cheap plastic scopes are a general rule.


Parallax Adjustment

Parallax is an optical illusion that can seriously mess up your aim. Basically it’s caused by the reticule “moving” as your head moves around the scope. This is one of the reasons that a “cheek weld” to the rifle is so important since it will keep you on target.

To check for parallax on your scope, move your head around a little bit and see how far the reticule seems to move.

While it’s not totally necessary on a rimfire scope, if you’re planning on shooting beyond 50 yards then you might want to invest the extra bit of money into making sure that you have it. For the most part a rimfire scope without parallax adjustment will be set for 50 yards, since that’s the usual effective distance of the smaller cartridges you’ll be firing.

For target shooters, this is a much more important quality than for hunters. Most smaller prey animals should be shot from within 50 yards or so, but paper is a different matter.


Magnification

Magnification isn’t as big of an issue for the short ranges rimfire rifles are used at as it is for larger rifles. Don’t make the error of just going for the highest magnification you can find, this is actually a cardinal sin that a lot of amateurs make.

Think of a pair of binoculars, when focused at a great distance you’ll find that anything closer is fuzzy while you can still focus on an object beyond the distance you’re set at. Set them in closer and you’ll have a greater field of focus.

Since a .22LR or other small caliber rifle isn’t useful at extreme distances you’ll want to make sure that you don’t have too much magnification or you won’t be able to focus the rifle up close. A maximum magnification of 4x is more than enough for this kind of rifle.

Anything much stronger is just marketing, you really don’t need it.


Eye Relief

Via: Amazon.com

Eye relief is one of the most misunderstood factors when it comes to scopes. Essentially, it means the ideal distance from your eye to the scope in order to get a clear picture.

The ideal eye relief on a rimfire scope is smaller than that on a centerfire rifle. Most of us who’ve fired large caliber guns have at one point or another caught the scope with our eye when insufficiently prepared for recoil.

Thankfully, this is less of a concern in this case. The kick of a .22LR or even a .22 Magnum round is almost negligible, especially if you’re experienced with firearms.

There is one thing to keep in mind however, which is that it will effect how far forward or backwards you’ll need to mount the scope on your rifle. It’s not the most important of factors… as long as you have a rail on your rifle. Otherwise you may need to match it to your mount and normal cheek position on the stock of the rifle.


Reticule Type

Via: Amazon.com

One last thing to keep in mind is what kind of reticule you prefer when it comes to shooting. This is a highly personal matter, of course, and if you’re not used to a scope we recommend a standard crosshairs, fine or duplex crosshairs are generally the way to go.

These are great for small game hunters. Mil-dot reticules are best for those who are shooting at the limits of what their gun can do, so if you’re acquiring your scope for paper punching then these are probably ideal.

For more experienced shooters, you’re likely to have discovered exactly what type of reticule you like already.

The Five Best Rimfire Rifle Scopes On The Marker

We’ve pulled together five of the best rimfire scopes around for your perusal. Whether you’re handling small varmints or target shooting, one of these is sure to suit your needs. So, without further ado, let’s start taking a look at each of them and what makes them great.

**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

Via: Amazon.com

Coming in with clear optics, a huge objective lens, and a useful range of magnification, the Nikon Prostaff Target EFR is a great rimfire scope for all around usage. Whether your goal is punching paper or dropping a rabbit at 50 yards, you’re in good hands with this particular piece of optics.

The variable focus is a nice touch, allowing you to keep the gun sighted no matter what range you’re planning on shooting at. It’s easy to adjust as well, with the yard markings clearly visible on the dials and allowing you to quickly target in to exactly where you need to be shooting for the day.

Most target shooters will quickly find that the unique reticle used with this scope is superior to the BDC reticle which most Nikon scopes utilize. It can be focused in at as short as 10 yards, which is great for short range hunting.

The eye relief is a bit unforgiving, however, so you’ll have to be precise in how you set the rifle in order to make sure that you’re able to get a clear sight picture. It also has trouble fitting on some rifles, unfortunately.

Overall, this is one of the best target shooting rimfire scopes on the market, and even hunters will likely find a use for it.


Pros

  • Unique reticule is perfect for target shooting
  • Can focus at a wide range of distances
  • High-quality glass for superior clarity
  • Very durable
  • Perfect magnification range for hunting

Cons

  • Quite heavy
  • Click adjustments can be a bit hard to use at 100 yard ranges

Last update on 2017-12-10 PST - Details


Via: Amazon.com

The Leupold 113872 VX-1 Rimfire Scope is a great little scope, and it might just be the best rimfire scope under $200.

This one features a 28mm lens with a 2-7x magnification which makes it ideal for target shooting and handling smaller animals as well. At the lower end of the magnification it allows you a good field of view, while the higher magnifications are great for handling long distance target shooting.

You’re really not going to find much better at this price point. The optics are amazingly clear, it comes with windage dials to account for elevation.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that there is no parallax adjustment on this scope and it’s set at 60 yards which is a little bit farther than you’ll normally need for a rimfire scope for hunting.

For the target shooter or someone with a higher powered rimfire rifle, however, this is exactly the solution you’ve been looking for.


Pros

  • Super clear optics
  • Large magnification range
  • Adjustment for elevation
  • Duplex crosshair
  • Very lightweight

Cons

  • Parallax set at 60 yards
  • Doesn’t come with rings

Via: Amazon.com

This Nikon scope is a great option that comes in at much less than you’d normally expect from a company with such a fine reputation for optics. With a large objective lens for a rimfire rifle at 32mm it can capture a surprising amount of light for those dawn and dusk hunting situations.

The magnification ranges from 2-7x, which is fairly standard for .22 rimfire rifle scopes and it features clear optics and contains a ton of anti-reflective compounds. While the parallax is dialed in at about 50 yards, many users have found it to be completely accurate out to a full 100 yards.

The Rapid Turret Action System that Nikon uses is particularly nice, allowing you to precisely dial in the scope at known distances. For hunters who can estimate yardage accurately this is great, but for the most part this feature is useful for target shooters.

The main disadvantage is that it doesn’t come with a mount. This scope is also mainly designed to be used with AR style .22s with picatinny rails, so keep that in mind if you do decide to add this one to your collection.

This one makes a good middle ground for those who like to plink and those who like to hunt, however, and it’s perfectly suitable for both purposes.


Pros

  • Highly adjustable
  • Fine reticule allows for precise shooting
  • Precise elevation dials
  • Parallax set at the ideal 50 yards
  • Super clear Nikon optics

Cons

  • Dials aren’t 100% accurate
  • Doesn’t come with rings

Last update on 2017-12-10 PST - Details


Via: Amazon.com

We can’t all afford a top of the line scope for our rifles, but it’s perfectly possible to get a decent one at a low price. This is probably one of the best rimfire rifle scopes for under $100. Don’t expect miracles out of it, but it’s a solid scope for pretty much anyone who just wants to make sure they have decent optics.

The parallax on this scope is set out to the ideal 50 yards, and comes in at 32mm with a 3-9x. While the optics aren’t quite as clear as you’ll find in some of the higher end scopes, they’re definitely not cloudy.

The eye relief on this scope is almost ideal, coming in at 3.75”, which means that most shooters won’t have to play with their positioning too much as well.

It comes with a Truplex reticule, which might not be ideal for all shooters, but once you have it sighted in and get used to it you likely won’t find many problems with using it. Some shooters prefer this more robust crosshair anyways, so depending on your personal style it might be exactly what you’re looking for.

This is a budget scope, don’t get us wrong, but it’s plenty serviceable for the average person with a .22 and you can get it without breaking the bank pretty easily.


Pros

  • Cheap
  • Ideal parallax setting
  • Adjustable parallax
  • Solid construction
  • Comes with rings

Cons

  • “Clicks” on adjustments are barely audible
  • Distortion around the edge of the sight field

Via: Amazon.com

While at first glance the 4-12x magnification might not seem necessary for a rimfire scope, the Nikon does hold its own with a bevy of features.

In addition to the crystal clear optics you’d expect from a Nikon, the nitrogen filled scope helps to prevent fogging and other sight issues which might come up when shooting in inclement weather. The eye relief sits at about 3.7” as well, which is about as perfect for a rimfire scope as you’re likely to find.

The 40mm objective lens allows for quite a bit of light as well, making this a perfect varmint gun for those times when you need to be out at dawn or dusk to handle small game or pests. The BDC reticule can be a bit problematic for beginners and target shooters, but once you’re used to it you’ll find that it’s about as precise as you can get.

The main problem with this scope is that it’s a bit big and heavy, measuring a total of 14.1” and weighing in at a bit over a pound and a half. While there are certainly lighter options out there, you’d be hard pressed to find anything more accurate at anywhere near the same price point.

This is probably the best scope for .22LR squirrel hunting you’ll be able to find without spending hundreds of dollars, but target shooters may want to invest in something a little bit different.


Pros

  • Nitrogen filled tube for less fogging
  • 40mm objective lens
  • Perfect eye relief
  • BDC reticule is amazing for hunting
  • Spring loaded adjustments

Cons

  • BDC reticule isn’t great for long distance target shooting
  • Upper range of magnification isn’t very useful

Last update on 2017-12-10 PST - Details


Conclusion

Via: Amazon.com

The clear winner here is the Nikon Prostaff Target EFR 3-9x40 AO. We hope that we’ve helped you find the best rimfire rifle scope that you can use. Some are better for some tasks than others, but really you’ll find that all of the above are great optics that will seriously allow you to up your accuracy in the field or on the range.

Did we leave out your favorite? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments below.


Kevin Steffey
 

I am Kevin who is a founder of deerhuntingfield.com; Here at Deer Hunting Field, we want to teach and educate. Hunting is a passion which has existed in mankind since almost the beginning, and with the advent of the internet, we can now share information, tips, and more with each other faster than ever before. This is a crucial part of our philosophy.

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