Rimfire rifles are extremely popular, and for good reason. They are a must have addition to any gun collection.
But even though it's a great rifle, how do know what the best rimfire scope is?
We went looking for the best scopes for a rimfire rifle that are available on the market today and we’ve come up with 5 amazing options specifically for rimfire rifles, which will complement your gun and save you money!
There area lot of opinions on what the best scope for rimfire rifles are so once again, I've narrowed down the list for you and want to reveal out top picks right away!
Best Rimfire Rifle Scopes - Top Picks
BEST CHOICE for .22lr
nikon bdc 150
BEST CHOICE FOR .17hmr
bsa sweet 17
Best Scope for Rimfire Rifle in 2018 - Top 5
It wasn't easy narrowing down the list to 5, but we did it. We tested and reviewed dozens of different rimfire scopes and brands to try and find the best rimfire scope for the money. I think we did it.
The main factors that we looked for when narrowing down the list to the top 5 optics for rimfire rifles included quality, durability, price, clarity, and magnification power.
These scopes may not be for everyone, but these scopes made our top 5 for a reason. Check them out and read our review.
Simmons Truplex .22
Rimfire Rifles Quick Overview
Rimfire rifles are the most popular rifles in the United States and were developed well over 100 years ago and the technology has remained relatively the same.
Have you ever wondered why they are called rimfire cartridges?
Rimfire is the method of ignition and it is called that because the firing pin on your rifle strikes and crushes the base's rim to ignite the primer.
The rimfire cartridge needs to be be very light to be ignited so one of the best things about rimfire rifles are that they are light and quite inexpensive.
The rimfire differs from the centerfire method in which the firing pin actually strikes the primer cap at the center of the base of the cartridge. Take a look at say your average .22 long rifle cartridge and compare it to the cartridge that your 30-06 loads.
Rimfire rifle cartridges are usually very cheap which is great for us hunters and target shooters! You can pick up a box of 1000 rimfire cartridges for under $50 depending on where you shop.
Rimfires are great because they can be used for plinking, varmint hunting, and target shooting practice.
Other reasons we love rimfire weapons:
Did you know that rimfire bullets were actually the first cartridge ammunition to be invented? Even after the invention of centerfire bullets, they remain a popular choice.
A couple reasons is they’re cheap to make:
- Less powder (due to small powder chamber)
- Less brass in the shell (due to thin walls to be crushed and fired)
Their economic advantage makes rimfire rifles a great choice and since the guns and cartridges are lighter, they’re easier to carry as well!
Considerations for the Best Rimfire Scopes
What is also great about rimfire rifles is the price of the scope that should be mounted on one.
Because the cartridge needs to be light and the base thin in order to be ignited, the distance that you can shoot at accurately with your rimfire rifle is limited to 200 yards or so.
Yes, you can definitely shoot a .22 rimfire or a 17 hmr further in the right conditions, but they are typically used for distances less than that. With only a 200 yard shot, the quality of the rifle scope doesn't have to be the same as some of your long range rifles.
Lower quality and fewer requirements of your rimfire scope mean that you can pick up a great rimfire scope under $200.
Shopping Tips for the Best Scope For Rimfire
The scope should suit your rimfire caliber:
Since rimfire cartridges fire .22 and .17 caliber bullets, they’re both suitable for target practice, short range hunting, and small caliber guns.
Consider your budget:
Rimfire rifles produce less kickback than central-fire models, so because of that, they tend to be shot more often. And since you’re likely paying less per round, you’re probably going to use it a lot more at the shooting range or for fun.
So, durability is very important in the rifle scope you get. It'll be hard for you to find a best rimfire scope under 100, for example, as they are usually too unreliable and delicate. Make sure you apply the same standards of quality to a rimfire scope as you would to a centerfire rifle scope.
Luckily, scopes made for rimfire rifles are usually lower in price, between $100-$500.
You don't need a lot of magnification:
Rimfire bullets are small, so they don’t have the power or range for long-distance shooting. Don’t bother spending money on something with a lot of magnification power since you won't need it for long range.
Find a scope with a moderate range, starting around 1-4X. A standard 3-9X range is a good choice for both rimfire and centerfire cartridges. Scopes starting at 4-6X isn't really a good option.
Fixed or adjustable scopes?:
Fixed magnification scopes are actually ideal for rimfire weapons since you won't be shooting at long range anyways. And since most gun owners have at least one .22 or other rimfire caliber gun, a fixed piece is well-worth consideration.
Still, if you’re going to be using a rimfire rifle at mixed ranges and at longer distances and doing some tough target shooting, then definitely get an adjustable scope. You’ll pay more for them, but they’ll be more versatile for your needs.
Best Rimfire Rifle Scopes Reviews
1. Nikon ProStaff Rimfire II 3-9 x 40 Black Matte Riflescope (BDC 150) - Overall Best Scope for Rimfire Rifles
The Nikon Prostaff 3-9x40mm is an extremely popular rifle scope for all sorts of calibre rifles but this model is specifically designed for a rimfire rifle! Featuring fully multicoated optics with up to 98% light transmission, nitrogen filled and 0-ring sealed for durability and waterproofing, and quick zero reset turrets specifically designed for the .22 lr.
Nikon also has a solid lifetime warranty which gives additional confidence behind purchasing any of their products. What more can you ask from a manufacturer to stand behind the quality of their rifle scopes! This scope is clear and it has limited bells and whistles which means the quality of the core function of this rifle scope is noticeable. You will definitely notice the difference between the quality of the Nikon versus something like the Simmons or a cheaper alternative.
The ProStaff Rimfire 3-9x40 has good eye relief and field of view and the BDC reticle is outstanding. It is easy to sight in and it holds zero with all rimfire rifles. With a Ruger 10/22 or similiar rifle, you should be grouping nicely at 150 yards with this riflescope.
If you are looking for a quality rifle scope for your 10/22 or .22 lr, consider the Nikon ProStaff Rimfire 3-9x40mm. If you like the Nikon ProStaff and want a 2-7x magnification, see the review below on the P-Rimfire BDC 150.
Regadless, this is the best rimfire scope under 200 you can buy and the overall best scope for rimfire .22LR rifle.
2. Simmons .22 Mag TruPlex Reticle 3-9x32mm - Best Budget Rimfire Scope 2018
Simmons is a well known brand and builds best in category rifle scopes for the money. What I mean by "best in category" is that these rifle scopes are characterized as entry level and affordable rifle scopes. By no means are you buying the Nikon ProStaff or even getting close to the quality of Leupold, however these rifle scopes have their purpose. They are a great alternative for an affordable rimfire rifle scope. Most people own a rimfire rifle that they want to purchase a cheap scope for. Whether it be for varmint hunting, target shooting, or you want to build a decent combination for your son or daughter, the Simmons .22 Mag riflescope is one you may want to consider for the price.
For the price, it is hard to beat the Simmons .22 Mag Rimfire riflescope. It performs well on a rimfire rifle for shots under 150 yards which, after all, is about the range of most rimfires. It is one of Amazon's top selling riflecopes with a ton of positive feedback.
The Simmons 22 Mag has decent optics which produce a fairly clear and crisp view under the entire magnification range. You may notice that at 9x, close targets may appear a bit blurry however I would say this should be expected for a rifle scope under $50. That price includes mounting rings too!
3. Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 4-12x40mm Multi-X Reticle Adjustable Objective - Best Rimfire Scope for low light conditions.
OK, I know I said that you probably don't need anything with more than 9x magnification on a rimfire rifle, but I just had to add the Bushnell Banner 4-12x40mm to the list of the best rimfire rifle scopes! It is a great scope for the money because it can be used on say your .22 lr or 17 hmr however it can easily dual as your "go to" rifle scope on your larger calibre hunting rifles.
The Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn riflescope is built for low light shooting or hunting conditions. It has a constant 3.3" of eye relief behind the 100% waterproof and fogproof tube construction with a fast-focus eyepiece. The Bushnell 4-12x40mm offers a crisp and clear view and has a much better magnification than say the Simmons, however you would expect that for the price. This rifle scope will compare to others at 2 or 3 times the price.
As I said, the Bushnell Banner is a fantastic scope for the price and will work very well on anything from a .22 lr to much larger calibre rifles. It performs exceptionally in low light conditions, hence the name dusk & dawn! Makes a great Christmas present!
4. BSA 3-12x40 Sweet 17 - Best 17 Rimfire Scope
One of the best and most popular rimfire riflescopes, specifically designed for the 17/.17 HMR rifle, is the BSA Sweet 17 3-12x40mm. Great for target shooters and varmint hunters alike, the BSA Sweet 17 has a quick change turret system specifically calibrated for the 17hmr and offers an exceptionally clear view for the price. This scope is easy to sight in and the magnification is smooth and consistent.
The Sweet 17 is one of the best rimfire scopes for the money and I get comments all the time that any hunter or shooter needs at least one of these scopes. Mounting this scope on a decent rimfire makes a great combo for target shooting or getting rid of those pesky gophers.
5. Nikon P-RIMFIRE BDC 150 2-7x32 Rifle Scope Review - Best 22 Rimfire Scope
Another quality Nikon scope, the P-Rimfire BDC 150 offers quality optics and precise 1/4" at 50 yard target style hand turn adjustments. It utilizes the BDC 150 which offers open circle aiming points at 50 and 150 yards, right in the sweet spot of any rimfire rifle.
This scope is specifically designed for the AR rimfire platform and the .22 lr. This rifle scope is compact and durable, making it a great choice for those of you that tend to be hard on your scopes.
The Nikon P-Rimfire BDC is bright, clear, has a great eye relief, and it is repeatable on your rimfire. It is easy to sight in and Nikon also offers a cool ballistics app for your smartphone which you should check out. It is called Spot On.
A fantastic rifle scope for your .22lr or AR rimfire, the Nikon 2-7x32mm is a great scope for the price and has some solid reviews from users on Amazon.
Final Thoughts - Best Scope For Rimfire Rifles
Rimfire rifles are an absolute blast and I'm fairly certain that you probably own a few of these rifles. Whether it is a .22 lr or a 17/.17 hmr, rimfire rifles are the most economic gun in the United States.
Ammunition is next to free, and you don't need to spend a whole lot to get yourself a great rifle and scope combo. Are you looking for a great varmint gun, or perhaps a solid target shooting rifle? Get yourself a rimfire!
Not only are the rifle and ammunition very affordable, you can get yourself a good rimfire scope from Amazon for under $200.
If you are trying to decide between the two, ask yourself what rifle you will be mounting it on and the purpose. If you want a slightly larger scope with more powerful magnification, then choose the Buckmasters.
If you want a the best rimfire scope for your .22 lr or an AR and don't need the reach of the larger magnification, then choose the P-Rimfire BDC 150. It will be more compact, however, both will provide optical clarity built within a solid and durable tube.
Stay safe, and happy shooting!