Best scope for 22lr squirrel hunting

Best scope for 22lr squirrel hunting

Although the 22 is not one of the most powerful rifle models on the market, it is one that a lot of people learned to shoot with. Not only this, but it is a reliable rifle that can be used for a variety of activities like squirrel hunting and target shooting. In fact, many people have fallen in love with the 22 rifle and will never fall out of love it. This is completely understandable when you look at everything the rifles has to offer. That being said, if you want to make the most of your 22 mag rifle, you are going to need the best scope with the right reticle.

Unfortunately, finding the best scope with the right reticle won’t be as simple as going to the hunting store and choosing a scope for squirrel hunting. No, there are going to need to be tons of factors you weigh and consider. You’ll have to look at everything from the objective lens to the low light capabilities, the lens coating, the optics, and tons of other things. Luckily, this guide is going to lay everything out for you, including today’s best models as well as what you need to look for when shopping for a small game hunting scope.

#1. Simmons 511039 3-9x32mm Riflescope


Simmons 511039 3 - 9 x 32mm .22 Mag(R) Matte Black Riflescope

The first up on the list is the Simmons 511039 quick target scope and she is a true beauty with features that would normally only be found on the more expensive models. In fact, this model was designed based on one of the most popular rimfire scopes available today. The only thing the Simmons company did was took this popular rimfire scope and added even more innovations to it.

Quick Target Acquisition

The very first thing that the company added to the matte black rimfire scope was a quick target acquisition eyepiece. The new innovative eyepiece will not only help you locate your targets and prey quickly with pinpoint accuracy, but it’ll offer plenty of eye relief to make acquiring targets even more enjoyable and precise.

Sure-Grip Adjustments

Hunting enthusiasts and shooters always need to make quick windage and elevation adjustments as well as magnification range adjustments. Making these adjustments and making them correctly could be the difference between taking home that prize or walking away with nothing. Luckily, this is where Simmons has really outdone themselves. They have done this by including SureGrip rubber surfaces on the turrets. The rubber material gives your fingers some to grip so you can easily and quickly make whatever adjustments are needed in the field under any environmental conditions.


  • Make quick and accurate adjustments with the SureGrip surface
  • Parallax setting correction preset from 50 yards to infinity
  • Best rimfire scope 3/8” dovetail mounting rings included
  • The included rings might not work with some rifle models



#2. Leupold VX-Freedom Rimfire Scope


Leupold VX-Freedom Rimfire Riflescope

Leupold is considered by many to be one of the best hunting scope manufacturers out there. Over the years the company has introduced a long line of scope and accessories to the hunting market. When you see everything that the Freedom Rimfire scope has to offer, you’ll more than understand why they are considered the best by many professionals and amateurs alike.

Twilight Light Management System

The first thing you need to know is that the optics with this scope is off the charts. It doesn’t matter what kind of environmental conditions you find yourself in, you are always going to end up with a crystal clear image of your prey or target. And, a lot of this has to do with the Twilight Light Management system. This system delivers leading brightness and clarity by balancing light transmission, glare reduction, and image contrast to ensure that you get a crisp image in any lighting environment.

Made In The US

It doesn’t just stop there either and this is another reason the company is considered one of the best scope manufacturers. This scope is manufactured right here in the United States so you know that you are only getting quality parts and components. When you invest in this rimfire scope, you will be funneling money back into the United States economy where it needs to go to help support communities and neighborhoods.


  • Manufactured in the United States
  • The twilight light management system provides crisp and clear imagining
  • Lightweight with a rugged performance to match
  • Doesn’t come with lens caps, but can be purchased separately



#3. TASCO MAG39X32D Rimfire Scope Series


TASCO MAG39X32D Rimfire Series 3-9x 32mm 30/30 Reticle .22 Riflescope

TASCO is not a name that many are familiar with. And, that’s okay because whether it is hunting or target shooting, this scope has got you covered. This scope could easily be one of the best models on this list thanks to its beautiful design. The scope really shines with its beautiful finish, but don’t let that fool you because it was constructed with complete durability in mind.

Magenta Multi-Layered Lens Coatings With Fully Coated Optics

You look at the best scopes on the market today and you’ll find that most of them come with a BDC reticle, fully-multi coated optics, or a waterproof and fog proof design. This is completely understandable, as these are the essential components that make the best scopes. However, rifle scope does one even better. It not only comes with fully coated optics, but they are magenta multi-layered to provide even more light transmission in any field of view.

3x to 9x Magnification

Whether you are hunting squirrels or target shooting, you are going to need the right magnification settings. You might not use or even need them all, but there are going to need some of them. And, that is why the Tasco rimfire high quality scope offers 3x to 9x magnification settings. Shooting for a wide range of distances won’t be a problem with this scope.

  • Choose from 3x to 9x magnification settings
  • Magenta multi-layered lenses with fully coated optics
  • Objective lens of 32mm
  • Monotube design


#4. Vortex Optics Crossfire II Rimfire Scope


Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 Rimfire, Second Focal Plane, 1-inch Tube Riflescope - V-Plex Reticle

Vortex is a household name in the hunting industry with its services llc associates and associates program. And, this is completely understandable. They not only have a long line of scope that impresses every time, but they also offer a wind range of some of the best hunting accessories that you’ll find in the hunting industry. That being said, this Crossfire II scope is certainly a one of a kind with features that put it in a class of its own.

Long Eye Relief And Ultra-Forgiving Eye Box

The best thing about this Crossfire II scope is that it can be utilized by the professional or amateur. While every scope on this list can be used by either, this model is one that offers more forgiveness. Thanks to the long eye relief and the ultra-forgiving eye box, amateur shooters will be able to quickly get a sight picture and acquire their target. The fast focus eyepiece allows quick and easy reticle focusing as well in a variety of environmental conditions.

Finger Adjustable Zero-Reset Turrets

Don’t sweat making adjustments in the field because this is one of the best scopes for the job. The capped reset turrets are finger adjustable with MOA clicks that can easily and quickly be reset after sighting in.


  • Fully multi-coated optics
  • One-piece tube design constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum
  • O-ring sealed for a waterproof and fog proof design
  • Might need to purchase additional mounting rings for some 22 rifles



#5. Nikon ProStaff Rimfire With BDC Reticle


Nikon ProStaff Rimfire with BDC Reticle

Here is another common name in the hunting industry, Nikon. However, do not mistake this model with their previous designs. The new Prostaff Rimfire II offers the perfect optics for long-range guns and combines the fully multicoated optical system with the rimfire-specific BDC 150 reticle. Simply put, you are getting quality that will ensure you hit your target every time when you invest in this scope.

The BDC 150 Reticle

The BDC 150 reticle was specifically designed for rimfire, as it allows shooters from all skill level to compensate for bullet drop at extended shooting distances. The reticle also provide a unique see-through ballistic circle that offers even more incredible advantages when shooting at longer-ranges. However, short-range shooters shouldn’t feel let down or left out because the short-range capabilities are still off the charts and more than capable.

Spring Loaded Instant Reset Turrets

Nikon really did everything they could to simplify field adjustments. And, they did this by integrating this spring loaded feature into their riflescope. All you have to do is a sight in your rifle like normal, lift the spring-loaded adjustment knob, rotate to zero, and re-engage. Field adjustments has never been simpler or easier with this new innovative design.


  • Extremely lightweight and rugged
  • Multiple layers of anti-reflective compounds on every glass surface
  • No-fault warranty
  • Must be drilled and tapped for mounting



#6. Vortex Optics Diamondback Rimfire Second Focal Plane


Vortex Optics Diamondback 2-7x35 Rimfire, Second Focal Plane Riflescope - V-Plex Reticle (MOA)

Is anyone really surprised to see another Vortex services llc on this list? Probably not, but do not be fooled by the Diamondback because it is actually a second focal plane scope. This is just one of the many things that could easily make this model one of the best amazon com scopes available on the market today.

Second Focal Plane

You’ll notice right away that the second focal plane reticles are located near the scope’s eyepiece behind the image erecting and magnifying lenses. This gives the reticle the ability to stay the same size and shape when you are changing magnification settings. The biggest advantage of a setup like this is that the reticle will always maintain the same appearance, regardless of the magnification that you are at or change to. Many would consider this an essential features for the best scope for 22lr competition.

Maximum Durability

Durability will never be a concern when it comes to the Diamondback. This model with its 1-piece design offers the utmost in durability and quality and can handle a variety of configurations. It is Argon gas purged to ensure that you get a waterproof fog proof combination along with bright and clear optics in a range of environmental conditions.


  • Waterproof Shockproof Fog proof
  • 1-piece design offers maximum durability
  • Second focal plane design
  • A bit more pricey as compared to other models



#7. Bushnell 613510B Rimfire Optics Scope


Bushnell 613510B Rimfire Optics Scope with Dropzone 22 Reticle, 3.5-10x36mm, Matte Black

Bushnell understands that rimfire shooters have unique demands for a 22 with scope. They also know that those demands should never come at a sacrifice. And, that is why this rimfire series scope delivers peak performance with adjustable objective or side parallax adjustments. Whether you need to make long-range adjustments or quick, short-range adjustments, you won’t have a problem doing either quickly in the field.

3.5x – 10x Magnification

Not only is making adjustments in the field important, but being able to make the right adjustments is even more important. This is why this Bushnell model offers 3.5x to 10x magnification settings. Whether you are shooting long-range or close up, you won’t have a problem finding the magnification settings for your needs.

Replaceable BDC Turrets

Unfortunately, turrets are things that can wear out eventually. Most of the time when they go, you end up having to replace the entire scope. That won’t be the case with this model thanks to the replaceable BDC turrets. You can simply replace the turrets and keep the rest of the scope. This eliminates the cost of investing in a whole new scope.


  • Replaceable BDC turrets
  • Choose from several magnification settings
  • Adjustable objective or side parallax adjustments
  • Drop compensation might be a problem for some users



#8. BSA Optics TW3.5 10X40 Tactical Scope


BSA Optics TW3.5-10X40/30WRCP Tactical Weapon 30mm Scope, 3.5-10x40mm

This BSA Optics scope might be called a tactical scope, but it can be used for a wide range of activities, including hunting and target shooting. In fact, the very first thing that you need to know about this model is that it was specifically designed for quick and accurate target acquisitions. It provides the instinctive and accurate precision that you need when you need it in the field. It does this by offering a mil-dot reticle with multi-coated lenses.

Quick Finger Adjustments

Don’t worry about making adjustments in the field because the adjustment mechanisms are easy to use. This specific model features turrets that can easily and quickly be adjusted with your fingers. You don’t need any extra tools or any extra effort. Just simply make the adjustments with your fingers.

30mm Tube Design

When it comes to durability, you are getting the best of both world worlds with the BSA Optics. This scope not only offers a 1-piece design that will hold up in a variety of conditions, but it offers a tube diameter that will perform under the most demanding conditions. The 30mm tube also includes the mounting rings so you have everything you need to get started right away.


  • Includes everything needed to mount and start aiming
  • Durable 30mm tube design
  • Make quick and accurate finger adjustments
  • Doesn’t include lens caps, but can be purchased separately



Buying Guide

As was mentioned above, there are tons of things that will need to be considered when choosing a plinker-22 riflescope. You not only need a scope that will provide a means to your hunting needs, but you need one that will stand up in a variety of environmental conditions. Shooting is something that usually takes place outside. And, Mother Nature can be fickle. You never know what you are going to encounter or when you will encounter it.

Combine this with all the other considerations that need to be made and choosing a scope for your 22 with a 30 reticle now becomes a major problem. Well, it won’t as long as you make sure you know exactly what to look for when shopping for the best rimfire scopes.

Objective Lens

When you are out there shopping for your rights reserved scope, you are going to run into all kinds of terminology that you aren’t familiar with. You’ll hear terms like exit pupil, optical glass, and objective lenses. Well, you might be familiar with these terms, but still don’t completely understand what they mean. Whatever the situation is, it is imperative to understand exactly each and every component of the scope has to offer. The first thing that this guide is going to cover is the objective lens. This is a term that you will hear a lot because it plays an extremely important role in the scope.

The objective lens is the lens that is located on the front of the scope. It is usually measured in millimeters. This means you might see something like 30mm or 40mm lens. What you need to know is that the larger the objective lens, the more light it will let in. So, obviously a 40mm lens would let in more light than a 30mm. This is important to know for low light conditions like dawn or dusk. However, the drawback to a larger lens like this is that the scope can get bulky and might need to be mounted higher up on the rail.

Consider An Adjustable Objective

There are even now some newer models available on the market that come with adjustable objective lenses. This means that the objective lens can usually be adjusted right there in the field on these models. These models will usually features a ring around the lens that allows you to turn the lens like a dial for adjustments. This is somewhat of a similar setup to that of a camera or binocular. This is a feature that will come in extremely handy when shooting long-range or mid-range. It will also allow you to adjust the reticle for your own eye.

Keep in mind that there are some scope that aren’t adjustable. Just because they aren’t adjustable doesn’t mean they are bad scopes, but it certainly makes them a bit harder to use, as you are going to be limited. Some manufacturers set their scope to be parallax-free at a certain distance, which means it won’t be adjustable.


Speaking of Parallax, this is another term that you will hear thrown around a lot. Parallax is something that can throw off your shot, especially at longer distances. When you are looking through your scope, the reticle should stay in the same location, regardless of the angle that you are positioned at. When you are looking through the scope and move your eye, this is when you will get parallax. You’re going to want to choose a scope that offers an adjustable parallax so you can make the necessary adjustments.


How Can You Tell If A Scope Is Built Durably?

When it comes right down to it, a tough scope is a good scope because durability is job one of the device. However, just because a scope is waterproof it doesn’t mean that it is durable. Sure waterproof fog proof, and shockproof are all things that need to be considered, but these features alone doesn’t mean you have a durable scope. You want one that will handle a bumps and dings and still keep its adjustments. You’re going to need a scope that will hold its settings once sighted in. You’re also going to want one that won’t rust over time.

Can Your Care For Your Scope?

A scope is pretty much an investment. Using your scope only a regular basis means that it will constantly be exposed to dirt and debris. If you allow these materials to build up on the scope it will not only obstruct your view, but it could potentially damage and mar the lenses. One of the best ways to prevent this is by cleaning your scope with a proper lens cloth after every use. A lot of models will come with a cloth while you might have to purchase one additionally with other models. Whatever the situation is, cleaning and proper storage is a must after every use.

Does Tube Diameter Really Matter?

Yes, the diameter of the tube of your scope could make all the difference in the world. Do a little bit of research and you’ll quickly find out that 30 to 30mm scopes have become extremely popular over the last couple of years. Even though they are larger and heavier, they provide a higher diameter that allows your larger internal components. These internal components do a much better job when it comes to managing light, as you learned earlier that a bigger objective lens lets in more light. However, the diameter of this tube not only lets in light and affects the weight, but it can affect mounting as well.

The larger models are usually more robust and will require you to mount them higher up on the rail. Unfortunately, there are always going to be trade-offs when shopping for a scope so this is just something that needs to be considered.

What Exactly Is Exit Pupil?

You probably already know that there are tons of terms that you are going to have to familiarize yourself with when shopping for a 22 scope. Not only this, but there are almost many things that affect the performance of that scope. When it comes to low-light performance, there will be no other single factor that is more important that exit pupil. What exactly does this mean and what kind of role does it play? The pupil is something that can be found by dividing the objective diameter by the magnification. For instance, a 8×32 binocular would have an exit pupil of 4mm. A 2.5-10×50 riflescope, on the other hand, would have ranged from 20mm on the 2.5x and 5mm on the 10x.

Just as a general rule of thumb, it is always imperative to keep that exit pupil above 4mm when you are shooting in low-light conditions. This will provide your eye with an adequate and appropriate amount of light when it is dilated due to the dark. During brighter conditions, your eye will constrict. This means that you are going to need a scope that offers a smaller exit pupil.

Can You Over Adjust Your Scope?

You’ll find that there are tons of scope now available on the market with a variety of adjustment options. As you’ve already learned, there are models that allow you to adjust everything from the magnification to the lenses. While it is important to be able to make the proper adjustments, there are such things as having too many adjustments. Over-adjustment is the number one reason for most issues with riflescopes today. The main goal when mounting your scope is to sight it in, zero it in, and leave it alone. You don’t want to be making adjustments after adjustment.

This is something that will not only lead to potential problems, but it is something that will end up throwing off your shots. You can always take advantage of a boresighter, as bore-sighting is a common service offered in today’s industry. These individuals will get your scope where it needs to be and if it stays in place, you can leave it there for the long haul.