10 Best Rimfire Scopes of 2019 – Buying Guide & Reviews

Best Rimfire Scopes

If you have the best rimfire scope, you will typically be able to use it for target shooting as well as hunting both large & small game. The most popular rimfire cartidge is the .22LR while the .17HMR follows very closely behind. We’ll focus on the two of those calibers due to their immense popularity among shooters. In order to be considered for our ranks of the best rimfire scopes, each scope must be flexible enough to handle any other rimfire cartridge you plan to shoot.

The .22LR cartridge is so immensely popular due to the fact that it is relatively inexpensive & low recoil. Because of this, many consider the .22LR to be the most popular cartridge in the world. Many shooters learn to shoot using a .22 simply because it is the perfect option for backyard target practice. Combine that with the fact that it works great for hunting small game like squirrels & rabbits, and you have a true winning cartridge.

If you’re short on time and know your way around scopes, you can reference our table below & skip to our buyers guide below. For more detail about rimfire scopes & each particular scope you can jump into our buyer’s guide. We also include some important points about what you should look for before making your rimfire scope purchase.


BrandProductMagnifyObjective LensWeightRatingBudget
Diamondback2x - 7x25mm14.2 oz.$$$
VX-12x - 7x28mm8.5 oz.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️$$$
Prostaff3x - 9x40mm13.7 oz.⭐️⭐️⭐️$$
Simmons3x - 9x32mm10.3 oz.⭐️⭐️⭐️$
Drop Zone2x - 7x32mm19.6 oz.⭐️⭐️⭐️$$
Banner Dusk & Dawn3x - 9x40mm13 oz.⭐️⭐️⭐️$$
P-Rimfire2x - 7x32mm16.1 oz.⭐️⭐️$$
Bugbuster3x - 9x32mm13.9 oz.⭐️⭐️$
Rim Fire Optics Series6x - 18x40mm20.3 oz.⭐️⭐️⭐️$$
CVLIFE2.5x - 10x32mm20.4 oz.⭐️$



In order to make things as simple as possible we’ve broken our buyer’s guide into two parts. First we’ll talk about “Rimfire Scope 101” and then we’ll go into Rimfire Scope Anatomy. Unless  you want to blindly trust our rankings (which plenty of people do) it’s very important that you understand what each component of the scope is doing. When you fully understand that, you know what you are personally looking for before adding a scope to your rimfire rifle.


Another nice thing about .22 rimfire rifles is that they’re relatively inexpensive to purchase. This means that they make the perfect little rifle for young shooters to learn with & develop safe shooting habits. Aside from that, they’re just flat-out fun to shoot, even for adults. You can certainly get by without mounting a scope to your .17HRM or .22LR rimfire rifle, but at that point you’re limited to relatively close ranges. Mounting the best rimfire scope on your firearm allows you to extend your range considerable while achieving astounding accuracy.

The best rimfire scope is going to operate best in medium to long range distances. That means they might differ a bit from the scopes you use for an AR-15, but they’re likely somewhat similar to some of the best rifle scopes. One major difference between high-dollar rifle scopes & rimfire scopes is that rimfire scopes aren’t designed to handle the recoil that comes from larger calibers. This often means that the best rifle scopes operate well on a rimfire rifle, but a rimfire scope doesn’t work well with a larger caliber rifle like a .308.

I’ve outlined several important items you’ll want to factor in when you’re looking to mount a rimfire scope on your rifle. Choosing appropriate optics based on your shooting situations is critical to you being happy with your purchase.


The first and most obvious step to choosing a scope for .17HRM or .22 rimfire rifles is to understand what kind of shooting situations you’ll be in. This will determine what kind of power, otherwise known as zoom or magnification, you’ll want in your rimfire scope.

When it comes to power in a rimfire scope there is a huge range to work with. Some shooters prefer a zero magnification rimfire scope, which essentially is going to make your target appear exactly as far away as it truly is but still gives you the advantage of your reticle. There are fixed power scopes, meaning they aren’t adjustable at all & there are also variable power scopes which allow you to “zoom” in and out.

Many shooters prefer the variable power rifle scope simply because they can find their target easily on lower powers (less “zoom” or magnification) and then increase the power once they have the target in sight. This is very common for hunters, as it is significantly easier to find a moving target on a lower power & then zoom in when you’re preparing for the shot.


When you’re looking at the specs for your rimfire scope, you’re going to see something called the “Objective Lens Diameter“. This is typically referred to in mm, and is commonly listed in the description after the power. An example description would be:

Vortex Optics Diamondback II 2-7X 35mm

Where the 35mm is the objective lens diameter. This is an often overlooked feature for beginners getting into the shooting world, but it is very important. The objective lens diameter is the feature that is going to allow more light to pass through the scope, meaning it is going to be better for low-light conditions.

For people target shooting in the open & during the middle of the day, a large objective lens may not be important, but for a hunter in low light conditions it will. This is why it is so important to know your shooting situations so you can select the best rimfire scope for you.

Also worth mentioning is that when you increase the magnification of a rimfire scope, you’re going to be decreasing the size of the exit pupil. This essentially means that in order to have enough light for clear resolutions at high powers, you will need a larger objective lens. This is why you’ll typically see snipers with scopes that look huge. In order to obtain enough light for long range distances & high powers, they need that large objective lens.


There are a few things you need to know about lens coatings. The first is that nearly every large brand has their own proprietary terms for their lens coatings, so it’s nearly impossible for the casual shooter to know which is actually better. The second is that lens coatings are what allow for optimal light transmission through the scope. This gives you the highest possible resolution in your sight picture.

Without lens coatings, each lens inside your scope is going to lose 4 to 6 percent of the light that passes through it. At first glance, that doesn’t seem all that bad. But take into consideration that some of the best rimfire scopes can have as much as 16 lenses inside of them, and that adds up quickly.

In other words, without lens coatings you could be looking at up to a 50{209bd58f90af0ceb66889e2480632d3a9918d39fd8a1f6558651adb42d8fa97c} loss in light coming into the scope. Luckily all reputable brands are going to have great lens coatings on them, but we want to mention it so that you know what you’re paying for.

We wouldn’t consider putting a product in the running for best rimfire scope unless it had coated lenses, so you can rest assured knowing that you’ll have good clarity with anything on Outdoor Optics HQ.


Another spec that you’re going to see when looking for the best rimfire scope is a term called “Field of View”. This number is basically telling you the distance across that you’re going to be able to see at 100 yards with the scope at its lowest magnification.

That seems like a mouthful, but it’s actually pretty simple. Imagine you have a tape measure running across the edge of a field 100 yards away. You turn your scope all the way down & look through it. The field of view is the distance across (typically in either feet or yards) that you’re able to see.

This is an especially important stat for hunters because the larger the field of view, the easier it is going to be for them to find a moving target quickly. Competition shooters shooting at stationary targets at long range may not be as concerned with this number, so once again it is important to know your shooting situation.


Another specification you’ll see for rimfire scopes, eye relief is an important part of nailing tacks with your .22LR or .17HRM rifle. Eye relief is essentially the distance your eye needs to be from the rear lens of the scope in order to get the best possible sight picture.

While this is difficult to test until you actually get your gun to your shoulder, it is a very important aspect of staying comfortable during your shot. You don’t want to be craning your neck in an awkward way in order to make the shot, and that’s where choosing the scope with the correct eye relief comes in.

Not everyone has the same preference for eye relief, so it’s up to you to decide what you need. The best way to test this is if your firearm already has a scope on it. Bring the gun up to your shoulder (obviously unloaded) to a comfortable position & have someone measure the distance from your eye to the rear lens of the rifle.

The good news is that your scope rings are going to give you a bit of adjustability to fine tune the distance from your shooting eye to the back lens of the scope. With this adjustability you will be able to fine-tune your rifle scope to a comfortable shooting position.


Windage & elevation adjustments are something that long range shooters look for in the best rimfire scope. Elevation adjustment means how much vertical adjustment you have using the scope turret (more on turrets in a bit). Windage adjustment on the other hand is the amount of adjustment you have from left to right using the turret of your rimfire scope.

These aren’t super critical at short ranges since you’ll be able to simply compensate slightly, if at all, for these factors. Competition shooters wouldn’t even consider a product the best rimfire scope without having turrets with windage & elevation adjustments.

This is yet another perfect example of knowing what you want out of your scope for rimfire rifle. If you’re just plugging squirrels at 50 yards you don’t need a top-of-the-line rimfire scope with 50 MOA of elevation adjustment. Speaking of MOA…


In shooting MOA is a measurement that stands for Minute of Angle. Imagine a full, 360 degree circle on the wall in front of you. 1 MOA, or Minute of Angle, equals 1/60th of a degree of that circle. That seems like an insanely small measurement, but at long distance it can make a massive difference.

You’ve probably noticed that one of the most popular distances to sight a rifle in is at 100 yards. There is a really good reason for this, and it’s not because it makes people feel better to be able to shoot out to triple digits.

At 100 yards, 1 MOA equals an inch of movement. So if you are shooting a target at 100 yards and consistently shooting 2 inches high, that means you need to adjust your rimfire scope so that you are shooting 2 Minutes of Angle lower.

If you look at your rimfire scope’s spec table, you should see a stat called Adjustment Graduation. Adjustment graduation is the amount that a scope will move with a single “click” of adjustment. Most rimfire scopes are going to have an adjustment graduation of 1/4 MOA.

So taking that into consideration if you are shooting 2 inches high consistently at 100 yards (verify this through your rangefinder first) & want to be dead-on at that distance, you would need to adjust your scope down 8 “clicks”.

If you thought this was helpful, you’ll really like our article about how to easily sight in your rifle!


That was a lot to comprehend while you’re looking a rimfire scope for your .22 or .17HMR rifle. If your head is spinning a bit, don’t worry we’re here to help! All of the reviews that we’re going to get into each of those factors into account, and we grade them accordingly. We’ll compare “apples to apples” for you to help you make the best rimfire scope purchase for your firearm.

Now that we’re past that, let’s break down some of the anatomy of a rimfire scope. Knowing each of these components will help you better understand how each of those factors above are affected. So without further ado:

Scope Tube

The scope tube is the metal tube that holds the eye bell, which holds the ocular lens & the reticle. It also holds the objective bell, which contains your objective lens.

Eye Bell

The eye bell is the flared portion of the tube located closest to your eye, and will house the ocular lens.

Eye Piece

The eye piece is an assembly that is located on the end of the scope closest to the shooter’s eye. It houses the eye bell (and thus the ocular lens). This is the portion of the scope that moves in & out in order to focus the sight picture you see through the scope.

Ocular Lens

Contained within the eye piece, the ocular lens is the lens located closest to the shooter’s eye when looking through the scope tube. This lens is used to focus the image that is created by the objective lens by moving the eye piece in & out. By moving the ocular lens like this, the focal plane is changed. Measured in millimeters, the ocular lens directly influences the field of view. The larger the ocular lens, the larger the rimfire scope’s field of view will be.

Objective Bell

Directly opposite the eye bell is the objective bell. This is the part of the scope tube that is located furthest from the shooter’s eye. The objective bell houses the objective lens.

Objective Lens

We mentioned the objective lens above but we’ll dive into it a bit more here. This is the lens located the farthest from the shooter’s eye while they’re looking through the rimfire scope. The primary purpose of the objective lens is to gather enough light to make the sight picture within the scope.

Just like the ocular lens, the objective lens is classified by measuring its diameter in millimeters. The larger the diameter of the objective lens is, the more light it is able to collect & the brighter the sight picture will be.

Exit Pupil

All the light entering the objective lens must pass through the exit pupil of the rimfire scope in order to reach the ocular lens. The exit pupil is a virtual aperture within the scope, and will be larger with a larger objective lens. If you want to determine the size of the exit pupil, you simply need to divide the diameter of the objective lens by the current level of magnification.

This means that the exit pupil is going to grow & shrink on variable power rimfire scopes. Your objective lens is going to remain the same, but as you turn up the power of your rimfire scope the exit pupil will shrink. For example, that same Vortex Optics Diamondback II 2-7X 35mm scope will have an exit pupil of 7mm when at 5X magnification (35mm / 5 = 7mm), but that exit pupil will shrink to 5mm when turned up to 7X magnification (35mm / 7 = 5mm).

Lens Coatings

Snell’s Law in physics states that any time light strikes a glass lens at an angle of less that 48.5 degrees it is going to simply deflect off of it instead of passing through it. If the light strikes that same lens at an angle greater than 48.5 degrees, it will pass through the lens of your rimfire scope. This is what creates your sight picture.

In order to reduce the amount of light lost to reflection as much as possible, optics companies started coating the lenses of rimfire scopes. Most brands use one of two different types of lens coatings, although that may differ very slightly either in content or application method. These two coatings are magnesium flouride and corundum.

When you’re looking at the spec sheet of the best rimfire scopes, you’re likely going to see lens coatings described in one of four ways:

  • Coated: This means a single coating on at least one lens surface
  • Fully Coated: A single layer on all surfaces
  • Multi-Coated: Multiple coating layers on at least one lens surface
  • Fully Multi-Coated: Multiple coating layers on all lens surfaces

As you can see, the quality of a rimfire scope can vary drastically simply based on the lens coatings. The best rimfire scope for your .22LR or .17HRM is going to have fully multi-coated lenses, while a cheap rimfire scope will likely only be classified as having coated lenses.

Focal Plane

You’ll commonly hear variable power scopes referred to as either First Focal Plane or Second Focal Plane scopes. An easier way to think about them is this:

First Focal Plane: Reticle will appear the same size in relation to the target as the magnification changes.
Second Focal Plane: Reticle will increase or decrease in size in relation to the target as the magnification changes.

While many Europeans prefer first focal plane scopes, most American rimfire scopes are going to be second focal plane scopes. There isn’t a right or wrong answer here, simply a matter of personal preference based on what you’re used to. If you’re interested in something using the first focal plane, be sure to read up on our article about the best first focal plane scopes!


The best rimfire scopes are going to have turrets so that you can move the reticle up, down, left, or right to both sight in your rifle as well as adjust for windage and elevation. We covered this pretty extensively above under “Windage & Elevation Adjustments” so we won’t go into too much more detail on it.

Just know that .17HMR or .22LR rimfire scopes for long range shooting will generally have high profile turrets with “Z-Stops”. These are typically hand adjustable so you can adjust your reticle for long range shots. After your shot, the Z-Stop allows you to reset your rimfire scope back to its “zero”, which is the position you originally had your rifle sighted in at.

Now that we’ve got your head spinning with our Rimfire Scope 101 & the anatomy of the best rimfire scope, lets actually dive into our favorite picks. We chose the 11 best rimfire rifle scopes for the money, and we couldn’t be happier with our #1 overall pick.



Starting our list out as strong as possible is the Vortex Optics Diamondback 2-7X 35mm Rimfire Scope. This sucker was easily the best rimfire scope that we tested, and we couldn’t have been happier with it.Diamondback Rimfire

The Diamondback gets full marks for quality, as the sight picture in this rimfire scope was crystal clear. At 14.2 ounces it is lightweight, but you can also tell it’s rock solid on your .22 LR or .17HMR.

To cap it off, it’s easily the best rimfire scope under $200. With a price point like that & Vortex Optics’ incredible warranty, we really can’t think of anything else we’d want. This rimfire scope features their V-Plex reticle, and also features fully multi-coated lenses (remember that’s the best it gets). This means you lose as little light transmission as possible, and it shows in the sight picture for sure.

If you’re looking for the best rimfire scope for the money, the Diamondback is your best bet. If you have any questions at all just give the team at Vortex Optics a call. They’re more than happy to help, and by the time you hang up you’ll have a great feeling about your purchase.

Weight14.2 oz.
Length11.6 in.
Magnification2x - 7x
Oblective Lens35mm
Parallax50 yards
Field of View@100 yards64.3 ft - 19.3 ft
Adjustment Graduation1/4 MOA


Coming just behind the Vortex Optics Diamondback for best rimfire scope is the Leupold VX-1 2-7X 28mm rimfire scope. Leupold has been known for their high-quality Vx-1optics for over 75 years, and that didn’t change with their VX-1 model.

Known more as Leupold’s entry-level model, the VX-1 is perfect for .22LR or .17 HMR rimfire rifles. The 2-7X magnification is just right for these smaller calibers, and Leupold’s scopes almost never fog up. The 28mm objective lens allows for a nice, low profile on rimfire rifles & the fully waterproof construction is rock solid.

Luepold incorporated their Multicoat 4 system into the VX-1, which is equivalent to a fully multi-coated lens system. Not sure why they try to hide that it is fully multi-coated so much, but after some searching we were able to find the info we were looking for:

***Note: You may see some notes out there that the VX-1 is only fully coated. This information is outdated & inaccurate. As of a few years ago all VX-1’s were switched to fully multi-coated lenses.***

Honestly, the only thing that really holds Leupold’s VX-1 back from being the best rimfire scope is the price point. It is a very similar scope to the Diamondback, but comes in about $30-40 more expensive depending on where you look.

Weight8.5 oz.
Length10.10 in
Magnification2x - 7x
Objective Lens28mm
Parallax60 yards
Field of View @100 yards46.2 ft - 17.8 ft
Adjustment Graduation1/4 MOA


Well known among .22LR & .17HMR rimfire enthusiasts, the Nikon ProStaff rimfire scope was bound to make an appearance here sooner or later. Nikon’s most popular rimfire scope by far, the ProStaff has a 3-9X magnification with a nicely sized 40mm Prostaffobjective lens for low-light hunting situations.

The 9X magnification options make this the best rimfire scope for long range shooting. The fully multi-coated lens system claims to transmit up to 98{209bd58f90af0ceb66889e2480632d3a9918d39fd8a1f6558651adb42d8fa97c} of light, although based on our tests we think this number is a bit optimistic.

Nikon’s ProStaff has been one of their more popular scope lines for quite a few years now. They seem to be continually improving on the line, and it shows in testing. Nikon has obviously used their extensive experience in optics to create a great product. While we don’t consider it the very best rimfire scope for the money, it is certainly a great option.

Weight13.1 oz.
Length12.4 in
Magnification3x - 9x
Objective Lens40mm
Parallax50 yards
Field of View @100 yards33.8 ft - 11.3 ft
Adjustment Graduation1/4 MOA


A great entry level scope from a great entry-level brand, Simmons has done it again with their 3-9X 32mm .22 Mag rimfire scope. This scope packs plenty of features into a Simmonstight package with an even tighter price point.

You aren’t getting the quality you’d get from brands like Vortex Optics or Leupold with this scope for .22 LR & .17HMR rimfire rifles, but you also aren’t paying for their price points. This Simmons scope is one of the least expensive on our list (under $50 while we’re writing this) and a bit of a diamond in the rough of cheap rimfire scopes. Don’t expect to love it as much as the models above, but if you’re on a budget this is absolutely a great option.

Weight10.3 oz.
Length12 in
Magnification3x - 9x
Objective Lens32mm
Parallax50 yards
Field of View @100 yards33 ft - 11 ft
Adjustment Graduation1/4 MOA


We’ve had the high-end rimfire scopes with Vortex Optics & Leupold, and we’ve had a cheap rimfire scope with the Simmons listed above. Falling between those two we have the Bushnell Drop Zone rimfire scope.Drop Zone

Bushnell’s Drop Zone scope surprisingly offers hand-adjustable turrets on a rimfire scope under $100. We weren’t blown away by the quality of them, but for under $100 it’s hard to complain too much. They offer 1/4 MOA adjustment graduations, just like most rimfire scopes.

Offering fully multi-coated optics, Bushnell doesn’t pull any punches with their Drop Zone scope. They’ve achieved some of the best rimfire scope reviews we’ve seen, which is certainly something to be proud of.  If you’re not pinching pennies but still want to hold yourself to a bit of a budget, the Bushnell Drop Zone is one of the best rimfire scopes for the money. It’s hard to find a good rimfire scope under $100, but Bushnell definitely delivered one here.

Weight19.6 oz.
Length11.3 in
Magnification2x - 7x
Objective Lens32mm
Parallax50 yards
Field of View @100 yards50 ft - 17 ft
Adjustment Graduation1/4 MOA


Bushnell shows up again with their Banner line of scopes. While this isn’t a dedicated rimfire scope for a .22 LR or .17HMR rifle, it fits the bill quite nicely for one.

Dusk & DawnFeaturing that 3-9X magnification that we’ve grown to love for lighter rounds like the .22 & .17 HMR, our Bushnell Banner reviews were pretty solid across the table. It isn’t going to knock anyone’s socks off with impressive features, but it is offered at a price point that is very reasonable for those on a tighter budget.

The Bushnell Banner also showed up on our list of the
best rifle scopes under $100, so it goes to show that we’re fans of the scope. Longevity may be a bit questionable depending on how badly you abuse this scope, but for a rimfire scope under $100 it’s hard to complain too much about that. If you’re on a budget but still want something serviceable, the Bushnell Banner is a great rimfire scope option.

Weight13 oz.
Length12 in
Magnification3x - 9x
Objective Lens40mm
Parallax50 yards
Field of View @100 yards40 ft - 14 ft
Adjustment Graduation1/4 MOA


Nikon continues to make appearances on this list, this time with their newer P-Rimfire scope. Boasting a price point somewhat similar to the Vortex Diamondback & Nikon ProStaff, the P-Rimfire is Nikon’s answer to those looking for a rimfire scope option forP-Rimfire their .22LR AR.

While the P-Rimfire was nice, we didn’t exactly fall in love with it. We thought it felt a bit cobbled together, almost like they put a bunch of components that they had laying around together just to say they filled a need. Even the name makes it sound like they were starting with a ProStaff model, then decided to make it slightly different.  We’re not saying you’ll be disappointed with the P-Rimfire, we’re simplysaying there are better options out there from companies like Vortex Optics, Leupold, and even Nikon’s very own ProStaff that we listed above. You may end up grabbing this rimfire scope anyways & loving it. That’s great, but we just don’t feel like this is the best rimfire scope for the money in 2018.

Weight16.1 oz.
Length11.5 in
Magnification2x - 7x
Objective Lens32mm
Parallax50 yards
Field of View @50 yards22.3 ft - 6.4 ft
Adjustment Graduation1/4 MOA


This is likely a scope you didn’t see coming, and quite frankly we didn’t either. The UTG BugBuster delivers quite a bit of features for a very reasonable price.

Bug BusterThe only scope on our list offering illuminated reticles, UTG’s BugBuster is certainly something to take a look at. They aren’t represented by a brand as well known as the others on this list, but hey you have to start somewhere right?  In order for the illuminated reticles to work you’ll need to make sure you, have a few CR1620 3V batteries on hand. We typically aren’t huge fans of electronics in a rimfire scope under $100, but the UTG BugBuster seems to do a pretty good job with them.

Weight13.9 oz.
Length8.1 in
Magnification3x - 9x
Objective Lens32mm
Parallax3 yards - Inf
Field of View @100 yards37.7 ft - 14 ft
Adjustment Graduation1/4 MOA


A nice scope but a bit overkill on the magnification, Bushnell’s Rim Fire Optics Series scope with 6-18X magnification seems like a little too much. We weren’t huge fans of only being able to go down to 6X magnification, especially for trying to get multipleBushnell rounds on targets at closer distances.

The 6X low-end magnification means a reduced field of view. For those that are looking for a rimfire scope for long range shooting this could be perfect. However, there aren’t many people that are truly going to need a 18X magnification, even with a 6.5 Creedmore or .308 round.

This isn’t at all to say this is a bad scope, it just doesn’t feel like it fits the profile that most people need for their .22LR or .17HMR round. If you’re the type that likes to have an excessive amount of magnification while you’re shooting, this could be your best bet on this list though.

To sum it all up, this would be a great rimfire scope for long range shooting if that’s all you’re doing. Our issue with it is that it doesn’t seem versatile enough to truly be a solid option.

Weight20.3 oz.
Length12.4 in
Magnification6x - 18x
Objective Lens40mm
Parallax50 yards
Field of View @100 yards18 ft - 5.5 ft
Adjustment Graduation1/4 MOA


In our write-up for our “Best Scope Brands” article we layed out our criteria about things that we look for to help you as a potential buyer avoid bad purchases. Well, these next CVLIFEtwo scopes are an excellent example of that.

First off, the general review rate for products on Amazon is about 1{209bd58f90af0ceb66889e2480632d3a9918d39fd8a1f6558651adb42d8fa97c}. That means that in order to reach 1,000 reviews, a product would have to sell about 100,000 units.

Well, this scope right here has 1,250 reviews, and there is no way in hell they’ve tricked 125,000 people into buying this hunk of junk. They call this a “hunting rifle scope”, but it’s abundantly clear that whoever is behind this brand has never hunted a day in their life.

I will say the listing for this scope is worth checking out, if for no other reason than a good laugh. The pictures of the deer straight out of my Deer Hunter 3 PC game from growing up certainly gave me a good chuckle. Just make sure you’re using it for comic relief & not actually shooting anything.