Rimfire ammunition has been around for more than 100 years. Although not much of its design has changed, rimfire shooting remains insanely popular. With its mild recoil and easy handling, not only is rimfire fun to shoot, it’s also a great way to introduce youngsters to the sport. If you want to add to the fun and effectiveness of a rimfire weapon, you need the best rimfire scope.
While rimfire cartridges haven’t changed much over the years, rimfire scopes have come a long way. Rimfire used to be synonymous with cheap and junky. Not any more. Today, many rimfire scopes perform better than their centerfire counterparts. Modern rimfire optics are made with quality glass, and some models are packed with high-end features.
If you don’t have time for the details, check out the list below for the best rated rimfire scope:
- Tract 22 FIRE 3-9×40 – Best All-Around Rimfire Scope
- Vortex Optics Crossfire II Rimfire 2-7×32 – Best Under $200
- Simmons Truplex Rimfire 3-9×32 – Best Under $100
- Tasco Rimfire 4×15 – Best Budget Rimfire Scope
- Bushnell Optics Rimfire 3.5-10×36 – Best for Varmint Hunting
- Athlon Optics Argos BTR 6-24×50 – Best for Target Shooting
- NightForce ATACR 7-35×56 – Best High End Rimfire Scope
- Vortex Optics Strikefire II Red Dot Sight – Best Red Dot for .22 Rimfire
- Leupold VX-3 2.5-8x32mm Handgun Scope – Best Scope for Rimfire Pistol
- TruGlo TRU-TEC Micro – Best Red Dot for Rimfire Pistol
Table of Contents
- Can I Use a Centerfire Scope on my Rimfire Rifle?
- Things to Consider When Choosing Rimfire Scopes
- Best Rimfire Scopes on the Market Reviews
- 1 Tract 22 FIRE 3-9×40 – Best All-Around Rimfire Scope
- 2 Vortex Optics Crossfire II Rimfire 2-7×32 – Best Under $200
- 3 Simmons Truplex Rimfire 3-9×32 – Best Under $100
- 4 Tasco Rimfire 4×15 – Best Budget Rimfire Scope
- 5 Bushnell Optics Rimfire 3.5-10×36 – Best for Varmint Hunting
- 6 Athlon Optics Argos BTR 6-24×50 – Best for Target Shooting
- 7 NightForce ATACR 7-35×56 – Best High End Rimfire Scope
- 8 Vortex Optics Strikefire II Red Dot Sight – Best Red Dot for .22 Rimfire
- 9 Leupold VX-3 2.5-8x32mm Handgun Scope – Best Scope for Rimfire Pistol
- 10 TruGlo TRU-TEC Micro – Best Red Dot for Rimfire Pistol
- Final Thoughts
Can I Use a Centerfire Scope on my Rimfire Rifle?
The answer is “maybe.” While most quality centerfire riflescopes work fine for rimfire applications, some are better suited for the job than others.
Whether you opt to go with a dedicated rimfire model or use a traditional centerfire scope, there are a few key specs you should look for in an optic for your rimfire weapon.
Things to Consider When Choosing Rimfire Scopes
Раrаllах is a sort of optical illusion. If you’ve ever looked through a scope and the reticle seemed to swim or shift when you moved your head, that is parallax. The effect can cause the target to appear offset from the center of the scope and can have major negative effects on accuracy.
Most long-range centerfire scopes have a side knob that allows you to adjust parallax. Serious target scopes sometimes have an adjustable objective (AO) built into the objective bell that lets you control parallax.
Other optics have a set parallax. Many centerfire scopes come from the factory with a parallax focused at 150 yards or more, which is too far for most rimfire weapons. The best option is to choose a rimfire scope with fixed parallax set at 50 yards. A second acceptable option is to find a scope with adjustable parallax.
No feature has been designed and redesigned more times than the reticle. When shooting a rimfire weapon, shooters should carefully consider reticle design.
If you’re shooting a lightning fast, flat shooter like any of the .17 calibers or the .22 WMR, a simple duplex crosshair design is usually sufficient.
If you’re shooting a slower load (like the traditional .22 LR), you’ll be better served with a BDC (bullet drop compensating) reticle.
If you can find a BDC reticle tuned for .22 LR, the hash marks will coincide with bullet impact at longer ranges. If your reticle isn’t tuned to match the cartridge you’re shooting, it may take some trial and error to find your hold points for 25 yards out to 200 yards.
Magnification power is often a shooter’s top priority when considering a new scope. However, unless you need to go really long on a small varmint, magnification probably isn’t as important as you think.
For hunting, a scope with a 3-9x magnification range (or 4-16x if you make lots of long shots) is generally sufficient for a rimfire rifle.
For match shooting, you may want a little more power. Choose a scope with at least 16x, although you may find something with a little more oomph (like 30x or more) comes in pretty handy.
Best Rimfire Scopes on the Market Reviews
1 Tract 22 FIRE 3-9×40 – Best All-Around Rimfire Scope
Although Nikon recently dropped their entire line of riflescopes, you can still find the quality of Nikon scopes from Tract Optics. Founded in 2015 by Nikon employees, Tract cuts out the middleman to deliver affordable, high-quality scopes straight to the consumer.
Tract’s rimfire-specific 22 FIRE is one of the best we’ve ever seen. There’s a ton of value packed into this model. One of the most notable features is the turrets, which provide positive click adjustments and have spring-loaded zero resets on both knobs.
Parallax is fixed at 50 yards, which is perfect for most rimfire shooting. This model pairs well with any .22 LR or .17 HMR rimfire rifle. It features a user-friendly T-Plex reticle that takes the standard Plex design to a whole new level. Tract eliminated the heavy vertical line at the top of the crosshairs for an open field of view. This design allows your eye to intuitively find the center of the reticle for ultra-fast target acquisition.
2 Vortex Optics Crossfire II Rimfire 2-7×32 – Best Under $200
Vortex has been a leader in the optics industry for decades, and their Crossfire II Rimfire Riflescope makes it easy to understand why. Perfect for close to medium range shooting, this versatile optic works well for squirrel hunting, target shooting, and recreational plinking.
The Crossfire II rimfire scope features extra long eye relief, a forgiving eye box, and a generous field of view (FOV). It also comes with a handy, fast focus eyepiece. These features make it easy to get on target quickly, find a good sight picture, and pop off rapid, accurate shots.
Although the Crossfire II is technically a “budget” scope, it comes with plenty of premium features. The scope is crafted from a single piece of aircraft-grade, anodized aluminum tubing. Shooters will also appreciate the optic’s anti-reflective, fully multi-coated lenses that provide crisp, clear image quality, even in less-than-perfect light.
3 Simmons Truplex Rimfire 3-9×32 – Best Under $100
The Simmons Truplex Rimfire Riflescope is perfect for budget conscious shooters. Don’t be fooled by the affordable price tag, this scope is packed with awesome features. It definitely provides the best value for the money of any of the scopes on our list.
This rimfire riflescope features Simmons’ patented TrueZero adjustment system and a QTA (Quick Target Acquisition) eyepiece. We absolutely love the SureGrip rubber surfaces on the eyepiece diopter adjustments. This one feature makes it super easy to make adjustments, even when you’re wearing bulky hunting gloves.
The image quality is surprisingly good for an optic in this price range. It comes with high quality glass that is fully coated with a HydroShield coating. The result is stunning color contrast and bright images, even in rainy conditions.
4 Tasco Rimfire 4×15 – Best Budget Rimfire Scope
This Tasco Rimfire Riflescope definitely isn’t a premium scope. However, it works surprisingly well for plinking cans off fence posts. It even makes a nice optic if your to-do list includes popping squirrels, rabbits, or varmints within 50 yards.
We particularly like the magenta multi-coated lenses that work to reduce glare and reflection, providing surprisingly bright images for a scope in this price range.
If you don’t have the money to invest in a top-of-the-line scope, this fixed power 4x optic is a decent compromise. A great entry level scope for inexperienced shooters, the Tasco rimfire is easy to mount, easy to zero, and easy to use.
5 Bushnell Optics Rimfire 3.5-10×36 – Best for Varmint Hunting
This rimfire scope from Bushnell is perfect for popping varmints (or pinging steel if that’s more your style). It features a fast focus eyepiece and an adjustable objective for precision shot placement, which is a major asset when hitting small vital areas on distant rodents.
It has an awesome, easy-to-use bullet drop compensating turret system. This particular model is calibrated specifically for the new hotrod .17 Winchester Super Magnum (although Bushnell has other models calibrated for the more common .17 HMR and .22 LR).
This high-quality riflescope also features fully multi-coated lenses and a multi X crosshair reticle. Incredibly durable, the Bushnell Rimfire Scope is argon purged and o-ring sealed for the ultimate fogproof protection.
6 Athlon Optics Argos BTR 6-24×50 – Best for Target Shooting
If you’re looking for an optic geared toward precision target shooting, the Athlon Argos BTR is one of the best options on the market. With a price tag well under $500, it is perfect for NRL22 base class competition, where the combined cost of your rifle and optic cannot exceed $1050. If you’re on a tight budget, but need high magnification, this scope has everything you’re looking for.
The Argos BTR has a 6-24x magnification range, a 30mm tube, an illuminated FFP reticle, and your choice of MOA or MIL turrets. With fully multi-coated optics and an ample 50mm objective lens, the image clarity is superb, even in low light.
It also features a Precision Zero Stop system that allows you to lock down your zero and then easily dial back to it, no matter how many adjustments you’ve made. It’s so easy, you could probably do it blindfolded.
7 NightForce ATACR 7-35×56 – Best High End Rimfire Scope
For some shooters, slapping an expensive scope on a rimfire rifle may seem like overkill. However, if money is no object, this high-end scope from industry leader Nightforce is perfect for competition. In fact, it has made more than its fair share of appearances at the NRL22 Nationals. If benchrest shooting is your passion, this optic has plenty of performance to fuel that passion.
This top-quality scope has all the features you would expect from a precision long-range optic. Features include a ZeroStop function, an illuminated first focal plane reticle, an extensive magnification range, and an incredible field of view.
The ATACR has image quality that will completely knock your socks off. Made with an extra low dispersion (ED) glass package with full multi-coatings, the images are razor-sharp and super bright, even in low light.
8 Vortex Optics Strikefire II Red Dot Sight – Best Red Dot for .22 Rimfire
While the Vortex Spitfire II isn’t technically a “scope,” a red dot makes a great optic for rimfire rifles, and this is one of our favorite models.
The Vortex Strikefire II is designed to get you on target quickly, only without magnification. It features ten illumination settings for maximum visibility in any daylight shooting condition. It also features two night vision settings, making it perfect for after-dark tactical applications.
Compact, lightweight, and surprisingly durable, this awesome red dot won’t weigh you down. The housing is made from a single piece of aluminum alloy tubing that is o-ring sealed and nitrogen purged for reliable fogproof, waterproof performance.
The Strikefire II red dot features fully multi-coated glass for a bright, clean sight picture. It also provides plenty of eye relief for easier target acquisition, and it won’t compromise your peripheral vision.
9 Leupold VX-3 2.5-8x32mm Handgun Scope – Best Scope for Rimfire Pistol
Adding a scope to your handgun eliminates the inherent inaccuracy of the weapon’s short sight radius. If you want to add a scope to your favorite rimfire pistol, it’s hard to beat this high-quality, American-made optic from Leupold.
The VX-3 is ultra lightweight, but built to take a beating. Tested to the same harsh standards as Leupold’s rifle scopes, this handgun optic can handle bumps, thumps, and drops without breaking a sweat. It also performs flawlessly in extreme temperatures, ranging from -40ºF to 160ºF. Completely waterproof, this scope can survive being submerged in water to a depth of 33 feet.
The VX-3 handgun scope also features Leupold’s famous Twilight Light Management System. Designed to maximize light transmission while reducing glare, this system of multi-coatings provides incredible image clarity and resolution, even in the dimmest of light conditions.
10 TruGlo TRU-TEC Micro – Best Red Dot for Rimfire Pistol
The TRU-TEC micro red dot from TruGlo is perfect for use on a rimfire pistol. Ultra compact and incredibly lightweight (just over one ounce), the TRU-TEC features a multi-coated objective lens, push-button brightness controls, and an idle auto-off system that automatically powers down to save precious battery life.
Don’t be fooled by this optic’s tiny size. Made from CNC-machined aircraft-grade aluminum, it is built for rugged durability. It also has a sealed o-ring design that makes it completely waterproof and fog resistant.
Easy to use, this red dot has unlimited eye relief and a highly visible 3 MOA aiming point that makes it easy to get on target fast.
Some rimfire shooters may overlook the importance of a quality scope. Whether you’re shooting varmints, competition bullseyes, or old soup cans, you’ll be more successful (and therefore happier) if you outfit your rimfire weapon with a good optic.
The best rimfire scope for your needs largely depends on what you’ll be shooting and how much you can spend. Thankfully, there are plenty of models on the market that are perfect for a variety of rimfire applications. Each of the scopes on our list of top picks are first-rate options that will serve you well.