The Ruger 10/22 is one of the most popular rifles in the United States. This rimfire rifle is extremely versatile and has many factory configurations. The 10/22 also has tons of aftermarket support.
The semi-automatic Ruger 10/22 is found in gun safes across the country, filling several different roles. It is a top choice for survivalists, home defense, hunting, and competition. Its mild recoil also makes it a popular option for introducing youngsters to shooting.
Regardless of why you choose a Ruger 10/22, you may want to upgrade the rifle with a quality riflescope or red dot sight. If you aren’t sure what makes the best scope for Ruger 10/22, this article will walk you through exactly what to look for.
If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time for the details, here are our best rated Ruger 10/22 Scopes & Red Dots:
Best Rated Ruger 10/22 Scopes
- Monstrum 3-9×32
- CV Life 4×32
- Vortex Crossfire II
- Leupold VX Freedom
- ATN X-Sight 4K – Best Night Vision Scope for the Ruger 10/22
Best Rated Ruger 10/22 Red Dot Sights
Table of Contents
- What Makes a Good Scope for the Ruger 10/22?
- Choosing a Scope for the Ruger 10/22
- Red Dot Vs. Scope for Ruger 10/22
- Best Scope for Ruger 10/22 on the Market Review
- Installing a Scope on Your Ruger 10/22
- Sighting in Your New Optic
- Final Thoughts
What Makes a Good Scope for the Ruger 10/22?
Part of selecting a scope for the 10/22 is understanding the limitations of the rifle. While the various configurations and aftermarket components can make the rifle extremely accurate at longer ranges, its .22 long rifle chambering does have limits.
Understanding that the rifle will be most accurate at a maximum of 200 yards is important. Due to its limited effective range, your 10/22 doesn’t need a scope with extreme magnification.
When hunting small game with the 10/22, you’ll want to keep your shots within 150 yards. Beyond that range, the .22 LR projectile loses too much energy to be an ethical hunting cartridge.
Beyond 100 yards, the bullet drops off rapidly, making an ethical hit beyond that range extremely challenging.
If you plan to use a Ruger 10/22 for hunting over 80 yards, consider a scope with a graduated reticle for estimating bullet drop. Inside of 80 yards, a non-magnified optic is a viable option.
Because the 10/22 is a small and lightweight rifle, adding a large, heavy scope removes many of the benefits this rifle offers. Even when target shooting, a modest scope could make the rifle awkward and unbalanced.
A scope with a large objective lens can assist with low light shooting and offer a wide field of view. While a generous objective lens has benefits, the size can move the axis of the sight alignment higher above the bore axis. It is beneficial to keep the aiming axis close to the bore axis to help with zeroing the optic.
Because most targets you’ll be shooting with your 10/22 will likely be in the 100-yard range, you’ll want to keep the bore axis and sight alignment close. This configuration will increase accuracy at distances within 100 yards.
Choosing a Scope for the Ruger 10/22
When hunting small game within 100 yards, look for a scope with a modest objective lens. Since small game present relatively small targets, magnification up to 9x can be quite helpful. Using the higher magnification to zoom in on the tiny vital area of a rabbit or groundhog will greatly improve your chances of success.
When using the 10/22 for target shooting, exposed turrets can be a useful feature.
For engaging targets beyond 100 yards, you will need to account for the rapid bullet drop at those ranges. For this, you will want either a reticle with graduations to assist in compensating for drop over distance.
.22 LR ammo is relatively inconsistent compared to centerfire loads commonly used for long-range precision shooting.
There is a wide range of optics suitable for pairing with the Ruger 10/22. Due to the soft recoil, you won’t need to worry about recoil impulse damaging your optic. The optic is more likely to be damaged from bumps and bangs when hunting or competing than from repetitive recoil.
Red Dot Vs. Scope for Ruger 10/22
Red dot optics let you scan and quickly acquire targets. These high-tech optics are great for close range shooting and home defense, because they allow you to keep both eyes open while aiming. This provides excellent situational awareness.
At ranges within 50 yards, a red dot can be an effective hunting upgrade for your rifle. While larger calibers are effective with red dots at further distance, many red dots have an aiming point as large as 4 MOA. When hunting small game, the target may have a vital area much smaller than the standard red dot. This means your aiming point could be smaller than your reticle when shooting beyond 50 yards.
When using a 10/22 for competition shooting, your targets will usually be larger than the vital area of most small game animals. Since most red dot scopes are not equipped with a reticle that offers bullet drop compensation, it becomes a much greater challenge to hit targets further than 100 yards.
A scope is a useful addition to the Ruger 10/22 at all ranges. Hunters will appreciate the benefits of magnification when aiming at the tiny vital area of small game.
The fine aiming point of a first focal plane scope can seriously increase the precision and accuracy of the rifle.
When making shots beyond 100 yards, a scope with a BDC (bullet drop compensation) reticle provides a major benefit. Since few scopes come with reticle calibrated specifically for .22 LR loads, look for a scope with graduations in either MOA or Mil Dot.
Both variable zoom and fixed power scopes are great options for the Ruger 10/22. Due to the fact that you will rarely be shooting at small targets beyond 100 yards, a fixed power 3x or 4x scope provides plenty of magnification for most shooters. However, an FFP (first focal plane) variable optic can be an asset for precision shooting at various ranges.
Best Scope for Ruger 10/22 on the Market Review
1 Monstrum 3-9×32
Monstrum Tactical Optics always surprise us with their affordability. If you want a scope with a full range of useful magnification and a ton of other features at a price point that won’t break the bank, this is it. It is virtually impossible to find all of this in a package priced under $100, but this option from Monstrum knocks it out of the park.
This scope features an illuminated reticle with graduations built in. The illuminated reticle is perfect for hunters who need to take advantage of every minute of daylight available.
The 32mm objective lens pairs well with the Ruger 10/22 and allows a mount that is nice and tight to the barrel.
The scope comes with a detachable throw lever for the power ring. This makes it easy to transition through the full range of magnification.
The lenses are multi-coated to reduce glare, prevent fogging, and protect the surfaces from damage. The scope is also nitrogen purged and waterproof to further protect against the conditions.
Mounting rings are included in the package, adding even more value to your purchase.
2 CV Life 4×32
The CV Life 4×32 is a serious budget-friendly option for the Ruger 10/22. This is a small, lightweight scope with a fixed 4x magnification. It’s compact size, light weight, and low cost make this a great scope for new shooters.
The scope has a graduated reticle for shooting at extended ranges. The fixed magnification makes the scope easy to use, even for the novice.
Built for durability, the CV Life has a main tube purged to resist internal fogging and prevent water damage. The scope also comes with mounting rings, providing even more value for frugal shoppers.
3 Vortex Crossfire II
If you’re looking for a serious hunting scope, the Vortex Crossfire II is an excellent option. This 3-9x scope provides the perfect magnification range for a variety of hunting applications.
The Crossfire II is nitrogen purged, waterproof, and shockproof. All lenses are fully multi-coated to maximize light transmission and reduce glare. The scope also has an illuminated reticle, which provides excellent visibility in low light.
The simple V-Plex reticle is a slight variation on a duplex reticle, which is perfect for hunting game within 100 yards.
This is a scope we recommend for squirrel hunting, rabbit hunting, or varmints and other small game.
4 Leupold VX Freedom
Those who know quality scopes are plenty familiar with the Leupold name. Known for their incredible optical quality, Leopold scopes are the cream of the crop.
With legendary Leupold lenses, you can expect a crystal-clear image without any feathering or fisheye effect common with budget scopes. The VX
The VX Freedom is a 3-9x scope with a simple duplex reticle. The adjustments on this scope are an extremely fine ¼ MOA, which helps achieve an easy zero.
If you appreciate rugged, high-quality optics, this is the best Leupold scope to pair with your Ruger 10/22.
5 ATN X-Sight 4K – Best Night Vision Scope for the Ruger 10/22
If you plan to hunt with your Ruger 10/22 after the sun goes down, you need the right tool for the job. The ATN X-Sight is an awesome day/night optic that will help you bag small game at all ethical ranges.
The scope offers variable zoom from 4-14x, including digital zoom. The built-in rangefinder automatically adjusts the aiming point using an onboard ballistic calculator.
With high definition capabilities, the X-Sight provides a crystal-clear image, even in the dark. The scope also connects wirelessly to your mobile device, allowing you to share all the hunting action with your friends. You can even record your shot, so you can watch it later.
The updated technology in this night vision scope offers 18 hours of battery life, which means you can spend all day (or night) in the field without losing power.
Read here if you’re looking for the best rated thermal scope.
6 Bushnell TRS-25
The Bushnell TRS-25 appears on list after list of recommended red dot sights. This is a high-value optic that is both rugged and affordable. The TRS-25 is waterproof and shock resistant, making it durable enough for almost any shooting application. It has a 3 MOA dot, which is precise enough to make tough shots on small targets.
The sight mounts directly to your 10/22 without additional mounting hardware. Excellent battery life will keep you in the field for weeks at a time, and the compact, lightweight design is perfect for hunting or target shooting.
7 Sig Sauer Romeo 5
The Sig Sauer Romeo 5 is a great red dot sight for shooters who require a more precise aiming point. This model has a very crisp, 2 MOA red dot reticle that makes tough shots that much easier.
Its supper-rugged design will hold up in even the toughest conditions. With a battery life that exceeds 40,000 hours, you can leave this optic turned on for years.
The Romeo 5 comes with a high riser if you prefer to mount your optic higher on the rifle. However, we recommend mounting it straight to the rifle.
8 Vortex Venom
If size and weight constraints are important to you as a shooter, this is the optic for you. The Vortex Venom is tiny and lightweight. You won’t even notice it when toting your 10/22 in the field.
The size of the sight also helps to keep the sight axis as close to the bore as possible. The 3 MOA dot provides accuracy out to 100 yards.
9 Vortex Optics SPARC Red Dot
This rugged, compact red dot from Vortex is perfect for engaging up-close moving targets. The SPARC has a 2 MOA dot that makes for simple point-and-shoot precision.
Vortex uses multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces to provide a crisp, clear sight picture, even in low light.
The SPARC has twelve illumination settings, which allows you to adjust the intensity of the dot for optimal visibility in any conditions.
With unlimited eye relief, the SPARC is parallax free, making it more useful than a traditional red dot.
Incredibly rugged, the SPARC is solidly built and features a hard-coat exterior anodization. This adds extra durability and creates a low-glare matte surface that won’t give away your position.
10 Holosun HS503CU
This optic from Holosun gives the shooter every benefit a red dot can offer. A battery life of over 40,000 hours means you’ll spend years with the same battery.
Simple, tactile, push button controls inspire shooter confidence, which is an asset in any shooting situation.
Holosun’s Multi-Reticle System provides a 2 MOA center dot for precision accuracy, and a 25 MOA surrounding ring for rapid target acquisition. The reticle design is perfect for many tactical and hunting uses.
The optic’s 6061 aluminum frame is incredibly strong and rugged. This thing can stand up to pretty much anything you can throw at it.
Installing a Scope on Your Ruger 10/22
Mounting a scope on your 10/22 is just like mounting a scope on any other rifle.
First, you need a method of attaching your rings to your rifle. Tactical versions of the 10/22 usually have a Picatinny rail system on top of the receiver, which makes it very easy to mount your rings.
If you have a more traditional style rifle, you might need to attach a scope mount to the top of your rifle. This attaches by screws to the receiver in threaded holes on the top.
When you attach your ring mount, apply thread-locker to the screws to keep them from backing out during normal operation. Tighten the screws in an alternating fashion to the recommended torque specs.
Do not over-tighten the screws. This could damage the threads in the receiver and require a gunsmith to repair them.
Next, you will want to attach the rings to your rail or mount. Ensure that the rings are far enough apart, so that they will allow the scope to fit in them properly. Usually a quick test fit with the scope is a good idea to make sure there is plenty of room for the scope to sit in the rings evenly, and allow for some adjustment to make sure you have proper eye relief.
Once again, use thread-locker and tighten screws to the recommended specs.
If you have a lapping kit, this is the point where you will lap the rings. This improves scope stability and accuracy by increasing the surface contact between the rings and the scope.
Place the scope in the rings. Before you lock everything down, get behind the rifle and ensure that you have proper eye relief when you get a comfortable cheek to stock weld. Always check this at the maximum magnification.
Use a small level on the top of the scope to ensure everything is level.
Once everything is level and positioned properly, it’s time to lock everything down. Tighten the screws in an alternating fashion to ensure equal pressure all the way around the scope. Tighten to the recommended torque specifications from the ring manufacturer to avoid damage.
Sighting in Your New Optic
Once you have your new scope or red dot mounted, you will need to zero it before heading to the field. You will want to determine the range you want it zeroed at first.
Most rifles are zeroed to 100 yards. However, with the limited range of the 10/22, you might consider zeroing at a closer range. 50 yards works well for most shooting applications.
You can save time and ammo at the range if you choose to boresight your optic first.
On the Range
When you get to the range, set up a target at your preferred range. Fire a volley of 3 to 5 rounds and check your target.
Make the necessary adjustments based on your observations at the target. Make your measurement from the center of your shot group to the center of the bullseye. Fire another group, then recheck your target.
Repeat this process until the center of your shot group lines up with the bullseye.
The Ruger 10/22 is one of the most versatile and fun rifles on the market. While the rifle is excellent right out of the box, the best scope for Ruger 10/22 makes a valuable upgrade.
With the wide range of uses for the Ruger 10/22, you have plenty of options. No matter which option you choose, be sure to carefully zero your optic. It will save you plenty of frustration and provide more reliable accuracy.