The Ruger 10/22 is one of the most popular rifles in the United States. The 10/22 is extremely versatile and has many factory configurations and a seemingly endless aftermarket.
This makes the 10/22 the choice for survivalists, home defenders, hunters, competitors, young shooters, budget conscious shooters, and shooters who are sensitive to recoil. This semi-automatic .22 caliber rifle can be found in gun safes across the country, filling several different roles.
Regardless of why you own your Ruger 10/22, or what you use it for, yours would likely benefit from upgrading the sights to either a scope or a red dot sight. Just as there are many ways to configure your 10/22, there are a variety of the best scope for ruger 10/22 that pair well with the rifle.
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
Best Rated Ruger 10/22 Red Dot Sights
Table of Contents
- What Makes a Good Scope for the Ruger 10/22?
- How to Choose 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 the scope for the 10/22 is understanding the limitations of the caliber. While the various configurations and aftermarket components can make the rifle extremely accurate at longer ranges, but the .22 caliber cartridge does have limits.
Understanding that the rifle is only going to be accurate for most shooters at a maximum of 200 yards is important. This tells us that we don’t need scopes with extreme magnification.
If you are going to use the rifle for hunting, 150 yards against small game. Beyond that range, the .22 LR projectile loses too much energy to be an ethical hunting cartridge.
Beyond 100 yards, the bullet will start to rapidly drop off, so making an ethical hit beyond that range becomes extremely challenging.
If you plan to use a Ruger 10/22 for hunting over 80 yards, you should consider a scope that has graduations to estimate bullet drop. Inside of that range, a non-magnified optic becomes a viable option.
In almost all configurations, the 10/22 is a small and lightweight rifle. Adding a large, heavy scope to the rifle would likely cause the shooter to lose many of the benefits that this rifle offers. Even when target shooting, choose a scope that is not too large so that it might cause the rifle to become awkward and unevenly weighted.
Some scopes come with a large objective lens that assists the shooter by providing a wider field of view. While there are benefits to this feature, this does 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 make zeroing easier.
As most shooters will be engaging targets at roughly 100 yards, and the .22 LR is very flat shooting round up to that range, keeping the bore axis and sight alignment as close as possible will help make the rifle as accurate as possible at all distances within 100 yards.
How to Choose a Scope for the Ruger 10/22?
When hunting small game within 100 yards, you will want a scope with a relatively small to average sized objective lens. Magnification up to 9x can be very helpful as small game presents, of course, a small target. Using the higher magnification to zoom in on the tiny vital of a rabbit or groundhog will greatly improve your chances of making a successful hit.
If you plan on taking game beyond 100 yards, you will need to account for the rapid drop of the bullet at those ranges. For this you will want either a reticle with graduations to assist in measuring bullet drop, or a scope with exposed adjustable turrets, or both.
A useful reticle will be a greater benefit though due to the fact that small animals rarely sit exposed in the same spot for very long as they need to keep moving to avoid predators.
When using the 10/22 for target shooting, the exposed turrets become a more viable option, but we generally still recommend an improved reticle over this feature as well.
This is due to the fact that .22 LR ammunition is relatively inconsistent when compared to intermediate and large calibers that are more popular for long-range precision shooting.
Rimfire cartridges are, by nature, less consistent than centerfire. Also, one of the benefits of .22 LR is that it is an extremely affordable cartridge to shoot. With the savings you get from cheaper ammo, you can also expect less consistency.
There are some manufactures who do cater to the precision shooter, so if you are looking to make longer shots with you 10/22 you still have that option but focus more on a useful reticle than the turrets.
Regardless of your choice of optic style, the 10/22 gives the shooter a wider range of viable options than with heavier caliber rifles. Due to the soft recoil from both the small projectile, and the semi-automatic action, you won’t need to worry about recoil impulse damaging your optic.
The required durability of your optic will primarily rely on how you plan to use your rifle; the optic is more likely to be damaged from bumps and bangs when hunting or competing than from rapid fire.
Red Dot VS Scope for Ruger 10/22
Red dot scopes give the shooter the ability to scan the range and quickly acquire targets. These are great for short shots and home defense because you can keep both eyes open while aiming, giving the shooter excellent situational awareness.
At ranges within 50 yards, this can be a very effective hunting upgrade to 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 smaller than that size. This means that your aiming point could be smaller than your reticle when shooting beyond 50 yards.
If using a 10/22 in competition shooting, your targets will usually be larger than in the hunting field. This means that the red dot continues to be a viable option at ranges up to 100 yards where the bullet will start to drop.
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 that as there are no reference points to use for those longer ranges.
Scopes are useful for the Ruger 10/22 at all ranges. The hunter will appreciate the benefits of magnification when trying to place the bullet onto the tiny vital area of small game.
Using a fine aiming point that you get with a first focal plane scope will further help to increase the accuracy of the rifle.
As state before, shots over 100 yards will benefit from a graduated reticle built into the scope. You will usually want to look for a scope that has graduations in either MOA or Mil Dot due to the fact that few scopes are built with reticles calibrated for .22 LR.
Variable zoom optics with the reticle in the first focal plane are beneficial as the aiming point will remain finer and reduced magnification, further assisting in aiming at small targets.
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 3x or 4x scope will be plenty of magnification for most shooters.
Choosing one of these options can be a great, budget friendly option when shopping for your scope.
Best Scope for Ruger 10/22 on the Market Review
1 Monstrum 3-9x32
To get a full range of useful magnification from 3x to 9x, and a ton of other features, for under $100 this scope has you covered. It can often be challenging to find all of this package for this price point. This scope features an illuminated reticle with graduations built in.
The illuminated reticle is perfect for hunters who like to take advantage of every minute of daylight available. The 32mm objective lens pairs will with the Ruger 10/22 and allows you to mount it nice and tight to the barrel.
The scope comes with a detachable throw lever for the power ring. This makes it easy to quickly transition through the full range of magnification quickly. This is usually a extra accessory that is not included with most higher priced scopes.
The scope’s lenses have a coating that reduces glare, protects from fog, and protects against scratches. The scope is also nitrogen purged and waterproof to further protect against the conditions and remain rugged.
The scope also comes with included rings, giving you even further value that you are unlikely to find with more expensive products.
2 CV Life 4x32
For a super budget friendly scope, we found the CV Life 4x32. This is a small, lightweight scope with a fixed 4x magnification. The small size, light weight, and low cost make this a great scope for a new shooter or anybody on a budget who wants the benefits of magnification.
The scope does have a graduated reticle if you want to range out beyond 100 yards. The fixed magnification makes the scope very easy to use, even for the novice. The scope also offers a comfortable eye relief of 3.3 inches.
The main tube is purged for fog resistance and is shock and waterproof. This scope also comes with included rings, providing even more value in what a very attainable upgrade for is already even the most frugal of shoppers.
3 Vortex Crossfire II
For those looking for a serious hunting scope, the Vortex Crossfire II is an excellent option. This 3-9x scope give the hunter a full range of useful magnification to pair with the 22 LR cartridge.
This scope is nitrogen purged, waterproof and shock proof. The lenses have a coating that helps to gather more light and reduce glare. The coating pairs well with the illuminated reticle, which will help the hunter during limited visibility conditions.
The simple V-Plex reticle is a slight variation on a duplex reticle that is perfect for hunting game within 100 yards. As with all Vortex scopes, you can expect fantastic lens quality from the Crossfire II.
This is a scope we recommend for somebody who takes their hunting seriously, and we recommend this scope for squirrel hunting, rabbit hunting, or small game of choice.
4 Leupold VX Freedom
Those who know good scopes, know about Leupold. This is a serious scope with serious quality built into it. With legendary Leupold lenses, you can expect a crystal-clear image without any feathering or fisheye effect that is commonly found on budget scopes. You can expect a very generous eye relief, making this a comfortable scope for all sizes of shooters.
The scope is a 3-9x with a simple duplex reticle for ease of use, with bullet drop compensating reticles available. The adjustments on this scope are an extremely fine ¼ MOA, which will help you achieve a perfect zero and the improved level of precision needed for small game hunting.
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 are taking your 10/22 on your next night hunt, you need the right tool for the job. This scope will help you find and bag small game at all ethical ranges. The scope offers variable zoom from 4-14x, including digital zoom. The build in range finder will cause the scope to automatically adjust the aiming point with the built in ballistic calculating computer.
The high definition capabilities of the scope allow for a crystal-clear image, even in the dark. The scope also offers the ability to wirelessly connect to your mobile device to share your view with your hunting partner or record your shot to share with your friends.
The updated technology in this night vision scope also offers for 18-hour battery life, keeping you in the field all day long whether in day or night mode.
6 Bushnell TRS-25
This red dot shows up on list after list of recommended red dot sights. This is a high value red dot sight that is both rugged and affordable. The optic is waterproof and shock resistant enough for almost any potential use for your 10/22.
The sight will mount directly to most 10/22’s without additional mounting hardware. Excellent battery life will keep you in the field for weeks at a time. The compact size and lightweight make it perfect for hunting or target shooting.
The 3 MOA dot is precise enough to make those tough shots on small targets when hunting for a variety of small game.
7 Sig Sauer Romeo 5
This is a great red dot sight for those who want a more precise aiming point, whether hunting of target shooting. The Romeo 5 features a very crisp 2 MOA red dot reticle that makes tough shots that much easier.
Super rugged design means that this sight will last through even the toughest conditions. This will be especially helpful if you plan to use your 10/22 for competition, or if you choose to use it as your home defense rifle.
The optic comes with a high riser if you prefer to have your optic mounted higher on the rifle, but we recommend you mount it straight to the rifle for use with the 10/22. 40,000 hour battery life also helps to make this an option for home defense as you can leave the red dot on and forget about it for years.
8 Vortex Venom
If size and weight constraints are important to you as a shooter, this is the optic for you. The optic is extremely small and lightweight; you won’t even notice it when carrying the pistol, rifle or shotgun in the field.
The sight is holographic optic that is extremely durable, despite the exposed lens the reticle sits on, and can hold zero even if the lens is cracked. The 3 MOA dot will help you to remain accurate all the way out to 100 yards. The size of the sight also helps to keep the sight axis as close to the bore as possible.
9 Vortex UH-1
This holographic sight is built with extreme durability in mind. The design is parallax free and offers a more useful reticle than a traditional red dot. With the extra information in the reticle, you have help with leading moving targets and bullet drop. The reticle also offers help with quick movement onto near targets where extreme accuracy is not required.
The optic also uses a rechargeable battery, which is a feature not often found in traditional rifle optics.
While both waterproof and shockproof, the lenses on this optic are also shatterproof to protect from even the harshest of conditions. Whether you are on the range, in the field, or defending the home, this is a high quality and effective optic for your 10/22.
10 Holosun HS503G
This optic gives the shooter every benefit a red dot can offer. Battery life of over 40,000 hours means that you’ll spend years with the same battery. Simple, tactile, push button controls are confidence inspiring when operating the optic.
The ACSS CQB reticle gives the shooter a pointed aiming point that is infinitely accurate, so you can have confidence shooting at all ranges. The reticle is also useful for home defense with the 25 MOA ring around the reticle.
The 6061 aluminum frame of the optic is incredibly strong and rugged, so it is nearly bullet proof and will stand up to whatever you think you can throw at it.
Installing a Scope on Your Ruger 10/22
Mounting a scope on your 10/22 is just like on any other rifle, but due to the variations in configuration of the rifle there could be some differences in your installation.
First you will need to find a method of attaching your rings to your rifle. Tactical versions of the 10/22 will 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 will attach by screws to the receiver in the threaded holes on the top. If this is new to you, you will want to remove the screws that are currently protecting those holes and threads.
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 these screws as this could damage the threads in the receiver and require a gun smith to repair them.
Next you will want to attach the rings to your rail or mount. Once again, use thread-locker and tighten to the recommended specs. 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.
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.
Next you will place the scope in the rings. Don’t get too excited and lock it in yet. 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 as this setting will yield the tightest eye relief.
Ensure the scope is level. Using a small level, find a flat spot on the top of the scope. If there is no flat spot on the scope, you can use the elevation adjustment to set the level on.
Make sure you remove the cap protecting the elevation adjustment as this has the potential to not be completely flat. This will ensure that the reticle is perfectly level when you look through the scope.
Next you will need to finally lock down the scope. Place the top portion of the rings on, apply thread locker to the screws again. Tighten the screws in an alternating fashion to ensure that you have equal pressure on all the way around the scope. Tighten the recommended torque specifications from the ring manufacture 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, but this could be different with the Ruger 10/22 as you might plan on shooting at closer targets more often.
You can save time and ammo at the range if you choose to boresight your optic first.
Once you have your laser installed, you will want to set the rifle on a rest and have it aimed at a target roughly 15 yards away. Adjust the target so that the laser is hitting the bullseye.
Understand that the aiming point at this close of a range will inevitably be high. You should measure the vertical distance from the center of the barrel to the center of the optic. Take that measurement and make a mark on your target the same distance above the bullseye.
Get behind the rifle and make adjustments to the optic until the windage is perfect and the elevation puts your aiming point on the mark you made on the target.
With this process done, you should be extremely close to already having a zero when you get to the range.
On the Range
When you get to the range, set up the target at your preferred range. If you are not sure what range to use, we recommend either 50 or 100 yards. Fire a volley of 3-5 rounds and check your target.
Make the necessary adjustments based on your observations at the target. Make your measurement from the center of your volley to the center of the bullseye. Fire another volley, then check your target again.
Repeat this process until the center of your volley is on the bullseye.
The Ruger 10/22 is one of the most versatile, and most fun, rifles available on the current market. While the rifle is excellent right out of the box, or with the aftermarket parts you picked up, the best scope for Ruger 10/22 could be the most valuable and useful upgrades you can add.
With the wide range of uses for the Ruger 10/22, you have a ton of options for your optic. Make your decision based on what features are important to you, and what your budget allows.