The Best 22LR Scopes for Target Shooting in 2023

Video what is the best scope for a 22lr

Today I’m going to show you the best 22LR scope for target shooting.

In fact:

I’ve hand-tested 18 scopes alone for this review.

The best part?

I’ve sorted the scopes by use. So whether you’re on a budget or need the best 22LR optic, you’ll find it here.

Let’s dive in!

The 4 Best 22LR Scope for Target Shooting

If you’re pressed on time, here’s a quick list of the best 22LR scopes:

  1. Leupold VX-Freedom Rimfire: Best Overall 22LR Scope
  2. Vortex Crossfire II 2-7×32 Rimfire: Best Close-to-Medium Range Scope
  3. Bushnell Drop Zone-22 2-7×32: Best Short-range Varmint Hunting
  4. Athlon Argos BTR 6-24×50: Best Short-to-Long Range 22LR Scope

1. Leupold VX-Freedom Rimfire: Best Overall 22LR Scope

The Leupold VX-Freedom Rimfire is the best overall 22LR scope.

I’ve used it for hunting, target shooting, night time hunting and more.

What makes it so versatile?

Keep reading and I’ll show you…

Glass Clarity & Reticle

Here’s the thing:

When a scope is positioned at a low price point like the Leupold Freedom Rimfire, it usually equates to reduced quality.

But that’s wasn’t the case here.

In fact, the glass on this scope is just as crisp and clear as the glass used on more expensive Leupold sights.

Leupold VX Freedom Rimfire front glass

It’s also great in low light conditions, making the visibility problems I usually face with early morning shooting nonexistent.

Leupold VX Freedom Rimfire reticle

But what about the reticle?

It’s a standard duplex reticle set in the second focal plane.

This allows you to have a strong and easy to see reticle at all magnifications.

Eye Relief & Eye Box

It has a whopping 4.1” of eye relief!

That’s more than any other scope on this list.

Leupold VX Freedom Rimfire rear glass

The best part?

You can shoot with both eyes open, and accurately hit your target without worrying about getting a black eye 🙂

Durability & Weight

The VX-Freedom Rimfire is well built.

It’s crafted with lightweight aluminum that is O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged.

Leupold VX Freedom Rimfire sideview

In other words:

It’s completely shockproof, waterproof and fogproof.

In the dead of winter, with snow actively falling, I didn’t have a single temperature or fog related problem.

Elevation & Windage Knobs

The dials worked correctly, and are set at ¼ MOA with audible clicks to ensure precision.

Leupold VX Freedom Rimfire windage and elevation

However, the knobs feel cheap. The plastic used on the knobs is soft and feels like something you find in a dollar store.

Leupold VX Freedom Rimfire firedot button

Don’t get me wrong:

The knobs work fine and do exactly what they are supposed to do. I just wish Leupold used a higher quality plastic or even aluminum for the knob.

That being said, they are accurate, easy to use and track true. It’s also easy to zero, and holds zero even with strong recoil or accidental drops.

Magnification & Parallax

The 1.5-4x magnification is perfect for hunting and target shooting.

Leupold VX Freedom Rimfire magnification

In fact, I’ve used it up to 200 yards without a problem. Further than that would require more magnification. I’d recommend checking out myVortex Viper HST 4-16×44 Review.

Although parallax is fixed, I experienced no blurriness or fuzziness when shooting within 100 yards.

Leupold VX-Freedom Rimfire Review: Is It Worth It?

If you’re looking for the best overall 22 LR scope that will work in almost any situation, then the Leupold VX-Freedom Rimfire is for you.

Here’s why. It’s:

  • Affordable
  • Clear glass
  • Lightweight
  • Works well in low light
  • Short-to-medium range magnification

In short:

The Leupold VX-Freedom Rimfire Riflescope is budget friendly and easy to use scope. Plus, it’s backed by Leupold’s lifetime guarantee.

You break it, they’ll fix it…free of charge.

2. Vortex Crossfire II 2-7×32 Rimfire: Best Close-to-Medium Range Scope

Looking for the best close-to-medium range scope for target shooting? Then get a Vortex Crossfire II 2-7×32.

Not only is it affordable, but the scope’s features is built with quality.

Like what?

Keep reading to find out…

Glass Clarity & Reticle

Glass clarity is always one of the defining features on a Vortex optic and the Crossfire II 2-7x is no exception.

This scope has a fully multi-coated lens that provides a stunningly bright and clear view of your target.

Vortex Crossfire II glass clarity

The lens also has an anti-reflective coating. This reduces light absorption to minimize any glare that could appear in your sight,

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What’s better is the V-plex reticle.

Vortex Crossfire II reticle

It’s a popular hunting reticle that can be used for about any hunting applications. That’s why I recommended it in my 4 best scopes for Ruger 10/22 guide.

However, it’s wire constructed. Although it’s not bad, it can break and occasionally lose their position.

This reticle is a second focal plane (SFP) which lets you increase or decrease magnification without changing the size of the reticle.

So the reticle gets to do its job without obstructing your view of the target.

Eye Relief & Eye Box

One sure sign of a quality optic is the eye relief.

A good scope should allow you to have a comfortable distance between your eye and the eyepiece while still being able to clearly see the full field of view.

The Crossfire II really delivers in this area. It offers a very forgiving 3.9 inches of eye relief at the lowest magnification and 4.7 inches at the highest magnification.

Vortex Crossfire II eyebox

The eye box (range of positioning behind the eyepiece) is also really generous. This allows for faster target acquisition and is a big reason why this optic can be recommended for both tactical use as well as for hunting.

Durability & Weight

The Vortex reputation is built on the company’s resolve to make a product that endures.

Crossfire II displays all the signs of the vortex standards

Vortex Crossfire II optic

Like other Vortex products, the Crossfire II has been designed to surpass the standards of similarly-priced riflescopes.

The hard-anodized tube is made from aircraft-grade aluminum which protects it against scratches and dings.

The design is also shockproof, ensuring that the components aren’t easily jumbled by the movement of your gun. Not to mention movements that come with normal use, such as, having it packed up with the rest of your gear in the back of your truck, or even accidentally knocking it over or dropping it.

The scope is O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged, making it both waterproof and fog proof.

If for some reason any of these features fail or your scope is damaged in any way, Vortex covers it with its VIP lifetime warranty.

The company will either repair or replace your Crossfire II, no matter what the problem is or how long you’ve had it.

To top it all off, this heavy-duty scope weighs just 14.3oz. — a comfortable addition to most rifles.

Elevation & Windage Knobs

The turrets on the Crossfire II are medium height and finger adjustable.

Vortex Crossfire II windage and elevation

The knobs have a sturdy feel to them and can be easily manipulated, even with a gloved hand. Both turrets are capped to protect your settings and can be reset back to zero after sighting in.

Windage and elevation can both be adjusted to 60 MOA with each click measuring ¼ MOA.

Magnification & Parallax

With a magnification of 2-7x, this is a scope meant for close to medium-range shooting.

Vortex Crossfire II magnification

The parallax adjustment is fixed up to 100yds which is a good fit for this level of magnification.

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Review: Is It Worth It?

With a price tag of only $129, you are getting a great scope with quality features that many people pay twice as much for.

Not only that, but when you take into account the lifetime warranty, it’s almost a no brainer.

In short:

If you’re looking for a solid tactical scope that excels in hunting, then I’d recommend the Crossfire II.

3. Bushnell Drop Zone-22 2-7×32: Best Short-range Varmint Hunting

Want to do short-range varmint hunting?

Or rimfire tactical matches?

Then take a look at the Bushnell Drop Zone-22 2-7×32. It’s literally designed for the .22 LR round.

The best part?

It’s super affordable. Let’s take a closer look…

Glass Clarity & Reticle

The glass is surprisingly good.

In fact, I didn’t notice any tunnel vision from the bezel like I do with other similarly-priced optics.

But what’s even better is the Drop Zone-22 BDC reticle.

Bushnell Drop Zone-22 glass clarity

It’s specifically engineered for 38-40 grain, .22 LR high-velocity loads, with a 50-yard zero.

What that means is it specifically measures the .22 LR’s trajectory, giving you completely accurate bullet drop estimates.

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This is perfect if you do short-range varmint hunting or rimfire tactical matches.

Eye Relief & Eye Box

The 3.6” of eye relief is very forgiving — even at full magnification.

Bushnell Drop Zone-22 front scope

Also, the eye box is generous. I didn’t experience any eye fatigue.

Durability & Weight

The Drop Zone-22 is built like a tank.

Bushnell Drop Zone-22 side view

It’s O-ring sealed, argon purged and crafted from durable aluminum. Which means, the scope is waterproof, fogproof and shockproof.

However, it comes at a hefty cost:

Heavy weight.

At about 19.5 ounces in weight, the Drop-Zone 22 is one of the heaviest scope in its class.

Elevation & Windage Knobs

The exposed target turrets are reliable.

They produce positive, crisp clicks. No tools are required. And the ¼ MOA is very precise.

Bushnell Drop Zone-22 windage and elevation

However, the dials are a bit stiff to turn…at first. With usage, it’ll loosen up.

Moving on, zeroing was easy. After 7 rounds, I was zeroed in. It also held zero like a champ. 82 rounds and a few hikes later, I still haven’t lost zero.

Magnification & Parallax

Just like the turrets, the power ring is also rather stiff.

The solution?

Use a throw-over lever. This makes turning the knob a breeze.

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The scope is also equipped with an adjustable side parallax knob. This is gold…considering the price of the optic.

It can adjust as low as 10 yards to infinity. A plus if you’re plinking, engaging close targets or rimfire shooting.

Bushnell Drop Zone-22 magnification

In short:

The 2-7x magnification and parallax adjustment is clean and precise.

Bushnell Optics Drop Zone-22 Review: Is It Worth It?

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly 22LR scope, then get a Bushnell Drop Zone-22.

Here’s why. It’s got:

  • Durable
  • Clear glass
  • Long eye relief
  • 22LR BDC reticle
  • Side parallax adjustment

It’s literally designed for small game hunting, plinking and rimfire shooting.

The best part?

It’s backed by Bushnell’s lifetime warranty. So if ANYTHING happens to the scope, they’ll fix er’ up for free.

4. Athlon Argos BTR 6-24×50: Best Short-to-Long Range 22LR Scope

The Athlon Argos BTR 6-24×50 is the best short-to-long range scope for your 22lr rifle.

In fact:

The Argos BTR packs in many of the features of top-dollar scopes, but for a fraction of the cost. Like what? Keep reading to find out…

Glass Clarity & Reticle

The glass on the Argos BTR is very high quality, which means the image you see through your scope is clear and crisp. In fact, the Argos BTR excels in low-light conditions.

I’ve found that it’s the perfect scope for dusk and dawn hunts. This is because the BTR is made with a fully multi-coated lens which provides fantastic light transmission.

I’ve noticed that when I zoom in to 18-24x, I get a little bit of blurriness. That said, for under $400, you really can’t beat the image clarity of the BTR.

Now let’s take a look at the reticle.

I was expecting a pretty basic reticle from this scope, especially considering the price. However, the BTR uses an illuminated, etched APMR MIL reticle. It’s anything but basic!

Here’s a look at the APMR MIL reticle:

I really like the illuminated reticle, especially when I’m shooting in low-light conditions. There are 11 brightness settings which means that I can find the perfect illumination level every time.

I do wish that the BTR had an auto-shutoff feature to help save on battery life, but I tend to keep an extra Lithium battery in my bag just in case.

Also, since the reticle is etched into the glass, you don’t need to turn on the illumination at all if you don’t want to. The etched reticle is also much more durable than a wired crosshair, so you don’t have to worry about your wires getting knocked off center.

One of the best things about the Argos BTR is that it is a first focal plane riflescope, which means that the reticle grows as you zoom in on your target. No more calculations for holdover or windage when you change your magnification.

I love that the MIL reticle works at all ranges, and this feature usually only comes in scopes that cost over $1000.

Eye Relief & Eye Box

The eye relief on the BTR is a nice, comfy 3.3 inches. This is perfect for low-to-zero recoil calibers like 22lr.

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The eye box is also nice and generous, although I’ve noticed it does shrink a little as you zoom in to max.


The Argos BTR is incredibly durable. The tube is made from heat-treated, aircraft grade aluminum and is sealed with O-rings.

As if that’s not enough, the whole tube is made from a single piece of metal, which makes it stronger and more waterproof than multi-piece scope tubes. The BTR is also argon-purged and uses an etched reticle.

All of these features mean that the scope is able to handle any kind of conditions and take any kind of punishment that I might throw at it.

Elevation & Windage Knobs

Here’s the scope’s biggest con…

The turrets move very easily, with almost no resistance…which can lead to over adjusting.

However, I spent about ten minutes re-greasing the turret caps. When I was done, the turrets felt much less mushy and the clicks were a lot louder.

If you’ve never regreased turrets before, here’s a quick video showing you how to do it:

Zeroing was a very easy process. I was able to zero the scope in less than ten rounds once I was hitting paper.

And I’ve put hundreds of rounds through my 22lr since, and the zero has held true.

In my experience, these turrets have proved to be very reliable.

Parallax & Magnification

The parallax adjustment knob works very well. It’s easy to turn and accurate. This makes for easy adjustments in the field.

The 6-24x magnification is probably my favorite thing about this scope. Whether I want to shoot something ten yards out or plink a target at 1000 yards, the BTR is my go-to.

The scope image is very clear up until about 20x. After that it gets a little bit blurry, so you may want to invest in a higher-end scope if you want to do a lot of extreme distance shooting.

That said, I’ve found that the Argos BTR still functions well at 1000 yards, especially when you consider the price.

Mounting & Rings

The Argos BTR doesn’t come with any rings or a mount, so I’d suggest getting a set of High Scope Rings that fit your 22lr.

The scope does come with a set of lens covers, which is nice. It also includes a battery for the illuminated reticle.

I went ahead and bought a 50mm Athlon Sunshade to use for my daytime shooting.

It helps a lot with glare and reflections.

Is the Athlon Argos BTR 6-24×50 Worth It?

If you need an all-range scope for your 22lr, you can’t go wrong with the Argos BTR.

Here’s why. It has:

  • First focal plane
  • 6-24x magnification
  • Excellent in low-light
  • Reliable, hand-adjustable turrets
  • Illuminated, etched BTR MIL reticle
  • Fully multi-coated glass for clear, crisp image

And all of this comes in a package that costs a fraction of what other competing scopes cost.

If all of that wasn’t enough, the BTR comes with Athlon’s Gold Medal lifetime warranty, so you know you’re covered if anything happens to your riflescope.

If you want all these features in a low-cost riflescope, then the Argos BTR 6-24×50 is for you.

Looking for a riflescope for your AR? Here’s our list of the 7 Best AR-15 Scopes and Optics.

Now It’s Your Turn

I hope you enjoyed my best 22LR scope for target shooting guide.

So as a recap:

If you’re looking for the best overall .22LR target shooting scope, then get the Leupold VX-Freedom Rimfire.

What about the best close-to-medium range optic? The Crossfire II 2-7×32 is for you.

If you’re into short-range varmint hunting, then opt-in for the Bushnell Drop Zone-22.

Or if you’re looking for the best short-to-long range scope, then get the Athlon Argos BTR 6-24×50.

Whichever .22LR scope you choose, you’re bound to hit a reliable, yet effective optic. I’ve spent hundreds of rounds through each one with no failure.

Now I want to turn it over to you:

Which rifle scope will you pick for your .22LR?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment down below.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>