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Can You Really Find a Decent .22 Scope for Under $100?
My personal opinion, when it comes to buying a scope for any firearm, is to avoid spending more for your optics than you do for your weapon. If you pay $150 for a 22 rifle, then it typically makes no sense to mount a $300 scope on it. The old adage, "you get what you pay for" typically applies to firearms and accessories just as it does to most retail purchases.
Certainly this does not apply if you snag a steal of a deal from your buddy who needs to turn a quick buck to cover foolish gambling debts or bail grandma out of jail. This happened to me recently, by the way...true story, (not the grandma and jail bit, but a betting co-worker). Anyway, without naming names to protect the newly-disarmed, I picked up a great deal on a nice piece of artillery from the this colleague who got overzealous at a Mississippi casino. His loss was certainly my gain, and I still was able to help him out.
So, whether you are just out plinking on a nice sunny afternoon or roaming the woods for critters to put in mama's stewpot, you want some decent glass on your shooter to get the job done. If your like me, (and the fact that you're reading this, indicates that probability is high) then you want to get a good deal on a reasonable scope for your 22 LR rimfire weapon. I wrote this article with you in mind (and admittedly, myself, as I use these same or comparable scopes on my 10-22 Ruger).
I hope you get more than a laugh or two and find this information useful. If you do benefit from it, please don't hesitate to let me know in the comments section below. Even if you think I am just full of beans, let me know that too...nicely, please.
The ABSOLUTE BEST Scope for Price and Quality is Right Here...Around $40!
Simmons .22 Mag TruPlex
This high-quality scope is one of the better budget scopes out there. It weighs in at just under $50 on Amazon for a brand new scope and a used one will usually cost you under $30. The lens has a cool coating called "HydroShield" that helps your lens picture remain clear, even in rainy or snowy conditions. The coating also helps prevent the lens from fogging up (Can I get this for my glasses? I can't tell you how many times I've set up to shoot and my glasses have fogged!).
This scope is also relatively easy to adjust in any condition as well. The SureGrip rubber surfaces ensure that you'll be able to adjust the sight easily even with gloves on! Most people are finding that this Simmons scope is comparable, and sometimes even better, than similar scopes that sell for $200 or more.
The proof is in the pudding with this scope. This Simmons Truplex has over 420 reviews on Amazon, with a 4 1/2 out of 5 star rating, making it an exceptional product for a very low price!
Stay on Target with These Budget Scopes
My 2nd Pick for Quality and Price is from Barska
BARSKA Plinker-22 Riflescope
The BARSKA Plinker-22 scope will cost you slightly more money than the previous scope (at just around $44 for new and $40 for used), but it's quality is really equal to the last scope. It's pretty lightweight, coming in at around 11 ounces, so it won't add too much heft to your rifle. The scope is also water and fog proof so you can use it in most any weather conditions. The other good thing about this scope is that it's shock proof, so you shouldn't lose all your sighting adjustments when your busting through the brush after high-speed squirrels.
The scope is adjustable, with 3 to 9X magnification, and it also comes with lens covers and lens cloths that should make keeping your lenses in tip-top shape relatively easy.
While most customers have positive comments about their BARSKA scopes, some who have tried to use the manufacturer's limited warranty to fix broken or damaged scopes have found that BARSKA's warranty process is less than friendly. The company has been reported to charge a $10-$15 "Warranty fee" as well as force the customer to pay for shipping to and from the company to be repaired. This is certainly something to keep in mind when considering this purchase.
BSA Sweet .22 3 - 9x40 mm Scope
This BSA Sweet scope is one of those items on Amazon that is better to buy new than used. While new will only cost you $50, if you get it at the right time, used BSA Sweets don't typically run alot lower.
The scope is fully adjustable with 3-9x magnification and has quick-change turrets for easy adjustment on the go. Windage and elevation are both adjustable with the top and side manual adjusters.
The BSA Sweet scope is ridiculously easy to zero. I'm one of those shooters that takes an hour to zero at the range (yep, I'm that guy), but this Sweet scope is a breeze to zero, a guy like me can get it done in less than 10 minutes with this baby.
The only issue that this scope has is that it doesn't hold up in the cold weather like some of the other more weather-proof scopes do. The power adjuster gets really tight in cold weather and makes the scope more difficult to get an accurate sight picture.
Check out the Nikon Prostaff here!
The Best of the 4 Scopes, but Just Tops the $100 Mark
Its a Nikon...Nuff Said!
I was a bit hesitant to add this one to my article because it comes in at just under $110 for new ones and nearly $95 for a used scope. However, this scope is one of the best scopes out there for the money. It is hands down the best scope of all mentioned here. You simply can't find a better bang for your buck than the Nikon ProStaff Rimfire (pssst...if you do, let me know). The Rimfire provides 4x magnification and a 32mm objective lens. The zero-reset turret has a spring-loaded adjustment knob and the scope is both waterproof and fogproof.
The Nikon ProStaff Rimfire comes from the awesome Nikon family...known for superior quality. I am a fan of their digital cameras as well.
The Rimfire won't lose its zero with minor bumps and shakes and you'll find that the scope keeps its zero in between shootings. The adjuster knobs are made of plastic; however, so they may not appear to be as high quality as the more expensive scopes. Don't let this scare you though because it is tough plastic, so its just as durable as many pricier scopes.
A Final Word
With the outlandish price for small caliber ammo these days, many shooters choose to spend less time at the range. This makes your choice of scope even more important, as you will spend more time hitting your target and less time fooling with a scope that won't hold zero (even on a light-recoil .22). I hope this information helps narrow your search for a quality scope at a great price and you can spend more time hitting your target at the range or perhaps in the squirrel woods. Happy plinking!
Your Turn to Weigh In
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
New Guestbook Comments
1outdoors on January 26, 2019:
Good read, goes along with others I've read. Thanks for your time.
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Rob on August 04, 2018:
Great article. Thank you for the info and the chuckles.
M. Victor Kilgore (author) on January 29, 2015:
dannyscott on July 08, 2014:
Wonderful information... You rock simply :)