When it comes to choosing a scope for a Ruger 10/22 rifle many shooters take the “path of least resistance” and opt for an inexpensive 1″ tube model with a similar size objective that mounts on the grooved top rail of the rifle. These scopes are inexpensive and as the rifles have little to no recoil and are shot at relatively short ranges; they can last for many years. If or when they do malfunction, they are quickly and easily replaced.
In this article, we are going to take a look at the top Ruger 10/22 scopes and explain why they are considered our favorite models of the year.
The Best Ruger 10/22 Scopes
BARSKA 3-9x32 Plinker-22 Riflescope
Nikon 6729 ProStaff 4-12 x 40
Leupold VX-1 3-9x40mm Scope
Simmons .22 Mag TruPlex Reticle
Tasco Rimfire Series 3-9x 32mm 30/30 Reticle
Vortex Optics - 6-18x44mm V-Brite Matte Black
Simmons .22 Mag TruPlex Reticle 4x32mm
Tasco Red Dot 1 x 30mm Rifle Scope
As a 22 rifle may never be a lifesaving piece of equipment or make the difference on an expensive hunting adventure, the majority of shooters will get by with this type of a setup and can safely assume that these are the best 10/22 rifle scopes for the money.
That is small comfort if your goal with your 10/22 is more than just shooting cans at the dump or taking out ground squirrels at 50 feet. Perhaps you are a dedicated shooter looking to improve and purchased a target grade 10/22 rifle similar to your big bore centerfire rifle to save money on ammunition or maybe you want to compete with your 10/22 in a match. Maybe you feel better with a scope that actually lets you see your target and the 1″ objective just does not cut it.
Whatever the reason, you want something more than that groove mounted 1″ flimsy piece with a 2.4X eyepiece that takes 5 minutes to acquire a sight picture. You need not go with a $1000 import from Austria or Germany as some of the best Ruger 10/22 rifle scopes can be had for a little less than $50 shipped to your door.
Benefits of Upgrading to a Scope on Your 10/22
Scopes exist for greater accuracy, especially at longer ranges. Although the .22 LR is not a long range round, a scope will still greatly improve accuracy. If you are shooting competitively or feel that your eyes are getting a bit old for iron sights, a scope is definitely the way to go.
The 10/22 is the most popular rifle for training youth to shoot as well. To gain a well-rounded set of skills it is best to train them on both iron sights and a scope. One great feature of most scopes is magnification, allowing you to better identify your target and place your shot exactly where you want.
A scope with a large objective lens can be easier to aim in low light conditions than other sighting options. If you are hunting game which does not like to stay still, which is pretty much all game, a scope offers faster target acquisition than traditional iron sights.
Features of a Great 10/22 Scope
The Ruger 10/22 is an excellent, light, and inexpensive rifle. It should be paired with a scope that has these same qualities. The 10/22 has no recoil and is a short-range weapon, so build-quality and magnification are not vital in a 10/22 scope.
This greatly helps keep the cost of the scope down. There are two main qualities a 10/22 scope absolutely requires. These are clarity and the ability to hold zero over time. There are also a few other qualities you should watch for when purchasing a great scope for your 10/22
A lightweight scope can be a big plus if you plan to hike around with it a lot rather than just sit in one place.
An adjustable turret for ranging can help shoot as accurately as possible. Specialized reticles with markings for different ranges are also available as an alternative.
Although magnification is not as critical as on larger caliber rifles, it is still nice to have. Focusing a magnified lens quickly is also a very useful skill to teach young shooters that we often buy 10/22s for. Common magnification ranges for .22 LR rifles include 2-7x and 3-9x. Even 1-4x is great for hunting with a .22.
The larger the scope's objective lens, the brighter the sight picture will be, but the heavier the scope will be. Objective lens diameters of 20mm or 33mm are sufficient and help keep the weight down. Some people still prefer the larger 40mm or 42mm options for a brighter sight picture.
Review of the Best Ruger 10/22 Scopes
The best scopes for your 10 22 rifle are listed below, starting with the best one first. These is a good short list for the best scopes and will help you quickly decide which one you need.
We actually obtained this scope on a used rifle and were going to toss it in exchange for a higher end model, but curiosity got the better of us. It turned out to be a fine scope to run on our 10/22 for a number of reasons.
The 3-9X variable power range is one of the most common settings found in North America and if you are shooting a rim fire version of your favorite hunting rifle, this scope is a no-brainer.
This one is kind of our odd-man out with no magnification or reticle, but the red dot brings with it some other advantages in close range accuracy.
Most shots with a 22 rifle are made at short range from 50 feet to 50 yards. Dialing up the magnification tends to restrict the field of view at short ranges and can make it difficult to focus. So our first scope will be a fixed 4X.
Another 3-9X scope, but this one carries the more familiar Tasco name. While quality may be hit and miss on their center fire models, they do a very good job with rim fire scopes.
Vortex is known to be an excellent value for money. They back up their workmanship with an outstanding warranty and unbeatable customer service. They are particularly known for the clarity of their optics. The 6-18x44mm V-Brite Matte Black may be slight overkill for a 10/22, but that's better than being under-gunned. Besides, if you're going to pony out money on a scope, it is not unwise to pick one you can foresee using on other guns in the future.
The aircraft-grade aluminum body is treated for a lifetime of waterproof performance. The multi-coated 44mm lens collects a high amount of light, keeping your sight picture very bright. If you plan to use your 10/22 at dusk, at dawn, or in other low-light conditions, you will appreciate this large OL diameter. Vortex boasts of their fast focus eyepiece, allowing quick and easy focusing of the reticle.
Vortex scopes are designed to be the highest quality available within their price range. The company backs this up with an excellent warranty and customer service that is a sheer joy to deal with. The Crossfire II boasts very solid construction with shockproof and waterproof features. The turrets are capped and resettable and the scope features a fast focus eyepiece.
The level of magnification offered is a bit high for a 10/22, but if you want to be sure which of the gopher's nostrils you hit, this scope is for you. You may need to check that your scope rings are high enough. These scopes enjoy a very high level of user satisfaction, especially at the price point, with impressive clarity often mentioned as a top selling point.
Nikon has a reputation as a global leader, not only in rifle scopes, but in optics in general. Nikon is particularly known to deliver a punch above its weight at a given price point. This ProStaff model features fully multi-coated lenses and a 40mm objective lens. This is more than enough for a 10/22 in most use cases. This large diameter lens will give you a bright sight picture in almost any lighting condition.
The ballistic drop compensating (BDC) reticle allows you to adjust your aim for various distances instantly and without any manual adjustments. The 4-12x magnification is more than ample for a .22 LR rifle, allowing you to knock out the gopher tooth of your choice.
Special features include a quick-focus eyepiece and spring-loaded turrets that instantly return to zero. The build quality is excellent and is fully fog proof and waterproof. Nikon backs its scopes up with a great lifetime warranty covering all quality and manufacturing.
You can pay a lot more money and not get a scope as good as this Nikon Prostaff. The clarity and brightness are two of the key selling points. The magnification is more than sufficient given the effective range of the .22 LR. Some users don't like the way the BDC reticle is marked, others love it.
It will also take some care when mounting the scope to ensure that the eye relief allows you to instantly gain a sight picture. This is a very well-built scope with excellent features that you will be able to use not only on your 10/22 but on other higher-powered rifles you acquire in the future.
Nothing says made-in-America quality like the golden ring around a Leupold scope. This family-run company has been going for over a hundred years. In that time it has built a solid reputation as some of the best glass that money can buy.
Many of the features of this VX-1 will not surprise. It is built to last a lifetime, with a water and fog proof aluminum body. Lenses are multi-coated and the scope sports a wide 40mm objective lens for a bright sight picture. The 3-9x magnification is well suited to the capabilities of the .22 LR round. The 3:1 zoom ratio is versatile while allowing the scope to remain light and affordable. You have a variety of reticles to choose from, including the Leupold Ballistic Aiming System.
The VX-1 comes with an excellent warranty. The design and manufacture of all components and assembly take place in the USA. This is an American classic that is not only ideal for a Ruger 10/22 but also suitable for use on many high-recoil rifles. It is a scope that will last and that you can proudly hand down to your children.
This scope is an ideal choice for your 10/22. The magnification range is ideal and the OL is more than necessary for a very bright sight picture even in low light conditions. While it could be tempting to buy this Leupold to show off to your friends, you wouldn't go wrong. This scope offers outstanding build quality and a perfect balance of function and affordability.
How to Install a Scope on Your Ruger 1022
The video below will walk you through all of the steps on how to mount and install a new scope:
All of these models are waterproof, fogproof and shockproof (although we would not perform the USMC test of using the scope body to hammer nails into wood and expect it to hold zero!) and the optics are multi coated to reduce glare.
You can still spend more money on making your Ruger 10/22 more accurate, but these five will keep you hitting the target without breaking the bank.