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Best Scope for the Ruger 10/22 (2019 UPDATED)

Since its introduction in 1964, over 5 million 10/22 rifles have been sold. It is the most prolific and widespread .22 rifle ever created. Part of its popularity is becuase of the absolute reliability of the gun. Another part of the popularity occurs because of its easy and diverse modifications. It is hard to find the best scope for the Ruger 10/22s. Let's give it a shot!

Much of the difficulty arises from the multitude of uses and set ups for this rifle. If you use it to exterminate nocturnal varmints, a red-dot would be more beneficial. In sandbag shoots, you will probably need a very high powered optic. These guns span the whole range of shooting potential. That means there are a variety of quality scopes that will fit the bill.

The .22 cartridge has so many amazing capabilities. I have used a 10/22 both around the farm and in matches for decades. From the target to the take-down, they are all amazing guns. They adapt well to optics, we just have to figure out which one to buy.

Best scope for Ruger 10/22 Reviews

Before you can possibly decide what scope to purchase, you have to decide how you will use the rifle. Most of us won’t use our rifle for just one purpose. Instead, we need it for a variety of purposes. These will call for diverse optics. You can also try to find a single optic that works for every purpose. Consider carefully use while you read through the following section.

coat with Magnification 

This is where all starts. How powerful does a scope need to be? The answer depends on you. For small targets, most people prefer very powerful optics in the range of a 20-x or higher. That level of magnification will work for match rifles or hunting small varmints. Such magnification is very limiting on moving targets. It is hard to keep them in the sights.

Other people like scout style scopes with very low magnification. These scopes use magnification under 8x. Scout scopes are great for hunting the small game. You can also use them at the range for a little plinking. A .22 caliber rifle really benefits from scout scopes where range is lower. Low magnification for hunting squirrel is a real marksmanship test. It will be far more fun than a shotgun.

"Red-dot” sights are really beyond the intent of this article. Keep in mind that they are very popular options on the 10/22. An array of advice exists on which the “red dots” are out best. I will offer this advice: Vortex Optics “red-dot” is the best one for the price. It is perfectly suited to the 10/22.

In terms of an all-around gun, I recommend magnification between 15x and 10x. It will perform well at the range on in the field. I have used a variety of scopes in this power range on many different activities. I always did well. I even won several sandbag shooting competition with a modified 10/22.

Scope Image 

Scope image affects the brightness, contrast, and clarity. A number of things can affect the image. You will find three primary considerations that affect your purchase of a scope. Lower power scopes provide a good image easier. High powered scopes make it harder. So you should also keep your planned magnification in mind.

The first thing that will affect the scope image is glass quality. If you have bad glass, nothing will make the image better. Scope from a budget manufacturer need lower power that provides more flexibility. Or you could just get a scope from a reputable maker. That way you know it’s good.

The next most important factor is having the objective lens. The objective lens is the one farther from your eye. It should be sized appropriately for your magnification. Most respected manufacturers ,make this a non-issue. But if you buy from a lower end manufacturer, make sure the “objective-lens” has the correct size. Of course, a larger objective can make mounting the scope a little more difficult.

The final consideration is the lens coatings. They can be either a single coating or a coat with a variety of chemicals. The chemicals are added to lenses to improve the transfer of light. They can decrease glare and filter certain wavelengths to make things clearer. Getting a scope that is “multicoated” is a huge benefit to scope image. It will provide the best and cleanest picture.

Ruggedness and Durability 

Being a light-use rifle, you can generally get by with a less durable scope. This may change if you have something like a 10/22 “take-down” that you bang around. No matter your type of rifle, opt for the most durability you can afford. Why get a product that has a good chance of failing?

When we talk about ruggedness, we mean it has certain features. For example, it should be shock proof and maybe scratch resistant. Find a scope that can take a little abuse. Accidents happen especially when we use our rifles harder than planned. When possible get a scope that can take a light beating and still be on target.

Ruggedness also indicates the weather resistance of scope. Most quality scopes will be waterproof. The best ones will be cleared of oxygen and sealed. This helps keep out dust, water and will even prevent lenses from the fogging. Weather resistance is a very important considerations for any rifle used in the field. You should even consider this feature for a range rifle.

Mounts 

The .22 is a low recoil caliber. It will generally not take the abuse of dedicated hunting rifles. Therefore, you should be able to get by with lightweight rings and mounts. They ensure that the rifle stays light and maneuverable. There is very little reason to get high-quality mounts for the 10/22. However, if you can spend the money, they will never hurt. It’s a case of being secure rather than sorry.

The first exception to this rule is for very “long-range” rifles t hat will be used in competitions. In that case, you need precision mounts. These should be finely machined and probably lapped to keep your accuracy on point. Such high quality adds to the price. It is worth it, however, if you need the highest performance.

The second exception is for 10/22 “take-down” or anything used as a canoe gun or backpack gun. These rifles are going to take more abuse. They will benefit from very good and solid rings. There is nothing worse than using s perfectly sighted in rifle in the field only to find out it’s accuracy is off.

Complexity 

You have to decide between speed and high-powered gadgets. You could choose things like a “bullet-drop” reticle or even tactical turrets. But, thhey will add to your speed. Plus, this is the 10/22 and you will have a very limited effective range.

In my opinion, there is zero reason to have target turrets on the .22 rifle. They do not add to the capabilities of the caliber. That said, some scopes have target turrets and work wonderful for the 10/22. They should be considered. The 10/22 is a great platform to introduce you to a scope with turrets.

Sniper-type reticles are way too complicated for the 10/22. A “bullet-drop” reticle, though, will be very useful. Generally, I would only concern myself with elevation markings on the reticle. You will have very little need for windage compensation. Usually, you won’t be shooting far enough for wind to matter. If it does, the .22 is very easily affected by the wind, so you may not be able to compensate anyway.  

It's also worth noting zooms here. Zoom can be a great feature. It allows you to use lower magnification and higher magnification. Just be aware that scopes can either be second or first focal plane. A second focal plane optic will only be accurate at the magnification you use to sight it in. A first focal plane optic will be accurate at any magnification. FFP scopes are more costly and rarer that Second “Focal-Plane” scopes.

Best Ruger 10/22 Scope 2020 - Comparison Table

Image Product Features
scmtbl-table__image Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical
  • Magnification: 3-9x
  • Objective Lens: 40mm
  • Lens Coating: Fully Multi-Coated
  • Weather-Proofing: Waterproof /Fogproof
VIEW ON AMAZON →
scmtbl-table__image Leupold VX-2
  • Magnification: 4-12x
  • Objective Lens: 40mm
  • Lens Coating: Multi-Coated
  • Weather-Proofing: Waterproof /Fogproof
VIEW ON AMAZON →
scmtbl-table__image Vortex Optics Crossfire II
  • Magnification: 4-16x
  • Objective Lens: 50mm
  • Lens Coating: Fully Multi-Coated
  • Weather-Proofing: Waterproof /Fogproof
VIEW ON AMAZON →
scmtbl-table__image Nikon Prostaff Rimfire II
  • Magnification: 3-9x
  • Objective Lens: 40mm
  • Lens Coating: Fully Multi-Coated
  • Weather-Proofing: Waterproof /Fogproof
VIEW ON AMAZON →
scmtbl-table__image Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn
  • Magnification: 3-9x
  • Objective Lens: 40mm
  • Lens Coating: Fully Multi-Coated
  • Weather-Proofing: Waterproof /Fogproof
VIEW ON AMAZON →
scmtbl-table__image Simmons 8-Point
  • Magnification: 4-12x
  • Objective Lens: 40mm
  • Lens Coating: Fully Multi-Coated
  • Weather-Proofing: Waterproof /Fogproof
VIEW ON AMAZON →

Top 6 Best Scope For Ruger 10/22 on the Market Reviews

 1  Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical 

Vortex has been beating out all other brands in the marketplace. It is no surprise that they are first on our list. If you are looking for a Vortex scope for Ruger 10/22, the Diamondback Tactical is a very good fit. It has great power and accuracy. In fact, it is the king of the rimfire optics. Using this scope for a Ruger 10/22 Target Tactical could mean you have the ultimate squirrel rifle.

Vortex has their own patented low dispersion glass. It absolutely blows away any other optic in this range. They even have their own blend of multicoat and a solid 40mm objective lens. This all combined gives you some of the best glass for a 10/22.  When it comes to clarity, contrast, and sheer brightness, the Diamondback series is impossible to beat for the price.

It doesn’t stop there! This 3-9x scope has the power to take your .22 to the next level. If you want a scope for a 10/22 at 100 yards or more, this is an amazing choice. It will get your shot off as far as a .22 can shoot. You could also consider this scope in a 6-24x model if you really wanted to max out your possibilities. Use it for target practice or as a great scope for squirrel hunting with a .22 rifle.

Complete with target turrets and a BDC reticle, this scope has it all. It even has more toughness than you will ever need. It's waterproof, fog proof, shock resistant, and completely sealed. Breaking this thing is a near impossible task. Durability makes the Diamondback perfect for Ruger 10/22 takedown models.

 2  Leupold VX-2 

The Leupold VX-2 is one of my favorite optics of all time. It may not be specifically designed for a .22, but you can never tell. It will feel like it was built as a Ruger 10/22 scope from the start. The magnification range is near perfect. The size of this scope makes it feel like a part of the gun. It is perfect for a light varmint rifle or as a scope for 10/22 carbine models. It will keep them lightweight for great hunting capabilities.

The optical quality of any Leupold scope is miles beyond every other brand. Their basic glass is just astounding. Add that glass to a set of fully multicoated lenses and a super bright 40mm objective lens. You have a recipe for amazing optical quality. You will never fully understand the quality of a Leupold optic until you look through one.

This scope blends a BDC reticle with standard turrets. Learning to shoot it at varying ranges will take a little practice. Your practice will pay off in spades later. If you want a scope for 10/22 target shooting, this one will knock them dead. At 4-12x, it isn’t the most powerful scope. It is still among the best.

Even better, Leupold protects your investment with a lifetime guarantee. You will likely never need to use the warranty. This product is fully sealed and purged to be dust, fog, and waterproof. It is even coated with a scratch resistant finish. A few bangs will never hurt its shockproof construction. If you opinion about the best Ruger 10/22 scope, I choose the VX-2.

 3  Vortex Optics Crossfire II 

Our second offering by Vortex combines many of the same features as the first. It has quality glass and more than adequate reliability. The size is also compact, which is ideal for a scoped Ruger 10/22 takedown. If you want more magnification you can even scale up to the 26x version.

Why repeat what we said about Vortex glass here? It's still the same multicoated, extra-low dispersion glass that stomps its competition. The only real difference is the extra large 50mm objective on this 4-16x. Its brightness is nearly unparalleled. Even in lower light, you can hunt effectively with the Crossfire II. 

Featuring the Vortex-only Dead-Hold BDC reticle, this is a set-it-and-forget-it style scope. All you do is dial it in. Then use the mil scale to get the bullet drop right. Rather than target turrets, the Crossfire II has a compromise. The adjustments are capped but can be adjusted by hand. It may not be the best for on the fly adjustments, but at leas they are a possibility!

Tough as a tank like every Vortex scope, the Crossfire II is purged and sealed.  Water or dust will never get in, neither will even a smidge of fog. Small bangs won’t cause a problem. Even scratches are unlikely. This is one rugged scope, which makes it my Ruger 10/22 takedown scope recommendation.

 4  Nikon Prostaff Rimfire II 

Let’s discuss a scope designed for the rimfire rifle. There are a lot of benefits to this product. It has a BCD reticle designed specifically for a .22's drop of a .22. If you want the perfect budget rimfire scope under 200 bucks, this Nikon is for you.

Nikon has been known as a quality manufacturer of optical glass. The Prostaff series indicate why! Fully multi-coated with a perfectly proportioned 40mm objective, you will have no problems finding a target. The image will be as clean and vibrant beyond what you would think.

Looking for a .22 rifle scope for squirrel hunting? The Prostaff’s BDC 150 reticle with set-and-forget adjustments will get you on target every time! The somewhat lower power 3x9x really work best for small game at reasonable ranges. With a good sight in and a little practice, hundred yard shots or better are easily possible. Never doubt the accuracy of the .22 with the right scope.

Don’t think that Nikon is just a glass company. They are a scope company. That means that their scopes stand up to the elements. Luckily the Prostaff series are all dust, water, and fog proof. They can handle the little dings and bumps a rifle scope takes in the field. This means they will serve you for a lifetime.

 5  Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 

Need a great 3-9x40 scope under 100 bucks? Well, you can easily find it at company that has been producing optics for decades! It's hard to find as popular a brand as Bushnell. They have a solid reputation with hunters and target shooters alike. This may be a little more scope than necessary for the 10/22. That doesn’t mean it isn't a wonderful budget rifle scope.

You can find a specifically designed rimfire scope under 100 bucks. It will really not do much for you. Plus, there are limitations it you ever want to transfer the scope to another rifle. If you want a scope with the quality glass that is waterproof, fog proof, and tough, you want the Bushnell. Don't worry about the design. Bushnell’s Multi-X reticle even works great for any caliber.

One of the most amazing features of this 3-9x scope is the multi-coated glass. It is specifically designed to capture every bit of light. Therefore, shooting in the early morning or late evening is as plausible as shooting at noon. Dusk and dawn shooting capabilities are a great feature in a light varmint rifle.

With amazing glass, outstanding durability, and a form perfect for the 10/22, its hard to beat the Bushnell Banner. If you want a great scope for Ruger 10/22 under $100.00, you have to have this product. What you get for that price will boggle the mind!

 6  Simons 8 Point 

Simons 8 Point is a compact scope with clean lines and plenty of power. It works great for people on a budget. You can’t beat this great little rifle scope for under 50 bucks. There will be some sacrifices at that price. They are not enough to ever make you miss a target or hurt your hunting. 

Simons does good glass. It isn’t great, but it is quite good for the price. Unlike their other products, this Simons scope has fully coated glass. Combine that with a decent sized 40mm objective and you get some outstanding images. Believe me, for this price range this scope is number 1.

It also has features usually seen on more expensive optics. For example the BDC reticle that works well with a .22 rifle or any other caliber. Windage and elevation can be adjusted in the field. The scope is also quite rugged and should hold up to most shooting needs.

Waterproof, rainproof, and shockproof enough to stand up to high-powered rifles, your .22 will never lose accuracy. If you are looking for the ultimate budget scope for Ruger 10/22 rifles, this one gets the job done. It will do it better than any competitors. At least for its price range.

What distance to zero a Ruger 10/22?

Generally speaking, a Ruger can be set at 50 yards. This is a good setting for hunting small animals like squirrels. Sometimes you will get shooters who like to distance out to 100. This is fine to do as well, but then you need to take bullet drop in to consideration.

If you will be doing target shooting or plinking, you can set it to 25 yards. Make sure to do some target practicing to see what adjustments you need. The Ruger 10/22 comes with factory-equipped iron sights. These include a front sight post and a rear sight leaf slide. It is also recommended that you practice your sighting with these posts first, before adding any scopes. You will also need to adjust for any windage when shooting. Take note if your shot falls to the left or right of the target. Then adjust for that variation.

How to zero your Ruger 10/22.

Zeroing your Ruger means that you are finding the distance you need to hit the bullseye. The bullseye represents both target and animal in the field.

To find the zero, you need to find the distance that allows you to shoot your Ruger dead on. Then you can move a bit further away. Notice what happens. You will find that if you are too close to your target your bullet will miss. If you are too far away, you will need to adjust for windage. It is important that you figure these measurements out before adding a scope.

Most users find that 50 yards is the sweet spot.

What about a Ruger 10/22? Should you use a scope or iron sights?

This is a great question. There is debate about using the scope to zero your Ruger 10/22. The general feeling is that you should sight your Ruger with the iron sights first.

Using the iron sights, you need to figure out the zero of your Ruger. For most users, this will be about 50 yards. You should be able to consistently hit your target using only the iron sights at that distance. Fifty yards is an ideal distance for plinking, sport shooting, or small game hunting. For longer distances you will need to adjust for windage. You will also need to take the trajectory of the bullet into consideration. As you track your accuracy, you will need to adjust left or right. And you might need to adjust for bullet drop as well.

A scope is used to help you increase your range. So, you may not need one if you only shoot at 50 yards.

However, if you are interested in long range game hunting a scope might be helpful. Make sure to use a lightweight scope, since you do not want to add weight to your Ruger. When adding the scope it is recommended that you do not add one over 4x. Your aim will be off if you use too much magnification with the Ruger.

So, should I use my Ruger 10/22 with a scope or a red dot?

Again, this question is not cut and dry. The answer depends on what type of shooting you do.

Some users feel that the red dot is better for shooting at 50 yards or less. The feeling is that the red dot is accurate at this length. It is able to quickly get your eye on the target. The speed sets you up for success.

Using a scope at 50 yards or less is tough. Most users feel that scopes at this shorter distance are not helpful at all. In fact, the rings can actually get in the way of sighting the target.

Now if you plan on shooting targets at a distance greater than 50 yards, a scope might be helpful. The greater magnification of the scope and the rings help you shoot targets much farther away. 

Ruger 10/22 Scope Buyers Tips

What range to sight in a Ruger 10/22?

Most people will recommend sighting in any .22 rifle at 50 yards. Many manufacturers suggest the same.  You will do well at longer ranges with a scope, but you may be off a little at closer range.

Some people will recommend sighting in at 25 yards. This shorter distance will take care of any accuracy issues but will make those shots at 100 yards or more a little bit more difficult.

I sight in my .22s at 75 yards. I ave found this does very well for almost any range. Of course, your ammunition will make a small difference. You should still give it a shot. Try sighting in at a variety of different yardages. Then shoot targets from 10 to 150 yards.  See what works best for you and your ammunition.

What is the effective range of a 10/22?

This will depend on your ammunition more than anything. I have taken squirrel and other small game as far away as 150 yards with CCI Mini-Mags.  Much beyond that and the .22 will lose too much power to make a clean kill.

On larger animals like raccoons and skunks, I like to stay below 100 yards. This distance ensures I have the power for a single shot kill. It is unethical to do otherwise.

For target shooting, I regularly shoot out to 200 yards with a .22. Use targets the size of a 2-liter soda bottle and you will have success and a lot of fun. Sometimes a .22 won’t even make a hole in thicker plastic at that range.

If you are hunting, practice at ranges until you are sure you can make a clean hit and kill.

What scope magnification for squirrel hunting?

This is a very common question. It really depends on where you hunt. If the woods are wide open, a more powerful scope will work. In dense woods, most people prefer a 4x scope for squirrel hunting. There is nothing wrong with this, but it isn’t what I prefer.

I like a 3-9x scope for any hunting with a .22 rifle. I usually leave it on 9x and use that for any hunting I do out to 100 yards. If I go any farther than that distance I use a scope that is 20x or more. I use these magnification levels for target shooting as well.

Shooting a squirrel at more than about 50 yards is really difficult shot. It is still very rewarding even if you only hit one out of every 50 tries.

Should I get a rimfire specific scope?

Most rimfire-specific scopes use a reticle that is geared toward a .22 rifle and its specific ballistics. I have never found this to be useful or even accurate. There is too much variety in .22 ammunition to make much difference. Besides, many companies use the rimfire designation to produce sco pes that are weaker. This saves them money. The Nikon reviewed above is an exception.

I want a scope that is as rugged as I can get. Typically, I stay clear of most rimfire specific optics. With some practice and know-how, you can get the same results out of any BDC reticle. The lack of magnification is rarely ever worth it.

What scope mount should I use on a 10/22?

With a .22, get any rings you want. I use cheaper rings on most of my .22 rifles and have never had an issue. There are two notable exceptions:

If you have a takedown model, either standard or the LITE model, you may need a quick release. This allows your scope to be removed when you are packing the gun. There are several quality Ruger 10/22 Takedown scope mount options that will work well.  Just make sure they are Picatinny.

If you use your 10/22 for long range competitions, you will need precision rings.  Both Leupold and Vortex make great products. The Vortex are cheaper. I actually prefer them to the Leupold rings. Whatever rings you get make sure they are precision machined and lapped.

Will a 10/22 takedown hold its zero?

I mostly use red dots on my takedown. I have never had an issue with it holding a zero. Even with Nikon optic seemed to work out just fine when taken down and reassembled. If you are using a more powerful optic and shooting longer ranges, there is a chance it could lose zero.

A lot of this will depend on your file. The sloppier the fit, the worse your zero will hold over time. Reassemble and take a test shot before hunting just to make sure.

FAQ

Why is it called a 10/22?

The Ruger 10/22 was first produced by the American firearm manufacturer Sturm, Roger and Co. It is a semi automatic rifle chambered for the .22 long rifle rimfire cartridge. The 10/22 uses a patented 10-round rotary magazine. Interestingly, a standard carbine version has been continuously produced since 1964. This makes the 10/22 one of the most successful rimfire rifle designs in history.

How far does a Ruger 10/22 shoot?

There are several answers to this question. The short answer is that a Ruger 10/22 generally shoots accurately at 50 yards. It has a maximum flat range of 125 yards.

However, there are factors that can affect your range. Some Ruger users like to add a scope to their rifle. This gives them the ability to shoot a little farther than 50 yards. With a scope you can shoot to 100 yards or even further. Some users feel that bullet type affects their range as well. Given how the weight of a bullet can affect the trajectory, this may be true.

With normal use and without any additional scopes, most Rugers will shoot accurately at 50 yards.

Is the Ruger 10/22 a rimfire rifle?

The Ruger is considered a rimfire rifle. Rimfire is a term that describes how the bullets are fired. In a rimfire gun the firing pin strikes and crushes the rim on the base. This action ignites the primer.

What height scope rings should you use for the Ruger 10/22?

The answer to this question will be your personal preference. The rings should allow you to have good sighting. You should be able to maintain good position and cheek rest.

The general rule is that you should use rings that keep the scope above the top of the barrel. If you use rings that are too high, you are going to throw your sighting off. You will have to adjust parallax to make up for the height. Most scope users should purchase medium rings.

When you are looking to add a scope to your rifle, you need a rail. Or you will need to add one. Most Rugers will come with a stock rail. You put the rings on the rail to hold the scope in place. Make sure you purchase the correct rings for your rail type. If you are not sure, ask at your local gun shop.

The Ruger uses a rail called the Weaver rail. The Weaver rail is very common. Many manufacturers make rings and accessories for the Weaver rail. If you prefer, you can remove the Weaver rail and attach a Picatinny rail instead. Like the Weaver, many manufacturers make accessories that can be used with a Picatinny rail.

Finally, consider the weight. Adding scope and rings to your Ruger is going to increase the weight. Weight matters if you will be holding your position for any length of time. Since one of the nice points to a Ruger 10/22 is its lightweight design, be sure you research your scope carefully.

Conclusion

I really can’t think of a firearm that is more fun to shoot than a 10/22. It's almost pure joy with the added smell of gunpowder.  Once you add an optic to your 10/22 it will only get better. The low price of some amazing optics really makes this purchase make sense! 

You can also follow my example. Get several 10/22s and set them all up differently. That’s the most fun you can have, at least until you add a suppressor.

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