When you say “.22 rifle” there is a good chance the image that springs to mind for many people is the ubiquitous Ruger 10/22. Made for over half a century, this generations spanning American classic has introduced countless of people to shooting, and has served as a faithful companion on untold hunts, afternoon shooting session and even high end competitive shooting. Suitable for any task you might have for a .22 rimfire, the 10/22 is affordable and readily attainable. This leads many people to search for the best Ruger 10/22 scope. The optics world is flooded with everything from multi thousand dollar scopes (not my choice for a 10/22 scope for sure!) to cheap garbage not suitable for airsoft work. In between is a veritable wonderland of scopes for every conceivable purpose that may or may not work for your 10/22. However, we took the time to dig around and find some great 10/22 scope suggestions, ranging from the inexpensive to approaching the cost of the gun itself. You’ll find something for everybody, with special consideration given to the increasingly popular Ruger 10/22 takedown and it’s unique scope needs.
This would be my choice for the best Ruger 10/22 Takedown scope. Because of the unique, easy storing properties of the 10/22 takedown, one needs a compact, yet powerful scope, and NCStar fulfills that requirement in spades. Fixed four power scopes have long been favorites of knowledgeable shooters, and for most rimfire use, a 4 power scope is more than adequate, especially if you have configured your 10/22 Takedown as a truck gun or survival rifle. Of course this would also be one of the best 10/22 scopes in general, but I especially favor it where small size and big power are in demand. The generous 30mm objective lens delivers a huge sight picture and ensures sufficient light transmission for a clear view of your target. As an added bonus, it’s surprisingly cheap! Sounds like a winner to me.
On the other hand, it is just a 4x scope. For some people that is all the Ruger 10/22 scope they need, and it will work perfectly, but let’s face it, there are real world short comings. A 3-9x magnification would probably be better, but would add to the cost of the scope, and this is probably not something you would want to bet your life on in an extreme weather survival situation. It’s a knockabout optic for a knockabout gun, and if you are a hardcore shooter or need a hardcore survival rifle, this won’t do the trick.
- Compact and lightweight
- Sufficient magnification for most use
- Large 30mm objective lens
- Low cost
- Not built for more than casual use
- Fixed power magnification can be limiting
- Lacks advanced optical coatings
- Limited features
Built just like it’s big brother with a .223 reticle, the Drop Zone-22 is a professional quality scope priced for a working person. Built with a carefully calibrated reticle designed around the .22 LR, featuring a fast focus eyepiece, fully multi coated optics, side parallax focus, crystal clear optics, and so much more, this is a truly remarkable scope, made all the more remarkable for its affordable price tag. Here is something rare in the rimfire world; a scope with an aircraft grade aluminum body, nitrogen purged tube, and in general, built just like a more expensive centerfire scope. This would be an ideal 10/22 scope for target shooting, competition, hunting, or just all around good times.
As a downside though, not everyone likes scopes that push the $100 mark, especially on a rifle that often can be had for around $250. The Ruger 10/22 out of the box is a modestly accurate rifle, and there is a point of diminishing returns in terms of quality optics unless you plan to do some serious upgrades on your 10/22.
- Highly accurate scope calibrated for common .22 rounds
- Built for rimfire rifles
- Rugged, all weather heavy duty construction.
- Higher cost than other rimfire scopes
- May be too much scope for some users, especially beginners
- Advanced features can be overwhelming to some users
- Drop zone 22 rim fire BDC reticle
- Target turrets
- Fully multicoated optics
Clocking in nicely between too cheap and too expensive, Simmons’ famous rimfire scope is one of the best 10/22 scopes on a budget or for casual everyday use. Built along similar lines as their centerfire scopes, but made for .22 shooters, Simmons offers a high quality optic complete with mounting rings for a littler more than the NCStar shown above. This scope features 3-9 power magnification, a 32mm objective lens, and “just right” construction and pricing, which make it ideal for your Ruger 10/22. Buy this scope if you are in the market for something affordable, yet still loaded with big dollar features, or appreciate a real bargain in the scope world. I have an inordinate fondness for Simmons scopes, and have used them on all manner of firearms, simply because they work.
Arguments against this scope are similar to other entry level 10/22 scopes. It’s cheap, which means corners are cut somewhere, it won’t hold up to rugged use. For as fond as I am of these things, I figure I’ll get my money out of them over a few seasons and accept that sooner or later I’ll break it. It’s only rifles that only get taken out on nice days to the range that get long term survivability out of these things.
- Very affordable
- Designed for rimfire use
- Includes mounting rings, and suitable for most 10/22 uses
- Imported scope may not hold up to hard use
- Entry level scope that isn’t suitable for competition or more than casual hunting
- Extensive use of plastic in internal construction
- High-quality fully-coated optical glass lenses
- Parallax correction preset from 50 yards to infinity
- Rimfire 3/8" dovetail mounting rings included
The biggest and best 10/22 scope we look at in this article, and also the most expensive. With a powerful 4-12x magnification and an enormous 40m objective lens, this is another rimfire optic built to mimic it’s more expensive centerfire cousins. Nikon is long famous for building high grade optics, and they bring that experience to the rifle scope world with their ProStaff line of scopes. With multicoated lenses, aircraft grade aluminum tubes, water, fog and shockproof construction, zero reset turret, quick focus eyepiece and more. This is a rifleman’s scope for serious target shooting work. Many Ruger 10/22’s are built as custom target and competition guns, and this is exactly the sort of scope you would want to put on such a rifle, and it’s even modestly priced for that sort of work.
But it is an awful lot of optic for some folks, and if you are running a stock or nearly stock 10/22 or especially a takedown 10/22, I’d pick one of the other options. This is a serious scope for serious shooters, and out of the box 10/22’s just don’t justify this quality of optics. If you plan to rebuild your rifle to a target configuration, here is your scope, otherwise you might want to spend less.
- Top quality scope for precision work
- Built to exacting standards not normally found in rimfire optics
- Return to zero turret allows for trying different ammo/ranges before quickly returning to your preferred zero
- Stock 10/22’s will not benefit from the advanced features of this scope
- Expensive for casual use
- Not ideal for entry level shooters
- Precise 1/4" at 50 yard adjustments
- Spring-Loaded Instant Zero-Reset turrets
- Parallax-free at 50 yards
Choosing Ruger 10/22 Optics
There are three standard out of the box options for a Ruger 10/22.
- The famous and most common stock carbine. While nothing to get excited over, it has been made by the millions and is a durable, functional rifle that has stood the test of time and has an enormous aftermarket support network behind it. You can literally build it into almost any configuration you want.
- The Ruger Charger. An exciting pistol variant of the Ruger 10/22, you’ll want to use a long eye relief scope like this one to use with it. Designed to provide a unique target shooting and hunting handgun, the Charger is also available as a takedown version (which strikes me as a bit gimmicky, but hey it’s popular!)
- And of course the 10/22 Takedown version. This increasingly in demand version of the classic 10/22 hearkens back to the early days of the 20th Century when many .22’s were designed to break into two handy pieces for easy stowage in a pack or under a seat. Popular with hikers, pilots, travelers and those who appreciate a functional novelty, the 10/22 Takedown is a marvelous rifle to own and shoot.
As a general rule, the standard Ruger 1022 with a scope is an accurate enough rifle for most shooters, and almost any scope that tickles your fancy will do the job. It’s when you start upgrading your rifle that you are going to look for better quality optics. Once you add a new barrel and trigger, your gun has reached a new level of performance, and so should your scope. Inexpensive scopes are fine for beginners, stock 10/22’s, and casual use, but will be of no use at all to experienced shooters or those with upgraded rifles.
If you are looking to scope the Ruger Charger, choose a red dot, or a quality long eye relief scope. These specialty pistols are popular novelty guns suitable for target shooting, small game hunting and all around plinking, but in general fill a niche better served by proper target pistols.
The 10/22 Takedown is a really fun rifle to own and shoot, and for good reason, the gimmick of a gun that comes apart into two pieces is hard to ignore. As a bonus it fills an important niche in the “survival rifle” market, where pilots, hikers, bikers, boaters and others seek a compact but functional rifle for emergency hunting, defense and signaling. If you are going to seek the best scope for a Ruger 10/22 Takedown, you will be following some of the same advice for the standard model. However, here a compact, lightweight scope comes into it’s own, so as to not burden what is meant to be a readily portable rifle with an excessively large scope. Choose light and small and you’ll be good to go.
The Ruger 10/22 has been delighting shooters for decades. A popular “first” rifle for children and long a favorite of knowledgeable shooters, it is likely that even if a person doesn’t own one, they have owned a 10/22 in the past. These rifles are handed down from parent to child and again to grandchild, so it makes sense to put the best 10/22 scope on them that you can find. Many of these guns are becoming collectible in their own right, and a high grade piece of glass sitting on them only enhances the value.
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