Best Scope for the 22LR Benchrest
When it comes to benchrest shooting, accuracy is more important than anything else! While a decent rifle is obviously necessary, the scope is what will make or break your kit.
However, finding the right scope can be quite difficult since they are all quite unique. As such, we have compiled a list of the best scopes for Benchrest shooting with 22LR.
5 Best Scopes for 22LR Benchrest Reviewed
Now that we know what to look for, let’s go ahead and take a look at the 5 best scopes that you can get for benchrest with the 22LR.
Best Overall: Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-16×50
The Crossfire II is one of the most used scopes around, and with good reason. There are a lot of variants of the scope. I personally believe that 4-16x offers you the most versatility for 22LR Benchrest.
With a Crossfire II, you can benchrest at any distance from 100-1000 yards. The dead-hold BDC reticle is designed to minimize the time it takes you to gauge bullet drop. Vortex also has a guide that can help you use the reticle with any kind of rifle.
The Crossfire II lens’ produces an image that is simply gorgeous. On top of that, you have turret adjustments that can quickly be reset to 0. Once you combine that with the fact that the reticle automatically adjusts windage and holdover at different magnifications (due to being in the second focal plane), it is easy to see why the Crossfire II is perfect for 22LR Benchrest.
Best for Novices: Leapers UTG 3-12×44
The Leapers UTG is a compact scope that is perfect for people new to benchrest. This is a scope that was designed with the 22LR in mind. As such, it is very easy to use and requires very little input from your end for it to function properly.
Leapers designed the UTG for use in all conditions. With multiple color options as well as a sunshade, the UTG will work properly in sunshine, rain, day, night, and anything else you can imagine.
This base of the scope is the True Strength platform which ensures that it can withstand rifles with heavy recoil. In fact, its proprietary circuit design ensures that its illumination does not stop working even under heavy recoil.
Its turrets, like the ones on Crossfire II, can be reset to 0. With an abundance of features, Leapers UTG is perfect for beginners. The mil-dots are easy to use and it is fairly easy to manage bullet drop with them. With a competitive price, this scope is definitely worth checking out!
Best for Competitive Benchrest: Nikon Prostaff Rimfire II 3-9X40
Despite Nikon’s claims that the BDC 150 reticle is meant for long-range shooting, my personal experience suggests that the Prostaff Rimfire II works best when you use it between 50-300 yards.
The Prostaff range has long been acclaimed as having some of the clearest and brightest picture quality, and the Rimfire II is no different. This scope is perfect for shooting calibers such as the 22LR. The best thing is that you can easily figure out how to use the reticle through Nikon’s Spot On Ballistic Match Technology.
The only negative to this scope is that its build quality is a little shoddy. While I have never had a problem with this scope personally, many users report the reticle becoming loose after some time. Apart from this, shooters looking to take part in 22LR competitions should definitely give the Prostaff a try.
Best for Long Range Benchrest: NightForce Precision Benchrest 12-42×56
The NightForce Precision Benchrest requires quite a heavy investment, and it is not versatile by any measure. However, the amazing image quality, illumination, and magnification range make it a great choice for anyone interested in shooting beyond 500 yards.
The scope is obviously for use with ammunition of heavier calibers. However, long-range shooters will find the capped turrets and the extreme ruggedness to be of huge value. If you are someone who wants a scope that works great on many different rifles, then the Precision Benchrest is it.
Lastly, you have 2 reticles to choose from on this scope. The NP-2DD offers unobstructed vision at the cost of fewer markings. On the other side, the NP-R2 has a lot of markings for both elevation as well as windage adjustments. I have only used this scope for a limited time, but I found the 2DD to be one of the best reticles I have ever used. If you have the money, then you should definitely try the Precision Benchrest.
Best Budget Option: BARSKA Plinker-22 3-9×32
If you are on a tight budget but want a scope that has all the features necessary for 22LR benchrest, then BARSKA Plinker-22 is worth looking at. The scope is not only extremely durable, but it also comes with mounting rings. However, you will need to replace the rings if you have an incompatible mount.
The scope is purpose-built for 22LR rimfire rifles. However, it can be a bit large for smaller rifles. On top of that, its magnification range makes this great for up to 300-yards, but not beyond that. The duplex reticle has no markings, further compounding its ineffectiveness at long distances.
I also found the image to be a bit dark when compared to other options on this list. That said, the BARSKA Plinker-22 is still the best scope you can get in its price range. It’s especially great for novice shooters looking to get into benchrest shooting.
What the Best Scope for 22LR Benchrest Should Have
Competitive benchrest shooting usually occurs at a distance between 100-300 yards. However, many benchrest competitions such as those held by The Original Pennsylvania 1000 yard Benchrest Club take place at longer distances. The distance you intend to shoot from is probably the biggest factor when it comes to picking the right scope.
Of course, many of you, like me, will not be competitive shooters. Instead, you may just want a scope that you can use at your local shooting range or compete with friends. As such, you may not want to invest a lot of money in the scope either. Thankfully, we have included a budget-friendly option on our list.
No matter what floats your boat, here are the factors that you need to consider when selecting a scope for 22LR Benchrest.
22LR is one of the most versatile rounds available. One of its biggest advantages is its ability to be incredibly accurate at long distances (300+ yards). As such, it is important to find a scope that matches well with your rifle.
Shooters constantly disagree on how much power you need for 22LR benchrest. However, the generally accepted view is that 10-15x magnification is perfect for benchrest.
Scopes of higher magnification may allow you to see the target more easily. However, they will restrict your vision and may end up impairing your ability to properly aim at the target. You can use these scopes when shooting at long distances (500+ yards). Still, the vast majority of benchrest shooting takes place at lesser distances, making high-powered scopes overkill.
Lastly, there is a significant amount of bullet drop past 100 yards or so on a 22LR. Holdovers are much easier on a medium-powered scope, making 10-15x the best option all things considered.
Competitive benchrest shooting does not require a lot of adjustments. As such, a capped adjustment option (where you set the scope once and leave it there) is more than enough in most cases.
Exposed turrets are not required for benchrest shooting since you are shooting at similar distances every time. Exposed turrets are generally used by hunters who need to shoot prey at various distances. All of the scopes on this list have capped turrets, and all of them are adjustable by hand.
Reticle: BDC or Mil-Dots?
Any shooter with even a sliver of experience knows that standard crosshairs are not useful, especially in a discipline such as benchrest where accuracy is everything. There are two options that we recommend.
The best one is the BDC (Bullet Drop Compensator) reticle. With markings to accurately help you gauge exactly where you aim, BDC reticle is the benchrest shooter’s best friend. As long you can tune your reticle to your 22LR rifle, I personally believe that you can get the most out of a BDC scope than any other.
Sadly, BDC scopes are incredibly complicated. I remember struggling with them when I was new to shooting. A good all-round scope is a duplex with markings for bullet drop (called mil-dots). A mil-dot scope has thick bars that get thinner when they reach the center of the scope. As such, they can help you immediately focus on the target.
Sadly, mil-dot reticle’s markings are rarely tuned to the 22LR. Both the BDC reticles as well as mil-dots have both positives and negatives. The best way to decide which one to pick is to use both of them and see which one you feel more comfortable on.
Ease of Use
One of the reasons why the 22LR is such a celebrated round is because it is very easy to shoot. As such, novice shooters love 22LR rifles. If you are someone who is new to benchrest shooting, then you may want a scope that is not too complicated.
We previously mentioned that BDC reticles are the best choice for 22LR benchrest. However, those with little to no prior experience in benchrest may want to opt for a duplex reticle. While I personally prefer the BDC, a mil-dot is more than good enough for most people.
Remember that no matter what you do, do not use a scope with a simple crosshair. While they seem easy at first, it is extremely difficult to master shooting on scopes without any markings to gauge the bullet-drop.
While all of the products on this list are great and serve their purpose well, there is only one clear winner.
The Vortex Optics Crossfire II is not only reasonably priced but has an image quality that is simply unmatched by anything else on this list. It has a ton of features but isn’t too complicated (beginners can easily understand how it works after a few rounds with it).
Crossfire II has a lot of power, and enough range to be perfect for anything from competitive benchrest shooting to 1000-yard competitions. The dead-hold BDC reticle and the resettable turrets are additional features that contribute to the Crossfire II’s versatility.
Of course, any of the scopes on this list are worth trying. If you have access to them, then feel free to try them out and pick the one that you think is right for you.