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6 Best Scopes For 22lr Benchrest Shooting in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks

Last Updated on May 6, 2021

Rimfire Scope_Bushnell, Amazo

A contest like the benchrest shooting contest is often won by guys who can exhibit exceptional marksmanship. And such people always find a way to make every shot count. Imagine trying to hit a target that’s 1,000 yards, with a scope that can’t even produce clear images. Are you sure you’ll be able to record a top performance with that kind of a scope?

Today, we’ll be looking at some of the most accurate scopes that the market has to offer. We know looking for something that can deliver that precision accuracy can be a daunting task, if you don’t know where to start, so we thought we should make your job easier.

The following are some of the benchrest shooting scopes that have impressed us over the years:

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope
  • Uninterrupted illumination
  • True Strength Platform
  • Adjustable Turret
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Barska AC10380 Plinker-22 Scope Barska AC10380 Plinker-22 Scope
  • value for money
  • 30/30 reticle
  • Robust design
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Nikon P-Tactical .223 3-9x40 Riflescope Nikon P-Tactical .223 3-9x40 Riflescope
  • Spot On technology
  • Generous eye relief
  • BDC 600 reticle
  • Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 Riflescope Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 Riflescope
  • Durable and Reliable
  • V-Plex reticle
  • Fast-focus eyepiece
  • Bushnell 614124 Banner Dusk & Dawn Riflescope Bushnell 614124 Banner Dusk & Dawn Riflescope
  • Multi-X reticle
  • waterproof
  • Excellent resolution
  • The 6 Best Scope For 22lr Benchrest Shooting – Reviews 2021

    1. UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope – Best Overall

    UTG 3-12x44 scope_Amazon

    The UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope comes with some highly advanced features that are meant to make your experience worth every dime. The first feature that we’ll be looking at is the zero locking and zero resetting target turrets.

    It’s one of those features that give the scope the edge it needs to outperform its competitors. Whenever you realize your target aiming isn’t on point, all you’ve got to do is look for the locking and resetting adjustment knob, and make the required adjustments.

    How does it deal with the parallax issue, you ask?

    Haven’t you heard of the Side Wheel Adjustable Turret? It’s the feature commonly referred to as SWAT, and its main responsibility is to guarantee a parallax range that starts at 10 yards, and goes on, and on, and on, to infinity.

    The second feature is its illumination enhancing reticle—Talk about personalized illumination and multi-color modes. You’ll never feel limited in any kind of environment, since this spectrum offers 36 colors.

    And did you know it’s also an emerald coated optic? Meaning, it’s been designed with lenses that are multi-colored, and equipped with a glare-free angled sunshade. And yes, there’s a lens cap that flips open as well.

    “What does uninterrupted illumination mean?”

    The UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope functions intuitively. The innovative circuit and housing design will ensure you get uninterrupted illumination, even if your recoils are heavy. And since we’ve mentioned housing, we feel it’s important to add that the tube has been built of True Strength Platform, and is nitrogen filled. Thus, making it fog and rainproof.

    The only thing that you might have to worry about is adjusting the focus. That knob is too tight.

    Pros
    • Built of True Strength Platform
    • Fog proof and rainproof
    • Uninterrupted illumination
    • Glare-free angled sunshade
    • Personalized illuminated reticles and multi color modes
    • Side Wheel Adjustable Turret
    • Zero locking and zero resetting target turrets
    Cons
    • Adjusting focus knob too tight

    2. Barska AC10380 Plinker-22 Scope – Best Value

    barska AC10380 plinker_Amazon

    Looking for the best scope for 22lr benchrest shooting for the money? How about you try the Barska AC10380 Plinker-22 Scope?

    For starters, you’ll be getting a scope that offers precision aiming. And we know for sure that it can deliver in that department because it’s been designed with the ¼ Minute of Angle click adjustments for precision accuracy.

    We don’t know why a lot of people automatically assume the Barska AC10380 Plinker-22 Scope is a fixed scope because it’s really not. The 3-9x magnification description on the item’s box is all the information you need to conclude whether or not it’s an adjustable sighting device. And with that, you can tell it again offers versatility.

    It’s tube diameter is an inch, and the lenses are fully coated. That’s why everybody’s talking about how impressed they are with the viewing clarity.

    “Why’s the reticle described as 30/30?”

    The brand’s trying to tell you that the optic has a crosshair designed to make targeting easy, in any type of shooting. Plus, you can use it on a rifle or a handgun.

    Concerning the parallax, you won’t experience any at 50 yards, making it the ideal device for users looking to shoot targets at close range.

    Its design has always been described as robust. Another way of saying the construction is extra-rigid, and unfazed by any degree of shock. Additionally, it’s fog and waterproof.

    We know we said it’s compatible with rifles, but if the rifle comes with a weaver style rail, you’ll have to go back to the store. Those 3/8″ dovetail rings won’t adapt to a weaver mount.

    Even though to some people might feel like this isn’t such a huge deal, to us, it was. And that’s why we had to push it down to second.

    Pros
    • Offers value for money
    • 30/30 reticle
    • Takes care of parallax up to 50 yards
    • Robust design
    • Fog and waterproof
    • Fully coated lenses
    • One-inch tube
    • ¼ Minute of Angle click adjustments for precision accuracy
    • 3-9x magnification
    Cons
    • 3/8″ dovetail rings not ideal for weaver mount

    3. Nikon P-Tactical .223 3-9×40 Riflescope – Premium Choice

    nikon P-tactical .223_Amazon

    Should we start with the BDC 600 reticle feature? It’s safe to assume, this reticle was purposefully built to outshine all the other types of reticles in the market. It comes with distinctive aiming circles that cover up to 600 yards, in addition to the 100-yard increment hashed lines.

    And should you decide to utilize a different set of ammo other than the ones designed for the scope, the Spot-On technology will take care of you. It’s there to provide extra functionality, by calculating where your hashed lines match up. 

    If you’ve been in this business long enough, you’ll realize the multi layered anti reflective coatings are essential in any scope. They’re the reason why top-tier scopes have a high amount of light transmission, and hence produce crispy images.

    What’s more, the Nikon P-Tactical .223 3-9×40 Riflescope has a generous eye relief that’s actually constant across the different magnification ratios. Something that we rarely see when using adjustable power scopes out here.

    “Is it a quality fog and waterproof scope?”

    Yup. And even though reviewers always sound nonchalant when describing this feature, it’s not all bells and whistles. Water and fog have the power to completely destroy a scope, if not taken care of. So if you’re a wise user, you’ll never settle for one that isn’t fog and water resistant.

    The zero-reset and ¼ Moa tactical hand turn turrets were also a nice addition. They are not as stiff as the turrets we’ve used before, are less susceptible to recoil, and scream quality.

    We didn’t have much to complain about, save for the price. The Nikon P-Tactical .223 3-9×40 Riflescope has a price tag that will make you think those who can afford it mostly live in opulence. That’s why it came third.

    Pros
    • BDC 600 reticle feature
    • Spot On technology
    • Multi layered anti reflective coatings
    • Generous eye relief
    • Quality fog and waterproof scope
    • Zero-reset and ¼ Moa tactical hand-turn turrets
    Cons
    • Not cost-effective

    4. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Riflescope

    Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 Rimfire Scope

    Before we talk about anything else, you should know the 2-7×32 Crossfire II scope is one of the Crossfire II line iterations that the brand introduced to us a couple of years back. It’s unique in the sense that it comes with the V-Plex reticle—an all-purpose hunting reticle—designed to fit any appropriate hunting application. So, right off the bat you can see why this scope is often regarded as a versatile optic.

    The fast focus eyepiece is also another feature that you don’t get to see every day. If you were wondering why that reticle was quick and easy to focus, now you know. And that’s not all, as we still have to talk about the ultra-forgiving eye box and bountiful eye relief that work together to ensure the user acquires different targets and sight picture quickly.

    Was the anti-reflective coating necessary? Of course, it was. As a matter of fact, all the coatings are important, including the ones applied on its lenses. They all make sure there’s sufficient light transmission, and all images created are brighter and detailed.

    The reset turrets are capped, and not still at all. They’re also finger adjustable, and work with the MOA clicks that are resettable to zero, once you’re done sighting in.

    “But is it durable?”

    Not just durable, but reliable as well. The 2-7×32 Crossfire II Rimfire scope’s single piece tube is aircraft grade aluminum, so it’s strong enough to handle anything you throw at it. Not even water or fog can destroy it because its nitrogen purged and O-ring sealed.

    The only issue we had was with the parallax. Vortex needs to add a parallax adjustment knob to this configuration, and it will be primed to take on anything.

    Pros
    • MOA clicks resettable to zero
    • Durable and Reliable
    • Anti-reflective coating
    • V-Plex reticle
    • Fast-focus eyepiece
    • Fast-focus eyepiece
    • Reset turrets are capped
    • Bountiful eye relief
    • Ultra-forgiving eye box
    Cons
    • No parallax adjustment knob

    5. Bushnell 614124 Banner Dusk & Dawn Riflescope

    bushnell banner DD 614124_Amazon

    The Bushnell 614124 Banner Dusk & Dawn Riflescope is a variable scope that offers an adjustable zoom. Depending on the shooting distance, you can work with the 4x power as the minimum, or work your way up to 12x, which is the maximum power.

    If you decide to shoot with the lowest magnification, your field of view will be 29 feet. This is quite frankly a reasonable measure, especially for a scope that falls in this price range.

    We took a note of several other things while shooting using this scope. One of them being the excellent resolution that helps in creating crisp and detailed images, for the guy behind the lenses. Needless to say, we no longer have an iota of doubt in our minds the scope is well primed and optimized to perform in low light environments.

    And while we’re still on the subject of how clear those images are, we should also talk about the 40mm objective lens. Besides the fact that it helps create those beautiful images that we can’t stop talking about, it also allows for parallax correction.

    “What’s the number of coatings?”

    The scope has multi coated lenses. Remember, there’s a difference between ‘multi coated’ and ‘fully multi coated.’ If it’s multicoated, you’ll have multiple layers of a coating on at least one of the lens’ surfaces. But if the scope is fully multicoated, they’ll be on all air to glass surfaces.

    The reticle type is Multi-X, and works with the ¼ MOA fingertip windage and elevation adjustments to offer precision accuracy. Target acquisition will be fast, thanks to the fast-focus eye-piece feature. Additionally, you won’t have to replace it, should you inadvertently drop it in water. And by that we mean, it’s 100 percent waterproof.

    Pros
    • Multi Coated lenses
    • Multi-X reticle
    • 100 percent waterproof
    • ¼ MOA fingertip windage and elevation adjustments
    • Fast-focus eye-piece feature
    • Variable scope
    • 40mm objective lens
    • 29 feet FOV at minimum magnification
    • Excellent resolution
    • Allows for parallax correction
    Cons
    • Lenses not as effective as the fully multi coated ones

    6. Leupold FX-II Scout 2.5x28mm Riflescope

    leupold FX scout_Amazon

    Do you see those numbers up there? They’re trying to tell you that this scope is first of all a fixed scope, and secondly, it comes with an objective lens that has a diameter of 28mm. Now, we have nothing against fixed scopes, but we prefer versatility—something that you won’t be offered, should you decide to always use the Leupold FX-II Scout 2.5x28mm Riflescope.

    That objective lens diameter is also too small for our liking. Even though the scope still manages to produce bright and clear target images—courtesy of the Twilight Max Light Management System—we can’t help but feel like there’s still room for improvement.

    Is the magnification power too low? Definitely. And that’s why we wouldn’t recommend it to shooters looking for scopes designed to provide accuracy for medium to long range users.

    Okay, enough about the flaws. Let’s now talk about how compact and lightweight it actually is. The truth is, you’ll never feel like you’re running around with a brick or need an extra bag to carry it. It’s also a scope that can be relied on as it’s shockproof, fog proof, waterproof, and more importantly, has a rugged build.

    Overally, it’s an okay scope with a duplex reticle which provides pinpoint accuracy, matte finish that absorbs lots of the light rather than reflect it, decent eye relief that supports a wide field of view, and… lifetime warranty to lure more customers.

    Pros
    • Twilight Max Light Management System
    • Compact
    • Lightweight
    • Duplex reticle
    • Matte finish
    • Decent eye relief
    • Lifetime warranty
    • Rugged build
    • Shockproof, Waterproof, and fog proof
    Cons
    • Objective lens diameter too small
    • Fixed scope
    • Low magnification power

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    Buyer’s Guide

    Before you go out there looking for one of the best Scope for 22lr Benchrest Shooting, there are a couple of things that we think you’ll have to give consideration to. These things are the same as the factors that you’d typically take into account before making any purchase. First on our list is the…

    Package Reusability

    It’s no secret that consumers have always gone for products that offer more than what they’re willing to spend. What you probably didn’t know, is the fact that they are also more concerned about how environmentally friendly these products’ packages are. And companies have taken a note of this.

    In today’s market, it’s not easy to find a brand that produces packages that cannot be used long after the product has served its purpose. And if you do, we wouldn’t advise you to invest in products under that brand. It’s definitely a red flag, as it’s a sign they don’t really care what the hoarders among us think.

    Fixed Vs. Variable Magnification

    Fixed magnification scopes are also known as non-adjustable scopes, while variable magnification scopes are commonly referred to as adjustable scopes. We don’t know if you’ve realized this, but very few brands still produce the non-adjustable optics. And it’s not because they’re difficult to construct or anything. It’s simply because users prefer the versatility that the variable scope brings to the table.

    The Field of View

    scope lens_Chabster_Wikimedia

    ImageCredit: Chabster, Wikimedia

    Whatever you’re capable of seeing, whenever you look right to left through the scope of your rifle, is what we’re referring to as the field of view. And before we dive into why this aspect is important, there’s something worth noting. Anytime you decide to change the magnification power of your sighting device, its field of view will also change. Whether it narrows or widens will depend on what you do with the magnification. The more you increase the zooming power, the more its field of view narrows. The more you decrease it, ditto.

    That being said, the field of view is important when it comes to situational awareness. A wider view will make it easier for you to know what else is happening around you. In a contest, you can work with whatever field of view you feel most comfortable with. But if we’re talking about a tactical situation, go get yourself something that offers a wider view. No compromises.

    The Tube Size

    rifle scope_andreas160578_Pixabay

    Image Credit: andreas160578, Pixabay

    “Does the tube size matter?”

    If we had a nickel every time we were asked this question, Jeff Bezos would have nothing on us. The short answer is, it does, and it doesn’t.

    It does, if you’re looking for a rifle scope that’s more rigid and durable. Durability is a big one in this industry—Nobody wants to invest their hard-earned money on something delicate.

    It also doesn’t, if all you’re thinking about is how you’re going to get your hands on a device that ‘gathers’ more light.

    The three most common rifle scope tube diameters are 34mm, 30mm and an inch. A larger diameter does not only give you a durable scope, but also offers more elevation adjustment range—that’s one thing that you’ll appreciate if you’re a long-range shooter.

    The tube’s diameter has no influence on the scope’s light ‘gathering’ capabilities. That’s the responsibility of the front lens. Shop for scopes that have a larger diameter lens and you’ll be able to ‘gather’ all the light in the world. Just don’t go too big because you’ll then have to deal with the issue of balancing and weight.

    Reticle

    air rifle scope_CPL Ryan Walker, National Archives

    Image Credit: CPL Ryan Walker, National Archives

    The main work of the reticle is to provide you with a central aiming point. We don’t care if they call it the Heavy Duplex reticle, the Nikoplex, the Fine Crosshairs, or any other fancy name that’s out there. If it doesn’t give you that central aiming point, it’s not a reticle worth considering.

    Your background and light condition will determine the type of reticle you go for. Assuming you’ll be shooting through a foliage, you’ll need a thicker reticle. Something that’s visible enough in such a busy and low light background.

    Fine crosshairs will disappoint you in such an environment, but will be perfect in situations where you feel the need to make minute increments. That’s because they only cover up a small fraction of the target.

    Glass and Lens Coating

    riflescope_Jaime Weaver_Shutterstock

    Image Credit: Jamie Weaver, Shutterstock

    The lens coating and glass quality are among the things that define a good rifle scope. They are the reason why some scopes produce images that look pixelated, while others produce images that are crisp and bright.

    How durable the device is will also hinge on the type of coatings it has. A scratch and water-resistant scope will serve you for years to come.

    On the item’s description box, look for an abbreviation like ‘ED’ or a phrase like ‘Fully Multi Coated.’ ED stands for Extra Low Dispersion, while ‘Fully Multi Coated’ means all the lenses have several layers of coating. 

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    Conclusion

    Oh, how time flies! And just like that we’ve yet again come to the end of today’s class. But before we go, these are some of the things that you need to remember:

    The scope that we think is the best scope for benchrest shooting, is the UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope. If you’re looking for value for money, go with the Barska AC10380 Plinker-22 Scope. But if you have lots of money to spend, the Nikon P-Tactical .223 3-9×40 Riflescope will be the perfect fit.

    You may be interested in some of our other top-trending review posts:

    About the Author Robert Sparks

    Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.