If you’ve resolved to go squirrel hunting with your 22-rimfire rifle, you will need to get the best scope for 22lr squirrel hunting. There are so many good optics out there, but finding the perfect one might be a little challenging, especially if you are a new squirrel hunter.
Even if you asked 10 different hunters their opinion about squirrel hunting to pick their preferred rifle sight, I’m sure they would recommend more than 5 different scopes.
We would unravel as much about the rimfire rifle scope. But before then, here are our top picks for the 22lr scope review;
Continue reading to find out more.
- Target Shooting Vs. Squirrel Hunting Scopes
- Trophy Squirrel
- Does anyone need a 22LR squirrel hunting scope?
- Things to Consider When Choosing A 22lr Scope For Squirrel Hunting
- Other factors to consider when selecting a 22LR squirrel hunting scope
- What is a 22lr Scope Illumination?
- What is the Best round for hunting squirrels?
- Best Scope for 22LR Squirrel Hunting
- Sighting a .22lr Scope for Squirrel Hunting
Target Shooting Vs. Squirrel Hunting Scopes
Squirrels are known for being charming, lively, inquisitive, and intelligent. They frequently observe hunters as they do what they do. We like watching squirrels in the park and giving them nuts by hand. They are, nevertheless, small game animals that can be hunted.
Squirrels are hunted using shotguns, rifles, and handguns. Using any of the three firearms to hunt squirrel has been beneficial to many hunters for many years. I can confidently say that handguns or rifles are the greatest weapons for a squirrel hunt. Rimfire calibers are mostly used to hunt squirrel. The 22LR is included in this type of cartridge. There’s a high probability that you would not hit the squirrel you aim at on the first try if you do not use a rifle scope. When using a scope, though, you cannot kill the squirrel without causing the animal pain.
Squirrels are usually active in the evening. A good optic will allow you to aim effectively, even in low-light situations. The best optics for squirrel hunting must be able to accommodate small firearms such as the 22lr rifle.
There are several reasons why squirrel hunting is popular:
- Squirrels can be found everywhere.
- They are delicious.
- They are far too simple to clean.
Almost every type of sight has been seen on target rifles throughout the years. From low-cost red dot to the military-grade scopes and the most advanced electronic rifle scopes with ballistic calculators. In reality, a scope is ideal for snipers and target shooting at very long ranges. As you are aware, there are several types of target shooting, and you must know how to go about them.
First and foremost, we must understand how to accurately strike such a target. Whatever the case, you would need a very clear image with an optical system’s capacity to retain two closely spaced lines. The better you can target, the less your eyes are strained. Finally, you will most likely be able to spend hours sighting the scope if it is of good quality.
When target shooting, most people assume that more magnification would give them better results. Some would say the field of view is unimportant in target shooting because all you need is the target, not the whole field. These assumptions might be true for target shooting, but when you want to go for a squirrel hunt, they may not be valid. When it’s time to hunt squirrel, the objective is obviously high contrast, brightly lighted, and well-defined target spotting. Although high magnification has its own advantages. For starters, it will amplify the slightest movement of the rifle as you aim.
We are oblivious of this little shaking on the scope because they are so little that our eyes cannot detect them. However, any scope with higher magnification, such as 8x or 15x, is highly noticeable. As a result, higher magnification means you can notice the scope movement better.
Everybody has a different definition of a trophy squirrel. There are three in southern US. The grey squirrel’s, fox squirrel, and the fox squirrel’s blonde color phase. So far, I’ve shot a blonde fox squirrel, but my .22 bullet destroyed the pelt.
Does anyone need a 22LR squirrel hunting scope?
A squirrel hunt is a very interesting kind of hunting. It is very simple, and it does not require a tree stand. It also eliminates the need to trek on cold mornings in search of a small game. When squirrel hunting, it is critical to use an instant killer and a good optic. It ensures a non-cruel hunting strategy. The best way to accomplish this is to go hunting with a dependable precision scope on your 22lr rifle.
You may not need to explore the untamed jungle or cross mountains to hunt a squirrel. Rather, you’ll find them jumping around in the nearby bush. They are as quick as a blinking eye. So, in order to swiftly kill those squirrels, you must make the right shot with a scope that offers a good sight image.
Squirrels are also intelligent and alert, in addition to being swift. They can, however, predict their impending peril at the slightest sign. To fire and kill them quickly, good magnification and parallax setting are vital, in addition to the quality of the optics. Elevation and windage are also important factors in many types of hunting, not just squirrel hunting. As a result, another emphasized concern for this purpose is height adjustment and adequate windage. As you are aware, there are several challenges. However, budget is another factor to consider. We attempted to strike a balance between requirement and budget in our scope review.
Things to Consider When Choosing A 22lr Scope For Squirrel Hunting
Whether you’re seeking a great target shooting or small game hunting experience, you’ll need to beefed-up your rifle with some cool accessories. Aside from ammo, what are the most important accessories you desire for your rifle? Without a doubt, you need “a strong, sharp scope.” As a shooter, you should know that a loosely-fitted, malfunctioning scope can ruin your shot in a split second.
So, how do you go about selecting a faultless, down-pat sight for squirrel hunting with a .22lr rifle? You simply need to look out for the following features;
The first thing that most squirrel hunters consider is the construction of the scope. The scope’s construction is a combination of features that makes up the scope’s design. Some of the features are material, length, weight, and others.
Aluminum or other high-performance polymer is ideal for body construction of a good squirrel hunt scope. If a scope has an aluminum body, it is usually lightweight. Aside from being lightweight, aluminum is also rustproof. As a result, the weather cannot easily damage it, and you would enjoy a long-lasting scope on your rifle.
The scope lens must be constructed of glass or another durable lens material. A plastic lens would lose its quality easily in so many ways. Some producers are prioritizing the production of toxic-free lenses and body parts. As a result, health-conscious shooters prefer chemical-free scopes.
Weight is an important consideration when choosing a hunting scope. Your performance may be hampered if the scope is overweight. A large scope slows down the learning of newbie hunters. I’ve seen numerous high-performance shooters cringe while using a big scope. I’m not sure why some shooters believe a big scope is better nowadays. However, if you are taking a bench rest shot, I would recommend a heavyweight scope because you don’t get to carry the rifle about.
Another important component in making a sight dependable is its length. The focal point of a target is sometimes determined by the length of the optic tube. We are well aware that the lenses create an image of the target within the tube, which we can see via the ocular lens. As a result, the positioning of the false picture is determined by the length of the tube. Longer lenses, according to some experts, are ideal for pinpointing the target images. At the same time, an optic with a lengthy tube exhibits some back-draws. If the scope’s inner tube is not properly crafted and the lenses are not properly positioned, the shooter will not get the best view.
As a result, the length is an important factor to consider while selecting a scope.
Some .22lr riflescopes work well in any mounting rail, but others require a customized rail. Customized rails are more expensive, and certain rails cannot be installed on some .22lr rifles. As a result, you’ll need a bigger wallet to buy rifle accessories in such a case.
It’ll definitely cost you some money to get a nice scope. And as a shooter, if you have to pay hugely for a 22lr scope, then your game should be an expensive one. However, you may reduce the cost of accessories by selecting an all-purpose mountable scope rail. Bottom notches are seen on several riflescopes. These bottom notches make mounting on the rail difficult, and the optic must occasionally be mounted high. The higher the mounted optic, the more likely the shot will be inaccurate.
A .22lr squirrel rifle requires a scope, which may not necessarily be the finest in terms of design but must have some optical excellence. That is something we are all aware of when it comes to choosing a scope. The majority of skilled shooters buy scopes solely based on lens power. They are not attracted by any optical architecture or general appearance. The optic lens power is determined by magnification power, range, parallax, and a few other factors. Details will be revealed below.
The first scope ability that many people notice when they come across any scope is magnification. The 22lr rifle performs admirably with a 2x – 25x excellent scope. Many people mistakenly believe that high magnification equals high-end scope. That is not always the case in reality. When compared with a 19x magnifying scope, an 8x scope magnification may provide better, brilliant, and clearer images. Many scopes that come with high magnification produce fuzzy images, which are difficult to focus on.
Parallax is one of the most complicated topics for shooters, especially those who are just starting out. You may have encountered it during the early stages of your practice. This usually happens if you keep the reticle locked on a target, but your bullet lands at a different spot after pulling the trigger. The impact point may just be a few inches away from your target.
If you’re beating yourself with the thoughts that you didn’t do it right, you should know that it’s not totally your fault. The lens is the culprit here because the parallax was incorrect, resulting in a misleading target image. You can determine whether or not a scope is parallax-free. Look through the scope with your head slightly to the right, and check the desired target location. After that, turn your head to the left and check the target location.
If the target is sighted in more than one location, your scope has poor parallax. Low magnification scopes have no parallax between 50 yards and 100 yards. The highly powerful scope incorporates side focusing, which eliminates parallax at long distances.
Parallax alignment is a typical concern while looking for a good 22lr scope for squirrel hunting. We usually recommend using a sight with a decent magnification range, it will undoubtedly improve your accuracy.
The number next to the magnification range on a scope is the objective lens diameter. It is usually designated in mm, for instance, 32mm or 40mm. This number indicates the diameter of the lens that is farther from the eyes when you look through a scope. The objective lens collects all the light from the target and transmits it through the tube to the ocular lens. The objective lens is made up of glasses that refract light. The larger the lens, the more light is collected, and so the picture is sharper and more visible.
In general, a scope that has a diameter of 32mm or more is ideal for target shooting. When going squirrel hunting, you should use a bigger objective lens. The bigger the lens, the brighter it becomes, allowing for a clearer image.
The light on the target is collected by the lens and combined at the focal point, allowing you to receive a very near virtual image of your target and correctly shoot the target. The focal point is formed in a plane defined by the lens diameters, and this plane is referred to as the focal plane.
Earlier, manufacturers had just one option for focal planes, which was an FFP. However, as technology advances, we are now making use of SFP reticles.
Which is superior? SFP or FFP?
Before we answer that, let’s have a look at their differences. The reticle size in an FFP sight changes as the target size change. Some shooters find it annoying when they see the reticle size changing as they zoom in on a target. Generally, SFP scopes are better for short distance and FFP are excellent long-range scopes.
Low-quality scopes often have a short eye relief distance. The .22lr rifle has a back thrust; however, it is extremely modest. If the installed scope has a limited eye relief distance, the recoil might be painful to the eye. Because target shooting moves quickly, the shooter might injure himself severely if he doesn’t pay close attention to the backward recoil.
The safe distance between the eyes is 3.4 inches. A long eye-relief comes at a cost. However, some scope brands are beginning to produce scopes with enormous eye relief at an affordable price.
Nothing except a sight with a clean and precise reticle can offer a shooter that much confidence before squeezing the trigger. The two lines that intersect in the center to form the crosshair give the shooter optimism that they can hit the target. However, the reticle does more than only to give shooters hope. A survey found that when the reticle is right, and other parameters remain consistent, a proficient shooter hits the targets accurately 94% of time.
The most common reticles are Duplex, Mildot, and BDC.
Each excels in their respective field. The first reticle is the duplex reticle which has a thin crosshair. The lines’ two edges are fairly thick. The large outside sections force the shooter’s sight toward the middle of the crosshair and assist in acute striking. In low light, the duplex reticle works well since the crosshair may become invisible, but the borders would direct your sight. Triplex is an improved variant of the duplex that is extremely efficient even in poor lighting conditions.
The BDC was the first reticle to be used. Only the bottom three sides of the BDC reticle are thicker. The most pleasant aspect of a BDC reticle is its lack of adjustment. You may shoot at various distances without adjusting the height. There are 3-5 targeting spots below the crosshair’s center. You don’t have to spin the adjustment dial repeatedly in order to modify your aim point with BDC. BDC reticle is a wise choice if you want something incredibly efficient for shooting your 22lr on a tight budget.
For particular ranges, mildot reticles do not require elevation or windage settings. Mildot reticles are used by military shooters and snipers.
Other factors to consider when selecting a 22LR squirrel hunting scope
Hunting is a precision sport. The most basic aspects of hunting begin with a sharp image. Squirrel hunting has the most sensitive of aiming needs. It is a thrilling and adrenaline-pumping sport. Here are other factors to consider for a 22lr squirrel hunt.
The 22lr is a lightweight weapon with a small caliber. As a result, it is always advisable to match the sight to the weapon. To squirrel hunt with the 22lr, you don’t necessarily need a heavy-duty scope. The ideal option is a basic, lightweight scope for reasonably close-range shooting. As a result, use a rifle that can mount smaller optics for this shooting application.
The greater the scope, the higher the expense. The cost is determined by the lens size. It also depends on any additional features. A small scope can reduce the strain on your wallet.
We continually look for clarity and accuracy in our vision when we use a scope. To get the best quality, just ensure your scope has great lenses.
Squirrel hunting is best done in the morning or late in the afternoon. Squirrels go in search of food in the morning.
Squirrels are found on trees, especially nut-bearing ones. The oak tree is arguably the most favored with squirrels. As a result, you must ensure that you’re close to wooded regions with an abundance of nuts.
To spot a target, you have to be silent, stay motionless, and listen intently. Look for the distinctive crunching of little feet on the ground or in the branches. You should also listen for the sound of teeth hulling and chopping nuts. Squirrels create noise when they climb trees. They do, however, come in a variety of colors, including black, red, brown, and grey.
A squirrel’s optimal hunting range is between 18m – 27m. This distance is ideal for a precise 22lr shot and makes using the scope simpler.
Squirrels are fearful creatures. However, you must ensure that your movements are cautious, slow, and quiet. Conceal yourself as much as possible.
The best bait for squirrels is nuts, seeds, and fruits. You must position them such that you can easily spot them. The bait naturally attracts the squirrels, giving you the advantage of reducing your waiting time.
It is much easier to shoot a squirrel on the ground than one on a tree. Some squirrels die hanging on the tree, while others fall to the ground, causing their flesh to get damaged.
It is usually preferable to attempt a head shot when targetting a squirrel since you will not have to consume the head meat. A head shot, on the other hand, is always challenging. However, if you have the best 22lr scope for squirrel hunting, the work will be simple. The squirrel’s heart is the next area to aim at. If that is not possible, you can try a side shot.
What is a 22lr Scope Illumination?
Illuminated is a phrase used to describe a rifle sight that is only reliant on reticles. An experienced hunter or shooter will be familiar with the word, but if you are new to the sport, let me explain.
This reticle will provide adequate light for targets that are dark. To provide a shooter with enough illumination, a light source is kept inside the gun. In a low-light scenario, this is how you gain a better view. The 22 LR reticles provide adequate brightness for dark places. As a result, this is a fantastic feature to have in these kinds of scopes. You must get one if you’re interested in nighttime shooting or hunting.
What is the Best round for hunting squirrels?
Although the 22LR remains my preferred squirrel rifle hunting ammunition, I sometimes hunt squirrels with some other rifle rounds occasionally, like the 17 Mach II and 17 HMR. Because I like to hunt with suppressed rifles, my squirrel hunt is mostly done using a suppressed .22LR. While I’ve used a suppressed 17 Mach II rifle and 17 HMR rifle, the old-fashioned .22LR is still the most quiet to shoot.
Best Scope for 22LR Squirrel Hunting
1. Vortex Optics Crossfire II
The Vortex Crossfire scope II is an unusual optic because of its BDC reticle, which reduces mistakes when targeting. As a result, when shooting small games, the scope will serve as a reference point. This compensates for a bullet moving away from your target, which is especially important in windy situations. It boasts a large eye relief and eye box, which assists in swiftly locating targets and simplifies reticle focus. The Vortex Crossfire II has capped turrets that may be adjusted by hand. The scope is built of high-quality aluminum, which makes it strong and long-lasting. Furthermore, the material guarantees that the scope stays shockproof. It is ring-sealed, and the interior is completely nitrogen filled. This guarantees that the scope is watertight and fog proof.
2. Primary Arms SFP 1-6X24mm Riflescope
The Primary Arms is a trustworthy option for short – mid-range hunting, and it has a high-class, user-friendly Combined Sighting System, which has BDC, and range estimates. These scopes were created by Primary Arms to operate with .22LR ammunition making them ideal for cans and small game animals at distances less than 200 yards.
Primary Arms combined their patented 22LR ACSS reticle with their tried-and-true 1-6X SFP sight body. The end product is the strongest and most adaptable 22LR scope. The Primary Arms scope has a rapid focus eyepiece as well as a second focal plane. The scope is waterproof and fog proof. It also has completely multi-coated lenses.
The intuitive sighting technique is incredibly simple to use. The scope is the most adaptable, durable, and smart 22LR scope you can find. It also provides you with a Lifetime Warranty.
3. Vortex Diamondback 2-7x35mm
Vortex is a popular choice for shooters and hunters looking for a high-quality optic on a mid-range budget. To be honest, if this scope had parallax adjustment and adjustable turrets, it would easily take first place. The parallax is set at 50 yards.
1/4 MOA is the scope’s click value. You also receive the finest windage and elevation adjustability, with a total of 100 MOA. The reticle is called a V-Plex reticle by Vortex; however, it is only the company’s term for duplex. The scope’s coated lens is anti-reflective without affecting light transmission, offering excellent pictures even as the sun begins to set.
Parallax focus ranges from 50 ft to infinity.
The scope is fog proof, waterproof, and shockproof. It comes with a 1-inch, single-piece main tube, so durability isn’t a problem, but Vortex offers a lifetime guarantee on their scopes. The warranty can be transferred to new users.
4. UTG 4-16X44mm
This scope is for you if you have an air rifle.
The UTG series is a well-known manufacturer of air rifle scopes. This scope series provides high quality at a reasonable price. It comes with a 30mm main tube and an incredible mil-dot reticle with 36 color options. The scope is powered by a CR2032 battery. The scope turrets has a zero return and zero lock functionality.
The 44 mm bell is ideal for gathering abundant light to notice a bushy tail lurking in the woods. It is a watertight optic that comes with mounting scope rings and mil-dot charts.
The parallax extends from 10 yards – infinity. A large side adjustment is available to make parallax correction easy. Air rifle shooters utilize the wheel more frequently than other rifle shooters.
5. BARSKA 3-9×32 Riflescope
The BARSKA optic is another option when looking for the best 22lr scope for squirrel hunting. The scope is lightweight, waterproof, shockproof, and fog-proof.
It comes with multi-coated lenses and features movable dials for windage and elevation. This specific model has mounting scope rings. These scope rings may be too small based on your 22 rifles and whether or not you have a modified stock. If you have problems with the stock, you can always purchase another scope ring. Overall, it’s an excellent riflescope. At 50 yards, there is no parallax, and the reticle is 30/30. The excellent riflescope has a fully-coated lens. It comes with a 3.8inches mounting scope ring and a lens cover.
Sighting a .22lr Scope for Squirrel Hunting
For squirrel hunting, I like a sight-in of 50 yards with a .22 rifle. I prefer this sight-in distance since I know I’m dead-on at 50yards, around 1/2 inches low between 35 yards and 49 yards, and about 1 inch low between 25 yards and 34 yards. I have to hold approximately an inch high for anything less than 25 yards.
If you discover that the majority of your squirrel shots are at a lesser distance, such as 25 yards, it may make sense if you sight the scope at 35 yard rather than 50 yard.
What is the best rimfire scope for Squirrel Hunting?
The best rimfire scope for hunting squirrels is the Vortex Crossfire II. The scope has a 2-7 magnification power, and it is an SFP scope.
Is illuminated optics required for squirrel hunting?
A lighted scope is not compulsory for squirrel hunting, although it might be useful in low-light conditions. In addition, squirrels are very active around early dawn and towards nightfall, both of which are low-light conditions.
You can hunt with an illuminated or non-illuminated scope. While I prefer the lighted reticle, the majority of squirrel hunting rifle scopes are not.
What is the difference between a scope and a red dot in a squirrel hunt?
To begin, if you want to use a red dot for hunting squirrels, I strongly advise you to verify your local hunting regulations, rules and restrictions. I have attempted a squirrel hunt with red dot sight fitted on my rifle, and I did not enjoy it. Red dot didn’t provide adequate magnification, making precision shots at distances more than 25 yards practically impossible.
If I had to choose between a red dot and a scope, I would pick a scope.
Can I use a fixed power scope to hunt squirrels?
I have used a fixed scope as a youngster, and I had wonderful experiences with squirrel hunting adventures. Fixed scopes are fantastic squirrel hunting optics since they are simple to use and incredibly effective. I would choose a fixed power scope instead of an adjustable objective; I recommend that you do so. There are various high-quality fixed scopes that are ideal for 22LR squirrel hunting.
Small or large game hunting scopes?
The characteristics of scopes will differ. Some may contain characteristics that are ideal for hunting a small game animal, while others will have elements that are ideal for hunting a large game animal. However, this is due to the scope’s focus speed, as speed and precision are critical. Smaller games, such as squirrels, tend to move quicker than larger ones.
Nonetheless, when deciding on the speed, the distance must be considered. It is the only technique to identify scopes suitable for hunting tiny or small wildlife.
Mike Hardesty is a published freelance gun writer. With dozens of articles and reviews published in Pew Pew Tactical, Snipercountry.com, and TTAG (The Truth About Guns), Mike is considered a firearms expert. His special area of expertise is handguns.
Mike is a long-time shooter. He has been punching paper targets, taking deer and other game and shooting at competitions since about 1975. Other related pursuits include reloading and bullet casting. He currently reloads for over 10 calibers, both handgun and rifle. His reloads, particularly for 9mm, were in great demand during the height of the ammo shortage among family and friends. He donated hundreds of rounds to informal shooting sessions. He was quoted as saying “I do not sell my reloads but I sure will help my guys shoot ’em for free!”. He has a few cherished firearms that he has inherited or otherwise procured — those are his favorites.
He earned B.S. and M.S. degrees from Indiana State University in 1974-1975.
He’s a firearm experts and is the founder of mhardesty.com.