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Calibrated 22 Rifle Scope Comparison and Review

Scopes calibrated to shoot specific cartridges have been rapidly gaining popularity over the last couple of years. Fortunately, the optics manufacturers remembered the rimfire shooter and those looking for a long range 22 scope now have a good selection to choose from. While these 22 rifle scopes are calibrated specifically for use on 22LR firearms, some manufactures are also making models for other rimfire cartridges like the .22mag and .17hmr. There are two types of caliber specific 22 scopes, those with ballistic reticles, and those with specially calibrated elevation dials.


Two Styles
Ballistic Reticle Models – .22 scopes that feature cartridge specific reticles are pretty straightforward; there is a standard set of crosshairs and below the intersection of the crosshairs is a series of holdover marks that represent certain distances. You simply put the holdover mark that matches the distance to your target on your target and take the shot. The big advantage of this system is speed, place the dot and take the shot. The disadvantage of this system is that unless these reticles are in the first focal plane they will only be accurate at one magnification setting.


Calibrated Elevation Dials – A 22lr scope setup with a calibrated elevation dial will generally have a normal duplex style crosshair; and when using this type of scope the distance to the target will be compensated for by adjusting the elevation dial. Some .22 come with multiple turrets that are interchangeable while others may only come with the dial on the scope. This type of calibrate scope is also generally pretty simple to operate; determine the range to your target then rotate the elevation dial to the corresponding distance marking and center the crosshairs on your target and shoot. The advantage of this method is being able to keep the target in the middle of your field of view. The disadvantage is the extra time it takes to adjust the elevation dial to the correct distance setting.


22 Calibrated Scopes Compared

Model Nikon
TAC 22
Drop Zone 22
Sweet 22
Est. Price $175 $175 $149 $129 $110 - $135 $110
Mag/Obj 2-7 x 32mm 2-7x34 3-9 x 40mm 2-7 x 32mm 3-9 x 40mm*
6-18 x 40mm
2-7 x 32mm
3-9 x 40mm*
6-18 x 40mm
F.O.V 100yds 33.4' - 9.5' 43.1' - 13.2' 33.8' - 11.3' 50' - 15 ' 31' - 10.5' 42' - 20'
Eye Relief 3.8" 3.5" 3.6" 3.7" 3.9" 4"
Weight 13.9 oz 13.6 oz 15 oz 19.6 oz 20.4 oz 16.8 oz
Length 11.5" 11.3" 12.4" 11.3" n/a 12.4"

* Indicates the model of whose specifications are listed in the column beneath.


Nikon P-22 – Nikon has been on a bit of a caliber specific scope kick with the P-223, M-308, and luckily for the rimfire shooter the P-22. What sets the Nikon P-22 apart from other .22 scopes is that it can be had in two versions, either a ballistic holdover reticle version or a calibrated turret version. The ballistic holdover version features a Nikon BDC reticle that is calibrated for high velocity .22LR ammunition but can be customized to specific loads on their Spot On website. The calibrated dial version of this Nikon rimfire scope uses a duplex style reticle and comes with both a high velocity dial and a standard velocity elevation dial.


New Redfield TAC .22 - Redfield continues its comeback in the optics world and now have their own .22 calibrated scope called the Battlezone Tac .22, which is based on their popular Battlezone line of riflescopes that are calibrated for both the 5.56 and 7.62 rounds. The Tac .22 is interesting in that it features 2 MOA marked reticle on both the vertical and horizontal part of the reticle, but these are used for reference and not calibrated for the .22lr. The TAC .22 scope comes with two elevation dials which can be interchanged one is set to make standard 1/4 MOA adjustments while the other is calibrated for a 36 grain bullet at 1260 fps with yardage marked from 50 to 150 yards.


Nikon Prostaff Rimfire – The Nikon Prostaff rimfire actually comes in two versions, a 4x32mm, and a 3-9x40mm. However, only the 3-9x40mm version is a .22LR calibrated scope and it features the Nikon BDC 150 holdover style reticle. Again the nice thing about the BDC reticle is you can enter your specific load into Nikon’s online program and get an accurate print out of what yardage the holdover circles correspond to when using any particular load.


New Bushnell Drop Zone .22 - Part of Bushnell's line of AR optics the Drop Zone .22 model is a 2.7x32 configuration and features a .22lr calibrated reticle with hold over points from 50 yards to 125 yards.  Bushnell chose to calibrate this reticle on high velocity .22 caliber bullets in the 38 to 40 grain range. The Drop Zone features 1/4 MOA finger adjustable turrets for changing windage or elevation, and is also equipped with a side focus parallax adjustment knob. Finally, the Drop Zone .22 has an anodized finish and a fast focus style eyepiece.


Simmons ProTarget – Simmons decided to get in the .22LR calibrated scope game as well with their ProTarget series. The ProTarget series uses a duplex style reticle and a turret that is calibrated for the .22LR. A notable feature of these Simmons scopes are the side focus parallax adjustment knob. The ProTarget .22 scope is currently offered in either a 3-9x40mm, or 6-18x40mm version; and .17hmr owners will be happy to note that there is currently a ProTarget scope for that caliber in a 3-12x40mm configuration.


BSA Sweet 22 – The Sweet 22 scope has been around for awhile and there are a couple different versions out there. The models that start with an S, like S-22-39x40SP, are the newer versions that feature the side focus parallax adjustment knobs. The BSA Sweet 22 is a turret calibrated version and comes with three separate elevation dials calibrated for the .22LR in the following bullet weights: 36gr, 38gr, and 40gr. The Sweet 22 scope is also made in a similar model that features an adjustable objective instead of a side parallax knob; however, it still comes with the three calibrated elevation dials listed above and is generally cheaper than the side parallax adjustment models.


The addition of the Redfield TAC 22 and Bushnell Drop Zone 22 has really helped fill out the calibrated .22 scope field. If you're having a hard time deciding here are a few pointers that might help. Models with the holdover reticle (lines, dot, or circles below were the crosshair interesects) are often preferred for gopher and other hunting applications were the targets may move quickly and will be at different ranges. Scopes with customized elevation turrets are often favored by target shooters who generally prefer the cleaner look of a standard style reticle as opposed to the more cluttered view of a scope with hold over marks on the reticle; furthermore since they are often shooting at the same range they don't mind dialing in the range with the custom elevation turrets.


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