At the time of the .22 Hornet’s introduction, scoped rifles were still uncommon, and coupled with the roughly 180-200 yard range that it is most efficient at, scoped .22 Hornet rifles were sometimes rather uncommon. However, rifle scopes are quite common today, and there no real practical reason to use an iron sighted varmint rifle outside of very close ranges or for the added challenge. Selecting the best .22 Hornet scope isn’t all that difficult.
Most any decent rifle scope can do the job. Given the short effective ranges of the .22 Hornet, you really don’t need all that much optic to get the most performance from this venerable old round. With that in mind, we looked at modest 3-9x or so scopes, and focused on quality for the price point, rather than high end extreme precision optics.
What follows are our recommendations for the 4 best 22 Hornet scopes on the market:
Nikon ProStaff Rifle Scope
This is a constant favorite all-purpose rifle scope. It certainly qualifies as one of the best scopes for .22 Hornets due to high quality construction and crystal clear optics.
The 2-7x magnification (see full specs) is perfect for .22 Hornet ranges, and because this is a Nikon scope, you know it can hold up to long hunting trips in most any weather conditions. With a compact design, fast-focus eyepieces, fully multi-coated optics, zero reset turret and 32mm objective lens, the Nikon ProStaff is exactly the sort of optic that the .22 Hornet seems to beg for.
You’ll find this would be a great scope to put on a vintage .22 Hornet rifle and give it a new lease on life, or even on a brand new .22 Hornet. No matter how you slice it, this scope is as every bit as good as the .22 Hornet cartridge.
Leupold VX-R Rifle scope
- Leupold VX-R 3-9x40mm Riflescope, Illum. FireDot Duplex (110686)
- Price as of 10/26/2020 14:12 PDT(more info about ad)
When looking for the best .22 Hornet scope, one would be stupid to not consider a Leupold. In the case of the Leupold VX-R, we have a classic 3-9x40 scope, that is probably the single most popular rifle scope configuration on the market.
Absolutely perfect for short or long range shots, the VX-R (see full specs) is an American-made rifle scope with precision coated optics, nitrogen purged tube, lifetime warranty, complete waterproof construction, and ¼ MOA adjustment. In some circumstances, this scope might even be a bit of an overkill for .22 Hornet, but who can argue with such a timeless optic?
Honestly, if you are looking to equip a .22 Hornet rifle with an optic, and never have to think about replacing or changing it with a different scope, the VX-R is the optic for you. This is the kind of scope that lasts as long as your rifle, and becomes a multi-generational family heirloom.
Priced right, and perfect for most any cartridge or rifle, what’s not to love?
Bushnell Banner Dusk and Dawn Rifle Scope
- Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope with 3-Inch Eye Relief, 3-9X 40mm
- Price as of 10/25/2020 20:23 PDT(more info about ad)
We’ve already established that a 3-9x40 scope is probably the best .22 Hornet scope, or really the best for most any hunting caliber. Bushnell’s offering neatly fills the need for a super-budget optic that will hold up to regular use, and can still be counted on to perform.
It lacks the sex appeal of a Leupold, but at a fraction of the cost, who cares? Coyotes or raccoons certainly won’t stop and complain that the .22 Hornet bullet you just put in their skull was sighted using a Bushnell.
If you are going for a budget .22 Hornet build, or just like to save a few bucks on glass so you can spend more on ammo, you really can’t go wrong with this well made Bushnell optic—for the money, one of the best scopes for .22 Hornet period.
CVLife 4x32 Rifle Scope
- CVLIFE 4x32 Compact Rifle Scope Crosshair Optics Hunting Gun Scope with 20mm Free Mounts
- Price: $29.99
- Price as of 10/25/2020 17:04 PDT(more info about ad)
The only fixed power optic on our list of best scopes for the .22 Hornet, and also the cheapest, this scope still has a lot going for it, despite the low price point.
With a basic 4x magnification, it is more than sufficient for the 200 yard or less range of most .22 Hornet shooting. The 32mm objective lens is big enough give a nice sight picture in nearly all circumstances. With a sealed and gas purged body, this isn’t a fancy scope, but it is a functional scope. Plus, it has a very nice lightweight, compact design that is appealing on a light close range coyote buster or similar.
I’ve used these on a lot of low recoiling rifles, ranging from .22 rimfire to even AR-15’s. In each case, they did they job. Were these CVLife scopes fantastic? Nope. But for their price, you can’t expect a sniper quality scope. But they will get the job done.
.22 Hornet Rifle Scope Conclusion
One should never dismiss a rifle cartridge simply due to age, or the fact it isn’t touted in the latest shooting magazines. Old, reliable cartridges stick around because they do their job. Are there “better” cartridges than the .22 Hornet? Sure, if you juggle metrics around to decide what “better” means. But within 200 yards, it doesn’t really matter if you are shooting a .22 Hornet, or a .223. In fact, in more densely populated areas, or where you need to use a reduced power cartridge for safety reasons, .22 Hornet is the superior choice for varmint hunting.
Putting the best scope for.22 Hornet on your rifle becomes painfully easy with those thoughts in mind. Any decent 4x scope or 3x9x40 optic will do the trick. You aren’t shooting far, and you aren’t sniping ISIS prey. You need to get on target and get the job done. Bang. Boom. Next round. Pick the scope that fits your budget, and your personal tastes, and you’re good to go!
Owner of Reloaderaddict.com, Boyd Smith is a major handgun enthusiast, and although he owns Glocks, he prefers the revolving wheel type. His go-to guns are a Smith & Wesson 642 Performance Center for carry and a Ruger GP100 in the nightstand biometric safe (he has kids). He loads both revolvers with old-school 148-grain Federal Gold Medal .38 wadcutters. It’s OK if you think he’s a wimp. Email him.