If you are a hunter, then you know that the smaller the target, the harder the shot. Add to that the faster the target the even harder the shot and you get the squirrel hunters dilemma. How to shoot a lil’ furry pesky critter from a distance, quietly and with precision.
Top-Rated Scope for 22LR Squirrel Hunting List:
|Photo||Product name||Feature||Pros||More info|
|1. Simmons Truplex .22 Mag Riflescope||This is the Simmons®.22 MAG® Matte #511039||More Information|
|2. Nikon ProStaff Rimfire with BDC Reticle, 3-9 x 40mm||This is the PROSTAFF 3-9x40 Rimfire Matte BDC 150||More Information|
|3. TASCO MAG39X32D Rimfire Series 3-9x 32mm 30/30 Reticle .22 Riflescope (Matte Finish)||This is the Tasco .22 Riflescopes - 3–9x 32mm # MAG39X32D||More Information|
|4. BARSKA 3-9x32 Plinker-22 Riflescope||This is the 3-9x32mm Plinker-22 with Rings by Barska #AC10380||More Information|
|5. Primary Arms 1-6X24mm SFP Riflescope Gen III w/ Patented ACSS .22LR Reticle and Red Partial Illumination PA1-6X24SFP-ACSS-22LR||This is the Primary Arms 1-6X24mm SFP Rifle Scope GEN III - Illuminated ACSS 22LR Reticle # PA1-6X24SFP-ACSS-22LR||More Information|
The only way you can achieve this is with a reliable rifle and an accurate scope.
Since there are so many .22 scopes on the market, I was tasked with the project to test and provide a review and guide for the best scope for 22LR Squirrel Hunting, and this list of 5 scopes Is what I came up with.
Just remember that scopes are very personal tools, these devices combine technology with personalized features, personalized in that some features and functions are more subjective than objective.
Best Scope for 22LR Squirrel Hunting Reviews:
The Simmons® 511039 Riflescope comes with some additional features to one of the worlds finest scopes. This Simmons® model comes with their proprietary QTA™ (Quick Target Acquisition) eyepiece for an easier and clearer view, together with their SureGrip™ adjustment system that works very accurately even when targeting with gloves. Another fine feature is their mounting rings that make positioning this scope easy and reliable. The Simmons® 511039 comes with coated hydro shield lens that maintains a clear sighting in all weather conditions.
This scope delivers great performance, comes with a reliable rubber grip and is extremely accurate. With this design comes two issues to consider, it’s expensive, you pay for all this extravagance, and the lenses are delicate requiring that you adjust the magnification with the parallax correctly.
- Model Number: 511039
- Finish: Matte
- Magnification & Objective (mm) : 3–9x 32
- Special Features: RF Rings
- Field of View (ft. at 100 yds.), (M at 100M): 31.4 / 10.5, 10.5 / 3.5
- Eye Relief (in) (mm) : 75 / 95
- Exit Pupil (mm): 25 / 7
- Weight oz g: 7 / 3.6
- Click Value (in at 100Y) (M at 100M) : 60 / 1.7
- Adjustment Range (in at 100Y) (M at 100M) : 10 / 284
- Reticle Truplex
The Nikon ProStaff Rimfire model comes with a BDC Reticle and is considered to be another front-runner in the scope industry. This is a budget-friendly scope that provides near perfect light transmission performance with great reticle focus for long-range shots. On the downside, when there is too much light, the image can blur, and the magnification adjustment requires a very careful and delicate hand.
With all of that, the BDC 150 reticle with 50-yard parallax provides a high level of confidence for precision shooting when ranges go beyond 150 yards. The eye-relief is generous and will handle all .22 recoil with ease. The zero-reset turrets are designed to enable simple adjustments; you use the zero posting to re-engage providing you with a dial-up process for all ranges.
This scope comes with an adaptor for sun shading, and the multi-coated optics give you 98% light transmission during all lighting hours. The reticle adjustment uses a positive click, with precise ¼” @ 50-yard clicks. Naturally, this is a waterproof and fogproof rifle that comes with O-ring sealed nitrogen filled single aluminum machine body.
- Magnification: 3 – 9 x
- Objective Diameter: 40 mm
- Exit Pupil: 4 – 13.3 mm
- Field of View: 3 – 33.8 ft @ 100 yds
- Tube Diameter: 1”
- Eye Relief: 6 in
- Objective Outside Diameter: 50 mm
- Eyepiece Outside Diameter: 44 mm
- Overall Length: 4”
- Adjustment Graduation: ¼”
- Max Internal Adjustment: 80 MOA
- Parallax Setting: 50 yds
The Tasco Rimfire Series provides you with the standard features of a 3-9x 32mm 30/30 Reticle .22 Riflescope. This scope comes with multi-layered magenta lens coating in a matte finished one-piece aluminum body. This scope is 100% waterproof and fog proof and world perfectly in all open range hunting conditions.
Magnification is adjustable with simple and easy with parallax 50-yard clicks. The bottom line of this very simple and efficient scope is that it is great for wide range focusing, the overall design is nice and compact, and the optics are high-quality performers.
- Model: MAG39X32D
- Focus Type: Eyebell
- Tube Dia.: 1″
- Finish: Matte
- Power/Obj. Lens (mm): 3 – 9x 32mm
- Lens Coating: MML FC
- Field of View (ft.@100yds./m@100m): 17.75′ – 6′ / 6 – 2
- Parallax Setting (yds./m): 50/45.7
- Eye Relief (in./mm): 3″
- Reticle Type: 30/30
- Windage/Elevation: ¼ M.O.A.
- Weight (oz./g): 3/320.4 w/o rings
- Length (in./mm):75/324
- Exit Pupil (mm) : 10.7mm @3x /3.6mm @9x
The BARSKA 3-9×32 Plinker-22 Riflescope is another leading scope for the .22 rifle market. In fact, the only downside of this scope is that it was designed to work only with .22 scopes, as such it is not really usable for other rifles. Having stated this, it makes this model a precision tool in the hands of any serious .22 rifle hunter.
This scope has adjustable optics that can be manipulated and adjusted for wind and elevation, and the optics are fully coated to provide a perfect light and clarity of image at all times. When I use it, this scope proves me with constant remarkable performance with exceptional magnification and scoping adjustment, and provides both waterproof and shockproof results in any hunting environment.
- Brand: Barska
- Series: Plinker-22
- Model Number: AC10380
- Magnification (Zoom) : 3x-9x
- Objective Lens: 32mm
- Tube Diameter: 1”
- Eye Relief: 5”
- Exit Pupil: 7mm – 3.6mm
- Click Value: ¼ MOA
- Field of View(ft@100yds / m@100m) : 36ft/12m@3x, 13ft/4.3m@9x
- Reticle: 30/30
- Reticle Color: Black
- Turret Style: Capped
- Focal Plane: Second
- Adjustment Knob: Windage, Elevation, Adjustable Rheostat
- Product Weight (lbs) : 46 oz.
- Length: 12”
- Finish: Black Matte
- Included Accessories: Mounting Rings, Scope Caps and Lens Cloth
5. Primary Arms 1-6X24mm SFP Riflescope Gen III w/ Patented ACSS .22LR Reticle and Red Partial Illumination PA1-6X24SFP-ACSS-22LR
The Primary Arms PA1-6X24SFP-ACSS-22LR 1-6×24 second focal plane scope (Gen III) is another fine example of precision engineering, high-quality machining and meticulous care for detail. The ACSS reticle compensates for bullet drop, wind holds and also integrates range estimation in a seamless and easy to use sighting system.
The second focal plane is used to provide the same size reticle for all magnifications which enables the hunter to scope with low power, and full accuracy while using 6x magnification.
The patented .22LR ACSS reticle together with the Gen III 1-6X SFP scope body provide a comprehensive and reliable scoping performance and is versatile for even the smallest of targets. This scope is also used on heavier weapons and is extremely efficient at handling heavy recoil.
- Brand: Primary Arms
- Click Value: ½ MOA
- Exit Pupil Diameter Low: 9.00 mm / High: 4.00 mm
- Eye Relief Low: 50”/ High: 3.30”
- Field View 100 Low: 00 ft / High: 19.30 ft
- Maximum Magnification: 6x
- Objective Diameter: 24mm
- Reticle: ACSS 22LR
- Tube Diameter: 30mm
- Weight: 52 Oz
- Turret Features : Capped Turrets, Low Profile, Finger Adjustable
- Battery Type: CR2032 3V Lithium Coin
The Buyers Guide for .22 scopes
Hunting is a precision activity, from the most basic elements of hunting that started with a spear or sharp object to the most delicate of targeting requirements such as squirrel shooting, hunting can either be an exciting and adrenaline pumped activity or a test of endurance and patience.
.22 rifles are lightweight, small caliber weapons; therefore, it is always best to match the scope with the rifle and the reason. The reason being squirrel hunting, you don’t need a large heavy scope, a simple, lightweight scope for relatively close up shooting is the best option. So, pick out a rifle with smaller optics for this caliber.
Objective Lens Size
Make sure that the objective lens is big, the bigger the objective lens, the lighter you get to deliver a brighter and clearer image.
Since parallax alignment is a delicate issue, and since you are using a small caliber rifle for quick (yet patient) shots, I always suggest you pick a scope with moderate magnification range, this eases up the use of a precise parallax lineup.
Optics has a simple equation: The bigger the scope, the more expensive it is. This is based on the size of the lenses and all the additions you might find. Picking a smaller scope will ease the burden on your pocket.
I always prefer the quality and clarity of vision over gadgetry. Make sure your scope has excellent lenses, is precisely machined and has accurate click adjustment. This is a squirrel shoot, not a 1-mile sniper shot in the jungles of Bolivia.
Squirrel Hunting 101
- Legal Issues
Make sure you have a legal hunting permit.
It’s best to hunt for squirrels in the early morning or late afternoon. The morning is when squirrels forage for food and the late afternoon is when they head back home with their food.
Squirrels are tree loving creatures, especially nut-bearing trees. Oak is perhaps the most popular tree for squirrels so just make sure you are near woodland areas, and ones with plenty of nuts.
- .22 Caliber Rifles
I always prefer using a small caliber rifle, going squirrel hunting with a shotgun is like using a will not leave much of the squirrel, and you do want to catch that critter whole. The .22 caliber bullet is a precision instrument, and a head or heart shot is always fatal for such a small creature.
Sound: be silent, stand still and listen. Locate the telltale rustling of small feet in the trees or on the ground. You should also listen for the sound of teeth cutting and hulling nuts. Take note that squirrels do make noise when they climb trees and that they come in a number of colors, red, grey, black and brownish fur.
- Squirrel Size
Most squirrels range in weight between 0.75 to 1.5 pounds. They are small creatures, they move fast and are hard to scope.
The best shooting range for a squirrel is 20 to 30 yards. This distance is perfect for an accurate .22 shot and makes scoping easier.
Squirrels are skittish creatures, make sure your movements are slow, deliberate and as quiet as possible. Camouflage yourself as best you can.
- Using Bait
Nuts, seeds, and fruit are the best bait to attract squirrels. Place them in a spot you can scope easily, but from a hidden position, such as undergrowth outcroppings and logs. The bait will attract squirrels, giving you an advantage, and reducing your wait time.
- Shooting Locations
Shooting squirrels on the ground is easier than in the tree. Shooting a squirrel in the tree might prove detrimental to the end product, since some squirrels stay dead in the tree on thick branches, while others fall to the ground and that damages their meat.
- Where to Target
It is always best to shoot a squirrel in the head, it’s a clean shot, and you don’t eat the head meat anyway. It also preserves their tails from damage. However, a headshot is always the hardest of all shots, since it’s the smallest target. Since a squirrel is already small, using a .22 caliber bullet to shoot the head on a small target is a precision operation.
The second location to shoot for is the heart, its located in the upper body and is just under the neck. This is also a good shot for retaining the meat intact.
Side shots are the best, shooting from the front or back of the squirrel narrows your field of view and makes the shot harder. A side shot makes the head a larger target.
All hunters must adhere to basic safety rules, and that includes small caliber rifles too. Safety is something you must always consider and adhering to these points will both secure and exciting and enjoyable hunt as well as secure your personal and your fellow hunter’s safety at all times.
- Always check your weapons at home before you leave for the hunt. Make sure the muzzle is cleaned, and the parts are all oiled and clear of dust and debris.
- Use binoculars to scope for squirrels and don’t hunt too close to the target area.
- Try not to hunt near damaged trees, a broken or damaged tree, or branch can crash down and hurt you and your fellow hunters.
- Always keep your weapon facing the floor, and never point it at anyone, even when cleaning. The barrel of a gun must always down, away from your and anyone else’s body.
- When hunting, never place your finger on the trigger unless you are lining up a shot. Even when cleaning a gun and the chamber might be empty, never place your finger or touch the trigger.
- When hunting, it is best to wear one item of colored clothing for easy recognition. Too much camo can cover you up completely, and then a fellow hunter or yourself, can by mistake shoot in the direction of another still hunter.
- Always make sure the target is in sight and is seen clearly Never shoot through foliage or other obstacles. Always align a “clear shot.” This is for safety against shooting another hunter more than the accuracy of success.
- Don’t try to shoot a moving target, especially a squirrel, the last thing you want is to shoot it when it moves in from to another hunter. Moving shots are also extremely hard to make with a shotgun never mind a .22 caliber rifle.
- Its best not to hunt on windy days, the .22 caliber bullet is light, and wind will seriously affect your accuracy.
- Patience above all
There is one characteristic that separates a successful hunter from an unsuccessful one, that is the virtue of patience. Squirrel hunting is not for the hasty, if you don’t have the patience to be silent and still for half an hour at a time, don’t bother squirrel hunting.