Hunting squirrels, which are the most common of all game animals in the North American region, requires a great scope for 22LR. These tree rats, bushy tails, or squirrels are hyper vigilant and active small game that need a scope, which can provide accurate shot placement and quick target acquisition.
The best scope for 22LR squirrel hunting can increase your chances for a pleasant hunting experience of squirrels,, which are also known as an excellent game to begin with any hunting activity with your pistol or rimfire rifle.
So, if you’re looking for a good rimfire scope for improving your shot placement accuracy, you should find the right one that has optimal light transmission, fully multi coated lenses, just the right amount of magnification, and made of quality components for short range hunting or target shooting.
In today’s guide, I’ll be going over top quality scopes for 22LR squirrel hunting and feature essential things to know to improve your results. I’m also answering frequently asked questions for you. Let’s get started.
Do you need a scope for squirrel hunting?
Yes, you need a rifle scope 22lr squirrel hunting to improve shot placement and shooting accuracy. It can deliver clear sight pictures and bright images to help you achieve a shot.
This rifle scope can have fixed or variable power range, but it depends on one’s preference on what squirrel rifle scope feels more comfortable for their shooting eyes. It can have an illuminated scope or with a standard duplex reticle, too.
Nevertheless, hunters that want to improve their hunting experience don’t go out there with their rifle not mounted with the best scope for 22lr. (Learn more about in the next sections.)
What Makes A Good Scope For Squirrel Hunting?
It makes perfect sense to research more about a compact scope to suit the application you intend to use it for, and in this case for varmint hunting.
As there are a lot of choices out there for a rimfire scope, what really makes a good scope for hunting this small game?
Rifle scopes for hunting and shooting must be able to keep up with the changing outdoor conditions, pressure, and heavy use.
Thus, a scope for 22LR should be rugged in that it can deal with harsh weather conditions, abuse, recoil, and other elements. One must also withstand bumps, shocks, and drops.
It pays off to buy a rifle scope for varmint hunting that is made of tough materials like aircraft grade aluminum.
At the same time, it should be o ring sealed and gas purged to ensure moisture resistance and offer a fog proof, waterproof, and moisture proof abilities.
In addition, it should have fully multi coated lenses and coatings. This can help with light gathering and transmittance, while at the same time reducing glare. It’ll allow the scope for 22LR to deliver clear sight picture whether for short range or long range.
For most hunting situations, a good scope should have variable magnification. This gives you plenty of options because rifle scopes can have broad selection in terms of power based on needs.
One with 7x to 9x may be enough in different hunting applications, but you might want to look for a higher powered scope, which visual clarity is still good for ranges beyond this.
It can also help if you select a scope for hunting squirrels that have easy to adjust mounting rings, which can help in adjusting the scope’s position on the gun.
The scope parallax setting should be between 45 and 60 yds or even lower for parallax focus distance to improve shooting accuracy.
The best scope for 22LR squirrel hunting should also be lightweight so that it is easy to carry, mount, and use.
The adjustments must be straightforward and simple, as too complex interfaces won’t do much for active targets like a squirrel in which you need to make easy adjustments when the situation calls for it fast.
Things to consider
Most rifle scopes advertised for squirrel hunting might be promising a lot of things in terms of features, but what really matters? How can you choose a rifle scope with enough power range for such a target like varmint or squirrel or any other small game? Here’s what to consider.
When choosing a variable power scope, what is the amount of magnification that would serve you best?
But I know that there are sources suggesting a fixed scope for this application, and then there are those recommending 2-7x rifle scopes for 22LR.
So, what magnification do you really need? The answer to this is quite simple. You must choose a scope that suits the hunting style and type and power range that works best for you.
Why? Not everyone has the same preferences and size that fits for all. This is to say that what is most comfortable for one hunter might not apply to another.
For many squirrel hunters, they’d typically go for the 3x to 9x magnification range, which is just enough for their needs.
However, if you have poor shooting eyes like me, you might want to go for a higher magnification range especially if you’re shooting distances beyond 50 yards.
And definitely, you won’t need a very high powered scope for the 22LR, but ranges like 2x-7x or 3x-9x can be enough if you’re mostly using your sighting device for small game hunting.
Quality lenses and anti-reflective coatings are important in a scope to hunt squirrels effectively. Choose fully multi coated lenses and a scope with anti-reflective coatings.
Both of these materials allow the sighting device to deliver a clear sight picture. The coatings also offer reduced glare for optimal light transmission, improving the scope’s overall ability in capturing all the light for the clearest sight picture.
An anti-glare feature in your scope for 22LR squirrel hunting also allows you to target more easily without having to squint your eyes when the sun is shining too brightly.
A heavy scope for squirrel hunting will throw your rifle off balance. This will also affect your movement and speed, which can negatively impact the results you’ll be getting when hunting a small game and any other fast moving targets.
There are many types of scope reticles you’ll find, and some of them include duplex reticle, BDC reticle, and V Plex reticle.
For novice hunters, they want a simpler and more straightforward reticle, in this case a duplex reticle, which is the most common for hunting scopes.
The reticle is uncluttered, simple, and for general use. It’s also considered the best hunting reticle by many because it’s all-round for hunting like for big game or thicker brush hunting.
Meanwhile, do you need illuminated or non-illuminated reticles? Not necessarily. They can be too bright and reduce the visibility of the target especially when the resulting image becomes washed out. In this case, seeing smaller targets can be very challenging.
Parallax plays an important role in terms of helping you focus on your target. Scopes for 22LR squirrels typically have one of the two kinds of parallax configurations.
- One is the factory-set, non-adjustable parallax that is set for a particular distance, typically at 100 yards.
- Second is the adjustable parallax, meaning it is easy to adjust through the adjustable objective or objective or through a side parallax adjustment knob.
A scope for 22LR squirrel with an adjustable parallax means that the settings will have at least a specific minimum distance (yards), while the other scopes will have maximum parallax to infinity.
I prefer using rifle scopes for small game that has a parallax or focus that’ll adjust down to a minimum of 25 yards so that I can see the squirrel in the scope clearly.
But does it mean avoid scopes that will not focus or parallax down beyond 50 yards? Not really because the parallax/focus distance can only be a primary concern when using a high magnification power.
For example, you’ll hardly notice if a squirrel is slightly out of focus in the reticle when you’re using a 2x-7x scope that has a 50-yd parallax because the distortion will not be that significant.
But if you’re going to use a 4x-14x scope to target a squirrel at 25 yds. and this scope has a 50-yd parallax that is up to 14 times, you’ll get image distortion.
When choosing rimfire scopes for hunting small game and enhancing sight picture, you must also look into the objective lens diameter of the sighting unit.
This will allow you to adjust the parallax of the scope in order to help you shoot a smaller target. A scope with parallax adjustments can improve your shooting accuracy in short to long ranges.
Size of the lens
Any lens size that is below 32 mm can reduce the sight picture’s quality and a larger objective may be too heavy for your rimfire rifle.
This is another consideration for choosing a scope for 22LR because clarity can greatly improve your accuracy. Typically, more expensive scopes are made with high quality components, especially glasses.
However, this doesn’t mean that you spend a fortune for your first scope. The scopes featured above are affordable enough yet they have useful features like enough magnification, durable materials, and of course visual clarity..
Aside from those mentioned above, check on a long eye relief to protect your eyes from getting the scope bite. Accessories like instruction manuals and lens cover are also good.
The scope adjustments, including on the windage and elevation turrets must be accessible and easy, too. That is to say that your scope must not only be made of durable scope tube and waterproof materials but should also be user-friendly.
Mounting ease and stability should also be easy and quick. Your scope should fit securely and well with your 22LR, or it will not sit properly on the rifle if its size doesn’t fit. Rubber handles should also be considered.
Best Scope for 22LR Squirrel Hunting: In Depth Review
1. Leupold VX Freedom 1.5-4x20mm Riflescope
Leupold, which is a reputable scope manufacturer, has taken their optics to a new level to help all types of hunters, whether newbie or seasoned, to take down a target with an easy to use and reliable optics system. Leupold VX Freedom is a dependable and rugged rifle scope for 22LR.
The Leupold scope is versatile for rimfire rifles, muzzleloaders, and centerfire guns, while also offering magnification levels that any hunter can choose from depending on what the situation is calling for. This model has just enough of it to allow you to see your target clearly.
In addition, this scope is tough because it can withstand changing weather conditions, bumps, pressure, and shocks. Its material is 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum that makes it suitable for any serious hunter that wants a scope to keep up with the conditions it will encounter out there.
I also liked that it can offer shockproof, fog proof, and waterproof performance. This just means that it’s versatile to work even in rainy or foggy conditions. More so, I noticed that the matte black scope has scratch-resistant lenses, ensuring durability and quality. Being scratch proof can also keep its good appearance for a long time.
I also appreciate that Leupold has made it with multi coated lenses, which can effectively reduce any aberrations. This can ensure that it can deliver a real view of the image. What’s more is that the scope also features the Twilight Light Management System. Such a feature can offer you excellent visibility even when hunting in low light conditions, dusk, or dawn.
Moreover, this sighting device has a 3:1 ratio, allowing me to adjust the settings with just one turn of a knob for observation, long range precision, or target acquisition.
This dependable Leupold scope also features windage and elevation adjustments for compensating bullet drop and wind, improving shot precision in all types of weather.
In addition, the Leupold VX Freedom rifle scope has the classic and simple to use duplex reticle, which also suits beginners. I liked this straightforward reticle, which is suitable for most hunting situations.
This hunting scope 22LR squirrel is also lightweight at only 0.01 pounds. It will not throw off the balance of your rifle, and it is not hard to carry at all. This is one of the considerations to look for when finding a hunting scope because this adds to our convenience and comfort. The last thing that any of us would like is a bulky scope that makes it hard to mount and secure and that is heavy to have on the rifle.
Overall, the Leupold VX Freedom is one of the best scopes to hunt a squirrel. You should check it out if you’re looking for a sighting device that can deliver clear and bright sight pictures and that won’t break your bank.
- Durable, waterproof, and shockproof
- Easy to operate and has a duplex reticle
- Reliable and known rifle scope brand
- Twilight Light Management System
- Quality optics and all-weather performance
- No night vision
2. Leupold VX Freedom Riflescope
Leupold VX Freedom is the best rimfire scope for hunting small game like squirrels because it is rugged and high performing for all types of weather. Thanks to that the manufacturer has ensured that their squirrel hunting rifle scopes can deal with extreme temperatures, shocks, and even elevation changes.
I found out that the internals of the scope can resist moisture and keep it out, ensuring a waterproof performance. I also noticed that the scope is like the other Leupold scopes that features the Twilight Light Management System.
This works by delivering clarity and brightness all the time through reducing glare while also balancing the light transmission. I also noticed that it can balance the resolution and contrast of the image, further improving the sight picture no matter the lighting condition.
This scope for squirrel hunting is also high quality and it’s assembled and made in the USA. I also discovered that it’s designed to deal with at least 5,000 impacts on the recoil simulation machine called the Punisher. That said, I can have peace of mind that it can last for years.
The Leupold VX Freedom scope is one of the most reliable scopes out there for every serious hunter looking for a dependable scope performance. It offers from two to seven times the power range, which is just suitable for hunting short range and small game. It can help you get the job done all the time for its clear and crisp images to improve shot precision as well.
Moreover, the scope for 22LR squirrel hunting is made with a tough aluminum tube that ensures it can deal with shocks, drops, and bumps; thus, you can be sure that it can keep its integrity for the years to come and that you don’t need to replace it sooner. The rugged performance of this scope is coupled with its supreme low light performance, which is impressive for its price tag.
The waterproof performance of the sighting system also ensures that you can use it for all types of weather. So whether it’s snowy, foggy, or rainy, you can be certain that you’ll see clear images. In this case, the VX-Freedom offers all types of hunters with the unprecedented performance they demand and need from a scope.
In addition, the rifle scope has an objective lens diameter of 33mm, which is just enough for light gathering, delivering optimal light transmission that greatly improves what you see in your sight.
On the downside, the scope for 22LR can be a bit heavy, but nevertheless, it’s an easy to use scope with a good power range for hunting small game. It is for every outdoor enthusiast looking for value and quality in their rifle scope.
- Rugged for all weather conditions
- Easy to use and dependable
- Good range for small game
- Light management system
- Weatherproof performance
- A bit heavy
3. Vortex Optics Crossfire II Rifle Scope
For hunting squirrels, you need a dependable scope that can deliver a clear sight picture while also staying durable for the years to come. One of the best sellers in the category is this Vortex Crossfire II, one of the variable scopes offered by Vortex Optics for outdoor enthusiasts.
This Crossfire II 2-7x scope is a high quality optics system in the series, featuring a variable power range and a sufficiently sized objective lens. It can help you land your shots effectively.
For waterproof and fog-proof performance, the Crossfire II model comes with multi coated lenses, and that’s one of the characteristics of great scopes for 22LR. I also liked that this particular scope is made with o ring sealing and gas purging to further improve its waterproof abilities.
Enhancing its durability is its aircraft grade aluminum build that also makes it lightweight. It will not weigh that much or throw your rifle off balance. Thus, you can carry and mount this on your rifle without adding much weight on it unlike other scopes on the market.
I also noticed that this unit has a long eye relief even when set to a high power, while also having a forgiving eye box that aids me in aiming at the target fast. This model also boasts the wide range of windage and elevation turrets that allow zero resetting even after you’ve sighted in your target.
The Crossfire II scope is designed with the second focal plane dead hold BDC reticle (bullet drop compensating reticle), which makes use of special holdover points/harsh marks along the crosshair’s bottom line.
What it does is it helps me to estimate the bullet drop effect better on the point of impact. It is also suitable for use even in long range hunting distances. So if you’re looking for a versatile rifle scope for short and long distances, this Vortex scope might be for you.
This BDC reticle will be of help if you want to achieve precise shots beyond 500 yards, too. The magnification levels and reticle are set to engage for typical hunting ranges, especially for varmint hunting distances at short ranges.
This scope also has good eye relief and a forgiving eye box, allowing me to see a clear sight picture even when I am not fully in line with the scope’s ocular lens. That being said I mean that I can view my target better. I can also easily line up my target with the scope’s reticle even while I am still spotting it outside the lenses.
This Vortex optics system also features a 32mm objective lens, which is good enough for optimal light gathering. It also has anti-reflective coatings for reducing glare.
Overall, I am satisfied with all the performance features that the rifle scope can offer, especially when it comes to visual clarity and durability. The only issue I have with it is its lack of parallax turret.
- Visual clarity and excellent sight picture
- Forgiving eye box and long eye relief
- BDC reticle
- Aircraft grade aluminum
- Gas purging and o ring sealing for waterproof ability
- Lack of parallax turret
4. Vortex Optics Diamondback 2-7×35 Rimfire Scope
The Diamondback 2-7×35 Rimfire scope shouldn’t be forgotten when choosing a scope for 22LR because it has superb features and performance that will help any hunter take down a target for its precision.
The good scope can deliver superior image quality, which is one of the reasons we’re using a sighting device for. This particular scope features a power range between two and seven times, making it applicable for variable ranges. You can set it based on what’s comfortable for your viewing.
I also liked that it comes with a quick focus eyepiece that allows quick and easy adjustments, which is needed for fast target acquisition and easy focusing of the reticle.
The Diamondback also features fully multi coated lenses that further improves the delivery of clear and crisp images no matter the time of the day. You can depend on it whether you’re hunting during the day or nighttime.
The turrets are also metal-on-metal and can offer hunters the ability of zero resetting after sighting in. And when it comes to repeatability and precise tracking, I can always count on the glide erector system that the scope comes with.
How about the durability you may be asking. Just like other Leupold scopes, this model is made of a solid one-piece tube and hard anodized finishing that makes it tough and durable to last long. This also makes the scope resistant to shocks, bumps, and drops, translating to a long lasting scope for heavy use. The hard anodized finish of this scope can also help in camouflaging your position.
This scope for 22Lr is also perfect for close range shooting on a 22 rimfire, muzzleloader, and shotgun, adding to its versatility of applications.
It is also equipped with a V Plex reticle, which is commonly preferred for a wide range of hunting applications. The reticle is also in the second focal plane. It is located close to the eyepiece and right behind the lenses. It means that the reticle will not change in size visually when you change the zooming or magnification setting.
This Diamondback 2-7×35 Rimfire scope is also o ring sealed and argon purged, making it more durable. This manufacturing process also makes the scope resistant to moisture and water. Thus, you can depend on this optics system for its waterproof and fogproof performance.
The hunting scope is also designed with a 35 mm objective lens that works effectively in capturing more light for superior light transmission. For its weight, this model weighs 14.2 ounces, which is lighter than other scopes on the market.
Overall, you’ll appreciate not just the solid build but also the top quality performance of this rimfire scope. It is for every serious hunter and shooter looking for a rugged and reliable sighting device for hunting squirrels.
- Good magnification range for short range
- Tough to deal with harsh weather conditions
- Quite large objective lens for light transmission
- Ability for zero resetting after sighting in
- Easy to use V Plex reticle
- Issues with tracking
6. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Rimfire Riflescope
Vortex Optics never fails to impress even hardcore hunters and tactical shooters. And when it comes to targeting squirrels and other rodents with a .22 Long Rifle, few scopes can match the Crossfire II’s functionality, high-quality construction, and affordability.
With many riflescopes to choose from, it’s surprising to see many experienced hunters and marksmen still pick this rimfire riflescope, even though it has its sights on newbies.
Looking through this riflescope’s glass is like peering through a transparent hole. The fast-focusing eyepiece empowers shooters and hunters to gain the perfect sight picture of their targets. Its fully multi-coated lenses protect against glare while ensuring image clarity.
Everything looks so clear beyond the glass, from 2x to 7x, regardless of how you set the zoom ring. Spotting the characteristic markings of a squirrel should be a cinch with such optical clarity.
Although experienced hunters and tactical shooters will never ditch the dead-hold BDC reticle for the V-plex, beginners will find the system perfect for their skill level. It is one of the easiest reticles to use while retaining the dead-hold BDC’s versatility.
Moreover, it is ideal for short- to medium-range shooting, which is the principal essence of squirrel hunting.Its 3.9-inch eye relief is quite generous, especially considering the 3-9×50 and 3-9×40 Crossfire II versions. The eye box is as comfortable as any high-end riflescope, ensuring you will not get a kick in your face when you aim and pull the trigger.
A single-piece anodized, aircraft-grade aluminum forms the 11.3-inch length of the scope. Vortex was thoughtful enough to purge the tube with nitrogen and seal the openings with an industry-leading O-ring. Moisture and dirt will never bother the scope for many decades.
Tactical shooters and squirrel hunters will also appreciate the zero-reset turrets. The design allows for effortless windage and elevation turrets without referring to an arbitrary number.
Both turrets are snappy, with a confidence-boosting click with each turn. Caps are ready to protect these knobs when not in use, further safeguarding the zero.
Some are concerned about this squirrel hunting riflescope’s lack of a parallax turret opposite the windage adjustments.
It might also be pricier than other .22LR scope options, but I cannot deny its greatness. This scope offers exceptionally snappy turrets, a very forgiving eye box, image quality, and reliable targeting accuracy for more precise medium or long range shots.
Overall, it is a highly recommended scope for 22LR squirrel hunting for its undeniable solid features and high quality components. You might want to check it out for yourself.
- Excellent optics
- Versatile V-Plex reticle
- Generous eye relief and eye box
- Robust one-piece construction with excellent weatherproofing
- Snappy, zero-reset turrets
- No parallax turret
7. Simmons 3-9x32mm .22 Riflescope
Here’s a real bargain-priced rifle scope for the .22 LR, complete with mounting rings and an adjustable objective for your trustworthy rimfire rifle.
This rimfire riflescope features a fully adjustable 32-mm objective with 3X to 9X zoom capabilities. It should be easy to get a precise view of squirrels and other targets from long range.
I like its eyepiece with the Quick Target Acquisition (QTA) system, ensuring a generous field of view. You’ll get an expansive 31.4-foot-wide view at 100 yards with the magnification set to 3X. Zooming to 9X narrows the field of view to 10.5 feet at the same distance. Still, it’s a healthy viewing angle with plenty of discernible terrain to scout and track a target before zooming in for the kill shot.
Although I have seen riflescopes with more generous eye relief, this scope’s 3.75-inch rating is sufficient for rimfire shooting. Squirrel hunters will never worry about their lightweight rifles popping back into their faces and jamming the riflescope into the eye socket.
This .22 LR squirrel hunting rifle scope features a HydroShield lens coating to minimize glare, reflection, and scratching as you peer through the glass.
Surprisingly, the riflescope’s light-gathering capability is better than other scopes in this price range. Although Simmons doesn’t advertise its scope’s light transmission rating, hunters who’ve used the riflescope rate it at 90 to 92 percent. It’s not the scope you’ll want to use for hunting at dusk or dawn, but it’s bright enough to facilitate precise targeting in bright to moderately-light environments.
I appreciate the turrets’ SureGrip rubber surfaces, giving spot-on tactile feedback during parallax, windage, and elevation adjustments. The two rimfire rings are a bonus, but only if you have a 3/8-inch rail.
For its price, it’s surprising to note this riflescope has a nitrogen-purged tube. I will not want moisture and dirt to interfere with my targeting abilities. Squirrel hunters would not like that, too.
Although the turrets have a nice feel, they are quite sloppy. The clicking sound is inconsistent, making it challenging to determine perfect alignment.
This .22 LR scope remains a good buy for hunting squirrels if you’re on a tight budget and can forgive its sloppy turrets. If not, I recommend putting your money on a more dependable riflescope. But nevertheless, it is a good entry-level scope that you might want to check out if you have a limited budget for your first hunting scope.
- Generous field of view with good image quality
- Good light transmission
- Commendable optical quality for the price
- Robust one-piece scope tube
- Sloppy turrets
8. UTG 4-16×44 30mm Scope
This UTG creation is one of the most feature-laden scopes with an affordable price tag and a top-of-mind choice for discerning target shooters and hunters for many years.
You’ll never know how impressive this .22 LR squirrel hunting riflescope is until you peer through its optics. Sure, the design is enough to make your jaw drop, complete with a lens hood that conjures images of a tactical scope. But the real gem is in the glass and the snappy turrets we rarely see in riflescopes within this price range.
The 30-mm-diameter objective offers a clear window to the riflescope’s 36-color illuminated reticle. I am impressed with its EZ-TAP Illumination Enhancing system, empowering the scope to accommodate all-weather lighting conditions. My favorite is the 1-Click Technology, allowing shooters to access their favorite reticle color and brightness settings with a mere thumb flick.
The optics are as clear and distortion-free as higher-priced scopes. Target acquisition is never an issue, whether from short or long range. No squirrel, rodent, or another wild animal will escape your precision and determination.
Spotting a target at dusk shouldn’t be a problem, especially considering the scope’s field of view. At 100 yards, this riflescope delivers sufficient terrain views from 6.8 feet to 24.4 feet. You might have your sights on the target, but your peripheral vision will keep you abreast of the situation.
A dedicated Quick Power Selector Ring enables this riflescope to acquire and zoom in on targets with ultra-fast precision. I am surprised to learn switching between 4X and 16X is a cinch, an attribute I only observe in high-priced scopes.
I like the turrets better than Simmons. They’re zero-resettable and zero-lockable, saving shooters precious time from frequent tinkering with the adjustments. Its side-wheel parallax control knob is also responsive, empowering hunters to ensure reticle alignment from ten yards and beyond.
Twist-lock rings make this scope effortless to mount on Picatinny and Weaver mounts. Beginner hunters will find the technology instrumental in learning the ropes, allowing them to experience more fun in the woods than at home.
Like other UTG scopes, this .22LR rifle scope for hunting squirrels has a robust construction. A nitrogen-purged tube guarantees fog-free, dust-free, and moisture-free operation.
Although I am impressed with this scope’s light transmission, daytime views are somewhat dim compared to other illuminated riflescopes. The UTG 4-16×44 30mm never fails to impress even seasoned hunters. And with its lifetime warranty, I won’t be surprised if you’d ditch other scopes for this.
- Unbeatable image clarity for the price
- Super-quick to swap zooms
- Fantastic turrets
- Effortless to mount
- Unquestionable durability
- Daytime illumination could be brighter
How to Sight In Your 22 Rifle Scope?
The .22 rifles have a decent range especially for beginners because the 22 cartridge is a light bullet. These rifles are also used in hunting small game like rodents and squirrels. However, squirrel hunters looking to get a clear sight picture must consider sighting in their 22 rifle scope first.
Before anything else, check that your firearm is unloaded for safety.
Now in order to get started, you’ll need a boresighter and preset targets for this task. Start by setting up between two up to four targets in 100 yards.
Consider setting up at least one of your targets at 50-60 yards, and then the other at 100 yards. You can also set up additional targets beyond 100 yards, but no more than 200 yards.
Slide the boresighter into the barrel of your gun. Hold your gun correctly, with your right hand or whatever your primary hand is on the grip, with your second hand positioned in front of the trigger assembly.
Check that the butt is squarely set into the shoulder.
Position your eye that is closest to the eyepiece into the scope and with your other eye closed.
You’ll find two sets of crosshairs or reticles, which are for the scope and the boresighter.
Start adjusting the bullet drop/vertical and windage/horizontal controls to align the two reticles. Recheck the crosshairs. Look at your targets with the rifle scope.
For targets farther away, you may use a higher magnification. Check and see that the alignment of the reticles does not change. The rifle scope for 22lr squirrel hunting is now set.
Take the boresighter out and then fire some test shots. This is to check that your targets were positioned on the proper shooting range. Alternatively, you can choose to shoot later.
Steps to zero in a scope for 22lr squirrel hunting
As squirrel season sets in, it’s best to zero in your scope for you to be at your best while squirrel hunting. Zeroing in your scope is important to accurately shoot your target at a distance, making sure you get that perfect shot.
As the impact and kill zone of a squirrel is incredibly small, you can end up easily missing it if your rifle and scope is not set up properly. Here are the steps to zero in a scope for a .22 LR for successful squirrel hunting:
1. Prepare your set up
Before you can zero in your scope, start by preparing your set up. A step that is often overlooked is cleaning your rifle.
No matter how much you adjust it, your shots can be inaccurate if your rifle is full of dust and grime, especially if it’s been sitting in storage.
After cleaning, you can then check to see if the screws are still tight on your mounted scope, as loose scopes can also cause inaccuracy.
2. Position your rifle
The next step to ensuring that you zero in your scope properly is to set your position in place.
Getting a good and comfortable firing position and placing your rifle set up in such a way that you can remove as many inconsistencies as possible is important.
In order to zero in the scope of your .22 LR, all other variables must stay the same and consistent, except for the adjustments you make on your scope.
Most people opt to set their rifle up on a table, or mount it on top of some sandbags for support and stability.
Location is also important as wind can alter the path of your bullet, affecting your shooting every time, so it’s best to choose a place with little wind resistance.
3. Use a bore sight
Using a bore sight is one of the best ways in which you can zero in your scope for hunting squirrels.
A level should be used on the bore sight and made sure that it is clearly leveled to ensure that the bore sight is well aligned with the center of the rifle.
The next step after aligning the bore with the scope is to make sure that the crosshairs are adjusted to the middle of the bore sight. To do this, you only need to make adjustments to the windage and elevation screws usually found at the sides of the scope to move the crosshairs.
4. Set your target
To zero in your scope, you’ll need to set up some practice targets 25 to 35 yards away.
Shooting a few rounds from this distance will allow you to effectively zero in your scope. It’s also at this distance that you’re much more likely to shoot your target or the squirrels at your first shot.
You can opt to use the printed shooting targets for the most precision and to track your adjustment.
5. Fire a few shots
After making all the necessary preparations and adjustments, you can now fire your first round and make the final adjustments needed.
Fire your shots at the target that you’ve set up previously, shooting a few shots to see if you’re hitting the same spots.
This “shot group” can help you determine if you’re firing consistently. If the shot group is in one close or tight spot then your shots are consistent and you can move on to adjusting the sights to hit the center of your target.
If your shot group is more scattered all over the shooting target, this can indicate that you’re moving the rifle as you shoot, changing the path of the bullet and making it inconsistent. To correct this, try to be mindful of your position and try not to move the rifle as you make a shot. Keep firing to get to a close shot group.
6. Establish consistency
Zeroing in your scope can be fickle and is affected by every single variable. Try to establish consistency and routine when firing a shot. From your breathing pattern to your position, be mindful of what works best and try to stick to it.
7. Control your breath and your pulling of the trigger
One of the variables that can affect the zeroing in of your scope and your shot is your breathing. Although seemingly insignificant, you can accidentally shift the rifle as you breathe. Mind your breathing pattern and shoot to the cadence of your breathing to make it more natural.
Pulling the trigger can also alter the flight path of the bullet from your intended course. When pulling the trigger, don’t hurry by squeezing it quickly and letting it go. This can cause the rifle to jerk, ruining your accuracy.
Instead, squeeze the trigger slowly and consistently, and then release it swiftly after a split second.
Following these steps can help you zero in the scope of your rifle and hopefully help you make an accurate shot.
Every hunter, experienced or not, should note the importance of zeroing in their scope to ensure an accurate and safe hunting experience.
What is a 22lr Scope Illumination?
A .22 long rifle is a popular choice in hunting seasons for small game like squirrels. These animals are usually the most active during dawn, the first hours of daylight, and late afternoon, giving off adverse lighting.
Illuminated scopes have built-in lights that are generally red, green or amber LEDs. These colors are easier to pick up by the naked eye but won’t dilate it to the point that it hinders your natural night vision.
This LED light illuminates the reticles or crosshairs that are harder to see in adverse lighting. It also contrasts the fur of darker animals hiding in trees or shadows. Just note that the scope does not alter or enhance the image of the target and instead enhances the reticle to aid you in better aim.
Illuminated scopes don’t project lights or act as lasers to pinpoint targets, so it usually does not go against laws or regulations. Still, some states and competitions have renewed policies to include them, so research the area or rules before purchasing an illuminated rifle scope.
What magnification do you need for squirrel hunting?
The magnification you need largely depends on your vision and yard range. Many hunters do prefer to go for a 3-9x range of power. This magnification is also popular, so many scopes are within this range.
I would suggest this range for hunters who are still new to buying scopes or testing them out. It’s a powerful enough capacity to support most of your needs. The 3-9x range offers accurate shots to targets around 50-70 yards. Buying a good quality scope can also affect its performance.
For those with a higher vision grade or who prefer more accurate shots, I would suggest going for the 4-6x or 4-12x range. This magnification offers a lot of versatility. You can test it out to find the range that you are most comfortable in and increase it when needed.
Many seasoned hunters stay within the 6-9x range but prefer more magnification depending on the situation and landscape.
Where do you aim at a squirrel?
The best area to aim for in a squirrel is its head. A headshot will go through the brain immediately, killing the squirrel without further suffering. This aim is also preferred if you want to preserve its pelt. Squirrels are incredibly fast, and their head is the body part that is the most prominent making it easier to aim.
If headshots might be too tricky, try aiming for the heart located just below the neck. The hides of squirrels are a bit tough so expect to use more ammo if aiming for the body. This area is much better for bows since it has a cleaner shot.
Body shots are best aimed at the side profile of the squirrel when using a gun. Aiming at its front or back with a gun could cause too much damage to the pellet or meat. Avoid aiming while it’s moving, and wait until the squirrel is still enough to offer a clean shot.
Do you need camo for squirrel hunting?
Camo clothes are a great touch but not necessary. You can wear any comfortable clothes you own while hunting for squirrels.
Some areas do require hunters to wear orange to avoid getting shot. Although squirrels don’t see the orange as alarmingly bright as we do, they see it as one solid color and can grow suspicious. Many hunters wear camouflage clothes underneath or as is to adapt to the environment and not alarm the squirrels.
Since squirrel hunting is close range, ensuring your clothes match the environment well can help you get a closer and better aim. Getting one can also be a form of investment as you can use them in other hunting activities.
That is to say that wearing one is a personal choice. Camo can be pretty expensive, and wearing a shirt that has a similar color to the landscape without many prints can do the job just as well. You could wear anything to squirrel hunting events if you are comfortable with it and it fits the blending requirement.
The best scope for 22lr squirrel hunting has the capabilities that make it effective as a dedicated rimfire scope for hunting small game like tree rats or squirrels. It’s a suitable scope for rimfire rifles because it is durable, heavy-duty, feature-rich, lightweight, and easy to use. It also has a fast focus eyepiece, straightforward reticle, quality lens, o ring sealing, and gas purging.
This guide should be able to help you pick the right scope for 22LR squirrel targeting and hunting. Weigh your options well and compare the features that each optics system has to get a feel of what’s waiting for you. Finally, consider the factors I’ve mentioned earlier for more help. Good luck and happy hunting!