A lot of people think that just because the .22 isn't the most powerful rifle, they don't have a lot to gain from putting a sight on it. This simply isn’t the case, though. A lot of .22 rifles have the potential to be super accurate in the right circumstances, and one of the things driving those circumstances is having a solid optic on it guiding your shots. Also, throwing a scope on a .22 rifle gives new shooters a chance to learn the basics of scoped rifling while in a fairly low-pressure environment. In other words, everybody and everything has to start somewhere.
Nikon is clever in recognizing this, because they created a solid scope that is fairly economical. The fact that it’s cheap puts it in the pocket range of people who are just thinking about trying out a scope on their .22 for fun. The really neat thing is that once people try the Nikon Rimfire II, they start putting it on every .22 they have. Realizing this phenomena, we knew that we had to do a review and figure out exactly what it is that makes people want to not only buy this scope, but buy it over and over and put it on everything.
When one first looks through the scope, they have an answer almost right away. Honestly, for the money, it's a really clear scope. There’s little if any aberration when looking through the scope, even at the highest zoom level, and the view is unobstructed thanks to a combination of solid design and a long eye relief. The scope lets through a lot of light, and this means that the scope is also surprisingly good in low-light situations - much better than you would expect for being set back less than $120.
One also will immediately notice the reticle. The reticle in this scope really isn’t that bad. The crosshairs are a little light, but they’re still dark enough to be seen, so there’s not really a lot to complain about there. Moreover, they’re precise, and this is the really great thing. This scope can turn a good .22 into an accurate and precise .22. People have reported shooting within fairly small windows consistently: half-inch groups at 50 yards, and 2 to 3 inch groupings at 100 or more yards, which really isn’t half bad and will certainly do the job.
The reticle has a super pleasant bullet drop compensation feature, which basically lets you estimate how much your bullet is going to drop based on how far away you are and adjust your aim on the fly accordingly. These reference circles are actually super accurate, and you can expect that your bullet is going to land where you’re aiming it. The downside is that this basically means knowing your distance, which will take some practice - but if a cheap .22 scope doesn’t offer the perfect opportunity to intuitively learn how far distances are while hunting, what will?
Compensating for elevation and windage is easy thanks to easily adjustable turrets with a zero-reset option letting you go right back to zero after hitting your target. This also gives you a nice option between making a quick shot using the BDC circles, or carefully adjusting for the perfect shot. In either case, you’re right back where you started whenever you want to be.
In terms of build quality, it’s a little hard to describe. On one hand, it’s a genuinely nice scope for the money, and it’s well-built. But there are parts that make it seem a little cheap, like the plastic caps that look and feel cheap, and also offer a breaking risk. On the other hand, looking a little cheap doesn’t mean that it’s built cheap. Remember, a lot of people using .22s are people who treat them as varmint taggers, for fun backyard shooting, or for teaching their kids how guns work with a (relatively) lightweight rifle. That is, this scope is more or less expected to take a beating thanks to its demographic, and regardless of what it goes through, it keeps its zero almost remarkably well. It's also fairly lightweight, making it fill its purpose of a pick-up-and-go gun pretty easily.
Lastly, mounting the scope is a breeze, and zeroing it is pretty easy. A single grouping of 7 to 10 shots should do the trick for getting everything sighted in. After that, you’re ready to start shooting.
It’s also worth mentioning Nikon’s generous full lifetime warranty. They’ll fix the scope if you have any problems, no questions asked. Whether or not you’ll enjoy the process of getting in contact and getting things fixed up seems to be hit-or-miss, but it’s hardy enough that you shouldn’t end up needing this feature so much anyway.