Best Scopes For M&P 15-22 – Top 4 in 2022
I’ve heard it said the Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 is the closest thing to an AR-15 rifle without an AR-15 sized price tag. It can certainly be called ‘AR-style,’ and it delivers an array of appealing features to make users feel like they’re shooting the real thing.
For hunters who don’t want to splash the cash on a genuine AR-15 rifle, the M&P 15-22 is a neat alternative.
Ammunition and spare parts for the M&P 15-22 are significantly cheaper for a start. Since 2009, the M&P 15-22 has been a very affordable option.
Shooters of lightweight .22 semiautomatics are particularly fond of this weapon.
They rave about its soft recoil, rookie friendly design and compatibility with a broad variety of low cost, high-quality accessories.
Adequate eye relief is one of the most underestimated parts of a rifle scope. So, before we get any further, we should get a comprehension of what eye alleviation is actually and whit is it so significant.
Eye relief is the separation you should hold your eye behind your extension's back focal point to see the total picture delivered by your focal point.
In the event that you draw your eyes in nearer towards the focal point, your image will start to get fluffy around the edges. In the event that you take your eyes back excessively far however, the image will turn into a spot on the focal point.
Best Scope for M&P 15-22
I’ve heard it said the Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 is the closest thing to an AR-15 rifle without an AR-15 sized price tag. It can certainly be called ‘AR-style,’ and it delivers an array of appealing features to make users feel like they’re shooting the real thing. For hunters who don’t want to splash the cash on a genuine AR-15 rifle, the M&P 15-22 is a neat alternative.
Ammunition and spare parts for the M&P 15-22 are significantly cheaper for a start. Since 2009, the M&P 15-22 has been a very affordable option. Shooters of lightweight .22 semiautomatics are particularly fond of this weapon. They rave about its soft recoil, rookie friendly design and compatibility with a broad variety of low cost, high-quality accessories.
Why Is the Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 Special?
The Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 rifle uses a blowback system as opposed to a standard direct impingement mechanism. Rather than being cased in aluminum, it has a resilient polymer frame and operates with proprietary polymer mags.
Aside from this, it’s very much an AR-15 rifle. Both the safety lock functions and disassembly features should be familiar if you’re used to shooting AR-15s. The M&P 15-22 performs impeccably well at close to medium-range.
It isn’t quite as precise from longer distances (beyond 100 yards), but hunters with a keen eye can still bag a kill from 300 yards. When operated raw and out of the box, the rifle shoots best from 50 to 100 yards.
This is where you’ll find the weapon’s sweet spot. However, I encourage you to do some experimenting with a reliable scope. There’s real potential in this thing. It’s just a matter of finding the right accessories to unleash it.
In the right hands, the M&P 15-22 can shoot impressively at long ranges. Though, I wouldn’t worry if you can’t quite hit your regular highs with this weapon.
It is primarily designed for medium-range plinking and target shooting. The low-pressure firing system uses rimfire cartridges which are inexpensive but lose accuracy when sharp-shot from a distance.
What Type of Rifle Scope Is Best For the M&P 15-22?
Before we dive into our review of the best scopes for the M&P 15-22, let’s discuss some general advice to follow when choosing a rifle scope. The higher a scope’s magnification power, the more accurately it can shoot at long distances.
If you need to switch weapons, consider investing in a variable scope. For close-range shooting, opt for a 1x to 4x rifle scope. If shooting from medium distances, consider a 4x to 6x scope.
Finally, at the longest ranges, you need a scope capable of providing 6x to 9x magnification. If you’re trying to save cash, discount the higher priced, higher-powered magnifications.
The Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 isn’t designed for them and probably won’t realize its full potential with them either.
Top 4 M&P 15-22 Rifle Scopes Quick List
Nikon ProStaff Rimfire with BDC Reticle 3-9x40mm
Bushnell Optics Drop Zone 22 BDC 2-7x/32mm
Nikon P-Rimfire BDC 150 Rifle Scope
Leupold VX-1 Rimfire Scope
Now let’s get down to business with the
Best 4 M&P 15-22 Rifle Scopes
1. Nikon ProStaff Rimfire with BDC Reticle 3-9x40mm
The Nikon ProStaff Rimfire Scope is distinctly less powerful than other similar AR-15 style scopes on the market. It seems like a weakness at first, but it’s hard to hold on to this perception once you know how efficiently it performs everywhere else.
This Nikon scope accounts for a lack of magnification power with remarkable precision, a terrific build design, lens clarity and stylish aesthetics. Add the low price to this equation and you’ve got yourself a scope that provides premium optics on a budget.
The Nikon ProStaff Rimfire with BDC Reticle boasts a crisp, clean crosshair and a lens so precise it takes barely a minute to set to zero at a distance of 100 yards. While it doesn’t technically need it – the M&P 15-22 is a low recoil rifle – it’s still satisfying to know the scope offers a generous 3.5” of eye relief.
The quick zero reset turrets were one of my favorite features. It means no more clumsy grasping while locking in a target. This intuitive design is further boosted by the scope’s responsive adjustment functions.
While testing Nikon’s ProStaff Rimfire, I never felt out of control, jerky or disjointed. Everything worked smoothly and the BDC (bullet drop compensation) system increased my mid-range accuracy in a way I never expected from a budget accessory.
I haven’t even mentioned light transmission yet. Here, the manufacturer soars and it’s no surprise. As a world-renowned maker of cameras, Nikon knows a thing or two about maximizing light. Its scope delivers an incredible 98% light transmission which is impressive for any rifle scope, never mind one at this price range.
The last thing to add is the Nikon ProStaff Rimfire Scope is really tough. Again, for its price, you could be forgiven for expecting something brittle and intolerant. Thankfully, it’s not the case.
This scope is robustly waterproof and capable of enduring at least minor blows. My hunting buddy dropped his Nikon scope from over three feet up and there wasn’t a blemish on it afterward.
The Final Verdict
I try hard to find a weakness in every rifle scope I review because there’s no such thing as perfect. I will say the Nikon ProStaff Rimfire with BDC Reticle gets very close.
At a push, the scope’s parallax compensation isn’t very effective when shooting from close-range. The slightest degree of fuzziness creeps in. Otherwise, I have nothing bad to say about this delightful M&P 15-22 scope.
2. Bushnell Optics Drop Zone 22 BDC 2-7x/32mm
Bushnell’s Optics Drop Zone 22 BDC rifle scope is already a good contender for price. Like the Nikon ProStaff Rimfire, it is a truly affordable accessory.
It is particularly well suited to close and medium-range action whether targets are being felled for practice, competition or sport. The scope has a well-designed set of features including target turrets, easy to use parallax adjustments, bullet drop compensation and more.
It’s an obviously rugged scope with all the weatherproofing protections needed on extended hunting trips. The anodized aluminum alloy frame is Q-ring reinforced as an additional safeguard and to prevent any dust from reaching the objective lens.
It’s also robustly treated with fog and rustproof coatings. Expect a lot of strength and resilience from this glass.
The Bushnell Optics Drop Zone scope is fully compatible with many .22 caliber semiautomatics including the Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22.
Just make sure you buy the correct mounting rings. As far as precision, Bushnell’s scope effortlessly holds to zero at fifty yards and up to 125 yards with only a slight dip in accuracy.
Okay, so the scope’s range isn’t going to break any records. Yet, we know the Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 rifle wasn’t designed for long distance anyway. It’s probably less of a hindrance than you think.
The Final Verdict
It doesn’t feel right to refer to the Bushnell Optics Drop Zone 22 BDC scope as ‘budget’ although it definitely is a budget scope. Don’t be fooled by the price tag.
This rifle scope is a high performing accessory that’s surprisingly comfortable, very easy to use and packed with practical features. My only gripe is the turret adjustors feel stiffer than on some rival versions. It’s nit-picking. It was tough to find a weakness.
3. Nikon P-Rimfire BDC 150 Rifle Scope
I thought it would be interesting to compare an affordable high performing scope such as Nikon’s ProStaff Rimfire with a more expensive rival. Let’s see if these budget shooting accessories can really stand up to bigger, bolder competitors.
I decided to test out both the Nikon ProStaff Rimfire and Nikon’s P-Rimfire BDC 150 Rifle Scope. The latter is a slightly pricier, slightly more upgraded version of the Rimfire. I guess I was interested to find out if spending a little bit more makes a difference.
As is typical of Nikon scopes, the P-Rimfire delivers utterly flawless lens capabilities. The optics are so crisp I let out a little gasp when I used it for the first time. No, really. I haven’t seen clarity like it (certainly not at this price range) when aimed and fired to a range of 100 yards.
With quick-adjust turrets for lightning fast zero resets, users can single out targets within a minute or so. But I have to stop here and temper your excitement. Up to a distance of 100 yards, the P-Rimfire is pretty unbeatable.
Any further away though and lens clarity begins to noticeably decline. The rifle scope’s parallax compensation starts to generate a distracting blur. It’s not enough to ruin the experience.
However, if we’re comparing the Rimfire and the P-Rimfire, it gives the cheaper Rimfire an edge over this pricier alternative.
Then again, the Nikon P-Rimfire BDC 150 Rifle Scope offers something its sister scope doesn’t.
It comes with a clever Spot On app designed to help hunters and target shooters make adjustment calculations on the fly. I agree, it sounds a little gimmicky on the surface.
After a few tries though, I found myself drawn to the convenience it offers. Sometimes, the lazy method is the right one. It’s nice to know you can skip the sums and still get a rapid, accurate answer.
The Final Verdict
So, the Nikon P-Rimfire BDC 150 Rifle Scope isn’t great at long distances. It’s worth mentioning but whether it’s relevant is up to you.
In terms of finding a fantastic Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 scope, it’s not a big deal. What matters is this Nikon scope delivers incredible accuracy and clarity at close and medium-ranges.
Is it better than the ProStaff Rimfire? Probably not, so I’d recommend opting for the cheaper accessory.
4. Leupold VX-1 Rimfire Scope
The Leupold VX-1 Rimfire Scope is the priciest M&P 15-22 rifle scope on our list. Its manufacturer is a celebrated maker of premium and luxury shooting accessories. Will the bigger price tag result in a better product this time?
The first thing to notice is its magnification power. It is significantly more powerful than the other scopes reviewed here with a range of 2x to 7x.
This means it performs even better at close to medium-range while still experiencing the same struggles with long distance target shooting. It’s no problem because Leupold is clear on what this scope is made to do.
It’s a close to mid-range plinker with truly excellent optics and the right balance between intimate precision and robust zoom power. Too much magnification and you’ve got a rifle scope that’s largely wasted on the M&P 15-22.
Too little and you’d find it hard to switch effortlessly between ranges. Fortunately, the Leupold VX-1 Rimfire Scope gets it just right.
I like the fact this Leupold rifle scope is so lightweight. As with its magnification, it feels like there’s a delicate balance at play here.
The glass is sleek and slim to even out the overall balance of the weapon and ensure accuracy in all environments and conditions. While its parallax compensator is set for just 60 yards – this is the scope’s sweet spot – it can be increased to a maximum of 100 yards.
The multicoated objective lens has four layers of protection to ensure it can tolerate heavy rain, fog and wind while also allowing for optimal light transmission. The result is a lens that delivers crystal clear images with exceptional contrast and colors.
The Final Verdict
The Leupold VX-1 Rimfire Scope performs remarkably well in low light conditions as its adjuster turrets and windage knobs are so easy to use.
Whether you’re out rifle hunting at dusk or target shooting in dim light, accounting for things like holdover and elevation feels smooth and effortless. The crosshair design is plain and not very interesting, but it isn’t something that stands out as a weakness when testing the scope in real conditions.
Is it worth paying more for a Leupold? It depends. If you’ve got more money to spend, this scope offers a stylish design, tough construction and consistently accurate performance among other great features.
It is worth every dollar but, surprisingly, it only equals the more affordable Nikon ProStaff Rimfire for me which suggests price isn’t the defining factor in choosing a top quality M&P 15-22 scope.
The Best M&P 15-22 Rifle Scope For Your Needs
The Nikon ProStaff Rimfire scope is the best pick of the bunch in my opinion. Without considering the low price, it still outperforms its rivals on bullet drop compensation, light transmission and lens clarity.
Though, the Leupold VX-1 Rimfire Scope deserves a special mention for being the most polished ‘all-round’ performer. I hope this review goes some way to helping you choose a rifle scope that suits your unique shooting style and preferences.
For more advice on the best rifle scopes, check out my breakdown of the top four hunting scopes for a 300 Win Mag and Ruger AR-556.
For other rifle and scope types check: