How Do You Know Which Scope is Ideal for Your Purposes?
The other day, there was a discussion on a forum about the best scopes for M&P 15-22, and most people had a tough time doling out recommendations right off the bat because tons of variables come into play when you are talking about the M&P 15-22.
That’s because it’s one of the most protean rifles in the world. Designed to mimic the .22 AR-15, it has been one of those cases where the replica outsells the original. And it’s for good reason too. It is accurate, cheap, and can be used for everything from bench shooting to off-hand to run and gun.
Depending on the type of use, or should we say abuse that you subject your M&P 15-22 to, you can pick from an entire range of scopes that are spread out across a variety of price points. For short-range shooting or plinking, you can do a lot of good with a red dot.
Go for hunting or long-distance shooting and you need a variable on your gun. But since this question is often popped around by newbies, we felt that this deserves a blog post with our list of recommendations.
To ensure that we cater to all kinds of shooters with the M&P 15-22, we have kept this list as diverse as we possibly can. So, you will find scopes of all varieties in this list and one of these can very easily be your go-to scope for the M&P 15-22 for all kinds of shooting.
[Best Overall Value]
Overall, it’s easily one of the 3 best scopes for M&P 15-22 rifles on the market
A Bushnell scope priced below $100 is a rarity, and when it’s accurately calibrated for the .22 rifle, it automatically qualifies as one of the best deals you can get. Despite the budget pricing, the scope retains most of the features from the AR series of scopes from Bushnell.
You have the same optical quality, the rugged and lightweight construction and external tactical turrets that make this an amazing package at a great price.
The All-weather scope
The AR 2-7×32 is a stunner. Out of the box, you’ll be amazed at the compact form factor clubbed with the tactical appearance. Yet, it is sleek. The scope is constructed from a 1-inch single tube made of durable aluminum alloy. It has a black anodized matte finish along with tactical turret caps and a side knob for parallax adjustment. At 19.7 ounces, it is lighter than most other scopes in its class and it is an even 11.07 inches long which puts it on par with the #1 pick in this list of the best scopes for M&P 15-22.
Multicoated optics and side parallax focus
The AR 2X7-32 is designed for accurate shooting with rimfire rifles and there are a plethora of features that enhance accuracy. For starters, there’s side parallax focus with target turrets for pinpoint precision. Club this with the caliber-specific reticles and you absolutely cannot miss your targets irrespective of the yardage. It zeroes in at 50 yards and is deadly accurate at 75, 100 and 125 yards. The side focus knob has 10-yard increment adjustment markings. The lowest is at 10 and the highest is at 300 followed by infinity. The multicoated optics deliver sharp and clear visuals in all kinds of lighting and weather conditions.
Bullet Drop Compensating (BDC) reticle
When you are done plinking cans with your M&P 15-22 and are looking to take the rifle out to a deer hunt or even better, for a tactical carbine competition, then the Drop Zone-22LR Ballistic drop compensator reticle really shines. It makes it effortless to range over long distances like 600-700 yards without readjusting the elevation. Just aim at the corresponding reticle and shoot. And the Bushnell AR 2-7X32 will hit bulls-eye repeatedly. This is what makes this such a versatile scope that expands the natural capabilities of the M&P 15-22.
Like we said at the beginning of this description, a Bushnell priced under $100 and calibrated accurately for your rifle, you cannot ask for more. If you own an M&P 15-22, do yourself a favor and buy this. It will be the best money you spend on a scope.
[Best Value – Mid-Range Scope]
One of the Best Scopes for M&P 15-22 Rifles at Short to Mid-Range
The Nikon P-Rimfire BDC 150 Rifle Scope is often pitted against the Bushnell, despite the two being poles apart in the pricing. But there’s no reason to compare the two because there’s a huge difference in the potential application of these scopes as well.
The P-Rimfire with its BDC 150 reticle is more apt for short-range or medium-range shooting and is preferred by M&P 15-22 enthusiasts who indulge in plinking or use it to shoot prairie dogs or varmint.
Nikon’s rugged construction
The moment you take this out of the box, you’d know right away that you are holding a Nikon scope. It feels solid and heavy. The construction is an aircraft-grade aluminum alloy with a hint of polymer, just like its predecessors, the Prostaff range of scopes. It has the same all-black anodized finish in the matt and is nitrogen purged. There is a range of coatings on the optics which keep it impervious to the vagaries of weather and also keep dust and debris out. The scope weighs a very light 16.2 oz which is a definite plus if you are used to carrying a lightweight rig.
`Zero Reset Turrets
The P-22 Rimfire scope features the Zero-Reset turret which reduces the chances of an error during elevation or windage adjustments. All that you need to do is a sight in and then lift the turret and rotate it to reset it to zero. You can do this on-the-fly and the turret has a tactile feel to it. Also, the actual windage and elevation turrets are finger adjustable too. The scope is parallax-free at a distance of 50 yards.
Choice of reticles
The P-22 Rimfire is available in two different reticle choices. The first one is a conventional duplex reticle which Nikon calls NikoPlex, while the other one is the rimfire calibrated BDC 150 reticle. The Nikoplex version has two different elevation dials each calibrated for one type of .22 ammo, the standard velocity, and high-velocity ones. The BDC 150 reticle on the other hand sights in at 50 yards and then features four different circles that hold over with different points to aim up to 150 yards. This prevents the need to adjust the elevation. Just aim to the corresponding circle according to the distance and shoot. If you need to tailor this down, you can use Nikon’s Spot On tool which allows you to customize the setup.
The caliber friendly elevation clubbed with Nikon’s excellent optical quality and the BDC specific reticle make this one of the best scopes for the M&P 15-22. And it is not overly expensive either.
When you have a little extra to spend on a top-of-the-line scope with a sleek & simple, yet durable design for the .22 that will last a lifetime, you’ll want to check out the Leupold 115370 Mark AR Mod1. This is an incredibly high-quality scope, and when it comes to scopes you tend to get what you pay for. While it’s not in everyone’s price range, the customer reviews tell you everything you need to know about its quality.
It is lightweight, zeroes in the blink of an eye, and stays true to zero irrespective of whether you’re shooting handheld or range.
One of the first things that you’d notice when you grab the Leupold 115370 in your hands is how light it is. While it is true that it is the rings that will determine the final weight, the scope itself is very light. That’s almost half the weight of the Nikon Prostaff 3-9x Rimfire, which is another widely used scope for the M&P 15-22. While that may not seem to be a huge factor that determines your purchase, it does add up when you are shooting standing upright or shooting a moving target. The lighter your gun, the easier it is to handle.
Uncluttered Duplex X-hair reticle
One of the standout features of the Leupold 115370 Mark AR Mod 1 scope is the simple, uncluttered duplex x-hair reticle with an optional illuminated green dot. That’s daylight visible by the way. This mil based reticle is perfect for long-range shooting because you know that when fully magnified, that’s 2.5 mils per mark making the entire circle 10 mils. Another scenario where this can be immensely beneficial is if you do not know the target distance, for example, in hunting. Fire up the center dot and you’ll easily hit your targets with precision.
Precise Turrets for windage and elevation
The Leupold 115370 features precision-based windage and elevation turrets that have a tactical and responsive click to every turn. Also, this is one of the few scopes that we have tried that have a ballistic turret. When you zero them in for 100 yards, it shows you the markings for the standard 5.56 ammo which makes it effortless to adjust them for compensation. You don’t have to fiddle with the knob or calculators to know the math. You can make similar adjustments based on the type of ammo you use.
The Leupold 115388 is a compact, stylish and lightweight package that knocks the wind out of many higher priced scopes. It is accurate and has a precise reticle to boot. People that we have spoken to have effortlessly hit targets at 800 yards repeatedly with precision.
#4- Vortex Optics SPR-1301 Spitfire 1x Prism Scope
If your main use of the M&P 15-22 is for close or medium range shooting, then there’s few competitors that can go toe-to-toe with the Vortex Spitfire 1x. This super-compact rugged-looking scope has been one of the most popular models from Vortex. And one of the reasons for the popularity is the red dot clubbed with the prismatic optical sight. That combination keeps working even if the battery decides to die on you in the outdoors.
But that’s not the sole reason for the popularity. Everything from the construction to the glass quality screams $500+. Yet, the Spitfire is priced under $300 making it an unbeatable proposition for the 15-22.
Well-Rounded, and One of the Overall Best Scopes for M&P 15-22 rifles for Durability & Features:
- Rugged construction – The Spitfire 1x features a rugged single-piece construction in a hard anodized matte finish. The scope is shockproof, waterproof and fog proof. You can mount this on the most recoil-heavy gun and it stays rock solid. The tube is nitrogen purged and the impeccable quality of the O-ring seals makes it impervious to all kinds of weather, dust, and debris. Also, the design is a lot more compact as compared to most other scopes for the 15-22. A bunch of anti-reflective coatings on the glass help improve light transmission.
- Etched Reticle – The Spitfire 1x features an illuminated reticle and you have the option to choose between a red or a green dot. To top it off, there are five levels of brightness that you can adjust. The brightness adjustment knob is positioned perfectly and rotates smoothly. But if you have trouble with the red dot on a bright sunny day outside, you can choose to use the un-illuminated Dual ring tactical black reticle instead which is etched on the prism. So, even if the battery runs out of juice, you still have a reticle to use and it does not look washed out either. Along with the center dot, the Spitfire also features a double circle that allows you to narrow down on your targets easily.
- A bunch of neat extras – Once you are done admiring the etched black reticle, you’d be equally impressed with the extras thrown into the package. There’s a BDC turret for the standard 5.56 round and you can choose to use this one instead of the conventional elevation turret for your long-range shooting. It has a generous eye relief, the controls are forward mounted and the optical quality is top-notch. Like all of Vortex’s scopes, this one also includes the VIP warranty from Vortex that has you covered.
For a 1x optic, the Vortex Spitfire offers flawless clarity. This clubbed with the rugged construction and the DRT reticle make this one of the best scopes for M&P 15-22.
#5 – BARSKA 3-9×32 Plinker-22 Riflescope
When we first heard about a 3-9×32 rimfire scope from Barska that was priced under $50, we weren’t sold. We were sure that there had to be a catch. How could you put decent quality glass at that price point?
But a few weeks after its launch, once the smoke had cleared, there was a lot of chatter among the pro-plinking community with the M&P 15-22, and there were a lot of hunters who were very pleased with the performance of the Barska.
So, we decided to end this list of the best scopes for M&P 15-22 with this budget-priced versatile little scope.
Super Light, Yet Sturdy
You are in for a surprise when you unbox the Barska 3-9×32 scope. It almost feels weightless as compared to any other scope for the M&P 15-22. It weighs only 11.5 oz with the 3/8″ mounting rings which are included in the package by the way. Unless you have a custom stock, we found the rings to be pretty good. That’s unbelievably light. And surprisingly enough, there is no tradeoff in quality. It is constructed from a 1-inch monotube that is shock, water, and fog proof. It feels sturdy in your hands and Barska has also thrown in a lens cover and cleaning cloth in the package. That may seem like standard additions when you spend more than $100. But remember that you are spending under $50 here.
Parallax Free at 50 yards
The Barska 3-9×32 scope is parallax free at 50 yards. And they have finger-adjustable turrets at 0.25-inch click adjustments for up to 100 yards. According to Barska, the scope is accurate up to 95% of the time for up to 100 yards. For plinking and at this price point, we’d take that any day. The optical quality is excellent. You can easily zero in at 50 yards and the scope holds to zero even if you accidentally drop the rifle which speaks volumes about the quality. By the way, it uses a duplex reticle that Barska advertises as 30/30. For the uninitiated, that’s the one that is typically used by Weaver for their Varminter series. Apart from Plinking, the reticle is said to be pretty effective for estimating the range for deer.
Verdict…Possibly one of the best scopes for M&P 15-22 rifles for the price.
As most people say, this isn’t a Nikon or a Leupold. If you have the money, one of the four scopes mentioned above this one should be your unanimous choice. But if you’re looking for a budget-priced offering for the .22, then Barska is your best bet. It is rugged, durable, easy to zero in, has great optical quality, is weatherproof and sorry to sound like a broken record, is priced under $40.
How To Choose The Best Scopes For M&P 15-22 rifles?
One of the biggest rookie mistakes is to pick a scope that is overkill for a rimfire like the M&P 15-22. When you buy any scope, you have to take a few factors into consideration starting with the most important one, the range of the rifle. Now, there are people who shoot up to 700 yards with the 15-22 and other .22 rifles. But a vast majority of people who use it, use it for a short distance (up to 100 yards) shooting or for shooting varmint.
That’s what you need to determine. What and where will you be shooting? That will help you to narrow down on a few good pairs of scopes right away. After that, here are a few factors that you need to consider:
Most experts wouldn’t talk much about the weight of the rig because they have spent years learning how to handle and manipulate even heavy rifles. But if you are starting off with the M&P 15-22, then you’d want a lightweight scope that allows you to handle it easily without compromising on the movement. Irrespective of whether it’s target practice or varmint hunting, the lightweight scope is your best bet. This list of the best scopes for M&P 15-22 contains scopes that weigh as less as 11 oz and the maximum is 22 oz. So, they are all pretty light.
When it comes to a rimfire, the type of reticle that is recommended varies according to the range at which you will be shooting. Anything beyond 100 yards usually requires a Mil-Dot reticle. For shorter distances, a normal duplex reticle will do just fine. Illuminated reticles are a subject of never-ending debate. Some people love the fact that the illumination can be customized. While others feel that it can very easily create a washed-out effect on a sunny day. That’s more a matter of personal preference over anything else.
A huge objective lens will only weigh down the rifle and is practically useless for the M&P 15-22. For this reason, we haven’t picked even one that has an objective lens of more than 32 mm. That works just fine for the rifle for all types of shooting.
While turrets are usually considered to be useful in tactical applications, there is no reason why a fingertip adjustable turret won’t make usage easier for you with your M&P 15-22. Turrets that have a tactile response and an audible click are a must-have.
Last but not the least; you can spend thousands of dollars for a scope and you can also get one under $40 as is apparent from the last pick in our list. It all boils down to what you can afford and what you expect to get for the price you pay. A $40 glass will not perform like a $300 one. But if all that you are going to do is blow cans from 100 yards away, then that will work just fine and save you a lot of money.