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Rimfire Scope Vs Centerfire Scope

Rimfire Scope Vs Centerfire Scope

A scope gives you extra vision while hunting and helps you to improve your aim, pinpoint your target and increases the overall efficacy of hunting. 

So, while searching for the perfect scope for your favourite rifle, it’s necessary to be aware of the specifications you want that suit your rifle and your hunting type. That being said, the two main types of scopes that you can most certainly find are – Rimfire Scope and Centerfire Scope.

In this article, our focus is to give you a basic idea of what are rimfire scopes and centerfire scopes and what makes them different from each other. We will also tell you about the best rimfire scopes and centerfire scopes that are available in the market today.

Centerfire Ammunition

Centerfire  Ammunition is known for its versatility. It can be used in shotguns, handguns and rifles. This type of ammunition has the primer located in the centre of the casing base, so it is reloadable. The cartridge walls are stronger and remain intact even after shooting. 

Centerfire ammunition is well known because of the following reasons:

  • It is more reliable and safe to use as it can withstand rough handling
  • It has thicker cartridges which can withstand higher pressures which in turn gives bullet superior energy and velocity
  • It can be used with larger calibre weapons such as 0.38 and 0.40

Rimfire Ammunition

Rimfire Ammunition cannot withstand large pressures. Unlike centerfire ammo, rimfire ammo is limited to low-pressure loads and thus can be used only in smaller calibre weapons. 

It has the primer contained in the rim of the ammunition casing. Since, the cartridge walls are broken by the firing pin, lighting up the primer, rimfire ammo is restricted to smaller calibre rifles, which are non-reloadable. 

People look for Rimfire Ammunition because:-

  • Relatively cheaper than centerfire ammo and perfect for any small hunting game
  • Suitable for use in low recoil rifles
  • It is ideal for beginners

What is a Centerfire Scope? 

Centerfire Scopes have parallax settings of around 100 yards or more. Their parallax adjustments are easier with Adjustable Objective (AO) lenses. 

They have greater eye relief, which is essential as centerfire produces high recoil. Centerfire scopes are a bit pricey but they come with exceptional functionalities. 

They can be used with any type of rifle and are damage-proof, so they are worth every penny. Centerfire scopes can be treated as range finders as well, as they are Mil-dot or MOA reticle. 

The reticle of a scope is the pattern of lines or markings that are built into the eyepiece. You can use a reticle to determine the distance at which your target is present. 

What is a Rimfire Scope?

Rimfire scopes are generally used for short-range shooting. They are designed to fit rifles, which are not made to withstand high levels of recoil. 

They have a parallax setting of around 75 yards or 50 yards or less, and a shorter eye- relief. Scopes with parallax settings of around 25 yards is enough for new hunting aficionados, who opt for short-range shooting.

Here are some important points that you must bear in mind before purchasing:- 

Rimfire scopes are affordable. However, those made of plastic should be avoided as they cannot even withstand a low-recoil pressure.

Airguns have high levels of recoil, and you cannot use rimfire scopes on them as it would completely damage your scope.

Differences between a Rimfire Scope and Centerfire Scope


Rimfire scopes (around $100 ) are relatively cheaper than Centerfire scopes (around $400) because the former one is made of cheaper materials. They are designed to meet the needs of newbies or average rimfire shooters who opt for shooting at smaller distances.

Eye Relief and Parallax Adjustments

This is the main factor for their comparison. It’s hard to differentiate between Rimfire Scope and Centerfire Scope at short shooting distances and nice illumination. 

Centerfire scopes are highly powered, better suited in low light ambience and longer distance targets. The glass quality will help you to clearly shoot objects beyond 300 yards. Because of the quality and clear shot they provide, centerfires are preferred by seasoned hunters.

Rimfire scopes can only provide shooting range up to 50 yards. A rimfire should have parallax set at 50 yards or less. If you opt for a fixed parallax scope, do make sure the parallax calibration perfectly fits your weapon.

And, if you want to set parallax at 100 yards, go for centerfire scope. Some centerfires have an extra knob with which hunters can adjust parallax to get a crisp image of the target and meet their hunting conditions. 

Centerfires have focal adjustment systems. But if you want an adjustable objective on a cheaper scope, rimfire will be a perfect choice.


Recoil is an important factor to consider when it comes to accuracy. And rimfire scopes are mainly used with rifles that have low recoil. Since you cannot use these scopes with high recoil as it can cause misalignment when you are trying to take a shot. Whereas you can use a centrefire scope for a high recoil rifle.


Comparatively, centerfire scopes come with greater magnification range than rimfire scopes. Rimfires generally have magnification ranging from 2-7x or 3-9x whereas centerfires come with a magnification of around 4-14x.

Rimfire Scopes are Better for Short Range Shots

Rimfire bullets are lightweight and limited to short ranges, where making a shot of about 100 yards would be impossible because of crosswind. A slight breeze can sway your target out of your sight. But if you are aiming for a fast-moving object then go for centerfire scope as you can shoot faster with that.

Centerfire scopes are best for shooting larger moving objects while rimfires are ideal for shooting smaller moving objects.

Best Rimfire Scopes

1. Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40 Rimfire Scope

Suitable for .22 LR rifle, Leupold VX-freedom is designed by a company with a track record of excellence. This is an excellent choice for beginners and comes with 3x – 9x magnification and a 40 mm objective lens. 

The optic is made from multi-coated scratch-resistant lenses. The scope has parallax adjustment for 60 yards, a setting which is ideal for Rimfire cartridges. 

It comes with a fabulous eye-relief and has an in-built illuminator to boost visibility in low light. It is made with aircraft-grade aluminium which is extremely tough, making the scope usable in extreme weather conditions.


  • Durable Lenses.
  • Suitable for use in different light conditions


  • The lens cap is absent

2. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Rimfire- V- Plex MOA

Vortex has always been the best when it comes to making professional-grade high-quality scopes. Vortex Optics Crossfire is famous because it comes with exceptional functionality yet it is budget-friendly to customers.  

This scope features multiple reticle options, and the V-Plex MOA gives unmatched accuracy for medium – long-range shooting. The scope offers the ideal combination of superior, multi-coated, anti-reflective optics for maximum light transmission with minimal glare. 

The crosshair is ideally designed for balancing between accurate aiming and visibility. It is the Best Vortex Crossfire Rimfire Scope.


  • Multicoated lenses
  • Excellent quality of materials and durability.
  • Weatherproof


  • A bit heavier

Best Centerfire Scopes

3. Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25x56mm

Leupold makes the strongest riflescopes which can easily withstand the most violent recoil of cartridges. If you are looking for a dependable and versatile centerfire scope, then this is the best choice. 

Its lightweight design dissolves recoil energy for unrivalled durability and performance with ultra-lightweight construction. It features parallax- correction focus, scratch-resistant, anti-glare optics with Twilight Max HD Light Management System. 

Front Focal plane helps you to estimate range at all magnification settings. This scope is suitable for all type of hunting and in any lighting condition. 


  • Wide Adjustment Range and allows three revolutions elevation adjustment system.  Weatherproof
  • Comes with Multiple FFP reticle


  • Pricier than others 

4. Schmidt & Bender PMII 5-25×56mm – Best Long Range Scope

This scope is popular for being known as one of the best long-range centerfire scopes. It is popular among police and military snipers and has a brilliant image clarity and brightness. 

It has great magnification range which provides well-engineered performance. This 5-25×56 mm is the most popular specification around the globe, and the optics are incredible with clear, crisp, neutral images.


  • Bright and Clear Multicoated optics 
  • Bright Resolution


From the above-mentioned differences, it can be concluded that a serious and committed shooter will choose Centerfire scope over Rimfire scope because of the specifications and durability. 

Centerfire scopes can also be used on rimfires but the vice-versa is not possible. Don’t try to mount rimfire scope on centerfire rifle as it would seriously damage your scope beyond repair. 

As Rimfire Scopes are less expensive and suits well in short games newbies must use rimfires while learning and practising.

We hope we have made it easier for you to decide which scope will perfectly suit your favourite rifle. Hunting is exciting as well as dangerous. So, don’t forget to follow the gun rules before mounting your favourite scope on your rifle. Have fun, stay safe and happy hunting!

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