First .22 ... Leupold vs. Leupold

Ready for squirrels; which scope wins?

Field & Stream Online Editors

Q: I'm 14 and have purchased my first .22 rimfire. What would be a good scope for squirrel hunting and plinking? What ammo would you recommend for hunting? I'm thinking of using .22 Stingers. Do you think it would be possible to kill a squirrel or rabbit with .22 shotshells? --F.

A: For a scope, I'd recommend the Weaver RV7, a 2X-7X variable designed specifically for .22s. It's a 1-inch scope, so you'll have to pay a little extra for scope and mounts, but it's still very reasonably priced and a lot brighter than cheap 3/4-inch-tubed .22 scopes. You'll be able to aim much more precisely at squirrels.

Stingers are designed primarily for varmint shooting. They have very high velocity but are not especially accurate. Don't try .22 shotshells for squirrels and rabbits, because they're designed for much smaller stuff like mice and rats. I generally use Winchester Power-Points for hunting. They are very accurate and stop game in its tracks.

Q: I bought your book Optics for the Hunter. I wonder which Leupold scope is right for me. I have a Remington 700 in .300 Remington Ultra Magnum and am trying to choose between the 3.5-10x40 Vari-X III, and the 2.5-10x45 LPS. I worry that the LPS will be too big and throw off the balance of my rifle. I'm also worried that they might not be tough enough for my rifle's recoil. --D.

A: I'd go with the Vari-X III, though both are excellent scopes. Leupold tries to produce a scope for every shooter's taste, and the LPS, with its 30mm tube, was designed to compete with the big European scopes favored by some hunters. The main differences between the two models are weight, lens coatings, and price:

  • Vari-X III: 13 ounces, Multi-Coat 4, around $500
  • LPS: 17.2 ounces, DiamondCoat, around $800 Both Multi-Coat 4 and DiamondCoat are very efficient multicoatings that allow these scopes to compete very well with European scopes in light transmission. The DiamondCoat is very hard and so holds up against abuse in the field. But as long as you don't clean your lenses with Kleenex or your dirty shirttail, the Multi-Coat 4 will last a lifetime. Obviously, the LPS is much heavier and more expensive. As far as ruggedness goes, Leupold scopes are as tough as any on the market today.