What is Rifle Scope Parallax and How to Solve It

You might have heard the term ‘parallax’ if you read shooting magazines, watch shows about the subject or just hang around with other shooters. If you weren’t sure what it even was, and completely lost when trying to adjust for it, not to worry. This is your guide to not only understanding – but also solving the parallax problem is on your scope.



What Exactly is a Parallax Problem

What parallax is, put simply, is when objects that are further from you move more slowly than objects that are closer to you. For example, if you are traveling down the highway and you look out at a fence, the posts seem to flash by very quickly, but the trees off in the distance pass by much more slowly. How does this relate to your rifle? Well, your reticle moves faster then the object that you are targeting through the scope and this can cause a problem when targeting. You must adjust for the parallax before you begin shooting – particularly if you are aiming at a pretty sm qall target. Most of the time, scopes are set to about 100 yards parallax adjustment, which is a good middle ground.


How to Adjust for Parallax

When either your target or the reticle is not in focus, parallax makes your shots inaccurate. No matter how slight, any movement of your head will throw off your aim, even if you seem to be on target. That’s why you have to adjust for parallax, and if you are missing and you know you are on target, this is a good thing to check. Manufacturers generally include some kind of adjustment that will allow you to adjust the scope so that the focal panes are aligned. You’ll either adjust the objective lens (the lens that is closest to the target on the scope) or use an adjustment that is on the side.



All you have to do to adjust for parallax is turn the knob until you can see that both your reticle and your target are in focus. You may not be able to get them 100% perfect, but you should be able to get them pretty close. You also have knobs on your scope that will adjust for elevation and windage, or how high and how centered the scope is. Don’t mistake these with the adjustments for the parallax. Also, don’t mistake the adjustment ring in the back of the scope that adjusts the focus. All the back focus knob does is adjust the entire image, and the parallax will remain if you do so.

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