What Is Rifle Scope Parallax and How Do We Adjust It?

Rifle scopes are not perfect and, one or another, they will have some defects and mishaps no matter what brand or how expensive they are.  These defects sometimes affect how shooters do their gun shooting or hunting and most of them wish they are not present in future rifle scopes. One of the defects that shooters don’t want to have is the rifle scope parallax.

What Is Rifle Scope Parallax?

what rifle scope parallax looks like

Nikon M-223 8488 3-12x42SF Riflescope (Black)
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A rifle scope parallax is a known optical illusion where the target looks out of focus and the focal plane of the target is offset from rifle scope reticle. It is the apparent movement of the reticle when the eyes move off center of the sight picture.  When this happens, it means that the scope is either the target image is no occurring on the same focal plane as the reticle or the scope in out of focus. 

While adjustment in parallax on rifle scopes is not required, there are a lot of target shooters who want this to be present in their scopes for easy targeting and shooting.

Sometimes, the parallax is of concern because shooters want their rifle scopes to be clear and make their shooting accurate most of the time. Almost all brands don’t have the feature of adjusting the parallex but rather have a pre-set to be parallax free at around 100-200 yards, while shotguns are set at 50. When scopes are at 11x or more, they have parallax adjustments because parallax gets worse when the magnifications are high.

Parallax Adjustments

Parallax adjustments is needed so it can get rid of the undesirable optical error that causes the crosshairs to appear in “shift”.  It is a good thing a lot of brands and companies added innovative features in their rifle scopes to adjust parallax so accuracy in shooting can be achieved more.  For instance, Nikon has some rifle scopes that use a side turrent for parallax correction such as the the Leupold VX3 scope series or Bushnell Elite 4200 rifle scopes.

The adjustment on the parallax is where the reticle’s plane is moved at the same location as the image plane—which is mostly in small distances. Your point of bullet impact will most likely shift every time adjustment is made on your scope, so it should be marked plainly at which direction to turn on the turret so you can achieve that correction that you want. So in every distance that you are, you have to adjust the parallax settings and the focus as well.

How Is Parallax Solved?

While parallax is mostly present in rifle scopes, there are solutions to this, and one of them is adjusting. Here are just some of the solutions in lessening rifle scope parallax:

  • When you are using a high-powered scope, parallax can be identified through adjusting your gaze slightly. If reticle changes the position on the object when shifting your gaze, then the parallax is not properly fixed or compensated for that range.
  • If you do parallax adjustment properly, the reticle should look like it is locked in place and is focused solely on the target. So no matter how you shift your gaze, the position and parallax is not changed to the target.
  • It is critical to get a precise parallax setting because it increases with magnification, thus giving you a larger margin of error at higher powers especially when parallax is not precisely correct.
  • The higher the magnification, the more adjustment on parallax you would do.
  • At short distances, the parallax effect does not affect accuracy compared to longer distances so you must be able to adjust well in your shooting.
  • While parallax will be present, it is good to remember that it will not have an effect on your shooting accuracy as long as you are sighting stright through the middle of the scope or close to it.
  • You have to adjust the recommended setting for the parallax through the side turret according to your preferences or the range in which you are shooting from.
  • Also, try experimenting with the adjustment ring until the optical illusion is gone or lessened while your cross hairs are shifting.
  • So as not to experience rifle scope parallax that much so you will not be hassled, make sure to buy a scope that features adjustable buttons or side focus turrets so it can eliminate or lessen the problem. You make your shooting parallax-free at various distances and can be adjusted even to those shooters who do not have perfect vision.
  • You can re-label or keep a list of the parallax adjustments that you made that is partnered with their specific distances. This way, you can set them right without any hassle when you shoot over and over again—especially at repeated distances—in the future.
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Final Thoughts

All in all, a rifle scope parallax is not a big problem to hunters and shooters despite being a concern for them. Parallax is one of the fears of hunters and shooters when buying scopes. They do not like the hassle of adjusting every now and then when they use the scopes in various distances. But with some patience and studying, any ordinary hunter and shooter like you can make parallax adjustments with ease.

There will always be rifle scope parallax but at least you can fix them right away without even taking long, thanks to the innovative and new technology of rifle scopes.

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