What Is Parallax on a Scope? Learn How to Fix This Error

what is parallax on a scope

As a shooting enthusiast, you would agree that accuracy and precision matter A LOT while hunting. What’s the point of keeping top-notch hunting gear if you don’t hit the target? The issue of parallax is a nightmare for all shooters as it augments the chances of missing the target.

Parallax understanding is necessary to become a pro shooter! It would improve consistency as well as predictability.

This is especially needed in long-range shooting. In this article, we shall discuss the method for decreasing the parallax while using a riffle and adjusting it for a better-aiming experience.

What Is Scope Parallax and Objective Lens?

So, what is parallax on a scope? Simply put, scope parallax is a phenomenon in which the eyes of the shooter are not aligned well with the center of scope! As a result of this faulty eye position, the crosshairs get off-centered, leading to inaccuracy in shooting.

Now, this can happen to anyone! Many shooters, despite being skillful, end up being its prey. Even if you are an advanced hunter, you may move the head position slightly from behind the scope, leading to the crosshairs moving with the target.

As a result, you may see the misaligned crosshairs connected to the target image. As a result, you may end up missing the aim.

What Causes Scope Parallax Error?

what is parallax in a scope

Now, the million-dollar question is, what causes the scope parallax? Well, this happens when the projected image of the rifle scope, enlarged owing to the magnification, is distanced either at the front or from behind the crosshairs. Hence, a false image is created, which can be corrected precisely with the proper adjustment.

When you look through the rifle scope, the focal plane doesn’t matter much, as the reticle offers you accuracy. The reticle appears between the eye and the projected image. The reticle will blur as you move your head to adjust your angle and view the target clearly.

While looking through your rifle eyepiece, you see a projected image, thanks to the light rays entering it. It makes the aim visible to you. However, the current adjustments show a difference between the projected image and the correct/actual aim.

parallax scope

Here, the reticle is out of focus, and this phenomenon is parallax. Once you adjust the parallax, this problem of false imaging can be rectified.

How Do You Go for Parallax Adjustment?

The head and eye movement is the real culprit causing the parallax. Parallax adjustment reduces the chances of the reticle shift at either side as you look through the scope and move the head. At the same time, it’s crucial to mention that many new age scopes come with an in-built correcting parallax understanding and adjustment.

Two focal planes come into play in this regard, known as the first focal plane and the second focal plane. You will find the reticle behind the magnification lens on the tube.

All you need here is to find the dial close to the tube. This dial is known as the side focus knob. Moving it will let you adjust the target’s image and correct it if it falls somewhere around 100 yards in the distance. If the reticle appears to move, the picture shifts relative to the target.

Here, you need to look for the accurate dial position. For that, you need to choose a pretty distinctive target that doesn’t merge into the background.

When you place your rifle on the rest, look through the scope and move your head to and fro. Keep the magnification settings high before you check out the sight picture through the scope. You can learn how to sight in a scope here!

You need parallax adjustment if your head movement leads to the reticle shift. Consider your optic range here, as long distances may require you to go for a full dial revolution.

Keep making the adjustments till you see the reticle being pretty sharp and lock the aiming point. Once you reach the point where you can see both the target and the reticle without shifting your focus. These adjustments, however, are not possible on the fixed parallax scopes.

Why Rifle and Scope Can’t Matter?

When the scope tilts to a side, this phenomenon is called cant! This leads to affecting the accuracy. The rifle and scope can’t matter because it can cause a missed target.

Disappointing, isn’t it?

This is mainly because when scopes or guns are canted, they cannot point the target correctly. What’s really interesting here is that the human body desires to level things up to eliminate this cant before he goes for the shoot. It naturally acts to ignore or remove it. For short distances, this would work. However, for the long-range shooting, it wouldn’t!

This is why you should try to get rid of it as soon as you install the scopes on your firearm and notice cant. The scope must be leveled with the bore. Don’t know how to do that? Learn how to level a scope here. Fine-tune and adjust it as required to align the target and reticle.

Selecting the Right Sights for Better Accuracy

Long-distance shooting with accuracy and precision would require you to have the right and high-quality sights fixed to the firearm. When choosing a sight, you must first consider the approximate distance you will hit the object. Alongside this, the eye relief also matters a lot in this regard.

The mounting height of the sight, optics, and orientation are also some factors that would impact your choice of sights.

Final Thoughts

Making the required parallax adjustment before aiming at the target through the rifle scopes is paramount for accurate shooting. This requires the target image and crosshairs to be on the same plane rather than on different planes.

Some minor adjustments on the parallax adjustment ensure the objective lens showcases the right image and the rifle is free from parallax.

Happy parallax-free shooting!

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