Scope Parallax Adjustment – Complete Guide

Scope Parallax Adjustment
Alfred Mendoza

If you have been having problems grouping your shots even after zeroing your scope, adjusting your scope’s parallax might be the ultimate solution. Unbeknownst to many first-time shooters, one thing parallax does is to make your optic more accurate.

Do you want to experience a crisper target image? Proper scope parallax adjustment can give you that.

The main goal of adjusting your parallax is to place the reticle on the same focal plane as the shooter’s target.

If it had been appropriately adjusted in the same plane, your every shot would be more precise.

Even when you suddenly move your head, or should your eye move around when hunting, the reticle stays dead-on still, exactly on the bullseye.  


No one can perfectly place their dominant eye centered without looking through the scope to find their target in different planes. If you move your eye around a lot or if you are easily distracted by other moving targets, adjusting your parallaxes and reticle will come in handy in helping you group your shots.

The difference in their place placement could make you miss your shot, so you have to be careful not to miss checking this step.

Understanding the Issues   

Parallax adjustment is still playing a complicated part in stereoscopic shooting. Each factor change, such as baseline, convergence, and view angle, would change the whole image’s perceptual distances. [1] 

Most people fail to understand the concept of having a parallax adjustment in different planes. They rely on zeroing, mounting systems, reticle, and magnification setting too much. Not even the best shooter out there could nail a sub-mOA group only relying on his skill without understanding parallaxes first. 

If there’s something, you must remember that it typically occurs at a high magnification level like side focus parallaxes, leading to many missed shots even when looking through the scope. When you aim and focus but fail to hit the target even after checking your parallax settings and reticle first, your optic may be out of focus. It could also mean that your target image and retina center aren’t on the same focal plane.  

Factory-Set Rifle Scope Parallax 

Most rifles come with a factory-set setting, making the device set to be free of any distortion at a specific safe distance to shoot. When you are still in the safe distance indicated on its factory-set setting, you are free to move your head all over the place. It won’t affect the crosshairs reticle or the focus on the target image, making the target aiming more manageable and more precise.  

There are various factory-set parallaxes for different firearms. Most of them are factory-set at 100 to 150 yards mark for a scope, best for a medium-range shooting aim point. Rimfire optics are factory-set at the 50 to 100 yards mark, so they are somewhat better for short-range shooting. Air gun optics provide a shorter factory-set optic parallax setting at only 50 to 75 yards mark, so it only works best for short-range shooting.

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Using a Parallax-Free Device

A factory-set parallax is only great if you prefer close-range shooting. However, if you are a frequent long-range shooter, investing in a great device is better.

New devices offer advanced technology about being free of parallax and better crosshair reticle. These advanced devices eliminate the possibility of any parallax error of your optic.

If you can perfectly center your eye on your target, it would also make your every shot more precise.  

parallax free

Reflex sights or red dot sights are often free of parallax. Therefore, you won’t experience distortion of images when using them at any distance you want to shoot at all. Reflex sights provide little to no magnification abilities, so they rarely get reticle problems.

Unnoticeable Parallax at Normal Ranges 

If you use a scope with lower power like the 3-9×40 scope, parallax won’t be your problem. In a typical scenario where you shoot at 200 yards or normal ranges, it won’t be noticeable, as it provides a very slim margin of parallax error/issue. 

Generally, optics with less than 10x magnification power, like the Low Power Variable Optics or LPVO for AR10, don’t have a parallax adjustment. However, if you use a scope that features a magnification higher than 10x, it must have parallaxes. Long-range optics need higher magnification. Hence, they also need an adjustment ring.

Understanding the Importance   

There are way too many benefits of adjusting and correcting parallax, understanding its uses and its importance. So, it’s not surprising that the majority of the companies advertise their products having parallax-free features for their scopes. Most hunters always make sure to get scopes that promise easy target aiming and more accurate shots.

  • Makes target aiming easier and well-placed
  • Provides more accurate shot placements
  • Little to almost no parallax
  • Makes the optic versatile
  • Tandems with other accuracy-affecting factors

Are There Disadvantages?

Although adjusting parallax is beneficial to most scopes, there are also some disadvantages that it could provide. These disadvantages may be minimal, but they could also be your deciding factors in purchasing scopes with the parallax adjustment feature.

  • Adds to the overall weight of the rifle
  • Costs more than a cheek weld/rest
  • Can complicate rifle scope usage
  • Coarse adjustment is hard to use
  • Incompatible with conventional variable-power scopes

Who Needs These Scope Parallax Adjustments?

A pellet shooter, air gunner, or rimfire hunter who wants to shoot closer than 50 to 100 yards with a more precise target placement needs parallax. Even if you stay in the 50-yard distance, or even for shorter distances, you will still have to adjust your scope’s parallaxes. 

Shooters who aim for long-distance shootings and use high-powered optic products that feature above 10x magnification settings also need adjustment. These products’ adjustment will benefit varmint hunters that take down prairie dogs, groundhogs, and squirrels, too.


This adjustment is also beneficial for target/object shooting, precision shooting, and bench rest. If you aim to have a target placement within ¼ to ½ inch for your big game hunting, you will have to adjust the parallax. The accuracy that your optic would get after being adjusted will be an excellent help.

Correcting Your Rifle Scope’s Parallax

Parallax occurs when the reticle and image aren’t on the same focal plane. Correcting your scope’s yardage markings in the parallax dial is always beneficial whether you are a short-distance or long-range hunter. This adjustment guarantees a more precise target placement. You won’t have to readjust your optic when the object/target locking. It gives you the leeway of moving your head or eye without affecting your target position or your aim point.  

A parallax adjustment would make your rifle scopes versatile enough to gaze and shoot more accurately at various distances. Some scopes come with fixed parallax adjustment, parallax-free devices, and rifle scopes that come with unnoticeable parallax at normal ranges.


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