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Can someone explain parallax?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by elkhunterCO, Jul 11, 2014.

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  1. elkhunterCO

    elkhunterCO Well-Known Member

    I've hunted elk for about 20 years, always using a pawn shop gun and bushnell scope or the like, my guns were always tools, nothing more nothing less. But now, I'm learning a whole lot about different things I had never given any thought. ... like parallax in a scope
    They guy behind the counter the other day told me I needed a parallax adjustable scope, I still went home with a standard 3x9x40, any thoughts?
  2. 4thPointOfContact

    4thPointOfContact Well-Known Member

    The short and simple version -
    OpticsTalk has a nice discussion about it, much more than I could provide.

    With the knowledge provide by the article, I'm prompted to ask, "By any chance, did the optics with parallax adjustment have a higher price than the optics without?"
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2014
  3. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Keep your eye centered behind the eyepiece and parallax is a non issue. You need a parallax adjustable scope for precision shooting or very long range shooting. Hunting for elk does not need a parallax adjustable scope. It won't hurt, but it isn't necessary.

    IMHO of course.
  4. Charlie Horse

    Charlie Horse Well-Known Member

  5. elkhunterCO

    elkhunterCO Well-Known Member

    Fourthpoint of contact: To answer your question if the parallax adjustable scope was more money- Yes, quite a bit more, I got a leupold vx-2 and they were showing me burris in the $500+ range. They were 14 power and even some 22 power. Now I know I can't shoot good enough to merit a 22 power scope on a 300 win. The leupold also weighed whole lot less
  6. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Well-Known Member

    Pretty good chance he didn't even know what parallax is. Gun shop counter monkeys make me laugh. Alot.

    As mentioned, for big game hunting, it's not necessary. For nailing the 10 and X ring at 1,000 yards, it's kind of important.
  7. MCMXI

    MCMXI Well-Known Member

    4thPointOfContact, that optics talk link has some of the best information I've read on scope construction .... thanks. It cleared up something that I've often wondered about. The parallax knob focuses the image on the same plane as the reticle thereby reducing parallax. So it really is a focus knob.
  8. jmr40

    jmr40 Well-Known Member

    A cut and paste from a Leupold owners manual. Long story made short, it is just not much to worry about on a big game rifle. For a varmint or target shooter, maybe.

    continuation on the next page.

  9. Andrew Leigh

    Andrew Leigh Well-Known Member

    This was a great thread which was posted in the nick of time for me. I followed the links and created my own sticky.

    Nice thread thanks.
  10. jrdolall

    jrdolall Well-Known Member

    My minimal physics background lets me understand parallax but I have never needed it for hunting as I am not a long range or precision shooter. Inside 300 yards or so it SHOULD NOT really be a factor but I know the snipers at Fort Benning deal with it a lot.
  11. Arizona_Mike

    Arizona_Mike Well-Known Member

    Most scopes are designed to minimize parallex at a certain range. The adjustment allows you to change that range.

    If parallax did not matter, a repeatable cheek weld would not be considered a fundimental part of marksmanship, however there is a good chance that a scope for a particular application already has a reasonable set parallex optimization from the factory.

  12. Cee Zee

    Cee Zee member

  13. elkhunterCO

    elkhunterCO Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all the replies, cleared up a lot for me. I guess I wont worry about parallax for what I'm doing. In my Leupold manual it says my scope is set for parallax at 100 yds. I had a Nikon Buckmaster that after a few rounds it wouldn't hit nothing, showed it to a buddy and he said the parallax setting was completely knocked out inside. You could hold the scope in a vise and look at a target, when you moved your eye around the scope and not even the edges just slightly around the middle, it would point to different parts of the target. I just hope the Leupold holds up better than the Nikon it certainly has so far.
    (By the way: After telling Nikon that the scope was on a 300 win mag, they told me it was unlikely they would honor the warranty, they said the buckmaster line was for non-magnums, wish I would've know that when I bought it.)
  14. Float Pilot

    Float Pilot Well-Known Member

    That is nice to know about Nikon.....
    And of course they probably do not print that anyplace...
  15. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    The parallax adjustment is for removing parallax by bringing the image and the reticule on the same plane. The eyepiece is for focusing on that image once it is on the same plane as the reticule. If you use the parallax adjustment to focus on the target first, you can still have parallax.
  16. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Well-Known Member

    ^^^^Yep! Much like a spotting scope, an AO or "Side Focus" for parallax is a coarse adjustment in terms of focus; you may luck out and find a clear image when correctly dialed in for parallax or you may need to adjust the eyepiece. I suspect most owners simply turn the knob till the target is in focus and assume parallax has been corrected.

    Easiest way to see parallax is to mount a rifle in a cleaning vise indoors and hang a target. Center the crosshairs precisely then adjust your cheek placement. The crosshairs will appear to aim all round the target. If you were sighting in that scope, each group might result in a different POI which may also be different than its POI when in a hunting stance.

    One big reason for using a fixed (non-adjustable) scope is the difference in speed offered. In the woods it translates into missed opportunities and excess movement. None of my hunting rifles wear AO scopes because of this, though it wasn't always so. While fixed parallax scopes are set at the factory, most can be adjusted by the end user for alternate distances in a matter of seconds.
  17. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    I can't ever remember any of my Leupold's failing in any respect, other than when I dropped them off a cliff, or had some other really stupid accident while hunting. But Leupold has taken care of me every time, even when it was my own stupid mistake.

    You did good buying Leuplod glass!

  18. MCMXI

    MCMXI Well-Known Member

    The first thing I do once I have a scope mounted is focus the reticle using the eyepiece. I only do that once.
  19. MCMXI

    MCMXI Well-Known Member

  20. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Well-Known Member

    On some scopes, Leupold being one, you simply remove (unscrew) the front (objective) lens to gain access to the lens that focuses for parallax. That lens can be screwed in or out while targeting the distance you wish to set parallax at.

    For instance: you have a Leupold VX 3 set for 150 yds. mounted on a .22 lr. Your intended distance is 25 yds. so you set your target at the 25 yd. line and adjust the lens, checking for parallax as you go. This will not affect the sealed gas (argon, nitrogen) within the scope. I have done this on a Leupold and several Nikons without a problem. An old Tasco (Japan) was not adjustable but for the $20 I paid it worked well enough. Remember to use a lens cloth when touching the lenses and know what you're looking for with parallax before starting.
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