What Does Parallax Mean? | Long Range Scopes

What Does Parallax Mean?

If you are an avid fan of guns, and enjoy perfecting your marksmanship, you have probably heard the term parallax a time or two. It is a common term that is used when talking about rifle scopes and if you are someone who practices long range shooting, you will most likely benefit from a scope that has it. The big question then becomes whether you understand what it does or even what it means for you. Most people who do understand what is parallax in a scope, want to know if it is necessary.

What Does Parallax Mean?

What Does Parallax Mean


Having a parallax built into the scope means that when you look through the scope you see an object that is offset from the reticle. It works by ensuring that the two planes within the scope are brought together so that they are in the same plane. Another term for this is that they are coincident.

It is very common in high powered scopes and one great way to test and see if you have parallax compensation is to shift your eyes when you are looking through the scope. If the reticle changes positions, then you have not properly compensated your parallax at that range.

How to Adjust the Parallax?

If you have a rifle scope with a parallax adjustment on it, you can adjust it to work better for you. It does help if you already know the basics of how to use a scope because you must first make sure that the scope has been zeroed in. Adjustments to the parallax are easiest if you try to focus on a target that is the maximum distance away from you. Your magnification level should also be maxed out. With that done, you should then look through the scope and slowly shift your eyes to look around.

Most of the time you will find scope adjustment knobs that can help you dial in with the parallax. This may take the form of a compensation turret or an objective ring. Fine tune it until there is no movement of the reticle when you are slowly looking around. This will require you to play around and find the best parallax setting for yourself.

How Does the Parallax Help?

Most people do not even know the answer to, “what is a scope parallax”, but that does not mean that it is not helpful when hunting or sport shooting. The truth is, it could be vitally important to anyone who enjoys long range hunting or target practicing. The reason why is because most rifles have enough power to push a bullet so many yards. However, as the bullet soars out to that distance and beyond, the bullet’s height may drop slightly. The parallax helps you to compensate for this loss in height.

By compensating for the drop, you are in essence firing over the target area so that the bullet simply falls into where you want your aim to be. This makes it a great thing to have for anyone who wants to ensure total accuracy over long distances.