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Parallax Error | Optics Trade Debates

Welcome to Optics Trade debates. In each episode, we talk about a different topic and try to answer the most common questions we receive about it. Today, we are going to talk about the parallax error.

This is a very simplified explanation of the parallax error, targeted towards beginners.

Setting the parallax on riflescopes can be compared to focusing on binoculars. The parallax is set correctly when the image of the target is sharp and focused. This is achievable with an adjustable objective or a side focus turret.

The parallax error occurs when the parallax isn’t set correctly. The image not being in focus isn’t the only problem. If the user moves his head out of the ideal optical axis, the reticle moves when encountering the parallax error. It’s almost impossible to have an eye in the optimal optical axis while shooting. So if the parallax isn’t set correctly, the parallax error impacts the accuracy of the shooting.

To eliminate the parallax error, the parallax needs to be set correctly. The parallax is set by fixing the scope in place and putting the reticle over the target. Then turning the turret or the AO until the target is in focus. When the target is in focus the reticle needs to be checked by moving the head left, right, up and down, to see if the reticle moves on the target.

If the reticle does not move, the parallax error has been eliminated. If the reticle still moves, the parallax error is present and more adjustments are needed until the reticle stays still.

The parallax can be set on all scopes that have an adjustable parallax. There are also scopes that have a fixed parallax (usually at 100 m or 100 yards). They have a parallax error on all other distances, which can’t be fixed.

Fixed parallax scopes can’t be used for target or tactical shooting, because they just aren’t accurate enough. Most scopes that feature a fixed parallax are meant for hunting.

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