Lately, I’ve been experimenting with a couple of scopes from Bushnell; one from their Elite Tactical line, and the other one is a lower powered rimfire optic. An interesting feature on both of these scopes is the parallax compensation adjustment.

I don’t usually prioritize this feature as a must-have in the scopes that I buy, but I can understand why some people like it. In discussing the issue with other shooters, I’ve found that there are some common misunderstandings not just about parallax adjustment, but about scope parallax in general. I think that’s at least partly due to the fact that the concept of parallax is often explained in an overly-technical way that many people either find confusing or boring.

Fortunately, you don’t actually have to wrap your head around all of the technical details of parallax in order to have a basic understanding that’s sufficient enough for most shooters to make adjustments for it. Compare it to something like bullet drop — I don’t have to know how to calculate the constant of gravity versus the bullet’s velocity and mass and the curvature of the earth in order to know that when I shoot my .308 at 200 yards with my favorite factory ammo, I have to hold about 3.5 inches high.

So in today’s video, I’ve taken my best shot at explaining what rifle scope parallax is for the average shooter, as opposed to someone who wants to make a career in optics manufacturing.

What is Rifle Scope Parallax? Watch the Video:

If you’re the average hunter or if you’re just shooting at the range for fun, then you probably won’t have to worry about parallax too much. But if you’re after extreme accuracy with high magnification scopes, or you’re shooting at super close ranges like a lot of competitive air gun shooters, then it’s something you should know about and consider when you’re buying a scope.

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Leave a Comment Below

  • Lloyd K Leverett

    thanks! I use .22LR with a 6-18 scope, at distances to 200 yds. I shoot really well at 100yards and ok at 200yard. 50 yrds is good but I’m actually worst at 25 yards. This parallax has to be my problem. I shoot the same ammo, so I know what the compensation is at various distances. I’ll have to work on this.

  • Billy Owens

    All valid points. You should be a teacher.

  • Jim Cushing

    Gosh! That was too easy!

  • Brian Orange


  • SheldonandTara Hough

    Like Jim Cushing, That was to easy….thanks…

  • Mike Mills

    Finally I understand

    • Patrick Shortall

      I didn’t know what I didn’t know…..

  • John Garbner

    Awesome Video.. Never had an issue with it because I was taught to center my eye to the eye piece. Never knew what parallax was till now. Thank you for this lesson. Passing it on.

  • Dan Ward

    Oh. My. God.!! That’s the best explanation I’ve ever heard for this!!! Now I understand what it is/does when I decide to buy a scope

  • Rick Seccondro

    Excellent video, clear and concise..

  • Muhammad Nuoman

    Awesome Video

  • Allen Humphrey

    I have never understood what parallax was but now I do, thanks alot.

  • Cameron C

    very beneficial information. I’m glad I took the time to watch the video. Informative and lay enough to allow me to repeat it. Thanks!

  • Douglas Maurer

    Great video! By George, I think I’ve got it!

  • John R

    Very Helpful info! It is great to get instructions and explanations in English.

  • Guitfiddle7

    Great explanation! Well worth the effort. Thanks.

  • Anthony Pavlock

    Super job on defining parallax. Well done. ☺