There is often some confusion when discussing the topics of ocular lens focus and parallax adjustment. People confuse the terms for each other and they misunderstand what it means to have a parallax free image. We are going to discuss how to properly set the focus of the ocular lens and we are going to discuss what parallax is and how to remove it with your scope. People don’t realize just how big an effect that parallax error can create when shooting and they often misadjust the parallax as they try to correct problems with the focus of the ocular lens. Lets break the topics down and discuss how to get it right!
Shooting with both eyes open is another one of those topics that newer shooters seem to have issues with. Yes, that’s a photo from a movie, but it illustrates exactly what we’re going to discuss, shooting with both eyes open. Once again I believe the real issue is improper prior habits. Somewhere along the line Grandpa or somebody told you to close your non dominant eye so it is easier to see through the eye behind the optic. The problem is, that practice is not conducive to accurate shooting, especially at distance. By closing one eye you are contracting a muscle and that requires you to split your concentration between keeping the eye closed and making the shot. It creates muscular strain which can be distracting as well.
What we are describing here is the choice between physically dialing a windage adjustment in by physically moving the windage turret and using a hold off for wind. Hold offs are another term for Kentucky Windage. The process is fairly simple and most people do it instinctively if they are able to observe a shot and how far they miss the target. Rather than aim dead center of a bulls eye with your sights lets say you noticed that you missed by six inches off to your left. You can then hold off six inches to the right, so the center of the bulls eye is no longer the point of aim, but when you fire the additional round you score a hit.
I frequently see a lot of discussion with regard to focal planes. People often misunderstand what they are, how they work, the differences between them, and which is really appropriate for their specific use. Lets start by discussing what we mean by focal plane and what the differences between them are. When we talk about a magnified optic’s focal plane, we’re discussing whether the reticle is located in front of the magnification assembly or behind it.
Another of the fundamentals that I find myself trying to explain and fix with friends that I’m showing how to shoot a bit farther away than they are used to is Sight Picture. While easily defined, it can be a little tricky to practice properly for a newer shooter. Sight Picture is just what it sounds like. The picture you see through the scope, optic, or sights which typically includes varying amounts of the area around the target, the target itself, and the sights or reticle of the rifle you are using indicating to you where the gun is aimed. A number of concepts come into play with this so I will try to explain each clearly so a newer shooter can get a good grasp of what’s going on.