is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission. For more details Click Here.

How to Adjust Parallax and Elevation of a Rifle Scope?

How To Adjust Parallax And Elevation Of A Rifle Scope?

After picking up the best scope for your favourite rifle, the first thing you might be wondering is how to adjust the riflescope. There are hundreds of rifle scopes available in the market with various specialisations suitable for different shooting conditions. But, to acquire the best out of your riflescope you have to know how to correctly deal with the adjustments.

It is necessary for every shooter, to know how to zero a riflescope, mount it or adjust it in different wind conditions. It is even possible for the most experienced shooters to get confused regarding few of the settings, which need to be done for effective shooting.

Few Basic Terminologies to keep in mind

●   Ocular Lens:- Optical lens on the side of the observing eye i.e, through which you look at your target while shooting.

●   Ocular Housing:- Eyepiece that  encase the lens.

●   Ocular Focus Adjustment:- A process, which ensures that the reticule’s image in the scope is perfectly focussed for your eye. In some scope, only the outer part of ocular housing does this adjustment while in other scopes, the entire ocular housing does the job.

●   Magnification Adjustment:- This feature allows you to adjust the magnifying power in your rifle’s scopes.

●   Scope Body:- Tube/Main body by which you see while shooting.

●   Turrets:- Turrets are just the knobs that helps in adjusting windage and elevation.

●   Reticle:- It is the aiming point in your field of view. Also referred to as ‘crosshairs’, reticles are made out of wire. In long-range scopes, a reticle is used for holding windage and elevation.

●   Parallax Adjustment:- This is to make the focal plane of the desired image the same as that of the reticule. It also keeps parallax at bay. Adjustable objective scopes, parallax can be adjusted with the external ring  on the scope i.e, towards the outer side and in others, there are special knobs for this purpose.

●   Objective lens:- Optical lens pointing the prey. Objective lenses are always larger than ocular lenses.

Pro tip:- Always use scope covers to protect the lens, to increase its longevity and keep them clean.

Elevation Adjustments

Elevation adjustment is done when you “zero” the riflescope or when you shoot at variant distances.

Advantage of elevation turrets

Elevation adjustments allow you to change the impact of the bullet upwards or downwards concerning the scope when you are aiming. With the riflescope on the aim “zeroing” equals POA ( Point of Aim) with POI (Point of Impact).


Zeroing is done at the time of mounting the scope on the rifle and if the shooting distances are different from that at which zeroing is done, POI becomes greater or smaller than POA.

Point of impact (POI) is simply the place where the bullet strikes after leaving the barrel. Bullets don’t travel in a straight line. Rather, they travel in an arc motion to reach the target. Just after a bullet leaves the barrel, they fall. So, as to indemnify, barrels are pointed slightly in an upward direction.

How to adjust the elevation turrets

To change the effect of a bullet you have to use elevation turret. And to decrease the effect of the bullet, move the turret clockwise and to elevate or raise the bullet’s impact move turret anticlockwise. This is just like a simple screw.

You will find that, when you move the turret anticlockwise, inside the scope, the reticle goes down. To adjust this you need to raise your rifle. This lifting of the rifle will put the reticle on target, raising the barrel position, resulting in a higher impact of the bullet.

Windage Adjustments

Alike elevation, windage adjustment is done while zeroing of scope on the rifle. You can check out our other in-depth articles on how to adjust windage.

Windage turrets shift the impact of the bullet towards left or right. In most scopes, turning the turret away from yourself, i.e “out” moves the bullet left while turning turret towards yourself i.e “in” moves the bullet right.

On a windy day, it is preferred to aim a little bit towards left or right regarding the reticle, depending on the wind flow. This is done to avoid the difficulty of adjusting the windage turret every time the wind changes its direction.

Parallax Adjustments

Adjusting parallax is crucial while aiming at your target, or else you will miss. Misalignment of the head tends to change the position of the rifle which in turn shifts reticle.

Changing the position of your rifle will change the direction of the barrel which will lead you to a missed target. You won’t experience any parallax if the reticle and target image are parallelized on the same plane of focus.

Note:- Always go for scopes with adjustable parallax instead of adjustable objective.

We say that because when the distance of your target is unknown, an adjustable parallax will give you the option of side focus. While the same can’t be found with an adjustable adjective.

How to focus the eyepiece of a scope?

Focusing the eyepiece in the wrong way is a common mistake. Try to avoid this by following these simple steps.

●   Step 1:- Stare at a light coloured solid object near you after you have correctly mounted your scope on the rifle.

●   Step 2:- Mount your scope in such a way that it shouldn’t strain your eyes and you need to tilt your head to observe through the scope.

●   Step 3:- Place a plain sheet of paper just in front of yourself at a distance of 2 feet. Try to view the paper with your scope. Then close your eyes and relax for 10 secs.

●   Step 4:- Again open your eyes, look at the reticle and close them. Avoid keeping your eyes open for too long.

●   Step 5:- Tell someone to set the ocular focal adjustment at ½ revolution in single direction.

●   Step 6:- Try to look through the scope and see if the reticle image of  looks finer or not.

●   Step 7:- Keep repeating this exercise with various adjustments in both the directions, till you find a spot where the reticle looks excellent.

These steps are crucial to perform as it will reduce the strain on your eyes while you are out in the range.


The ring present after ocular housing is used for adjusting magnification. Changing magnification will increase or decrease the size of the target image.

Depending on the change in reticle size there are two kinds of scope called First Focal Plane (FPP) and Second Focal Plane (SFP). In FPP, reticle size increases with target image and in SFP, the reticle remains fixed through the magnification range.

One thing to be noted here is that, while SFP is the most preferred by hunters that have been in use for ages. FFP provides a better and optimized hunting experiencing while shooting at long-distances. Perhaps the biggest downside to an FFP is that it might be hard to see at lower power settings.

How to move scope on the rifle?

Step 1:- Adjust the height of your scope.

This can be done with scope rings of various heights or by using the cheekpiece rifle stock pack with adding layers of insulation underneath.

Step 2:- Adjust the scope forward and rearward

With your scope at the right height, move the scope forward/ backwards to get a clear image. You will see a black ring around the image called “Scope Shadow” if you place the scope too much forward/backwards.

You need to adjust the scope in such a way so that this scope shadow vanishes. Putting the scope too close may hurt you giving you a “Scope Bite”.

Step 3:- Level by rotating the rifle scope.

Scope levelling tools help you to ensure that the elevation adjustments are perfect, helping you to hunt with accuracy.

How to change brightness on illuminated reticles?

In scope with illuminated reticle that is generally used after the sun goes down, you can adjust brightness with knob present on the left-hand side of the scope.

Pro tip:- While shooting, keep optimum brightness. Too much brightness can make it difficult to be precise.

Always turn off light after shooting as this give the scope’s batteries, extra life.


So, these are the adjustments you need to do while using any of the favourite riflescopes.

We hope that we were able to make it easier for you to adjust your riflescope! Now, set the scope properly and practice with different scopes to prepare yourself for any hunting condition. 

Hunting is exciting as well as dangerous. So, don’t forget to follow the gun rules before mounting your favourite scope on your rifle. Have fun, stay safe and happy hunting!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.