How to range-find with an adjustable parallax scope

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Why know the range?
  • First point
  • Focus — not rangefinding
  • Limitations
  • Temperature
  • What scale is on the adjustment?
  • Sidewheels
  • Scope magnification
  • The average airgunner
  • Do you need a range finding scope?

I’m writing this report for a new reader — Ovid. As soon as I replied to his request last week, another reader said he wanted to know how it worked, too, which tells me there are couple thousand silent readers with the same question. So, let’s learn how to determine ranges with a parallax adjusting scope.

Why know the range?

Airgunners need to know the range to the target because of the arched trajectory their pellets follow. Where centerfire cartridges may drop 9 inches over a distance of 250 yards, an airgun can do the same thing in 60 yards. And some competitions like field target demand that the pellet pass through a small hole without touching the sides of the hole, or the target will lock up and not fall. So, we are not talking inches — we are talking fractions of an inch! Therefore, knowing the trajectory of the one pellet you shoot at all distances and knowing the precise distance to your target is critical.

First point

Parallax adjustments on telescopic sights were never meant for determining ranges. They are not precise enough — I don’t care who makes the scope or how much it costs. They aren’t made for that purpose but they do work.

Parallax adjustments are also called adjustable objectives, or just AO on most scopes. That’s because you used to have to turn the objective lens on the far end of the scope to focus. Some scopes still work that way, but a lot of them now use a side adjustment knob or wheel that’s located on the left side of the scope’s turret. Having the knob there brings the adjustment closer to the shooter, so he isn’t holding a 12 pound rifle with one hand and reaching out as far as he can with his other hand to turn the objective lens. Given the length of the powerful scopes that have AO, this side adjustment feature is a real blessing!

adjustable objective
Looking down on the objective bell of a scope with an adjustable objective (AO), we see the distance markings in yards.

sidewheel adjustment
The knob on the left side of the turret adjusts the parallax on this scope. This placement of the adjustment is much easier to access than the end of the objective bell — especially on a long scope!

Focus — not rangefinding

What you are doing when you adjust for parallax is focusing the scope at a given range — just like focusing binoculars that have a center focus wheel. If the optics are sensitive enough, this focal plane will be very narrow (short) at close distances, allowing ranges to be determined more-or-less accurately. So this feature does work as a rangefinder, but with limitations. Understand those limitations before you invest in something that may not satisfy your needs.

Limitations

The first limitation is the scopes’ depth of field. If it is deep, you will only be able to determine range to within a few yards, but no closer. If it is narrow you will theoretically be able to determine range to the exact yard. I say theoretically because of another limitation — temperature.

Temperature

A few weeks ago someone commented that his scope was reading 175 yards for a target 75 yards away. That’s very common and all scopes do it. As the temperature changes, the lenses inside the scope and the metal cages that hold the lenses expand and contract ever-so-slightly. It only takes a few microns (millionths of a meter or thousandths of a millimeter) movement to change things to the point that the readout on your objective lens doesn’t correspond to the actual distance to the target being focused.

What scale is on the adjustment?

Another thing may limit the usefulness of the rangefinding capability of a scope is the scale of distance marked on the adjustment bell/knob. On some scopes, all the close yardages are crammed together on the adjustment bell or knob and it’s difficult to tell how far you have adjusted the scope. Is it reading 50 yards or 75? It matters greatly with a pellet gun — not so much with a high-velocity centerfire rifle.

Many years ago I advised Leapers to make the 10 to 50 yard adjustment range the biggest portion of the scale on their scopes, because that’s what airgunners want. They produced some scopes where 10 to 50 yards was three-quarters of the adjustment range of the AO, and 50 yards to infinity was packed into the remaining quarter turn.

Field target shooters care about a range from 10 to 50 meters, which is 11 to 55 yards. Some of them get downright anal about the finer measurements within this range. I don’t, but I have never been a champion, either. The rules for field target don’t allow the use of a true rangefinder, but in all classes except the Hunter class, they do permit the use of parallax adjustments to range to the target. You have to focus the scope on the target anyway, and it’s just natural to peek at the distance after you do.

Sidewheels

The need for separation of the close distances is where the large optional sidewheel focus knob comes from. The larger the wheel, the greater the separation of the distances around its circumference. Nobody accepts the numbers that are engraved on the sidewheel (or objective berll) from the factory. Even if they were accurate, which they can only be by chance, they would reflect the temperature at which they were recorded, and you now know what a big deal that is.

Shooters place white tape around the circumference of their sidewheels, then on the range they determine exactly where the wheel is located at each distance. It is not uncommon to see sidewheels marked with every yard/meter distance from 10 to 50 meters, though I have found that the flat spot in the trajectory (usually around 20-30 yards) may be combined or broken into just a couple markings, because the pellet is traveling relatively flat.

sidewheel

The knob on the left of the turret adjusts the parallax distance. Think of it as focusing the scope.

08-31-16-03-sidewheel
No doubt this UTG optional sidewheel looks large to the uninitiated, but it’s actually small. Sidewheels of 8 inches in diameter are not uncommon. That gives the greatest circumference around which to lay white tape for the actual yard markings.

Scope magnification

THIS is the real reason field target shooters use scopes with such high magnification. They need to see small objects out to 55 yards, so they know when they have adjusted the focus perfectly. To see something at 55 yards clearly enough to be able to focus on it for rangefinding, you need at least 40 power, and more is better. But if the scope’s optics are marginal, like the optics on my $600 Tasco Custom Shop 8-40X56 from 1998, the scope becomes too dark at higher power to see things that are not brightly lit. My scope starts getting dark and hazy at 30 power. And where are most field target matches held? They are held in the woods! What you need is a powerful scope that is also bright.

That is why field target shooters are willing to pay thousands of dollars for top-quality scopes that are both bright and have extreme magnification. If only Meopta would make a field target scope! They know exactly how to get the maximum light transmission through a high-power riflescope. Ah — but try to convince anyone that an airgunner will pay $1,500 or more for a scope! They simply don’t believe it. That’s because they have never seen a $3,500 field target rifle before. There are hundreds of national- and world-class competitors around the world who are willing to pay. They already use the best scopes they can find. If something better came out, most would buy it.

The average airgunner

Where does this leave the average Joe who doesn’t want to spend over $300 on a scope? Well, here is the deal. At 24 power you can see good enough to determine ranges out to about 35 yards if you have good eyes. You have to accept that your scope is only going to be accurate in determining distance within a narrow range of temperatures. If you set up the scale on the white tape that’s on the parallax adjustment knob at the same temperature at which the match is shot you’re home free. If not, be prepared to interpolate — regardless of how much your scope costs.

Below about 24 power the ability to determine distances is limited. I like a 4-16 power scope as much as anyone, but I also know it’s not a great rangefinding scope.

Do you need a range finding scope?

I can determine distances pretty well out to 50 meters. I said “pretty well” because at the 2016 Texas Airgun Show last weekend I set the arrow stop at 35 yards and had sighted my dot sight on the Dragon Claw for 25 yards. I was 10 yards off! Everyone who shot that Air Bolt system with me was hitting several inches low. Once we compensated by holding high, though, six different people put their arrows into three inches at 35 yards.

My point is, if you need to know the range to the target, using the parallax adjustment on your scope is one way to do it. Just know the limitations.

56 thoughts on “How to range-find with an adjustable parallax scope

  1. BB–The problem with the future of the shooting sports (and other sports) is the cost of the equipment. As the popularity increases, the price of the equipment escalates until only a few people can compete. For example, I belong to a club that races radio controlled model sailboats. When this sport began (around 1870) people made their own boats out of wood , linen, and fishing line. This was before the age of electronics, and the boats could be made at a low cost. Now it is not unusual to see kevlar and carbon fiber boats that cost upwards of $3,000-. Except for a few craftsman, they cannot be made at home in the garage or on the kitchen table. They have to be bought from a manufacturer. The depression was the golden age of shooting because people could not afford expensive equipment. When I began shooting, around 1960, I was able to do well with a second hand Winchester 75 target rifle and a DCM 1903-a3 . I learned how to glass bed, and restock my rifles myself. When my son decided to become a shooter, 1982, I had to buy an Anchutz free rifle ( $1,000+) for him, the Winchester m 52,s were no longer able to compete with free rifles. The children of most of my shooting friends could not follow in their fathers footsteps, because they could not afford the modern equipment. This has caused a decline in NRA matches. None of the gun clubs in my area are interested in the sport of field target, because their older members do not want to spend the money for the equipment , and the few younger members are not interested in any kind of match shooting. RC cars and electronic games are what they like. If we cannot get kids involved in shooting, at a young age, with low cost equipment, they are not likely to become involved when they are older. Ed


    • Ed,

      Please let me start off by saying I am not trying to bust your chops with my tirade, it is just that there are some out here who do not know and/or understand some of this.

      That is the very reason they limit the cost of the rifle and limit the allowed clothing, equipment, etc. of 3 Position Shooting, otherwise as you said the average Joe cannot afford to have their children compete.

      That being said, they do not necessarily have to compete to shoot. I have been shooting in one form or another for about 54 years now and I have never officially competed, though impromptu shooting matches did pop up on occasion.

      Many have used and still use shooting, and RC sailboats, as a social event. I have participated in the GTA Fun Shoot for two years now where a bunch of airgunners get together for the weekend and have a great time slinging lead and swapping lies.

      Another reason many learn to shoot, though not as common today as when I was young thankfully, was to put food on the table. A good portion of my younger life there would not have been meat on the table if my father or I had not put it there. Where I live, hunting is not a “tradition”, it is a necessity for many.


      • I don’t know if they limit gear universally. Our high school rifles had top-end gear with these wooden blocks attached to the rifle for shooting offhand. Airgunning has been my escape from all that.

        I think you’re right that the need for hunting has decreased over time. Jack Dempsey, himself, said that people today do not know what hardship is. No matter how bad things are, they can generally get something to eat. Part of his early professional career as a boxer in the West was to feed himself. But looking on the bright side, he said this life style “hardened” you and made you strong.

        Matt61



    • It is a dilemma.
      However, look at automotive racing.
      There are unlimited classes where guys run vehicles costing 100’s of thousands of dollars. And yet my best friend built his own car (linen, wood and fishing line) and competes in a league where you are restricted to a vehicle and all parts who’s value can not exceed $5000.


      • Exactly.
        If you want to start out with the absolute best, very few can afford any sport.
        Your example of auto racing. Years ago I raced Formula Ford. A top end car (in the mid 70’s) would run $25000…add to that a trailer, spare engines and other parts and you pretty soon were at a cost that only the very well off, or very, very good could afford (due to sponsor).
        I paid about $9000 for a complete used setup…car, trailer, a spare engine…the whole deal.
        It was a few years old and wasn’t a front runner.
        But I ran it for two years and had a ball. As long as your aware of the cars limitations, racing for a mid pack placing is just as much fun as racing for the lead.
        Same with firearms (IMO). I can afford to buy my kids FWB 10m rifles or Anschutz .22’s.
        but they’ve competed in local matches with their Avanti pellet rifles (and done pretty good) and we are members of a long-range .22lr group. Targets (4 and 6″ plates) are set at 100, 125, 150, 200, 250m.
        Their guns are affordable (Marlin XT-22’s with Leapers 4-16 scopes) and the do well…have one some jr. matches against much more expensive guns.
        If your goal is to have the best…it’s going to cost you.
        If your goal is to have fun you can definitely keep most things affordable.


    • Ed, I hear you. Like you and others have said, it’s not just shooting. My son has a “racing” RC Truck. It has gotten to the point he can’t “move up” anymore without a lot of money involved. And I have friends that race dirt track cars. Same thing. Then some moved to racing dirt go karts. It was cheap at first, then, we now have the unlimited class…how much money do you want to spend. I was into paint ball some years back. It started out cheap and fun. I had a pump gun. Then we moved to semi autos. Then it was fully auto guns. Buying field paint alone for those gets expensive fast. Even basketball….I played in School wearing Converse Chuck Taylor high tops. Went I was a senior it was Nike at about $40 a pair. Now??? How much to you want to pay for those shoes? I used to own target 22 rifles and pistols. It was getting stressful for me. The very thing (shooting) I did to reduce stress was causing it. I sold those guns and now I just shoot for fun and bragging rights. It’s so much more fun to me. But to each his own.


    • Yes, I am still astonished at the quality of equipment of ordinary high school shooting teams. They have world-class Olympic rifles. One of my persistent satisfactions with airgunning is how cheap it is.

      Matt61


  2. B.B.,

    Excellent article. Thank you for taking the extra effort as it seemed a bit longer than most, which is not a bad thing.

    When doing that 175 VS 75 test, I was adjusting to eliminate (perceived parallax). From my understanding of this test, one has to look at the target and move their eye/head (ever so slightly). Does the cross hairs move off of the bull? With the AO set at 75,… it did. So,.. I adjusted the AO until there was no reticle movement. That is how the AO ended up at 175. ( it should be noted that sight picture was *clearer* at 75 but,… was still very usable at 175).

    Next,… was a 75 yd. shooting test. At both settings, the group sizes were the same. Elevation and Windage did not change,… poa vs poi. 2 eight shot groups at each AO setting.

    So,… in the end, though I had eliminated reticle movement, nothing changed. (but),.. I had a slightly less clear picture with the AO set at 175

    I had (high hopes) for that test. It does work for anyone that has never tried it. For me though,… I could see no added benefit.

    Thanks,…. Chris

    If you have thoughts on that, I would be interested to hear them.


    • Chris,

      Your method isn’t recommended by any shooters I know. Just focus and shoot. And get your head into the same position every time.

      What you are doing is introducing false information into the equation, I think.

      Hope to see you at the Pyramyd Air Cup next week.

      B.B.


      • B.B.,

        Been out all day at Mom and Dad’s,…. making apple sauce,…. from tree to freezer container. All hand work. Ugh. They are in there late 70’s though and appreciate the help.

        As for the reticle adjustment, it seemed like a good idea. It made sense. If I can move my head and (not) have the reticle move,… I thought that was a good thing to try and achieve. Oh well, I tried it and did not see much benefit, if any,…. so yes,…. I will just adjust for clear view and be done.

        You said,…. “I think”,…. so you must have some ponderings on the subject as well. Be sure to let us know if you find some info. to the contrary. As for cheek weld, that FAB Defense stock with riser is the cat’s meow. Solid too. Some other stocks with risers looked to be a bit “iffy”.

        As for the P.A. show,…. we shall see. If there is anytime in the last 2 years that would be a good time, this would be it. I am not much of one to travel,… and if I do,… I plan to make it well worth it. For a 3 day event, I would want to do 3 days with all the bells and whistles. We shall see. It has already been on my mind.

        Thanks,…. Chris


    • Chris,

      I’ve done a fair bit of shooting with several different, cheaper, AO scopes in the 4-16 or -32 power range. Like you, I noticed very little difference in point of impact between “best focus” and “minimum reticle movement” even though these settings were apparently widely seperated (a few yards at 30 yds range, to 10’s of yards in 50-70 yard ranges). I will note, the apparent reticle motion is minimal at the “best focus” on all of these scopes, and my current scope it’s not perceivable unless the gun is on a rest – but I spent some time with a decent grid pattern at different ranges, and adjusting the eyepiece focus to get the best correspondence between reticle focus, target focus, at the minimum reticle motion setting.
      Though, now that I’ve read what this guy has to say, I may need to re-evaluate once again:
      http://www.wilhelm.co.nz/focusriflescope2.pdf


      • Ben, Thank you for that. Yes, that is the exercise I am talking about. I have not heard of that method for setting the reticle though. That was new. I know it is important to give your eyes a rest, but that was the first time I have heard of the “quick” method. It does make sense that brain would try to compensate.

        Thank you, article saved to favorites for a future (re)-read. Yup, I read it. Chris



  3. As for range finding, I believe B.B. called it “spatialization”. The ability to correctly judge distance,… or at least close.

    My range is set up with signs with the #’s marked every 10 yards, from 30~100 yards. That has helped more than anything to learn this. That is with the naked eye. Through a scope though, things become much more vague.

    I have had targets 10 yards apart that looked as if they were side by side,.. when looking through a scope. My 2 UTG’s are pretty good on the AO being on. My Hawke always reads less than actual. The UTG’s have the 80 mm. side wheel. In all honesty, I use them for just plain comfort and ease. They are nice. But,… as B.B. stated, they are of little use for marking. Throw in temperature fluctuations and well,…. From what I have seen of competition shooters, in photos, the wheels are quite large like B.B. stated and often marked with 3 separate scales, each one for a specific temperature.


    • Chris U
      On that Hawke scope. Like at your side wheel adjusting knob. There are 3 setscrews spaced around it. You can loosen those setscrews and adjust the knob so it’s true to your true yardage. Then once it’s in the right place lock the screws back down. That should take care of that. Let me know if you do it. It’s real simple to do. And then it will be correct.


      • GF1,

        Thank you. I am (very) ashamed to say that I have not shot the TX or the LGU for quite awhile. 🙁

        On the 25.39’s,…. 🙁 nothing bad or good. The port was at 4, but after 3 good groups and having the 4th blow out with the port at 2 1/2 last time,…. who knows?

        I did play with some “tape on” trigger stops. No real change there. It did help with the TX and LGU,…. so I will be looking into this with the M-rod.

        How the new work coming along? Days vs 2nd?


        • Chris U
          Working on 3rd shift now. I don’t like working days with all the big shots running around. They tend to get in the way of a person doing their jobs is what I found from working days in the past. I could of had 1st, 2nd or 3rd shift at this new job. I have worked 3rd in the past and actually like it. It’s much cooler on third shift too. No a/c in the shop at this place . So that’s part of why I chose 3rd also. Just glad I’m working and I have did work at this place in the past. So know the guys and gals I’m working with. And most has at one point and time came from the place I use to work at. So it’s just like picking up where I left off.

          But yep try to reset your Hawke side wheel. It’s like a 2 minute job once you determine a distance with your tape measure. Really one distance say out at 30 yards is all you need to make the setting. Focus your scope on I believe it is 10 magnification that one is that you have or maybe it was 12 use the highest of whatever of them you have. Then adjust your focus the best you can with your side wheel knob. Loosen the 3 setscrews set the knob on 30 yards and tighten the setscrews. Then you can verify other distances after that. But that should get you pretty close to on the money.


  4. One more thing on scopes that I think most experienced shooters will know, but most newer folks will not.

    It really matters (what) the light is between you and the target. After shooting for a couple of years now, I came to accept this as a generality. Best?,… cloudy/overcast, late AM, early PM. Worst?,… mid day, no clouds, very bright sun.

    I bring this up for one simple point. (Do not be so quick to judge the quality of your new scope.) All 3 of mine, if looking through them at the “worst” times,….. I would deem them junk. Looking through them at “best” time,…. I would not trade you for any of them. Then there is all of those times in between……. 🙂

    This happened the other day when I was (actually) looking through the scope. One second #%@#,…. the next,… Ooooh Man!…. that’s Sweet! What happened?,…. the sun went behind a big cloud.


    • Chris,

      This is why coatings matter. What you are seeing is the effects of reflections off the lens surfaces, as well as stray light, or glare. Light doesn’t just reflect off the first surface of the objective lens, every lens in the system does this, including the eyepiece lens surfaces. So light enters the system, and some portion of it will bounce back and forth between the lens elements. This, along with off-axis light, produces a milky, low contrast view.
      When I started out, every optic in the world received a coating of Magnesium Flouride, and it imparted a bluish cast to the lens surface. Now there are multiple coatings of different materials, including rare earth compounds, and colors range from green to purple to brownish. The best are almost invisible. One type to avoid is the “ruby” coating, which is a cheap way to correct false color. It takes out part of the spectrum which is responsible, but at the cost of contrast and color fidelity. Everything looks greenish.

      Have a great hump day!

      Walt


      • Walt,

        Thank you for that insight. So expensive optics will see you through much better in (all) conditions,…. where as,….. cheaper optics will fall short in all but the best of conditions. None of my scopes are top end, heck, not even medium end,…. but they do work. Ahh,…. one more to aspire to,…. one day. 😉

        Chris


        • Chris,

          You don’t have to spend mega-bucks to get coatings that are better than those on the UTG and Centerpoint scopes. Mid-range scopes ($300 – $600) may be fully multi-coated and have one or two elements of ED glass. Even my Bushnell XLT has better coatings, and it cost a paltry $170.00. B.B. recommends an Air Force scope that costs $200.00, that I imagine is pretty good.
          Your enemy, as you have learned, is stray or off-axis light entering the eyepiece or objective lens and bouncing around inside the optical tube. You get glare and flare and your best option is to try to shade the scope. I use the brim of my hat to shield the eyepiece at times.You look silly with your hat skewed, but it works.
          I got the UTG for target shooting in the back yard. It works well for that, and it would probably be durable in the field (esp. holding zero) because of it’s substantial build. I like mine and think it was a good deal. Bargain optics of any sort have their strengths and weaknesses. You just pick the one that will work best for your intended use. Don’t feel bad. The only high-end optic that I own is a small astro refractor that makes a pretty good spotter with the addition of an image-erecting prism. When you look down at the objective lens it is almost invisible.The only way to clean it is with canned air. It has never been touched in the 12 years I have owned it.
          Happy shooting!

          Walt

          Walt


          • Walt,

            I have a UTG bellows that was way too stiff. I did a major chop job on it and now it is fine. You are right though, eliminating that light from the eye to the ocular lens is critical. On top of the riser stock,… that eye brow/eye socket “weld” helps with overall “weld” a lot. I still do have “flash” if the light is super bright or if the mag. is turned up. 6-10 on mag seems to work on the UTG’s, 12 max. Above that, I have not had much luck. They do have some higher end UTG’s, but I am not sure (what) is the difference other than length, mag. range, and objective size. Like you said, glass quality and coating quality.

            Thanks, Chris


  5. B.B.,

    It’s interesting that shallow depth of field is a plus for field target because it imparts greater accuracy to the distance markings on the scope’s turret or wheel. Shallow DOF is considered a negative for almost any other use of an optical tube assembly (scope, lens, etc.). But it seems to be a good thing in this context. Sometimes optical designers will build in optical defects because of some practical benefit. One such is coma, which is enhanced in some camera lenses to improve the appearance of out-of-focus backgrounds in photos. Wonder if field target scope makers deliberately provide shallow DOF. This, along with the rather extreme focus ranges, would make field target scopes pretty unique.
    I checked, and, sure enough, Meopta’s riflescopes top out at 20X. Firearm shooters don’t seem to need the highest magnification, even though they shoot at ranges that are an order of magnitude farther.
    Thanks for a very practically useful column!

    Hang in there!

    Walt



    • Think I just answered my own question. The combination of high magnification and short range (under 100 yards) will naturally provide an apparently shallow depth of field for any normally corrected optical tube. So there is probably no need to further refine the system for this application. I never gave the big wheels much thought, but the advantage is obvious from your explanation.


      • You could improve on the system by designing a wider aperture scope – the wider the effective aperture (narrow point in lens tube) the less depth of field you get. Unfortunately, in addition the cost of lens elements increases exponentially as they grow in diameter.
        If we borrow from photography, then google two lenses that have the same maximum magnification: Sigma 100-500mm F5-6.3 and Sigma 200-500mm F2.8 a.k.a. the Green Bucket. Both go up to 500mm in focal length but at least on paper (not counting for glass transmission rates and design flaws) the smaller and lighter (4lbs) lens has just 16% of the light coming through it compared the the 35-pound monster. Aside from more light coming through, the upside of ten times the weight is that the heavier lens with the wider aperture can go as low as four and a half feet in depth of field at 55 yards while the lightweight with its closed aperture of F6.3 nets slightly above 10 feet in depth of field. (calculated based on CoC value 0.025mm)


  6. thank you for this great article. This statement “What you are doing when you adjust for parallax is focusing the scope at a given range” has done much to clear up my confusion.
    I’m wondering since most of my shooting is between 20 and 40 yards at squirrels, If I set the Adjustable Objective at 30 and leave it there, and do all my fine focusing with the side wheel, will the GUN be accurately sighted for clean kills?


  7. Oh, I should add, that I understand this will not give me point blank shooting. I also understand that pellet weight etc. will be a factor. What I mean is that assuming I know the distance, and the trajectory of my chambered pellet will the rifle shoot predictably if the focus is brilliantly clear.


    • Ovid,

      Since you are new to airgunning and willing to learn,… check out the Hawke scope website and look for a program that is called Chairgun. It is free and will blow your mind. It takes a bit to get every thing plugged in and understand what all you can do, but when you do, you will (see) exactly what your rifle and pellet will do (theoretically). You will learn a lot.

      As for your 20-40, if you set it at 30, you should have a clear (enough) view at 20-40 also. Leave you mag. alone, leave your side AO alone, leave the eye piece alone. Next? Shoot at targets at different yardages, 20-40, say 5 yards at a time. Note your hold over for each, write that down. Save it, use it.

      As long as you can estimate anything in the 20-40 range, you should be fine. And, you will (not) be fiddling with your scope while the squirrel gets away. 😉

      But, you must shoot your gun, your scope and your pellets to see what they will (actually) do. Nail that down, and it should be all the squirrels you want.

      By the way, did you get the .177 TX or the .22? Mine is the .22.



        • I JUST did it and I have Norton. Maybe change the settings? It even pulled up “safe” on a search.

          Do not worry if you are computer knowledge poor. Me too. Dumb as a rock. Keep trying. It will be worth it.

          On that, I have pulled up sites that were recommended by those on this blog, that showed Norton ????,… and they were fine,… so it may be all in your settings of Norton,.. or maybe the computer? Who knows?,… not me for sure.

          So?,….. .177 or .22?


    • Ovid,

      Also,… your pellet will have a very “flattish” trajectory for quite a long period. On Chairgun, you will see your pellet actually rise (into) the “kill zone”, stay in it for quite awhile,… and then (fall) out of it. If you zero your rifle at 30, you should be pretty close to your 20-40 range. You may find however that a zero setting of,… say,… 33, will keep you in that 20-40 kill zone (longer). ??? You can adjust the size of the kill zone with Chairgun. Most use 1″,… which should suit you very well for the 20-40 you are seeking.


  8. Great article, B.B.! This brings back memories of my Field Target days in Florida; fortunately, it was always about the same degree of “hot” for all the matches, so the yardages I’d penned onto the tape on my bell housing worked pretty well. 🙂


  9. I guess this is why when Hector Medina was offering a special Sighttron scope for $1,400, all the field Target guys were jumping at It. $1,400 would set me up for a nice PCP plus fill equipment plus a nice scope.

    BB did you see any Sharp Aces or Innovas at the Texas airgun show and what were they going for? Those are my dream guns



    • Matt61,

      Hey, they work, easier to adjust a stiff AO, more ergonomic, make your setting easier to see,….. and hey,…. let us not forget the all important,…. “Cool Factor”. 🙂 “Cool” aside, they are nice.


  10. Matt,

    I have a sidewheel-adjustable AO scope now on my FX Wildcat, which is my go-to pigeon hunting gun. The SW is nice, as BB noted, because you don’t have to reach way out to the end of the gun to turn the objective, and so waste less time. But the accuracy improvement for me, using adjustable objective scopes at 20-50 yards, was the difference in confidently taking/making 50 yd shots on pigeons, starlings etc.

    A larger sidewheel (which is what I think your comment is really about?) is on my christmas list, as it will make the focus adjustment hopefully easier (like maybe with forefinger and thumb, while still maintaining a few fingers to rest the gun on as you adjust) when taking offhand shots. “Designed for target shooting” – maybe. If I need to, I may make my own wheel (more like a half-wheel or lever) to make the adjustment…need to think it through and mock it up first. Most of my shots are between 30 and 50 yds, which is not much wheel motion, so maybe a “thumb lever” will work if I get the dimensions right.


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