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Parallax free sights - is this. useful for Bullseye?

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Post by mikemyers 6/7/2021, 9:03 pm

Aimpoint makes a big deal about how their sights are Parallax-Free:  "Aimpoint sights are parallax-free, which means that the visible dot remains parallel to the bore of your weapon no matter what angle your eye is in relation to the sight. This means you never have to worry about centering the dot inside the sight. When the dot is on target, so are you."


There's an illustration on their web page:
https://www.aimpoint.com/academy/parallax-free



I was wondering how important this is to Bullseye Shooters, and if it is, what other sights offer that capability?  

I wouldn't think so, but does this help changing between 25 and 50 yards?  I know it won't compensate for the bullet falling more, but maybe there's more to it?

(The new P-2 ACRO is very small, very light, and KC apparently is already working on adapters for it.  As far as I can tell, it's not available for sale yet, and in a previous discussion, people here were concerned about there being so little protection from rain and stuff making it difficult to see through the sight. )
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Post by DA/SA 6/7/2021, 9:50 pm

mikemyers wrote:I was wondering how important this is to Bullseye Shooters, and if it is, what other sights offer that capability?  
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Post by WesG 6/7/2021, 11:39 pm

Pretty much any optical sight, as long as the target image is focused in the same plane as the reticle. That's what the knob on the side, or sleeve at the front, of a rifle scope does.

Limited to some percentage of the target distance, dependent on the effective aperture size, etc. I might have a formula somewhere, but not sure I'm still smart enough to figure out what it means.

Bottom line, there's no such thing as depth of field in optics. It's "Apparent DOF" ... if you can't tell it's blurred, then you don't know if it is or not. And it doesn't matter. And part of that is whether or not you can see the target image move relative to the reticle when you shift your eyeball.

So 'parallax free at 25 *and* 50 yards'? Impossible ... but close enough it makes no practical difference. JB might notice ...

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Post by mikemyers 6/8/2021, 5:56 am

As I understand it, parallax has nothing to do with focus.  Both are important, but it's not the same thing.  It has nothing to do with depth of field.  I was only asking about parallax - as in, if your dot is not in the center of the sight, will it still be accurate.  

DA/SA, are all Ultradot sights parallax free?  I'm thinking of three, the Ultradot 1", the 30mm Matchdot II, and the small and light L/T.  

(I know people are supposed to keep the dot in the center of the sight, but apparently this makes no difference with sights that don't have a parallax issue?)
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Post by Tripscape 6/8/2021, 7:47 am

Most sights on the market today are parralax free, as are scopes. At least that's how they are advertised. To certain degree they are, until you tilt head to outmost extremes. Easy to check - put gun into stationary position aiming at something. Move your head around and you will see the dot on target and then off target at the extremes. It has to do with refraction of the dot from center of the glass. Ideally it is line exactly in the middle, but in reality this line shifts as you adjust for windage and elevation. On scopes there is no reflection / refraction and so the sight is where it is naturally.
It is very helpful especially as you get tired and dip front of the gun. You can "cheat" the hold by having dot lower in the tube and still be on target. It does work. 
Also very useful on reflex sights where you do not have tube frame of reference.


Last edited by Tripscape on 6/8/2021, 10:16 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Steve B 6/8/2021, 9:25 am

I used to use all UltraDot sights.  But when I personally checked and discovered they had parallax issues they were all changed to Aimpoint.  I consider it to be very important.

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Post by mikemyers 6/8/2021, 3:16 pm

Parallax free sights - is this. useful for Bullseye? Screen98
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Post by Allgoodhits 6/8/2021, 5:16 pm

If you think your scope, don't care which brand, is parallax free then perform the following test. Put your unloaded firearm in a Ransom Rest or place it on a bench. Turn dot on, and align the dot to a specific spot 50 yds away. The X ring of a B6 or B8 target would be ideal.  Then without disturbing the gun, step back away from it. Look through the scope, without touching the gun. Move your head side to side and up and down. The dot will appear to move on the target. Of course, some scopes have more parallax than others. 

Keep the dot centered in the scope lens as much as possible while shooting. It may not be as critical as front sight rear sight alignment, but it can matter a great deal, depending on how bad the parallax is. I was talking to Jon Shue about this very question within the past 24 hours. I am currently working on an aid for centering the dot in the scope, especially for SF.
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Post by -TT- 6/8/2021, 6:11 pm

I have used nylon bushings from the hardware store to reduce the rear aperture of my sight, just for this. It was useful for a while, then it became annoying but by then I had broken the bad habit.

IMO all optics have some parallax, however small. Iron sights have none!

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Post by chiz1180 6/8/2021, 6:15 pm

-TT wrote:IMO all optics have some parallax, however small. Iron sights have none!
+1

Irons work.

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Post by Allgoodhits 6/8/2021, 6:40 pm

-TT- wrote:I have used nylon bushings from the hardware store to reduce the rear aperture of my sight, just for this. It was useful for a while, then it became annoying but by then I had broken the bad habit.

IMO all optics have some parallax, however small. Iron sights have none!
Exactly.

IMO the primary reason that the BE Aggregate record from 1969 stands. It was done with irons, no parallax, just raw sight alignment and trigger control, with a huge heaping of talent.
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Post by mikemyers 6/8/2021, 6:43 pm

Allgoodhits wrote:........Then without disturbing the gun, step back away from it. Look through the scope, without touching the gun. Move your head side to side and up and down. The dot will appear to move on the target.......
Why step away from the sight?  It's designed to be parallax free regardless of where in the sight the dot happens to be.  If you get really close to the sight, or really far away from the sight, the optics will be different.  Not sure if this matters.  

If I can find a way to mount my gun solidly, I'll simply move my eye to the right or the left, or up, or down, and see if the dot seems to change position, or not.  I'm sure the sight is designed to be parallax free when used normally.  Why would Aimpoint, or you, or I, care if things change when you step back away from it?  I need to call John at Aimpoint Tech Support about something completely different later this week.  I'll ask him about what you wrote.

I trust my eyes more than I trust what company people say.  On a phone call with Ultradot a few days ago, I mentioned that I don't like the way my tube-style magnifiers decrease the apparent size of the target.  I was told this is a fallacy, and they don't.  As a photographer, I know for a fact they do.  Looking through an Ultradot 1" sight, or a Matchdot II 30mm sight, the image I see is smaller than what it appears to be looking directly at the target.  On the other hand, looking through my Aimpoint H-2 sight just now, the apparent size of what I'm looking at is identical to what my other eye sees lookout directly at the object.  

I'll probably get dumped on for saying this, but I'm beginning to believe you get what you pay for..

Several of the better shooters and gunsmiths on this forum have been very critical of sights that quit working, costing them a match.  One in particular.  That's maybe a topic for a different thread, but what they wrote got burned into my brain, never to be forgotten.
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Post by Froneck 6/8/2021, 7:44 pm

I thought I posted a reply to the Parallax. Guess I forgot to click on send.
Basically all scopes especially Red Dots have parallax. Those designated for Pistol are adjusted for 50 yards. I'm no expert but from what I've seen the shorter the Red Dot scope the greater the parallax and if using the ones that have been adjusted for 100 yards intended for the AR crowd parallax is a problem. Yes if you keep the dot in the center it helps but adds to sighting requirements. Having a dot that is without parallax in timed and especially rapid fire is a plus. A group as everyone knows I'm familiar with the AMU that has great shooters (2650+) want parallax free sights, it is one of the reasons they switched from the H1 to the 9000. First thing I do when purchasing a scope is to check parallax, I have a few put back in the box on my shelf because of parallax issues. Price of course may add quality but remember you may not get what you paid for but you will never get more! Forums such as this one will help in selection, this one especially focused on target shooter is best for those wanting target shooting information. So when an item has issues it will be reported here and help others avoid purchasing the same product!
 So for my $$$ I want Red Dot scopes without parallax and use only those that pass my test! And yes I avoid purchasing those that are reported here.

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Post by LenV 6/8/2021, 8:00 pm

I think everyone answered your question Mike. All scopes (even Aimpoints) have some parallax. I only took this time to address your question about testing for it. When it was suggested you put it in a vice and move away from the dot it was not intended that you move back 5ft or anything like that. Move away to the normal distance between your eye and the dot while shooting. Do not put your eye within a couple of inches and test it like a rifle scope. There is not a red dot on the planet that would pass that test. Well, unless its a Red dot on a rifle scope. 

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Post by Jon Eulette 6/8/2021, 8:45 pm

Allgoodhits wrote:I am currently working on an aid for centering the dot in the scope, especially for SF.
PhotoEscape already makes what you are looking for; Aperture Ring Kit. Link at top of home page.
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Post by mikemyers 6/8/2021, 9:22 pm

LenV wrote:I think everyone answered your question Mike. All scopes (even Aimpoints) have some parallax. .......

That being the case, the information up above about avoiding sights that don't deal well with parallax is probably a good starting point.  If I get some free time tomorrow, I think I'll call John at Aimpoint Tech Support and see what he thinks.  

From reading all the above, maybe this is most important in rapid fire.  

I don't have the tools to do this, but what I'd like to do is clamp one of my sights at a time into some kind of fixture, aim it at a target, then move my head around up/down and right/left, and see for myself how well the dot stays put, and if not, how much it seems to move off-center.
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Post by Jon Eulette 6/8/2021, 9:30 pm

Mike you're wasting your time being concerned about something that really has no bearing effect on your shooting. Back in the late 80's and early 90's optics were not as good as they are now and BIG scores were being put up by the good shooters. I can remember shooting lots of 10's at 50 yards with less than desirable red dot being centered in the scope tube. Spend your time working on trigger pull, it will pay dividends!
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Post by WesG 6/8/2021, 10:31 pm

Froneck wrote:I thought I posted a reply to the Parallax. Guess I forgot to click on send.
Basically all scopes especially Red Dots have parallax. Those designated for Pistol are adjusted for 50 yards. I'm no expert but from what I've seen the shorter the Red Dot scope the greater the parallax and if using the ones that have been adjusted for 100 yards intended for the AR crowd parallax is a problem.
Yeah. So as I understand it, a scope set for a longer distance will show a greater error at a shorter distance, than vise versa.

But although the error in MOA is greater, the actual displacement on the target is less because of the shorter distance. So better to be set long than short.

For Mike: If you want to quantify it in some way, make up a 'mask' with a pattern of holes at some distance from center in a piece of cardboard. Set it up behind your sight at eyeball distance, and use them as apertures to fix your eye position at a known offset.

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Post by Froneck 6/9/2021, 12:13 am

Calling Aimpoint is a waste of time, do you expect any other answer than Aimpoint is the best? Aimpoint gave the AMU an H1 to test, it was put on one of the top shooters guns. It worked great so they purchased about 30 more. All of them had Parallax! Adam called Aimpoint and was told the H1 didn't have parallax! Adam explained the problem, put the pistol in fixed rest so gun and scope can't move, look thru scope at same distance as when shooting move your head and dot moves on the target. Aimpoint would not admit they had parallax, so Adam said maybe it don't have Parallax but if you move your head behind a scope that can't move the dot moves off the target! They then changed to the 9000.
 I disagree with Jon, scopes back in the 80's were good, most were long eye relief 1X to 1.5X scopes. They had no parallax (none to speak of at pistol range) Then Aimpoint came out with the Red Dot they too were without parallax or so little it didn't matter. But when everyone else started getting into the business quality went down hill and it really took a dive when the AR craze started!
 But Jon is right, most important is Trigger Pull!! Your best bet is shoot slow fire at 25 yards, if you can't get a good score at 25 yards it will never happen at 50! Dry fire with the Red Dot, any one is good even the cheapest because you will see if the dot moves when the trigger is pulled, practice so that the dot does not move when the hammer falls.
 I see others have posted while I type this. So
 That's not what happens if adjusted at 100 yards it will be 0, think of it as an X, the adjustment is at the intersection parallax get worse at shorter and longer distance and why AR shooter talk of Co-Witness.
 As to clamping the sights to something it's not necessary.I simply put the sight on a fixed object so it don't move, don't have to be clamped just sitting on the rings will work, stand back the same eye distance as when shooting and do not make contact with the scope or what ever it's sitting on. You simply do not want any of your movement to move the scope. Move your head and watch the dot on a target at a distance of 50 yards. If dot says in X ring that's great, if dot moves to edge of target paper that's real bad!

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Post by mikemyers 6/9/2021, 6:22 am

Jon Eulette wrote:Mike you're wasting your time being concerned about something that really has no bearing effect on your shooting. Back in the late 80's and early 90's optics were not as good as they are now and BIG scores were being put up by the good shooters. I can remember shooting lots of 10's at 50 yards with less than desirable red dot being centered in the scope tube. Spend your time working on trigger pull, it will pay dividends!
Jon
Jon, I agree with you.  I have sights from Ultradot, Aimpoint, Venom, Tasco, and others I'm forgetting, along with some inexpensive sights I haven't yet been able to give away.  None of this time is detracting from the time I spend on shooting - instead, it's free time when I watch TV, or read, or browse, and so on.

I'm not that critical - as long as I see a nice view through the sight, with a clear red dot, bright enough so it doesn't get lost, I'm happy.  For whatever it's worth, probably nothing, my favorites are the 1" Ultradot that Dave Salyer recommended, the Aimpoint Micro sights, and the Vortex Venom.  I love my Aimpoint 9000, but it's too heavy for me.

For someone who REALLY had a lot of time to spend, that information is here, in more detail than I can understand:
https://www.greeneyetactical.com/2017/07/27/comparative-study-of-red-dot-sight-parallax/

Personal opinion - you're right, parallax won't help or hurt me in getting a good group, but negative magnification annoys me.  I love iron sights, but dot sights are more effective for me.
...and as for reliability, what you wrote about Ultradot, I wonder how reliable they are, and after my Aimpoint dot turning off, I was ready to stop using them, until John at Aimpoint told me to use the plastic tool that comes with the Micro sights, and tighten the battery cover until the plastic lips on the tool deform..  I don't like the Ultradot L/T because it has a locking screw that I can't see before I adjust the tiny adjusters.  I can't find anything I don't like about the Vortex Venom, and have two of them now.  Free lifetime repairs is worth something too.  Personally, for me, the weight of the sight is one of the most important things, lighter being better.  

Am I wasting my time?  Probably.  I should turn off the computer and go back to reloading.  ....and I have no intention of trying to figure out the link I just posted up above.  Way over my head.
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Post by -TT- 6/9/2021, 6:44 am

Just work on having a consistent sight picture through the sight, for example centered in the glass and centered on the target. As long as you achieve the same view for every shot, any parallax error will be irrelevant.

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Post by TonyH 6/9/2021, 6:45 am

.....you're right, parallax won't help or hurt me in getting a good group, but negative magnification annoys me.
Here's a positive thought for "negative" magnification....if the black of the target appears smaller, it should make one hold (wobble area) tighter on the target. Like Jon mentions above, forget all the small non-important technical stuff and focus a clean consistent trigger break.
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Post by Froneck 6/9/2021, 11:00 am

I feel it's best to remove any annoyance, it detracts from the intended operation. I too don't like negative magnification. Having used scopes for a long time on rifles I learned to shoot with both eyes open. When pointing a pistol down range other targets are visible, the row to the right and left are large yet the one in the scope is smaller. Bad enough the distance reduces the perceived target size I don't want my scope to add to the reduction! Some time ago military target shooter were issued a pistol and told to adapt to it. Now that's changed and the pistol is altered to the shooters requirements. So if the scope is not what is wanted, return it for the one it's supposed to be! Same goes with parallax, specification claim none then demand they provide what they claim it to be!
 Unfortunately the scope makers have rushed to get the money from shooters that can't shoot yet want the Red Dot on the AR. A battery that will last 50,000 hours and /or a dot that turns on when movement is detected might be great for someone in combat. However it's worthless to me! Seems to me quality and accuracy has been side stepped to sell the most scopes as cheap as they can make them!

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Post by Allgoodhits 6/9/2021, 1:25 pm

Put dot in center of lens, or exact same area of lens each time, then place dot in center of target, then, assuming gun is sighted in, properly at distance, then activate fire control without disturbing any of the above. The bullet impact should then be within the accuracy limits of the equipment including the ammunition. 

Out.
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Post by Froneck 6/9/2021, 6:16 pm

Front sight on the pistol has parallax! To eliminate it the front sight is aligned with the rear sight and therefore parallax is eliminated! Plastic inserts have been made to be used in the front sight to provide a Red Dot but it must be aligned with the rear sight again to eliminate parallax! When I purchase a red dot that claims to be free of parallax I don't want to align anything! The specifications and advertisements claim it's not necessary! Trying to place the dot in the ocular lens in exactly the same place every-time is difficult because where is the exact same place in a clear lens? The advantage offered by the Red Dot scope is lost! Prior to the Red Dot scopes long eye relief scopes with a Dot reticle were popular, there was no parallax or it was so small it was meaningless. I select scopes with very little parallax if none is not available! Most of the better scopes if parallax exists have very little parallax until the dot reaches the edges of the opening then it greatly increases. That's OK because I'm going to keep the dot within 90% of the ocular opening. However if small movement creates substantial parallax I send it back! Simply put I have the pistol adapted to me rather than I have to adapt to the pistol. Quite honestly that is what the difference between an out of the box gun and a custom built is! Therefore if I'm customizing my target pistol I want to add the sight that is adapted to me.

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