Adjustable Objective vs. Set Parallax Scopes

Let's talk scopes for a minute.  This will be an opinion piece for me as I lean harder to one side than the other, but hear me out.  I might change your mind on how you look at glassing your squirrel rifle in the future.  I own both types of scopes, and each are mission specific to there rifle.  Let me also state, I am not an expert in the scope realm with all the math involved, but I do understand scopes enough to explain the AO vs. non AO viewpoint in laymen terms.

My brother and I were discussing over supper a few Friday's ago if he was going to end the CZ abuse and scope his CZ 452 Military Trainer this year for squirrel season, that has been in his safe, untouched for at least 2 years.  He responded that he'd likely put a scope on it this year and at least hunt with it before the end of the 2013-2014 season.  I was very happy to hear that, but  that feeling quickly changed when he said he wanted to put a 3-9x40 scope on the rifle...
Immediately my mind said nooooooo, as the thought of a 100 yard fixed parallax scope would go on a rimfire rifle.  Now with this said, you may certainly outfit your rifle however you want but I'd like to take a little time to educate you on the subject.  One caveat however is that a 100 yard parallaxed scope can be manually set, by yourself, to a different parallax yardage, but that will likely void your warranty.  Not to mention you could damage the scope.  I'm not so sure how easy it is to accomplish, but do know that people have done it successfully.   Some manufactures will set a different parallax for you, but that will cost you extra.
Weaver RV7 22 rifle scope
As I see scoping a rimfire, it would be one of two ways.  First is with a dedicated rimfire scope.  Something like a Weaver RV7, or a Nikon Prostaff Rimfire.  Both of these scopes are parallaxed at 50 yards, which is normal for a rimfire scope.  That means that at 50 yards your sight picture will be very clear.  At yardages below or above the 50 yards things will become blurry.  If a squirrel presents a shot at 25 yards, there will be some distortion in the image based on the parallax and what magnification setting you are at.  Usually in a hunting situation it's not that big of a deal.  However, 25 yard sight in with a set 50 yard parallax can fatigue your eyes fairly quickly, and isn't enjoyable.
Nikon Prostaff BDC 22 scope
 Another consideration is if your scope has an adjustable power range like 2.5-7.  If your power is set lower, the distortion will seem less obtrusive.  The inverse of that is the higher the power the more distorted a shorter or longer range shot will be.  Also with a parallax of only 50 yards your ideal usage would be on a rimfire or pellet rifle.  That's not to say they can't be used on centerfire rifles.
Clearidge RM 3X9 rifle scope for a 22
My choice is an Adjustable Objective scope or a scope that has side focus.  They both accomplish the same result.  Here's the thing I tried explaining to my brother that I hope stuck with him.  If you are dead set on a 3-9x40 that's parallaxed at 100 yards, get that scope in adjustable objective and leave it set at 100 yards!  If you find out that isn't gonna work, you have the option to set it at whatever range is available on that scope.  I can't stress this enough, If you go with fixed parallax scope, be it rimfire or centerfire, you are stuck with that parallax.  With the adjustable objective, you always have the option to make any adjustment that scope allows.  You can leave it set at 50 yards and call it good, but if you ever change your mind you can change your parallax with the twist of the objective bell.   That's the beauty of the AO scope system.  So for a squirrel rifle I'll usually set my AO at 50 yards, but if I need to make an adjustment when I'm sighting in at 25 yards, at least I have that option.  The only other way would be to suffer through a sight in session with a fixed parallax scope. I've been there and done that, I don't recommend it.  The pros of the AO outweigh the fixed parallax.
Nikon Prostaff EFR - scope for 22
The benefits of an AO scope are:
1.  You can range game more accurately, given you have the option.
2.  At sight in (depending on how low your scope will go) you will have a crystal clear visual of the target.
3.  You always have the option of putting it on a larger caliber rifle.
Silver Clearidge RM mounted on my CZ 452 Scout
To me the Adjustable Objective scope is the clear winner here.  I hope my speaking on the issue will help some of you make a more informed decision on your scope purchase.  Hopefully my brother will see the logic here too.  Maybe, just maybe that CZ will get the love it's been yearning for this season.
I'm happy to report my brother took my advice and purchased a Nikon Prostaff EFR for his CZ 452!


Nikon Prostaff Target EFR 3-9x40 AO Matte Precision Reticle, Black
Nikon Prostaff Target EFR 3-9x40 AO Matte Precision Reticle, Black
List Price: $189.95
Sale Price: Too low to display
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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Little John May 15, 2014 at 1:30 am

I also bought the CZ 452 ULTRA LUX SUPER EXCLUSIVE 28.6″ barrel 300 METER TANGENT SIGHTED 22 LONNNNNG RIFLE AFTER READING YOUR ARTICLE AND SEEING SOME VIDEOS OF OTHER SATISFIED OWNERS. It definitely has enough sight radius to properly make full use of the TANGENT SIGHTS. I HOPE THEY KEEP MAKING IT. I MIGHT WANT ANOTHER OR TWO MORE FOR MY SONS. It seems they have a new 455 switch barrel version with shorter barrels that they have begun to produce…. I really hope they do not drop the old SCREW-IN-BARREL 452 LUX OR ULTRA LUX.

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shane May 31, 2014 at 10:08 am

hello nate , i need your advice about a scope . ive got a cz 453 22 lr american 2011 , i have got a range under my house it is only 12yrds that’s ok i only shoot cci quiets 710 fps under there ,the scope im using is a redfield revenge 3x9x42 but im not real happy with it , id like to shoot at 55yrds m and out to 110yrds ,
i would like a scope with , adjustable objective back to about 7 yrds , quick eye relief , zero adjustable turrets, 1″ tube , im thinking 4 x 12 or 4×16 x 40 or 50 . im interested in your thoughts and comments on a brand that would suit me . ps ive also got a bit off furniture that threads to muzzle very sweet , oh so quiet .
kind regards shane

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Nate June 1, 2014 at 7:43 pm

It can be very tough to shoot a non AO scope unless you back the power out to its lowest point. With that you can’t take advantage of the higher magnification range. Recommending a scope can also be a difficult choice as what I like, you may not. I can make some suggestions, but they are not on the inexpensive side of things. The two scopes I would suggest are the Clearidge Ultra XP 4.5-14x40AO or the 6-20x40AO. Both of these focus down to 10 yards which is about as low of a parallax adjustment that I know of. They are pricey at $379.99 to $399.99. I have both and prefer the 4.5-14 for weight and size, but like the 6-20 for added power at sight in.

The other scope is the Weaver V16, 4-16x42AO. It barely clears the barrel with Burris Medium Zee rings. I like the range of power here and it will also focus down to 10 yards. Price should be between $285-$300. Hope these are choices that you consider, as they might just fit what you are looking for.

A “hush tube” certainly does make for a pleasing shooting session. Hopefully this info will help you out. Thanks for stopping by the website.

Nate

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RBest May 1, 2016 at 5:36 pm

There are some “airgun rated” scopes that have AO’s down to 5 yards : Leapers/UTG and BSA’s come to mind. Both are totally usable on normal firearms as well. MidWay USA, Natchez shooters supply and Pyramyd Airgun Mall in Ohio all sell them. Airgun rated scopes are often braced for forward and reverse recoil, so are quite durable on firearms.

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Michael November 19, 2014 at 1:42 pm

You’ve started me on a search for an AO scope. For the past two months I have looked through more scopes than I care to count. I can’t find a Clearidge scope to look through but of the side by side comparrisons I think I have it narrowed down to a Leupold 4.5-14×40 or a Zeiss 4.5-14×42. I have been concerned that neither will adjust below 30 yards. That leads to this question.

If I have the AO set to 60 yards and a shot is presented at ten can I just dial the power down to the lowest setting and not be bothered with Parellex?

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Nate November 19, 2014 at 1:49 pm

The one thing that will make the target blurry at 10 yards, if you parallax down to you lowest setting, is what magnification power setting you are on. The higher the magnification the more distorted your image will be, but at your lowest magnification setting it shouldn’t be as noticeable. I have one scope that is a side focus parallax model that only focuses down to 20 yards. I think the lower your parallax setting the better. The remainder of my scopes either focus down to 30-50 feet.

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Braydon October 7, 2015 at 9:32 pm

Great points Nate, I don’t think enough people know when resetting their parallax that they very well may be “reseting” their warranty. Greats heads up!

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Ken July 26, 2016 at 11:04 pm

great scope for the money!!! I have one on both my T-Bolts and I have the Weaver RV7 on my CZ 452 American… Another great scope

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