Last week I told you about my decision to scope the new .22 rifle I gave to my twin boys.

Today I have to tell you about one of the pitfalls of the decision. Though it’s a youth-sized rifle, my 8-year-olds still have trouble finding and maintaining a consistent cheek weld, one of the most important elements of accurate shooting.
Because their heads are not anchored to the stock but instead are floating around behind the scope, the boys are experiencing parallax, or the perception that the crosshairs are moving around the target, even though the gun is dead still.

If you have an older, or a cheaper, riflescope you may have experienced this phenomenon, a result of the reticle (or crosshair) and the image of the target residing on different focal planes.

Clear as mud? Then visit and click on the “Parallax Explained” link. You’ll call up a short PDF document that has one of the best descriptions of parallax I’ve encountered.

The document also has a simple solution for removing parallax from a riflescope: dialing up or down the power-changing knob until the reticle doesn’t appear to move when you move your head up and down.