Unlike Lara Croft, I wasn’t a born marksman (or markswoman, if you like). After 100s of YouTube videos, a few training classes, and several thousand rounds downrange, I’ve made great progress with my pistol shooting. And, although I’m still making improvements on that front, where I’m completely behind is in my long range skill. To my great fortune, I recently met the firearms instructors from In Extremis Consulting Group, who offered to introduce me to some precision rifle techniques—beginning with zeroing parallax.
To get started, Austin, former US Army sniper, and In Extremis firearms instructor, had me “tee up” on the rifle (in this case, a beautiful American Precision Arms, chambered in .308 Win, and topped with a Schmidt & Bender scope), approaching it with a squared “gun fighter” stance. I stood perpendicular to the rifle with my feet just over a shoulder-length apart, and my right shoulder lined up with the rifle’s stock. and tried to maintain the same alignment as I dropped into prone (that is, on my stomach on the ground). For a little extra stability, I spread my high tops a little more, and moved up to shoulder the rifle. With the rifle tucked into my shoulder, and my cheek weld established, I applied forward pressure on the rifle—what Austin calls “pre-loading the bipod.” To maintain stability while making minute adjustments, Austin had me use a rear bag. With that tucked under the buttstock of the rifle, I only needed to slightly alter my pressure on the bag in order to make precise adjustments to the rifle’s position. Once I established my sight picture with both the rifle and my body stably positioned, I was ready to start zeroing parallax.
The first component of zeroing parallax was simply to look down the scope and adjust it until my target was in focus. Next, I had to make note of the “eye box” of my scope (when using telescopic sights, one’s field of vision is limited; the window of magnified field of view through telescopic sights is called the “eye box”). When moving my head slightly from side to side, the target remained in clear focus, but the reticle appeared to shift. I continued making tiny adjustments to the focus until the scope’s reticle appeared stationary, even when looking from side to side in my field of view. Presto! Zeroing parallax complete.
With the scope parallax zeroed, I can remove the variable of not having my sight aligned *just so* within the eye box. I’m not about to head off to begin tomb raiding… but learning techniques like this puts me one step further down the road of my marksmanship journey.