What is the difference between a Rimfire vs. Centerfire Scope? If you’re looking for an optic to mount on your rifle, this question is likely on your mind. So, we’ll run you through the differences between the two so you can choose the best one for your needs. After all, you want to hit that target, right? Let’s go!
Rimfire vs. Centerfire – How Are These Two Types of Scopes Different?
Ask any two rifle owners about the difference between Rimfire and Centerfire scopes and you could end up with two completely different answers. Some have stated that there is a difference in eye relief between the two. While others have said that one was designed to withstand a heavier recoil than the other. There are also many other assumptions behind the Rimfire Vs. Centerfire scope debate.
While there may be multiple differences between the two, the primary difference between a Rimfire and a Centerfire scope is the parallax setting.
What is a Parallax?
In Sports Optics, a parallax is basically an optical illusion that is used to help the shooter hit their target over long distances. A parallax presents itself as the apparent movement of the reticle. This occurs any time that your eye moves off the center of the sight picture, also known as exit pupil. In more extreme cases, the parallax may appear as an image that is out of focus.
In the book Optics for the Hunter by John Barsness, the definition of a parallax is put in simpler terms.
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“Form a circle with your thumb and forefinger and extend your arm. Close one eye and aim that circle at an object. Hold your hand steady and move your head back and forth. The object will move inside the circle. That is parallax.”
Parallax is not the same as focus. When you adjust the parallax settings on your scope, it doesn’t have an effect on your focus settings for the reticle or for the image itself. Adjusting the parallax simply moves the planes where the two objects are in focus, allowing them to share the same plane, and removing the optical illusion in front of you.
Parallax Settings for Rimfire and Centerfire Scopes
The main difference between Rimfire and Centerfire scopes is the parallax setting. The majority of Centerfire scopes are set to 150 yards while Rimfire scopes are often set at 75 yards. However, the exact settings can differ for both types depending on the brand of scope.
Rimfire vs. Centerfire Scopes and the Adjustable Objective Lens
There are also differences with the Adjustable Objective lenses, often referred to as A/O. The A/O is a setting that helps you adjust your view and completely remove the parallax at any range that you wish to shoot. These days, there are more rifle scopes being made with a Side Focus setting which accomplishes the same task in a different manner. You can often find a Side Focus setting on newer scope models or those that include a ton of extra features. Older or basic scope models will likely have the A/O setting instead.
When it comes to which scopes offer the best features, you will find more centerfire scopes that include modernized, high-tech extras. There are some rimfire scopes that have updated features as well, but the majority of these scopes are more affordable and either have the A/O setting or no such setting at all.
Which Scope is Better?
Deciding which scope is better in the Rimfire vs. Centerfire debate can be difficult. It really comes down to what type of scope you prefer and what you plan to use it for. There are more negative reviews for cheaper Rimfire scopes than Centerfire. But that could be because there are very few low-cost Centerfire scopes out there.
In terms of price and brand quality, Centerfire scopes are generally more expensive because they are made by top-rated brands. But, there are also plenty of great quality Rimfire scopes out there that you shouldn’t pass on.
In fact, hunting and shooting experts will tell you that you shouldn’t scrimp on a Rimfire Riflescope because it is likely the one you will end up using the most. Rimfire scopes are great for shooting at smaller targets, and precise shooting justifies reliable optics.
Using Rimfire and Centerfire Scopes with Different Guns
It is possible to use either a rimfire or centerfire scope with different rifles, but you will need to use caution while doing so. While some scopes are interchangeable and safe to use with other guns, others can be dangerous and lead to serious accidents if they are used incorrectly.
Will a Rimfire Scope Work with a Centerfire Rifle?
No. While it might be possible to use a Rimfire scope on a Centerfire rifle, it is not recommended. The reason is because the scope can’t handle the harsh recoil. The same goes for using a Rimfire scope with an Airgun. Doing this could actually be fatal since airguns recoil in the opposite direction.
Will a Centerfire Scope work with Other Rifles?
It’s possible to use a centerfire scope on a rimfire gun. Centerfire scopes will also work on other types of guns such as a .22LR.
The main thing you need to be concerned about when using a centerfire scope on a different type of rifle is the parallax settings. That’s because most centerfire scopes are set at a parallax of 100 yards. Therefore, if you are shooting 25 yards, your point of aim may change with your eye’s location.
Rimfire vs. Centerfire Scopes – Which is the Best for You?
There are several factors to consider when choosing between a Rimfire and Centerfire Rifle Scope. You have to think about how you will be using the scope, what type of hunting you plan to do, what type of gun you are going to use the scope on, and what price range you can afford.
Centerfire scopes tend to be more expensive than Rimfire scopes due to the brand that manufactures them and their features.
There are some cheaper models of Rimfire scopes that you may want to avoid because they aren’t as durable as others. But overall, you can find good quality, durable, and reliable hunting scopes that are either Rimfire or Centerfire.
So, in the Rimfire vs. Centerfire debate, which type will you choose?