Is my scope too big for my grandson’s air rifle?

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ask the experts - Credit: Archant

I have a 3-12x50 Zeiss scope, and want to give it to my grandson, but will it be too big for his air rifle? Chris Parkin replies

Q: I have a very nice 3-12x50 Zeiss Duralyt scope sitting around at home after streamlining my armoury and selling the rifle it was fitted to. I was wondering about giving this as a gift to my grandson for his air rifle, but as it was used on a centrefire rifle, would it be suitable for his airgun?

CHRIS PARKIN replies: This is an interesting quandary to have, as optically, your grandson will enjoy fantastic image quality although you/he may encounter two problems. The Duralyt, like many of its contempories, has much less mechanical adjustment inside the scope for elevation and windage than more commonly used airgun scopes, and even though 30mm scope mounts won’t be hard to find, it may not zero correctly without adjustable mounts. It really is a case of try it and see if it works; if not, companies like Hawke and Sportsmatch make mounts with inbuilt adjustment to externally incline the scope and, in effect, add extra elevation to it. The second issue is that the scope is adjusted to be parallax free/in focus at 100m which on a centrefire rifle is not an uncommon shooting distance, but pretty far out of the question with an air rifle. It won’t stop him shooting the gun, but above about 6x magnification he will struggle to get the image correctly in focus. Most airgun shots are sub 30m and although adjustable parallax is not mandatory for such distances if they are factory set to approximately that range, adjustable parallax scopes are very common among airgunners because they often use high magnification over those distances and want both clear focus and a parallax-free image in order to shoot accurately. Sorry to dampen your enthusiasm; just go into this with a realisation that it might not be ideal and a far cheaper (or far more expensive) scope might be the more suitable, if strange, answer.