What Is Eye Relief on a Scope? All You Need To Know!

what is scope eye relief

No doubt, Irina Shayk did nail the black eye look for Kanye’s fashion show; however, when it comes to you, I’m sure you will fail in transforming it into a fashion statement.

What I mean to say is that sometimes while shooting, many shooters forget to maintain proper eye relief distance between their eyes and the scopes on their rifles. Unfortunately, it translates into a huge black eye, also known as a ‘scope eye.’

Not just that, this unpleasant experience breeds many troubles besides just a black eye. To mention some; missed targets, blurry vision, or a canceled hunting day.

Now the question is, who you wants to be on that hunting ground? A hunter or a prey? Or, Bucky Barnes or Captain Bruise with a black-eye identity? I’m sure you don’t fancy the latter.

The thing most new shooters fail to understand is the significance of relevant knowledge, the lack of what results in some accidents that most of them don’t see coming, and neither do their eyes.

So, before you start proving yourself a child of Barnes, I would like to educate you on a thing called eye relief and how it is an important consideration.

What Is Eye Relief for Scopes

what is eye relief

Do you wonder what it is? No, pigeon, eye relief is not a piece of equipment to save you from a black eye. Eye relief is the distance between the shooter’s eye and the rear lens of the scope or any ocular lens. It guides you on how to achieve a full field of view and clear picture without experiencing blackouts, blurriness, or black rings.

Just so you know, these visual disturbances can get the best of you, and I’m sure you don’t want to be the next meal of a wild boar.

Every shooter desires accuracy and precision while shooting, and if you are facing any issues in achieving it, you are in big trouble, human. Because you failed to mount your scope with adequate eye relief, now everything appears distorted through the scope, and you can clearly see a scope eye entering the chatroom.

When you mount a scope, it is important to get acquainted with proper eye relief before you start shooting. It will save you both time and effort. Maintenance of correct eye relief will result in a sharp and clear image of the target ahead.

The proper gap will keep you from moving your eye too close or too far from the eyepiece every now and then, which is bad. As this movement will not only wear you out but also produce reduced picture quality, even at maximum magnification and focus.

Eye relief is an important factor to consider while selecting a scope, as it can immensely affect the comfort, precision, and overall experience of shooting. It not only showers you with the blessing of a fancy dinner but also keeps you from translating into someone else’s dinner.

Why Is Eye Relief Important?

why eye relief impotant

The answer is “Comfort”. I mean, you cannot afford to stay way off target and lose bullets without caring much, as if you are a progeny of Gates. Right? Alright, Andrew, money might not be a problem for you, but frustration can beat you totally.

So, what do I mean by comfort? Shall I start counting the perks of a comfortable shooting position by achieving the right eye relief? Well, to name some: precise target shooting, proper field of view without vignetting, safety, image clarity, and a fancy dinner sit on top.

Comfort also means “No scope bite.”

Wait, what exactly is a scope eye? Long story short, when you ignore the facts like consistency equals accuracy and practice makes perfect, then you get a scope bite from the heavy recoil of the rifle. It happens when you hunch up too close to the scope to get a clear field of view.

And when you shoot a gun, it recoils back, causing your scope to smack into your eye just to give you a humble reminder of maintaining proper eye relief. Always remember that anything under two inches of eye relief can give you heavy eye makeup.

Jokes apart, scope bite can be really painful and super dangerous. That is the very reason it is important to practice safety and maintain a proper distance between your eye and scope. By practicing, I don’t mean practicing right before the final performance but consistently rehearsing maintenance of a good eye relief way before the shooting days.

If the eye relief is way too short, it might demand you to bring your eye pressed against the stock, which surely leads to discomfort. But if it is too long, the shooter might find it difficult to keep their eye aligned with the scope center.

The choice between standard eye relief (typically between 50 to 100m), long or extended eye relief (150mm), and short eye relief (typically less than 50mm) depends on the intended use of the scope.

As you know, learning about eye relief only won’t get you anywhere. So do yourself a favor and educate yourself on how to zero a scope as well for successful hunting.

Types of Eye Relief

scope eye relief

There are mainly two types of eye relief, which I will discuss below individually:

Standard eye relief

Generally speaking, standard eye relief is commonly found in scopes that are used for hunting and generic long-range shooting. For this type, the ideal eye relief distance falls in the range of two to four inches (50-100 mm).

It allows you time to hunt comfortably with an impeccable field of view and superior eye protection.

Long Eye Relief

LER or long eye relief, along with long eye relief scopes, allows you a distance of 4.5 inches (up to 150mm). Long eye relief distances are ideal for short-range shooting where magnification is not required as it already has a broader field of view.

It is perfect for high-caliber rifles and performs well in areas with lots of uneven terrains, trees, and hills.  

How to Set Eye Relief on a Rifle Scope.

How to Set Eye Relief on a Rifle Scope.

To conclude, it is all about finding a perfect balance between ‘Ouch!’ and ‘Oh, I actually have an aim!’ Well, learning to set your rifle scope’s eye relief is easy as long as I am your mentor, as I have divided the process into three simple small steps. But before that, let’s prep a little. Keep reading!

After you unload your rifle and zero a scope, just make sure it is safe to handle, mount the right scope in the mounting space, and snug the scope rings. The comfortable position is when the scope is not too loose and moves with gravity but moves with a little effort.

Get into the stance you are comfortable with, and put the scope on the highest setting if it’s a variable scope. Now perform some tests mentioned below and start with moving your scope forward and backward until you get a full-sight picture. Keep checking it repeatedly at the highest magnification.

The ‘Too Far’ Test

You got me right! Adjust eye relief by leaning back and moving the scope back until you need binoculars to see through it.

The ‘Too Close’ Test

Start by jamming the rifle scope right against your eye until you get a full-sight picture. If you you don’t know how to achieve a perfect sight picture, click here to learn about how to sight in a scope.

The ‘Sweet Spot’ Test

This is the eye position you should be opting for. It is when you are close enough to see with clarity but far enough to avoid becoming a YouTube sensation for all the wrong reasons. Congratulations! You found ‘Blake Lively’ of the world of eye relief – just right.

Is higher or lower eye relief better?

Your target shouldn’t be higher eye relief or less eye relief but proper eye relief for a great shooting experience. Just so you know, adequate or correct eye relief is specific to the user and the weapon being used. However, as a rule of thumb, standard eye relief (3.5 to 5 inches) will do in most cases.

Now, let’s head forward to the final thoughts eye relief concept receives.

Wrapping it up

So, by now, we hope you are familiar with what is eye relief on a scope. Hundreds of days spent on finding the right weapon and not a second spent in figuring out the right eye relief will only make you throw the ammunition away. You don’t want to demotivate yourself or tag yourself incompetent for shooting, right?

Just remember, target practice days topped with patience is the key here. I mean, consistency and practice are the only two hands that will guide the arrow of accuracy to its mark only if you want a shot in hunting!

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