Scope Bite: What Is It and How To Prevent It

Scope bite is when recoil of your firearm causes the scope to forcefully contact your face. This can be dangerous and result in minor and sometimes serious injuries.

Choosing a rifle scope with a proper eye relief & maintaining a proper shooting position are the best ways to avoid scope bite. In this post, we’ll go over some detailed tips for how to reduce the chance of scope injuries for hunters and tactical shooters alike.

Read on to learn the proper shooting technique and modifications you can make to avoid ending up with a nasty eye or forehead injury.

What Is Scope Bite?

Rifle scope bite refers to the accidental impact or recoil of a rifle’s scope against the shooter’s eyebrow or forehead. It is sometimes referred to as scope eye or scope slap.

Scope bite can be dangerous to shooters and can result in cuts, bruises, or even more serious injuries depending on the force of impact and the design of the scope. Some shooters even need to get stitches as result of their injuries. Check the image below to see the severity of injuries that can occur.

injuries from rifle scope

The setup of your rifle scope & overall shooting technique can also affect the likelihood of scope bite. Inexperienced shooters fail to get a proper cheek weld & maintain a safe eye relief distance.

How Does Your Rifle Set Up Affect Scope Bite?

A shooters rifle scope set up can have a great impact on the probability of scope bite. The first thing to consider is maintaining a comfortable eye relief. Eye relief is defined as the distance between the eye and the scope.

Your rifle’s stock can also control the distance between your eye and rifle scope. An adjustable stock can allow shooters extra flexibility setting their desired eye relief.

Also, properly mounting the scope and ensuring a comfortable and stable shooting position can help minimize the risk of scope bite.

How Can Scope Bite Be Avoided?

There are several preventative measures shooters can take to minimize the possibility of scope bite. Here is a list of ways you can avoid ending up in the emergency room with an eye or forehead injury.

  • Sufficient Eye Relief
  • Maintain Correct Shooting Technique
  • Utilize Low Recoil Weapons
  • Utilize A Properly Sized Stock

What Can You Do To Avoid Scope Bite When Hunting?

The best way to avoid scope bite when hunting is to ensure you get into a proper shooting position. Many hunters rush their set up & do not get a solid cheek weld before pulling the trigger. Instead, take your time and get the rifle stock firmly pressed into your shoulder pocket before making a shot.

Also, make sure that you have mounted your hunting scope in the proper position in your rifle. Mounting the scope too close to the butt will increase the chance of scope bite.

Step Description
1 Sufficient Eye Relief: Ensure your eye is at a safe distance from the scope by maintaining sufficient eye relief, usually around 3-4 inches, to prevent recoil-related injuries.
2 Maintain Correct Shooting Technique: Follow proper shooting techniques, including a firm grip, proper stance, and consistent body position, to minimize the risk of the scope hitting your eye during recoil.
3 Utilize Low Recoil Weapons: Choose firearms with lower recoil, especially when starting or if recoil sensitivity is a concern, to reduce the likelihood of experiencing scope bite.
4 Utilize a Properly Sized Stock: Ensure the stock of your firearm is correctly sized for your body, providing a comfortable and secure fit that helps prevent excessive movement and recoil impact.

What Can You Do To Avoid Scope Bite In Tactical Shooting?

Military and law enforcement often shoot in tactical situations. These are often high stress and time sensitive situations that can lead to shouters making mistakes when lining up their tactical scopes. By taking their time and developing a smooth trigger pull you can minimize the chances of scope bite during tactical shooting situations. Also, maintaining a solid grip on the rifle can help.

Can Higher Quality Scopes Stop Scope Bite?

Buying higher quality scopes does not reduce scope bite. Many of the Best AR15 Gun Scopes are different sizes and have a different eye relief. You need to pick the scope that meets your specific gun & shooting stance.

Is Shooting Position Important?

poor shooting position

Yes, shooting position is very important for a variety of different shooting disciplines, including hunting, tactical shooting, and competitive shooting. Getting into a proper shooting position provides stability, control, and accuracy when aiming and firing a rifle. With poor technique you will not be able to align your scope or sights and shoot accurately at a target.

Can You Modify Eye Relief To Avoid Scope Bite?

There is no eye relief adjustment turret on a rifle scope. However, shooters can move the mounting location of their scope. By moving the scope further away from the gun stock you will reduce the chance of scope bite. However, if the scope is too far away it can result in scope shadow.

Can You Get Scope Bite From A Red Dot Sight?

No, you cannot get scope bit from a red dot sight. For example, if you mount any AK Red Dot Sight on your rifle it should never cause an eye or head injury. Red dot sights are smaller and offer unlimited eye relief. This means that shooters can keep their eye much further from the optic.

Frequently Asked Question

Is scope bite a common issue among shooters?

Scope bite is common amongst new shooters. Experienced shooters have learned how to use proper shooting technique, rifle setup, and have an awareness of safety precautions.

Can scope bite cause injuries?

Yes, scope bite can cause injuries such as cuts, bruises, or concussions in bad cases.

Is scope bite more common with certain types of firearms?

Scope bite is more common with firearms that have higher recoil and shorter stocks.

The Bottom Line

By now you should be an expert on the dangers of scope bite & scope related injuries. Scope bite is when a gun’s optic makes forceful contact with the shooter during the firing process. This is especially true of high recoil weapons. Use our tips on avoiding scope bite to save yourself a trip to the ER!

About the author

Patrick Howard

I have been working as a gunsmith for 20 years. Rain, fog, moisture, high temperature, or even snow are all the things a product must withstand in order to be recommended by me.

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