What Is Scope Eye Relief? (How To Adjust It)

When you first start shooting, scopes seem simple. You grab a scope and can zoom in on targets from long distances. However, after you spend some time learning, you find there are many factors that go into optimizing the performance of a scope. Eye relief is one of the most misunderstood aspects of optics. In this post, we’ll teach you what is scope eye relief & how to adjust eye relief scopes!

What Is Scope Eye Relief For Rifles?

picture demonstrating rifle scope eye relief

Eye relief is the distance from the outer surface of the eyepiece lens to the position where the exit pupil is formed. In simpler terms, it is the distance from the lens to the shooters eyepoint.

When it comes to eye relief (also called eye box), there are several things to consider:

  • Too little eye relief can result in severe injury if the rifle recoils while you are looking through the scope. This is often called a scope bite.
  • Too much eye relief can make it difficult to acquire and maintain a clear image. You will lose visibility of your target if your eye is too far from the lens you can also quickly lose light transmission into your eye socket.

When shopping for the best scopes, the eye relief should always be a very important factor. There is a reason why most manufacturers provide this information in their product specifications, so you can be sure that you are getting the right scope for your needs.

Measuring Eye Relief For Your Scope

Unfortunately, not all scope manufacturers can be 100% trusted. You may see a scope claim to have a 4.5″ scope eye relief, but in reality its closer to 5″. In my experience, this is especially true with cheaper scopes & optics.

The recommended eye relief distance is about 3.5″-4.5″ for most shooters. This distance should help avoid scope bite & create a clear sight picture.

If you want to measure the eye relief on your own scope there are a few steps to understand.

  1. The first thing you need to do is grab a friend & a tape measure.
  2. Assume your shooting position with your rifle scope aligned on a target.
  3. Then have your friend measure the distance from your eye to the scope lens.

Also, be aware that if you wear glasses that can also have an impact on setting up adequate eye relief. Glasses take up space and shorten the distance between the rear lens and your eyepoint. For this reason, people with glasses often opt to use a long eye relief scope.

When Is Short Eye Relief Good?

There are several situations where you might want to choose a shorter eye relief scope for your rifle.

  • If you have a smaller rifle or one with no adjustable stock, a shorter scope can be a good choice.
  • High magnification range & long distance shooters opt for short eye relief
  • Great for low recoil weapons

This what makes short eye relief scopes great for AR-15s and other assault rifles. Another benefit of shorter eye relief scopes is that they tend to have smaller objectives, which can make it easier for more precise shooting in low-light conditions. However, one downside is that they provide less magnification than longer scopes, so they may not be ideal for long-range shooting.

When Is Long Eye Relief Good?

If you’re the type of hunter who likes to stick to high-recoil weapons, then you’re going to want a longer eye relief scope on your rifle. That way, when the gun recoils, your eye won’t be right up against the scope and risk getting hit. Be sure you know how to adjust your rifle so that you know how to align your rings properly. Tips like knowing how to level a scope go a long way to improving your accuracy.

FAQs – Eye Relief

What is the average eye relief on a rifle scope?

The average eye relief on a rifle scope is about 3-4.5 inches. But this can vary depending on the specific scope and the shooter’s preferences. There is a mix of short and long eye relief scopes in our list of the best 300 win mag scope on the market.

Some shooters prefer a shorter eye relief so that they have more control over where they point the rifle. Others prefer a longer eye relief so that they don’t have to worry as much about getting hit in the eye if they’re shooting from an awkward position. There really is no “proper eye relief” that works best for all rifle scopes.

What is the eye relief on a Burris scope?

Eye relief on a Burris scope is 9.2-12 inches, depending on the model. This means that you can position your eye at a distance of 9.2-12 inches from the eyepiece and still see the full field of view.

This eye relief is beneficial because it allows you to obtain a full field of view without having to move your head too far away from the scope, which can be uncomfortable or even dangerous if you are trying to shoot something.

What size rings for Burris scout scope?

If you have a Burris scout scope, it has a 30 mm tube, so you need 30 mm rings to mount it. In fact, we have a list of the very best 30mm rifle scope rings that you can buy. Be sure to get rings that are high enough to clear the turrets on the scope.

Does scope tube size matter?

Tube size is definitely a factor when shopping for the best rifle scopes. Large scopes tend to be tougher and more durable than smaller optics. They also allow a shooter to have a larger range of elevation adjustability so they can dial in their shot from various distances.

Can you increase eye relief on a scope?

You absolutely can increase eye relief on a scope by using a lower magnification setting. For example, if you have a 4-12 x 40 scope and are finding that the eye relief is too short, try using the 4x or 8x magnification settings instead.

This will effectively increase the eye relief by making the image appear larger and allowing you to move further back from the eyepiece. And if you are not familiar with these numbers on scopes, be sure to study up. You have to understand your equipment in order to use it best.

Does eye relief change with magnification?

The short answer is that eye relief changes slightly depending on your magnification. The longer answer is that it depends on the design of the specific rifle scope, telescope or spotting scope you are using. Some scopes have a little more or less eye relief at higher magnifications, but this varies from brand to brand.

The Bottom Line

Now you know everything there is to know about good eye relief. Not all scope setups are the same. You now know that the distance between your eye & the optic lens makes a big difference. Pick the best eye relief that matches your specific needs & weapon. Let us know which works best for you!

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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