How to Determine Eye Relief on a Rifle Scope – Basic Guide

how to determine eye relief on a rifle scope

A rifle scope is a popular rifle accessory used by hunters and shooters to help them increase the accuracy of their guns. 

Riflescopes come in a variety of magnifications and are typically fixed at the top of the gun. Since a rifle produces a significant amount of recoil, you have to determine the eye relief. 

It can be a challenging task at first, but by following the steps in this guide, you can easily adjust it. 

Quick Summary

By the end of this guide, we will go through:

  • Determining and adjusting the eye relief of your rifle scope  
  • Different types of eye relief and their practicality

Let’s take a look at it.

Determining and Adjusting the Eye Relief of a Rifle Scope

As discussed above, rifles tend to produce recoil, the amount of which depends on the caliber of the round. Generally, the higher the caliber of the bullet, the more recoil the gun will produce upon firing. 

What is Eye Relief?

Eye relief is the distance between your dominant eye and the eyepiece of the scope. It is the point at which you can see the full image.

Since you are viewing the image through the scope, your eye has to be at a safe distance from it, to avoid getting hit by the scope when you press the trigger. This is why eye relief has to be set accordingly. 

Different scopes have different eye reliefs depending on their model. It can be short from less than an inch, to up to more than 4 inches. 

To adjust the distance between the scope and your dominant eye, you need to:

Step # 1 – Attach the Scope

The first step is to attach the scope to the rings of your rifle. The important thing to remember here is that when you put the ring tops on, don’t adjust them too tightly. Allow the scope to move around.

Also, make sure that the scope is on the highest power. This will provide the smallest exit pupil size and help you align perfectly. 

We recommend that you perform this step in a well-lit environment so that you can see the image that is formed. 

Step # 2 – Mount the rifle 

After you have attached the scope, place the rifle on your shoulder. You can either place the rifle on a table or a stand or get in your hunter’s position. 

Firstly, you should adjust the position of the scope until you are comfortable. This is important as you have to be able to duplicate the image every time you aim. Then, move towards adjusting the scope.

Step # 3 – Adjust the scope

This is the main step. Adjust the scope till you have a clear view of the scope. Afterward, tighten the rings of your scope.  

Things to consider when adjusting your scope

When adjusting the scope, you have to be careful of a variety of things. 

  • When you see that there is a black ring along the outside of the scope, you need to move the scope away from your eye. 
  • If there is only part of the reticle and a dark ring along the edges, you need to move the scope towards your eye. 
  • If you see the entire reticle along the ring of the scope, then the eye relief is standard.    

Repeat this step until the eye relief is standard.  

Types of Eye Relief

eye relief

Eye relief is the standard distance between your eye and the eyepiece of the scope. The distances may vary depending on the scope and the specifications.

Let’s discuss the different kinds of eye reliefs 

Short Eye Relief 

If your scope clearance is at 13 millimeters or less, then the eye relief is short. At this distance, your field of view is perfect. However, you may feel like you are pressing against the scope. 

We do not recommend short eye relief, as it increases the chances of you being seriously injured. A common injury many shooters get is scope eye i.e. getting bruised around the eye. 

If you wear glasses, we recommend that you go for longer eye relief. 

Standard Eye Relief 

If your eye relief is between 13 millimeters and 4 inches, then your eye relief is standard. This is the distance that most experienced hunters and shooters will commonly set. 

Standard eye relief is ideal for long-range shooting, especially for medium-sized calibers. This is because standard eye relief offers the maximum magnification of a scope. You can get the best results if you are shooting in a flat area

Long Eye Relief 

Long Eye relief is any eye relief that is more than 4.5 inches. It is usually used by individuals who wear glasses. There is also more room to move around when you are using a long eye relief. 

A perk of using a long eye relief is that the shooter is using a gun with a strong recoil, they can avoid injury. It is also good for short-range shooting as there is a broader field of view.

When do I use Different Eye Reliefs? 

Practical application of eye reliefs differs from gun to gun

  • When using pistols, using a long eye relief is necessary. Here, the eye relief is in feet rather than inches. Most scopes used by handguns offer only 1x or 2x magnification, therefore a clear view is necessary. 
  • When using a shotgun, we recommend using a standard eye relief. You can go for a scope that is commonly adjusted for the recoil of high-powered rifles. 
  • If you are using rifles, the eye relief will vary. If you are on a flat surface, it will be standard. If you are shooting in hilly areas, then the recommended relief is long. 

Wrapping Things Up

Setting up an eye relief and determining it can be a tricky job for even experienced shooters. You have to set it up according to the specifications of the scope. 

But by following the above-mentioned steps completely, you can easily determine the eye relief of your scope. 

With this, we reach the end of our post on “How to determine the eye relief on a rifle scope”.

Please inform us of your experience and comment below. 

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