How to Measure Eye Relief for a Scope

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Eye relief is the distance between your eye and the ocular lens of a telescopic sight when you are looking through it. This distance can vary depending on the power of magnification and should be measured to ensure that you have enough room to shoot comfortably.

Eye relief also varies from one person to another, so it’s important to measure before purchasing any scope for use in hunting or shooting sports. If you have trouble with understanding this concept, don’t worry. I will walk through how to measure eye relief for a scope and help get you on target so that you can start hitting the bullseye every time.

What Is a Gun Scope Eye Relief?

Eye relief refers to the distance from your eyes to the ocular lens of your rifle scope. The more eye relief there is, the less likely you will be knocked out by recoil when shooting.

Man holding onto a rifle with a mounted scope

Why Eye Relief Matters?

When everything in the mechanism is properly adjusted, the scope will operate at its peak. If you don’t measure eye relief for a scope properly, the scope will not be as effective to get you a perfect shot.

The primary purpose of a rifle scope is to provide you with an accurate picture of the target. If your eye cannot align itself properly with the eyepiece, then it will be impossible for you to get that perfect picture.

So there isn’t enough room between your face and the eyepiece where you can rest your eyebrow or cheek without touching the scope. This will decrease your accuracy and make it very difficult to see the target clearly, which is why eye relief matters.

It’s easy to develop a feeling of “more eye relief is always better” if you’re used to low-quality scopes, but it’s simply because you’ve been trained to expect scopes with short eye relief. If you’re shooting enjoyably, your eye relief should be slightly more than 4.5 inches.

If you go beyond that, it may be tough to get into a comfortable shooting position unless you get to scout scopes, which have between 7” and 9” of eye relief in most cases.

If you want to know how far away from your eye the scope you’re holding in your hands offers real-world eye relief, the only way to be sure is to obtain a tape measure and have someone measure the distance between the lens and your eye while you remain steady.

When it comes to calculating eye relief for your scope, follow the standards set by the scope manufacturer. Rather than focusing on getting closer to the scope, concentrate on ensuring that you can view the entire field of view.

How to Adjust Eye Relief

Adjusting eye relief is easy. All you have to do is move your head back and forth and see where the optimal position for shooting with a proper view lies. Along with adjusting eye relief on your own, it’s also possible to get some help from others if needed.

The best thing about this approach is that you can easily repeat it once you find the perfect position next time.

All you have to do is test your head, and your eyes are most relaxed when looking through the scope. Keep in mind that eye relief should not change during repeated firings because of its impact on the accuracy of shots. However, if you don’t feel that position is appropriate for you, changing it yourself may be a wise idea.

Man holding a rifle while looking at his scope

Some shooters believe they need to do complex math to adjust the eye relief, but that isn’t necessary. Below I have written step by step discussing how to adjust eye relief according to your adjustment.

  1. With a little play, attach the scope to your rifle to make minor adjustments while determining the best eye relief.
  2. Prepare the firing point by mounting the rifle on a solid foundation with adequate lighting so that it’s easy to get proper focus. Now, place the rifle on your shoulder to assume the most comfortable and natural posture.
  3. Now, you must establish your comfort level scope position and concentrate on how it feels when holding the rifle.
  4. Adjust the scope until you’ve got the entire field of vision. You may need to redo this procedure many times before you’ve found a position that feels right.
  5. After doing all the above steps and you will feel a comfortable position with a clear view. Tight the scope ring to fix the angle.

Final Words

Eye relief is a simple thing that hunters need to pay attention to, which will help them accurately hit the target. Make sure you know how far your eye needs to be from where the scope sits on top of your gun before going hunting with it.

You can measure this distance by placing one hand in front and one behind the rifle as if holding it at arm’s length away from yourself (see picture). The space between these two hands should equal eye relief measurement for riflescopes.

This would also work for handguns or shotguns mounted scopes but remember, different types may require different levels of distance. Be mindful when measuring; use millimeters instead of inches.

The thing that every hunter needs to be aware of is the eye relief for their scope. Eye relief can make a big difference in how accurately you hit your target, and this article has taught you about it.

Remember, different rifle types may require different levels of distance, but as long as you know what level your particular model requires, then there’s no need to worry. You can choose between popular picks like the Prostaff or the Buckmaster, but if you want budget-friendly rifle scopes, then check the best rifle scope under $600

James Forrester is a lifelong gun and firearms owner, and an even bigger advocate for gun safety. He created with the purpose of sharing helpful tips and educating others on how to keep guns and weapons safe and secure.