Scope 101: Part 9 – Eye Relief
Eye relief is the ideal distance your eye has from the ocular lens to provide a full field of view through the scope. If you primarily shoot this weapon from a rest, your eye will be closer to the ocular lens than if you were shooting it off-hand. Your head and neck should be comfortable and you should have a consistent cheek weld (the position of your cheek on the gunstock) to ensure proper field of view. It is important to move the scope to your eye, not the eye to the scope. This will cause a neck strain as you bend your neck toward the scope to see through the lens. Adjust your scope to the most comfortable eye relief for the shooting position you believe that you will primarily use.
The longest eye relief for an optical rifle scope is about 4 inches. This leaves enough room for the rifle to recoil and not strike you, if you have the proper ring mounts and the scope is mounted correctly. The higher the recoil of the rifle, the longer the eye relief needs to be to avoid scope bite, that painful and embarrassing cut above your shooting eye. A good quality scope should allow you plenty of eye relief so as to be comfortable and safe while shooting.
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