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What Is Eye Relief On A Scope: All You Need to Know

What is eye relief on a scope

What is eye relief on a scope? I know that most of you are somehow confused and oblivious of this terminology. In fact, some of you don't care about the eye relief. That's pretty harsh, right? But trust me. It is the bitter truth that we have to swallow.

Despite this, I can attest that this component is essential to the overall success of your shots. You might not notice this at first, but you can certainly maximise the performance of your scope and rifle if you can take advantage of this concept.

What is An Eye Relief On A Scope: An Objective Definition

Specifically, the eye relief is the given distance between your eyes and rear lens in where you can see the entire field that your scope captures. Currently, most of the standard ranges have an eye relief of 3 1/2 inches. But for those scopes that have variable magnification, you will start at the lowest distance and will eventually reach up to 2 1/2 inches of eye relief if you maximise the magnification.

Some scopes which are using variable magnification hide the lower digits for eye relief and only display the highest possible distance. Others show both to give transparency to its users.

On a regular shooting application, the average distance for eye relief is already excellent and functional. Even if you are using a 3-9x scope, the shift of the eye relief (when you crank the magnification to the highest possible output) is just minimal. But of course, you will certainly have to move your head a little.

For you to get an adequate eye relief, the pupil of your eye should be at the edge of the prescribed distance. You are required to practice with this, as you don't have a measuring tape that will guide your eyes to its proper positioning.

Take note that if you place your eyes too far from the eyepiece, you can use diffusion on the field stop. Of course, I know that you don't want to experience such predicament, especially in big games. Just practice until you can get comfortable with it.

Is the Average Eye Relief Universal

In my opinion, the average eye relief of a scope is not applicable to other types of applications. For example, magnums and different type of shorts might require a particular range. Specifically, they need to come with scopes that have more magnification power.

Moreover, there are some other shooters out there who always claim that they can make a clean hit from 500 yards or greater distances. As a result, other hunters and hobbyists are always in the chase.

Some of you might be thinking that scope manufacturers should already change the standards. Just dispose the 3-1/2 eye relief scopes and replace them with scopes with higher capabilities. But up to now, it is quite obvious that the big players are not quite entertaining this idea.

Why the 3-1/2 Eye Relief is the Golden Number

The answer to this question is quite simple. You just have to take another factor into the equation. What is it? Well, we call it the field of view. I am quite aware that some shooters out there do not care about this concept. It is still essential.

You may indicate the field of view by either meters or feet per 100 yards. It is a determinant to the extent of the area that you can see on the scope at the given range.

For instance, you have a range that comes with a 100-yard/ 100-yard field of view ratio. It is just an example. Hold your horses down there. If there is an object present at the 50-yard mark and you sight it into the scope's centre, you can see the edge-to-edge of the field.

But if we turn them down the exaggeration, the field of view is just around 40 feet (on the lowest possible setting) and 20 feet (if you are going to turn up the knob). If we can put physics into play, the explanation will be quite simple. The moment you increase the eye relief, you distance of your field of view just shortens. The 3-½ eye relief is the distance the maximises your field of view.

Of course, hobbyists can accept this give-and-take. However, there are some that want to take it to the next level. If you want a quick target acquisition at short or mid distances, your field of view should be at least a 100 yards.


As you can see, the eye relief holds a huge role on how you can see or locate your target. If you can utilise it properly, you might get an advantage when doing big or competitive games. Although it doesn't directly affect your accuracy, eye relief gives you the convenience of peeking your target correctly.

Did you learn something from this explanation? Feel free to hit share and like so that your friends and fellow shooters can learn this thing, too!

Jim Johnson

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