Understanding The Eye Relief of Your Rifle Scope

Many gun owners get confused about eye relief, possibly because there is so much information out there that makes eye relief more complicated than it really needs to be. At the core, eye relief is pretty simple. It is the shortest distance from your eye to the lens of your scope that still allows you to see as clearly as possible through the scope. Here is what you need to know about the eye relief of your rifle scope.


Why is The Eye Relief Important?



Eye relief is important for a couple of reasons: First, the recoil of the rifle one some models can make quite an impact and an eye relief that is too short and puts the eye in danger of being hit by the recoil can cause serious injury or even blindness. That’s why eye relief is quite a bit farther away on rifle scopes than it would be on other devices that have eye relief like binoculars and microscopes.


eyerelief_glasses100For someone with glasses, eye relief is even more important. Those who wear eyeglasses and cannot remove them to shoot without impairing their vision need to be even further away from the eyepiece of the scope, so they need a longer eye relief or else they aren’t able to see the full range of the image in the scope. If you want to know whether or not your scope eye relief is long enough for your glasses, try¬† looking through the scope with and without them, and if the field of vision (the area that you can see through the scope) remains the same, then your eye relief is long enough for your glasses.


How to Determine Sufficient Eye Relief


Your eye is normally dilated to 5 millimeters, and the exit pupil of your scope should match that measurement so that the diameter of the exit pupil on the scope and your eye pupil match. When there is less light, your eye opens up to allow more light in, and this can cause a ring around the image in your scope. Basically, you should find the balance between being close enough to the scope in whatever light conditions you are hunting in to avoid the ring around the image, without actually being close enough to allow the recoil to impact the eye or the skin around it.


One of the ways that you can ensure that you always have the maximum use out of your scope is by using a rifle that does not have a large recoil, but some may choose to sacrifice a partial field of vision through the scope because they like the gun that they are shooting. This is a personal choice that every shooter will have to make, but the main thing to keep in mind is that you will recover fairly quickly if you miss a buck due to not having a full field of view through your scope; you may not recover as quickly if you do serious damage to your eye. Safety should always be your number one priority.

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