What Is Eye Relief?

Sometimes when you are eyeing the buck for so long, and suddenly when it’s in motion, you only see a black ring in your view; you do not have a clear shot.

In times like these, hunters can’t really afford to miss the sight of the target even for a second, and if you do, it’s gone before you even know.

This is a common problem for many hunters, and it can either make or break your shooting session. It is called eye relief.

We have received numerous questions about eye relief concepts, so we thought why not take some time and go over the concepts of eye relief once again.

What Is Eye Relief?

Eye relief is basically the distance between the tip of your eye and the lens of your scope. What the eye relief does is it lets you have an unobstructed view through a device, be it scope, binoculars, microscopes, rangefinders, or even telescopes.

There are mainly two kinds of eye relief, the standard and the long.

While the standard eye relief (3 to 4 inches) is ideal for long-range shooting in open areas, the long eye relief (4.5 inches and above) is perfect for high-caliber rifles in rough terrain, hilly areas, which require a shorter range of shooting.

Here’s more detailed information about their practical applications.

Standard Eye Relief

Standard eye relief is the most commonly used one for sports optics and also for rifle scopes. This type of eye relief generally has a range of 50 to 110 millimeters. As they are lightweight, they make balancing and aiming the rifle easier without adding too much weight.

These work pretty well with higher magnification scopes like 10x, 12x, as they are generally used for long-range shooting. One of the most common rifles that use standard eye relief is the Magnum rifles.

One drawback of the standard eye relief is that they do not work well with heavy recoil rifles.

Long Eye Relief

This is the most desired type of eye relief and the most useful too. These have a range above 120 mm, which is excellent as it maintains a safe distance from the rifle scope.

They are ideally used with automatic rifles and handguns as you can adjust your distance from the scope and dodge any wound from the recoil. But, then again, these only work well for short ranges and lower magnification scopes.

Why Is Eye Relief Important?

Regardless of the caliber or gauge, most rifles generate recoil when you fire a round. For some shotguns or rifles, the recoil may be very light and violent for others.

When you use a rifle scope, it is imperative to mount it the right way. This will decide how close your face needs to be when you fire a round.

Say the scope has an eye relief of only about two to three inches, and the firearm has a heavy recoil. When you fire a round, the recoil comes right back into your eye, smacking it really hard. This is what we most commonly call the scope bite.

That’s the reason you need good eye relief.