When it comes to hunting, your equipment matters a lot. When shopping for equipment, it is best to consider all the specifications of the device. In our opinion, one of the most important specifications would be eye relief. Why this matters – you might ask. The truth is that eye relief is crucial if you want to see a clear picture, and this will evidently impact your performance.
What Is Eye Relief and Why Does It Matter?
Eye relief represents the distance at which you must hold your eyes behind the scope’s lenses, in order to see a comprehensive picture of the environment in front of you. As you slowly move your eyes towards the lens, the clarity of the picture will diminish – particularly around the edges. The same goes the other way around: when you take your eyes back too far, you won’t be able to distinguish a lot of details.
Now, let’s say that the eye relief to your scope isn’t that long. And you use a high-caliber cartridge. In this scenario, the top of the riflescope is likely to hit your eyebrow in the event in which the rifle recoils. Therefore, inadequate eye relief can lead to such incidents.
However, the truth is that the type of scope that is best for your eyes will depend on the weapon you use. And this makes sense. In fact, most hunters might not encounter troubles with short eye relief. In fact, short eye relief comes with some benefits as well.
An important advantage would be the significant level of magnification options, better balance (since this means that the scope is closer to your body), a useful reticle – which can make the world of a difference, particularly at longer ranges. At the same time, another important advantage would be that you get to observe a clear image of what’s in front of you.
- What about long eye relief?
On the other hand, we have long eye relief. This is usually preferred when it comes to larger weapons – such as rifles. Nonetheless, you might get a long eye relief scope for a handgun as well. When it comes to rifles, we would classify anything that is beyond 4,5 inches as being long eye relief.
Many hunters recognize that this is the preferable eye relief. As far as rifle scopes are concerned, this is oftentimes taken as a median. But if you are into long eye relief scopes, it’s essential to ensure that the eye remains always in line with the eye relief. Many hunters overlook this, which makes them experience a sizeable loss in clarity. This might also affect the amount of light that is delivered through the scope.
As for the benefits of long eye relief, they are recommended particularly for handguns. Others also prefer them when using larger rifles that have a lower magnification. They are also more compatible with larger cartridges, not to mention that they allow you to rapidly load your weapon.
How Do You Determine the Eye Relief?
The truth is that the quality of the scope – be it a sniper scope or a rifle scope – is determined by a mix of elements, including eye relief. But eye relief isn’t the only thing that matters, as precision optics matters just as much, particularly if you are picky about the quality of the image. This is especially important for those that specialize in long-range shooting. Of course, it is not easy to get there: it requires a lot of discipline and work. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to learning what works best for you.
Going back to determining eye relief, your age will play a part in the equation. For instance, the average eye tends to dilate up to 5mm in direct contact with a source of light. If you are younger, your eyes might dilate up to 8mm. On the other hand, if you are older, your eyes might dilate up to 4mm, or even lower in some cases.
The difference is more or less felt depending on the quality of the lighting. This is why when there’s little light, the distinction will be more evident. It’s important to assess your limitations and your needs, as there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. We all have our own preferences when it comes to choosing a scope. And you should take the time to test and see what works best for you.
What should you look for? Ideally, your priority should be aiming for a crystal clear, accurate image. You shouldn’t see any blurry lines on the sides of the image or any halos whatsoever.
Eye Relief and Rifle Scopes
The truth is that the issue of eye relief is quite subjective. A standard eye relief value on a rifle scope ranges between 3-3 ½ inches. For firearms that are used for yard hunting with light-kick, the industry standard should suffice. However, due to the increasing use of heavy-kicking rifles and extreme hunting ranges, the hunting world has been changed.
If you were to use a standard rifle scope, a 6-inch eye relief would be considered long – by most hunters at the very least. Nevertheless, there are scopes that are particularly created as long eye relief scopes – the eye relief on these is higher than 6 inches. In this scenario, the rifles equipped with long eye relief aim at ensuring safe clearance during recoil.
The Bottom Line
On a final note, it might not seem like a lot of fun to learn the difference between distinct specs on your scope. But it is more important than you might assume, even if most hunters overlook this. Specs matter. And knowledge makes a difference. Essentially, knowing such details means that you are a well-informed user and buyer. Most importantly, getting the right scope will ensure that whenever you embark on a hunting adventure, you won’t have to worry about eye discomfort, or even worse – bleeding brows or other types of injuries. Being informed pays off!
Once you get your rifle scope figured out, you may want to read our article: 3 Recreational Shooting Activities You Need to Try
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