When you walk into a store, chances are you’ll see people checking out wares in some funny ways. The same thing usually happens when you walk into an ammunition store. You may find a man with greying hair, holding a scope and examining it at a distance from his eye, possibly with one eye shut.
While this may seem strange and dramatic, he is most likely checking out the eye relief of the scope. The distance at which he’s holding the scope away from his eye may be the distance his scope should be on his rifle to save his eyes from any trauma. At that distance as well, he should be able to see the image of his target.
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From this analogy, the eye relief of a scope is the furthest and safest distance between the face and dominant eye of a shooter and the rear end of the scope. It is usually measured in inches and given in a range as it is different from person to person, even with the same scope and rifle, because of their size.
Here are our top three reliable and durable best eye relief scope.
Eye relief is usually one of the least concerns of a shooter when he’s using his rifle. Reason being that he’s gotten accustomed to the action and reaction of his rifle when he takes a shot. He knows how far back it will jerk when a shot is released, and how easy it will be for his shoulder to take the backward force. That’s why the best eye relief scope is necessary for any shooting application.
However, for new rifles and scopes, you must know what the eye relief is before you take a shot to prevent what is informally called scope bite or scope tattoo. We’ve also delved into the market to bring you this list of the leading products, in case you’re in search of the best eye relief scope.
8 Best Eye Relief Scope (Ranked And Reviewed)
1. Leupold VX-3 Handgun Scope
- Dimensions: 12 x 3 x 3 inches
- Weight: 10.9 ounces
- Material: Aluminium
The Leupold Handgun Scope is designed to help with the poor accuracy of handguns. It possesses a duplex reticle and precision ¼ MOA adjustments that support finger click to correct for windage and elevations.
This scope is made to be durable with the 1-inch tube bod design and it has been tested to hold its integrity in the face of Leupold’s simulation machine whose force of impact is 3 times more than the .308 rifle. Also, with the gas seals used on the body of the scope, it can be used in different weather conditions and pressure changes.
It helps you get a better view of your target by providing clear images of them using its 32mm objective lens that allows as much light into the scope as possible. Despite the amount of light, it lets in, it discourages glare and reflection that may alert your game and cause it to escape your shot. The lenses are multi-coated for this reason. It is also an excellent scope to use in the dusk as its light management is exceptional.
Considering the magnification power of the scope, you will have quality images at up to 8 times the actual size of your target. However, with an eye relief that can reach up to 15 inches, the edges of the images may begin to blur.
2. Vortex Optics Crossfire II Second Focal Plane
- The 3-9×40 Crossfire II riflescope is one of many configurations in the Crossfire II line. The V-Brite reticle uses the V-Plex format with battery-powered electronics to illuminate the center dot for hunters/shooters during extra-low light conditions.
- With long eye relief and an ultra-forgiving eye box, you’ll be able to quickly get a sight picture and acquire your target. The fast focus eyepiece allows quick and easy reticle focusing.
- Dimensions: 14 x 3 x 3 inches
- Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Material: Aluminum
The Vortex Optics Crossfire II Second Focal Plane Riflescope is one of the scopes that have enough eye relief for rifles used in short and mid-range shooting, according to the magnification size of the scope.
It is made of aircraft-grade aluminum, meaning it is made to last and can be used for a long time to come. With this material, you can be sure you have made a good investment as it can withstand the heat and pressure that comes with shooting. It is also made using a single-piece construction design, and sealed with nitrogen. This makes it waterproof, fog-proof, and shock-proof.
The lenses of the Vortex Optics Crossfire II Second Focal Plane Riflescope are fully multi-coated, making them suitable for use in any weather and under any light intensity. The multi-coated lens will absorb most of the light the objective lens allows into the scope and help you view a clear and crispy image of your target.
The Dead-Hold BDC reticle is one of the simplest and straightforward reticle designs you will find on a scope. It helps you, in combination with the clear image produced by the objective lens and multi-coated lenses, get a fast focus when you are in a longer eye relief from the scope, and does not reduce the accuracy despite the long eye relief for short to mid-range shots.
3. Vortex Optics Crossfire II V-Plex Reticle Riflescope
- The 2-7×32 Crossfire II Scout Riflescope is perfect for Use on your Scout rifle, The V-Plex reticle is a popular all-purpose hunting reticle intended for a wide variety of hunting applications
- With 9. 45″ of eye relief and an ultra-forgiving eye box, you’ll be able to quickly get a sight picture and acquire your target, The fast focus eyepiece allows quick and easy reticle focusing
- Dimensions: 14.25 x 3.5 x 3.25 inches
- Weight: 1.35 pounds
- Material: Aluminum
The Vortex Optics Crossfire II V-Plex reticle Riflescope is an ideal scope for hunting and target shooting. It is best for shooters who might find issues with every other scope on the market as you can hardly get it wrong with this one, as you will soon see.
It is made of aircraft-grade aluminum, a durable material that can stand the shock that comes with recoil and consistent use. It is also fit to stand heat and pressure as produced by each shot. The aluminum is supported by a 1-piece tube design that is O-ring sealed and reticle filled with Nitrogen. This ensures the scope is usable in any weather condition, regardless if it’s raining, snowing, or fogging.
The V-plex reticle makes it possible to use this scope in different shooting conditions. It is considered an all-purpose reticle and can be used for hunting as well as for target practice. It employs a second focal plane (SFP) for viewing magnified images. With this feature, the images you get from the lens, whether magnified or not remain the same, consequently giving you a wide field of view.
The 32mm objective lens is big enough to allow in light rays that give clear and crisp images. Also, the multi-coated lenses discourage the reflection of light rays that may alert your game during hunting, thereby keeping your stealth in place.
The most impressive feature of this scope is its wide eye relief. With a whopping 9.45 inches of eye relief, you can view the images of your targets from a safe distance and you may not have to close one eye to do so. With this eye relief, you do not have to worry about your eye safety as the recoil will not reach your face. Instead, you can focus on getting the right shot.
4. Pinty Red Green Rangefinder Illuminated Optical Rifle Scope
- Green and red illuminations, 5-level brightness available, magnifications from 3X up to 9X, ultimate clarity and superior eyepiece guaranteed.
- Field of view: 14′-25′ @ 100yards; windage & elevation click value: 1/4 MOA 1/4″ @ 100yards, 2.7”-3.3” eye relief.
- Dimensions: 14.1 x 3.3 x 3.3 inches
- Weight: 1.65 pounds
- Material: Aluminum-Alloy
The Pinty Red Green Rangefinder Illuminated Optical Riflescope has excellent eye relief for short-range shootings. In fact, it can very well be used for mid-range shooting, considering the magnification size. However, do not use the higher magnification for short-range shots.
This riflescope is made from aluminum alloy, a durable material that should give you assurance concerning the durability of this scope. This material, in combination with the O-ring sealing, not to mention the reticle, filled with nitrogen, makes this scope excellent use in many wet conditions, including rain and fogs.
Its reticle is a Rangefinder. It provides fast focus and is simple to use for different ranges of shooting.
You will see clear images of your targets with this scope as it provides five different levels of illumination for red and green lights each. This illumination control offers you more control over the sharpness of the image as you see fit and helps you to take better aim and accurate shots. The multi-coated lenses, which are blue, do not reflect light away from the scope, and so, do not alert the game of your presence.
- Dimensions: 15.75 x 3.5 x 4.75 inches
- Weight: 11 ounces
- Material: Chiffon
If you’re particular about getting deers on your hunting expedition, Nikon Buckmasters II BDC Riflescope is the scope you should go for. According to users’ reviews, this scope handles recoil and moist weather perfectly. It also holds zero well and focuses fast.
When two big names like Nikon and Buckmasters come together to make a product, you can expect something as excellent as this Nikon Buckmasters II BDC Riflescope.
This scope has a minimum magnification of 3 times the actual size of your target, and a maximum magnification that blows up the actual size of your target up to 9 times. With this magnification power, you can view and take mid-range shots with good accuracy.
This magnification is supported by the 40mm objective lens that is bigger than the lenses of the short-range scope. This objective lens allows in more light and by so doing helps you get a better and clearer image of your target. The size of the objective lens also makes it capture the little light there is when darkness has begun to descend; meaning you can hunt till darkness falls.
Despite the amount of light the objective lens allows into the scope, it discourages reflection that may alert and scare away your target. The scope does this due to the multi-coated lenses in it.
The BDC reticle makes it easy for you to zero for up to 100 yards. However, it gives accurate shots for up to 300 yards. It also helps you focus fast and see the whole of the 13.3 inches field of view, depending on the magnification level you are on.
However, the impressive 3.6 inches of eye relief is enough to protect your eyes from the recoil a mid-range cartridge will cause in a rifle.
6. Hammers Long Eye Relief Pistol Scout Scope
- Dimensions: 11.1 x 2.7 x 2.7 inches
- Weight: 10.4 ounces
- Material: Plastic
The Hammers Long Eye Relief Pistol Scout Scope is advertised as a scope that works for scout; suitable for pistol and rifles. However, there are issues with using this scope with a pistol as the magnified image at magnification power of 5 diminishes in quality until you retreat your face to about 11 inches away from the ocular lens.
However, as a short-range shooting scope, the Hammer Long Eye Relief works well with rifles that carry cartridges for the same purpose.
With an objective lens that measures 32mm, it allows in enough light to create clear images of your target, depending on your eye relief and the magnification power you are on.
The 4plex reticle is perfect for acquiring the target as its fine line makes for precision when you take that shot on your rifle, regardless of your distance in a short-range shot.
Its durability is ensured by the 1-inch tube design, coupled with an anodized black matte finish that ensures its easy handling and no-slip feature.
7. Burris Ballistic Plex Hunting Riflescope
- Designed for shooters who need a working rifle or fighting carbine and use the multi-purpose scout rifle; Finger-adjustable, low-profile turrets create a sleek profile
- Forward mounting design allows mounting in front of the ejection port, for extended eye relief and both-eyes-open shooting; beneficial for fast target acquisition and increased situational awareness
- Dimensions: 12 x 3 x 3 inches
- Weight: 13 ounces
- Material: Aluminum
The Burris Ballistic Plex Hunting Riflescope is an excellent choice for shooters who seek lightweight, durable, fast-focusing, and scope for multi-purpose scout rifles.
The durability of this scope is ensured when it is made of aluminum that can comfortably hold its own against the recoil of a high=powered rifle. It can also stand the test of pressure and heat as given off by your rifle. It also sports a 1-inch tube body design for usability in different weather conditions. The combination of this body design and the material used renders the scope waterproof, fog-proof, and shock-proof.
The scope allows in as much light as any other scope for a short or mid-range shooting. With its 32mm objective lens, your scope gets enough light to give you bright and clear images of your target. You also do not have to worry about glares and reflections as its lenses are all multi-coated with Hi-Lume technology. With this same multicoating technology, the Burris Ballistic Plex scope has good performance in low light as in the dusk. Therefore, you can extend your hunting time till late in the evening.
The scope can be place way in front of your rifle to give you better eye relief, although, it has an eye relief ranging from 9.2 to 12 inches, it can also provide eye relief of up to 21 inches when placed further up the rifle. This distance between your face and the rear of the scope allows you to keep both eyes open as you scout and gives you a wider field of view. Also, image quality as produced by the objective lens is kept clear even at the most distant eye relief.
For precision and accuracy, it employs the Ballistic Plex reticle, a simple reticle design that compensates hunters for trajectory shots.
- Dimensions: 12.76 x 3.5 x 2.76 inches
- Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Material: Aluminum
If you’re in the market for a scope that can be used with both rifles and pistols, one that can give you the best eye relief while you worry about getting your target with as few shots as you can manage, you may want to consider the Aim Sports Long Eye Relief Scout Scope.
Starting from its objective lens that measures 42mm in diameter, it allows an enormous amount of light in, so it can produce a great quality image for you. You can view the image through different magnification powers ranging from 2 to 7.
With this scope, you can be sure your face is safe from scope bite as it provides you with an eye relief of at least 8.5 inches. With this distance from your face, your rifle or pistol recoil shouldn’t be a source of worry.
Illumination is excellent as it allows this scope to be usable under different light conditions. The green and red reticle make sure you can get your target even when the light condition is poor.
The durability is certain as it is made from aircraft-grade aluminum, making it shock-proof and fog-proof.
Why is Eye Relief Important?
The importance of eye relief points to only one thing; to save the eyes from trauma caused by rifle recoil.
Every rifle gives a kickback when a shot is fired from them. Although different rifles have different recoils, the recoil they give usually depends on the power of the gun and the distance the cartridge can travel. Powerful rifles that carry heavy cartridges and bullets such as the .44 magnum generate more recoil than rifles such that carry cartridges such as the .223 Rem.
The eye relief required to fire and use the .44 mag must be higher than that required to use the .223 Rem. Therefore, the eye relief depends on the power of the rifle in question. Short-range cartridges generate lesser recoil velocity compared to long-range cartridges. Therefore, it is safe to say that the importance of eye relief also depends on the shooting range the rifle is suited for.
What Makes a Good Eye Relief on a Scope?
As we have stated earlier, the eye relief on a scope is dependent on the rifle and the shooting range of the cartridge the rifle carries. Therefore, to have a riflescope with good eye relief, the distance between the rear of the scope and the shooter’s dominant eye must be in correlation with the recoil velocity and distance of the rifle in use.
In essence, a good eye relief will be at a distance where the recoil of the gun does not meet the dominant eye of the shooter. At the same time, the shooter’s dominant eye must be at a distance where he can see the image the scope provides of the target.
With these in mind, a good eye relief on a scope must possess some qualities, and these qualities are made possible by some features the scope has. let us look at some of these qualities and the features that influence them.
Illumination refers to the amount of light that enters into the lens to allow clear image formation. A good scope will allow as much light into itself to enable the shooter to have a clear and crispy image of the target before it.
In a riflescope with good eye relief, the shooter must be able to see the image as clearly as possible, and without obstruction when he is at the safest distance from the scope. This varies from rifle to rifle and is determined by how much eye relief is ideal for the rifle and scope.
For some rifles that are used for short-range shootings, an eye relief of about 2 to 3 inches is usually applicable on the scopes. with other rifles, mid-range and long-range shooters, eye relief of about 4 inches and 6 inches, respectively is advisable.
The illumination of different scopes as related to the eye relief is affected by the objective lens of the scope. Generally, the bigger the objective lens, the more the light it allows in, and consequently, the clearer the target image it produces. This means that short-range rifles do not need a big objective lens, since their target isn’t so far off as compared to long-range rifles.
However, it should be noted that the scope with the biggest objective lens doesn’t necessarily mean the best eye relief scope. The objective lens and the illumination and image clarity it provides is only one of the criteria that determines a good eye relief scope.
Every scope lens comes with a coating. This coating is there to protect the lens against scratch and unfavorable weather conditions. There are times when you need to use your scope in foggy or rainy weather conditions. If they are not coated against these conditions, they may be unusable due to water droplets being on the lens, and distorting the image the objective lens provides.
However, these days, almost all scopes have multi-coated lenses. This means most scopes can be used in varying weather conditions and you will still get that quality target image. There is one more thing though, the multi-coating of the lenses does more than protect the lenses.
When light enters into the scope, because the lenses are reflective objects, they are supposed to reflect some of the light away, and this may alert your game during hunts. Due to the coating, the lens becomes less reflective, making for better images because the more light there is, the clearer the image.
A riflescope with good eye relief does not compromise image quality for eye safety, even though the latter is important.
The reticle is one of the most important features of a scope. It is responsible for helping you determine the right point of the shot and your zero. A good eye relief scope makes use of a simple reticle design as it must be visible to the shooter as long as he is within the safe distance between the rear of the scope and his dominant eye.
For short-range rifles, scopes can use different reticle designs such as BDC or Duplex. In mid and long-range shot scopes, the reticle design that best suits them is a simple duplex reticle design that is visible from at most 6 inches of eye relief.
Dominant eye distance from the ocular lens
This might be the most important feature of an eye relief scope. As we have pointed out earlier, every scope has eye relief, only that some have more than others and that is determined by the recoil of the rifle and cartridge on which it will be used. For instance, a short-range scope cannot have a long-range eye relief and be used on a long-range rifle. Their features are antagonistic to one another.
Therefore, for short-range eye relief, the right scope will have a distance of about 3 inches between the shooter’s dominant eye to the rear of the scope, and the scope will be used on a rifle that carries cartridges that travel within the range of 50 to 100 yards. Beyond this range, the efficacy of the scope begins to drop.
For a mid-range eye relief, the best scope will have a distance of about 4 or 5 inches to accommodate the recoil of the rifle carrying a cartridge suitable for such range. Generally, mid-range shots are about 100 to 200 yards long. Only after this distance will the accuracy of the scope begin to drop.
While for long-range eye relief, the least distance between the rear of the scope and the shooter’s dominant eye should be 6 inches. This will accommodate a bigger recoil produced by the more powerful cartridge and heavier bullets and rifle. At that eye relief, the kickback of the rifle will not hit the eye of the shooter.
Sometimes, there is usually a clash between the protection of your eye and the clarity of the image your scope provides. The problem, most times, might not be with the sharpness of the image but with the field of view at which the image is visible to you at the eye relief your scope is. To settle this, you may need to adjust the eye relief of your scope without endangering your eye and seeing a clear image, at the same time.
A long eye relief scope is a rifle scope that has more than 6 inches of eye relief, that is, the distance between the ocular lens and the shooter’s dominant eye is at least 6 inches. This type of scope is usually used on rifles that have big kickbacks and are used in mid to long-range shooting. Also, scout scopes usually have long eye relief.
The best eye relief a scope can offer does not necessarily have to be the longest distance between the rear of the scope and the shooter’s dominant eye. Although this is necessary, other things make a scope have the best eye relief.
The type of gun – pistol or rifle – determines if a scope has the best eye relief. If your gun has immense recoil, you need a scope that can accommodate that recoil and protect your eye. However, a gun with minimal recoil does not need a scope with long eye relief.
Therefore, the scope with the best eye relief must protect your eye and ensure you get a clear image of your target no matter the distance of your dominant eye from the ocular lens. One scope that comes to mind is the Vortex Optics Crossfire II Second Focal Plane Riflescope.
Riflescopes have numerous functions, and one of them is to protect your eye from damage as a result of kickback from your rifle. Because different rifles have different kickback intensities, it is pertinent that you choose the right scope to accommodate the recoil of your rifle.
Of all the scopes in the market, few provide long eye relief. That means you won’t find many scopes that can accommodate the recoil of bigger guns. However, there are scopes with generous eye relief that you can use on your hunting rifles, or handguns and pistols.
The best of these scopes, while they protect your eyes, also afford you shooting precision with their reticles, durability as dictated by their material, and image quality as dictated by their objective lens and field of view.