What is Eye Relief & How Does It Affect Scopes & Rangefinders?

What is Eye Relief & How Does It Affect Scopes & Rangefinders?

What is Eye Relief & How Does It Affect Scopes & Rangefinders: Scope, eye relief, and rangefinders, these are some words that are common for a target shooter or hunter. Eye relief is a prominent feature in any scope and rangefinder.

At first, though, it might seem to be a not so important one. But you realize its importance only when you have to look through the lens. So, let’s talk about eye relief and explain how it affects the scope and rangefinders.


Eye relief is the distance between your eyes and the eyepiece of the scope. A good range in eye relief ensures your eye comfort, keeps your eyes safe in case of rifle shots, and offers a vast field of view.

If you are new to the scope, you might think the closer your pupil is to the eyepiece, the view will be better, and your eyes will not strain.

But we all know how, when we bring a book to close to our eyes, we see blurry images. So eye relief is the exact distance that helps you to view things clearly.

Effects On Scopes And Rangefinders

An aiming device called a scope brings things at a longer distance closer, and a rangefinder measures distance. Hunters and target shooters greatly need them for a clear view of a long distance.

You have different types of eye relief. Eye relief that can be adjusted depending on the need, short eye relief as well as long eye relief. An adjustable one is good for everyone. It comes handy in many cases, with the right kind of eyecups. Short eye reliefs are for people who don’t wear glasses.

So, if you wear glasses, long eye relief is the best for you. More than short eye relief, the longer one is preferred by maximum people, even those who don’t wear glasses. They are more comfortable to the eyes.

3-3 1/2 inches is the standard eye relief. But in our opinion, a good 4-4 1/2 inches is best in every way. So, as you see, we are pretty much inclining towards longer eye relief scopes. Keep in mind, depending on the brand, the eye relief changes. Sometimes 4-inch eye relief is considered long and 6-inch shorter.

  • Long-distance shooting needs powerful rifles that produce heavy recoil. So, it is better to have a good distance between your eyes and eyepiece.
  • High magnification of a scope can affect the field of view and eye relief. So, when you have long eye relief, even the high magnification can cut just an inch from that. So, it remains comfortable for your eyes.
  • It is true; a longer eye relief affects light transmission. But that is still manageable than losing sight in the field of view or harming eyes with heavy recoil.
  • A rangefinder does a similar job. You need a clear view to gauge the distance. So, shorter eye relief is going to affect your sight. Instead, have a long one.
  • Just a 4 inches eye relief is not sufficient. The best is to add high-quality optics for a clear view as well. It is a combo that gives you the optimum clarity in any device with optics.
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