How To Adjust Eye Relief On A Rifle Scope

Do you often find yourself uncomfortably hunched over trying to find the entire field of view through your rifle scope? Losing all functionality in the process?

The answer to your problem is most likely eye relief. If this is the first time you’ve heard that term or wanted to find out how to adjust eye relief on a rifle scope. Then I encourage you to continue reading as I break down everything you need to know about eye relief for your rifle scope.

how to adjust eye relief on a rifle scope

Short and Sweet

Eye relief is the distance needed between your eye and the lens of your rifle scope to see a full field of view (FOV). To adjust the eye relief on a riflescope you must put it in the rings with enough freedom to slide a little bit.

Then without looking through the scope find the most comfortable position and adjust accordingly. Once you hit a sweet spot with an entire field of view, no black edges, and a comfortable position; tighten the rings and fully mount the scope.

What, Why, and How

Wikipedia defines eye relief as “the distance from the last surface of an eyepiece within which the user’s eye can obtain the full viewing angle.”.

The general rule of thumb is more magnification equals less eye relief. Often you can find the rifle scopes “optimal” eye relief printed somewhere on the package. That covers what, now let’s discuss why it matters, and I’ll end things explaining how to adjust eye relief on a rifle scope.

Why Eye Relief Matters

Incorrect eye relief can lead to a loss in scope functionality, as well as potentially harm the shooter. The Wikipedia article I referenced earlier is about all optics including binoculars and telescopes. Meaning it doesn’t take into consideration the effect a high powered rifle can have on your face if you don’t have adequate eye relief.

Eric Fowler over at refers to “the pleasure of getting smacked in the face by your riflescope”.

Clipped images are another problem that comes from improper eye relief. This will shrink your effective FOV and degrades the picture quality of your scope. Which can cause some serious migraines and be very distracting.

How to Adjust Eye Relief

Optimal eye relief can be obtained from your rifle scopes manufacturer. They obtain this measurement through some complex math. However, that may not be the best for you because of your body shape or what have you. So your left to adjust it in order to find a comfortable and safe shooting position.

It’s a much more simple process than most people think. The eye relief of the scope when correctly set provides a more comfortable shooting experience. Allowing for faster more accurate shots down range, or field.

  1. Place the rifle scope in the rings and tighten loosely. Allow for the scope to slide slightly for adjustments.
  2. Mount the rifle on a stable platform facing a brightly colored well-lit wall.
  3. Shoulder the rifle and assume a comfortable shooting position. Avoid looking through the scope and focus on how it feels.
  4. Look through the scope and move it until you can see the entire FOV.
  5. Repeat as necessary until you find the most comfortable position.
  6. Level the riflescope and tighten the rings.
  7. Zero in the rifle scope.

To correctly adjust the eye relief of your rifle scope you will have to invest time. With the emphasis on not looking through the scope while finding a comfortable position.

This is because people will hunch their shoulders or contort their necks to obtain an entire FOV instead of focusing on their body position. Do not forget to sight in your rifle scope after mounting using the windage and elevation adjustment turrets.

 Adjust the Scope

It’s important to note that the recommended eye relief is often published by the manufacturer. If you are aware that you require a scope to be more forgiving in the eye relief department, then you should shop for scopes that offer that specifically. Take into account that the type of shooting you’re doing will change the amount of eye relief you want.

If you’re using a high magnification long range scope the amount of eye relief is going to shrink. This is because, at high magnification, eye distance from the lens can cause misalignment and clip the image. Decreasing the FOV, clarity, and functionality of the rifle scope.


I hope you understand how to adjust the eye relief on a rifle scope, and the importance of it. There are many names for the eye laceration that comes from inadequate eye relief. The best way to avoid them is to start at what the manufacturer recommended and adjust from there.

Also, the second pair of eyes isn’t always the best on something like this. Being that your body shape, posture, and eyesight are all unique to you. So your buddy may be seeing something totally different than you. If you are lost I left a link to a video that can give you visuals on how to adjust eye relief on a rifle scope, as well as the stock of your rifle.

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