How Far Back Should You Set a Scope: Optimal Eye Relief for Precision Shooting

Precision shooting and hunting activities often necessitate the use of a rifle scope, an essential tool for accuracy and sighting in long-range targets.

This optical sighting device offers various magnifications and reticle patterns to assist shooters in aligning their firearms with their targets. Ideal for outdoor environments, scopes have been engineered to withstand harsh conditions while delivering clarity and reliability during marksmanship.

When selecting a rifle scope, the distance at which the scope is set from the shooter’s eye—commonly referred to as eye relief—is a fundamental consideration.

Insufficient eye relief can result in a scope eye, a common shooting injury, while too much eye relief can make it difficult to see through the scope properly. Factors such as recoil, the shooter’s comfort, and the firearm’s design play a pivotal role in determining the optimal eye relief distance.

Moreover, the correct scope setting enhances the overall shooting performance. A scope should be mounted in a manner that allows for a full, clear view of the target through the eyepiece without straining the eyes. We recognize that each shooter has unique preferences and physical characteristics, which means the ideal setting can vary significantly.

Our research ensures we can provide guidance tailored to a variety of needs while considering factors such as scope design, reticle type, and magnification.

Through rigorous field tests and analysis of various scope models, we help shooters find the balance between comfort and functionality while setting their scopes. With the underlying complexities of precision shooting, we aim to simplify the process, enabling you to focus on the task at hand.

Top Scope Mounting Choices for Accuracy

When setting up a scope for precision shooting, the distance to set it back can greatly impact both comfort and accuracy. We’ve rigorously tested a multitude of scope mounting solutions to find those that give not only the best eye relief but also the stability needed for a clear shot every time.

Our selection comprises the best products on the market that cater to a variety of firearms, ensuring that whether you’re at the range or in the field, your scope is positioned for optimal performance.

ATN X-Sight 4K Pro

ATN X-Sight 4K Pro

We found that the ATN X-Sight 4K Pro is a solid choice for shooters looking to enhance their hunting experience in both day and night environments.


  • High-resolution imaging with a 4K sensor enhances shooting accuracy
  • The ballistics calculator aids in adjusting for various environmental factors
  • Dual video streaming and recording offer a convenient way to capture your hunts


  • Some users might find the scope’s interface less intuitive than expected
  • High-tech features may require a learning curve for optimal use
  • Cold weather performance can be less reliable

In our latest outing, we mounted the ATN X-Sight 4K Pro onto our rifle with ease. The clarity of the image, even when adjusting the zoom, struck us as remarkably crisp.

It’s like having a spotter’s eyes in a compact digital form. During twilight, the switch to night mode was seamless and we were impressed by how the night vision technology revealed objects hidden in the dark.

We were also intrigued by the smart features such as the ballistics calculator and dual video streaming. Correcting for wind, range, and angle, we took our shots with confidence. Not to mention, streaming the scope’s view to a mobile device and simultaneously recording was handy for post-hunt analysis.

However, we noticed that navigating through these advanced features took some patience, especially for our buddies who were more accustomed to traditional scopes. It was evident that some might find the multitude of settings and options initially overwhelming.

Concerning performance in extremely cold conditions, we’ve heard about some issues with functionality, although it held up well during our session in moderately cold weather.

The ATN X-Sight 4K Pro is more than just a riflescope; it’s a technologically advanced shooting assistant that brings superb accuracy and invaluable data to your fingertips.

With thoughtful use and familiarity, it can fundamentally transform your hunting experience.

GT Vision Goggles

GTHUNDER Digital Night Vision Goggles

If you need reliable night vision, the GT Vision Goggles offer an impressive experience with clarity and convenience.


  • Exceptional night visibility
  • User-friendly interface
  • Comes with a handy 32GB memory card


  • Heavy reliance on AA batteries
  • Bulkier design compared to some modes
  • Limited to no audio recording with videos

Using these goggles, we were immediately struck by their ability to illuminate the dark like it was daylight. The view was clear, and controlling the zoom was intuitive. Handling them felt sturdy—reassuring us of their durability for outdoor use.

While on a night hike, we found navigating with these goggles became second nature. The 4x magnification brought distant objects into focus, making us forget we were depending on technology; it felt like an extension of our senses.

After hours of observing wildlife, our appreciation for the GT Vision Goggles’ high-definition capabilities grew. Transferring images and videos to a computer was a breeze with the included 32GB card.

We felt these goggles were genuinely built for adventure seekers looking to extend their excursions into the night.

Pinty 4-16×50 AO Scope Combo

Pinty Rifle Scope

If versatility and comprehensive functionality in a rifle scope combo are priorities for your shooting setup, this Pinty package is a solid choice to cover various scenarios.


  • Offers a 3-in-1 solution, maximizing value
  • Wide magnification range and multiple reticle options
  • Straightforward mounting on standard rails


We found the Pinty rifle scope combo practical and capable, meeting our expectations during a recent target session. With the extended magnification, the scope brought distant targets into sharp relief, a must-have for long-range precision.

Transitioning between reticle patterns was seamless, enhancing our overall experience. The red dot sight proved invaluable for quick aiming at closer ranges, responding effectively during rapid shooting drills.

Installing this scope on our rifle was hassle-free; it snugly fit onto the standard Picatinny rail with no wobble. Adjusting for parallax to keep our shots on target, regardless of eye position, felt intuitive. Even under less-than-ideal light conditions, we appreciated the dual-illuminated reticles that provided clear vision, ensuring no detail was missed.

Although we enjoyed the 3-in-1 functionality, we also recognized the potential bulkiness once all components were attached. This could be a slight inconvenience for those who prefer a minimalist or lightweight setup.

New users might find themselves slightly daunted by the multitude of features, but we consider it a beneficial learning opportunity. The green laser, while a nice addition, may not be essential for all shooters but is there should the situation require it.

We believe the Pinty rifle scope combo is a comprehensive solution for shooters looking for a multi-faceted optic system. It performed admirably in our field tests and seems like a reliable companion for varied shooting activities.

Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn

Bushnell Banner 3-9x40mm Riflescope

We highly recommend this scope for hunters seeking reliability and clarity during the crucial dusk and dawn hours.


  • Exceptional clarity in low light conditions
  • Generous and comfortable eye relief
  • Robust fog-proof and waterproof construction


  • Heavier than some competitors
  • Plastic material may not suit all preferences
  • Limited to 9x magnification for long-range shooting

Having just field-tested the Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn out in the stand, we’re quite taken with its low-light performance.

The clarity when the sunlight wanes is simply remarkable, and we found it a dependable choice for those early morning hunts. Its multi-coated lenses do an excellent job of gathering light, and the image remains sharp as the day draws to a close.

The scope’s 6-inch eye relief stands out. It gave us the comfort we needed for prolonged watching, and we’re pleased with how it accommodated heavier recoil. We’ve used scopes that skimp on eye relief, and the difference in shooting comfort is obvious.

Another aspect we esteem is the fog-proof and waterproof protection. We put it through its paces in damp, foggy conditions, and the scope remained unfazed.

It continued to provide clear visuals without any fogging, and moisture was a non-issue with its solid IPX7-rated o-ring sealed design. It’s this kind of reliability that gives us the confidence to recommend it to fellow hunters.

Vortex Crossfire II Scope

Vortex Optics Scope

We found the Vortex Crossfire II to be an impressive balance of reliability and functionality, fitting for shooters who demand quality without breaking the bank.


  • Versatile magnification for a variety of shooting situations
  • Sturdy construction combined with waterproof and fog proof performance
  • Clear optics with user-friendly adjustments


  • Some might seek a more specialized reticle
  • Turret adjustments could be crisper
  • The fixed parallax setting might not suit all shooting distances

The first time we shouldered a rifle equipped with the Vortex Crossfire II, we appreciated how fast the target acquisition was, thanks to its forgiving eye box and rapid-focus eyepiece.

The scope’s bright views can be attributed to its anti-reflective, fully multi-coated lenses, ensuring that our shots were spot on, even in less-than-ideal lighting conditions.

Durability is vital when we’re trekking through rugged terrain on a hunt, and the Crossfire II didn’t let us down. Its single-piece aluminum construction handled every jolt and jostle without a hitch. We found the capped reset turrets not only protected the scope from accidental adjustments but also made sighting back to zero after making corrections a breeze.

The Dead-Hold BDC reticle was immensely beneficial. Rather than fussing with guesswork on holdover, we could maintain focus on the fundamentals of our shot, confident in the reticle to compensate for distance.

While some shooters might prefer a reticle with more bells and whistles, the Crossfire II’s simplicity was a welcomed ally for our varied shooting demands.

Buying Guide

When selecting the appropriate scope, we must consider several critical features that contribute to a successful shooting experience. Our focus should be on ensuring compatibility, performance, and value for our needs.

Magnification and Objective Lens

Magnification varies greatly among scopes. We need to identify our typical shooting range to select the appropriate magnification level.

Shooting RangeSuggested Magnification

The objective lens size influences light gathering capability and field of view. A larger lens offers a brighter image but can add weight.

Lens Size (mm)Light GatheringBest Use
<30LowLow-light, short range
30-40MediumVersatile use
40+HighBright conditions, long range

Reticle Type

We should choose a reticle that suits our typical shooting scenarios.

  • Duplex: Good for general purposes.
  • Mil-dot: Offers rangefinding capabilities.
  • BDC (Bullet Drop Compensator): Useful for long-range shooting.

Durability and Weather Resistance

Durability is key for a long-lasting scope. Look for construction that promises shock resistance and weatherproofing, such as waterproof and fogproof features.

Adjustment Features

Fine-tuning a scope is essential. We need:

  • Reliable windage and elevation adjustments.
  • A parallax adjustment feature for precise shooting at various ranges.
  • Easy-to-read adjustment markings.

By prioritizing these features and understanding their nuances, we equip ourselves to make an informed decision that enhances our shooting accuracy and enjoyment. Remember, a well-suited scope is an investment in our marksmanship.

Frequently Asked Questions

Before addressing specific questions, we want to emphasize that understanding how to properly set up a scope is crucial for both safety and performance. Precise mounting and alignment are essential for an accurate shooting experience.

What is the proper eye relief distance for optimal scope usage?

Eye relief refers to the distance from the rear lens your eye requires to see the full field of view. For most scopes, proper eye relief distance ranges from 3 to 4 inches. This varies depending on the specific scope and its design, ensuring you are safe from recoil and still have a full view.

What are common errors to avoid when mounting a scope?

Common errors include over-tightening the rings which can damage the scope, mounting the scope too high or too low, and not aligning the reticle properly. Ensure the scope is leveled and the reticle is perpendicular to the bore axis to avoid inaccuracies.

How should scope rings be aligned for reliable accuracy?

Scope rings should be properly aligned to prevent undue stress on the scope tube. Use a scope ring alignment tool to check and ensure that the rings are perfectly aligned. Once aligned, the scope can be placed in the rings without being twisted or pinched, which could affect accuracy.

What steps should be taken to ensure a scope’s alignment with the firearm’s barrel?

To align a scope with the firearm’s barrel, start by bore sighting. Attach the base and rings loosely, place the scope, and then adjust it until the bore sighter’s grid and the reticle coincide. Tighten everything down, then confirm alignment with live firing and adjust as necessary.

What considerations are there for mounting a scope on an AR-10 rifle?

Mounting a scope on an AR-10 requires consideration of proper ring height to ensure clearance of the front sight, if present, without positioning the scope too high, which can affect cheek weld and shooting posture. An extended rail may be needed for optimal eye relief due to the rifle’s design.

Does the distance between the scope and the barrel affect shooting accuracy, and how?

The distance between the scope and the barrel should be minimal without interfering with barrel harmonics.

Too much distance can result in a significant point of impact shift at longer ranges. It is essential to maintain the scope as low to the axis of the bore as possible without touching the barrel, ensuring consistency in shooting accuracy.

More to Explore