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Eye relief is a term that's largely underestimated in the buying process.
It's not until you've bought a scope and realize you can't maximize use of the eye box, or you have your first scope kiss, that eye relief is given a second thought.
What is eye relief?
Why is eye relief important?
What are the best long eye relief scope options for hunting, handguns, and high recoil guns?
We'll answer your questions while you learn about eye relief here and what scope can make a difference before you buy, because yes, eye relief makes a difference!
QUICK LIST: Best Long Eye Relief Rifle Scopes
- Burris Scout 2-7X32 - Best Long Eye Relief Scout Scope
- Vortex Crossfire II Scout 2-7X32 - Best Vortex Long Eye Relief Scope
- Burris Scout 2.75x20
- Burris Handgun 2-7X32 - Best Long Eye Relief Pistol Scope
- Leupold VX-3 Handgun 2.5-8X32
- Leapers UTG Accushot 2-7X44 - Best UTG Long Eye Relief Scope
- NcStar 2-7X32 - Best Long Eye Relief Scope for Mosin Nagant
- Simmons Whitetail Classic 2-7X32
Defining Long Eye Relief
Simply put, eye relief is the distance between your eye and the eyepiece of the scope. On a rifle, enough eye relief is generally around 3.5", but long eye relief scopes can have anything longer than 4" while some can sport longer than 6".
Long eye relief is important for safety from the kick of high recoil rifles, to employ fast target acquisition for moving targets, and to maximize an optimal field of view (FOV).
Scout, hunting, surplus rifles, and handguns can all be equipped with a good long eye relief scope.
The 10 Top Long Eye Relief Scopes
|Burris Scout 2-7x32||CHECK PRICE|
|Vortex Crossfire II Scout 2-7x32||CHECK PRICE|
|Burris Scout 2.75x20||CHECK PRICE|
|Burris Handgun 2-7x32||CHECK PRICE|
|Leupold VX-3 Handgun 2.5-8X32||CHECK PRICE|
|Leapers UTG Accushot 2-7X44||CHECK PRICE|
|NcStar 2-7X32||CHECK PRICE|
|Simmons Whitetail Classic 2-7x32||CHECK PRICE|
While the benefits of having long eye relief scopes are clear, there are some drawbacks that will limit what type of scope configuration is available to you.
What are you sacrificing for long eye relief? Light transmission. It's a no-brainer - the further the ocular is from your eye, the more light is lost in that distance. To make up for this loss, you'll want to keep an eye out for highly reflective coatings and technologies that improve rates of light transmission.
Another limitation you should know about is image quality at high power. The higher the magnification, the more difficult it is to achieve a crisp and clear sight picture due to the reduced light transmission in long eye relief scopes. Most scopes in this lineup will have magnification that does not exceed 8 or 9x.
These top 10 scopes have been carefully selected to offer the best compatibility between all scope features and long eye relief of 6" or more.
Top 8 Best Long Eye Relief Scopes in 2021
1. Burris Scout 2-7X32 - Best Long Eye Relief Scout Scope
This Burris scope is specially designed for scout rifles with its low magnification for close to mid-range targets. Designed to sit far forward on your rifle, it's slim, compact, and light enough to trek and scout all day long.
- 12 inches of eye relief
- Scout reticle
- Forward mounting
- Thin reticle crosshairs
The Burris scope has a Scout reticle that is essentially a BDC reticle for holding over out to 500 yards. Although it's simple in design and easy to employ in the field, it's been said the crosshairs are a little thin to be used quickly. It's also been suggested by many users that an illuminated BDC reticle is desirable option.
As a scout scope, it can be mounted in a far forward position to provide 9.2-12" of eye relief. With fast moving targets, you have generous eye relief to keep both eyes open when needed. Close-range shooting and shooting on the move can be done with the low 2-7x magnification.
Keeping weight down when in the field is always an important factor, and the 1" tube, 9.7" length, and 13 oz build fulfills a hunter's lightweight and compact scope demands.
Even with a 32 mm objective lens, Burris didn't skimp on glass quality. The index-matched, Hi-Lume multicoating allows light transmission to be at its highest keeping you out longer than you would with a comparable scope of the same configuration.
Set up for use in various conditions, it's shock, fog, and waterproof with a nitrogen-filled feature. For an intermediate scope offered at entry-level price, the long eye relief Scout scope is a winner in our books.
2. Vortex Crossfire II Scout 2-7X32 - Best Vortex Long Eye Relief Scope
There's a lot of Crossfire II scopes out there, but the Scout (model CF2-31002) within the series does it best if you want long eye relief of 9.45".
- V-Plex reticle
- Fast focus eyepiece
- Reduced eye relief at max power
This scout scope will make an excellent topper to your scout rifle. Mounted in the forward position, you'll have long eye relief that will reduce as you crank up to max power - this is normal and happens on all scopes as field of view reduces. Used as a scout scope, you're likely not to crank up power anyway.
With an SFP (second focal plane) reticle, the V-Plex crosshairs get you on target for close range shots. Keeping it simple, there is no illumination or BDC holdover points on the reticle.
It has all the quality features of a Vortex scope - fast focus eyepiece, single-piece tube, and made from aircraft grade aluminum. It's waterproof with O-ring seals, fogproof with nitrogen gas, and is shockproof to withstand the inevitable abuse and recoil you'll put it through.
True to scout form, it's lightweight at 12 oz and 10.5" in length. There is 60 MOA in elevation and windage adjustments in 1/4 MOA adjustments. You may need to shim or change out mounts if you want to extend the adjustment travel, but for short range use, you'll get right on target.
Under $200, the Crossfire II is a popular long eye relief scope for hunters needing that action clearance that forward mounting scopes provide.
3. Burris Scout 2.75x20
The Burris Scout scope may have caught your eye with its fixed 2.75x power. It’s different, but it works. You must know more about it to truly appreciate its uniqueness.
- Scout scope
- Fixed power
- Heavy Plex reticle
In all reality, this Scout 2.75x20 scope is effective for sub-150 yards, and so is immediately targeted towards those who hunt and target shoot within this range. Its low and limited power isn’t a disadvantage as the lack of moving parts allows for a robust and ultra-lightweight optic.
It’s a one-piece 1” tube with a weight of only 7oz – arguably, it may even weigh less than that even with the mount.
The Scout scope comes with the Heavy Plex reticle which has very thick crosshairs. It’s required for hunting and low-light conditions and especially if you’re looking to shoot with an unlimited FOV with both eyes open.
The downside is that it doesn’t have any illumination. It would be asking a lot to have an illuminated center dot, but it would improve reticle and target acquisition speed and effectiveness. Maybe in the future, right? However, as a long eye relief scope, it does its job superbly well. No mounting issues, no zeroing issues, and no quality issues. Besides, Burris backs their scopes with their Forever Warranty. It’s the easy pick for a scout rifle for under $300.
4. Burris Handgun 2-7X32 - Best Long Eye Relief Pistol Scope
Hunting with a handgun? We don't care what kind of prey you're stalking, but we do care about how you get there. So, we offer up the best long eye relief handgun scope for your shooting needs, and the Burris Handgun 200279 takes the gold.
- Ballistic Plex reticle
- Extended eye relief
- Wide field of view
- Thin reticle crosshairs
It's comparable to many of the scopes in this lineup, but the Burris does it better in the quality to value ratio. Made with a double internal spring-tension system, this scope is tough and rough in all the right places. It'll hold for harsh recoil up to .50 BMG and the worst shocks, impacts, and vibrations you can put it through. The solid, one-piece, 1" tube is built like a tank without the weight.
13 ounces, 9.7" long, and 2-7x magnification, it's your standard scope configuration for hunting. At 2x power, eye relief is an extended 11-21", and at high power of 7x, it's still a long 10-14". Maxing out the magnification on a handgun will take some steady handwork, but it can be done and done well to hit those long-range targets - you'll need a ballistic reticle for that.
Fortunately, this model has the Ballistic Plex reticle. Unfortunately, it has been said to be a little thin to see for some users. As a BDC reticle, it features holdover marks out to 500 yards. Overkill for a handgun? Yeah, but who cares? It's badass. Stretch the limit out to 200 yards and have some fun at the range - if you can handle it. The Burris can, can you?
5. Leupold VX-3 Handgun 2.5-8X32
It's a handgun scope, so you automatically know it has long eye relief. So, what makes it different to all other pistol scopes to justify spending this much? We'll tell ya.
- Punisher tested
- Scratch resistant lenses
- Twilight Max for Low Light
- Finger-click adjustments
- Wire reticle
The thing with heavy caliber handguns is that they can dish out a beating to scopes. That's why a rifle scope that pulls its weight in the durability department is worth its salt. The VX-3 scope is designed to do exactly that. Punisher-tested, it can withstand 3x the recoil of a .308. Additionally, outfitted with military-grade scratch-resistant lenses, this pistol scope was made be used and abused and still hold up.
Being so far from the eyes is something it does best. With 15" of extended eye relief, it's perfectly fitted for seeing an entire 12.9-4.8 ft/100 yards FOV fully drawn at arms-length. With the Twilight Max Light Management System, your sight picture will always be at its best, even in low light where you may have up to 20 mins of extra shooting time when things get dim. It also eliminates up to 85% of stray light that can make your field of view look awry being so far from the eyes.
The Duplex reticle is by far the most popular reticle of all time, howbeit, it's still made of wire which can be prone to issues with heavy caliber loads. But, remember it's Punisher tested, right?
Lightweight at 10.9 oz and short enough at 11.4" to be mounted to a pistol, the VX-3 Handgun will turn any ordinary handgun into a wild-looking rig not to be messed with.
6. Leapers UTG Accushot 2-7X44 - Best UTG Long Eye Relief Scope
- Eye Relief: 11" - 9.5"
- 30mm 1 Piece Tube for Maximum Light Transmission
Trying to stay within the budget? As always, UTG comes in to save the day with affordable scope options for the cost-conscious buyer.
- Reticle customizable
- 30 mm tube
- Glass-etched reticle
It's true, the UTG scout scope is heavy at 25.4 oz considering you may be hiking and climbing all day with the rifle on your shoulder 99% of the time. However, its features seem to outweigh its bulky build.
Durable features include a 30 mm tube for robustness, a glass-etched reticle that won't break even under heavy and repeated recoil, and a completely sealed and nitrogen filled construction to stay out in the worst weather.
Eye relief is 11" with 2x power and 9.5" at 7x. Its Emerald Coated Lenses are said to improve light transmission, and Side Wheel Adjustable Turret (SWAT) will allow you to correct for parallax right down to 10 yards.
But, what is really exciting is its reticle color customization options. You have a 6 mil-dot Tactical Range Estimating (TRE) reticle that can be illuminated with 36 color options. With the EZ-TAP IE Illumination System, the buttons are unobtrusive and easy to press to illuminate the reticle as you please.
A high-end feature seen on this budget scope is the ability to set your zero, go back to it at any time, and lock that zero in place. The objective bell features an angled shape to provide the benefits of an integrated sunshade. If that isn't enough for you, it also comes with twist lock medium Picatinny/Weaver rings and flip open lens caps.
No wonder this thing is heavy! It's jam-packed with every available scope feature.
7. NcStar 2-7X32 - Best Long Eye Relief Scope for Mosin Nagantt
- Long eye relief for extended mounting capability
- Multi coated lenses
- Fixed power magnification
Do you have a Mosin Nagant with the straight-handle bolt collecting dust in the safe? Never could find the right scope to clear the straight-pull action? The NcStar is the best long eye relief scope to mount to the popular Mosin.
- Long eye relief
- Blue-coated lenses
- Multi-coated optics
- Includes accessories
- Quality control issues
While sniper Mosin versions feature a bent bolt, many with straight-pull bolt action aren't compatible with traditional rifle scopes mounted above the chamber. This is where a scout scope comes into play with long eye relief to make up for the extended distance. How long is that eye relief? 8.7-10.7".
The NcStar may be a cheap scope, but it gets the job done for hunting within 100 yards to 200 yards or plinking - at least that's what tons of buyers have done with an NcStar on their Mosins. With a Plex reticle, it's ideally suited to getting on point for close to mid-range targets within 200 yards.
Multi-coated optics with blue-coated lenses and a 32 mm objective lens enhances light transmission to provide a clear enough sight picture to plink down all those cans in the distance. Sitting forward on the rail, it's still light enough at 11.6 ounces to prevent a top-heavy build. Included in the buy are 1" aluminum Weaver rings and lens caps.
However, quality control issues such as having to re-zero frequently and poor build quality may serve as deterrents. If you want something right now to test out on your Mosin, you don't have to spend a fortune. No one is on the battle front with a Mosin these days, but if you're hitting steel at the range and you're not going for sub 1 MOA groups at 200 yards, the NcStar will do it for you.
8. Simmons Whitetail Classic 2-7X32
Simmons brought back the once popular Whitetail Classic series of rifle scopes, and it seems the 2-7x32 platform is new to the pack.
- Longer eye relief
- For rifles
- Wide FOV
Moving away from the excess of having high magnification, the 2-7x configuration keeps things in perspective. Most hunters have a pet power range anyway, and a generous 45-13 feet/100 yards field of view keeps things wide and open. But, most importantly is the 5-4.3 inches of eye relief that beats most other scopes for a traditional scope setup that isn't a scout gun.
For a scope under $100, we love that it has FMC (fully multi-coated) optics for a bright sight picture every time you bring scope to eye. It's also shock, fog, and waterproof, so it's ready, reliable, and durable for field use, bumpy trips in the ATV, and rough handling in and out of the truck.
It has Simmons' standard Truplex reticle with thicker crosshair posts defining a thinner cross at the center for aiming. The diopter ring, power ring, and turret caps feature a nice groove for grip, and this model has the timeless Black Granite texture.
While it's not a heavy scope at all at 15.7 oz, it's relatively on the chunky side compared to other models of the same configuration. This is the only "flaw" we could point out and that is being petty.
Offering more eye relief than most other traditional scopes in the market with all the necessary features to boot, this Whitetail Classic scope is every bit worthy of a place in this lineup.
What to Look for in a Long Eye Relief Scope
Getting the right eye relief means more than making sure a scope kiss isn't in your future, it's vital to achieving the best quality within your field of view (FOV). If the scope is mounted incorrectly or your position is inadequate, the FOV may be blurry at the edges or it may have black around the edges instead.
This is a direct result of poor eye relief, either you're too close or too far out of the manufacturer's recommended eye relief stats that restricts use of the entire eye box.
Here are some scope features that directly contribute to getting the best sight picture with long eye relief scopes.
While long eye relief may be defined as 6" or more, this is typical of eye relief on scopes set up for mid-forward mounting positions on scout scopes and the like. For this setup, you'll want to look for 6-9 inches of eye relief although longer eye relief of 8-12" is not uncommon. Handgun and pistol scopes will all naturally have long eye relief that can range anywhere between 13-30".
However, if you're shopping for a regular rifle scope mounted above the chamber with long eye relief, you're going to be hard-pressed to find anything more than 4". The industry standard is 3.5", so 4-5" of eye relief can be considered long. Scopes like the Simmons Whitetail Classic 2-7x32 is a rare find.
Because of the optical assembly required to provide long eye relief, high magnification is not usually a feature you'll see - or want - on these scopes. Clarity, sharpness, and FOV will suffer. Most of the best long eye relief scope models will have low magnification ranging from 1-8x.
For power range to be effective for your needs, you must also consider target distance and type of firearm being used. For example, having long eye relief with the scope further away from your eye, coupled with high magnification, will make it difficult to find the target in the scope possibly wasting time and making a poor shot. Trying to use 8x on a handgun scope without a rest and proper head position will be futile, and who has the time for that?
The nature of long eye relief scopes results in having low to mid-range power, usually being mounted on lightweight scout setups or handguns, and having smaller objective lens, 20-32 mm. All this results in a lightweight and compact scope.
The length of these types of scopes, regardless if they're on a pistol or rifle, is usually between 9-11". Weight is typically around 10 oz, although they can be as light as 8 oz or heavy as 15 oz. If it's on the heavier end, it may be ineffective for pistols or too top-heavy for scout setups.
Most long eye relief scopes will cost a couple hundred bucks. There are quite a few long eye relief scopes under $100, and higher-end brands will start theirs at $300 and more. Quality materials, optical coatings, and additional features and technologies will be prevalent among brand name manufacturers, and so it will cost more for a scope that will last longer and outperform inferior ones.
As always with optics, buy the best of what you can afford.
Most reticles on long eye relief scopes will be a variation of the standard duplex type. Some come equipped with a ballistic type BDC reticle for holding over at longer distances. Even fewer will offer reticle illumination, and this feature may increase the overall weight. So far, nearly all of the best long eye relief scope models come with an SFP reticle.
The future may offer scopes with FFP (First Focal Plane) and illuminated center dot reticles.
It's important to consider optical quality on a long eye relief scope due to the light loss that occurs over the extended distance from eyepiece to eye. FMC optics should be standard while additional coating technologies to enhance light transmission can improve brightness and sight picture quality.
It must stay zeroed, stay dependable regardless of weather, and remain accurate. Gas-purged scopes with either nitrogen or argon eliminate fogging in the internal chamber of the scope. Having O-ring seals keeps the scope watertight. Having durable spring systems can help protect lens assemblies and turrets adjustments in place during bumps, shocks, and repeated recoil.
Of course, build materials also provide integrity to the scope. Features like 30 mm tubes, high-grade aluminum construction, and single-piece tube bodies improve a scope's long-term life of use. You must also equip your setup with quality rings, and you may even need a little Loctite to help keep things tight in the process.
Get Relief from Poor Eye Relief Scopes
Getting kissed by your scope is likely in your future if you pay no attention to eye relief stats before you buy. Pairing any ol' scope to your magnum, heavy-kicking slug, or your hard-recoiling rifle will guarantee that you leave the range with a bleeding brow - but, not if you get one of the best long eye relief scope options above.
However, there's always more to the story than eye relief alone. As one feature cannot function at its best without affecting another, you must choose a scope that's right for your setup, hunting style, or competition needs. Good thing we have a long lineup to choose from!