How to Avoid “Scope Eye”


Big guns can be fun to shoot, yet painful and dangerous if the scope provides insufficient eye relief. If a buddy offers a chance to shoot his favorite cannon and you are unsure about the scope, do the four-finger (FF) salute. Mount the rifle into shooting position, get a clear view through the scope and see if you can put four fingers between the scope and your forehead. This has worked well for me over a lifetime of being asked, “wanna shoot it?” As long as I can put four fingers between the scope’s ocular and my forehead, I’m game for the shot. Also, when I mount a scope or test one in a store, the FF salute is one of the first tests I perform.

hippoI once carried a T/C Encore in .416 Rigby on a hunt in West Africa and the gun had plenty of recoil, yet, when charged by a hippopotamus, I had total confidence in the rifle and downed the beast before it could kill a tracker in our party. The FF salute also boosts confidence so you won’t worry about the rifle “dotting” your eye.

Of course, everyone’s fingers are not the same thickness and personal shooting styles vary greatly. For the full story of eye relief, check this post from About-Shooting. It provides a full range of ideas, suggestions, and techniques to make sure your shooting experience isn’t one with scope-eye.

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Joe Byers
Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.