I’ve noticed that the arms race in rifle scope technology is getting more serious, and I’m not talking about the $20K TrackingPoint that does everything except clean whatever your shot.

Manufacturers are attempting to cram more features in less space, making scopes lighter and shorter while providing more magnification and technology than—quite frankly—the vast majority of shooters will ever learn how to use.

While they’re focusing on adding tech, this writer argues that they’re creating another problem entirely.

But in the race to create more magnification and to engineer a reticle with more lines and hatchmarks than a submarine periscope, optics manufacturers have neglected considering how a shooter is going to lash the magic tube onto their rifle.

I’ll quit being coy for a moment. Rifle scopes need to have more room for rings — the hardware that mounts the scope to the firearm — both in front of and to the rear of the windage and elevation turrets. Increasingly, as eyeboxes and objective bells swell in size and function, the mounting latitude shrinks. On many of the latest rifle scope models, there’s precious little room to fit the optic on top of a receiver, and even less margin to adjust for eye relief, or the distance from the shooter’s eye to the rear-most lens of the scope. Especially on hard-kicking magnum calibers, you want as much eye relief as possible to avoid being struck by the scope when the rifle recoils.

He isn’t wrong.


This Burris 2-7×35 Fullfield E1 rifle scope is representative of modern scopes. There is very little tube real estate in front of the windage and elevation turrets and the objective lens swell. You can move the scope perhaps a half-inch forward and back if you use the newer, thick mounting rings many shooters seem to be gravitating toward. Compare that to the scope below.


The Weaver RV-7 Rimfire Classic 2.5-7x28mm is more classic design, with more “tube room” to get proper eye relief. Using the same mounts, you’d have twice the adjustment distance to get proper eye relief.

I’d add that using rings of the wrong height compounds the problem for most shooters. There is simply no way to get a get a consistent cheek-weld on the stock when your scope is mounted too far back and too high.

You must be able to “turkeyneck” and drop your head on the stock each and every time in the same place, and your scope must be in line with where your eye will naturally line up in that position. If you find yourself having to contort your head from this natural position, then your scope set-up is wrong for you, and it’s time to figure out what is specifically wrong with how you have your rifle/scope/mount set up.

Don’t be this guy.