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Old 03-28-2011, 10:44 AM
Tnhunter's Avatar
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Checking my new scope

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I arrived home after being away for a week and found a box delivered (to my office) and not remembering what it might be, I opened it to find a new scope (used, but new to me). It's a Leupold Ultralight 3-9x33 I found for sale in excellent condition for way under 1/2 of the cost of a new one, a pretty good price for any Leupold product, considering their excellent warranty.

Even as I purchased it, I was not sure what rifle it would eventually live on top of, but knew it would be an excellent addition and likely work well for a number of rifles I now own. Rifles chambered in .257Rob, 6.5RM, .270Win, .284Win, .325WSM and .350RM were some I considered. I also knew it would be important to actually measure the eye relief this scope has/had before simply "checking" at the range with a 7 lb .325 OR 7.5 lb .350.

As I was checking the actual eye relief (not knowing if it would be the same as a new scope's) I got to thinking that some here might not know the best way to do that with a scope they might have that's no longer produced, or one they cannot find specs for.

It's really very easy, about a 2 min job. Here's the best way to get accurate & actual eye relief measurements for any scope you might have lying around, even if it's already mounted.

1.) make sure the rifle is unloaded, if the scope is already mounted (I know, dumb disclaimer)
2.) Lay the mounted/unmounted scope down on a flat surface.
3.) using three tools; a flashlight, tape measure or small ruler and a small piece of paper (3x5 card is perfect), place the lit flashlight up against the Objective lens.
4.) Lay the ruler/tape measure back from the Ocular lens, with zero placed at the edge of the bell.
5.) Take the 3x5 card and start at about 7" (or more) and slowly move it forward (towards the Ocular bell) and when the light beam comes into sharp focus, read the number (measurement) on the ruler and that is the eye relief for that scope, at that power.

For variable power scopes, the eye relief will likely change between lowest power (most relief) to highest power (shortest relief) and it is very wise to check at least those two. The numbers for this scope were a tad short for big hitters at 3.5" @ 3X and 3" @ 9X. These measurements are to the closest 1/8" and it's not a problem to figure them to this close a number. This scope will not sit on top of the .325 or .350, but should be fine for any of the other chamberings on the type rifles they are.
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Last edited by Tnhunter; 01-13-2013 at 11:26 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:43 AM
The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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This has all the makings of a good "Sticky" to add for the scope forum. We get questions on eye relief fairly frequently. This will be a good way for a person to satisfy themselves on the relief of their particular scope and at whatever power setting they normally use. Thanks, TH.
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Old 03-29-2011, 04:04 AM
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i might add that in addition to checking the eye releif of any new scope (new or used) i always verify that the scope is opticaly centered. the easiest, fastest method for me is the mirror trick. place the objective bell flat against any mirror with a decent light sorce near by and then look into the scope via the occular. you will see two sets of cross hairs, the set from the scope it's self and a second set that is a reflection from the mirror. if they are not on top of one another start turning the adjustment knobs until the cross hairs align over one another and you only see one set. your scope's internal adjustments are now opticaly centered and you have full range of adjustments of your scope. if the scope is a used scope and if the adjustments were way out there towards the end of the range of adjustment that the scope has it can tell you that the guys gun it was mounted on had a bit of an alignment issue in regards to the scope mounts especialy if the scope is adjusted a lot for windage. if the rifle is that far out of alignment with its mounting screws, depending on the rings and mounts used, there could be significant stress put into the scope body from the recoil and the out of alignment rings. if this new scope seems to shift POI or not have the range of adjustment it should then the possible reason could be from a slight (not obvious at casual glance) kink in the main tube and interfearing with the internal mechanics of the scope. when i get a used scope in and i use the mirror method, if it is way out near to the end of windage adjustment, i start looking for indications that the body might be bent. i'm not saying it will be, i'm saying it would be wise at that point to keep an eye out as you put the new used scope through the wringer. and by all means i would verify that the scope will hold it's point of impact (POI) before taking it on a meaningfull hunt.
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Last edited by Jim H; 03-29-2011 at 04:07 AM.
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Old 03-31-2011, 08:10 PM
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VERY cool trick. I would probably have never thought of it....

Thanks for sharing it.
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Old 05-24-2017, 12:37 PM
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Location: San Juan, PR, USA
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"Shooting the square"

Many gun writers make a big deal out of "shooting the square" when reviewing a scope. I've always wandered, other than they (and we) like the gun going "bang", why shoot it at all? If one fixes the gun or the scope so it doesn't move, pointed at a square grid piece of paper, one can just fiddle with the turrets and determine if the adjustments match the "1/4" per click at 100 yds." or whatever the spec is supposed to be, and come back to the original POA, without firing a shot. I can check the scopes click adjustments in my backyard at 25 yards without firing a shot. It would be more precise to do it a 100 yards, but still...

It would still be more precise than shooting actual groups, unless you have a rifle/shooter combination capable of shooting "bug holes". So why? To impress us rubes with a needless exercise?

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