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Hi, all. Just got back from the range. What a nice day for shooting. Nice and cool, but with a pretty good breeze. Luckily the range I went to has some trees blocking much of the wind. Anyway, after zeroing the new scope, here's a 5-shot group I shot at 100 yards using American Eagle 7.62x51mm 149gr. I think my rifle likes this ammo. This was with the scope set at 10x off the bench with only a sandbag up front and my fist for support under the buttstock. I always use a triangle to zero a scope, and I place the center of the crosshairs at the bottom tip of the triangle. So this group is about 1.5" high at 100 yards.

As you can see, 4 of the shots were nearly all touching and I had one flyer. The 4 shots measured 7/8" and the 5 shots measured 1-5/8". Not bad for my first time shooting my M14 with a scope. Not sure if the flyer was me or the ammo or the gun. Overall I am very pleased. Ignore the one shot with the blue line through it. That was from zeroing the scope earlier, and not part of this group.

One thing I noticed with this scope (and I've noticed this too with the LPVO on my AR) is that when shooting from a bench the eye box on the scope seems more finicky than when standing up. Not sure why that is. Standing just feels more "natural" and easy to get behind the scope, if that makes sense. Maybe someone more knowledgable than I would have some insight. This scope has good eye relief, but I also noticed that at 10x I definitely need to scoot my head a bit farther forward to get the best eye box.

 

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Your scope is telling you where your head needs to be for shot alignment. You will get used to it and become more accurate as time progresses. Congratulations on a fine system.
 

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One thing I noticed with this scope (and I've noticed this too with the LPVO on my AR) is that when shooting from a bench the eye box on the scope seems more finicky than when standing up. Not sure why that is. Standing just feels more "natural" and easy to get behind the scope, if that makes sense. Maybe someone more knowledgable than I would have some insight. This scope has good eye relief, but I also noticed that at 10x I definitely need to scoot my head a bit farther forward to get the best eye box.
It would seem possibly (multiple choice)
  • That your 'natural' position shooting from the bench isn't at the ideal eye relief distance where the eyebox has the most room, and that your standing position does, or is at least closer.
  • When you change magnification, that ideal eye relief distance changes. Specifications on optics planet list 4.7 inches at 3.5x, and 3.4 inches at 10x. As you zoom up, your ideal eye position (with the largest, most forgiving eye box) moves forward (and becomes less forgiving as the exit pupil shrinks), as you zoom down the center of the eye box where you have the most ideal eye relief moves farther back (and becomes more forgiving as the exit pupil gets larger.)
You can learn to make anything work, and you can play and figure out what works best for you, and it's not one or the other, so don't feel weird about playing. You may want to try different situations, make adjustments to your scope placement, keep playing, and get to know it well enough to figure out how you want to use it. This may mean you do touch ups to the zero after loosening the rings, moving it forward or backward, and snugging it up again, but you should still be on paper, and it's an excuse to shoot more.

When I set the scope position, before I tighten it down, I try adjust it so that if I close my eyes first, and then get the rifle shouldered in either prone or standing, and slide my face into the comb (or cheek riser) comfortably, and then open my eyes, from either position, in any magnification, I'm looking at a pretty useable image, preferably one where I'm not getting any dark edges, or at least as full an image as I can. The default best position may vary between positions and magnifications, but if you're close enough, you can usually hunt and scrunch your body to accommodate a slight variance and get a good sight picture without any weird contortions.

I asked Leupold tech support about the wide variations on eye relief on a lot of their scopes, and their answer was to set the eye relief for maximum magnification, as that would have the most demanding fit in terms of eye placement due to the smaller eyebox, and as you zoom out, even though the ideal eye relief moves, since the eye box also gets bigger, if your eye is at the minimum distance (maximum zoom), it will still have a useable picture.

The other factor, is that if you tend to shoot with maximum magnification at prone or off a bench (and you lean forward on it), and minimum magnification standing, where you tend to be more upright (maybe, people are different), the changing eye relief may actually make things slightly easier or more natural to learn, or maybe not...

I am pretty agnostic about it, as far as right or better. My preference is for a relatively constant eye relief, and set it in a range that works well for prone/bench/standing, in that I get a pretty decent picture immediately, no matter what, and then from there if I feel that I need to reposition my eye/face/shoulder relationship for an even more betterer view, that's on me, and if I can take my sweet time, great, and maybe that'll even steer the muscle memory so that I get to the bestness faster, if not immediately.

That being said, my Leupold 4.5-14x40mm sure isn't constant in ideal eye relief, and like almost every scope, in addition to all the things I like about it, if I were dictating the design goals, I would have shuffled some priorities. But in actual pragmatic use, none of the features of operation that I would have preferred to be otherwise have been an actual hindrance. It still gets the barrel pointed in the right direction with a minimal amount of familiarity.
 
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