Sooner or later, anyone who shoots rifles regularly is going to get cut by a scope.

I once coached a young hunter in the finer points of riflery when he got careless with the .30/06 he was shooting and received a medium-good scope cut in his forehead. He asked me not to mention it to anyone, and I said, “Pish tush, you should be proud of it; it’s the mark of the rifleman.” I then pointed out three or four of my choicer scars.

Eventually, if you shoot enough rifles, you are going to get a scope cut. Actually, you’re going to get a collection unless you spend all your time shooting .22s or centerfires with intermediate eye relief scopes. (Given the choice between an IER scope on a rifle and a good, bloody scope cut, I will take the latter.)

The two best scope cuts I’ve ever seen came from a .30/06 with a cheap scope that had no eye relief to speak of, and a .300 Weatherby, whose owner contorted himself into a weird prone position, shooting downhill at a caribou. The ocular lens bell caught him on the bridge of the nose and opened it up like an ax.

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My own best scope cut came from a .30/378 with a muzzle brake. I was curious how hard it kicked without the brake, and fired it prone. I found out. I came home with blood all over my face and my shirt. My wife summed up the situation in one word:

“A*****e,” she said.

Some people, upon getting a scope cut, are like to swoon, and develop PTSD. Others brush it off. Susan Casey, who wrote a wonderful story for Field & Stream about an elk hunt on which she could not bring herself to pull the trigger, got a medium one, and decided she liked it.

“It makes me look like a badass,” said Susan.