For non destructive stress analysis of surface treated steel samples the application of laboratory X rays or high energy synchrotron radiation in reflection mode covers the region from some micrometers up to a depth of about 150 - 200 µm. To access depth regions deeper than 200 µm the incremental layer removal technique in combination with the repeated application of X‑ray stress analysis for the newly generated surfaces can be used. However, this procedure is destructive, laborious and furthermore, it has to be checked whether corrections have to be applied due to stress relaxation. By using neutron radiation penetration depths generally up to several millimetres can be achieved non destructively . However neutron measurements are critical at the surface. When scanning a sample surface, aberration peak shifts caused by so called spurious strains arise due to the fact that the gauge volume defined by the primary and secondary optics is partially outside of the sample. These aberration peak shifts can be of the same order of magnitude as the peak shifts related to residual strains [2-6]. In this exemplary study it will be demonstrated that, by optimising the bending radius of a Si (400) monochromator, the spurious surface strains can be strongly reduced when compared to the values obtained with a traditional Ge (311) mosaic monochromator, even when the gauge volume is mainly out of the surface. The objective of the experiments is to find the optimal monochromator settings for the Si (400) monochromator at the STRESS-SPEC instrument at the research reactor FRM II, Munich, Germany. For the parametric studies a stress free steel sample of the fine grained construction steel, S690QL was used. The optimised conditions for the Si (400) monochromator that resulted from the systematic studies were applied to a shot peened plate of steel SAE 4140. The residual stress distribution is analysed by means of through surface strain scanning. The residual stress gradient obtained is in very good agreement with the well characterised residual stress depth profile obtained within a round robin test in the scope of the BRITE-EURAM-project ENSPED (European Network of Surface and Prestress Engineering and Design) . The results indicated that surface residual stress profiles can be measured with neutrons up to 200 µm underneath the surface without time consuming and laborious surface effect corrections.