There are various reasons why a rifle scope may appear fuzzy when looking through it. The remedies to that problem range from pretty easy to requiring the scope to be sent in for repair.

Below we’ll go over the most common difficulties and solutions for blurry scopes, and hopefully have you back to seeing crystal clear targets.

How to clean a rifle scope

First thing is to clean the scope and make sure the scope lens is clean. Rifle scope lenses, like most glass, attract all kinds of unwanted particles that attach to the lenses, with fingerprints being the most common cause! The foreign material accumulates on the lenses over time, reducing the clarity of the lenses. When you look through the scope, it may appear hazy.

The proper approach is to wipe the exterior of both of the scope’s lenses. You may do this with either glass wipes or a scope brush or the cloths that come with your eyeglasses, which are created specifically for this purpose.

A scope brush, also known as a lens pen, is a compact tool with a fine brush on one end and a felt-tipped flatter brush on the other. I always start by carefully brushing around both the lens and eyepiece ends with the tiny brush to eliminate any foreign objects or dust.

If the dry lens pen doesn’t remove all of the dirt or streaks from the lenses, you may have to switch and try using a liquid cleaner. I usually begin by putting a little drop of tap water on a glass-friendly cloth and gently rubbing it over the lens. Then, depending on what I have on hand, I gently wipe the water away with a tissue or a specialized lens cleaning cloth.

Cleaning your scope

Make sure your Parallax and Eyebox are properly adjusted

A scope’s focus and parallax go hand in hand if one is off the whole scope is off. When dealing with a blurry scope it is best to take your scope outside and readjust your eyebox and parallax.

How to adjust Parallax on a rifle scope

First, we need to find out if our scope is fixed-focused (fixed parallax) or not. A fixed focused scope will have a non-adjustable knob that usually has a distance labeled on it in yards. Most of these types of scopes are set at 50 or 100 yards. This is important because if you have a fixed scope set at 100 yards and you are looking at a target that is only 40 yards away it will most likely appear blurry and out of focus. 

If this is the case then you are out of luck, you need to purchase a scope with adjustable parallax, or stick with targets that are in the designated range of the scope.

If your scope has an adjustable parallax then all you need to do is measure the distance you are from the target and set your parallax adjustment accordingly.

There have been many times I took an old rifle out to fire a few rounds and noticed the image wasn’t crisp due to forgetting to properly dial in parallax. If your scope is still blurry after adjusting your scope’s parallax then maybe your eyepiece needs to be adjusted.

How to adjust an eyepiece on a rifle scope

Most scopes these days come with an eyepiece (or an eyebox) adjustment. This adjustment is typically located at the front of the scope and either the entire eyebox will rotate or there will be an ocular ring to adjust.

To get a proper adjustment you will need to take the scope outside, look at some clouds through the scope and very quickly adjust the eyepiece so the image is crisp and clear. The reason we want to do it quickly after looking through the scope is because our eyes will automatically adjust after a short period of time and make the image less blurry.

When out hunting we do not have the time to let our eyes adjust to a blurry image, we want it to be perfect the second we line up our target.

Scope Eyebox Adjustment

Does my rifle scope need to be repaired

If you’ve exhausted all other options and remedies for a blurry scope and still have a problem, it’s time to send the rifle sight in for examination and servicing.

Initially, you should check for information about mailing the scope to the manufacturer. Even if the riflescope is no longer covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, there’s a strong possibility the manufacturer will examine it and perhaps fix it.

Most rifle sight manufacturers offer a return policy in which they check the scope, perform any necessary repairs, test the scope when the repairs are completed, then send it back to the customer. You may have to pay for the repair out of pocket if the scope is beyond the warranty period or if the repair is not covered by the warranty. In such a scenario, you’ll need to locate an independent gun repair business that is knowledgeable and willing to work on your specific scope brand.

Fixing internal scope components is not easy work so make sure whoever you take it to has the experience and is confidence to get the job done correctly.

How long does a rifle scope last

Scopes are not an item that wears out, with popper maintenance a scope can last indefinitely. I have an old scope my grandpa mounted on a 30-06 back in the 1950s and it works just fine.

Electronic scopes, such as ones with an illuminated reticle, may theoretically wear out their electronic parts over time, however, this would take an extremely long period for a well-made scope (ignoring apparent battery replacements), and would have no effect on the scope’s functioning in typical usage.

As long as you take care of a quality scope, you will be able to use it for the rest of your life and pass it on to your grandchildren.


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