Why Is My Rifle Scope Blurry?

Are you unable to see your target? You are not satisfied with your hunting because your rifle scope lacks clarity? Like a microscope, a rifle scope helps to focus on the target, and aim at your target with precision. If you are a beginner, this is the first and most important hindrance faced during hunting. When the reticle is out of focus, you are compromising the quality of the image. There is also the issue of being too close to your target when using your scope. Therefore, it’s important the type of scope you buy is one that fits your skill level and type of shooting; there are two basic types–fixed and variable.

Fixed Scopes – Pros and Cons

It is easy to get a brighter and sharper view of your aim through fixed scopes. They have automatic settings, so beginners do not need to make adjustments while hunting. These scopes are sturdy and built to last. If you are on a tight budget but still want options and better glass quality, then this is the affordable option.

However, there are also drawbacks; first of all, this is becoming outdated as more people are looking for variable options. Fixed scopes are equipped with a set amount of powers which most people may not use if they do not know how to set them accordingly. If you are aiming your target at a shorter distance, then fixed scopes might be too powerful as it makes pinning your closer target very difficult.

Variable Scopes – Pros and Cons

The best part about variable scopes is that the settings can be adjusted based on your location, type of target, and proximity of aim. There is complete control over the scope, and the magnification can be adjusted according to your need.

However, there are certain drawbacks to this type of scope. It is hard to achieve the same level of clarity as that of the fixed ones because you have to manually make adjustments. Skilled hunters may find this easier to do than beginners.

Reasons for Blurriness

  1. Dirty fingerprints imprinted on the glass of the scope
  2. The settings of the rifle are incorrect.
  3. The scope is not of good quality.

Blurriness can be directly linked to the magnification and parallax settings of your scope.


Low magnification will not offer a good quality image. Raising the power can solve this issue, but this negatively affects the sharpness of the image.

The scopes that have parallax settings, ranging from 100 yards to infinity, have a magnification range of 10X to 12X. If you lower the magnification, the image quality will be poor, but if you increase the magnification, the image will become dull.

Closer targets may not be effective; therefore, try by lowering the magnification or adjusting your distance to achieve the required precision.


A side, adjustable objective knob on the rifle allows you to adjust your focus for better accuracy. These adjustments correct the parallax error concerning the reticle, but if it’s not adjusted properly, a blurred image is produced. To magnify the target, make sure that your target and reticle are aligned to achieve sharpness.

Adjust the parallax error by following a few steps. Use a rangefinder laser or manually estimate the distance of the object. Then look through the lens and adjust the magnification, if needed. This will produce a clearer image.

If the rifle contains a side focus option, try adjusting that to align all the settings and get a more focused aim. Human error of overestimating or undershooting the range will lead to a blurry image. In conclusion, the magnification setting is directly related to the parallax error.

Tips for Adjustable Objective

  • Mark the top surface of an adjustable objective to correct the parallax error.
  • Measure these distances in yards or meters and adjust until it is at the optimal focal distance.
  • It is ideal to use a rangefinder when you are not sure about your target distance.
  • While adjusting the knob, move your head and roll your eyes to reduce the floating effect of the image as much as possible.
  • It is important to have a consistent body stance. Look at the target from the same position each time you aim a shot.
  • Set a time to hit the range.
  • Target should be set at the maximum possible distance.
  • Set the highest possible magnification.

Setting Mirage

Massive heat waves during the day can distort your vision estimations. People may become frustrated as it impacts both long-range and short-range shooting as the mirage distorts the focal point of your aim. However, you can turn the tables to your benefit. The smartest thing to do would be to lower the magnification to wave off the delusion.

There are other forms of mirage, namely, the barrel or suppressor mirage; with this, the heatwaves generate from a rifle’s barrel or suppressor. The only logical solution to this is to rest your rifle aside and let it cool down. Another solution to illusion is purchasing an anti-mirage shield that fits your rifle.

Blurry Reticle

An out of focus reticle is the prime reason for the distortion of an image. To keep your eyes healthy, it is important that the reticle is properly focused and refocused from time to time. Since eyesight may change over time, you should make the adjustments accordingly.

How to Fix the Problem

  • Put on your glasses (if needed) while diagnosing your lens.
  • If the eyepiece is locked, unlock it and remove the scope cap.
  • It is highly important to avoid looking at the sun through your rifle scope, as this can cause serious damage to your eyes, including permanent blindness.
  • Alternatively, you can aim at a blank spot to experiment whether the scope is blurry or not. After this, try to aim at a distant object.
  • It is essential to rotate the eyepiece, peek through it, and immediately look away. Turning away is a crucial part so that your eyes are not accustomed to blurry images.
  • Keep repeating this step until you get a sharp image. It is necessary to note your ideal settings if you are sharing your equipment with others. If your rifle is not focused, eye problems will get worse over time.

Cleaning Techniques to Avoid Blurry Vision

Keep water away from the rifle

Avoid water contact or the scope will rust. If you don’t, it will reduce the aim efficiency and you may have to invest in another scope. You can use simple household things to wipe the water off. Gently remove the eyepiece and use a hairdryer to evaporate water particles in the tube. Be very careful in doing this and do not heat the tube.

Once you are sure that all the water has been aerated, apply Vaseline on the threads of the eyepiece. Place both parts of the equipment in a plastic bag and pump air into the plastic.

Vaseline will lock in the air which will help to eradicate any moisture left in the bag.

Keep the scope lens clean

Wipe off dust particles with a non-grease brush. You can also invest in a lens pen for effective cleaning. To clean smudges or fingerprints, use a microfiber cloth to avoid scratches on the lens.

Sometimes, hunting may leave stubborn marks on the lens, but there is no need to worry about it. Scrub it off with a soft tissue and cleaning liquid. Use a wet tissue, but do not forget to dry the lens with a dry tissue. There are gun cleaning solutions available on the market that will make the process easier. You should also apply lens paper as it will save the device from scratches and dirt.

Store your rifle where there is no moisture and is clean of grease. This will increase the life of the rifle and scope.

Frequently Asked questions

Q. What is the best rifle scope to buy?

Choose your scope according to your needs. If you want to do close hunting, a medium power range is ideal.

Q. What size lens should I choose for the rifle scope?

This again depends on the type of hunting. You should choose a more professional lens for distant targets.

Q. How often should we clean the rifle scope?

Clean this regularly, but not too often as it can destroy the lens. Too much cleaning can also lead to blurriness.

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