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How to Fix a Blurry Scope – How to get Rid of Reticle Blurriness

When you’re out on the hunt, there’s something satisfying about aiming at and locking your target. When the target is at the center of your field of view, you get a little smile on your face. You are ready to fire while knowing that you’ll hit the mark.

How to Fix a Blurry Rifle Scope

However, there are times when no matter how much you tilt your head or try to reposition your rifle, you still don’t get a clear view of your target. Your scope image is not clear and your reticles are blurry. This lack of image clarity is caused by problems in your scope.

Whether it’s due to having a dirty scope, irrelevant settings, or just a poor quality scope, most scope clarity problems can be resolved with some adjustments. Read on to find out which components of the scope affect the image clarity and how you can adjust them for a clearer view if you have a blurry scope.

What Is the Scope?

The basic job of the rifle scope is to zoom into your target, even if it’s at quite a distance. It’s attached at the top of the rifle and may be either fixed or variable, depending on your type of use and personal preference.

If you’re new to using rifle scopes or trying out a different type of scope (such as one with high magnification), you might face the problem of seeing hazy or blurred images.

In order to fix this, you need to find out which part of your scope seems to be causing the problem.

What Is Causing the Blurriness?

Blurriness in Rifle Scope

The Reticle

Often, even when the reticle is out of focus, users don’t know they’re compromising on image quality. Generally, you need to focus your reticle once to match your state of vision and get rid of a blurry reticle.

If your eyesight fluctuates over time, you may need to refocus the reticle. You will also need to recalibrate your reticle if someone else uses your rifle or vice versa.

Fixing the Problem

If you generally wear glasses to see, make sure you have them on when calibrating your reticle. Remove the scope’s cap and unlock the eyepiece if it’s locked. (Note: Don’t look straight at the sun through your scope. You might be in danger of permanent blindness.)

Screw out the eyepiece. Aim the scope at a blank surface to find out whether your reticle is blurry or not.

This next step can be a bit tricky: look at a far away target, rotate your eyepiece, look through the reticle, and then look away immediately. You need to turn away immediately to ensure that your eyes don’t get accustomed to a not-so-clear image. Repeat this process until you have a sharp reticle by setting and adjusting the reticle focus.  

You might encounter a blurry reticle when you look through the scope simply because it’s mounted in the wrong position. Eye relief of the scope has to be taken into consideration when mounting the scope.

If you share your scope with other people, it’s a good idea to mark your preferred settings. It is vital to have a proper focus in your reticle to avoid straining and troubling your eyes.  

How to fix a blurry scope?


Your magnification in relation to the distance you’re trying to overcome can also be a cause for a blurry image. You might hit a roadblock when low magnification gives you a poor quality view, but a high magnification gives you a hazy image. Your parallax setting may be one of the factors causing this problem.

Rifle scopes often come with preset parallax settings offering a view from 100-150 yards up to infinity. These scopes will usually have low magnification and not have the same high magnification as a 10X or 12X rifle scope.

You might also face issues if you try targeting something that is too close to you. You can either adjust by lower the magnification or aiming at a more distant target.

You might also have to compromise on image quality if your rifle scope is of compromised quality and has a poor build.

Parallax causing your Scope to be Blurry

The more features your scope has, the more factors there are which affect your image quality and result in a blurry scope or blurry reticle. If your scope has a side turret as well as an adjustable lens, both these items can cause the appearance of a blurry image.

For a sharp view, you need to ensure that your target and your reticle are aligned. If not, there is a parallax that impacts the focus of your scope image. Parallax impacts usually are more prevalent in high magnification settings for long-range shooting.

Adjust your rifle scope to avoid blurriness

Adjusting the Parallax

Estimate the distance to your target (or use a range finding laser) and match that to the markings on your adjustable objective lens (learn more about rifle scope objective lens size). Check your view through the lens and adjust the magnification as required. This way, your parallax will be aligned and your image will be clear.

If you’re working with a side focus scope, you can adjust it to clear and focus your image. Set it at its maximum and gauge your target distance. Lower your side-focus settings till they are correlating with the distance of your target.

You may lose your target because your side focus was not appropriate for the desired distance and caused over or under-magnification.

Dealing with Mirage

Blurry images can make you extremely frustrated during a peaceful hunting trip. But don’t get ready to trash your rifle.

The problem could just be a misunderstanding between you and your rifle. Mirages show up very bright and clear in rifle scopes.

You can deal with these apparitions if you’re prepared beforehand. There are ways to read wind patterns and mirage patterns. You can also keep the magnification low to avoid being too close to the image of the mirage.

Some mirages are also caused by the heat created by your rifle. Here’s how you can avoid these illusions:

  1. Allow the rifle some time to cool off between rounds
  2. Purchase an anti-mirage band (or shield) for your rifle
Blurry Rifle Scope

Keeping Your Scope Clean

A hazy image may just be the result of a poorly maintained scope. Make sure you regularly clean it the right way to avoid getting a blurry scope.

Many modern scopes are designed to be waterproof. This is important if you go hunting or shooting in wet conditions so your scope will function properly. Otherwise, you might get water into your scope. Here’s what you can do if you end up with water inside your scope.

Getting Water Out of Your Scope

It’s important to clear out the water immediately to prevent rust from forming- if this happens, the restoration process will be much longer and you may even need to change your scope.

If the water just got in, you can fix it with some simple household items. Remove the eyepiece and aerate the tube with a hairdryer making sure your tube doesn’t start heating up.

Once all the moisture is gone, apply Vaseline to the threads of the eyepiece. Put both items into a plastic bag and inflate the bag with gas that is similar to the kind you find in a paintball gun.

The Vaseline helps lock in the gas. Make sure the bag doesn’t get foggy. The gas helps push out any air that might still contain potential rust-causing moisture particles.

Keeping Your Scope Lens Clean

For basic dust problems, you can simply use a grease-free brush or a lens pen (you can find one online here at Amazon) to brush off any dust particles.

If your lens gets smudges on it, you can clean it using a soft cloth. It is important to use a soft cloth, preferably one with microfibers to ensure that it doesn’t damage the glass of the lens.

If you’ve got some stubborn stains or residue on your glass, you can scrub them off with some soft tissue and the cleaning agent that the soft tissue label recommends. Start with a dampened tissue and use a dry one to finish the process to keep your glass as smooth and clean as possible.

Store your weapons in a grease-free and damage free zone to avoid any damage.

Cleaning the Scope

You can purchase “gun liquid” from the store and use it on a soft tissue to clean the body of your rifle scope.

You can also find lens paper to keep the lens dirt and scratch free. Lens pens can be used to blot any dust or other dirt particles to keep your lens smooth and clear.

Always remember, proper maintenance of your scope is crucial to avoid having a blurry scope. A clear, focused scope is the key to good hunting.

How to Avoid Having a Blurry Scope

It’s always helpful to keep your scope clean and adjusted to your comfort level before taking it out for use. This way you can avoid any blurry scope problems due to fog or incorrect scope settings. You’ll get a clear scope image and a sharp reticle when you look through the eyepiece to focus on your target.

If despite all precautionary measures and all attempts to fix a blurry scope your image is still blurry and out-of-focus, it might be time to seek professional help or change your scope.  

Tom Devine