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How to Clean a Rifle Scope: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Clean a Rifle Scope A Step-by-Step Guide

A clean rifle sight is vital if you want to shoot well. In this article, I’ll discuss how to clean a scope lens properly.

You can use a scope lens cleaner, or a cloth or lens paper to clean your sight. When cleaning a scope lens, avoid harmful practices, clean it when necessary, and store your riflescope properly.

I’ll guide you through the essential steps of scope lens cleaning.

Let’s get started right away!

What You Need to Clean Your Rifle Scope?

Use the right tools listed below to clean your scopes.

  • Compressed air
  • A soft lens brush
  • Optic cleaning solutions
  • Regular optics wipes or anti-fogging wipes
  • Microfiber lens cloth or cleanroom swab

First, I will discuss compressed air.

Compressed Air

Compressed Air

Compressed air removes all the dust and tiny particles on your rifle scope lens, keeping it clean. This tool is also sometimes called “canned air.”

You can also add portable blowers to your cleaning kit. These can also be used to remove dust particles. You can get these at any camera store.

Lens Brush

Lens Brush

Use a lens brush to sweep away dust and debris on the scope’s surface. These brushes are typically soft and anti-static so they will not damage your rifle scope lens.

Ensure the brushes are oil-free. You can also use a lens pen to carefully brush your scope.

Cleaning Solutions

Cleaning Solutions

You will also need cleaning solutions like eyeglass or liquid cleaners. Eyeglass cleaner and isopropyl alcohol are also good choices when you need to clean a gun sight.

However, water is still the safest liquid to clean a lens with.

I strongly recommend avoiding using spray formulas like Formula 409 or gun-cleaning solvents on coated lenses. They can damage the coating of your rifle scope lens.

Regular Optics Wipes or Anti-Fogging Wipes

Regular Optics Wipes or Anti-Fogging Wipes

Regular optics wipes are special wiping cloths that are moist and specially formulated for cleaning rifle scopes. These wipes do not leave any residue behind on your scopes.

Fog occurs when water vapor condenses on glass surfaces, like scopes.

Anti-fogging wipes, as the name implies, stop fog from developing on your optics.

Microfiber Lens Cloth or Cleanroom Swab

Microfiber Lens Cloth or Cleanroom Swab

A microfiber cloth or cleanroom swab is also useful for removing obstructions from scopes but should be used carefully and rarely. Remember to remove larger pieces of debris first before using the cloth.

These cloths are soft but can still scratch lenses if used improperly.

This will prevent scratching the lenses. Cleanroom swabs can be used the same way, reaching tight spots when wiping in the same motion.

How to Clean Your Rifle Scope

I will now discuss how to keep your scopes clean.

  • Step 1. Clear away the large particles.
  • Step 2. Wipe down the body.
  • Step 3. Wet the lenses.
  • Step 4. Wipe the lenses in circular motions.
  • Step 5: Allow it to air dry.

I will begin with the first step, which is to clear away larger particles.

Step 1. Clear Away Large Particles

Step 1. Clear Away Large Particles

To start the scope lens cleaning, gently brush away large particles of dirt and debris from the scope with a clean, dry brush.

If larger particles remain, use pressurized air to carefully remove them.

Handling the objective lens with proper care is crucial to avoid scratches or damage to the lens coating.

Step 2. Wipe Down the Body

Step 2. Wipe Down the Body

Use a soft cloth or lens paper and gently wipe down the body of your optic. Wipe down any moving parts like exposed turrets.

You can also use water to remove any accumulated dirt, and gently wipe down any dust or debris on the optics.

Step 3. Wet the Lenses

You may need to wet the lenses with a cleaning solution like optic liquid cleaner. You can also use a bit of alcohol.

A 90% isopropyl alcohol can be used to clean a scope lens. Brush away larger pieces of debris with a soft brush and compressed air, then gently rinse the lens. Alcohol can be substituted for water to prevent water spots.

Use a soft cloth, water, optic liquid cleaner, or isopropyl alcohol. Dip a corner of the cloth or a Q-tip into the optic solution, gently wipe the objective lens in a circular motion, and dry it.

Step 4. Wipe the Lenses

Use a microfiber lens cloth or cleanroom swab to wipe down your lenses gently. Start from the center of the lenses and move outwards, taking time to remove dried water spots and fingerprint smudges.

Next, give the glass time to dry.

Step 5. Allow to Dry

After careful cleaning, allow your scopes to dry naturally by placing them in an open spot with fresh air.

Give them enough time to dry before reassembling your optic.

What to Avoid When Cleaning Your Rifle Scope?

Here is what to avoid when cleaning your sight.

  • Do not use oils or lubricants on your scopes. You want it to be clean and clear, not slippery.
  • Do not use abrasive materials that can scratch your lenses.
  • Only use soft, gentle cloths. Avoid using rough or coarse fabrics like your shirt tail.
  • Only remove what the manual says is removable when disassembling your optic.

When Should You Clean Your Rifle Scope?

Follow these tips to know when it is time to clean your rifle scope.

First, only clean your scope when needed. Keep an eye on your lens – if the smudges or dust obstruct your vision, clean it with a spray or anti-fog solution.

Next, inspect the body of your optic as well. If you notice grime or foreign objects anywhere on your scope, you need to clean it.

Remember to use lens caps to protect your scopes from dust and debris.

How to Store a Rifle Scope?

There are two important steps to follow when storing a rifle scope. They are listed below as follows.

  • Always cover the glass when not in use.
  • Store the scopes in a dry place away from direct sunlight.

I will start by discussing the first step.

Always Cover the Scope Lens When Not in Use

Always Cover the Scope Lens When Not in Use

Apply lens covers whenever you are not using the scope. This will prevent dust and dirt from entering it and obstructing your vision.

This applies even if your lenses have special coatings. It is better to avoid potentially scratching the coatings by keeping them covered.

Store the Scope in a Dry Place Away From Direct Sunlight or Heat

Store scopes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or heat. Avoid humidity, as it can damage the scope.

Use a protective case to shield your scopes from damage and dust. Remember to also keep them away from damp or humid areas.

Differences in temperature between your scopes and the climate can quickly damage them. Take extra care if you live in a more humid environment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

This FAQ section will provide more information on cleaning a scope lens.

What is the Best Thing to Clean Scope Lenses With?

The best thing to clean scope lenses with is an eyeglasses or lens cleaner. These cleaners can remove fingerprints gently without scratching the lens.

When using lens cleaners, remember to spray onto the microfiber cloth, not directly onto the lens.

Can You Clean a Scope with Windex?

You should not use Windex to clean a scope lens because some of its ingredients may damage your lens coatings. Start by brushing it with a lens pen. Use a cleanroom swab and lens cleaner for tougher smudges.

Final Thoughts on How to Clean a Rifle Scope

To clean a scope lens properly, you will need compressed air, a soft lens brush, cleaning solutions, optics wipes, and microfiber cloths.

Clean your scope lens with a soft cloth, cover it when it is not in use, and store it in a cool, dry place. Do not use Windex to clean it. Use gentle cleaners like water or isopropyl alcohol instead.

I recommend keeping your scopes clean to ensure they can serve you for a long time.

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