Ammo & Gear Reviews

How To Clean A Rifle Scope Like A Pro

(Shutterstock/Welcomia)

Guns and Gear Contributor

By Richard Douglas, Scopes Field

There’s nothing quite like mounting a brand new scope on your firearm. The problem is that all it takes is one use on the field to get it dirty. After a few hunts and target shooting, you’ll begin to notice dried-up specks of pollen, mud, fingerprint smudges, and even blow-back powders. As a result, the scope’s image quality and sharpness worsen.

This is bad. Especially considering scopes cost a pretty penny; sometimes costing more than the firearm itself. So it’s essential to take care of your investment. Here are 3 super easy steps to follow that’ll keep your scope’s glass looking pristine (and scratch-free) for years to come. In fact, I’ve personally cleaned my AR-10 scope using these same techniques, and it still looks new.

Step 1: Remove All Dust

The first step in cleaning your scope lens is to remove all the dust. Many people do this with a shirt or sleeve. Don’t do that. Also, don’t use paper towels, newspaper, or toilet tissue. You’ll end up scratching your lens coatings, which will ruin your optics over time.

Instead, remove the dust particles by using either a LensPen or Compressed Gas Duster (or both). From personal experience, I’ve found that using compressed gas is the most effective method of removing microscopic dust particles. It’s unparalleled in cleaning. However, if you use compressed air, make sure to fire in short bursts to avoid damaging your optics. Also, make sure to hold the scope upside down so the dust falls away instead of towards the lens.

Step 2: Wipe The Lens

Now that you’ve removed the dust, it’s time to start cleaning. First, grab a chemical-free microfiber cloth or lens paper. Again, don’t use your shirt or paper products (like newspaper or paper towels). You’ll mess up your rifle scope faster than you realize.

So grab a microfiber cloth and gently wipe the scope lenses in a circular motion to remove smudges. The key here is to be extra gentle and take your time. After all, your scope’s lens is delicate — so treat them accordingly. Once you’re done, your lens should be completely clean. However, there are times where stubborn residues like tree sap, powder blow-back, or pollen require a bit more power. That’s when you pull out the liquid cleaners.

Step 3: Apply Liquid Cleaners

Let me start by saying this; Never use Windex! House cleaning products (like Windex) are too strong and will damage the coatings on your lens.

Instead, I’d recommend using a lens cleaner or cleaning solutions recommended by your scope’s manufacturing company. Once you’ve bought yourself a liquid cleaner, make sure to apply a few drops onto a microfiber cloth – not the lens – and start cleaning. Start from the center of the glass and gently wipe in a circular motion. After that, you should now be left with a sparkly clean glass.

Test Out The Scope

So, as a recap, here’s the 3-step process to keeping your scope lens pristine. First, use a LensPen or Compressed Gas Duster to remove dust. Then, gently wipe the surface with a microfiber cloth to remove residue. Lastly, if those “hardcore” smudges are still present, then use a liquid cleaner to remove them.

Once you’ve taken those 3 steps, you’re now ready to test out your scope. Pack your gear, go out to the range and shoot through your newly-cleaned scope. No longer will those yucky smudges bother you. Instead, you’ll experience a nice, clear lens that will improve your shooting. With these simple steps, you’ll be able to keep your scope lenses in tip-top shape for years to come.

Richard Douglas is the founder of Scopes Field, a blog where he reviews the best scopes and guns on the market. He’s been featured on various magazines and publications like NEWSREP, ODU Magazine, Boyds Gun Stocks, Burris Optics, JPFO and so much more. Click here to visit ScopesField.com.