How to Repair a Rifle Scope – A Guide from Pro Marksmen

Rifle Scope Repair
Written by Erik Himmel

The body of a rifle is made up of three main parts: barrel, stock and action. Most hunters focus their attention on these essential parts every time they repair their rifles. However, they also tend to ignore a smaller but equally important part. We’re talking about the rifle scope.

Scopes allow a clear view of your targets located at high distances. Without scopes, it would be really difficult to shoot small and distant targets like wild ducks in the middle of the sky. Certainly, an experienced hunter can improve the accuracy of every shot with the help of a well calibrated scope.

If your rifle scope has stopped working properly and urgently demands to be repaired, don’t worry. Today we’ll teach you everything you need to know about rifle scope repair.

Rifle Scope Repair

How to Repair a Rifle Scope

Why do you need to fix your rifle scope?

There are cheap as well as expensive rife scopes out there. If your damaged scope costs several hundred dollars, it would be a shame to throw it away to buy a new one. If you learn how to repair it, you can save that money and invest it in other important things.

The first thing you need to do before getting down to work is to know well the different parts of a scope and their functions. By doing this, you’ll be able to identify the damage and the elements that need to be replaced.

Going hunting with a defective rifle scope is the worst thing you can do. You’ll end up losing your ammunition and your prey will escape after each failed shot. On the other hand, a functional and well calibrated rifle scope can greatly improve your accuracy and performance as a hunter.

Parts of a rifle scope

  • Objective lens

It’s the external lens of the scope that directly faces the target and receives light from the outside environment. The bigger the objective lens, the higher the light gaining. However, the increase in size also implies a considerable increase in weight.

  • Elevation turret

The elevation turret is a millimeter wheel located on the top of the rifle scope that allows you to adjust the vertical position of the reticle.

  • Windage turret

It’s a millimeter wheel located on the right side of the rifle scope that allows adjusting the horizontal position of the reticle.

  • Scope tube

It’s the solid metal tube that contains all the lenses and moving parts of the scope. The scope tube is fixed to the rifle through a couple of rings located at each extreme.

  • Power ring

The power ring allows you to control the magnification of the image. Usually, a higher magnification implies a higher detail but also a considerable loss of the field of view.

  • Eyepiece

It’s the rigid metal cylinder that holds the ocular lens. On some scopes, the eyepiece can be adjusted to improve reticle focus.

  • Ocular lens

It’s the lens that directly faces the eye of the shooter. Usually, different coatings are applied over the ocular lens to improve light transmission and repel water.

How to repair a rifle scope?

Fixing a misalignment

If you can’t get a clear image from your scope, it probably isn’t properly aligned. To check the alignment, place the rifle over your shoulder and keep an eye open in front of the eyepiece lens. Then point a target and verify that the barrel of the rifle also points in the same direction. You can also use a quality bore sight to adjust your scope.

Common causes of misalignments

  • Rings
    Common causes of misalignments- Rings
    As said before, the scope is fixed to the rifle body through a pair of rings. These rings should be strong and fit perfectly to the silhouette of the scope to prevent adjustment problems. Inappropriate rings don’t guarantee the stability of the scope.
  • Mounting holesSometimes, rifles may come with mounting holes misaligned from factory. When this happens, the rings can’t be properly aligned. In these cases it’s better to take your rifle to a professional to correct the problem.On the other hand, if all the holes are perfectly aligned and the problem persists, maybe there’s an internal misalignment on the scope.
  • Ammunition
    Common causes of misalignments- Ammunition
    Always use the ammunition type recommended by the manufacturer. Usually, using a heavier kind of ammunition will affect the sighting.
  • Scope size
    Scope size
    Rifles with thin barrels don’t work very well with big and heavy scopes. If that’s your case, perhaps that’s the main cause of your misalignment problem. In that case it’s better to replace the scope with a smaller model.

Care & maintenance tips

  • Injecting nitrogen to the scope

Most modern scopes are filled with nitrogen. This gas blocks the passage of moist air into the scope tube, preventing cloudy lenses. In case the nitrogen escapes from the tube, it’s convenient to return the product to the manufacturer to get a refill.

  • Don’t use oil

Never apply oil inside the scope if the metal surface is rusting. This is a clear sign that the scope has lost its nitrogen seal. In this case it’s better to return the product to the manufacturer to solve the problem.

If the oil enters inside the tube and touches the lenses, your scope will end up being completely useless.

  • How to clean the lenses?

Dirt particles tend to accumulate on the surface of the lenses. These abrasive particles tend to scratch the lenses over time that you need to clean up. To prevent this, it’s advisable to rub the surface with a cotton ball soaked with alcohol.

  • Replace your scope if necessary

When regular maintenance isn’t enough to make your scope work properly, it should be replaced. Check if the warranty of your current scope is still valid so you can replace it at no extra cost.


The best way to guarantee the best operation of your thermal or long-range or rimfire rifle scope is to keep a regular maintenance routine. Most of the problems associated with these devices are linked to misalignment problems. For that reason, it’s a good idea to regularly check the stability and position of your rifle scope to avoid problems.

Now that you know all the secrets about rifle scope repair, you won’t need to contact a professional every time your scope gives you trouble. Just follow these valuable tips and everything will be fine.

About the author

Erik Himmel

A Part-Time Firearm Instructor

Hi, this is Erik. We all know firearms are dangerous, but only when one doesn’t know how to use and care for them. I have 15+ years of experience with different types of guns and for the last 10 years, I have taught numerous people how to hold and shoot a gun while staying safe and keeping the surroundings unharmed. My neighbors are some of my biggest admirers who enjoy talking to me about their guns, firearms safety and maintenance.

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