Home » Gun Scopes » Tips & Tutorials » Why is My Rifle Scope Blurry? [Top Reasons & Quick Solutions]

Why is My Rifle Scope Blurry? [Top Reasons & Quick Solutions]

This post contains affiliate links. If you click and buy we may make a commission, at no additional charge to you. Please see our disclosure policy for more details.

Blurry images through scopes are a frequent occurrence for beginner shooters and owners of scopes with high magnifications. A blurred scope image makes aiming difficult and stressful as you’ll struggle to hit your target.

When many people encounter this problem, they often attribute it to many factors; sometimes, they are correct, many other times, they are nowhere near the cause of the blurriness. Knowing the correct reason for your scope’s blurriness is the first step to solving it and getting a clear, crisp image of your target.

If you want to know why you may be experiencing blurry images, this article will show you some common causes. It’ll also go a step further by providing quick fixes for these problems so you can finally rectify blurry images in your scope.

The scope will not be fully utilized when the image is not clear enough or when you cannot pick out your target with ease. This is why you need a clear scope without any of those blurry corners or centers.

Causes of Blurry Scope and Their Solutions

Causes of Blurry Scope and Their Solutions

There are many reasons why your scope is blurry, and you cannot shoot perfectly. The reasons can range from the simple issues of adjustment of scope to more complex scope errors. We’ll see some of these causes and what you can do to remedy the situation.

Poor Quality Scope

While there are many reasons for a blurry image in your scope, sometimes it’s simply poor scope quality. If you use a cheap scope with substandard specifications, you might have to contend with blurry images.

This is not an attack on people who use cheap scopes; no, just a reminder of the issues that can be associated with such scopes as they make use of low-quality products to keep the price down. Don’t get it twisted, though; not all cheap scopes have substandard parts. There are cheap scopes that are nothing but a great deal.

So if you’re having blurry images issues, it might be because of the quality of your scope.

Solution: The solution here is simple if the cause of the blurriness is due to a poor quality scope. To remedy this, change the scope with better specification and part quality.



Magnification is one of the most common causes of blurry images in a scope. The rate at which you can magnify an image in respect to the distance can make your vision blurry or difficult to see, depending on the type of scope and rifle.

Bonus Read: What do the Numbers Mean on a Rifle Scope?

Many shooters think they can only have blurry images due to magnification when shooting with high magnification, but the reality is even low magnification can cause poor image quality. If you’re getting clear photos at lower magnification but struggle with image quality when you switch to the higher levels of magnification or vice versa, then magnification may be the problem.

Solution: First of all, check if the cause of this is a mirage or if the parallax is not adjusted correctly. If none of these is the issue, then your scope is the culprit here, and you need to change it. Remember, it is not all about the price of the scope; even though higher-priced scopes are typical of higher quality, you can also get an affordable scope that you can use at the extremes without any blurriness.

Dirty Lenses

Dirty Lenses

Dirty lenses can block your view and make it difficult to see the images on them. If there is any dirt on the lens of your scope, it is bound to impede your view and cause blurriness. A dirty lens is a common blurry scope cause and is one of the first troubleshooting you should run when you notice blurry images as it is easy to resolve.

Solution: The solution to this issue is simply cleaning the lenses with a glass cleaner and a microfibre cloth. Before cleaning the Keane’s, first, blow off any big particle from the lens as cleaning with such particles on the lens will scratch it and make it impossible to get clear images with the lenses again.



The focus of your reticle can cause blurry images and reduce their quality. You’re bound to be faced with blurry images when you try to aim at your target without a focused reticle.

So how do you know if the blurriness of your scope may be associated with your reticle focus? Try looking through the scope at a light-colored or white wall. Remember, the aim is to see if the reticle focus may be the problem. If you see a clear image, your reticle is focused, and you can move to the next possible cause. If you see a blurry image, your reticle may be out of focus and will need adjusting. Notice how I’ve kept on using “may” here? This is because even after seeing unclear images when you look at a white wall, the reticle may still not be the problem. I’ll show you some possible causes as we talk about the solution.

Solution: After checking if the image is blur or sharp by looking at a wall and confirming its blurriness, it is time to adjust the reticle focus. How do you do this? Check for the focus knob that is usually around the eyepiece or diopter end and change it till you get a clear image. If, after adjusting, you cannot get a crisp image or the scope does not have an adjustment knob for reticle focus, two things are involved. Either you have bad eyesight, or the scope is terrible/restricted and should be changed.



Mirage is the heatwave that rises from the ground on a hot day. When there’s a mirage, and you look through your scope, the mirage will cause some form of image blurriness that can impede your shooting accuracy.

Mirage is a naturally occurring phenomenon common in hot weather, so most times unavoidable. This has nothing to do with your scope quality, as even the best scopes show this phenomenon. Distortion caused by mirage increases when aiming at a farther distance and higher magnifications. Even though mirage may be unavoidable when shooting, you can quickly identify it and remedy the situation.

Also Read: Best Rifle Scope Under $500 and $300 | Top 12 Reviews

Solution: First, you have to be sure it is a mirage and not just scope blurriness. Blurriness caused by mirages will appear like a pool of water in the scope. Learn how to read wind and mirage patterns and still hit your target even when there is a mirage. You may have to change or repair the scope for you to enjoy crisp and clear images.



When your target and reticle are not aligned, there is a parallax. Parallax causes blurry images since the image cannot show on the reticle perfectly. These imperfections cause the image to be blurry.

The more features your scope has, the more prone you are to having parallax and ultimately blurry images. Shooting longer distances can also expose your scope to parallax distortions. It is because of the above reasons that higher-end scopes shooting longer distances are more susceptible to parallax when using a scope.

Solution: Focusing and adjusting for parallax will solve any parallax issue you’re having that is causing blurry images. So how do you make these adjustments?

Remember, parallax occurs when your reticle and target are not aligned. To remedy this, you need to align the target and reticle. First, know the distance of your target by estimating or using a rangefinder.

Water in the Scope

Water in the Scope

If there’s water inside your scope, then it is a no-brainer that you’ll experience some form of blurriness or the other. Water can get into your scope when you use it in the rain, wet conditions, or you can accidentally spill water into it. When this occurs, the image you’ll see will be a blur as the water reaches the lenses. Fog is also closely associated with water in the scope and can affect the clarity of the image produced.

Solution: It is easy to notice if you have water in your scope. When this is established, dry out the water and clean the scope. Allow it to dry properly before use, and you should see a sharp increase in image quality. Buying waterproof and fogproof scopes is also a sure way to prevent water and fog from entering the scope.


Looking through your scope in anticipation of shooting only to see a blur, the poor-quality image of your target can be annoying. And if you try to go ahead with the shooting in such a condition, you end up wasting time, effort, and ammunition as you’ll struggle to hit your targets.

A host of factors causes blurriness in scopes. Knowing why you see a blurred image when you look through your scope is the first step to finding a lasting solution. This guide also provides quick fixes to each problem.

You May Also Like: Best 1-8x Scope in 2022 | Top 5 Reviews

About Author

James Towndrow, a NRA-certified Firearms Instructor. During a career of 18 years had won several shooting competition including major leagues. Taking all those experience down the road, is now a successful Shooting Instructor in Texas, US.