Problems with scopes; My eyes don't know what to do!


Kind of Blued
March 7, 2009, 02:53 AM
I've spent very little time shooting scoped rifles, but when I have, I've always kept both eyes open. I did this with a 3x on a .22, and I did it with a 30x on my .50BMG. Why? It's the only way I can keep the reticle in sharp focus! I gather that this isn't how most people's eyes act, since traditionally shooters use one eye with their scope.

I'm right-handed, right-eye dominant, so that shouldn't be a problem, however, when I close my left eye, my right eye gradually adjusts to focus on the target, making the reticle fuzzy. Even if I try, I can't keep my eye from re-focusing. I'm also near-sighted, although this shouldn't affect a single thing as far as I know.

I'm a photographer, so I understand apertures and their effect of depth-of-field. I was thinking that perhaps the issue is inadequate light to provide the depth of field to keep both the reticle and target in focus, but this has happened on bright sunny days also.

Am I doing something incredibly wrong? When I twist my scope's rear focusing ring I see no difference. Is this because my eye is compensating for the adjustments?

When I shoulder the gun the crosshairs are sharp, but if there is any amount of detail on the target, I inadvertantly focus on that.

Does/did anybody else have this problem?

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March 7, 2009, 03:09 AM
I'm near sighted does not affect anything.

You may not be adjusting the focus ring on the scope enough though...for me, they are always almost all the way in (tightened).

Another thing...focus the scope by looking up at a clear sky (no clouds...nothing but blue) If the reticle is clear the instant your eye hits it the scope is focused.

If its not clear the instant your eye hits it...its out of focus and needs adjustment.

Cheap scopes sometimes won't focus perfectly...when it comes to scopes, you REALLY do get what you pay for (I suspect the same is true for camera lenses)

Kind of Blued
March 7, 2009, 03:13 AM
Ok, so the reticle is sharp the INSTANT I shoulder the gun... When I aim at something OTHER than the sky, like a target, I can either try to keep my eye from readjusting, or I can focus on the target which causes the crosshairs to go blurry...

I don't touch the scope's focusing ring at any point during this.

That's not normal, is it?

March 7, 2009, 03:15 AM
What kind of scope is it?

March 7, 2009, 03:21 AM
What I'm getting at is this...

Its not normal...but it also probably is not your eyes. Its probably the scope...I have seen it happen on Leupold VX I and II's, the more "affordable" Nikons, and a few Bushnells.

Kind of Blued
March 7, 2009, 03:46 AM
This same phenomena has occured with every scope I've used as far as I can remember, granted none of them were great scopes... <$400 across the board.

March 7, 2009, 04:15 AM
Adjust the focus ring until both the image and the reticle are in focus.

March 7, 2009, 07:55 AM
I think the correct way to use a scope is with both eyes open.

Kind of Blued
March 7, 2009, 04:33 PM
Adjust the focus ring until both the image and the reticle are in focus.

This never happens for me along the entire range of the focus.

Anyway, I shot live today and the problem is less of an issue when the background is further away. I was shooting at ~60 yards and could almost get both in focus, although it still didn't happen.

March 7, 2009, 04:54 PM
See if you can try a side focus scope and see if parallax is a problem for you. It should not really be an issue though if you have your head in the proper position.

March 10, 2009, 09:04 PM
I am having the same problem as you man.As soon as I turn the magnification up to 9x I tend to lose focus.My crosshairs go fuzzy blurry and I pull shots and miss target.

I am trying to shoot some little targets but I am having a hard time.

March 10, 2009, 09:24 PM
When some people close one eye, the other eye focuses closer. It's a physiological thing.

One way around it is to keep both eyes open, but not everyone can do that (doesn't work for me with magnified optics very well, though red dots are fine). Another option, if you don't mind looking like a pirate, is to cover the non-shooting eye with an eye patch, or perhaps the brim of your hat pulled low. I think competitive long-range shooters may even have some suction-cup doodad that sticks onto the lens of your glasses to accomplish the same thing.

March 10, 2009, 09:29 PM
Sometimes your eyes just go fuzzy, its fatigue. Sometimes on extended range sesions, if I dont take a few minutes between shots, the crosshairs get blurry.

March 10, 2009, 09:40 PM
This happens to me sometimes too. I, too, think it's eye fatique after long periods behind a scope. I'm right eye dominant as well and I close my left eye, always have. I've all kinds of different scopes and it happens to all of them. I notice it more on my Remington VLS because I spend longer looking through the scope and focusing on my aiming. After looking through the scope for long enough, the crosshairs will start to dim and get blurry, even though the target is still sharp in my scope. I think it's mostly eye fatique. Adjusting the eye relief will help this some, but I think it's mostly eye related.

jim in Anchorage
March 10, 2009, 09:52 PM
The Lyman merit optical attachment with aperture was meant to cure this,although I am sure it was meant for open sights,but the principle with a scope is the same. It was basically a tiny,adjustable camera aperture that attaches to your glasses with a suction cup,on your sighting eye. Light going tru a pin hole greatly increases depth of focus[ck out a peep sight vs opens]. I have no idea if they still make it[it is listed at $ 8.00 in my 1973 shooters bible] but you may be able to find something similar.

March 10, 2009, 10:03 PM
I don't know your age, but this is the explanation offered by my eye doctor:

As I got older, my eyeballs began to harden and/or lenses stiffen (called presbyopia) and it now takes more muscle effort to achieve and maintain focus. Although the muscles of each eye work independently when our eyes aim and focus, nevertheless it is a little easier for us old guys to achieve and hold focus if we stay in binocular mode (both eyes at the same time).

She says this isn't true for everyone. At the time she was only talking to me about my eyes. So you should be mindful that it may or may not apply to you.

So here's my real advice: Go to our friend Ridgerunner665's post #5 above, print it and take it to your wife. Claim that you need to buy a Leupold immediately. Or maybe a Nikon at least. Never ever pass up a good excuse to upgrade equipment.

March 10, 2009, 10:24 PM
I hope I am not having problems with my eyes I am only 24 years young.

I can keep the reticle bold and dark if I keep both eyes open but I still dont have enough power to see the small targets.I can keep both eyes open and close in on the target,once on the target I can take a breathe,exhale half of it,close my weak eye and squeeze the trigger.It works but I still dont have enough power with my scope to be able to see the small targets good enough.

If i had more power maybe 12x or 16x I should be able to see the smaller targets easier.The scope I have now works friggin great for 3 inch targets.Only because the target was so big.I was seriously with bulk ammo staying under 1 inch groups at 25 yards with 3-5 shots.I can shrink my groups with time but that will wait.

I am gonna start looking around and see what a decent scope with good power is going for.This way I will have a idea and I can start saving up for it.

Kind of Blued
March 10, 2009, 10:48 PM
beechnut, keep in mind that with a higher power scope, especially an inexpensive one, the f/number ( is going to be lower, so you're going to be getting less light through the scope. In other words, a higher magnification scope may make this problem worse.

March 10, 2009, 11:09 PM
You totally lost me with the whole f number thingy.I am gonna take one of my smallest targets with me.A 1/2 inch target.

I will pace out 25 yards,place the target on something in the store.Go back to the scopes and see which one gives me the best picture,best magnification and best bold,black retical

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