When Rifle Scopes Go Bad

OCT#3PicMost rifle scopes are machines and sooner or later, all machines fail. It is inevitable. If you are like me, you have spent years taking for granted your rifle scope’s reliability and accuracy. We don’t expect our scopes to fail and when they do, it can be a confusing and an expensive ordeal. Here are a few lessons I have learned while dealing with top name scope that went belly-up on me at an important time.

I had flown my .300 WSM (Winchester Short Mag) from Alaska, to Utah and back again. Something happened to it despite the hard case it traveled in. Airlines are not tough on baggage, people are, so I have to assume that someone deliberately punished my rifle for whatever reason during my return trip home to Anchorage.

I was scheduled for a three week adventure on Kodiak Island for bears, deer and mountain goats, but as I went to the range to confirm my normally dead-on rifle and its sub-MOA (Minute of Angle) groups, my shots started creeping on me.

As my first few impacts ended up where I wasn’t aiming, I was in denial. I said to myself, “Did I maybe yank this or that shot?” Nope. It kept getting worse and so did my denial. Finally, after two and a half boxes of shells and the purchase price of  a new scope (until I could get mine repaired), gas money to get to the range and me buying even more boxes of ammo, I was out around $700.00 just because both my scope and common sense went bad at the same time.

If you are faced with a wandering shot group, you need to snap out of your trance and start doing some critical thinking, which includes performing some of the following:

1. Don’t waste more than 6 rounds chasing your impact points around your target

2. As soon as you experience noticeable degradation in accuracy, step away and take a break

3. Trust your instincts and don’t practice wishful thinking

4. Remember that all machines fail and there is a solution on the horizon

5. Clean your bore just to make sure fouling is not to blame for inaccuracy

6. Check rings, mounts and scope parts just in case something is just loose

7. Check to see if anything is rattling. This is a sure sign something is awry

8. Move target to a closer range, 100 yards or closer, to better pinpoint inaccuracy

If you have used common sense and you have gone through a few of the above steps, then it is time to cut your losses and call your scope manufacturer. Also, if your scope did crap out on you, please accept my condolences. I understand.