How can I focus so the reticle is clear?

One of the most misunderstood mechanical aspects of a riflescope is how to correctly use the eyepiece to focus the reticle. Here at Leupold, there are several kinds of eyepieces, but they all function similarly. All of them rotate—and in the process move in and out, changing the position of the eyepiece lenses in relation to the riflescope’s reticle. The reticle is the crosshair, or aiming point and the eyepiece’s primary role is to keep the reticle focused for the individual shooter’s eye.

So, to focus the reticle, point the scope toward the sky or another distant, light colored background. (If the scope is mounted on a firearm, ensure that the firearm is empty and rendered safe before performing this operation.) If the reticle is not crisp when you first glance through it, glance away, and turn the ocular lens about ¼ to ½ of a turn in either direction and glance through it again. The reticle will appear to be either more or less focused at this point. If it appears more crisp, turn a quarter turn the same direction and glance through it again. If it is less crisp, rotate a full turn the opposite direction and check again. Repeat this process until the reticle is crisp and sharp. If the eyepiece has a locking mechanism, lock it in place at this setting.

It is important to note that the reticle should not be focused while looking through the scope constantly. Your eye will compensate for the focus changes and focus will be very difficult to achieve. It is also important to note that the eyepiece focuses the reticle ONLY—not the target. Use the adjustable objective or side focus to remove parallax on the target (on higher magnification scopes). On lower magnification scopes, the parallax is factory set at 150 yards for most riflescopes, and shorter distances for other specialized products. (Rimfire scopes are set at 60 yards, for example.)

By properly focusing the reticle, your scope will provide a crisp, clear aiming point, and a sharp sight picture that is ideal for accurately placing your shots on target.