FAQ - Riflescopes

    

Q: My scope doesn’t come with a sun shade, but there are threads inside the objective end of the scope – Do you have a sun shade that will thread onto my scope?

A: No, we do not have sunshades for any scope that doesn’t come with one in the box. The threads inside the objective end of your scope are for baffling – this deflects the movement of light coming into the scope and helps to prevent glare.

    

Q: Which Vortex scopes have glass etched reticles, and which have wire reticles?

A: All of the Razor, PST, and any of the illuminated V-Brite Crossfire riflescopes have etched glass reticles. All other scopes have wire reticles.

    

Q: The ring at the objective end of my scope started to come lose – I just tightened it back down, is my scope still going to function properly?

A: Unfortunately you are likely going to run into problems. Even if the ring didn’t come all of the way off, meaning the seal might still be intact, that ring controls the parallax. You can either send it in for warranty service right away, or test it out to see whether the parallax is off first, but there is a very good chance it will either be off or will become off as time goes on now that that ring is not secured in place.

    

Q: I have a scope with a Second Focal Plane reticle – At what magnifications are the subtensions going to be true?

A: The 6.5-20x Viper variable scope is the only scope in our line-up that the 'true' setting is at 14x. There is a small white dot on the magnification ring and when lined up with the 14x it is then when all your readings will be 'true readings'. On all our other second focal plane optics they will be at a 'true reading' when at maximum magnification.

    

Q: I use my riflescope all of the time, I can’t be without it for the time that it will take to repair it, can’t it be rushed?

A: We can try to rush things a bit, but there is only so much we can do. Most of the turnaround time is spend in transit, especially on the items that are being shipped to the US for repairs – they have to go through customs on the border both times they cross over.

    

Q: I see you offer loaners for binoculars and spotting scopes – Can I get a loaner for my riflescope?

A: Unfortunately, no. To offer loaners for riflescopes would require us to keep a stock of loaners comprised of around a hundred scopes or more, and we would still not have what people wanted frequently. Riflescopes come with so many different variations, and so many people cannot use certain variations (eg. MOA vs MRAD, having a set up that cannot take a scope with larger objective sizes) – they are just too specific with too many variations to feasibly offer loaners. There is also a high risk for damage that renders the scope unusable – as soon as the tube is damaged, whether by improper mounting or just getting knocked/dropped, the scope is no longer usable and cannot be repaired.

    

Q: What is parallax and how do I use it?

A: Parallax is essentially an optical illusion regarding how the reticle appears to move in relation to the target as your eyes move in relation to the scope. When parallax is set correctly the reticle should appear to be still over the view through your scope. On many scopes you can set the parallax depending on the distance to your target – typically the yardage goes from about 25 yds to “infinity”, which means anything above 500 yds. This is adjusted by either a side parallax knob, opposite the windage knob, or a ring that rotates around the objective end of the scope, known as an adjustable objective (AO). To adjust your scope just turn the knob/AO to the approximate distance to your target, and move your head around a bit while looking through the scope - you will likely have to make slight adjustments until you can move your head around and not have the reticle moving more or less than the view through your scope. There are also many scopes that are known as “parallax-free” which you cannot adjust for parallax. These are usually set to 100 yds, and can therefore usually be used successfully at distances of 100 yds or less. Rimfire scopes are usually set to 50 yds.

    

Q: What is the difference between First Focal Plane (FFP) and Second Focal Plane (SFP) reticles?

A: The FFP reticle will grow and shrink in size as the magnification is changed. This means that all of the reticle subtensions will be accurate on any magnification. A SFP reticle will stay the same size as magnification is changed. This means that the subtensions will only be accurate on a single magnification. For most of our scopes this is on highest magnification or 18x – see the reticle manual for your scope to confirm yours!

    

Q: What are the proper torque settings for the ring screws?

A: For rings to scope tube use torque settings of 15-18 in/lbs. For rings to rail use torque settings of 25-35 in/lbs.

    

Q: My dials are hard to turn, is this normal?

A: The tolerances built into modern optical sights are very tight, so it may be completely normal. However, if your turrets are extremely difficult to turn and you are experiencing a gritty feeling or binding when you turn them your scope rings may be over-tightened. There is very little space between the erector tube, which contains the lenses and reticle, and the inside of the tube of the scope body. If the rings are too tight, it can actually cause the scope tube to cave in slightly, which puts stress on the erector tube, and can prevent it from moving freely. If the erector tube cannot move freely, this can be translated into restricted movement of the turret dials.  Over-tightened rings can also cause tracking and holding-zero problems

    

Q: I cannot use my back up sights at the same time as when my scope is on my rifle. Does Vortex make a mount that can fix this?

A: You are better off sticking with one primary sighting device. Pick one and learn how to use it well. If you wish to use back up iron sights in case there is an issue with your scope, we recommend zeroing the iron sights then removing them and just keeping them at hand in case you feel you need them. Vortex does not make a mount that can allow you to use iron sights while you have a riflescope on your gun without having to look through both iron sight and riflescope at the same time. 

    

Q: Why can't I zero my riflescope?

A: If your riflescope won't hold zero, please try the following:

Note: Adjusting the riflescope to zero should not be attempted until a satisfactory 3-shot group has been achieved.

I don't have enough click to get properly sighted-in.

This issue is generally caused by at least one of the following things:

  • Over-tightened rings can cause the scope to not be able to adjust properly. We recommend 15-18 inch pounds on most ring sets, but please feel free to call and ask if you have questions about your specific rings.
  • The adjustable rings and bases being used are not adjusted properly. Many people have adjustable bases or rings that are used to align the riflescope with the barrel/action. They can be adjusted to correct for windage or elevation - and if not properly installed, can cause a shooter to experience issues achieving a proper zero. If you have adjustable rings and have questions about installing them, feel free to call us. We are happy to walk you through the process.
  • A misalignment in the rifle’s barrel and action or receiver. If you do not have adjustable rings or bases and find you are having to use up a lot of windage/elevation adjustment (or run out completely), you may have a rifle with a barrel/action or receiver that is out of alignment. This can sometimes be corrected with an adjustable ring or base set or a canted base (20 MOA Picatinny rail, etc.). If you think you may have this issue, but are not sure how to fix it, please give us a call and we can walk you through the best way to proceed.
  • A misalignment of bases (which is most common in 2-piece bases) can cause a misalignment of the rings. This can cause the rings to tighten unevenly around the scope tube and cause impingement of the tube or slipping of the riflescope in the rings. When using 2-piece bases, we recommend checking alignment with alignment bars and then lapping the rings into proper alignment if necessary.
  • The riflescope’s main tube is bent. This can occur through a hard impact or other uneven force applied to the scope tube. It is easy to tell if a scope tube is bent. By rolling the scope in the bottom ring halves, the scope will appear to lift out of the rings if bent, rather than staying flat and rotating in place. If you discover this happened, please give us a call.
  • The higher the firearm sight is mounted from the receiver makes a difference on how much internal adjustment can be made to complete a zero/sight-in. When the scope is mounted it is preferred to have it as close to the receiver as possible. What you want to avoid is the scope making contact with the barrel or a one piece monolithic rail that shrouds part of the barrel. The distance in height between the centre of the objective lens to the centre of the bore is called “sight over bore”. When the scope is mounted higher and the shooter is trying to complete a zero at a close range, the sight has to compensate for that sight over bore concept. This means that you may run out of elevation adjustment. To fix this, mount the sight closer to the firearm or use the recommended 100 yard/meter zero. Another reason to mount the scope as close to the receiver as possible as it will help with the placement of the shooters head and cheek. The Ultimate Optics Guide to Rifle Shooting can help you answer a lot of your questions and it will show you how to get the maximum potential out of your Vortex scope. It can be ordered by calling Vortex Canada or purchasing it at your local Vortex dealer.

Please remember our Technical Support and Customer Care Teams are always ready, willing, and happy to assist you. If you have additional questions or feel your scope should be sent in, please do not hesitate to contact us directly:

Technical support: 800-426-0048 ext 5
Customer Care: 866-343-0054

    

Q: Why will my riflescope not consistently or precisely adjust?

A: This issue is typically caused by at least one of a few reasons:

  • Over-tightened rings can cause the scope to not be able to adjust properly. We recommend 15-18 inch pounds on most ring sets, but please feel free to call and ask if you have questions about your specific rings.
  • Inaccurate ammunition can cause a rifle to shoot larger groups than expected. This can lead a shooter to believe there is an issue with the riflescope’s tracking due to the inability to recognize a clear group where the bullets are being shot. Some rifles can be picky about ammunition that will produce reliable accuracy. A shooter should be ready to experiment with different (but appropriate for intended use) ammunition to obtain acceptable accuracy.
  • A misalignment in the rifle’s barrel and action or receiver. If you do not have adjustable rings or bases and find you are having to use up a lot of windage/elevation adjustment (or run out completely), you may have a rifle with a barrel/action or receiver that is out of alignment. This can sometimes be corrected with an adjustable ring or base set or a canted base (20 MOA Picatinny rail, etc.). If you think you may have this issue, but are not sure how to fix it, please give us a call and we can walk you through the best way to proceed.
  • The adjustable rings and bases being used are not adjusted properly. Many people have adjustable bases or rings that are used to align the riflescope with the barrel/action. They can be adjusted to correct for windage or elevation - and if not properly installed, can cause a shooter to experience issues achieving a proper zero. If you have adjustable rings and have questions about installing them, feel free to call us. We are happy to walk you through it.

Please remember our Technical Support and Customer Care Teams are always ready, willing, and happy to assist you. If you have additional questions or feel your scope should be sent in, please do not hesitate to contact us directly:

Technical support: 800-426-0048 ext 5
Customer Care: 866-343-0054

    

Q: Why does my reticle look canted?

A: Some potential causes for a reticle to appear canted:

  • Your leveling tools used to mount the scope, and the reticle inside your scope are properly aligned but the way you are holding the rifle causing your eye to perceive the reticle as canted. For example, right-handed shooters shouldering a rifle commonly report a reticle appearing to be canted to the left, or counter clockwise. Left-handed shooters will generally report seeing the reticle canted to the right or clockwise. To fix this, try positioning yourself completely behind the rifle (chin aligned with the buttstock) looking through the riflescope at the reticle straight-on. This tends to eliminate that illusion created by having your head turned slightly while shouldering the rifle.
  • Aiming at a target or background that is uneven, or shooting from uneven ground may cause a reticle to appear canted, as well. Moving to more level ground may eliminate this canted appearance. A shooter not accustomed to shooting with a bubble level tool installed on their rifle may make the mistake of believing the reticle is canted because of the way the rifle needs to be held in order for the reticle to be held level. You can verify this again by getting completely behind the rifle to confirm proper alignment.
  • Your bubble level is sitting on top of the turret cap. This can skew your results by making the riflescope turret appear to be sitting level in relation to the rifle when it is not actually sitting level. Sometimes, the turret cap (or the fiber optic indicator on the turret cap) will sit crooked and cause the bubble level to be canted slightly. Rather than using the top of the turret cap, try putting the level on the inner turret post top (or using feeler gauges on the bottom of the scope) to level the scope.
  • The reticle is actually canted. Although very rare, this is a possibility. If you are still in doubt after reading and investigating some of the potential causes and would like to speak with a specialist, the Technical Support team would be happy to help.
  • No one has more of an interest than you, the end user, to ensure your scope is mounted correctly. During the installation there can be many variables to consider such as: was the firearm itself plumb and level before the installation of the scope? If not, when holding the rifle, which you feel is correct, the scope reticle will be canted to one side. There are many different tools that can be purchased to help that the installation of the scope is done right. One of the oldest, and still the best, is to use gravity to your advantage. Using a string with a small weight on it (a plumb bob) you can place this out in front of the rifle at a small distance, and as long as the string is not moving and the weight is not touching the ground, the string will be a perfect guide for you to line up your reticle. The use of a bubble level is not a new invention but it is a very helpful tool in obtaining accuracy. Vortex offers bubble levels that attach to the scope body. By shooting with both eyes open the bubble level will give you the illusion that it is in the upper right corner of the reticle, easy to see and use. Once the bubble level is installed and if it is left with the scope, you can move the scope around from rifle to rifle. If you are a right handed shooter, the bubble level should be mounted on the left. For left handed shooters, mount it on the right. There are several tools to use to aid you in leveling your reticle such as the Wheeler Reticle Leveler or check out the Segway Reticle Leveler, both are easy and inexpensive tools to help you ensure the reticle is level.
    

Q: Why won't my riflescope focus properly?

A: This issue is typically caused by at least one of a few reasons:

  • Shooting at a target too close. Verify your particular riflescope’s parallax focusing capability. For example, a riflescope with fixed 100-yard parallax or 50 to infinity parallax may have some distortion when shooting at 10 or 25 yards, because the target is too close for the rifle’s focusing capability.
  • Mirage is a heatwave-like distortion that may cause significant distortion on targets at a long distance. It can occur in a variety of different temperature patterns, but will be most noticed when shooting at extended distances with a high-magnification riflescope. Sometimes backing off the magnification can help alleviate this issue.
  • Barrel or Suppressor Mirage. This effect is similar to mirage observed downrange but originates from the barrel or suppressor getting hot after several rounds have been fired. The shooter can alleviate this by letting the rifle cool, or installing an anti-mirage suppressor shield/ barrel mirage band.
  • The riflescope needs to be focused properly. 

 

Part 1

Adjust the reticle focus:

Warning: Looking directly at the sun through a riflescope, or any optical instrument can cause severe and permanent damage to your eyesight. 

  1. Look through the riflescope at a blank white wall or up at the sky. 
  2. Turn the eyepiece focus knob in or out until the reticle image is as crisp as possible.

Once this adjustment is complete, it will not be necessary to re-focus every time you use the riflescope. However, because your eyesight may change over time, you should re-check this adjustment periodically.

Part 2

This second step can only be done if your riflescope has a side focus parallax adjustment or adjustable objective (AO) feature. These riflescopes feature a separate focus which should be used to fine-tune the image focus. When the image is sharply focused, parallax error will also be eliminated:

  1. Be sure the reticle is correctly focused (See Part 1)
  2. Turn the side focus knob or adjustable objective until the target image is as sharp as possible. The yardage numbers referenced should somewhat match the actual yardage to the target, but keep in mind these are not exact and are more of a guideline than a concrete reference point. 
  3. Check for parallax error by moving your head back and forth while looking through the scope. The focus is correct if there is no apparent shift of the reticle on the target. If you notice any shift, adjust the focus knob slightly until all shift is eliminated.

Note: Try to make Part 1 and Part 2 adjustments quickly, as the eye will try to compensate for an out-of-focus reticle.

Over-tightened rings can restrict movement of the parallax cell and cause the parallax knob to turn hard or not even change the focus of the image at all. We recommend 15-18 inch pounds on most ring sets, but please feel free to call and ask if you have questions about your specific rings.

    

Q: Why doesn't the illumination work until the dial is turned to 6, 7, or higher?

A: The illumination of your Razor HD or Viper PST riflescope is still working at the lower numbers. These lower numbers are intended to allow the use of illumination while using night vision equipment. Night vision equipment requires such low intensity illumination that the naked eye usually cannot see the illumination.

  • Razor HD 1-4x24 Riflescopes: Professional-grade illumination: designed for daytime, low light and night vision devices. The top six settings (6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11) are visible in the daytime, depending on the background color. Settings below 6 are for low light use when the user's eyes have become adapted to lower light levels. Lowest settings are intended for use with night vision devices.
  • Razor HD 5-20x50 Riflescopes: Professional-grade illumination: designed for daytime, low light and night vision devices. The top setting (11) is visible in the daytime, depending on the background color. Settings below 11 are for low light use when the user's eyes have become adapted to lower light levels. Lowest settings are intended for use with night vision devices.
  • Viper PST and Viper HS 1-4x Riflescopes: Professional-grade illumination: designed for daytime, low light and night vision devices. The top five settings (6, 7, 8, 9, 10) will be visible in the daytime, depending on the background color. Settings below 6 are for low light use when the user's eyes have become adapted to lower light levels. Lowest settings are intended for use with night vision devices.
  • Other Viper PST Riflescopes: Professional-grade illumination: designed for daytime, low light and night vision devices. The top three settings (8, 9, 10) will be visible in the daytime, depending on the background color. Settings below 8 are for low light use when the user's eyes have become adapted to lower light levels. Lowest settings are intended for use with night vision devices.
    

Q: Why do I see a black ring when I look through the scope?

A: This is scope shadow, and it is a simple fix. You need adjust the ocular ring to make your reticle clear and sharp. By looking at a white wall or blue sky is the best for this. Once it is set, do not touch it. This ring is only for adjusting the reticle and is not to be used as a focus. A parallax dial or Adjustable Objective (AO) is for adjusting the sight picture for focus and to eliminate any parallax.

  • Place your scope on maximum power setting on the magnification ring.
  • Loosen the ring screws then slide the scope forward and backwards slowly until the scope shadow is gone.
  • Tighten rings to 16 inch pounds.
  • Turn your magnification ring down to the lowest setting.
  • Now, when the magnification is on any setting there should be no scope shadow.
  • Note: Bulky clothing will change your eye relief. Adjust the scope to the clothing you will be wearing.
    

Q: I fired my rifle and the scope hit me in the eyebrow!

A: You are obviously too close to the scope ocular ring. Check your installation on your scope. This is an installation issue, re-mount the scope yourself or have a gunsmith do it for you.

Refer to question, “I see a black ring when I look through the scope”.

    

Q: I see guys with a bubble level on their firearm, what is with that?

A: A bubble level is not a LCF (Look Cool Factor) or a gimmick. It is a very important tool that will help to increase accuracy. Most rifle barrels in North America have rifling that rotates to the right (right hand twist). If the rifle is slightly canted plus the twist of the rifling this can make you think that you need to hold left to hit the target, but in fact the rifle scope reticle is not level. A bubble level will help to keep the reticle level to the earth, not the target. Do not use a target down range to level your reticle.

    

Q: Why should I zero at 100 Yards?

A: There are many reasons to zero at 100 Yards instead of longer distances such as 200 yards or further.

Number one reason is that we shoot better at a closer range, our focus on the target is clearer. Also, the longer the zero distance you choose there are factors that you cannot correct for as they are unknown.

One of these factors is wind, and the direction and speed of the wind. Ideally, you do not want to have any wind present when zeroing, but that is not always possible. Less wind present the better, and at 100 yards/metres the wind will have little effect on the bullet. At longer distances the projectile is slowly down and gravity is taking hold as well as bullet drift do to wind may effect it.

Today’s scopes are accurate and have tons of adjustment inside of them, older scopes from the past were limited in their adjustability. The technology in our modern Vortex scope allows the shooter of today to reach distances that other scopes of the past would never be able to reach. What you the shooter to know is, “how much hold over, or how much elevation do I need to place into my turret”? That can be done by using our Vortex Ballistics Calculator. It is found on our website.

Another way to find out how much elevation do you need at a certain distance is go shoot is and record it. That is the best way to determine the elevation needed. Vortex also has customizable turret caps and also D.O.P.E. cards that have all your elevation and wind holds etched onto them and that can be made to your specific rifle and ammunition. This small plastic card fit into our new defender flip up cap making it easy to use.

    

Q: Is there anything out there that will help me learn how to use my scope? It would be great to learn how to use the dials and what all the numbers and the lines on the reticle mean.

A: Yes there is a book available to purchase here on our website that will answer all your questions you may have on the use of a scope. It will show you how to use the scope to its maximum and make you a better shooter. It is called The Ultimate Optics Guide to Rifle Shooting and it can be purchased at any Vortex Canada dealer or by calling the Vortex Canada office at 1-866-343-0054.

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