The ed­i­tor shows us how to clean lenses prop­erly

Air Gunner - - Contents -

The ed­i­tor stresses the im­por­tance of hav­ing clear glass, and gives his lenses a thor­ough go­ing-over

We all love the best scope and binoc­u­lars we can af­ford, but all too of­ten com­pro­mise their per­for­mance with a sim­ple lack of care. The finest op­ti­cal glass and high-tech’ coat­ings can’t give of their best if we leave them cov­ered in muck and dust, so we’re wast­ing our time and our money if we’re lazy, but there’s an­other fac­tor at play here. All too of­ten, we’ve been warned that we must not be too ag­gres­sive with lenses be­cause we might dam­age them with poor clean­ing tech­niques. So what is the right way to clean lenses to re­alise their true per­for­mance?

I use the same tech­nique that’s served me well over the last 30 years with­out caus­ing me any prob­lems, and it’s this; firstly, I only work on dry lenses. If the scope is soaked with rain I leave it in a warm room un­til I’m con­fi­dent that it’s prop­erly dried. Next, I use a soft brush to sweep away any dust or grit gently from the sur­face, and then blow hard on it to evac­u­ate the par­ti­cles. Once I’m sure this is com­plete, I squirt a small amount of lens clean­ing fluid onto the sur­face and wipe it with a mi­crofi­bre cloth to mop up any grease or dirt that re­mains. This isn’t easy, and you need to take your time to dry the lens with the cloth. There can of­ten be smears and smudges but don’t worry. Ap­ply an­other small squirt of lens cleaner, find a dry part of the cloth and start again. A lit­tle pa­tience goes a long way here. Rush­ing will leave you frus­trated, so take your time and do a proper job. I al­ways use cam­era grade clean­ing prod­ucts be­cause our lenses are ev­ery bit as pre­cious as the best qual­ity cam­eras. I like the pen­type clean­ing brush that can be eas­ily trans­ported and be found eas­ily in cam­era shops or on Ama­zon or eBay. These can be kept in your ri­fle slip for an emer­gency clean up in the field.

At home I find a full-size cloth does a bet­ter job with much more sur­face area to ab­sorb the clean­ing fluid and dirt. Clearly, the cloths need to be cleaned reg­u­larly to do their job prop­erly or you end up just spread­ing the old dirt around the lens again, and again.

One last lit­tle tip from me: a thin smear of sil­i­cone grease on the seal of the dust caps can make get­ting them off later so much eas­ier, rather than strug­gling against a dry seal.

First, brush away any dust and grit

A small amount of sil­i­cone grease on the dust cap seal is a good pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sure

Put a few drops of clean­ing fluid on the lens and pol­ish it away with a mi­crofi­bre cloth

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