A Better Riflescope Cover

I don’t believe I’ve ever had riflescope covers that stood up to more than a week in the field. It’s usually much less. Even pulling your rifle out of a snug gun slip will do it. The first bush you brush against.

I’ve had the same problem with those big hoods that cover the entire scope and have an elastic band that is never quite tight enough at the bottom. I don’t know the proper name for them, so I call them “scope cozies.”

I have a different problem with bikini scope covers. Those suckers fly just like rubber bands—which is what they are. They will travel up to 10 feet and invariably land in thick brush. (Also, since a bikini consists of two unattached garments and a bikini scope consists of two halves of a rubber bikini swimsuit joined by rubber bands, isn't bikini a misnomer? On the other hand, if anybody did come up with a skimpy swimsuit connected by rubber bands, it would be pretty kinky, but in a good way.)

What do all scope-protecting devices have in common?

• They seem fairly reasonably priced at first glance, usually just under $20 for both ends of the scope. And if you were only going to need one set for the life of the firearm, the cost would be reasonable. But you—or I, at least—are probably going to need six or eight times that many per decade. So it adds up. (Also, in accordance with our need to make simple things super expensive for people who have more money than sense, you can now buy a Leupold Alumina Flip-Up Rifle Scope Cover Kit on Midway USA for a mere $99.99. I don’t know who buys these. I would like to be related to them.)

• All of them—scope covers, bikini covers, and scope cozies—come in either black or camo. This “tactical” look appeals the wanna-be sniper in all of us. But that’s just to lure us in. The real purpose of these colors is to make the cover disappear as soon as it gets sucked off your scope. You have to admire the thinking behind this. I bet there have already been at least three sets of scope covers made for every riflescope in the United States. And the manufacturers just keep cranking them out because they know exactly what happens to them. (Yes, I know that Butler Creek covers have that little red thumb tab to release the flip-up spring. But from a distance of 6 feet, that red latch is no more noticeable than a spot on a leaf. Trust me on this.)

• You can try to improve the fit of any scope cover by wrapping layers of tape around the ends of your scope. By increasing the diameter of the scope, you tighten the fit and can extend the life of a scope cover by as much as four hours.

I went out yesterday afternoon to sit in my new treestand. It was raining. Even though it's shotgun season where I live, I was carrying my CVA Accura V2 muzzleloader, which, with its Konus 3–10X44 scope, is far more accurate than my open-sighted shotgun. It was raining pretty steadily, and I had no scope covers either on that scope or that I could cannibalize from another gun.

Fortunately, our house has a kitchen. In that kitchen are Saran Wrap and rubber bands. Now, Saran Wrap and rubber bands aren’t going to last more than one day’s hunt before something goes wrong. But here’s the beauty part: They don’t have to. I’ve got years’ worth of scope covers in my kitchen for practically nothing. And for me personally, the satisfaction of not buying yet another set of scope covers is a wonderful feeling.