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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What does the US Army use -- in the field -- to maintain their sniper telescopic sight and binocular lenses?

In the shop what do Army armorers use when servicing these items' lenses?

If anyone is on active duty and does these jobs, I would like your response.

If there is some sort of manual or procedure that has an identification number, please furnish it. I would want to obtain it for reference.
 

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Naphtali,

Is there any special reason you are inquiring about cleaning binoculars from an military perspective?

I have recently discovered Zeiss pre-moistened cloths which work great! I would imagine that any hunter, or military personel, could carry a few of these very thin and very small packages on their person and clean them.

Zachary
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I make an assumption that can be no worse than irrelevant: soldiers use their equipment harder than I do. If this is true, the method of maintenance -- especially field maintenance -- is a superset of "acceptable."

If their use is the same, or easier, I'll recognize that from information furnished.

Note: this has nothing to do with how well Zeiss moist towelettes work.
 

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Naphtali, if you're in SWA I'd use canned air to get the grit off of the lenses before wiping them at all. I'm not in the Army but I was in SWA during Desert Shield/Storm. The fine sand will scratch the lenes if not removed first without rubbing/wiping them.
 

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I cannot speak to what the Army does in the field. But I did spent a few years at the Anniston Army Depot Fire Control Shop rebuilding various Army optical instruments so I can speak to what the Army depot folks use.

We first of all totally disassembled any and all instruments coming it as they were in for total over haul. We used a combination of methods to clean the glass. We all had ear syringes and used them to blow off any loose material before making any attempt to clean. Once they were clear of any loose matter we used a soapy water solution next, this was followed by 99% pure grain alcohol (oh yeah it was CLOSELY guarded and all was metered and logged) and followed that up with acetone.

The procedure we all used was to take lens tissue in a 8.5"x11" rough dimensions as it's been a lot of years and cut it into six as nearly equal as possible pads. The tissue came in paper wrapped packs about 3/4" thick. We used a sharp knife to make the cuts. The tissue squares were then about 4" square (actually a bit less). These were then folded just so and placed in a pair of specially bent tweezers. The tweezers were long perhaps 8"-10". When you had the tissue folded into a piece the full length of tissue and about 3/16" or so wide you then folded it in half length wise and grabbed it with the tweezers just back from the folded end. You then mashed it to open up the folded end to keep the tweezers from contacting the glass. You then dipped this into the apporpriate cleaning solution from above and using a circular motion working first from outside inwith the soapy water and alcohol and followed that up with the acetone most often ended up on the outside. The soapy water and alcohol did the actual cleaning but left a residue. The acetone removed the residue.

For internal optics or loose external optics while out of the instruments we used a technique we called "rolling". In this you fold the lens tissue square much like before but leave it about 1/4" to 3/8" wide according to what felt right to you. You then folded it in half length wise and dipped it into the solution of choice. You then put the lens inside the folded tissue and using the fingers of the left hand you rolled the lens around while holding the tissue still with the fingers of the right hand. It was a delicate art almost to learning to do this just right so when you finished the lens was perfectly clean and dust free and ready to drop into the appropriate place in the instrument.

For some uses we had to have extended tweezers and on some instruments like range finders the handle could be as long as 36". Also some who didn't like or didn't learn the rolling technique used a suction cup (we had a vaccum device downstairs below us) to hold one side while cleaning the other. You then dropped it in and cleaned the side the suction was holding. Took longer and did no better job.

Once an instrument was put back together which is really all you are interested in (but I didn't charge you extra for the history lesson) we used the tweezers as mentioned at the start.

So what do I do NOW? About the same. I now use Q-Tips more often than the tweezers and lens tissue but still use that method also. I use wood alcohol now rather than pure grain alcohol but still use acetone as a final clean. Still use soapy water and still use an eye syringe to blow off loose stuff.


What should you use? Why a Lens Pen of course. It has a camel hair brush to gently remove the loose stuff I blow off and then a lens cleaner solution and soft surface on the other end. If I were betting I'd bet that's what soldiers use in the field and what you should. At home do as I do above.

GB
 

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Very interesting GB. I personally would have never tried acetone on my optics as I would have thought that it might remove the coatings. I guess thats why I dont get paid to think about things like that. :)
Oh, BTW, I just use a camera lens cleaning kit or the lens pen.
BruceP
 
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