Fire Starting With A Rifle Scope
Fire Starting With A Rifle Scope avatar

I don’t know about you, but as a kid growing up in East Texas, I spent a great deal of idle time barbecuing fire ants with a magnifying glass. I’m personally responsible for a veritable genocide of these poor creatures, but I had many painful encounters with them which fueled my disdain for them. I found it amazing, even at a very young age that the sun could have such raw power when focused through a lens, so playing with something so powerful and getting revenge on these little devils at the same time proved to be an intoxicating pastime.

My son and I were talking about different fire starting techniques for different survival situations, conditions, and using different techniques. OBVIOUSLY, the easy, and I think the best solution is a simple BIC lighter. You should plan on having a bunch of these lighters in your Survival Blueprint GO Bag. They don’t weigh much and are worth their weight in gold.

Even though you may have lighters and other fire making materials in your GO Bag, you may find yourself in different situations that require you to use alternate techniques for starting fire.

One easy way to start a fire very quickly is with the objective lens of your rifle scope, assuming of course that you have a rifle with a scope (it would be a very good idea to get one if you don’t already – we will be doing a separate post on your first survival rifle later).

The concept is very easy. Simply unscrew the objective lens from your rifle scope and use it the same way you would use a magnifying lens – that’s what it is essentially is anyway. Be careful with your scope, you don’t want to damage it since you will most likely need it for other tasks in your survival.

To start with, you will need to gather up your fire starting materials BEFORE you start trying to light the fire using any method. This is true in any fire starting and the basics will hold true in every situation.

Fire Pit: you can make your fire pit by digging out an impression in the ground, surrounding it with rocks, etc. Basically, it doesn’t have to be anything special, you just want to contain your fire and have a clear area around the fire so you don’t start a wildfire. There are many different types of fire pits, which we will document for you on other posts.

Tinder: you want to gather up dry grass, leaves, moss or any other DRY fine material that will start a flame quickly from the heat from the lens. Bundle this stuff together into a “birds nest” which you will use to start the initial flame using the focused sunlight through your scope lens.

Kindling: gather up a bunch of smaller twigs and sticks. Keep these no larger than a #2 pencil, so they will catch the fire quickly, but still give you some time to build up a decent flame for the main fuel of the fire. You will want to arrange these in a “teepee shape”, leaving an area that you can place your Tinder “bird’s nest” once it catches fire. Of course you can, if there isn’t allot of wind and depending on the angle of the sun, simply build the teepee around the tinder in the first place.

Fuel: gather up larger sticks and small logs for the main fuel of your fire. Stack this within arm’s reach of your fire pit so you can add fuel to the fire once the flame really gets going. You will want to have varying sizes of firewood here. Once the flame catches on, you can add larger pieces of fuel, a little at a time, to be sure you don’t smother your fire.

Starting Your Fire With A Rifle Scope: start off with your birds nest tinder in your hand, holding the scope lens with your other hand. Hold the lens in such a way that the sunlight focuses the light in as small a spot on your tinder as possible. Hold it there, focused on one spot until you start to see wisps of smoke and start to see a small charred area.

Within a few minutes, in bright full sun, you should have quite a bit of smoke and see a small burning ember (glowing red) area in your tinder ball. Now you can blow gently on the ember to give it more oxygen and get it to spread to more tinder. Keep blowing, gently and a few minutes later, the tinder will “burst” into flame, and you have fire. Once this happens, you can add your flaming tinder ball to your kindling teepee and you have your fire started.

If you have other ideas of magnifying lenses that are easily sourced from your environment, or contained in other materials in your Survival Blueprint GO Bag, please feel free to comment on this post to share your experience with others. We want to help you build a personalized survival guide and blueprint for your urban or suburban survival in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.

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