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Getting a reticle level is nearly impossible .

 
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  #15  
Old 07-29-2012, 08:50 AM
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Re: Getting a reticle level is nearly impossible .

I'm with all of you guys on this one. I do what J E does for the most part.

A weird thing though. . . Grit did a rebarrel for me. When it came time to replace the scope, he took it completely apart. I looked on with trepidation with touches of anxiety. He carefully aligned the bottom rings using a wrench on the front dovetail ring.

I asked him why he didn't do as I do, simply insert the front ring in the base, grab the scope and crank it into position. He responded, "in front of the customer?"

I must have missed something while he was completing the process.

I got home, sighted in, cranked the elevation turret up about 20 moa, then down 10 then down 5 then back to zero. Hmmmm, a perpendicular string!!!

It may have been luck, but if not Grit has a knack! Or maybe he knows something I sure don't.

I'm a happy shooter. . . If the temp would drop back to reasonable and the smoke from wild fires would dissipate so I could see the targets.
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  #16  
Old 07-29-2012, 01:26 PM
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Re: Getting a reticle level is nearly impossible .

Having been there many times I can totally relate.

I have refined my technique & more often than not its proven itself.

Aside from the previously mentioned techniques, I start by setting my scope in two blocks with a "v" notch cut into them. Then at about 25 yds (the distance from one end of my bar in the kitchen, out the sliding door accross the yard to the cedar fence.....) I have a gold thumb tack placed in the center of level lines which I shot in with a theattolite, after I tried for perfection with a 6' stabilla box level

Then with the scope in the V blocks I rotate the scope in a circle over & over, & adjust the vert, & horiz adjustments untill the crosshairs make a perfect circle in the middle of the gold thumb tack. (one at a time of course) but if its "off" in any way the crosshairs make an oval, not a circle.

After that's done, I hang a plumb bob from my curtian rod at the sliding door in line with my shot in level lines on the fence. (yes my curtain rod is also marked for repeatability)
Then I put the rifle in my lead sled, which is checked for plumb with two magnetic torpedoes (not too horribly accurate, but it works), then plumb rifle up with the Wheeler level level level. (but I also cheated here) I pulled a square line accross the bar, & marked the underside of the trim to keep my lead sled in the same place every time, as well as give a reference to pull a square line for the top level on the elevation turret. Checked the square lines with a 3-4-5, & a framing square (its a narrow bar).
Sorry for the rediculous amount of math, & double checking.g myself. It's a habit. I lay out really big buildings for a living, & have access to many tools that most folks don't like a theattolite. But a builders level is easy to use, & usually easy to find one to rent if your so inclined

Then bore sight center of bbl on the plumb line, & adjust rings accordingly to get my scope very very close.. Once this is done, & rings are reasonably snug fine tune my very, & horiz, & I start my torque sequence, checking for no movement in P.O.A. usually not more than a few clicks out.
Then site it at 100. Check Vert adjustment for any left or right wandering. Dial for 200yd zero, & check P.O.I. at 100, 300, & 600.

It works for me anyway, but kinda overkill for some people. I don't ever win the lott either. I make my own luck, & thank God for the blessings, & other awesome stuff that happens to me with no reasonable explaination.
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  #17  
Old 07-30-2012, 02:40 AM
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Re: Getting a reticle level is nearly impossible .

Doing final reticle alignment at the firing range is too time consuming and expensive for me. The reticle can be properly aligned using simple tools, but requires the kind of attention to details that winmag takes. It also requires the use of good levels. The Wheeler Level-Level-levels, for example, have improved in design recently, but still need to be hand lapped to make them accurate.

The essential criteria for reticle alignment is that the elevation turret axis be aligned parallel to a reference line intersecting the scope tube axis and the rifle bore axis. Other alignment criteria will work fine for short range, but not for long range.

Notice that winmag takes the time to boresight his scope tube axis to the rifle bore. This step is essential to getting consistently good results, and most folks don’t make the effort to do it. If the scope tube and bore are pointed in different directions horizontally, the intersecting line rotates like the hand of a clock as you move down the bore. This condition makes it very difficult (impossible?) to get good reticle alignment without the laborious live fire process that several people have described in this thread. If the scope is boresighted (that is, the scope tube axis is parallel to the rifle bore within 8 MOA), then the reticle alignment process is fairly straightforward. Without good boresight alignment there is no easy way to locate the reference line intersecting the scope tube and rifle bore axes.

The main reasons that the bore is not generally parallel to the scope tube axis is that most barrels are bent and they're installed crooked in the receiver. Sometimes the mounting holes are misaligned, but that is more rare. I prefer to use a good boresight collimator to locate the bore axis, rather than sighting down the rifle bore. Again, most rifle bores are not straight and the last few inches of the bore near the muzzle determine the bullet point of impact.

Once the scope is boresighted, a tool like the EXD Engineering Alignment Tool is needed to locate the line intersecting the scope tube axis and the rifle bore. The EXD tool is needed because the scope tube axis is often laterally offset slightly from the rifle bore. This is usually the case for Weaver or Picatinny rail mounts, for example, because very few Weaver/Picatinny rings center the scope tube properly on the rail. This lateral offset can lead to a canting error of over 2 degrees. It’s not a big deal at short range, but can be a problem at long range. If it weren’t for this lateral offset, you could simply place a level on the mount or receiver and forget the EXD tool. Again, if the scope is not properly boresighted, the EXD tool will give erroneous results.

Unfortunately, the EXD tool is a bit expensive for such a specialty use. I’ve found that the same results can be achieved using a 6” square-level (checked for accuracy, of course). Hold the square-level with the thin end pointed down (like an upside-down “L”). Place it in front of the objective bell, center the end of the blade over the barrel, while also centering the blade in the middle of the objective bell. Now level the rifle using the bubble level in the square. It helps to attach an alignment card to the blade (print three parallel lines the on thick card stock, one line in the middle, and two lines on either side, separated by the objective bell width). It may help to hold the level in place with a mess of tape while you level the rifle. Also, this method requires a reliable rifle vise that will prevent the rifle from rotating after it is leveled.

Then rotate the scope to align the reticle parallel to a level or plumb line of your choice. I have not found tightening the rings to be as difficult as others have described. I usually start with the front ring. I slowly finger tighten at first, alternating between two screws on either side of the scope. As the screws start to tighten, I rotate them only 1/8 turn at a time. I watch the reticle during this process. If it starts to rotate, I stop and correct by tightening the opposite screw. Once the front ring feels tight, I tighten the rear ring. The scope won’t rotate now because the front ring is holding it firmly in place. Then I go back over all the screws using a torque wrench.

If all your levels are accurate you can get everything squared up within about 1 degree. That’s equivalent to less than ” horizontal point-of-aim offset for 12 MOA elevation at 100 yds. I think most long range shooters would be satisfied with that mis-alignment, since it corresponds to only 2” POA shift at 1,000 yds.

Of course, there’s no point to doing all this unless you are also using an anti-cant level attached to the scope tube (not attached to the rail). Canting errors will be much worse than any point-of-aim error due to minor reticle mis-alignment.
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  #18  
Old 07-31-2012, 12:01 PM
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Location: I live in the mid west but soon will be back in the north west where I can shoot at long range again
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Re: Getting a reticle level is nearly impossible .

Depending on the scope its not that hard, night force the leupold mk4 ect are flat on the bottom. If you put rifle in a padded vice asuming its a bolt action level across the railes if the vice is level usally the rifle will be too if not level the bench.
Then titen the rings up just enough that you can just move the scope , but make sure its located where you want it in relationship with your eye . then level the scope. some scopes have a internal level that makes it easyer to level the US Optics sn/9 can be orderd with a internal leval. Then snug the screws 1/4 turn at a time until tite then tork them to 25 inch pounds and you should be good. As for the 25 inch pounds chech and see if there are torking specs for your scope , if not 25 inch pounds works. MAKE SURE ITS INCH POUNDS THOUGH BECAUSE FOOT POUNDS ARE 16 TIMES MORE TORK AND IF YOU MAKE THAT MISTAKE YOU WOULDNT BE HAPPY.
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  #19  
Old 08-06-2012, 08:15 AM
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Re: Getting a reticle level is nearly impossible .

Quote:
Originally Posted by winmag View Post
Then with the scope in the V blocks I rotate the scope in a circle over & over, & adjust the vert, & horiz adjustments untill the crosshairs make a perfect circle in the middle of the gold thumb tack. (one at a time of course) but if its "off" in any way the crosshairs make an oval, not a circle.
Winmag,

Save yourself some time. Use a mirror first as described here:

Centering of a scope's adjustment dials

The elevation and windage adjustments of a scope are easily centered. Place a small mirror against the objective end of the scope. That would be the end farthest from your eye as you look through the scope. Make certain that the mirror is large enough to cover the entire objective. It must also be flat against the objective. With the scope's power selector ring set at the lowest magnification, look through the eyepiece as you would while aiming at a target. If the scope's windage and elevation adjustments are off center, you will see two images of the reticle (cross-hair). To reach the center of the adjustment range, simply turn the elevation and windage dials until you see only one image of the reticle.

If you want, finish up with the "rotating the scope in a V" method you usually use if you want to get it absolutely centered, but I find that the mirror trick is usually within a couple of clicks of center.
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  #20  
Old 08-11-2012, 12:37 AM
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Re: Getting a reticle level is nearly impossible .

Guys

i have your solution. My uncle invented a device called the Segway Reticle Leveler which he sold for years before he passed away about 5 years ago. I am now bringing it back to market. If you google Segway reticle Leveler you will find many positive reviews etc and not one bad one. It is cheap, easy to use and really works. No more "CANT".

i normally sell them for $20 but would be happy to help any member here with a 20% discount.

Feel free to email me with any questions at james@reticleleveler.net with any questions and go to Home Page for pictures.

This device really solves all the issues in this thread.

hope to hear from you.

James
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  #21  
Old 08-11-2012, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reticle Leveler
i have your solution. My uncle invented a device called the Segway Reticle Leveler which he sold for years before he passed away about 5 years ago. I am now bringing it back to market. ...This device really solves all the issues in this thread.
I'm glad to hear this tool is available again. I have one and it does what it's supposed to do pretty well. I see that a spirit level has been added. The new version should be a handy tool for a lot of shooters.

I don't think this tool addresses the issues raised in this post, however. As far as I know, the function of the Segway leveler is to align the reticle to the base or rail. That isn't what long range shooters are doing when they align the reticle using the live fire method discussed above. What they are really doing is aligning the reticle to a line intersecting the rifle bore axis and the scope tube axis.

Doing the optical equivalent of the live fire method requires the scope tube to be boresighted (parallel the the rifle bore). Then the line intersecting the rifle bore axis and the scope tube axis must be located, which requires a different type of alignment tool.

I guess for a perfectly designed, assembled and aligned rifle, base and rings, then aligning to the base would be equivalent to the more accurate method. However, for 99% of the rifles out there, the rings are neither boresighted to the rifle bore, nor centered over the bore. I don't see how the Segway leveler helps to find the reference line between the bore and scope axes.
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