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Reticle Perpendicularity by Darrell Holland

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Unread 03-27-2008, 06:04 PM
Join Date: May 2001
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Reticle Perpendicularity by Darrell Holland

This is a thread for discussion of the article, Reticle Perpendicularity
By Darrell Holland
. Here you can ask questions or make comments about the article.

The author will have this thread automatically notify him of posts so that he can join the discussion.

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Last edited by Len Backus; 05-02-2010 at 07:17 AM.
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Unread 03-27-2008, 07:40 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 38
That was an excellent article! I have often watched my favorite FFL dealer mount scopes, gratis, for his customers and asked him how he knew whether or not the reticle was exactly horizontal and vertical. The customers got exactly what they paid for! It was "eyeballed" to perfection. I used a workmate, a level on the top of the action to get the gun perpendicular(?) and hung a weight on a string from my garage door, sort of a poor man's plumb bob. Do you think that is accurate? I did not think of your way as it seemed better to try to be as precise before going out and shooting. Any thoughts would be appreciated as I am going to be installing a new scope on my newest rifle within the next few days. I was even thinking of using an Archimedes type level arrangement to get the gun even closer to perpendicular. Again, any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Unread 03-27-2008, 09:37 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Helena, AR
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Reticle Perpendicularity

Great article. Have not tried Mr. Holland's method. I have purchased a reticle leveler from NECO industries. It is a machined two piece aluminum apparatus with a machined slot and a level. The level is placed on the barrel and the objective end of the scope. The gun is then inserted in a vise on sand bag and the reticle is compared to a plumb bob line or a vertical line on a wall. This seems to put the barrel and the scope in the same plane, then the reticle can be adjusted to be parallel with the barrel/scope axis. Just curious on any thoughts or comments about this method. It has worked for me out to 400 yds.
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Unread 03-28-2008, 06:48 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Alaska
Posts: 255
Good article, thank you. The method described will allow me to test a theory that I need a naturally canted reticle. It seems, when I use one of the reticle devices, that the reticle is not plumb when I actually set the rifle up to shoot -- that my natural position is slightly canted -- all measured by whether the leveled target appears to align with the reticle. Now I can test that easily with Mr. Holland's test.

One question: how often is a person's natural position such that a canted reticle is necessary?
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Unread 03-29-2008, 06:19 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: IL
Posts: 59
I've used a Unertl 15X Ultra-Varmint for years. There is no vertical adjustment. I wonder how accurate their fixed method is? Pretty good I'll bet.
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Unread 03-29-2008, 12:08 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2007
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What about using the "Level-Level-Level" to do this?
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Unread 04-02-2008, 05:19 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 46
Reticle Perpendicularity


Thank you for the comments on the article.. I'm glad the information has helped some of you!

Most shooters never see proper scope mounting. Often times gunsmiths/store clerks do a quick and dirty job of mounting your rifle scope. They do not give any thought to what they are doing with your expensive rifle/scope combination.

The scope bases need to be level with one another. One can use a precision straight edge to check this and machine/shim the bases until they are flat/level with one another. Receiver tolerances can be out quite aways...

Once this is done, mount the ring halves providing the maximum support for the scope tube ensuring proper eye relief. Use a lapp to lapp the ring halves to at least 75% contact with the lapp. I use a water soluable lapping compound that is available at most automotive stores, it cleans up easier. Once the rings are lapped and mounted/tighhten to 65 inch pounds, I use Mark 4 style rings, we then level the base in the vise.

I use a Starrett precision machinists level to level the scope base and hang a plumb bob across the shop to align the reticle. Tighten the ring caps evenly checking the reticle as we do so.

This gets us VERY close, we then use the method described in the article to fine tune the reticle. One reticle perpendicularity is achieved it is DONE. Gremlins do not reside in the scope making changes to the reticle while you sleep.

Yes, we see alot of shooters who cant the rifle. The easiest cure is to purchase a scope level and mount it on the scope tube ( do so when we are making the reticle plumb with the rifle in the vise) This is a great truth detector and will aid you in long range shooting. If Len okays it, I'll do an article as to the effect of reticle cant at long range.

Holland Tech Tip #409 When hunting in rough mountainous country it can be hard to determine if the reticle is plumb. Trees grow plumb most of the time and can be used to check reticle perpendicularity before making the shot.

Hopefully I've answered your concerns???

Thanks for the opportunity to share our knowledge.

Be safe and shoot straight!


Darrell Holland
Home Of The ART Reticle
Holland's Shooter Supply
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