Scope leveling mystery

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by EXPRESS, May 3, 2013.

  1. EXPRESS

    EXPRESS Well-Known Member

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    This is something that has already taunted me before.

    Leveling scopes...here is whay I do, and when I'm done, it always looks out of whack, and I end up getting drift to the right as soon as I shart shooting past 500 yards.

    I made up a heavy steel plate with a vice welded to it and four bolts that act as adjustable legs.
    I lock the rifle in this.

    Using the Wheeler engineering "level, level, level!" I get the rifle level off the raceway and double check off the scope rail. I find some scope rails are off camber, and it varies along their length, but only by fractions of a degree.

    Then I'll mount the scope and get it level off the turret caps, double check and cross reference using the same level infrom the raceway to make sure everything is consistent. It is. Then get it snug in the rings.

    Next step is set up a plumb line 50 yards away to make sure.

    I use a 20lb weight on the end of the line and make sure there is no wind affecting it.

    Today, the scope, a Leupold mark 4 confirmed that the turrets tops (and flat area underneth) are pretty much perfct, though I did need to adjust it by a half tiny amount, maybe one degree.

    Once this is all in place I snug down the scope level, all the while maintaining and double checking that it stay in line with the plumb line and the rest of the levels. Once it is scung, double check again, adn everything is level.

    So this all sounds foolproof, but once I set up on the bipod, to get "level" it looks canted wayyy off, and always to the left, which with the last scope I set up like this, gave me right POI past 500.

    What the h@ll is going on?
     
  2. ICANHITHIMMAN

    ICANHITHIMMAN Well-Known Member

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    night force rings with a level, I use a few small levels, one on the rail, one on the turret tighten screws slow in a uniform manor, check and recheck levels (screws will twist optic if not tightened in a uniform manor).
     

  3. Wile E Coyote

    Wile E Coyote Well-Known Member

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  4. Joe King

    Joe King Well-Known Member

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    I get the same thing. I think it just just the way it appears, after beating my head against the wall I finally decided to just trust it and it worked out. Remember a light breeze can give you a (small) measurable amount of drift even at 100yrds, depending on your gun and load you may want to add in a touch of spin also. I realize it's tiny but tiny adds up. Yea my reticle always look canted to the left to me also thats why a scope level is such a life saver.
     
  5. EXPRESS

    EXPRESS Well-Known Member

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    I've got this rifle in the vice, the reticle perfectly lined up on the plumb line, simultaneously having a level in the raceways, another on the rail, all level and the scope level also adjusted and reading level.
    So in theory it's perfect. When I pick it up, it looks a good 3 - 5 degrees off.

    I'll take it out for some shooting tomorrow and see what happens with some reticle tracking tests.

    Before I cared, I used to set them up by eyeball, and never had a problem...
     
  6. Michael Eichele

    Michael Eichele Well-Known Member

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    How much to the right at 500 yards are you? What is your degree of rifle/shooter accuracy?
     
  7. LDHunter

    LDHunter Well-Known Member

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    I started using a level on my scopes and a level on my mounting bases about 15 years ago and for the first few years my reticles looked canted to the side but then I got used to the true vertical and started holding my rifles straighter. By the way I use a plumb bob to check my vertical orientation when I have doubts and they always verify that my little level on the top of the scope caps isn't lying to me.

    I'm betting you either have a reticle tracking problem or a wooly booger has entered your rifle or scope and the only cure for that is an exorcism. This of course was a bad joke and I'm sure you're frustrated but I've had a few wooly boogers that only showed up at long range over the years and I never did figure out what the problem really was.

    Maybe someone that's a lot smarter than me will chime in. :D
     
  8. HuntFarther

    HuntFarther Well-Known Member

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    This problem absolute drove me nuts. I have tried just about everything and this is about the best I have come up with. My troubles were coming from when installing a level, and the level changing things sometimes true and others were jutst plain what the heck.

    I took a piece of flat steel and milled it to fit in my bolt race way. I then level off of it. But before I mount the scope if I am putting a level on I install that to the scope based off of a level on my turret or cap.

    With this all said and done I still do not trust it. I will then go to the range and verify that whoever assembled the scope actually put the reticle in true to the turret cap.

    I can help with this but sure everyone is aware of what is next.
     

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  9. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

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    This also drove me crazy up until about five years ago. The last five LR rigs I have set up proved to be aligned very well out at long range as well as verified when tested with a plum line through the turret adjustment range. Once all is aligned using the standard rail, turret, levels, etc., I then with the rifle level and mounted securely, and my scope level mounted in final position, attach a Bushnell Collimator that contains a grid with MOA divisions and a range of +30 MOA. With the grid attached and aligned vertically with the scope reticle, I will then elevate my turrets 20-30 MOA. The vertical grid line of the scope reticle and collimator should be in perfect alignment with no angular deviation when run through the elevation range. If not, it's out of alignment, and all gets adjusted. This approach has worked superbly for me and I have yet have had to readjust my scope when range tested. It is also a good test for turret reproducibility as I had one well known high end scope indicate a turret problem which was ultimately verified and corrected by the manufacturer. I have also learned to trust my alignment, even when the reticle visually appears cocked to some degree. It's almost always my visual perception, not the rifle/scope. IMO.
     
  10. Beluebow

    Beluebow Well-Known Member

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    I have a bad habit of wanting to roll the rifle into my shoulder,,I think alot more people do this than will admit.As said above I've learned to trust what my bubble is telling me regardless of what the reticle looks like.
     
  11. Thumper1991

    Thumper1991 Active Member

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    Um I used to build alot of houses and levels do get out of wack. Have you checked to make sure your levels are true. Not a jab btw.
     
  12. RTK

    RTK Well-Known Member

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    I read an article on here a while back. This will correct for many of the manufacturing deficiencies that can happen, assures proper alignment and will make long range shooting on the money.

    Zero the rifle at 100 yards.
    Make an inverted T target with a good square that has a vertical line about 20".
    Take a plumb bob or level and make the vertical line vertical when placing on your backer.
    Start dialing up and see it your hits are on the line or start to stray one way or the other. It will also verify if your scope is tracking perfect or not.
    If they stray right rotate the scope right, left if it strays left. Very little is all that is needed.
    Oh, after adjusting make sure you re-zero and repeat.
     
  13. EXPRESS

    EXPRESS Well-Known Member

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    I shot with it, and at 100 meters, with a plumb line on the target, shooting 5 minutes of adjustment it tracked properly.

    But something is still amiss.
    Everyone who looks through the scope thinks it is way off.
    I had a friend who is a machinist and has incredibly "accurate" eyes, (he can spot levels and give you measurements in the tenths of milimeters), look and shoot it and he thought it looked as bad as I did.

    Time, trigger time that is, will tell.
     
  14. RTK

    RTK Well-Known Member

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    Try going 10 and 20 moa up, that will give you a better indication. If it tracks then you are good no matter what it looks like to the human eye.