How far before you need a level?

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by Tikkamike, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. Tikkamike

    Tikkamike Well-Known Member

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    I am considering buying one of the new levels from flatline ops. As of now 1000-1200 would be a really far shot for me and my 338 Lapua. My question is how far does the average competent shooter have to shoot before he realizes the benefits of a level. There are several variables like how well the shooter himself does leveling crosshairs instinctively. I can shoot my 25-06 at 800 yards and hit an 8 inch gong pretty reliably I dont feel that a level would benefit me a lot in that application. But there comes a point when you shoot long range and you miss how do you know why you missed. was it the wind, was the rifle unlevel?? I have a feeling this is like reloading and you have to decide for yourself which practices you want to adapt. obviously the more variables you eliminate the better the outcome. All that being said I want some opinions from some guys that have experience with levels. do you always use your level? only on certain distances and beyond? Any info I can get would be great.
     
  2. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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  3. RDM416

    RDM416 Well-Known Member

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    Tikkamike,

    The short answer in my opinion is around 400 yards for hunting.

    I use a level on all my long range rifles and have developed a habit of always glancing at it before I take the shot. It is amazing how often I am way off level. The terrain, your rest and other factors can create the illusion you are level when you are not. If you start to use a level I expect your groups will shrink at all ranges.

    The math could be done to determin how much effect "canting" your rifle will have at various ranges. The higher your scope is above the bore the greater the effect will be. I'm sure there is a formula out ther somewhere, the vaiables would be: inches above the bore (scope center), amount of cant, distance.

    Since you are shooting at 800 yards I would suggest a level would be a significant improvement to your set-up. In my experience I have come to prefer the type that mounts on the scope itself rather than the ones that mount on the rail. I have had trouble having to shim the ones that mount on the rail to get them level. Not an issue on the ones that mount on scope. I like the one by US Optics that Midway sells, they are a little pricey at about 70 bucks, but they are built to take abuse and come with a removable screw on cover that protects the level when not in use. The way they mount allows me to put them on the very end of my scope behind the rear ring. The level itself then protrudes either to the right or left side of the scope at about the bottom of the tube. I mount mine on the left side. This allows me to open my left eye a crack and look at the level without breaking my cheekweld.
     
  4. royinidaho

    royinidaho Well-Known Member

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    In answer to the thread question: For me its 100 yds as I have tested the error in level at 200 and 300 yds, the max distance of my backyard range for load work up.

    I can see the difference. Thus when doing load tuning the level is a must.
     
  5. RDM416

    RDM416 Well-Known Member

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    I agree totaly with royinidaho. I pay just as close attention to my level at 100 yards as I do at 1000+. Any amount of cant introduces error regardless of how close or how far the range. I used 400 yards as baseline for where I think the amount of error could be enough to cause a poor hit on a deer sized critter.

    Here is a pic of the US Optics mounted on one of my rifles.



    [​IMG]
     
  6. paphil

    paphil Well-Known Member

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    The link to Sniperhide is really a great test. It ought to be noted that the holdover at 600 yards is about 9 min or about 54 inches (when 0 at 200). When you go to 1000 yards , the hold over is about 24 minutes or 240 inches(7mag at 3000fps). That is about 5X the 8 inches at 600 yards. So if 5 degrees gives you an error of 8 inches at 600 yards, it equates to 54 inches at 1000, 1 degree of cant at 1000 yards is more than 10 inches ! That is as much as spin drift and is about the same as a 2 mph wind. I always set up my targets with a level and am amazed at how many people tell me my targets are leaning . A scope level is a must for any serious long range shooter.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2011
  7. ICANHITHIMMAN

    ICANHITHIMMAN Well-Known Member

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    Gosh I dont have one but I never thought of it for load tunning thats a great idea.