reticle leveling

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by den, Feb 21, 2014.

  1. den

    den Well-Known Member

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    this is driving me crazy I have re leveled this scope many times, plumb line ,Segway, level system, level on top of turret, all matched carefully to scope mounted anti cant device , all line up, but when I shoulder it or shoot off bench ect.. the vertical crosshair has to look crooked to line up the scope mounted level , I have dialed elev at 100 yds it runs true but just looks all wrong, always vertical crosshairs look canted to be level if that makes sense could this be the stock or the action have some kind of a cant present any help greatly appreciated thanks,
     
  2. Barrelnut

    Barrelnut Well-Known Member

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    I think some people can perceive what is level differently. Think I am that way as I experience your issue regularly. You could permanently mount a level to the scope and a separate level to the rail. This way you would be able to cross reference them in the field when you get into this dilemma and you would know which, and anything were different. Think you may find that all is really OK.
     
  3. Hired Gun

    Hired Gun Well-Known Member

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    This is an easy one. Your head is on crooked. Orrr, your reticle is canted inside the scope. When you line the reticle with a plumb bob and a have a level sitting on the top turret do they both show plumb? If they are the same and it sounds like they do I don't go by the rail at all as the factory scope action screws holes are not always at 12:00. I use the EXD Engineering Vertical Reticle Instrument to set the scope true above the bore.

    I know how it feels to see it crooked when your instruments all show everything is good including the ultimate test to see if it tracks a vertical line. I have ended hunts and wasted a day because it looked crooked only to get back to the shop and find everything is spot on. In my case my head is on crooked.
     
  4. Wachsmann

    Wachsmann Well-Known Member

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    Same thing here too. It was making me a little upset yesterday at the range but it was all level. I think its just the way we cock our heads when behind the scope. So I tried to keep the gun level even though it seems canted to me. Usually works out well when the gun is level though.
     
  5. paphil

    paphil Well-Known Member

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    Canting, do you cant?
    One of the biggest issues for a long range shooter is canting. What effect does canting have on shot placement and is a scope level necessary to prevent canting? Canting is the act of tilting your gun to one side or the other in the process of getting comfortable for a shot. We all tilt our gun to a certain degree, and once a level is installed on our scope, our first thought is that the scope is mounted crooked! There are two issues that I wish to examine in this article and hope to help you understand the difference between canting the gun and canting the scope.
    Several years ago, before I was involved in long range shooting, and before the advent of scope levels, my son, Jeremy, and I were shooting target with a very accurate 22-250 and could not figure out why our groups didn’t fall in the same place on the targets. After a lot of discussion, and after shooting several groups while being very careful to align the vertical crosshair with a vertical line on the target, our groups came together. He naturally canted left a few degrees and I canted right!
    As a shooting instructor for The Best of the West, I get a lot of trigger time and see quite a few shooters that struggle to keep the gun in a vertical position as they prepare for a long range shot. They must be constantly reminded to check the level! They have developed muscle memory from a lifetime of shooting and really struggle to keep from canting. What effect will this have on them in a field situation as they get ready for a shot on that animal of a lifetime and they forget to look at the level? There is a solution!
    There are many products on the market to help us and our gunsmiths get our scopes mounted perfectly vertical and perpendicular to the bore of the rifle. Are they really necessary?
    A few years ago, I began toying with the idea of tilting my gun or scope to eliminate spin drift from the equation on long range shots. There was a groundhog that lived across the valley at just over a thousand yards and on those summer evenings with very little wind, I could get a shot off. The wind was usually very light, only one or two mph, but enough to drift my bullet from my 22-243 shooting 80 grain bergers about a minute (by the chart). It was frustrating to need to hold two minutes for wind from the left and no hold for wind from the right for the same wind value! Thus began the quest for a solution by canting the scope or gun. I eventually did kill the groundhog!
    I started reading everything I could find about canting and was amazed by the amount of “expert” opinions and all the “facts” presented as evidence to back their theories. The only real evidence that was presented that I was able to understand was David Tubbs actual shooting demonstration on the “Dope the Wind” video. He effectively showed that canting the gun and scope left or right would throw the bullet in the direction of the cant. So! Canting the gun can be used to move the bullet left or right! Now the real problem presented itself. How much spin drift is there and how many degrees do I need to tilt to eliminate it? Up until this time, Best of the West had been setting up their guns to shoot about an inch left at 200 yards on the presumption that the bullet would then drift back right under the effect of the spin of the bullet at ranges further out and that worked well for big animals. I just didn’t like that group missing the bulls eye at 200! What I finally decided to do was set up a tall target at 100 yards and tilt just enough to get the bullet to strike between ¾ and 1 inch left with 1000 yards of elevation cranked on the scope. The first shot, with the scope set on 100 yards, hit right on the vertical line. With the scope tilted 2 degrees left, and the turret dialed up to 1000 yards, the bullet fell 1 inch left of the line and about 27 inches above the first shot. I then installed a level on the scope, scope tilted left 2 degrees and level mounted level.


    We now get back to the original problem, can we cant the gun and not the scope and still not affect the shot? To test this theory, I set the gun up with the gun canted 20 degrees left and then 20 degrees right, leaving the scope level, and fired at a target at 100 yards with the scope set on 100 yards and then set on 1000 yards. In both cases the 1000 yard group was perfectly vertical from the 100 yard group! As long as the scope remained level and vertical it didn’t matter how the gun was tilted!
    To continue the test, I left the gun vertical and rolled the scope left 20 degrees and then shot the same test, set on 100 and then 1000 yards. Now the 1000 yard group fell 27 inches above but also 10 inches to the left! The test was repeated with the scope rolled to the right with the same results, the 1000 yard group now falling about 10 inches right and 27 inches above from the 100 yard group .




    What does this mean to the long range shooter? It means that we can install the scope in a vertical position after the shooter is comfortable on the gun, eliminating the fight to get the scope level! As long as the scope is level, the gun
    will shoot correctly! It also means that with 2 degrees of scope cant to the left, and the gun in any position of comfort, we eliminate spin drift.
    To sum up this article, my current procedure for installing a scope and the level has changed. I now prepare the mounts in the usual way, lapping the rings to get good contact and then preparing the scope by mounting the level, tilting or canting the top of the level to the left and tightening the level. I use an extra level for this procedure, setting a magnetic level on top of the scope and then rolling the scope left about ½ bubble. The installed level is then tightened. Checking the accuracy can be done with the previous method of shooting at 100 yards and then turning up to 1000 yards and seeing if the bullet hits about 1 inch to the left of that vertical line. Now loosely mount the scope in the rings and let the shooter get comfortable on the gun. As he holds this position, rotate the scope until the level is level and finish tightening the screws. The gun can now be zeroed at 200 and is ready for long range with no perceivable spin drift, even out to 1500 yards! Other people using that gun will say it is not level but it will fit that shooter and will allow him to make a good shot when he forgets to look at his level!

    Article by Phil Conklin, shooting instructor for The Best of the West. If you have questions or comments, contact Phil at 724-228-7826 or e-mail at phil@thebestofthewest.net
     
  6. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    Many people cant there rifles when they get in a comfortable position, Hence the need for a scope level.

    I have a very good level sense and have to set the scope level to keep from canting the rifle.

    I level the rifle off the guide rails in the action and off the turret at the same time. I also check the level using a plum line just to make sure that the turret caps are in sink with the reticle (They don't all agree).

    At the range I do the same as everyone else, by checking vertical POI at 100 to at least 4 or 500
    yards.

    If all of this lines up correctly it helps me to hold without canting.

    The rifles that are used in the mountains or very uneven terrain wear a scope level for insurance.

    PS: My head stays on crooked most of the time, and I need the assurance. (I always carry 2 compass's because I don't always believe just one) Ha Ha.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  7. den

    den Well-Known Member

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    yea my head must be crooked ,every time I line up a shot I have to readjust by canting the rifle to the left to get the bubble level centered then the reticle looks canted to the left about two degrees and not near as natural but it all lines up with a leveled target also , and a level on top of turret levels with a plumb line so I guess its not the scope as I have been hearing some of them have canted crosshairs and my other scopes don't seem as bad , THANKS A LOT for the info guys , I had been reading on another forum where they were going back and forth on leveling the gun to reticle vs getting comfortable mount on the gun then leveling the reticle it sounds like both ways work as long as you use the bubble again, thanks
     
  8. MagnumManiac

    MagnumManiac Well-Known Member

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    I believe we ALL cant our rifles to some degree, but what I have done to make everything feel right for me, right or wrong, is to ALWAYS level the scope on the rifle perpendicular to the action by using a plumb bob. Then I use the reticle to level the rifle when shooting, this has caused me to shoulder almost any rifle squarely almost all of the time now, as before I canted rather badly everytime.
    Essentially, I have trained myself to not cant the rifle anymore and it improved my groups, particularly when using a rifle in the prone position for F-class comp.

    Cheers.
    gun)
     
  9. Gene

    Gene Well-Known Member

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    I am in the crooked head group also. Two suggestions: Take your rifle cradle to the range with two levels and a plumb bob. Sit rifle in cradle and hold 6" level perfectly vertical against recoil pad. Move rifle left and right until bubble is level. Now rifle is positioned correctly. Next, place small bubble level on elevation cap. Loosen scope and rotate until it is level. Tighten rings. Now you should be close. Tie plumb bob at 50 yards, check vertical reticule against plumb string (no wind movement) . They should match; if not, start over with scope rotation until they do.

    You should be good to go at this point. Buy a bubble level made for scope rings; mount and re-check again.

    On my 3" fore end BR rifles I have a small 1/2" square bubble level glued to a popsickle stick. I hold it on the forend underside while rotating the scope with small level on upper turret. Makes it easy with flat foreend.
     
  10. Dosh

    Dosh Well-Known Member

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    This subject is of major interest to me. I have read many articles and these posts address cant with more experience and wisdom. I hunt and shoot with a group of friends and relatives that react to this and other accuracy issues with disregard. To me this subject is grossly ignored and I have observed shooters canting extremely one side or the other consistently at the range while complaining "this rifle is a dud". I am printing this series of posts to give copies to the group. This is what makes this forum the best! Thank you all.
     
  11. Gene

    Gene Well-Known Member

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  12. Nimrod

    Nimrod Well-Known Member

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    Do you wear prescription glasses while shooting? I had this problem while wearing progressive lenses, told the eye Doc and he fixed it with a new set of lenses.

    Bob
     
  13. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    When you use a plumb line, do you take the bolt out and make sure the scope reticle is aligned the center of the bore? I saw a youtube video where a guy merely set his rifle in a vise, then mounted the scope and aligned the reticle with the plumb line without checking it's orientation to the bore of the rifle. That is pretty much useless. Need to make sure your bore is aligned with the scope.
     
  14. Iclimb

    Iclimb Well-Known Member

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    I can cut you one of these. It's machined bar stock. They work great and are far better that this triple level gizmos. This will work on ruger, rem, win, savage. .223 and up. You utilize the lug raceways in the action. They are true to your action and are an excellent spot to level from. The process is pretty simple, the level isn't included. $35 shipped, I have one at this price. The new version will be more as it is a little longer. I've sold a few and they seem to like them. I also slide it in the action when bedding bases to keep the bedding out of the action

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    Verified with a plumb line
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