Scope leveling idea

thaught

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I was installing a NF ATACR today and came up with an idea that I think worked very well for leveling the scope. Normally, I level the rifle by setting up a plumb line about 50 yards away. Then through a series minor adjustments, get it level. Sometimes it is easy and sometimes it’s more finicky. I keep telling myself to get a DE level to speed the process up, but I haven’t yet. Anyways, this scope was really hard to get level and I thought to myself, what if I put the scope on a level surface, resting on the bottom/flat housing and then put a level on the turret caps. If the scope isn’t level, I’ll turn the turrets until the scope is showing level. 1/3 of a rotation of the turrets got the scope perfectly level. Then I took the scope, set it in the rings, leveled it off the turrets that I knew were level 5 seconds before, and tightened them down. Much easier. Has anyone done it this way before?
 

codyadams

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I have not done it that way, though it sounds like a decent method of leveling the body of the scope, though that doesn't necessarily actually level the reticle/dialing mechanism with gravity. I level off the feed rails, then mount a level to my barrel to match, then take it to the range and use a plumb bob to level my optic mounted level with the reticle to get close, and then make sure the scope/optic level is pretty close to matching my rifle level, then if I plan on dialing for vertical adjustment, I do a tall target test to dial in level. What really matters in leveling depends on how you use your optic, they are as follows -

If you use a holdover reticle type method, and don't dial, then the reticle must be plump with gravity in relation to your optic mounted level. Align your reticle with the plumb bob, and adjust your optic mounted level to where it shows level while the reticle is aligned with the plumb. Call it a day, that's all you need to do for it to be perfect!

If you dial elevation, than your internal vertical adjustment mechanism must be plump with gravity in relation to your optic mounted level. This takes a little more effort to do it 100% correct, as the reticles don't always align perfectly with the mechanical adjustment, especially with some of the very functional, but also budget built long range scopes now days. After you use whatever method to level the optic, or get it in the ballpark, the only 100% positive way to get perfect level (to my knowledge) is to shoot a tall target test, I do it at 100 yards as wind and such have less of a chance of affecting my results. Mark a line and ensure that it is perfectly strait and level with gravity when you shoot, and have your aim point centered on the line at the bottom of the target. With a zeroed rifle with an accurate and repeatable load, dial up at least to the maximum amount you would practically dial. Ensure your referencing your level for every shot, and shoot a group, and see where it lands. If your group is perfectly centered on the line, congrats! You did it perfect. However it is very often that you will find it a small amount one side or another, lots of reasons this can happen, especially if dialing 30, 40 or more MOA. At this point, I loosen my level and adjust it the proper direction/amount to make the correction. Shoot again and confirm, and continue making small adjustments until your groups land perfectly on the line, then the parts that matter are 100% plumb with gravity, and that aspect can be completely taken out of the equation.

I apologize, I am rambling at this point. 0400 hrs on my first graveyard in several months.....Sorry ha ha.
 

manitou1

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Thoughts on rifles with no flat surface to put a level on? I have had this issue with several rifles and haven't been smart enough to figure a good solution. 😁
 

codyadams

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Thoughts on rifles with no flat surface to put a level on? I have had this issue with several rifles and haven't been smart enough to figure a good solution. 😁
Ha ha not sure there is one!! Perhaps it you put the rifle in a vise/on a bench, and got a plumb bob line to where it split the bore perfectly when looking through, then aligned the scope reticle with the plumb? would still be just eye balling ha ha, but I think it would be close enough for that portion of the process!!
 

Darryle

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Why not just invest in one of these

Scope Level.jpg

BADGER ORDNANCE - DEAD LEVEL SCOPE LEVELING DEVICE

The Dead Level levels your reticle in relation to the Earth taking out any margin of error of the reticle not being perfectly level with the scope body. Simply attach your mounted scope to the Dead Level, level the device with the precision thumbscrews to center up the bulls-eye level, then just level the reticle with a predetermined level line or plumb bob. Aluminum Mil. Spec. Now features an Anodized Hard Coat Type III in a crimson and black finish. Instructions included.

FOR USE WITH MIL STD 1913 PICATINNY COMPLIANT RINGS AND MOUNTS
Since I have slowly switched to using picatinny rails, this is on my to buy list. I have used the plumb line method with decent results, but it always leaves me struggling with cant induced by tightening the caps.
 

codyadams

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Why not just invest in one of these

View attachment 212339

BADGER ORDNANCE - DEAD LEVEL SCOPE LEVELING DEVICE



Since I have slowly switched to using picatinny rails, this is on my to buy list. I have used the plumb line method with decent results, but it always leaves me struggling with cant induced by tightening the caps.
That is a pretty neat little tool! Only thing it doesn't address is the issue of the internal mechanics not tracking in line with the reticle, which happens, even on expensive optics on occasion. It would still need to be shot on a tall target to ensure there aren't any unseen issues, however that is an excellent idea for plumbing up the reticle!
 

Gwine

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Southern Oregon
I can’t take credit for the idea, I think Greyfox mentioned it. This has worked well for the last 3 I have mounted.
Remove the bolt and place the but of the rifle against a wall. If you shine a light from the objective end of the scope you will project the reticle on the wall. Now look down the bore from the muzzle and you can align the image of the reticle with the center of the bore.
Doesn’t matter if you have a flat spot on the receiver.
 

jimbires

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tall target if dialing , plumb line if using a hold over reticle . two good articles well worth reading .


 

aushunter1

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Nov 16, 2012
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Australia
^^^
The scope might be level but is the rifle bore axis level to the scope.

If it is then you have solved the problem without buying any special tools.

The only problem is if your out the longer the distance the worse the effect
 

thaught

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AZ
^^^
The scope might be level but is the rifle bore axis level to the scope.

If it is then you have solved the problem without buying any special tools.

The only problem is if your out the longer the distance the worse the effect
I had the rifle in a vice and I leveled the vice on both x/y axis , then leveled the rifle on both x/y axis from the built in rail (Lone Peak Fuzion action). To me that means the Barrel was level... do you agree?
 

lyotehunter

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Jul 27, 2012
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128
I was installing a NF ATACR today and came up with an idea that I think worked very well for leveling the scope. Normally, I level the rifle by setting up a plumb line about 50 yards away. Then through a series minor adjustments, get it level. Sometimes it is easy and sometimes it’s more finicky. I keep telling myself to get a DE level to speed the process up, but I haven’t yet. Anyways, this scope was really hard to get level and I thought to myself, what if I put the scope on a level surface, resting on the bottom/flat housing and then put a level on the turret caps. If the scope isn’t level, I’ll turn the turrets until the scope is showing level. 1/3 of a rotation of the turrets got the scope perfectly level. Then I took the scope, set it in the rings, leveled it off the turrets that I knew were level 5 seconds before, and tightened them down. Much easier. Has anyone done it this way before?
 

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