Scope leveling

Mcarso1

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Dec 13, 2016
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Pennsylvania
What’s best way to check for level and how to reset? Smith mounted my atacr and level on top mount verses crosshairs leveled on target are off? Need some good advice on getting it level before I am done with breakin and load development. Thanks I n advance!
 

ShtrRdy

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Jan 14, 2012
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High Plains
I like to have the bubble level attached to the scope. I can then adjust the crosshair so that it's aligned with a plumb line. I can then adjust the scope so that the reticle basically goes through the barrel.
 

jpspeeddemon

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Jul 4, 2009
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NE
I like to have the bubble level attached to the scope. I can then adjust the crosshair so that it's aligned with a plumb line. I can then adjust the scope so that the reticle basically goes through the barrel.
This is a good way. Remember, the reticle only needs to be level when u shoot, so having it perfectly level with your gun isn't necessary, although many of us including me prefer both to be aligned the same.
 

Varmint Hunter

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Long Island, New York
This is a good way. Remember, the reticle only needs to be level when u shoot, so having it perfectly level with your gun isn't necessary, although many of us including me prefer both to be aligned the same.
No offense but (IMO) this is incorrect.

As an extreme example, what if you set the rifle on a 45deg angle and then leveled your crosshair with a plumb-line at distance. Then you adjust a scope level to indicate when the scope is level.
Try dialing up or using your hashmarks at a distant object and see how far off your impact is.
The verticle line running from the center of the scope through the centerline of the bore must be true BEFORE you level the crosshair with a plumb-line or other point of verticle reference.
Just my 2 cents and that may be all its worth. Good luck.
 

therifleman556

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Here's how I did my most recent one.

Mounted rifle in cradle, leveled with a machinist's square on the rear of the receiver with bolt removed (on the lug raceways).

Used a plumb line 25 feet away to set the vertical stadia. At this point I also had a laser bore sighter set on the plumb line as well.

With the rifle still in the cradle, put light torque on the ring screws and rechecked the reticle vs the plumb line.

Final torque and rechecked the reticle again.

Adjusted the scope elevation to it's limits while watching to make sure it followed the plumb line.

This satisfied my OCD for the time being...

Ok, somebody burst my bubble...
 

dfanonymous

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Jul 16, 2016
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Here's how I did my most recent one.

Mounted rifle in cradle, leveled with a machinist's square on the rear of the receiver with bolt removed (on the lug raceways).

Used a plumb line 25 feet away to set the vertical stadia. At this point I also had a laser bore sighter set on the plumb line as well.

With the rifle still in the cradle, put light torque on the ring screws and rechecked the reticle vs the plumb line.

Final torque and rechecked the reticle again.

Adjusted the scope elevation to it's limits while watching to make sure it followed the plumb line.

This satisfied my OCD for the time being...

Ok, somebody burst my bubble...
id say thats about right. i use the top of the receiver to set my level on. i put the rifle in a vice outside on my property and level it that way with the target down at 100y. I level the paper itself and sharpie a plumb line with a carpenter level. that's about the only difference. after that ill start torquing the level down.
 

dfanonymous

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Jul 16, 2016
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I have been using this for about a year. after verifying with more archaic methods, I think it works pretty well and kinda simplified the process. Wouldn’t mind hearing others feedback if anyone else has used this.
https://shop.brownells.com/gunsmith...MI2MCCofi23AIVE4F-Ch2MVQKHEAQYASABEgK3NfD_BwE
I think most people would say that it depends to not actually level. If you are putting the level on the top turret, then the scope might be level to the rifle, but the reticle might not be which is usually the case. that's why a lot of us are talking about a plum line of some type.
 

dok7mm

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Apr 13, 2015
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west texas
I don't like to level off the scope cap, I prefer the bolt raceways. I then sight the plum line through the bore and snug up the vise. Line up the reticle to the plum line. When the reticle is on line and the bore is on the line, you're GOLDEN, your scope is aligned to bore, somewhat a rarity in factory rifles and/or mounting components.

Before I do all this, I check the rail for fit and bed if needed. On direct mount rings, I mount alignment bars to check if scope will align with barrel. One bar has an aluminum 24" rod insert that should align with barrel or show the amount of offset. If everything is straight I'll go to my mounting procedure. If not, Burris Signature rings w/inserts can help. You do not want to use all your windage to zero a scope. Using custom actions, I rarely have to use more than 2 moa to set windage zero.
My method, maybe it will help.
 

Mikecr

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what if you set the rifle on a 45deg angle and then leveled your crosshair with a plumb-line at distance. Then you adjust a scope level to indicate when the scope is level.
Try dialing up or using your hashmarks at a distant object and see how far off your impact is.
It would be fine provided you shoot the gun at 45deg -as you set the level.
The horizontal offset in POA to bore here does not matter for fixed range competitors, and can be windage preset out at furthest range for hunters. Let's say a 45deg offset with your scope height at 1.5", and furthest shooting decided at 600yds. You would dial shots in at 600yd, leading to a slight windage offset. Now back at 300yds you'd see maybe 1/4" horizontal error, at 100yds maybe 3/8" offset.
You would also need to carefully measure 45deg resultant scope height from bore centerline, to enter this in your ballistic software.

45deg is an extreme of coarse, affecting both horizontal and vertical scope position. But even that can be managed just fine.
In contrast, reasonable field errors with a system set perfectly vertically plumb, but then failing to meet level setting, would likely be up to ~5deg in a hilly topography. At 600yds and this much error, you will miss groundhogs.
It's a way bigger error to disregard level than to live with offsets. This is because we're now talking about angular errors which manifest as ever bigger offsets downrange.
 

J E Custom

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Jul 29, 2004
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10,536
Location
Texas
Everyone has their preferred method of leveling a scope to the bore center line and I think I have tried almost everyone of them. The only method that I found that worked consistently, was using the action rails to level the action, all other locations were not consistent.

A good friend dreamed up a very good (and convenient) method for leveling that we intend to post a video on that will explain/show how it works. Working in a shop late/after dark limited leveling scopes precisely and accurately because of the focal distance of most scopes.

He simply looks backwards through the scope using a small flashlight and projects the cross hairs/recital on any vertical edge (Like a door frame with the rifle held in place and leveled using the action rails.

The recital image is projected on the frame or plum bob line and is optically aligned. This is also a great way yo install a scope level after the recital has been set and locked into place. this sets the scope level true so that In the field you know the entire system is level.

For many years, I was forced to range test the level by shooting multiple distances to assure that the scope was level and that I wasn't canting the rifle.

With most of the lighting turned off it is amazing how well it works and also while tightening the rings you can make sure that the rings don't move the scope off level (Something that happens often if the tightening sequence is not correct).

The Video will soon follow.

J E CUSTOM
 

Varmint Hunter

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Long Island, New York
One thing that I have noticed is that the various methods of leveling a rifle often don't agree with each other.
If you put a level across the raceways and another on the top of the receiver, or atop of a pic rail, or atop of any other point of reference they rarely agree.
It seems to me that a level rifle should have the center of the optics directly over and plumb with the center of the bore. Not much else should matter. There is a tool that indicates this but I question its accuracy. If you use the device and put a machinist's level across the raceways they are, at times, not even close.
Leveling a scope is fairly easy but determining when a rifle is perfectly level or plumb before you do so is the difficult part.
 

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