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I skimmed through the posts on the subject of reticle cant (or tilt) and didn't see the following question addressed.  If might have been but I didn't catch it.
 
I spoke with my brother last night describing my new scope installation.  I repeatedly threw the rifle up to my shoulder, resting my elbow on a table in the kitchen, to determine the correct eye relief and to square the reticle.  Once I got the reticle square to the horizon, at least visually, I noticed the rifle is slighlty canted to the scope.   It's not off by much, perhaps a couple of degrees or so. 
 
My brother recommended that the rifle being canted would screw up efforts to make adjustements when sighting in.   I can see if the scope is canted that inputs to elevation would effect windage, I think.  But would the rifle being canted have some similar effect?  That seems counter intuitive to me.  On the face of it, it seems as if the rifle canted or not, zeroed to a level scope will produce a hit at the point of aim.   The canting of the rifle this way or that shouldn't matter provided you do the same way each time, as evidenced by the reticle being level.    He argued that the rifle must be leveled, then he scope trued to the rifle and the horizon to have it shoot accurately.  Is that correct?
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It depends.
If you can shoulder the rifle in EXACTLY the same way each time, and if you always shoot at EXACTLY the same distance, there will be no change due to cant.
If, however, you EVER shoulder the rifle differently or if you EVER shoot a different distance or make any manner of reticule adjustment with the windage and elevation turrets, you will have issues.

In short, a line passing through the center of the scope (along the vertical post) should continue down through the center of the bore - the horizontal line, for cant purposes, is irrrelevant since that is the line that will move according to range.  If the vertical isn't vertical or if it is vertical but on a line other than the center of the bore, any adjustment to the scope, either in vertical or horizontal adjustment, will be off.

Almost everyone cants their rifle when they shoot off-hand.  If the distance shot is not long, cant won't matter much hunting.

Finally, in my opinion, NEVER level your scope by eye on an off-hand hold.  Allowing a shooting deficiency to be so well established is a very bad thing for precision shooting.

Offhand, I cant my rifle by about 3 degrees.  My scopes are mounted exactly level so that when I should the rifle, it looks off and I rotate about 3 degrees to be where I should. If I mount a scope with an off-hand hold, it will always be about 3 degrees clockwise - and when I dial from a 100 zero to a 600 shot, my rounds are all low and right of my target - which severely pisses me off.

Mount it right and be done.  It will take a few extra minutes and some effort, but nothing sucks more than missing a trophy because you decided to save a few minutes on mounting your optics.


Edited by Rancid Coolaid - May/02/2008 at 08:26
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+1 on that. I spent extra time and care on mounting for my long range rifle, and it has paid off very well. The long shots are much easier when everything on the rifle is true.
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 I agree ... I would rather teach myself to aim level than miss shots . By that I mean practice keeping the crosshairs/rectile straight when firing as it was setup . 8shots did a long and technical test at his own expense to show what different canting of the scope and/or  rifle made on hitting the bulls eye  .  If I can find it ... I'll post a link or you can look him up for the posted link . Very informative !
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JackG,
If you raise your rifle to your shoulder, without looking if it is canted or not, but your scope is level, as described by yourself, the adjustments would be true. In other words if you dialed up, the elevation would go up only. The impact of the bullet would also go up only. This will only be true at short distances. As soon as you move out to distance of probably in excess of 200 yds, the arc of the bullet will be effected by gravity and will move left or right and downwards. At this stage it is gravity doing its dirty work, not scope cant or rifle cant.
However, a rifle zeroed with canted scope or rifle or both, is just that. It is zeroed and will hit the point it has been zeroed to.


Edited by 8shots - May/02/2008 at 10:01
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 That was quick ..... you did'nt mind me sending him to you did ya 8shots ? I figured if anyone knew you did after reading your test post .
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/02/2008 at 10:45
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Mercenary, if I just see the word "cant" I go all shaky and weak kneed. I thought when I saw the thread, "Oh no, not again....."
My head is all canted and full of canting stuff!!!!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/02/2008 at 22:00
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You guys at it again!!  Whacko
 
I think this post will address the problem (or lack thereof) that you are worried about
 
 
______________________________________________________________________
 
The effect of a canted scope verses a canted rifle...



This picture represents a canted rifle underneath a level scope. You're looking at the buttstock of the rifle, and on through the scope. The orange circle is the approximate location of the bore of the rifle. The blue dots represent the fall of the shots as they go downrange; they fall with gravity along a line which is represented by the vertical crosshair in the scope.

What we must concern ourselves with to understand this issue is the scope and the bullet path. When you dial the scope's erector to zero for windage, you are essentially aligning it with the bullet path--not the barrel!

So if a scope is mounted slightly canted, but held level, the bore of the canted rifle would only be off to the side a fraction of an inch (perhaps 1/16 to 1/8 inch) underneath. It would look something like this:



Is it important that the bore isn't 100 percent underneath the scope's vertical crosshair? Actually, no.

Think about it this way:

If you have the scope dialed to a perfect 100 yard zero with one particular load, and then you switch to another load, you'll likely note that your windage zero will change. Has the scope moved? No. Has the barrel changed? No. Only the direction that the barrel is throwing the shots has changed. Barrels, by their very nature, throw shots here, there, and yonder. Very%20Happy So you must dial the scope's erector to follow the general path of the new load to get your zero. This may take the scope's centerline well away from the boreline--but that's not what's important. Bullet path and boreline are two different things.

You see, the scope's erector is never actually aligned with the bore of the rifle to begin with--it is aligned with the path of whatever bullets you are setting the zero for.

What I'm saying is that you can have a slightly canted scope, with the barrel underneath at, say, 5:30 and so long as the scope is held level, the shots will still fall parallel with the vertical crosshair.



In the top image, there is the ideal situation where the scope's vertical crosshair perfectly disects the fall of the shots.

In the second image, the scope is mounted with a slight cant, but since the scope is being held level, this means that the rifle bore is off by a bit underneath it. It's at 5:30 rather than 6 o'clock. Note how the shots fall just slightly to the right of the vertical crosshair. Groups forming downrange would probably never indicate that the 5:30 rifle cant even existed, as these shots would only be off to the right of the vertical crosshair a tiny fraction of an inch.

What if you layed the rifle on its side?

If you layed the rifle on its side (and mounted the scope upright, with the elevation turret up top),



...this would of course put the scope about 1.5 inches to the left of the bore. If you zeroed the scope for the shots to fall dead on at 100 yards then yes, you would have an angular relationship with bullet path and line of sight. You'd only be zeroed for 100 yards. From the rifle to the target, you'd begin with almost 1.5 inches of error, slowly correcting until you got to 100 yards, then beyond 100 yards your shots would deviate farther and farther from the windage zero you had at 100 yards.

However, if, as is shown in the drawing immediately above, you were to take into account that 1.5 inch difference with the "sideways rifle," and you dialed the scope so that the shots fell 1.5 inches to the right of the crosshair intersection at 100 yards, these shots would stay only 1.5 inches right of the line of sight all the way downrange (wind factors and such notwithstanding).

In another possible scenario, you could simply take this sideways rifle and dial the windage zero to be correct at 1000 yards. Then, you'd be off a little less than 1.5 inches at 100 yards, and the bullet would begin "closing in" on the windage--and the closer the bullet got to 1000 yards, the more it would close the 1.5 inch gap. At 1000 yards, the bullet would cross the line of sight, then begin deviating in the opposite direction, and by 2000 yards, it would be about 1.5 inches to the other side. Obviously, this 1.5 inches would not be much of a factor at the longer ranges. Smile

So, with the slightly cant-mounted (but held level) scope, you're not going to be off anywhere near 1.5 inches all the way downrange. It'll be more like 1/8" or so--and wouldn't even be noticed in a 1 MOA group size.

So remember: It's bullet path, bullet path, bullet path--not the barrel that you're aligning the scope with.



The above is a top view, looking down at the rifle and scope, and bullet path(s). The blue area would represent the scope's range of WINDAGE alignment; in other words it can be dialed to windage zero anywhere in that blue zone. The orange lines represent the various paths different load recipes might cause the bullets to fly. You can dial the scope to align with any of these paths.

All that really matters is that the bullets be released relatively close to the vertical crosshair and all will be well.

When the barrel releases the bullet, the bullet goes up, then it comes down. It does this regardless of where the barrel is in relation to the scope. All you are doing with the scope windage adjustments is aligning the erector to be closely parallel with that bullet's path. The key words here are CLOSELY PARALLEL, and once the scope's windage is set to be parallel with the bullet's path, you will not have to change windage for various ranges--it'll stay the same--even if the barrel is at 5:30 or 6:30, or even 5 o'clock or 7 o'clock underneath the scope. You might get lucky and have your bullet fall perfectly along the vertical crosshair of your scope, but that'll be the exception; not the rule. Chances are, if you could somehow determine the "perfect bullet" path, it would be 1/8" or even more, to one side or the other of the vertical crosshair. Big deal, though--such a small amoun
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A very good explanation.   I was poking at this quesiton all afternoon and talked to several co-workers.  Some felt that it made no difference.  Zero is zero regardless of what the rifle is doing.   Others wouldn't buy it.   In end I could envision a canted rifle, being perfectly zeroed at 100 yard, but that in fact that was not two paralell lines, one from the bore and the other from the scope.  It was actually a point of intersection between the axis of the scope and the axis of the bullet's path from the bore  As he bullet passed through that point it would travel slightly away from the scope's axis.  
 
I think we talked ourselves into thinking the amount of that deflection could be represented by the scope height above the rifle say, 1.5", and the degrees of cant subtracted from 90 degrees.  Say three degrees of cant subtracted from 90 would be 87 degrees.  Take the cosine of that and multiply that times the distance the scope is above the bore.  It's not much.  But out at say 200 and then 300 yards it becomes more significant.   That error would increase linearly with distance. 
 
The cure is as everyone has recommended.  Level the scope to the rifle the scope to true horizontal, or vertical, depending on your reference.  I confess when I installed my first scope, I eyeballed it.   And apparently it got it close enough, as it shoots to zero windage out beyond 300 yards.  I bumbled my way to success.  I'll use the proper tools this time. 
 
 
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 I use the laserlyte system .... have you seen those ? Some only work with steel because they rely on magnets .... those don't . Or sitting a lil level on system that can slide off . Like everyone .... for years never heard of levels and bubbles .... lasers make the whole nine yards of setting up perfect . I sight my rifles in at 150 yds. ... then and rely on mil-dots for under and over .
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Well, I would caution that when one talks of 3 degrees that is less than 1/2 of one minute on the clock face (90 degrees is 15 minutes, 180 degrees is 30 minutes and 360 degrees is 60 minutes).  That amount of cant is unnoticeable. 
 
From my experiments with the anti-cant bubbles I have recently installed on my a couple of my scopes I will say that if I set up to shoot, the bubble is almost always not in the center, usually not far off, but not in the center.  I shoot off an adjustable front rest with a notched leather sewn bag and a rear leather sewn notched bag and have been doing so for years. 
 
Holding your rifle to the exact same cant or position every time to within 3 degrees everytime without a lock in rest or an anti cant device would have to be demonstrated to me.  I would estimate that normal variation in rifle position for most of us experienced and good shooters is closer to 10 degrees (less than 3 minutes on the clock face) to either side of straight up with most of it falling at 1/2 that or less.  I don't know, I'm just guessing. 
 
Now I go Elk hunting and most times the herds are spotted in the dark timbered slopes from across the canyon.  Shots have been from 200 to 400 yards and there is plenty of time for set up.  My last shot was at 253 yards slightly down taken with a 300 win mag and 180 TSX.  I hit about 3" to the left of where I expected.  I attibuted that to wind which I had allowed for, but was it?  Next time I will know and if the shot is 400 or 500 yards rifle cant and scope cant will not be a part of the problem.
 
mercenary, I have a bore sighter with which you look through the scope and adjust the reticles to the grid.  I also have use a laser light system that has the cases with the laser in it.  Those devices will do nothing to correct scope rotation and align the vertical reticle with the bore.  They are useful for zeroing the crosshairs only.  The scope could still be rotated in the rings and the rifle held at a cant and the boresighters will not be of use to correct the problem.  Back in one of the previous threads you will see that someone suggested I use a boresighter and crank elevation and watch to see if the crosshairs moved parallel with the grid.  It did so I rotated the scope and tried it again.  You automatically can rotate the bore sighter to accomodate the scope rotation so the crosshairs will again move parallel to the grid on the bore scope. 
 
Like the article said, by far the most important thing is holding your reticle level and perpendicular.
 
Although here's some more to think about and 8shots to get weak-kneed over
 
________________________________________________________________________
 

Cant Errors Explained                        (also see “Varmint Hunter” July 1999 magazine article)

Introduction

In precision shooting there are many factors that affect the ability of a shooter to hit a target with accuracy. One of these factors is cant error. Cant error is the result of not holding the rifle bore axis and the scope axis in a vertical plane.

The Problem

To begin to understand cant error, let’s review some basic information, starting with gravity. As we all know, gravity is a very important part of our lives and we continually compensate for it. For example, when we are outside tossing a football around we throw it with only a slight trajectory for a short pass, or for the long bomb we add a lot of ‘elevation’ to the trajectory. We use this same compensation in precision shooting. If we are shooting an airgun with a slow flying projectile, we use a lot of elevation to hit the target. Gravity acts on the vertical component of the projectile and its effect is proportional to the time of flight. From physics we know that when two objects of dissimilar weight are dropped from the same height, at the same time, they will hit the ground at the same time, this of course disregards wind resistance of the objects. If a highpower rifle and a pellet gun are fired at the exact same moment parallel to the ground, the two projectiles will fall to earth at roughly the same rate (remember wind resistance) and will strike the ground at the same time. It’s just that the highpower bullet will have traveled many times the distance that the pellet traveled because of its higher velocity. As a result, the elevation compensation that is required for a low velocity airgun pellet may be many times greater than what is needed for a high velocity rifle, but both need elevation compensation to counteract gravity.

The elevation compensation required to hit a distant target is handled within the sighting device on the rifle.  When a scope is mounted on a rifle it is almost always parallel to the bore of the firearm. Figure 1 shows the trajectory of a typical long-range application where the projectile trajectory (solid line) passes through the line of sight (dashed line). In the figure, a slight angle between the scope and the rifle barrel is depicted. In reality, the scope and rifle are mounted parallel to each other as discussed above, and this angle is created within the scope optics which adjust the elevation. The elevation correction within a scope points the line of sight downward, which in turn points the bore axis up when the sight is aligned with the target.

The representation in figure 1 enables one to visualize the line of sight axis in relationship to the bore axis.   Because your eye is the point of reference, when a rifle is unintentionally canted the line of sight becomes your axis of rotation.  Cant error is generated when the barrel axis rotates out of the vertical plane (Plane 1 in figure 2), around the line of sight axis in either a clockwise or a counter-clockwise rotation. The following figures illustra

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Anyone is welcomed to say anything they want about cant in the theoretical world.  I know by experience that a little cant (about 3 degrees) on a 600+ yard shot is bad for precision work.

And I need to disagree on the insertion-type bore sighter.  The rifle can be sideways (90degrees off the vertical) and the boresighter will still work for one single reason:  the scope rotates on a fixed axis (within the rings) and the bore sighter rotates on a fixed axis (from the bore), so the only way those 2 vertical lines align is when both axes are on the same vertical.  Granted, you must be precise and you must use highest magnification on a good, thin-lined bore sighter - but it can be done, and has been done many, many times.
The downside to an insertion-type bore sighter is that they can damage the crown (which is very bad) and they can damage the bore - also bad.
But, if used correctly and with very skilled precision, a good bore sighter will align the vertical post of your scope in exact center with the bore of the rifle.  Do it upside-down if you want, just be precise and patient.


Edited by Rancid Coolaid - May/03/2008 at 11:04
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Okay, this is what I'm saying about a bore sighter, the kind with a caliber sized mandrel that clips into the boresighter and then you look through the scope and see the grid
 
 
1.  You insert the mandrel in the muzzle and then you have to rotate the boresighter so the vertical and horizontal reticles run parallel with the grid in the boresighter.
2.  Then you adjust your reticles, both vertical and horizontal to the place you want
3.  Now, without moving the boresighter, loosen the scope and rotate the scope a little.  The grid in the boresighter and the reticles are no longer parallel.
4.  Now you rotate the boresighter so the grid lines and reticles are again parallel.
5.  Adjust the reticles again to the place you want again.
 
Now, which time did the boresighter correct for scope rotation and insure that you have mounted the horizontal reticle level and the vertical reticle perpendicular?  Neither.  The first time your scope could have been rotated in the rings to the left and the next time it could have been rotated to the right and you would rotated the boresighter and used your turret adjustments to compensate for the scope rotation.
 
So, really we are into semantics about scope rotation and scope canting.  If your scope is not rotated and already aligned with the bore then everything is fine, but if your scope and bore are not already aligned then the boresighter can be rotated and the reticles adjusted so that it appears the scope and bore are in alignment.
 
I actually demonstrated this to myself after some discussion on a previous thread.  Try it, I am willing to discuss it.
 
You still there 8shots or did you have to go to the emergency room?  Oh%20Yea%20Baby


Edited by sakomato - May/03/2008 at 14:18
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I've tried it, you can't make both verticals off in exactly the same way since both rotate around separate fixed points.  Now, having said that, you CAN make both verticals off in the same way if it is a low-magnification scope or if the boresighter grid is tilted or rought.  If one line can get lost in another, it is possible to screw thigns up.  If both grid and plex are fine, they will not align till both are perfectly vertical on their respective axes.

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Sakomato .... NO .... there's an addon piece for them .... mounts to weaver rail with bubble .... then mounts to end of laserlyte with an accesory that projests the laser to a grid output . You put a wall grid pattern up and with the rifle level the projected line is adjusted to the leveled grid on the wall plackard . It's a new addon ... I have both components and they work perfectly together !
 

LaserLyte Laser Bore Sighter Access / Gun / Scope Level

 

  First place the gun in your vise or cradle after the scope mount base is attached. Then attach the level to the base (fits any weaver style base or rail) as shown in the second photograph. This lets you know when the gun itself is truly level. Secure the gun. Next attach the scope level to the end of the bore sight tool and insert the tool with the proper bore adapter into the bore. The level will modify the laser beam from a dot to a horizontal line.  You then match the horizontal crosshair of the scope to the projected horizontal laser line. When perfectly aligned tighten the rings down securely making sure the gap remains even on both sides of each ring. Remove the level from the end of the tool and you’re ready for the final turret adjustments in the boresighting process.


Edited by mercenary1947 - May/04/2008 at 09:03
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Is this the one you're talking about? 
 
 
 
I don't see any provision for attaching to Weaver bases or a picatinny rail in the second picture, but I would say that leveling the rifle in the vise would be an absolute necessity before this system would work.
 
If the rifle was not leveled then the laserlyte could be rotated just a little which would cause you to cant the rifle to get the horizontal line leveled.  Then the scope could be rotated just a little also and the reticles adjusted to compensate.
 
Just remember to take the laser boresighter out before you shoot at the range  Shocked
 
 
But leveling the scope is only the first step, you still have to make sure the scope is level when you pull the trigger.
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 Whoa .... what dummy did that ....   Yikes?       There's a piece that goes on the adapter ... http://www.laserlyte.com/bore_accessories/SLA-0001-140/index_new.html
   All components come with it ... the piece attaches to the leveling device as shown in the pic at the laserlyte site above . The weaver rail adapter comes with it ... yes the rifle is level ... the scope is level ... and it's darn close hitting a paper bullseye when completed . I use the setup ..... I carry it all in a small plastic box in my pocket when we go to a range or out sighting . Alot better than falling off levels or screwed on  bubble mounted permantly or or one you have to take back off the scope . I had those old type bore sighters ... like this alot more ....

Edited by mercenary1947 - May/04/2008 at 19:32
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Hey merc, I think you might be onto something there.  That setup would do the job depending upon the manufacturing tolerances of LaserLyte.  All the elements are there, level the rifle (hopefully the base, that clip on device and it's bubble are level, but that would be true with any of the scope levelers), shoot the horizontal laser on the wall (you could check that with a long carpenter's level) and rotate the scope to match the horizontal reticle to the wall.

So how do you insure you are holding the reticles level when you squeeze the trigger?

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 I guess you can't guarantee you'll hold them level ... but as the old saying goes ... practice makes perfect . No one can guarantee anyone will keep the rectile dead on or won't pull or flinch a hair when squeezing . Just keep putting her up to your shoulder over and over and try not to cant it the best ya can . In my opinion it's a heck of a lot better than the old graph types . You can even take a piece of white construction paper with a line on it and a level to nail her up anywhere and setup scopes all day .  As far as tolerances ... how close are most mini levels ? It's a company with a very good reputation ... and they're specifically made to tolerances for firearms . Just my opinion .
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I've checked the small bubble levels specifically made for installing scopes and found them to be off by quite a bit sometimes. The other problem is finding a true and flat spot on the rifle to set the magnet on. All things considered, you have to start with a level rifle.
So, here's what I did:
I put the rifle (loosely) in my gun vice with the bases already mounted and the bottom half of the rings installed.
Then I used a torpedo type level across the top of the bottom half of the rings to level the rifle.
Then I locked the rifle down in the gun vice and verified that it was still level moving the torpedo level from the front ring to the back ring.
Then I layed the scope in the rings and loosely installed the top half of the scope rings.
Then I moved the level to the scope turret, levelled the scope, and tightened the rings up.
Once thats done, bore sight it with whatever bore sighter you have. I used the standard laser type. Seems to work pretty good for me. Hope this helps. I would post a pic but I cant because of some 50 count rule.
RK
 
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mercenary1947 View Drop Down
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  Odd .... every one we setup with the laserlyte ends up being dead on ! That's what I was saying about the set on magnet type ... or the slip and fall off levels ... pain in the rear ... as well as the screw on screw off ones ..... and which ones did you test ? We checked this one and she's as accurate as our long level that we use to level the wall plaque with the line on .   Horse%20Poop  It was laid on top of the long level and the bubble was exactly the same .... if it would'nt have been she'd have been taken back for a refund . You can't get any more accurate than that .

Edited by mercenary1947 - May/05/2008 at 19:42
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/05/2008 at 20:14
rkingston View Drop Down
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The one I have is a Wheeler Engineering unit and its a little off compared to 3 other levels I have tested it against. Might have just got one thats not right and needs to be swapped out. It has a normal bubble which tests perfect, and another bubble with a magnet glued onto it. This is the one thats off. Im sure the problem has to do with how they glued the magnet on.  

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Rancid Coolaid View Drop Down
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It's all voodoo, do what feels good.

if you miss, "I told you so!"

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/05/2008 at 22:31
Harriershot View Drop Down
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RK, I have tested your method of using scope bases and ring halves to rest a bubble level on and I have found them unreliable. You can test this yourself by loosening the bases and pushing them to one side and then tightening the bolts and leveling the rifle in a gun vise that way. Then loosen the bolts and push the bases to the other side and check for level without moving the rifle and you will find your level will indicate differently. I have even checked with a bubble level on the base and then the ring halves and found inconsistant readings that way. (Leupold parts) 
On my Savage, I remove the action from the stock and there is a flatspot just behind the rear bolt guide with the bolt removed that I can rest my very sensitive Starret pocket level on to give me a truly level action.
Furthermore I have found that not all turret caps are true level when compared to a plumbline. I always do final alignment with a plumbline on the vertical reticle, while the rifle is level in a gun vise.
It takes me about three or four hours to put a scope on the way I do it, it usually results with POI at 100 yards within less than three inches of POA all the while without adjusting any of the turrets thus keeping the scope in its optical center.
 
Charlie
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