Tutorial Nifty way to level your precision rifle scope.

This is a write-up I did about 5 years ago....

Ruger Precision with Vortex HST.jpg

I've watched all kinds of videos and read articles. It's really important that your scope is level. Otherwise, at longer distances, your shots will be thrown off (to the side of the reticle cant).

I've got all the right tools... torque drivers, bubble levels, etc.

So, usually... we put a level on the rifle and a level on the scope turret... match'em up and tighten everything down. Should be good to go, right?

Ah... but the turret is not necessarily level to the reticle! It SHOULD be. But, it's not necessarily.

The BEST way to make sure your RETICLE is level is to use a plumb bob, usually at the range. The problem with that is that wind can cause your plumb bob to swing. Plus, I think working on a rifle at the range is not as easy as it is at home.

Tonight I tried something a bit different. I used a plumb bob at home (on a wall), where there's no wind. :)

Ah.. but, you can't get far enough back to focus the scope on the plumb line, eh? Unless you live in a really big house!

So, here's the trick. You turn the rifle around, with the BACK (ocular lens) facing the plumb line on the wall. Then you shine a flashlight through the scope's objective lens (backwards). This will project a shadow of the reticle on the wall! COOL!

OK.... here's how I did it.

I set the rifle up on the bipod and a big rear bag. I put a bubble level on the rifle and leveled it. Then I locked the bipod down (Pod-Loc). Alternatively, you could use a gun vise or "lead sled."

It helps to turn the ambient light off / down to better see the image on the wall. So, I turned off the hallway and bedroom light. Also... you may find that adjusting the scope's zoom ring (all the way to the highest power) will make the reticle image sharper / easier to see. You might also fiddle with the diopter focusing ring to get a sharp reticle shadow.

I shined the light through, thinking I did a great job leveling the scope with the bubble level on the turret method (and that turret MUST be level, right?).



I put the bubble level on the turret to confirm that it was level with the rifle. It was. But, the reticle was not aligned with the plumb line, eh?!? It was off a bit! So, as it turns out, my scope turret is NOT level with the reticle.

So, I loosened the scope ring screws and tweaked the scope until the reticle was dead on with the plumb line. I did it first with the reticle off to the side a bit (making it two parallel lines with an even gap all the way down).


Then I moved the rifle over to superimpose the reticle on the plumb line to confirm:



I tightened the scope ring screws in a "criss-cross" pattern, maybe an eighth of a turn at a time, ensuring the gap was even on both sides and pausing to check the projected reticle image again and again. You will find that, sometimes, as you tighten the ring screws, it can turn the scope (unlevel). It can be frustrating until you get the hang of it.

After torquing the screws down to spec, I checked the projected reticle image again. Dead on.

Next, I loosened the screw on my scope bubble level and re-leveled it to coincide with the reticle. Re-tightened it, and now everything is balls-on level!

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The old flashlight trick!

Never done that but I have heard about it. I use the Wheeler kit. It works pretty well. If anybody decides to buy it... be sure that it's the genuine Wheeler. Chinese counterfeits are on eBay and Amazon. Same color and packaging.

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