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Scope leveling 101

Many different ways to level a scope. Here is acouple


1. Safety- When mounting your rifle scopes you should always put safety first. Start by ensuring the gun is on safety, keep your fingers away from the trigger and make sure the gun is not loaded. Now you can safely place your weapon in a gun vice to securely hold it while you attach the scope. If you do not have a vice, sand bags are a good alternative. Or take a soft bungie cord and go around your barrel and rest/bags.

2. Remove Plug Screws- Most new rifles have plug screws in place and you will need to remove them before placing your scope plates or base. After you remove these screws, you might want to clean the area with a degreaser and then coat with a good rust inhibitor.

3. Instructions- Each scope mount will come with their own specific instructions. You should place your base plate on the rifle according to these instructions. Scope mounts are so varied there are no one size fits all instructions for their installation. For extra security you can add thread locking compound to the base screws, this will keep them from backing out over time. Before you tighten the base down according to specs, it is a good idea to use a specially designed level to ensure your mount is place correctly.

4. Rings- Next attach your front and rear scope rings, again according to manufacturer's instructions. If you are fortunate enough to have alignment bars for properly setting your rings you will place the alignment bars into your rings until they almost touch in the middle. When your rings are appropriately aligned, the points on the bars will be aligned vertically and horizontally. If the alignment is not spot on you can adjust the front ring with the windage screw.

5. Tighten- Scope mount kits will come with specific torque specifications, torque each screw for the base plate.

6. Remove the ring caps, keeping them together and do not reverse their order. Place your scope in the rings with the elevation turret on top and the windage turret on the right hand side of the gun.

7. Level- With the scope in place it is a good idea to use a small specially made level. Place the level on the front site and level the gun in the vice. Next place another small level on the top turret of the scope and turn the scope until it is level as well. Your crosshairs should now be perfectly level also.

8. View- Pick your gun up out of the vice to check your field of vision through the scope. You should quickly be able to see the full field of view without moving your head much. You may need to move in or out a bit, but not much. If your field of view is not good, slide the scope back or forward until it is. Tighten your scope rings down by turning each screw slightly then moving to the next. Do not tighten one screw all the way down and then move on as this can damage your scope.

9. Sight In- You are now ready to take your gun out and sight it in on the range. Some people will have their guns professionally bore sighted while others prefer to use targets and shooting.
Other tips for Leveling scopes

On the opposing wall away from the rifle muzzle draw a vertical and horizontal line, again using a level to insure that the line is plumb vertically and level horizontally. It should look like a plus sign.

Align the vertical post in the scope with the vertical line on the wall using only the windage screws on the scope base and tighten down the scope rings, make sure that all stay level and plumb vertically and horizontally.
If you have done everything correctly, you have just mounted the scope to all the exact tolerances that have been machined into all the scope mount components. Everything to its true and exact mechanical center point.

With these you should be able to level any scope.

Here is a Midway usa vid. About leveling a scope
http://www.videojug.com/webvideo/how-to ... r-reticles

Enjoy and happy shooting

Tom
 

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Sticky please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Very good post! An alternate to checking vertical crosshair cant is to use a plumb bob and string... also, a good source for small levels is HERE.
 

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This may sound REALLY dumb, but what kind of levels will I need to do all of this? I have never mounted one scope in my life, but plan to once I get my scope. How many different types of levels will I need, and where do I get them?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ooops sorry guys i forgot to put in the

Wheeler scope levels. thats what i use they work pretty well. and not to spendy you can normaly pick them up at any sporting goods store



Tom
 

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Its all good. Im just nervous doing all of this because I have always relied on others to mount my scopes before. But, before all I did was just hunt. And NOW I'm building a rifle all by myself. Im nervous as HELL doing this stuff.
 

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Or just use feeler gauges on the picatinny rail and bottom of the scope and u get perfect aligment. Won't work on uneven surface of factory dovetails or rails/scopes that don't have flat surface.
 

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Mounting A Scope

Good stuff here guys. Here's a link to video I did on Mounting A Scope. I approach things the same way for the most part with a couple personal preferences/style on other items. Feel free to chew up my meat and spit out the bones : )

Mounting A Scope Video

 

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Mike you need to do a new video with your new haircut ;) LOL

You mount a scope the exact same way I have been doing it for years and it has always worked well for me so no criticism here. I don't use a bore sighter though. I just shoot at 25 yards at a big sheet of paper and make an adjustment off that.
 

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I'm still having difficulty what some mean by "leveling" a scope.

A scope doesn't have to be "level", it has to be perpendicular and parallel, that is, of course, one is using a tapered base.

I'm thinking most refering to "level" mean having the vertical stadia of the scope coaxially aligned with the bore.

Levels do help, however.

I use a 1 piece base. When I change scopes, I take a 1-2-3 block and a precision machinist's level, in conjunction with a 1/8" nylon cord with a suspended 5 pound weight to align my vertical stadia to the bore.

All of this is predicated upon the assumption that all of the machining, drilling, etc. has been done to specified tolerances.

I place the 1-2-3 block on the base between the scope rings. I then place the machinist's level on the 1-2-3 block and shim to bring the setup level.

Place the scope in the bottom rings (having already marked the tube of the scope for proper relief), place the top rings on and gently snug, align the vertical stadia parallel to the weighted line and secure.

A 4" machinist's level will be more than adequate.
 

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I attached the base and rings and scope and everything loosely just to make sure it all will fit together nicely. I use a very simple Cross hair alignment level to make sure the horizontal plane is in line with the receiver. Then I begin to tighten still ensuring everything remains in line.

The order I use in torquing down is base first, rings second, ring clamps third, each time checking the level. I often use a torque wrench similiar but not exactly like this one: Mark 4 Base Torque Wrench

When I am satisified everything is tight, I will use a laser bore sight, a cheap one will do. I will use the bore sighter in dim light on paper about 35'. I use an adjustment to find POA POI at 100 yards. I'm more concerned with windage here actually. Though you can get reasonably close with a laser bore sighter. Maybe only need 5 shots at the range to get it zeroed at 100.

A note about bore sighters, most won't work well in the day, especially those with red lasers. Even some with green lasers won't work well in the day time and will cost alot more than the red. So I do this indoors first. Another note, I find the laser bore sighters that go in the barrel tip to be the most accurate of the cheap models. A non laser bore sighter such as the leupold zero point may be more accurate than a laser and work better during the day. However what I find to be least accurate is the laser bore sighter dummy round that you place inside the chamber. This will align the poa to the chamber, not to the barrel, which may not be the same.

A tip about the use of a laser bore sight that inserts into the tip of the barel, remove it and insert it a few times. You will see that each time it could change a fraction of an inch at 35', so really all you're trying to do is get close and make an average of 2 or 3 tries. Another note, don't shine the laser through glass as the glass will disrupt the angle of the laser and throw you WAAAY off.
 

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Most laser boresighters come with a piece of reflective paper now so that you can use them in sunlight. An yes, the boresighters with the inserts are the way to go. Trick is that once you get the insert in the barrel is to tighten the boresighter as you get it all the way back in the barrel. Also they have arrows on them now (letting you know this end up) so that it sits in the barrel the same way each time it's needed. I've used the same boresighter to zero in at least 50 rifles and the farthest off I ever was with the first shot was 1" high and 1" right. Its nice to be able to zero a rifle at 100 or 200yds in 1 to 3 shots. Especially when its a .338lap mag. (expensive ammo) and the guy your zeroing it for is standing over your shoulder.
You can buy them for $40 that come with the reflective paper and inserts. I spent an extra $20 for the kit that has a lever many different size cal inserts and shotgun inserts for muzzle loaders. I mount a lot of scopes though. I like doing it and some people seem to lazy to want too. It's a fun $10 for me.
 

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Re:

gtriever said:
Very good post! An alternate to checking vertical crosshair cant is to use a plumb bob and string... also, a good source for small levels is HERE.
or a length of your wife's knitting yarn taped to the wall with a key tied on the end.
or your son's keychain tied to the pull cord on the blinds in the kitchen....doesn't everyone use the kitchen island as a handy level table?

Both work, and you will be asked about them if you forget and leave them in place. :D
 

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The one thing that I always find difficult to follow when it comes to aligning the scope is that the crosshair line does not need to be vertical as much as it must be aligned with the bore. And as I understand it, you must be absolutely certain that the rifle is vertically aligned first and for some reason, that's a step that I often see missed in explanations.

The one method that seems to get around this problem is the one that uses shims and a feeler gauge between the rail and the bottom of the scope - assuming you have a one piece rail and that the bottom of the scope is indeed level with the crosshair.
 

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You can't depend on the front sight being level. My M70 target rifle barrel is canted enough that you can eyeball the receiver base and front sight base and tell they don't match. With an extended rear base, a Unertl scope's windage is way off.
 

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Order the Level,Level,Level by Wheeler from Brownell's or just about any other gun shop. one level fits in your receiver, one goes atop your scope turret. when they're both level, you should be good to go. You might hang a plumb (string on a weight) 20ft out or so to double check, but that's how I've mounted all my optics.
I always take them to the range afterwards and zero them, then shoot 3shot groups at zero, at the top of elev and bottom of elev dial to make sure its staight. Some don't even go as far as that but I want to get it right once and never have to worry about it again.

B
 

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In order to save myself $20 bucks and not buy the wheeler tool, I used a small steel ruler that I had laying around, it fit perfectly in the lug recesses (Same place the level, level, level sits). I took a little level (just like this: Aluminum Line Level - Tools - IRWIN TOOLS) and rested it on the ruler which was sticking out of the back of the action. If or when you do this make sure it is perpendicular to the bore so you are leveling it well.

Once my action was square then clamped it down in the vise. Then I squared my scope base with the same level. Once the base was torqued down and ensured that it was square I removed one screw at a time and hit it with some blue thread locker and re-torqued.

Now with my action and scope base square, I hung a plumbers bob (weight on a string) in my garage and squared up the reticle. I plopped that same level on the top turret and sure as heck it was square. so I tightened everything down and rechecked level.

So with all that done I threw that vortex anti-cant device or whatever you want to call it around the scope, checked it against all my other leveling points and tightened it down.

That is the method I used and it cost an entire $3 at home depot for that level.
 
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