Best way to level a rifle scope?

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DavidMS
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Best way to level a rifle scope?

#1 Post by DavidMS » Mon Jul 25, 2016 10:50 pm

I have a Bushnell 1-4x24 AR optic want to mount to a 5.56 AR-pattern carbine. Right now I have some magnetic bubble levels on order. Does anyone have some tips and tricks?

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Re: Best way to level a rifle scope?

#2 Post by TheViking » Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:32 pm

With the AR platform, I place the magazine well on a block of wood on a table which will point the barrel somewhat downward - then align the reticle with the far edge of the table. Low tech but it works.
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Re: Best way to level a rifle scope?

#3 Post by spara » Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:50 pm

If you don't have an armorer's vise, you can use a lower receiver magazine block in a vise to hold the rifle.

I level the rifle first, then mount the rings/mount and then loosely install the scope. After that, I turn the scope to the highest magnification and find the eye relief that works for me, somewhere around 3". I mark the position on the scope with a pencil, then I level the scope, comparing it against the level on the rifle and tighten the rings. I also like to bore sight the rifle at the same time. I can just get a 23 yard run inside the house, so I use a laser bore sighter to adjust the scope windage and elevation which gets me in the 2-3 MOA ball park at 100 yards. From there, I sight it in at the range at 50 yards for a 200 yard zero.

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Re: Best way to level a rifle scope?

#4 Post by curtism1234 » Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:29 am

I'm normally been a fan of the good ol eyeball method, but here lately I've been using a Segway

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Re: Best way to level a rifle scope?

#5 Post by SailDesign » Tue Jul 26, 2016 11:20 am

Because I occasionally cant the rifle when offhand, anything being shot that way rather then benched gets the scope levelled when I'm good and comfy holding it. If my hold its out a degree or two, then the scope is as well, but it is true to plumb and level real-world, and that is what the bullet needs to know when you adjust it.

Works for me - your mileage may vary. :)
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Re: Best way to level a rifle scope?

#6 Post by TheViking » Tue Jul 26, 2016 9:16 pm

It would be way too easy if scopes came with small marks already engraved to align with the rings...
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Re: Best way to level a rifle scope?

#7 Post by SailDesign » Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:00 pm

TheViking wrote:It would be way too easy if scopes came with small marks already engraved to align with the rings...
Good God, man..... Do you want them to do everything for you? Like engrave torque values next to the screw, like the Europeans and the bike part folks do?...
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Re: Best way to level a rifle scope?

#8 Post by CDFingers » Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:06 pm

In Mother Russia, rifle have iron sights for use with remaining eye. :ugeek:

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Re: Best way to level a rifle scope?

#9 Post by TheViking » Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:08 pm

SailDesign wrote:
TheViking wrote:It would be way too easy if scopes came with small marks already engraved to align with the rings...
Good God, man..... Do you want them to do everything for you? Like engrave torque values next to the screw, like the Europeans and the bike part folks do?...
Would take all of the fun out of it...

I sell said bike parts for a living too Image Let me tell you, Renthal gets bonus points for putting those marks on their clip-on handlebars so they are actually easy to align on the forks.
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Re: Best way to level a rifle scope?

#10 Post by curtism1234 » Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:50 am

TheViking wrote:It would be way too easy if scopes came with small marks already engraved to align with the rings...
They can barely get the reticles straight inside their own scopes :rolleyes:
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Re: Best way to level a rifle scope?

#11 Post by Mohead » Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:03 am

+1 for the Segway. I have found it the easiest way to get my scopes level, and it's inexpensive to boot!
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Re: Best way to level a rifle scope?

#12 Post by DavidMS » Wed Jul 27, 2016 7:25 pm

Thank you for the advice, I tried the Segway but it doesn't work so well without a strong horizontal component to the reticle. I do like the idea of scope mounts having a horizontal line to line up with the rifle scope's horizontal line. Or better yet, a lug on the bottom to engage with a similar cut out in the scope mount. I should have the levels by early August.

TheViking, I also like your suggestion of leveling against a table edge.

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Re: Best way to level a rifle scope?

#13 Post by SanityOptional » Sat Jan 28, 2017 3:55 am

I went in with a friend and bought a Wheeler scope mounting kit that we share between us. The up front expense is not low, but so far we've mounted I think ~8 different optics using it, and my friend swaps his scopes around on occasion.

I will say that the pair of levels make it easy to get the scope on straight, and having a proper torque wrench and alignment/lapping tools for 30mm and 1" rings is very handy.

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Re: Best way to level a rifle scope?

#14 Post by ATXOrangeandBlue » Sat Jan 28, 2017 7:52 am

If the scope has a flat base to the turret, underside if the scope, stick something flat, thin, and uniform width between the flat of the AR top and flat of the scope turret. I've used a file or even an AppleTV remote. If your file is perpendicular to both rifle and scope, and sits flat against both when tipped on it side, then your scope should be level to your rifle. It's super low tech, but it works in a pinch.

I'll take pictures when I can, it's difficult to describe. Photos work much better.


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Re: Best way to level a rifle scope?

#15 Post by DwnRange » Sat Jan 28, 2017 12:13 pm

Pair of cheap string levels from local hardware (cut the string holders off, mine are aluminum). place one on the rifle (remove bolt if necessary - one on the flat of the elevation turret on the scope, (level the receiver then adjust the scope).

All done from the vise or benched.

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Re: Best way to level a rifle scope?

#16 Post by Wabatuckian » Sat Jan 28, 2017 9:57 pm

Hello,

I use a bubble level on the mount and another on the top scope cap.

If those agree with my eyeball and the reticle, then it's level.

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Re: Best way to level a rifle scope?

#17 Post by Marlene » Sat Jan 28, 2017 10:09 pm

ATXOrangeandBlue wrote:If the scope has a flat base to the turret, underside if the scope, stick something flat, thin, and uniform width between the flat of the AR top and flat of the scope turret. I've used a file or even an AppleTV remote. If your file is perpendicular to both rifle and scope, and sits flat against both when tipped on it side, then your scope should be level to your rifle. It's super low tech, but it works in a pinch.

I'll take pictures when I can, it's difficult to describe. Photos work much better.
I do it this way too. on really good days, I use an adjustable machinist's parallel.

Truth be told, it doesn't matter. If you put a scope level on, and shoot with it level all of the time, the position of the rifle in relation to the scope is meaningless as long as it is consistent.
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Re: Best way to level a rifle scope?

#18 Post by DwnRange » Sun Jan 29, 2017 4:34 am

Marlene wrote: Truth be told, it doesn't matter.
Wrong, if the scope is not square with the bore axis of the whatever rifle it is on then every adjustment to the "elevation" turret will introduce a certain amount of "windage" which will throw off the shot.

Might not be much at 50-100 yards, but for long range shooters this small angular error by not properly squaring the scope to the receiver can be a nightmare.

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Re: Best way to level a rifle scope?

#19 Post by dandad » Sun Jan 29, 2017 9:40 am

TheViking wrote:With the AR platform, I place the magazine well on a block of wood on a table which will point the barrel somewhat downward - then align the reticle with the far edge of the table. Low tech but it works.
You posted this before, and I tried it . I was surprised how it close it was. Just a bore sighting tweak at 100 yards once at the range and I was banging away.

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Re: Best way to level a rifle scope?

#20 Post by dandad » Sun Jan 29, 2017 9:42 am

TheViking wrote:It would be way too easy if scopes came with small marks already engraved to align with the rings...
A couple of the old rifles my dad gave me with weaver set ups do have this. I dont know if they did it, or my dad did it. It looks factory though so I suspect weaver.

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