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Thread: Your take on optics mounting?

  1. #1
    Senior Member NAPOTS's Avatar

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    Your take on optics mounting?

    When I mounted the scope on my new .22 it got me thinking.

    1. Do you lap your rings? I have read conflicting information on this. Some say to always do it every time, that if you don't you can tweak your scope and throw it's accuracy off, damage it, or support it poorly to where it won't hold zero. I have seen other articles that say it is only necessary with cheap rings or crappy mounts.


    2. What do you do to level your reticle? A lot is made of this. They sell fancy setups to level the receiver and then level the reticle. I have seen kits that have a bubble level for the receiver and another for the top turret. This assumes that the turret is dead nuts square with the reticle and a bubble level isn't a super accurate device anyway.

    A lot of fuss is made about leveling the reticle to the rifle. This is so that your turret adjustments for windage and elevation are true to those planes. If the reticle is tilted you will introduce an inadvertent windage adjustment when you are making an elevation adjustment. This shouldn't amount to a whole hell of a lot actually. I decided to work out an example to look at the error introduced;

    Say you are shooting a .308 at 500 yards and your reticle is tilted by 2 degrees. at 500 yards you need 12 MOA vertical adjustment. That amounts to 62.8 inches if everything is perfect. With your scope off by 2 degrees you are introducing 2" of horizontal error and virtually no vertical error at that distance. 2" horizontal is likely going to be smaller than the accuracy potential of the rifle and near the adjustment increments in your scope (commonly 1/4 MOA which is 1.3" at 500 yards). I suppose it is more of a matter of tolerance stackup adding additional error/inaccuracy into the system.

    Back to leveling. I started thinking, you use a level on the receiver/barrel/action etc to level the reticle to. This assumes that when you are shooting you are holding the rifle in exactly the same orientation that it was when you leveled the reticle, that you have not canted the rifle because of your position or how the stock fits your body. this made me wonder, wouldn't it be better to level the scope with you holding the rifle in the position that you will most likely be shooting it from rather than perfectly level in a vise? You will probably cant the rifle differently if you are shooting sitting, sitting from a bench on bags, laying prone etc. It would make more sense to me to let the rifle fit you in the position you intend to shoot it in the most (squareness of the receiver be damned) and level the scope from there.

    I have seen suggestions to use a plumb bob to level the reticle and this seems much more accurate than a bubble level.

  2. #2
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    seems to me if you level the rifle receiver to the scope you always have that as a zero, instead of the cant to your body.
    as you said your positions will differ.
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  3. #3
    Team Gunsnet SILVER 05/2012 deth502's Avatar

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    1.. no
    2. carpenters square, if im concerned about it (long range shooting) eyeballing if im not (22lr)

    3? ive heard of bench rest shooters doing the canted rifle thing, personally, i think it would be counter productive to accuracy. the scop and bore do not shoot laser straight in relation to one another. especially on long range guns that would have a canted mount, having the rifle on a cant would induce errors in that situation.

    solution, google "anti cant device" you will find models from $20-30 and up well into the hundreds of dollars. no matter how horribly you aligned your reticle, this will at least make you shoot repeatably, which is the first step. even if you have to correct 20 moa when adjusting elevation, if it is not a consistent 20moa, you wont hit shit. repeatably, imo, is top priority, followed closely by familiarity with your weapon (ie, knowing that there is a cant, and windage is off by "x" when elevating "x" amount)

  4. #4
    Senior Member ubersoldate's Avatar

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    I own a handful of precision weapons. Three remington 700s to be exact.
    I had one set of badger rings lapped, and I can't tell the difference between that rifle and the other two when it comes to accuracy.

    As for leveling the scope Ive used a leveling device for a few rifles, but still never really noticed a difference.

    Im either lucky, or just a bad shot, as every precision weapon I own, is basically just put together by eyeball, bore sighted to get me on paper, and then fine tuned.
    Had no issues, and all of them are sub moa when Im doing my part.

  5. #5
    Senior Member L1A1Rocker's Avatar

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    Lapping? YES. The fist time I did it I was shocked at how "un-true" the inside surface of the rings are - even high dollar rings. As far as leveling the scope goes, I've been very lucky. I use a couple of 1 inch levels - one is on the scope dial, the other on the rifle somehere that is square.
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