Knowing how to level a scope on a rifle, is as important for your precision and long range rifle shooting, as the correct ballistic calculation is, or maybe even more so. You see, when you fire a round from a rifle, it start falling down to earth because of gravity, and as gravity works in a straight line down to earth, it will fall exactly vertical, down to earth. For this reason, if your rifle is tilted slightly and the vertical line in your reticle is not exactly vertically down, the bullet will not travel down with the vertical line of the scope reticle.
So mounting your rifle scope level, so that the vertical line on the reticle, and the tracking of the reticle is exactly vertical, becomes of utmost importance to accuracy at longer distances. The main question then is, how to mount a scope level on a rifle?
What do I need?
A rifle cradle or rest; helps to hold the rifle steadily while you tweak the scope.
Rings and mount; make sure you have the proper mount and rings for the scope Hex wrenches, because most scopes use hex wrenches to tighten up; otherwise, get the right ones accordingly.
Spirit level; we recommend getting two spirit levels so you can level up the rifle and the scope together, and if you can go for small levels, that would be even better After preparing the gear and having the rifle and scope ready, then you can proceed with the next steps:
Well there are multiple ways as with anything in life, however we are going to outline the two most common and easiest methods to ensure your scope reticle is level to the rifle.
Rifle vise or cradle for mounting scope
A rifle cradle or stand works to hold your rifle while your are leveling and installing your rifle scope, however it can turn in the cradle more easily, so we highly recommend the use of a rifle vise like this one from Tipton that we are using when we mount our rifle scopes.
The Scope Bubble Level Method
Using a bubble level for scope mounting, your first check that you position your rifle level on the vice or rifle stand you are using. You do this by placing the bubble level for scope mounting on either the picatinny rail or other flat top surface of the rifle action. Or if you have Wheeler reticle leveling system like this below, you attach the clamping level to your barrel. Then once your rifle is leveled, you place the smaller flat level on the top flat horizontal part of the elevation turret of the scope, turn the scope in the rings until level, and then tighten down the screws on the scope right, being careful not to rotate the scope whilst doing so.
Bubble Level for Scope Mounting
Featuring an adjustable barrel clamp with built-in level that fits around even the largest diameter barrels, as well as another precision machined aluminum level which you place on top of the elevation turret horizontal flat area on your scope, leveling your rifle scope has never been easier.
The Plumb Line Method
This method involves hanging a plumb line in the room further in front of your rifle and scope, then either looking through your scope and lining up the vertical line of the reticle, or shining a light or flashlight through your scope from the front to the back, and lining up the vertical projected onto the wall with the plumb line.
Then it is simply a matter of tightening the screws on your scope rings in the sequence recommended by the manufacturer (usually in a diagonal across pattern), and to the torque specifications also recommended by the scope ring manufacturers, usually between 15 – 25 in/Lbs.
Scope Rings Scratching Scope Tube
If you are worried about the scope ring possibly scratching the scope tube coating during mounting or use after, you can apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the scope tube before leveling and mounting the scope. You simply then wipe off the excess around your scope rings after the scope rings have been torqued down to spec, and then your scope tube is protected until you take it off.
Real Avid Scope Leveling Kit & Precision Scope Level System
This scope leveling kit from real avid also makes it very easy as the target that you put on the stand in front of the scope, has it’s own bubble level to ensure that it is level before aligning the scope reticle to it.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I mount a riflescope?
In short, mounting a riflescope is a fairly straightforward process: Focus, set eye relief, securely attach rings to rifle, level rifle scope, torque screws evenly.
How to mount a rifle scope on a picatinny rail?
If your rifle action has a picatinny rail on it, it becomes even easier to mount a rifle scope level on it, as if manufactured correctly, the bottom scope ring usually levels itself to the picatinny rail once tightened to it correctly, then you simply level the rifle scope in the lower ring, then place the upper ring half over and tighten evenly.
What are the benefits of leveling a scope?
We reap three specific rewards for making sure everything is level and true: The scope’s windage and elevation adjustments will track horizontally and vertically on target, the bullet drop will correspond with the vertical line in the reticle.