My VX-5 Leupold reticle is not level

stillsteamn

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Sep 15, 2020
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Hi guys, looking for opinions to decide whether to live with this or get something done. I bought a Leupold VX-5 3-15x44 CDS ZL2 with duplex firedot reticle. It's a $1,000 scope. Well, using a string with plumbob, plus a 12" carpenter level (which I compared with other levels to confirm the level itself) on top of the elevation turret I have found that my reticle is not perfectly level relative to the elevation turret. I assume the top of the elevation turret by design must be square relative to the internal elevation mechanism and is my best point of reference. When the turret is leveled, the vertical crosshair of the reticle is misaligned to the plumb bob string by 1° to 2° by my estimate. I'm deciding whether to do anything about it. Since it's a duplex reticle I guess it's only the center crosshair point that really matters so technically the scope will work just fine. I assume that the center crosspoint will move properly in relation to the elevation turret and the crosshair will just always be slightly tilted. I have attached a bubble level on the scope so I can tell when the scope overall is level. But one's natural tendency when aiming is to hold the vertical crosshair vertical, and in this case the scope will not actually be level when I do that. I assume this is not the norm for this class of Leupold scope to have this issue. I probably could return it. But am I nitpicking hairs here? I am not a precision rifle shooter, mainly a hunter. But I will occaisionally shoot at 600 yards to prove that I can, and I intend to try shooting at 1,000 yards to prove I can.
 

spife7980

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I assume the top of the elevation turret by design must be square relative to the internal elevation mechanism and is my best point of reference.
Nope. One would hope so but I doubt it.

If you have a device that can mount the scope solid; align the reticle with the string and then run the elevation up, see if it tracks down the string. If it does then its just a turret cap thats not critical. If it doesnt and moves off the string then the reticle is rotated a bit or the erector doesnt track straight.

If you dont have a holding device put a vertical line on paper at 100 yards and shoot a group and then dial up and see if it stayed on the line. Its called a tall target test.
 
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stillsteamn

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Sep 15, 2020
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Thanks, that's solid advice. I have an outdoor vise on moveable workbench that should work. I'll rig it up to clamp the reticle aligned with the string and see if it tracks vertically.
 

Fig

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Spife is right, but for a $G I would expect everything to be machined straight (even the turret caps). Seems like bad QC to me even if it does not effect the tracking.
 

JakeM

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Its a common problem with these scopes. Mine was way off. I sent it in and they fixed it, but said nothing was wrong with it even though it was clearly fixed.
 

athanasios23

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If I spent 1k on a scope I'd send it back to get any issue corrected. You payed for a properly made scope. Also Leupold has great customer service and warranty. If there's something wrong they fix or replace it in my experience.
 

trob

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Turrets move, so you’re usually stacking tolerances if you use it as a reference point for leveling. If I can’t avoid using the turret, I’ll at least take the turret cap off and put a little bubble level on there. Or, you can check the level of the cap by dialing the turret 1/4 turn at a time and place the bubble back on each time to make sure it’s staying level. Then I’ll confirm it with a plumb line.
 

stillsteamn

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Sep 15, 2020
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Thanks for all the advice. Everything is good now. I set the vertical crosshair to align to a plumb bob line, then the reticle tracks perfectly vertical throughout the range of the elevation turret. The turret is the thing that is not perfectly plumb with the reticle. It's not the turret cap causing this because it tilts the same amount and direction regardless of the rotational position of the turret. But now that I know to position the scope to align the reticle vs a plumb line, I no longer care much if the turret leans a bit. Now possibly the trickiest part is finding a way to gauge when the action is level so the action and scope can be leveled the same. Some actions have a way to to position a level, others are more difficult. I do have the Level-Level-Level device and it works OK on some actions.
 

spife7980

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Now possibly the trickiest part is finding a way to gauge when the action is level so the action and scope can be leveled the same.
Just shoulder the rifle so that it is comfortable and then align the reticle with the string (gravity).
Youll have more error trying to make an uncomfortable rifle perfectly level than just holding it naturally and aligning the reticle with that position.
 

smoothy8500

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The shape of the shoulder pocket on most people usually has a slight 1/2 to 1 degree of inboard cant that wants to tilt the rifle when shouldered. If the scope is perfectly level on the rifle, either an adjustable buttpad is used or it takes mental concentration to assure the reticle is level/plumb when shooting. I prefer the adjustable buttplate
 

JGR1953

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Leveling to gravity is the best.

But if you want to level to your action and have a flat surface under your erector housing using a deck of cards or feeler gauges stacked is more accurate and the easiest.
Scope companies probably couldn't care less if turret caps are level to their reticles....