Rifle Scopes Reticle/Turret Alignment + Base leveling

WookieeLord

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Mar 23, 2014
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I had a question about adjusting the zero/level/alignment of the scope reticle to the action. I have tried searching but it has been vague in answers. I have a Burris MTAC 4.5-14x-42mm scope. I am going with a solution I am able to do at home inexpensively. (I may change my mind and go to a gunsmith because I am a bit OCD and it'll bother me if it's not dead level horizontally). I found a tutorial that uses a level on the Picatinny rail, while using a bob on a line and shooting a light through the front of the scope and aligning the crosshairs(reticle) to the shadow on the wall with the line. I'm sure this isn't a perfect way of doing it so I wanted to try the other way I see a lot of people doing it. By using a level on the action OR base and a level on the turret. My concern is how do I know that my level resting on my turret is properly aligned horizontally with the reticle? Is this an industry standard? Should it always be perfectly verticle/horizontal with the reticle? The reason I ask is because in a forum post on someone leveling their scope with the base, another experienced member said something about not truly knowing if the adjustment turrets were even true to the reticle horizontally or vertically. Unfortunately that is about the only thing I could find and it was from a couple years back so the post is dead on that random forum. I have a few levels but I just cannot justify a leveling kit for $50 + with only one rifle. I would rather have it professionally done if I am going to pay about that price, esp if I don't truly know if what I'm doing will be properly aligned.
 

Red_SC

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Nov 26, 2003
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It's not always lined up. To test, zero your rifle carefully. Then, dial up 5 mils on the turrets and hold under 5 mils with the reticle. The two adjustments should counter each other and the group should still be centered. If your group is off left or right, the crosshair isn't aligned with the turret. If its off up or down, either the clicks or the crosshairs subtention is off.

Like many here, I use automotive feeler gauges between the flat on the bottom of the turret and the base to get them parallel. When it comes down to it, the only thing that matters is that the scope is level when you take the shot. If its twisted in the rings and the rifle isn't perfectly level, it's not a big deal. Some of the best shooters in some disciplines do that intentionally to reduce muscle stress in positional shooting.
 

Red_SC

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I should add, the above is assuming you and the rifle are honestly good enough to see a minor shift. If not- you need to worry about that first. Get a quality scope and trust it unless it gives you very good reason not to.
 

WookieeLord

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Mar 23, 2014
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I appreciate the help. Reading your post makes a bit more sense to me for testing the possibility of it being off. Should I scrap the idea of doing it with a bob and line and light and just try to level using level on the turret & base rail and test it out? For reference I own a Rem 700 308 AAC-SD. Weaver rail single piece.

A quick shout-out to you as well. I am actually in Lexington SC so you aren't to far away friend. My brother used to go to school for Caterpillar in Florence.
 

Red_SC

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You're right down the road, you should come out shooting wi us sometime.

You can level it with way, whichever will give you the most confidence. The important thing is that the scope is level when you fire.
 

Punisher29073

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I'm actually in White Knoll and could offer a hand too. It not too hard to get right and it isn't something you can't adjust later too. Just don't over gorge the rings.

Ryan
 

WookieeLord

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I appreciate your guys help. I might have to get up you guys (Ryan and Jamie) at some point to go shooting. Hard to find people to go with. This is what I ended up doing. I went ahead and used small levels and leveled everything up with the Action and the base to the top of the reticle windage adjustment knobs. Hopefully that will be good to go. I'll have to test it out when I get to a 100+ yrd range soon hopefully. (Pictures below because this thread is useless w/o them!)

<a href="http://s98.photobucket.com/user/southkhaki19/media/Remington%20700%20AAC-SD/Rem700Level1.jpg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l272/southkhaki19/Remington%20700%20AAC-SD/Rem700Level1.jpg" border="0" alt=" photo Rem700Level1.jpg"/></a>

<a href="http://s98.photobucket.com/user/southkhaki19/media/Remington%20700%20AAC-SD/Rem700Level2.jpg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l272/southkhaki19/Remington%20700%20AAC-SD/Rem700Level2.jpg" border="0" alt=" photo Rem700Level2.jpg"/></a>
 

dondlhmn

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Aug 29, 2013
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I have to say that I am ALWAYS suspicious about what is level/parallel/aligned correctly so what I do is get it all as level as I can (just use your favorite method, as you will likely be tweaking things anyway!) and then go shoot it with its favorite load. Shooting the rifle is really the ONLY WAY to be sure you've got it ALL right...and you can work on the other stuff like wobble cycles and trigger control at the same time. (TRIGGER TIME is what most everyone needs, anyway!!) I start up close at about 200 or 300 yards, then step it out to 400, 600, 800 etc and see where the group goes...if the group (IN A NO WIND SITUATION) wanders consistently in one (left or right) direction you have one of two problems...either the scope isn't "level" with or square to the bore OR you aren't holding the rifle/scope combination level or consistently tilted...if you get that... Lots of people, especially folks that have been shooting for years and years have the bad habit of holding the rifle tilted one way or the other due to the way they mount it or pull it back into their shoulder. (I discovered that I was one of those people in spite of having shot in matches for years (both military and civilian) and being a national record holder, so have to really concentrate on leveling the RETICLES!) One thing that seems to help ME when setting up a scope is to have a level attached to the rifle or scope tube to ensure that I am holding the rig consistently, though I don't shoot with one in competition because it just makes me nuts to have one more thing to look at/adjust/think about. You just have to get into the habit of LEVELING the cross hairs the same way every time and not be fooled by tilted hills, mountains or clouds (horizon) as to what is truly LEVEL!! Remember that in order to get good, consistent results on the target, the hold has to be consistent, too! You'll never get good, consistent results on the target if you mount/hold the rifle differently every time and it takes PRACTICE to do it right!! I suppose having gimmicks such as a level on your rifle can help, but personally I tend to shy away from all the busy gimmicks that some people use, particularly when shooting in a time-constrained match, as you can wind up chewing up the allotted time for a string by overdoing the gimmicks and trying to pay too much attention to them!!

I won't pretend that I am the King Kong of the shooting world as I pretty regularly get my hind quarters kicked in matches, but that is what I have found a lot of times....hope it helps!!
 
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NevadaZielmeister

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I won't pretend that I am the King Kong of the shooting world, but that is what I have found a lot of times....hope it helps!!

DJ, you are a beast, a long range yoda from the outer reaches of the known shooting universe. Give yourself some credit there youngster, geesh!!!

Anyways, dondlhmn is right on the money with these comments. Listen carefully and heed these comments kids, this is a man of experience relaying here!
 

dondlhmn

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DJ, you are a beast, a long range yoda from the outer reaches of the known shooting universe. Give yourself some credit there youngster, geesh!!!

Anyways, dondlhmn is right on the money with these comments. Listen carefully and heed these comments kids, this is a man of experience relaying here!

Hey, Neil...I likely won't see you anytime before the next match, but I gather that you and Casey are going to CO to participate in the SH Cup. Have fun and GOOD luck!! PS..if you should decide to NOT shoot for some reason, they are looking for range officers (and I'm guessing they want NRA qualified folks...I'd go if I had the money just to scope out the happenings. Are either of you RSO qualified?)

PS....I don't know about "yoda", but I'd believe Yada-Yada-Yada........

PPS...you didn't really miss anything by not being at the last match except for FREEZING YOUR BUTT OFF!! I don't think I actually felt warm until I stood in front of the fireplace for about 6 hours when I got home!! Not to mention that the winds were really a squirrely puzzle, resulting in lower scores in generally seen there.
 
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nexusfire

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The reticle only needs to be level with the ground.

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