How to level a scope

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

• Why does a scope need to be leveled?
• Scopes cannot be leveled.
• A leveling solution.
• Bubble levels.
• What works
• What about a collimator?
• My moment of enlightenment.

I promised this report to blog reader Genghis Jan over half a year ago. Several times, I’ve started to write it and turned away, but today I’m seeing it through.

Why level a scope?
There are 2 reasons for leveling your scope. The first is psychological. If the reticle inside the scope appears to be slanted to one side when you mount it on your gun — and I am primarily talking about rifles today, although these principals apply to scoped pistols just as well — it’s disconcerting. The second reason for leveling a scope is to ensure the vertical adjustments move the strike of the rounds vertically, and the horizontal adjustment do the same. If the scope does not appear level, the adjustments will move the rounds off to one side or the other as they move up and down.

If a scope’s reticle appears tilted, do you then tilt the rifle sideways to level the reticle? Or do you just hold the rifle so it always “feels” level and tolerate the reticle that seems tilted? I’ve tried both, and neither one is as comfortable as having the scope aligned perfectly — so it appears level when the rifle is held comfortably. But, just so you know — both solutions will work because there’s no such thing as a level scope.

Rifle scopes cannot be level
Sorry to disappoint, but there’s no scientific way to ever level a scope to a rifle — at least not to any rifle that has ever been made. I used to be a tank commander; and on occasion, there are reasons to level the tank cannon. But there’s nothing on a tank cannon that is level. So the makers did something about it. They machined several pads on the breech of the cannon where a precision level can be stood. This level — called a gunner’s quadrant — has “feet” that are steel pads machined into it. Their purpose is to stand the quadrant on the machined pads of the cannon’s breech and establish a level.

Without these machined pads, there can be no point on the cannon that is level. What I’m saying is that there’s no spot on the mechanism that’s true enough that a bubble level placed upon it would have any meaning. It might be possible to get the bubble centered on the gunner’s quadrant, but you could never be sure of doing it again with the same results. But with the machined pads, you have what you need — a reference point — to declare the gun to be level.

Level is a relative term
You see, the term “level” relates to the earth. An item can lay on apparently flat ground and not be level according to its bubble or the center of its plumb bob. Reference points are needed. And no rifle I have ever seen has them. Therefore, no rifle can ever be level! Please think about this before you comment.

Leveling solutions
I’ve used several leveling solutions in the years I’ve been mounting scopes. One was to hang a plumb bob from a target backer at 50 yards and align the scope’s vertical reticle with it once the scope was mounted on a rifle. I thought this would guarantee that the scope was level. Maybe it did, but it often put the scope at odds with the rifle because the rifle’s scope base was not machined so the scope appeared level when aligned this way. I actually shot several rifles with what appeared to be a slight cant in the scope reticle because I had aligned the scope in this fashion. The things that crazy people will put up with to maintain the universe they create!

plumb line
A plumb line has been suspended from a target backer at 50 yards (left). Now, the scope (right) will be superimposed upon it and the vertical reticle will be aligned with the plumb line.

plumb line anignment
The scope has been shifted over the plumb line and rotated in the rings until the vertical scope reticle is aligned with the plumb line.

Neat trick! Is the scope aligned? Yes, it is. Is this the best way to do it? No, it isn’t. Let me show you why.

canted reticle
Now, this is what you may see when you hold the rifle to your shoulder. It may not be as obvious as this, but unless the scope mount was machined exactly with regards to the plumb line, you’ll notice the tilt and it will bother you. Are you then supposed to hold the rifle “level,” or do you “level” the reticle before shooting?

I’m showing you what happens when you attempt to level the scope by outside means. Sometimes, those processes guarantee the scope will not appear level when you hold the rifle in your arms.

Another method that doesn’t work
Some folks will purchase a bubble level for their guns, mount it and declare the job done. Of course, there’s no reference point on the gun that they can refer to, which is why I told you about leveling tank cannons at the start. Doing it this way is like driving a car in dense fog by keeping the fenders between the turn signals!

The bubble level is a wonderful tool but not for leveling scopes! It’s for leveling shooters in the field. Once the bubble is level, you know the scope is aligned the same as when it was sighted in on the bench (as long as the bubble was level at that time).

bubble levels
Here are two different kinds of bubble levels being tested on my Whiscombe rifle. They help to level the rifle in the field — not to level the scope during mounting.

What works
Genghis Jan — this is the only way to level a scope. Mount the scope on the rifle and turn the tube until the vertical reticle appears to bisect the rear of the rifle.

scope alignment
You extend the vertical reticle line downward and see how it looks against the back of the rifle. When the vertical scope reticle appears to bisect the centerline of the rifle, the scope is level.

You can argue that this is an imprecise method of doing this, and I cannot defend it. Because — as I have already shown — there is no such thing as a level scope. Level with what?

But here is what I do know. The scope will never look right until you level it this way. If you pick up the rifle and the scope appears to be canted to one side, how does that make you feel? It’s that feeling that either inspires confidence or instills doubt, and these two emotions will drive you to success or failure while shooting.

As you gain experience with your rifle, your hold may change, and you may need to adjust the scope, again. After that, you probably have to sight-in once more. I’ve had this happen to me several times with different rifles.

What about a collimator?
You’ve heard of an optical device called a collimator that magically aligns scopes for rifles? Gun stores use them, don’t they? Yes, they do, but not to align the scope reticle — not to level the scope. They use a collimator to align the axis of the barrel with the scope’s line of sight — so your bullets land on paper at 50 or 100 yards when you go to the range.

But an airgun can be sighted-in at ranges much closer than 50 or 100 yards. I usually start at 10 feet. I wrote an article about sighting-in this way that you really should read. Adjusting a scope so it looks level has nothing to do with sighting-in unless the scope does not appear to be level to you, and then you won’t be able to adjust it properly.

My moment of enlightenment
You may well ask why it took me so long to write this report, when it seems so simple (and really is!). It is because I know that the simplicity of this will offend many people who believe that leveling a scope must be a complicated procedure. Some will refuse to believe me and will insist they level their scopes by the methods I’ve written about or by some other process.

I believe that this step is why many buyers shy away from buying scopes for their guns unless they are mounted by the factory. Well, guys, I used to BE the factory! That’s right. For three years, I mounted every scope that was mounted on an AirForce air rifle and then I zeroed it. I learned how to mount scopes the best way, which is also the quickest way, and additionally it’s the only way that will ever satisfy the user of the rifle.

I’ve had to adjust scopes (rotate their tubes in the rings slightly) that others have mounted to get their crosshairs in line with the vertical axis of the gun. If you’ve owned many guns with scopes, I’m betting you’ve done this, too. When you do, you’re simply doing what I said to do several paragraphs previously.

I know this sounds too simple and too unsophisticated to work; but believe me, this is the only way it does work. As you gain experience with scoped airguns, the truth of this report will become increasingly evident.

113 thoughts on “How to level a scope

  1. G’day BB,
    So if the vertical axis of the scope bisects the rifle the term “level” is used. Anything else on the horizontal axis is canting/twisting the rifle due to bad stock fit or hold…shooter error?
    That makes a lot of sense and so quick!
    Cheers Bob



      • BB
        This is off topic but I have just bought two Shanghai underlever 177 airguns for a real good price, one B3-1 and one B3-2. I have the B3-2 took apart and the spring retainer/ rear seat is cracked and broken ( I can make a part to replace it) but I have not found a decent schematic of these gun anywhere and when removing the trigger assy I did not pay close enough attention to exactly how the sear and trigger fit in the assy. The B3-1 appears to be brand new. The B3-2 has the leather seal and I have found replacement seals. My questions are 1. Does Pyramidair sell parts/kits for these guns. 2. Do you know where I can find a viewable schematic for them. 3. I don’t have the B3-1 apart yet and was curious if there is a way to determine if it has a leather seal also or synthetic by the serial number or some other means. I only have 30 bucks in the two guns and they did shoot fairly well before I took the B3-2 apart. Any more Info you can provide would be appreciated and helpful.
        Mike




        • Look for the “QF-2 Cleaning and Parts Kit”. It includes a simple cleaning rod, brush, mop, bottle of cheap oil (works OK for a wipe-down after use, wouldn’t use it for anything else), breech and piston seals, main spring, piston sear and spring.


          • BB and Vince
            I called pyramid air tech and talked to Gene. He said that all the B3 parts have already been sold and referred me to Steve archer at Archer airguns. Vince I had already seen the kits at archers but they are out of stock, but they are on ebay for 16.99 + 8.00 shipping. Gene said since it has a leather seal to just soak it in non detergent motor oil or air tool oil to soften it up and reuse. BB does that sound right to you I asked about it dieseling and he said it would only for a few shots. Your thoughts on soaking the seals .
            Mike




              • BB and Vince
                Thanks for the info and links to refer to about the B3s I will start soaking the seals and clean them up. I have not called Archer air yet, but I am going to because I need a cocking lever retaining clip for one and some breach seals that I see he sells. I can save some money by not having to buy new piston seals as the leather ones still look good just dry. I knew these were not high powered spring guns, but did not even think that because of that dieseling is not that big of a issue. Thanks for the help, I am going to buy a piece of delrin from McMaster Carr to make anew spring retainer/seat as the one in the B3-2 is cracked and broken and also I can make it a better fit than original and boost the power slightly at the same time.
                Mike


              • Vince
                I just checked the two reviews you sent me links to and I have the same issue with the spring retainer/seat as you showed in the review. I also like the pics of how the trigger is supposed to fit as when I pulled the B3-2 apart the trigger came out before I could see how it all fit together. I am going to look up those old reviews of BBs you referred to also. I will likely be using a lot of the info in your reviews to complete my guns and update them. Right now I only have 20.00 bucks in both of them so a little time and I should have a couple decent plinkers.
                Mike



                  • Reb
                    Yea for the price I couldn’t pass them up. The B3-2 is in poor shape with a couple cracks in the stock and that awful orange finish, the B3-1 appears to be new as it was still in the original box with owners manual and has a much nicer finish on the stock. I found them at a yard sale they were asking 40 bucks and got them for twenty. I knew they weren’t real expensive or high quality guns but I thought I could go thru them and clean them up to make a few bucks on them. Being out waiting for my hearing with judge for SSD every little bit of money counts and it also the only way I can justify to the boss for spending money we really don’t have. I may make a B3-1/2 hybrid by swapping the stocks and actions so that I will have a B3-1 with dovetail grooves to mount scope on. I am going to strip the 3-2 stock of that orange coating and paint it black so it will look better, Then depending on how they shoot I may keep one or sell them both. well have to see when I get them done.
                    Mike


      • Not much need to comment on common sense. I have “leveled” my scopes the same way from my first try. If it doesn’t look level when you hold the gun naturally,, then you need to tweak it till it does. In order to shoot well,, you have to be comfortable. It’s not unlike finding your “neutral point of aim” ,, shoulder the gun,, close your eyes, count to twenty ( or any number you choose) , open you eyes and see if the crosshairs look right to you.

        Everybody’s body is different,, so someone else holding your rifle might say the scope isn’t level. Who cares,, it’s your gun,, it’s supposed to fit you,, not them.
        Ed


    • I can see bisecting a line, square, circle or triangle, but a cross-section through a rifle? That seems to complicated a shape to be really precise.

      Matt61


  2. I (cant) agree more! Lol. I align a scope like this, its definitely the only way. You naturally want to hold the rifle level, so it has to be lined up to the gun or it will be noticed. Even the minutest angle can be almost felt, the human eye and brain are an incredible instrument. The variables of the shooters hold, the gun, and the scope means the shooter holding to their equivalent of level and the scope to their equivalent of perpendicular to that is the only accurate way to create this “level” and the human instrument The only accurate measure of it. Great subject B.B., thanks


    • Yesterday we were talking of seal lubes and you mentioned moly lubes. That is a metal dust in a petroleum based medium. For some reason I just don’t think that would work all that well.

      As far as detonation is concerned let me tell you and all the others out there in TV land a little story.

      Once upon a time there was this airgunner who had a Gamo CFX that was his pride and joy. He had already put a GRT trigger on it, which by the way was a superb improvement, and had decided to give a gas piston a try. Since he did not have a spring compressor, he sent it of to PA for them to install one for him.

      After a couple of weeks, his CFX arrived back home and that weekend he had his first shooting session with the new arrangement. It didn’t take many shots for the airgunner to decide he was not too happy with the gas spring in his CFX. Every time he pulled the trigger, the stock would slap him side the head. His cheek bone was starting to get a little sore.

      He had almost become accustomed to his air rifle beating him about the head and shoulders when suddenly the air rifle sounded like a .22 long rifle going off and a considerable puff of smoke emerged from the muzzle and around the rotating breach! Also, the little black lever for rotating the breach was gone!

      After he recovered from that little surprise, using a small screwdriver to rotate the breach so he could load pellets, he tried a few shots to see if the CFX still functioned and discovered that his POI had dropped about six inches at 25 yards. Apparently, when reassembling his air rifle, PA had somehow managed to get some grease into the compression chamber and when it detonated, it quite literally blew out all of the seals.

      There was a somewhat happy ending to this story though. The very nice people of PA replaced the seals, breach block, little black lever (which was never seen again to this day) and the original spring and refunded the airgunner his money for the gas spring.

      The moral of this story is if you are thinking of using petroleum based lubricants in your compression chamber, have someone who is willing to repair your airgun at their expense do it for you.


      • Im a call it how I see guy, and hate to say it, but sounds a bit suspicious. My first thought is that I can’t see PA using a combustible lubricant, and certainly not enough to cause that, but if they did, why would it take so long to detonate? Also the exploded powerplant aligns kinda convenient with your dissatisfaction with it….. no offense, its the Sherlock Holmes in me…. I just don’t think that could’ve been the cause, if not sabotaged, more likely the piston itself was defective and the nitro reservoir erupted would be my guess.


      • Though it wouldn’t compress to shoot after that, so I don’t know. It just could not have been PA, you said you’d almost grown used to it… that must’ve taken quite a few shots, more then would have burned off their oil. It must not have fit very well from the start to cycle like that.


        • About ten or fifteen. It was definitely petroleum. I had absolutely no desire to destroy my rifle. PA would have removed the piston and refunded me without my having to blow all the seals out.


          • Aah, see? Motive removed. Like I said, just doin the “Huh, huh?” Elbow and wink… ;) Hey, people do crazier things for insurance, but that’s usually houses and cars, not air rifles. That stinks though that it ‘ploded, did the new piston behave itself?


            • It seemed to, it just didn’t have any seals left in there. As I said, I had them remove it when they went in and reinstall the old spring.

              I have not given up on the idea of a gas spring, however I do believe the benefits are not as great as some would believe..


              • RR. I had PA install a gas spring in my CFX a few years ago. Haven’t experienced the problem you had but it wasn’t worth the expense. I liked it better with the original spring. The Charlie trigger I installed was a definite improvement but the gas spring was a waste of money. Just my opinion. Toby


  3. BB,
    This is something that always seemed “instinctive” to me. This is what I did when I mounted my first scope way back when. I guess some people just have to make the simplest of things difficult.


  4. Thanks for confirming this string thing does not work.I did this years ago thinking I had a great idea using this string method that I thought I “only” had thought up.So I plumb bobbed it,got the gun vised strait up and down or so it appeared then scoped it on the string and made the necessary adjustment.Then when I removed it to shoot then cross hairs did not seem to be level unless I tilted the gun.Drive ya nuts!So I just did what BB said and simply aline the scope with what looks correct and it work for me.


  5. I always shot pistols. I have a P1 with a scope But I bought a trail NP ( this got me back into airguns) after shooting it I did the GRT trigger. Now I was in business . About 2000 shots later the scope seemed to be out of alimment so I adjusted it. Another 100 shots and it was off. So I leveled it. Again, after a few shots it was not level. So I marked the tube. A couple shots and it moves but not the mark?? This ain’t good!!! Yes the retical was moving inside the scope. I ran to Wally World and bought a cheap scope. Or inexpensive anyway. A couple thousand shots later and the scope still works but has no adjustment for the objective lense. So now I am looking for a new, better scope. It’s maddening to me if the scope is not level. I never gave it much thought before. Just turned it in until I was happy. I’m glad it appears I have been doing it correctly.


    • RacerX,

      I have had similar experiences with many scopes. They simply break inside and the erector tube starts turning. When that happens, that scope is finished until it is repaired.

      B.B.


      • It’s the scope that came bundled with the gun. It worth repairing ? And can PA fix it. I need to send my bloveded Tempest to them anyway. It won’t stay cocked.


        • Racer X,.

          I can’t answer that. Many of the scope that come bundled are very inexpensive scopes that cannot be repaired. But they can substitute a replacement if the gun is under warranty. Don’t delay.

          B.B.


  6. BB,

    Excellent writeup! Another wrinkle in this topic – I have an astigmatism in my right eye so that when the scope looks “level” for me, it look slightly canted to someone else without the issue.

    Paul in Liberty County


  7. B.B.

    Well, I might not be right, but… my method is like this
    First you get yoursef a simple ampule from bubble scope and a plumb line (I use a bright orange rope) at 50 m. Just lay ampule onto your rifle’s scope rail and set the rifle level using this as a refernce. Then look through the scope towards plumb line and set horizontal line of the scope aligned, keeping the rifle level and tighten screws in “cross-8″ pattern to avoid canting the scope in mounts. That’s all.

    duskwight


    • Duskwight,

      That will work, unless something other than the scope rail is off-center. Or, if the gun’s scope rail has a high arch in the center because it is cut into the tube, then where is the place to level the bubble?

      B.B.


  8. “Bisecting the gun” is the hard part, since there aren’t usually definite reference points. “Feel” does make a huge difference, and I’ve found that what feels right on the bench might not feel right offhand. I use bubble levels for shooting, and they make a difference at ranges past 25 yards. However, they don’t have to actually be level – the bubble just needs to be in the same position for each shot. It’s easy to become a slave to the bubble – I check it once and then let the sight picture occupy my attention.

    It’s amazing what’s not level/plumb in the world. Flat spots on the gun’s action, stock, turret knobs, turret caps, etc. don’t always agree. Neither should you trust the corner of your neighbor’s house, or that street lamp down the block.


  9. Here is another strange thing about scopes.You would think if your rifle scope is zeroed in that anybody could shoot it and hit the bulls eye.My neighbour which is a very fine shot and more so off hand.I wish I could hit like him off hand,anyway he can not hit the bulls eye with my scoped guns nor can I hit with his.So I guess no two people see exactly like each other when looking threw a scope.I’m only talking about say maybe a inch off at 30 yards or so.Still I find interesting.So if ya ever use another persons gun ya may want to fine tune it to your sight.


    • My understanding is this is based on hold and check weld, if your face is of a different shape it will place your eye in a different line with the scope. Thus moving the aim vs the where the round will land.


    • and this is exactly the reason that it’s very rare for two people to be able to use the same “zero”. It “cant” be done but rarely (was waiting to join the club) ! What looks level to you is not level to another person especially if your natural hold differs from others.

      Fred DPRoNJ


    • My nephew David re-affirmed my suspicion of this while shooting my AM77 by not hitting the bullseye but the same hole until he “winded” the sight pattern.I’m usually very meticulous about mounting a scope on any gun and start with the vertical reticle being paralell to the sides of the cutout in the stock that allow the receiver to fit inside it however this system is also flawed due to machining tolerances,therefore the reticle is still canted so this time I also tried using my version of the plumb bob method as shown above. I have tried numerous methods as they come to mind, still with unsatisfactory results,keep in mind I have hit targets out to 80 yards with this setup but am still bothered by the cant and do find find myself trying to level the reticle, which is very distracting so I’m still looking for the most correct solution however, B.B. has inspired me to try once more again .Ya’ll wish me luck!

      Reb


    • Steve
      I can relate to you and your neighbor not being able to hit the same POI with each others guns. I go to the local CMP range to shoot and site my pump rifles in because they use a electronic/acoustic target scoring system that allows you to site to hit a pencils eraser head laid on it side facing you lengthwise. When I shoot there daisy 888 match rifles that have been sited in by the instructors on a weekly basis so the public can get close to hitting the bulls eye and not dent up the surrounding metal plate that holds the mics in place for the system to work. I have to do some fine adjustment on the Diopter peep sight that are on all there guns. It is definitely due to each persons eye sight being slightly different and hence the need to fine tune the rear sight. I try to use the same gun each time I go as they have each one numbered, but that still does not guarantee that the sights will need fine tuned to my eye.
      Mike


  10. Are there no rifles in existence with the scope mounts cut perfectly level?
    It seems like if the barrell is bored perfectly concentric, and the scope mounts are cut prefectly level to that, it should be possible to make mounts that hold the scope perfectly level if the scope tube had similar reference points cut into it.


    • Steven,

      It can be done — it just never is. To get a perfectly centered bore, for example, means having to lathe-turn the barrel after it has been made. Even Harry Pope didn’t do that very often.

      B.B.


      • I was just considering that a manufacturer that does not really use barrels, but instead liners inside a plastic tube might have an easier time of this. Of course those guys are normally going for low cost.


  11. Great blog. This issue drove me crazy for years. I’d attach one level to the receiver and then another to the scope and get them both to agree. But as soon as I looked through the scope on the shooting bench it was never up and down. I always had to change the cant of the scope before sighting in,but I felt like I was a buffoon and every other shooter was better than me. No more.


  12. I used to level my scopes using your suggested method, BB. Then I realized that I do Not Hold the rifle level. That is, a comfortable rifle hold for me (and I imagine everyone else) is Not Perfectly level. Moreover, I think that I hold each rifle differently depending on stock shape and the weight of the gun. So, my method is to just turn the scope in its rings until it is level When I am actually holding the gun and aiming. Of course, this method is Also imperfect as I do not always hold the gun exactly the same-though I know I should. But for me, a standing hold will never be like a resting hold…and therefore a rifle at rest will not be ‘level’ as a rifle standing…if you get me.

    Like you said, it’s mostly psychological anyway.



      • Ha,Ha,Ha…I thought I read the article carefully. I guess I did pretty much say what you said…I just didn’t get it.

        You were saying just to align the vertical line with the barrels center and know that’s going to be leveled pretty much however you hold it…which Is pretty much what I was getting at in another way I guess.

        Oh well, I’d only been awake for about 20 minutes!


        • Okay…re-read your article. You weren’t just saying to align the vertical line with the rifles center. You also said that you may have to readjust once you hold the rifle…and That’s what I was getting at. I just missed it in your article the first time. Oh well, it’s still only been about an hour for me since I woke up.

          I need another cup of coffee.


    • I gotcha Rob, If it cant(proud to be the newest member!)be perfect,it can at least be as close as possible, while still being user friendly .

      Reb


  13. BB, if one holds the rifle by hand (as opposed to a vise) while using the plumb-bob method, I’m a little foggy on why it won’t work.

    I would think that the ONLY thing that matters with regards to scope leveling is that the horizontals are level with the earth while sighting in on target. It seems to me that the plumb-bob method would be automatically compensate for any variations in how one holds the rifle, and thus insure that when you are actually using the gun the horizontal and vertical adjustments are not interfering with each other.

    Or am I missing something?


    • Vince,

      The plumb bob method does work. It just may leave you with a reticle that seems titled when you hold the rifle.

      The only important thing is that the rifle is always held the same for every shot.

      B.B.



  14. B.B., I too hold the gun “crooked”. When using open sights, the front Blade/Post appears “crooked” to me (meaning tilted to one side). I correct this by moving the gun to where it appears straight, but it doesn’t “feel” as good in my hands then. I have not noticed this so much with scopes, but then again I having used my scope in years. I do use a red dot, and it always seems good. But what else would I expect for a dot LOL. Hard to tell if a circle/dot is off! Thanks for sharing this. I’ll have to find my scope and remount it soon. Bradly



    • I love my little Daisy electronic point sight! Flexible enough to be durable but always bounces right back to point blank.I just hate trying to remember to get new batteries! Got it mounted on my 760 right now which is due for testing with my H&N sampler pack to determine bore size(maybe I’ll finally find a pellet that’ll group with it!)as soon as I finally remember to pick one up!

      Reb


  15. B.B.

    I,m certain you have telepathic ability Sir. You see my friend gave me his new Hatsan striker 1000s also for safe keeping & shooting & wants me to get a scope for it. I was thinking about this very same problem & how to get around it. I get to your Blog and there it. What a load off my mind. Thank you, now I know I can do it. Thanks also for giving the link to the other article. I read it once but could not locate it again.
    God Bless you!!

    Errol


  16. I always go with “If it feels right it is right” on my scopes. I don’t over think things like this. If the scope is straight and I know I zeroed it to my eye I call it good enough and leave it at that. I am fairly accurate doing it that way. If I have a gun where I just can’t seem to hit the target using the scope I just rip the thing off and use iron sights. I have to do that with my ratty old Whisper. Nothing wrong with the gun. I just can’t seem to use it with a scope. So I use iron sights to fairly deadly effect.


    • That makes me think about the issue of iron-less rifles now a days. Id love to see these companies put together some kind of bolt on irons kit for the models without them, they’d save the buck putting them out without, then make a good buck with them as an add on with its own cost. I would buy it.


      • RifledDNA, I’m with you. I still love iron sights. Even if I play with my son on his X-Box, I prefer open sights. It also bugs me that a lot of guns don’t have open sights now. I will admit, however, as age creeps up on me and my eyes degrading, they are getting harder to use. I just let the rear sight and target blur a little more now. Red Dot is ok too, but I’d like one without batteries. Those seem to be priced high! With fiber optics, you’d think they’d be as cheap or cheaper than battery red dot sights. Bradly



  17. When I put a new scope on a rifle the first thing I do is get my eye relief set. So when I shoulder the rifle I can instantly see the field of view. No black area. I repeat shouldering the rifle to make sure that’s set.

    I’m usually putting the scope on while I’m out in the garage. I then take and turn the power all the way down on the scope and focus the eye piece till I get a sharp reticle focus. Then I will use the parallax adjustment to focus on a door or the door frame. Or I will adjust the power magnification to get a sharp picture of the door frame if I don’t have the parallax adjustment on my scope. I then put the gun to my shoulder a couple of times and adjust the scope vertical reticle line to the frame. Then shoulder the gun a couple of times again to see if I line up with the door frame. If it does and the gun feels comfortable when I hold it I lock the scope down.

    And yes like BB said how do I know if the door frame is true to vertical like the plumb line. It doesn’t matter as long as I can reproduce the hold and the reticle seems level. But I have put the bubble levels on rifle scopes to make sure I reproduce the same hold after I have done the above steps. Then I sight the gun again making sure the hold feels comfortable and I try to reference the bubble level also.

    But I don’t even use the bubble levels on the scopes any more. I found the more comfortable the gun feels when I hold it the better I reproduce my hold for each shot.

    Maybe I go through more steps than I need to but it is what has worked for me.


    • You’ll use a bubble level, maybe two, when you need ultimate accuracy especially at longer ranges. This is a great tool (crutch in my case LOL! ) for repeatable holds.

      kevin


      • Kevin I was kind of obsessed with longer range air gun target shooting at one time. That is when I had one level on the gun.

        Now I just mostly shoot at spinners or plink. I got all the hard work behind me. You know finding the right pellet and tuning the gun and such.

        Now just take it easy and relax when I shoot. Remember we were just talking about cant and how it affected the POI. Well now when Im plinking and I mis. I pretty well know what I did wrong before the pellet hits.

        But your right. If your goal is to get that gun to stack pellets on top of each other. Well all them little devices help.

        Like I said plinking is good for me now. :)


        • Gunfun
          I am like you just do mostly plinking and for the roughly ten meter range in my backyard I have come to like peep sites for the close range stuff. I find it easier to sight thru the rear peep and center the front sight with a round aperture centering the bulls in hole of the front aperture and very seldom due I miss the target. I use the small bells that bikers put on their bike to ward off the evil road demons. When I was working at the motorcycle salvage yard before my health failed I would remove the bells from the wrecked bikes as they are now possessed with evil gremlins I feel that I need to kill the gremlins being a biker myself. Plus it is a definite indication that you hit the target when the bells go spinning around on the hooks there on, or go flying off into the yard. my 60C just demolishes them into crumpled globs of pot metal or tin. Just about got it fine tuned to getting twenty good shot with 14 to 15 grain pellets in the high 800 and low 900. it is starting to punch holes thru the washing machine metal I use for a backstop, got more to replace when it breaks thru the plywood. One more day and you should have yours right.
          Mike


          • buldawg it was suppose to be Friday. But now it will be Monday.

            That’s ok I guess cause next week I’m only working 3 days. So I got a nice little vacation coming with the holiday. Hopefully I can get things done ahead of time and I can enjoy the days off shooting with my kids.

            But I found something out today. Mike sells .25 cal. barrels and .25 cal. guns in Gen 1 and Gen 2 models. They are more than the .177 or .22 cal versions though. And the .25 cal. barrel is $165 by itself.

            Well I’m a .25 cal. person so I got a barrel on the way now also. I will play with the .177 cal. gun I got and get myself happy with it. Then I will put the .25 cal. barrel on it. That’s what I did with my Talon SS and It definitely acted different with each barrel.

            But I think that bigger factory transfer port diameter is going to be a benefit for the .25 cal. barrel. I was going to make it smaller for the .177 cal. barrel. But I think I will leave that alone now when I get the gun. Will see what both barrels act like before I make a transfer port change though.

            So here I go passionately waiting for all to arrive. But I still have other guns to chose from to occupy this weekend. TGIF and have fun shoot’n. :)


            • Gunfun
              I knew he has 25 cal barrels also and plan to buy one when I get the spare funds. I just got the 22 cause the ammo is more widely available as in wallyworld carries 177 and 22 but not 25s.

              I agree on leaving the transfer port on the 177 barrel alone or sleeving a little smaller , but remember
              the receiver has a port also that connects the valve port to the barrel port. I don’t know if the receiver port is sized different to match the caliber barrel the gun was built with, it may be that there is a different size port in the receiver for 177,22 and 25 cals. I would call Mike Melick and run that by him because you may find that swapping to the 25 barrel with a smaller receiver transfer port for 177 would greatly restrict the flow. Call mike and find out as I am curious also if the receiver port is the same on all calibers or specific to the original barrel caliber. before I get a 25 cal barrel I am going to buy the kit that blogger Stalwart on GTA is now offering for the 60C that makes it into a either 10 shot or 8 shot repeater by using either a Mrod or Prod magazine. He sells the kits in any cal that the gun is made in with either him painting it black or unfinished for you to Blue or paint. They are sold as an exchange for your receiver and barrel for 135 or as a non exchange kit for 170. I believe that I would rather have a repeater before a 25 cal barrel. He machines the receiver and barrel end at receiver to fit the mags. I just spent 180.00 on a new Ruger 10/22 in camo trim from target sports usa or I would probably get the repeater kit.

              The boss is not real happy with me fight now for all the money I have been spending on gun stuff with me not working and such, but I tell here I am buying some it to repair and resell at a profit (like the two B3s) and to have if our economy collaspes because guns will be not only worth more in terms of survival but also a very in demand commodity that can be used to barter for other supplies needed because the dollar will be only good to start a fire with. The you no what is going to hit the fan when the rest of my parts for the AR 15 I am building using a 80% lower that you finish the 20% of the machining on the lower( the fire control pocket and safety selector holes) to make it a 100% lower that you then just put all the pieces from the kits out there on to have a complete legal unregistered AR. It is completely legal as long as it is not made with intent to sell or distribute. I will have 700.00 bucks in a AR that would cost 1800.00 to 2000.00 to buy due to being built with higher end kit parts. I am doing it just to sat I built my own AR.

              Let me know if you talk to mike about the receiver ports size in relation to calibers.
              Here is Stalwarts email if you are interested in the repeater ekdracing@yahoo.com although you could probably go to the GTA forum and look up XC60C repeater or or look for his threads by his blog name Stalwart because he has some good pics of the machining that is required to make them into a repeater as well as a good write up. Hey if you decide to try and make your own, make two so I can have one to since it is nit dealing with the HPA side of it (hint hint) just kidding but if you and would be willing to make me one out of my parts for less than his price I would be interested.
              Mike


              • buldawg I just finished talking to Mike.

                He said the transfer port would be good for the .25 barrel. And he also said that the .177 &.22 cal. would benefit from a smaller transfer port diameter. He said the Gen 1 receivers has around a 4 mm hole and the new Gen 2′s have a 3.5 mm hole.

                He said going to the smaller hole in the .177 and .22 should make the gun more efficient. It should also give a higher usable shot count and and the gun will tend to get quieter because you wont be wasting air especially if you move the trigger forward for less stroke and back the spring pressure screw out so there isn’t as much hit on the striker. i cant wait to see how that goes when I get mine.

                And one of the guy’s I work with has a few PCP guns. So he was interested in the HPA tanks also. We called our supplier that we use at work and talked to them and got some good info about that. They said their big tanks which are around shoulder high and I think he said weighed 320lbs. if I remember right. The HPA only went up to like 2200 psi. so that would be good for the dragon gun but not for something like a Marauder rifle. Then the next thing available was Nitrogen in the same size containers. One went up to 3500psi then another went up to 6000 psi. So anything the guy at work or what I shoot we would have to use the higher fill pressure nitrogen tank. And they started getting pricey. And they said sometimes availability could be a problem because that is what everybody in or area gets.

                So the guy at work decided to get the ShoeBox and Benjamin bottle. And I’m going to stick with mine also. But if I was starting over a gain I think I may of went with the Nitrogen supply.

                Anyway its nice outside the kids are at school and my wife is working and I’m off work so I’m going outside to do some shooting and enjoy myself. :)


                • Gunfun
                  Took the words right out of my mouth, the boss here is also gone and got no kids to worry about and the weather is great so I’m shooting too. Good to know about the receiver transfer port size I may look into sleeving mine down also.
                  Mike


              • buldawg
                I miss read your comment. I was still thinking about that HPA fitting you were talking about. You mean to turn the gun into a magazine feed.

                I think they already sell one on the dragon website. But maybe its for a different gun? Anyway I usually like single shot bolt action for my guns that I’m trying to get accurate. I got single shot trays in all of my Marauder rifles right now. But you know what come to think about it my FX Monsoon is semi-automatic rotary magazine fed and it is just as accurate as my Marauders. So I guess that’s just a mind thing in my case.

                But ok if I do mess around with that at some point in time I will give you a holler and let you know whats up.


                • Gunfun
                  The repeater kit that FDAR sell is for the QB78 COs rifles not the XC60C. Yea I was not asking for you to do anything with the HPA aspect of air guns as I understand your position about safety and being responsible for hurting a person. I was just inquiring about converting the 60C to a repeater. As I said there is a person on the GTA forum that is selling kits to make the 60C into a repeater. I also like single shots and the kit this person make will still allow for single shot firing also. I just ran into an old friend that I worked with at Harley and was not aware that he is a master machinist and has a full machine shop at his house about 4 miles form me. I am going to get with him Monday to help make me two new spring seats/retainers for the two B3s I got hold of last week and also talk to him about the fill fitting and completing the machining on my 80% lower for my AR. He is big into guns and hot rod rebuilding so I think I have a means to get the stuff that I want to get took care of until I can get my own 3 in 1. Had a good day shooting yesterday , how about you. getting closer to having my 60C tuned the way I want it, just fine tuning the hammer spring and am a 1 turn back from the screw flush with the nut. it is still at the the fps range I like so just a little fine tuning ti finish it out.
                  Mike


                  • buldawg
                    From this last reply you just made it sounds like you got alot accomplished. And yes I did have a good day of shooting yesterday. Just wish I would of had one more gun in my hand testing though. But I will be happy when Monday gets here and I get that gun.

                    Wow first time I can remember ever waiting for the weekend to be over and wanting Monday to get here. :)


                    • Gunfun
                      Yea I did make good head way on my gun. just got done a little more testing and my sweet spot for what I like is with the stock valve spring with .025″ thick homemade spring hat in the valve, trigger all the way back, hammer spring 1 turn out from flush with face of locknut with stock washer under locknut removed. It just dawned on me If I put the washer back under the locknut on hammer spring screw that I removed at the start of tuning it would put the hammer screw flush with the locknut and be right in the sweet spot I have found that is giving me 18 to 20 shots of 800 fps with JBS 18.13gr, 900 fps with CPs 14.3 gr and 1000 fps with Gamo rockets 10.85gr. I am happy with it for now on my backyard range, but I will know more when I get to shoot at my friends river house at 50 and 75 yards.
                      Its going to seem like Monday will never get here but I know it will be worth the wait and you will be happy with your new gun. for 100 bucks it is really in my opinion a great gun at a bargain price, it just feels good in your hands and is very well balanced for me anyway. I think Mike did a excellent job in his conversation of this gun from CO2 to PCP. it definitely a good feeling when you get to the final stages of testing. I am now going to have to put another washing machine panel up on the target because the CPs and Gamo rockets are blowing holes thru the single layer on metal now, it is pretty beat up at the place I tape the targets at so the metal has already been fatigued a good bit. it made me smile though when I took the paper target down and saw the holes thru the metal. It will definitely be a turkey killer at my buddies property and I know they out there cause we saw 5 last weekend while waiting for the rain to stop to test his pontoon boat. gone to have some wild turkey before long on the dinner table.
                      Mike


              • buldawg
                From what you say about your gun. And what I have read other people say about the gun it sounds like its a killer little combination.

                And if your still using 1500 psi as your start pressure that is amazing numbers your getting with your gun.

                Again I can’t wait for mine.


                • Gunfun
                  I am using 2000 psi to 1000 psi as my shooting pressure range. I spoke with Mike at FDAR and he said he tested the air tube as delivered to customers to 4000 psi with no failure until he hit it with a 8 lb hammer and then it only blew out the fill fitting, but to be safe to use 2000 psi you will need to replace the two screws that secure the valve assy in the tube as they are of unknown strength and are the weakest link in the air tube. I went to my local Ace hardware and bought some metric socket head screws in 5mm x 0.7mm pitch thread in grade 8.8 metric classification that were just a little longer than the Phillips head screws holding the valve in the tube and ground them to length on my bench grinder. Its is actually one screw in the hammer block that the valve butts up against and one screw in the valve itself( remember the previous post that I told you about the mods I had done). you also need to make sure that the valve butts tight up against the hammer block so both screws share the load equally, I had to place a.005″ shim in between my hammer block and valve to take up for stack up differences of the holes in the tube to make it where when you tighten the valve screw down you have to apply some pressure to the hammer block to get the screw to start into it and confirm there is no play between the two. That’s is how I feel safe using 2000 psi as a mix fill pressure and is what Mike agreed with that would make it safe also. you may get even better as yours is a 177 until you put your 25 cal barrel in it. can’t wait to hear how you like it.

                  I will be out of town from Tues to probably Fri due my wife’s uncle passed away yesterday, the same date 5/16/13 that here mother passed away one year ago. She is taking it pretty hard and we need to be there so I won’t be at my PC for awhile but I will let you know when we get back as I am anxious to hear how you like your gun and how far you have gotten in tuning it.
                  Mike


                  • buldawg
                    Sorry to hear about your wife’s uncle.

                    And just one more thing before your away. Mike told me the same that he tested them at that 4000 psi and said he would be comfortable running the gun at 2000 psi.

                    I’m still going to try to set mine up for a low fill. I hope to stay at that 1500 psi range. But give a holler when you get back.


                    • Gunfun
                      You will probably be good at 1500 with your 177, but I think you will find that you will prefer 2000 when you put on your 25 barrel. I would replace the two screws for the hammer block and valve regardless of the pressure you use as they are the weakest part of the air tube parts and just to be safe they should be replaced with grade 8.8 metric screws.

                      I will message you when I get back and see how far you have got with your gun and how you like it.

                      Thanks for your condolences for the wife’s uncle. I just hope it not a sign of another bad year as I said my wife’s mother passed one year ago on the same date and then it seemed that my health started to decline and ended up with health issues of my own and then having to file for disability. So just hope the bad streak is over for awhile. Talk to you in a few days.
                      Mike


                  • buldawg
                    I didnt want say about your wifes mother or your troubles.

                    Hopefully things will work out and all will go well.

                    Be safe.


  18. Dagnabbit! Took another lump. Don’t know how much more I can take. Lost my left leg again.All that progress gone, have to start all over with it. Fortunately I got to keep my brain this time, along with the progress on my left arm and shoulder.If there is a silver lining it would have to be the fact that SSI should be a shoe- in! Back home again and going for my Airmaster right now!

    Reb


  19. How about adjusting the scope until you can no longer tell if it is level or not, as I have done many times? At that point, there is no reason to go further and you can consider yourself done. :-)

    On another note, heavy news. I was reading about a guy who can swim 2000 yards in 30 minutes. That sounds pretty good to me. But then an Olympic gold medalist commented that this was pretty good for someone who did not grow up swimming! It would seem that there are some sports that need lifelong training from early childhood. Longbow shooting by the English archers was apparently one. Another was the use of the pike by Swiss mercenaries of the medieval era. They began training when they were 2 and dominated Europe for a hundred years. Another is riding horses up to the standard of medieval knights. They were apparently on a level with Olympic dressage riders. A saying from the medieval period was that if a boy had not mastered horsemanship by age 14, he was good for nothing but being a priest… On the other hand, some sports can be mastered quickly. Rowing is a case in point. The technique is not easy, but people can walk on and achieve a very high level within a few months. The question is which category does shooting fall into. Mac, who grew up shooting in Tennessee, had a very high proficiency with rifles. Is this a requirement? Does this mean that with my tens of thousands of rounds, I will always be catching up? On the other hand, there is Crystal Ackley, who seems able to shoot well with no training at all.

    Matt61


    • Matt, shooting is an acquired skill. The more you practice, the better you’re supposed to get so long as your practice habits are performed reasonably seriously however, some shooters just” get it” from the beginning.These shooters get to start a few rungs higher on the ladder of success which coupled with enjoyment of the hobby/sport(due to being good) tend to excel rapidly.

      Reb


  20. B.B.,

    You were a tanker! I started out in 3d Armor at Kirchgoens on M60A1, and later on the Abrams variants. I always thought of tank cannons as the ultimate rifles. I remember the gunner’s quadrants, M26 boresight devices, and the Abrams’ Muzzle Reference Sensor system. A few years ago, while deer hunting with an old Army friend on his Texas ranch, I had taken up the slack on my Garand’s trigger when I ask my friend what he thought the range was to the little doe in my sights. “ZZZzzzzzhhhh,” he answered (making the sound the old red ruby laser rangefinder made in the M60A1), “about a 125 yards.” I laughed so hard I almost muffed the shot. I miss the tanks.

    RB


    • RB,

      I started out as Cavalry with the 3rd ACR. In Germany I was with the 1st Armored Division in Erlangen.

      Then I taught at the Armor School at Ft. Knox for several years. While there I was a subject matter expert on the XM1 Abrams tank. I got to drive one of the five prototypes and to help write the manuals, but all my field tank experience is on M60A1s.

      B.B.


    • RB,
      I was at KG. Ayers 61 to 63 . I was there when the M60 was new. I was not a tanker though I just chased them up hill and breathed diesel fumes.I use to watch the tankers practice out in the woods beyond the POL dump while on guard duty at night . I was always impressed by how quick they could light up fire turn the light out and move. I was in the 2nd ,36, ARB. You know it is all gone now ,look up 3rd AD ayers Kasserne I think it is an industrial park.


  21. I always thought the breech on a 97 was level as it is machined… I just plonk a spirit level over the open breach level rifle, and then level reticle with plumb bob… Will see if it survives the eyeball mark1 test…

    But it does look right when shouldering the rifle


  22. Thank you Genghis Jan for suggesting, and B.B. for presenting this very useful and intriguing blog!
    My hat’s off to Ya’ll.

    Reb


  23. B.B.Speaking of handsome nesteggs! I need a partner. Involving reactive targets of my design.If you’re not interested I’ll understand but maybe one of the readers here or even PA would be and are welcome to participate. Sorry no hints here on the blog but if anyone is interested, or you could suggest a place to get this started could you tell them to please e-mail me @richard.ribble@ymail.com, I’m not used to checking this E-mail very often so the blog would be a good place to remind me to check it especially in light of recent developments. I’d like to be remembered for something cool! VERY neat Idea that could revolutionalize Reusable, Reactive Targets, I’ll commence building a prototype as soon as funds are available!
    How does RRT Industries sound?
    Yes, I am serious.
    Thank You Sir ,for your consideration.
    Reb


  24. This is a constant pain in the derriere, the obvious fault being that if the vertical axis is off centre (imagine a full “X” shape) and you are zeroed on the button at 40 yards, that as you drop down or up a few mildots for 50 or 20 yards, you will hold over to a degree. I also use the bisecting the cylinder by eye method, sat behind with the gun in a stand and squinting with an allen key in my hand, though not all guns allow this method, in which case my best guess comes into play….and a bit of range time. Hold comes into it massively, and my son and I hold a rifle differently enough for him to accuse me of not centering the crosshairs correctly……however, for the above reasons, there is only one way to sight a scope and that,s dead straight with the bore, however you acheive it.
    I sometimes wish there was a reference notch on scopes, mounts and the rear of rifles that would help you get a good ballpark


  25. B.B.

    Thanks for today’s topic about “leveling” the scope. As a newcomer to the shooting sports two years ago, I didn’t know anything. After I bought my Crosman 1077 rifle and Winchester 4×32 scope, I mounted the scope and adjusted the reticle just as you described at the end, making the verticle line bisect the rifle. It just intuitively seemed to be the right way to do it so that when I held the rifle vertically to my shoulder, the scope reticle would appear “level” in my view. Thanks for confirming that I did something right.


  26. B.B,

    Just found a way to get a reference point by accident just now. Thought to share it with you all. I had just oiled the gun & inspecting the barrel & compression tube under a bright overhead light. I noticed a thin line of light reflecting off the oil perfectly bisecting the gun. When aligned so it divides the gun so well you can easily mark a point on the back of the rail or groove. It also tells you how accurate the manufacturer was. Hopes this means something.

    Errol


  27. B.B.,

    My method (Perhaps it’s been mentioned) is to shoulder the rifle comfortably while aligning the vertical crosshair with a plumb line. This usually results in a bisected action but not always. As long as I am the shooter the reticle will be level.

    Mark N


  28. Confused for a bit until you said that having the rifle held the same for every shot was important as opposed to having it “level” compared to an outside reference. I usually ended up doing things the way you described here. I didn’t have a vice or rest which allowed me to set the rifle down and have it stay where I left it. I had to hold it in my hands while I “leveled” the scope which means I couldn’t even try using bubble levels. Later, when I got a rest that held the rifle solidly I did use the “bubble level on the scope rail to level the rifle then bubble level on the scope to level the scope” – and didn’t get any better results than the already quite satisfactory “bisect” method!

    Presumably the fact that the important part is to hold the rifle the same every time is why the bubble level used to prevent rifle cant on my FWB-602 doesn’t have a fine adjustment allowing you to raise or lower the sides. (I’m not sure what the previous owner used the 602 for but it does have a couple of accessories like that which I believe aren’t allowed in 10M competition)


  29. By placing the butt of the rifle centrally along the straight line of a large piece of paper, look down the scope from the bore end and line up the vertical cross hair with the straight edge of the paper saves much time and using a plumb line. You can then adjust to personal preference, though i tend to leave it as is.

    I believe this is an old army trick.

    TTFN

    Bast wishes, Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe



  30. Actually, it doesn’t matter that is the scope is levelled relative to the gun.
    whats matter is, every time you hold the rifle on your shoulder the scope should be parallel to the ground
    you can have a scope 45 degrees between the rifle, and will still works, as long as the scope is levelled to the group when you shoot.

    most important is when you hold the rifle on your shoulder, is very likely that your rifle will slightly tilt to the centre of your body, you should have your scope adjust levelled to the group when holding the rifle naturally


  31. A belated thanks to you for writing this, B.B.! I’ve had a WILD few months, and am way behind on the blog.

    It’s downright scary: the very day you posted this, instead of reading your blog, I was… at the DIFTA airgun range, hamfistedly trying to re-level my Marauder’s scope!

    If I had read the blog before jumping in the car, maybe I would have spent the day plinking instead!

    I did it all wrong, by anybody’s standards. For some reason I myself can’t even remember, I decided to try one of those scope leveling tools – the ones with a metal bar that sits on your presumed-flat receiver, and attaches to lined reference “wings” on either side of your scope, one with a bubble level. The idea is that you use this to level your receiver WRT gravity while eyeballing that your horizontal reticle is parallel to the reference lines on the “wings.”

    Before I started, my reticle was visibly cockeyed, and it wasn’t when I finished. But I came away wishing that I had just used a small level on the receiver, and a plumbline downrange to level the reticle.

    If I had done this just a day after reading the blog, I would have taken the time to be more scientific about the process, and reported some empirical results. E.g., trying to click up and down a known-plumb target line, and seeing whether the impacts remain on the line as the scope elevation goes way up and down. I’m reasonably sure my reticle had been cockeyed enough to throw off my impacts side to side at long and short ranges, but I can’t prove that this was the case, nor whether my leveling tomfoolery improved this imagined condition.

    I still fantasize that it’s important that the vertical reticle, the barrel, and gravity be in the same plane as you make a shot. But now you have shattered my belief system. I should make some range time to run some tests!

    Thanks,
    Jan


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


+ 3 = 5

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>