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Air Guns Boxing the reticle

Boxing the reticle

This report covers:

  • Back story
  • The test
  • Boxing the reticle — test one
  • First photo
  • Discussion
  • Group one
  • Group two
  • Group three
  • Group four
  • The solution to canting
  • Test two
  • Group One
  • Group Two
  • Group Three
  • Group Four
  • Now for group five
  • Verdict?

Oh, boy! Do I have a LOT to tell you today. I thought the test I’m about to do would be straightforward. It was anything but!

Back story

Remember last week when I boxed the reticle with the Meopta MeoSport R 3-15 SFP scope? I told you several things and most of them were correct, but I’m not entirely certain about one — the part about stiction. I will explain when we get to it. Let’s get started.

The test

I shot the TX200 Mark III today. Remember that it has the 22mm piston kit from Tony Leach, and we know that it loves JSB Exact 8.44-grain domes. I shot from 25 yards off a sandbag rest with the rifle rested directly on the bag. The rifle has a Meopta MeoPro Optika5 4-20X50 RD BDC3 scope mounted and with the trigger adjusted to perfection I was able to put 10 JSB pellets into a 0.218-inch group at 25 yards in Part 7 of the TX report.

My plan today was to box the reticle and then box it again after tapping on the scope intentionally, to see if the stiction “problem” was solved. However, I put quotes around the word problem because BB may be the problem and not stiction at all. We shall see.

This scope has an illuminated reticle, and I turned the light on. Only the central dot lights ups which gives super precision for every shot, because that dot is almost exactly the same size as the 10-dot in the bullseye.

Boxing the reticle — test One

I shot a total of 25 shots in the first test with the 10-dot in the center of the bullseye as the only aim point. After the first group that landed below the 10-dot aim point, I adjusted the reticle 14 clicks to the right and shot another five. Then 14 clicks up and another five, followed by 14 clicks left and another five. Then I dialed the scope 14 clicks down and fired the last group on top of the first group — as long as the scope’s adjustments are consistent. Consistency is one of the primary things I am testing in this test. But as you will see, I learned a LOT more and there will be more of these tests in the future!

I adjusted 14 clicks each time to get a greater separation between the groups than the 12 clicks I used in the last test. But, as you will see, the reticle in this scope doesn’t move any farther with 14 clicks as the reticle of the MeoSport R 3-15 SFP scope moves in 12 clicks. There is something to consider.

First photo

After the first four groups I went downrange and photographed the target. I did that in case my final five shots enlarged the first group too much. Remember that I pulled a shot in final group of the the last test.

first 4 groups test 1
Oh my! What do we have here? 

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I thought I knew what was happening when I saw the second group, but with all four groups displayed can you see what is wrong? See how the box defined by the groups is tilted to the right? It means the scope is not mounted level and I am not shooting with the rifle canted at the same angle every time. Do you know what that ALSO might mean?

It might mean that those “stiction” shots in the last test might have been fired with the rifle canted differently. That isn’t certain, but I will discuss that as we proceed.

Group one

Group one is the group at the bottom of the bullseye. It is a bit horizontal for this rifle. There are two shots out to the right that stretch the group to one side. In today’s entire test there was not one shot called as a pull, but I was surprised by the size of this group that measures an estimated 0.421-inches between centers. Remember — this rifle has put 10 of this same pellet into 0.218-inches at the same 25 yards. After this group I dialed in 14 clicks of right adjustment.

Group two

Whoops! The group went right but it also dropped. Why? Well, perhaps the scope is not being held with the reticle perpendicular to the bullseye. However, please note that all five shots have landed in a group that measures 0.249-inches between centers. What that means is I was holding the reticle at more or less the same angle for all five shots. I might have been tipping the rifle to the right, but my hold was consistent. Are we learning? After this group I dialed the reticle 14 clicks up.

Group three

Oh boy — more learning! Look at this open group of five. We know that the three together at the bottom are what the rifle wants to do and the two wide shots above are not at all typical for this rifle when shooting this pellet. They were not called pulls so something else threw them wide. This group measures 0.427-inches between centers.

Seeing this sort of got me thinking that canting was the problem, because the three at the bottom were shot with my using the ring numbers on the target to level the scope. Now, holding the illuminated scope dot over the 10-dot on the bull is hard enough when your beating heart makes the scope dot jump around — but try also holding the horizontal and vertical reticle lines on top of the bullseye ring numbers at the same time! But when I get it right the pellets go into the same little hole. After this group I dialed 14 clicks to the left.

Group four

This group is the last one in the four corners of the box — the top left group. And it is the same as the last group except upside-down. In this one there are three shots in the top hole. This group measures 0.357-inches between centers, so it is better than the last one. I was really concentrating on holding on both the center aim point and on the ring numbers. After this group I dialed the scope down 14 clicks. The next group should be on top of the first group, so let’s see.

five groups test 1
The last group dropped right on top of the first one. For all but the last two shots I never saw the group enlarge. The first five shots measured 0.421-inches between centers and group five measures 0.448-inches between centers. That’s not much larger.

I know I could put a bubble level on my rifle, but not in the middle of a test. So on we trudge.

On the other hand, I’m starting to seriously doubt stiction. So the next test will be the same as this one with one important difference. I will discover how those reticle lines can overlay the ring number lines on the target without me having to do anything.

The solution to canting

I found if I really shoved my shooting hand into the rear of the sandbag the rifle was held firm. All I had to do was make small corrections until the lines overlapped — 25 times!

Test two

Same test, with the correction of the canting. Here is the first target.

four groups test 2
Well, that’s much better. By overlapping the reticle on the ring numbers I got a box that isn’t canted.

Group One

This is the group at the bottom of the bullseye. I measured it with my calipers this time and it measures 0.214-inches between centers. Not bad! Now right click 14 clicks.

Group Two

This group moved exactly to the right — not up or down. The five shots measure 0.329 between centers. Also not too bad. Then fourteen clicks up.

Group Three

Another Mickey Mouse group with three down below and two “ears” above. This group measures 0.278-inches between centers. And fourteen clicks to the left.

Group Four

This time 4 shots went into one hole with a stray to the right. No called pull. This group measures 0.316-inches between centers. I then adjusted the scope 14 clicks down.

Now for group five

I did not see this group enlarge by any amount. It measures 0.237-inches between centers so it did grow (from 0.214-inches) but not by much.

Here are all five groups with 10 shots in the bottom one, combined. Remember — the aim point for every shot is that tiny 10-dot in the center of this bull.


It’s too soon to say for sure, but I will say that THIS scope does not display any characteristics of stiction whatsoever. Now I want to test that other scope again, using my soon-to-be-patented method of holding the rifle firmly.

HOWEVER — I think there is another test to do first. I will take THIS rifle/scope combination and intentionally try to shoot an open group at 25 yards by intentionally canting the rifle between shots. That ought to tell us something.

Meopta, I may owe you an apology for the whole stiction thing. If this was my fault I intend to prove it and apologize to you publicly.

Readers — I haven’t seen any of you attempting to repeat this little test. If you do I’d sure like to hear what you learn!

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

36 thoughts on “Boxing the reticle”

  1. ” I will take THIS rifle/scope combination and intentionally try to shoot an open group at 25 yards by intentionally canting the rifle between shots.”
    Yes, that should prove to be most interesting.
    But one thing’s for sure already: this Meopta is one great scope. 🙂
    Take care & God bless,

  2. BB,

    Quite often when mounting and zeroing a new scope, I will take a string and hang it in front of the target with a nut on the end as a bob weight. I then have a straight, vertical reference at the target. What I have found is most people will naturally cant an air rifle, or any rifle for that matter, a certain way and amount to fit their hold. This more often shows up in a standing shot.

    There are two solutions. Adjust the scope to compensate for the natural cant or use a bubble level. On a hunter I would adjust for the cant and on a target shooter I would use a level. To each his own I guess.

    • RR-

      Regarding adjusting for cant- if your shooting position requires a consistent can’t to the rifle, then certainly, go ahead and adjust sights/scope for that condition. Provided the distance to target remains the same, accuracy will ensue..

      If the distance to target is going to vary- hunting, plinking, rambling- it is usually best for the vertical reticle to bisect the rifle bore.

      • Paco,

        This is true and this is what I do. The problem becomes that most people will hold an air rifle, etc. at a given cant. Each person will be different. I guess each person must learn to compensate in their own way. If you consistently hold a rifle to a certain cant, the scope can be adjusted so the reticle is vertical. I myself prefer the string bob at the target to teach me to hold without cant.

        With my sproingers it is not much of an issue as they are limited in range, but when I pull out the HM1000X I am thankful that scope has a bubble level in it.

        • RR-
          Yep, muscle memory can be trained. I think the adage about one guy and one gun is very true. I was a better shot when I only had a few guns with me. More ammo through each one. Of course, I could see better then…. Now I enjoy dabbling with various guns. I am only adept with a few.

          • Sometimes if you are lucky, you can use the “muscle memory” of one to another. Most often these are of similar design and weight. Many people will subconsciously do that and have a small collection of very similar rifles, getting rid of those that do not “fit”.

  3. BB

    I can hardly wait for the sun to rise so I can try your firmly wedged shooting hand into the bag. When it sometimes happens I adjust to prevent it. Little did I think it could be helpful in steadying my heart beats.

    I use targets that have at least one set of vertical & horizontal lines. I use a black felt pen and draw them with a straight edge. I then use a simple pen that contains a bubble level to assure the target mount is stuck in the ground vertically. It becomes easy to maintain the same cant (if any) because those lines I drew are much more obvious than the ring numbers.

    Looking forward to more tests. Will the other Meopta scope be stiction free?


  4. B.B., what is a Slavia 618 worth these days? Let’s say one with a few spots of rust here and there, some scratches and handling marks here and there, but otherwise in good condition.. where could one find parts like front and rear sights and breech seals? Who do you know that could restore one?

      • Fish
        I’m always somewhere. 😉

        How are you buddy. Today is my only day off and I have been filling in on other shifts for one reason or another.

        I needed to cut grass but I haven’t shot all week. Today I shot then cut grass.

        Guess whats happening now. Going to shoot with my younger daughter before supper. A nice mild day with moderate winds with a occasional gust here and there. Definitely happy to be off today. Especially after these last couple of weeks. Even makes today more worthwhile. 🙂

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