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Thread: Rifle canting, crosshairs not well aligned,

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Cuyahoga Falls, OH
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    Default Rifle canting, crosshairs not well aligned,

    Those who follow any of my threads know that I like to tinker with my toys. I have a lifetime issue with "canting" my rifles and not getting the crosshairs just right in the vertical and horizontal plane. SOOOO!

    I have been looking at tools that others have developed to get better alignment.

    There are several different methods and tools that purport to be helpful. I have tried several with modest success. Wheeler's double bubble level kit and similar; The best that I have found to date is mounting the rifle securely in a vise as level as I can get it and to align the cross hair with a plumb bob hung at a appropriate distance.

    I recently bought two more tools to see how they might work. I just got them this week so haven't tried them yet but will in the next couple days. If you are curious enough to see what they look like GOOGLE ON!

    1. Reticle-Tru by Parabola. It is a plastic (DELDRIN) device to be attached to the eyepiece end of the scope with pointers top and bottom and a narrow slit to look through. Very sturdy construction. Does not require any external aids like a plumb bob. Can be carried in the gun case to check for damage on shipping?

    The concept is to loosen the ring screws a bit, mount the device on the scope, position the bottom pointer in close alignment with the center line of the rifle action (tang screws if available) while simultaneously aligning the top pointer with the centerline of the barrel end. When adjusted, the slit is supposed to be aligned with the centerline of the rifle. Looking through the slit, the crosshairs should be visible. Rotate the scope to align the vertical crosshair with the slit. Repeat until the pointers are properly aligned and the vertical crosshair is aligned in the slit. Tighten screws and you should be cant free!

    2. Vertical Reticle Tool by EXD Engineering. Aluminum, machined to correct shape. Not fancy machining but seems OK. A V-block slider in a slot in a 6" (about) long aluminum block with a second v-block machined at the bottom and a securely mounted bubble level in at the upper end of the block.

    The basic concept is to attach the device to the objective end of the scope so that the sliding v-block is on the objective bell while the second v-block touches the rifle barrel. The rifle is clamped securely so that both v-blocks are in good contact with the objective bell and the barrel at the same time. When this is accomplished, the rifle position is adjusted so the bubble level is "level". The result should be that the scope and barrel are aligned so that the scope is aligned precisely over the bore center. After this is accomplished, the scope (suitably loosened in the rings) is rotated to align the vertical crosshair with a plumb bob string or other suitable vertical surface. Adjust and readjust until you are happy.

    The result should be crosshairs aligned with the center of the bore and in the plane of the ballistic arc that the pellet "should" take after leaving the barrel to reach the target. The inventor cautions that the alignment may not be perfect unless the bases, rings, and scope are aligned directly over the centerline of the bore. He has found rifles with the actions drilled crooked that can't be aligned perfectly.

    This second one appeals to my sense of galactic order so I am betting on it but we will see.

    I will be trying both on 2 air rifles and a host of powder arms over the next few weeks and will keep you posted on the results.

    Cheers and happy tinkering
    Dave Thomas

    Shoot safe. shoot straight, have fun
    Teach a kid to shoot

    RWS54, 4.5mm, RWS 4-12x50CI
    FWB300SU, 4.5mm, Clearidge Ultra RM 3-9x32

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    West Coast , Vancouver
    Posts
    285

    Default Re: Rifle canting, crosshairs not well aligned,

    Quote Originally Posted by dtdtdtdt View Post
    Those who follow any of my threads know that I like to tinker with my toys. I have a lifetime issue with "canting" my rifles and not getting the crosshairs just right in the vertical and horizontal plane. SOOOO!

    I have been looking at tools that others have developed to get better alignment.

    There are several different methods and tools that purport to be helpful. I have tried several with modest success. Wheeler's double bubble level kit and similar; The best that I have found to date is mounting the rifle securely in a vise as level as I can get it and to align the cross hair with a plumb bob hung at a appropriate distance.

    I recently bought two more tools to see how they might work. I just got them this week so haven't tried them yet but will in the next couple days. If you are curious enough to see what they look like GOOGLE ON!

    1. Reticle-Tru by Parabola. It is a plastic (DELDRIN) device to be attached to the eyepiece end of the scope with pointers top and bottom and a narrow slit to look through. Very sturdy construction. Does not require any external aids like a plumb bob. Can be carried in the gun case to check for damage on shipping?

    The concept is to loosen the ring screws a bit, mount the device on the scope, position the bottom pointer in close alignment with the center line of the rifle action (tang screws if available) while simultaneously aligning the top pointer with the centerline of the barrel end. When adjusted, the slit is supposed to be aligned with the centerline of the rifle. Looking through the slit, the crosshairs should be visible. Rotate the scope to align the vertical crosshair with the slit. Repeat until the pointers are properly aligned and the vertical crosshair is aligned in the slit. Tighten screws and you should be cant free!

    2. Vertical Reticle Tool by EXD Engineering. Aluminum, machined to correct shape. Not fancy machining but seems OK. A V-block slider in a slot in a 6" (about) long aluminum block with a second v-block machined at the bottom and a securely mounted bubble level in at the upper end of the block.

    The basic concept is to attach the device to the objective end of the scope so that the sliding v-block is on the objective bell while the second v-block touches the rifle barrel. The rifle is clamped securely so that both v-blocks are in good contact with the objective bell and the barrel at the same time. When this is accomplished, the rifle position is adjusted so the bubble level is "level". The result should be that the scope and barrel are aligned so that the scope is aligned precisely over the bore center. After this is accomplished, the scope (suitably loosened in the rings) is rotated to align the vertical crosshair with a plumb bob string or other suitable vertical surface. Adjust and readjust until you are happy.

    The result should be crosshairs aligned with the center of the bore and in the plane of the ballistic arc that the pellet "should" take after leaving the barrel to reach the target. The inventor cautions that the alignment may not be perfect unless the bases, rings, and scope are aligned directly over the centerline of the bore. He has found rifles with the actions drilled crooked that can't be aligned perfectly.

    This second one appeals to my sense of galactic order so I am betting on it but we will see.

    I will be trying both on 2 air rifles and a host of powder arms over the next few weeks and will keep you posted on the results.

    Cheers and happy tinkering
    You know Dave , personally when I'm out hunting , whether it be Air or Nitro Burners or the Holy Black Powder Arms , the last thing I'm thinking about is scope Canting :-)
    I do what you do , and only do it that way , and my Freezers full , nuff said right :-)
    Here's my take on scope Canting ;
    Once your Crosshairs are as perfect as you can get it , who says your ever holding your Rifle without Canting it anyway ?
    I can guarantee you ARE canting your Rifle ! :-)
    Even with bubble levels on your equipment , who says those are not already Canting too to the actual Universe or your Actions Axis on the Rifle .
    Basically , Pish Posh , Soooooooooo ! :-)
    The other FACT of the Universe is most Air Gunner's are the most anal retentive group of Heathens I have ever met , and spend way too much time telling others how they should do things instead of just sharing how THEY do it , like you so eloquently did in your post :-)
    Cheers , fill the freezer , quit thinking , its a winning Combo , and its what I do :-)
    Good Day , Kelly
    KB CUSTOM-Gunsmith

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Cuyahoga Falls, OH
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    Default Re: Rifle canting, crosshairs not well aligned,

    Kelly, I like to tinker and share for fun. I don't hunt because I have been broken too many times to go into the woods and am not that fond of tree rats or other critters anyway. I cant my rifle because I have short arms and a thick chest. I am well aware that "perfection" isn't there. If I know the rifle is right and hold the crosshairs correctly, the canting and its minor impact on accuracy corrected for, I must take the blame for my bad shooting.

    The purpose of my tinkering is to answer questions of interest to me and to share that knowledge with other anal-retentive (it is hyphenated by the way!) shooters who quest towards the "one-hole" nirvana. (By the way, the all-time smallest group ever shot at 100 yds measured to be 0.000" C-T-C was with a 222 Remington.)

    My thought here was to address some earlier questions on this and a couple other sites about long-range pellet and powder shooting wherein the question of canting and cross hair alignment with the bore came up. I didn't mention levels on the rifle, you did. FYI, a friend who is a member of the 1500 Club (verified kill on a prairie dog at 1519yds) does use a level but I don't. He is building a rifle to attempt a 2000yd kill next spring. I wish him luck!

    No one makes you read or comment on my posts. So it is your choice. If you don't like them don't read them. I, for one, read a lot of yours and always learn something. I appreciate your knowledge that you share.

    Cheers
    Dave Thomas

    Shoot safe. shoot straight, have fun
    Teach a kid to shoot

    RWS54, 4.5mm, RWS 4-12x50CI
    FWB300SU, 4.5mm, Clearidge Ultra RM 3-9x32

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    West Coast , Vancouver
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    Default Re: Rifle canting, crosshairs not well aligned,

    Quote Originally Posted by dtdtdtdt View Post
    Kelly, I like to tinker and share for fun. I don't hunt because I have been broken too many times to go into the woods and am not that fond of tree rats or other critters anyway. I cant my rifle because I have short arms and a thick chest. I am well aware that "perfection" isn't there. If I know the rifle is right and hold the crosshairs correctly, the canting and its minor impact on accuracy corrected for, I must take the blame for my bad shooting.

    The purpose of my tinkering is to answer questions of interest to me and to share that knowledge with other anal-retentive (it is hyphenated by the way!) shooters who quest towards the "one-hole" nirvana. (By the way, the all-time smallest group ever shot at 100 yds measured to be 0.000" C-T-C was with a 222 Remington.)

    My thought here was to address some earlier questions on this and a couple other sites about long-range pellet and powder shooting wherein the question of canting and cross hair alignment with the bore came up. I didn't mention levels on the rifle, you did. FYI, a friend who is a member of the 1500 Club (verified kill on a prairie dog at 1519yds) does use a level but I don't. He is building a rifle to attempt a 2000yd kill next spring. I wish him luck!

    No one makes you read or comment on my posts. So it is your choice. If you don't like them don't read them. I, for one, read a lot of yours and always learn something. I appreciate your knowledge that you share.

    Cheers
    Dam , Dave , you took me all wrong :-)
    I liked your post and the info . Just throwing in my two cents that people get real hung up on this stuff .
    Dam , Dave :-) LoL
    Yo , Smiley Emoticons mean I am kidding and speaking in jest for good fun Dave , see :-)
    I will use Frowny Emoticons if I'm pissed off . And actually I won't even post angrily if I can help it :-)
    Last edited by Kelly; 07-24-2016 at 12:35 PM.
    Good Day , Kelly
    KB CUSTOM-Gunsmith

  5. #5
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    Nov 2012
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    Default Re: Rifle canting, crosshairs not well aligned,

    Kelly, forgive me! I am is a crappy mood right now and shouldn't have responded. Weather is causing a lot of creaks and moans from old injuries.

    My whole point in this was to do some tests because I have the time and resources to do them and to stimulate some conversation on this site that I like a lot but has been very quiet of late.

    I used to hunt a lot and like being in the woods but can't do it now because of old injuries.

    I didn't catch your old-style emoticons. This site allows one to use factory made ones. Look at the bar above.

    Cheers,

    Dave
    Dave Thomas

    Shoot safe. shoot straight, have fun
    Teach a kid to shoot

    RWS54, 4.5mm, RWS 4-12x50CI
    FWB300SU, 4.5mm, Clearidge Ultra RM 3-9x32

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    West Coast , Vancouver
    Posts
    285

    Default Re: Rifle canting, crosshairs not well aligned,

    Quote Originally Posted by dtdtdtdt View Post
    Kelly, forgive me! I am is a crappy mood right now and shouldn't have responded. Weather is causing a lot of creaks and moans from old injuries.

    My whole point in this was to do some tests because I have the time and resources to do them and to stimulate some conversation on this site that I like a lot but has been very quiet of late.

    I used to hunt a lot and like being in the woods but can't do it now because of old injuries.

    I didn't catch your old-style emoticons. This site allows one to use factory made ones. Look at the bar above.

    Cheers,

    Dave
    Dave , I'm too lazy to use them new fangled Disgner emoticons Way too Much work :-)
    Heck Dave , I suffer an L5S1 , I know pain too .
    Oh , and Dave , your one of the lucky ones around here , I actually like you , and your posts :-)
    I must type really sarcastic or something ? LoL , or maybe I'm just kinda an A-Hole ? Dave , note I hyphenated that for you :-)
    You must have also not noticed I complimented the way you wrote your post about Scope Can't so eloquently ?
    Its all good here bud :-)
    Cheers !
    Good Day , Kelly
    KB CUSTOM-Gunsmith

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    1,512

    Default Re: Rifle canting, crosshairs not well aligned,

    dtdtdtd and all,
    The canting thing has caused us (SS) some consternation over the years because some customers are very concerned about it and when we mount a new rifle for them, we have to try to eliminate the cant. Unfortunately a few things come into play here.
    If one places the gun in a vise and uses a bubble level to get it perfectly level that's a good start. But then, when the mount is put on the gun and the bubble level is placed on the mount (top rings off), the rings aren't usually level with the gun. To make things worse, when the scope is then laid in the mount and the bubble level placed on the scope and leveled, it isn't in sync with the rifle. Often there are 3 different "levels".....rifle, mount and scope. And then, just to complicate things, one has to realize that simply putting the gun into one's shoulder to shoot automatically tips the gun to the right (RH shooter). So a shooter has to be careful to put the gun into his shoulder, then straighten it up if he is concerned about "level".
    My thought is that if cant is a concern, make sure to make the scope level with the rifle's "level". After all, it's important to have a level rifle. But one still has to remember to straighten up the rifle when put into one's shoulder. But the bottom line is to do whatever makes sense to you as a shooter.
    Kevin
    straightshooters.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Cuyahoga Falls, OH
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    Default Re: Rifle canting, crosshairs not well aligned,

    Kevin:

    I have struggled with this kind of stuff too. I know that I can level a rifle, bring it to my shoulder and see cant. My thought here is to test these methods to see if they do better than my usual which is:

    1. Padded vice.
    2. Bubble level on flat surface of rifle (assuming there is one)
    3. Adjust crosshairs to a plumb bob line.
    4. Tighten screws
    5. Check again - and again - and again.
    6. Finally put rifle to shoulder to see if it lines up with the plumb bob line.
    7. Consciously hold rifle with crosshairs vertical to eliminate my "cant."

    My game here is to try all three methods in succession to see if I get the same results.

    The physics are such that at most ranges for most shooting the error would be very small to negligible. Air rifles, under 100yds, the maximum error would probably be undetectable except for the very best FT shooters - an probably not then. Extreme range rifle shooters (1000 yd and beyond) need to worry about it.

    I'm just stretching things to a ridiculous extreme for entertainment. I never fail to learn something though.
    Dave Thomas

    Shoot safe. shoot straight, have fun
    Teach a kid to shoot

    RWS54, 4.5mm, RWS 4-12x50CI
    FWB300SU, 4.5mm, Clearidge Ultra RM 3-9x32

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Cuyahoga Falls, OH
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    Default Re: Rifle canting, crosshairs not well aligned,

    Well, I tried the three methods noted in above posts on my RWS54 this afternoon. Less than ideal conditions as my workshop is a bit small.. I'll try again on a larger space soon.

    I had put a new scope on the 54 a couple weeks ago and zeroed it. Used the traditional leveling and reticle adjustment described in my last post. I put up a string with a heavy nut as a plumb bob and a piece of graph paper with cross hairs drawn on it and tick marks to allow measurement of any deviation. Leveled the graph paper with a carpenter's level and checked with the plumb bob line.

    Results:

    Traditional method gave a very good result. No cant in the crosshairs.

    Second method: Reticle Tru attached to eyepiece bell. Lined up with the center line of the action end of the 54. Second pointer aligned with centerline of OBJECTIVE BELL as I COULDN'T see the muzzle without raising my head a lot. Not bad but not really good! Looking through the scope at the crosshairs and plumb bob line showed that the crosshairs were pretty good but it was hard to see if the alignment was right. Not too happy with it thus far. I need to work on the arrangement and the larger space.

    Third Method: Vertical Alignment Tool. Found from the instructions that it had a second use that is attractive. Use the tool to assure that the stock is aligned by putting the tool on the butt stock aligned carefully to the butt stock centerline and level the rifle. Worked nicely! I have a Tipton Rifle Vice that works well for this! Use the tool as intended to check the alignment of the bore centerline to the objective bell centerline and level the rifle using the bubble level that is part of the tool. Worked well and matched the buttstock alignment quite closely. Observed the plumb bob line through the scope with the tool in place. The crosshairs were well aligned without further work.

    This shows that the traditional method carefully applied works very well as do these tools. Of the two, my first impression is that the Vertical Alignment Tool works better certainly easier to see.

    More experiments to come with this and other rifles before I make any conclusions.
    Dave Thomas

    Shoot safe. shoot straight, have fun
    Teach a kid to shoot

    RWS54, 4.5mm, RWS 4-12x50CI
    FWB300SU, 4.5mm, Clearidge Ultra RM 3-9x32

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Middle Tennessee
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Rifle canting, crosshairs not well aligned,

    Dave,

    Years ago, I shot hi-power in the military using only the iron sights that came on them. Did fairly well and when I came home, I shot the only thing I had which was a low power .22 cal. rifle. When I got into air rifles about 8 years ago, I had never had any experience with scopes. I was not familiar with the term canting at all. I went through the same way of setting up my scopes with plumb bob and leveling the crosshairs and though I did fairly well, I did notice a continuing problem with my shots landing high and right and many times outside the KZ. Like to drove me crazy. A friend here in middle Tennessee told me for about a year that my problem was canting. I finally borrowed a scope level from him and mounted it on the big Nikko. I shoot FT primarily and paper targets when zeroing the scopes. I put the rifle in a vice and used a plumb bob and string at 30 yards. I then used another level on the rifle and then proceeded to try it out. Low and behold, the shots started falling in where I was aiming for a change. After taking it out of the vice, I tried it from a sitting position and as long as I had the level dead on or as close as I could hold it to level, the shot hit the POA dead on. Even then the horizontal cross hair does not necesarily line up. I have found that if I try to level the horizontal hair up without having the level dead on, I will pull my shots high and wide to the right resulting in a miss. I did finally install a level on the scope rail because it was easier to see with my left eye when sighting a target. I now always shoot with both eyes open and that is a big help.

    Don't know if this will help or not, but sure hope so.,

    Pat

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