How to Level Your Scope on a Rifle

When you mount a scope on any rifle, it usually looks perfectly installed and with no extra tweaking required. But in fact, you will need to level it.

That’s what we want to show you here: how to level a scope on a rifle.

You usually start by installing the base, the rings, then mount the scope and tighten it up. It is as simple as these four steps. But the aim won’t be as accurate as you think it will be. That’s where the proper leveling comes into play.

This happens when even a slight rotation makes the reticle blurry or dislocated. You will have to center it and make it easy to use. Otherwise, you will never achieve a precise aim.

For that, you will have to follow a few steps first. If you want to learn how, read this article to find out!

Why Level a Scope on a Rifle?

We want to show you everything there is to know about leveling a scope on a rifle. And for that, we need to start for the real reasons to do it.

First, you should know that leveling the scope is not the same as leveling the aim before firing. When you’re leveling the scope (reticle), you’re making it ready to be aimed eventually. If you’re aiming to shoot, you’ll need the scope to be leveled beforehand.

Then, it is also essential to know that you’re not leveling the inside to the scope to your eye or any user’s. Instead, you’re leveling the scope to the rifle. That means leveling the reticle and optics to fit the rifle’s receiver and aim.

So, why level a scope on a rifle? Well, there are three main reasons to do so:

  • The windage and elevation tweaks will be more accurate this way. You won’t have diagonal, dislocated, or awkward adjustments.
  • The reticle will aim precisely where you need to. You won’t have any blurry or dislocated crosshair aiming farther, closer, or to any other place apart from where you want to aim.
  • It prevents any distraction that unleveled reticles produce. Trying to level up a crosshair in the middle of a hunting trip is not a fun or time-saving activity.

These are the three main reasons to do so. There are still many more, but they all come as side advantages of these three.

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Now, let’s go into important things.

How to Level the Scope on a Rifle

Once you have the scope mounted on the rifle, it will probably look as if there were nothing else to do. But, as we said before, there’s probably a lot more to go over.

Typically, it happens that the reticle is located wrongly, that the optics look rotated or blurry, or that the windage or elevation adjustments are not well put.

In any of those situations, you will have to level it up yourself.

Things You’ll Need

  • A rifle cradle or rest; it helps to hold the rifle steadily while you tweak the scope
  • Rings and mount; make sure you have the proper mount and rings for the scope
  • Hex wrenches, because most scopes use hex wrenches to tighten up; otherwise, get the right ones accordingly
  • Spirit level; we recommend getting two spirit levels so you can level up the rifle and the scope together, and if you can go for small levels, that would be even better

After preparing the gear and having the rifle and scope ready, then you can proceed with the next steps:

Secure the Rifle

Unload the rifle, get all the bullets out, and secure it on the cradle or rest. The rifle should sit upright, and it should be anchored well enough so you can work freely with your hands without having to keep the gun steady.

Once you do this, then you’re ready to keep on. Don’t pass this step – it will be essential for a proper leveling of the scope.

Secure the Rings

Now you can proceed to place the scope on the rings. Start with the lower ones by installing them on the rails or base. Tighten them up. Then place the scope and upper rings along with the lower rings. This should work as if you were piecing up a puzzle.

Don’t tighten them up completely, but just a little. They should fit a little loose so you can rotate them when needed. Once you do this, then proceed with the next step.

Level Rifle with Scope

Now, you can start using the levels. You will need both for that. Start with one on the rifle. Place it on the rail or barrel. Wherever there’s a flat area, that’s a nice spot for the level on the rifle to go.

As for the scope, you will need to place the level on the elevation knob. If it is not flat, then you may need to take the turret out.

After doing that, you can proceed to place both levels at the same level. We recommend rotating the scope until it fits the rifle leveling. When they are both matchings with the same readings on the levels, you are almost ready to finish.

Tighten the Scope

By now, you should have the scope and the rifle leveled together. Then, you can start tightening them. The scope is a little loose by now. So grab the hex wrenches and tighten it up – make sure not to move it at all while doing so. Be careful and gentle, and don’t grab the scope too harshly.

After tightening the rings well enough, you should have a wholly leveled scope. Then, you can proceed to test it and see if it looks level. If it is leveled, then you should have no problem aiming and adjusting as needed.

Bottom Line

Leveling the scope on your rifle won’t be an easy deed. In fact, this is probably the most annoying part of the whole scope installation process.

But it doesn’t have to be too hard either. As long as you follow our steps about how to level a scope on a rifle, then you should have no problem going further.

So, are you ready to start using your new scope with your favorite rifle? Then install and level it up now! You will enjoy the best shooting experience afterward!

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