NECESSARY KIT FOR LONG RANGE
A properly set up bubble level on your long range rifle will be easy to use.
Adding a bubble level is a necessary upgrade to be much more accurate at long range and only costs about $50. I’ve spent a lot of ammo trying to hit targets at distance but missing left or right. I thought it was the wind, but, it may have been because I was canting my rifle. A level is used to fix this problem. A properly set up level is part of an aiming system with your reticle. It will reduce the overall likelihood of sending long distance shots off target.
I never fully understood the relationship between the level, canting your rifle, your reticle and dialing until receiving some formal long-range training. My usual shooting practice involved gathering data, putting it into a ballistic calculator, then dialing for the shot, aligning the reticle with the target and then making the shot. I never made sure my reticle wasn’t canted which caused my shots to miss left or right. I would usually just associate this with the wind and end up adjusting my windage. Then I was taught how to properly set up a scope and use the bubble level to remove this error.
Setting up your long range scope
To be set up properly, the rifle scope rings should be mounted on a level rifle. Place the your modern long-range scope with tactical turrets and an MRAD based christmas tree reticle in the rings. The reticle is then plumbed to be true to the earth. A bubble level is then mounted on your scope and levelled to the reticle which remains plumb. Add a bipod with the ability to cant and you have a properly set up aiming system on your rifle.
The reticle must be plumb to a plumb line, or something known to be plumb.
When shooting part of the sequence of aiming and breathing before you pull the trigger needs to include making sure the rifle is level. With a bubble level, I can easily tell if I am canting the rifle left or right. Without the level, I was guessing that I level. I would usually assume my target is plumb and try to make sure my reticle was just aligned with it up and down. This doesn’t really work that great past 300m. Modern ballistic calculators provide shooting data for long range elevation and wind holds for long range shots. Without a level though, you could be mistakenly adding windage adjustments into your elevation as your shot travels to the target out of a canted rifle.
LONG RANGE SHOOTING ERRORS
At shorter distances, and with bigger targets, a shot made with a cant to the rifle is not very noticable. It may only travel a bit off to the side at a small angle. But, when you start stretching out to longer engagements, a small angular change quickly compounds. At 100m, 1 MRAD to the left is only about 10cm (3.9in), but at 700m it’s a full 70cm (2.3ft).. When you start stacking other factors like wind and spin dirft, the area your shots can be pulled quite far off into areas that it might be hard to spot the impacts. You could be spending ammo trying to adjust for wind calls that aren’t as severe as you think.
Vortex scope with Bubble level mounted on a Remington 700 in an Oryx Sportsman Chassis
Using a bubble level that has been properly set up is a necessary tool in the shot process. Part of the sequence of events prior to taking your shot involves checking necessary data like wind speed, humudity, temp and range. You also need to check your rifle cant with a bubble level before shooting to ensure you aren’t sending your shot to the side when you don’t want to. Much like not being able to read the temperature without a thermometer, you can’t accurately check your rifle cant without a level. A cheap bubble level is enough for the casual shooter and costs less than $50. It may be the best bang for the buck upgrade you can get.