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What Is a Rifle Scope Bubble Level? – Best Level for Scope Alignment

What is a rifle scope bubble level

If you’ve been using a rifle scope without a bubble level attached, you’ve truly been missing out. Bubble levels, attached to your rifle scope, offer precision and accuracy that cannot be matched by levels found on regular rifles. The bubble moves at a very slow pace and it is crucial to check the level before pulling the trigger.

What is an Anti-Cant Bubble Level for a Rifle Scope? It’s a device that you attach to your rifle scope to ensure that the scope and your rifle are leveled. Otherwise, you can experience what is known as a cant error.

Best Anti-cant Bubble Levels for rifle scopes - What you need to know to level your scope and what anti-cant devices work best!

What is the Main Purpose of the Level?

The position of the scope on your rifle is adjustable so that your projected impact point is at par with the targeted point. Moving your weapon around will still keep your target within the crosshairs of your lens, but your scope will no longer be aligned with the barrel of your rifle. This leads to a phenomenon known as cant error.

The Cant Error

What is Cant Misalignment?

Let’s start off with some basics. When we’re target shooting, the projected movement of the bullet takes into consideration the vertical pull of gravity.

Practically speaking, if two bullets of different weights are fired through the same distance, they will hit the ground at the same time. The difference is that the heavier bullet will travel a greater distance. The lighter pellet will need greater elevation during the firing process to balance out the difference.

This is a concept known as elevation compensation. Rifles come with a sighting device to calculate the amount of elevation compensation required. The elevation compensation required is typically more of a factor for long-range shooting.

In order to have a smooth trajectory of your aim, the scope and the rifle must be parallel to each other. This means that if you move your rifle for a better angle, you must also adjust your scope accordingly.

You can adjust this angle with the help of your rifle’s scope optics. When the rifle and scope are no longer parallel and are at an angle to each other, cant error occurs. This results in a cross over between your projected trajectory and your actual line of sight.

Vortex Anti-Cant Bubble Level

Canting Your Rifle

Cant is basically a fancier term for tilting a weapon during the shooting. There are some basic steps you can follow to prevent this from affecting the accuracy of your aim.

Step 1 – Ensure the position of the Reticle Crosshairs

Ensure that the crosshairs on the lens of your scope are at a 90-degree angle to the bore (the barrel of your rifle). It is essential to do this at the beginning since getting the right position of the crosshairs is generally a trial and error process of shouldering the weapon, looking through the lens, and adjusting till you’re satisfied.

Preventing Cant Error: During this adjustment phase, it is likely that you will end up overlapping the crosshairs with the bore of your rifle. There’s a simple fix for this. Keep your gun clamped with the help of a level fixture before aligning the crosshairs according to your target.

Step 2 – Level the Scope out in the Field

Step 2: When you’re out on the field, you are likely to use a tree branch or a stone or something of the sort for support. While these surfaces may be sturdy, they are generally not leveled. This can also cause a cant error. Look for a perfectly leveled plane of reference (it may be horizontal or vertical) and level your gun accordingly.

If you use a bipod then you might have a better chance of being level from the get-go. However, if you position the bipod on a rocky surface you sill will end up not being level and needing to adjust as outlined in Step 2.

Using an Anti-Cant Device for Leveling

Level your scope and rifle to make sure you don't experience cant. An anti-cant bubble level can help with the alignment.
Rifle Scope Reviews

If you’re serious about the sport, having an anti-cant device fitted on your rifle is essential. The first and most important piece of equipment required is a good quality anti-cant bubble level for your rifle scope tube.

The quality of your rifle will also affect how well your bubble level works to get rid of the cant error. The markings on the bubble level indicate the degree by which your angle is off from the desired perpendicular angle.

Different Types of Anti-Cant Devices

Anti-cant devices are of different types with some that attach to your scope tube and others that attach straight onto the rail of your rifle. Just bear in mind that leveling is essential for a serious shooter, especially for long-range shooting. To successfully level your scope you need to use an anti-cant device and you will see significant improvements at long-range shots.

If you haven’t leveled your reticle, it’ll always be a mystery whether your missed targets on long-range shots are due to alignment problems with your reticle or a freak wind, or a sudden change in weather conditions. Your long-range shooting will improve tremendously when using anti-cant devices.

Anti-Cant Bubble Level for rifle scopes - Use it for long-range shooting to optimize your target acquisition by using anti-cant devices. The photo shows a bubble level that's attached to the scope tube.

Level a Scope

Make sure you do some research before you buy your anti-cant bubble level. Keep in mind the type of rifle you have and the type of hunting you frequently engage in (short or long-range). If you’re unsure, consult a professional.

Once you got your anti-cant bubble level, it’s time to actually mount it on your scope. Start off by tying a bobble to the end of a piece of string and let it hang vertically downward.

Keep it at a slight distance from the scope to avoid blurring the string out due to magnification. An ideal range is to keep the string at a distance of around 50-100 meters.   

Adjusting the base of the riflescope rings using an anti-cant bubble level.

Use a surface to rest your weapon on and level your scope’s vertical crosshair to match that of the string (Pro tip: use colored string to make it easy to differentiate between the crosshair and the leveling string).

Once the two are aligned, adjust your anti-cant devices to read level and make your scope level. This is what will calibrate your leveling device to your scope’s reticle.  

Standard anti-cant bubble-levels have lines on either side to depict when your weapon is level. Adjust your anti-cant device so that the edge of the bubble meets with one of these lines so that you know exactly when your device is level.

Leveling your Reticle

You can adjust the level of your scope during your hunt by adjusting the eye relief. If you are interested in canting your reticle, ensure that it is aligned with your anti-cant devices.

Don’t cant your rifle too much as this can cause disturbances between the alignment of the axis of your scope and the bore of your rifle. Just make sure you level your reticle before taking aim with the help of your anti-cant devices.

Hunting Rifle Scope that is leveled using anti-cant devices

Why Canting is Important

If you’re blaming every missed shot on a sudden and unexplained wind, the problem is with you and not strange weather. Every trained shooter knows that they must keep a certain wind speed and direction in mind before shooting.

If your cant is off then your wind adjustments and holdovers will be inaccurate. Adjusting the cant of your rifle with the help of an anti-cant device and keeping a fixed wind call will allow you to meet your mark.

Leveling your Scope

One way of leveling your rifle and scope setup is by adjusting the tripod or bipod stand of your weapon. This will work perfectly well for target shooting when you have time. When you’re out on the hunt, you may not have the time to make such adjustments.

Even though it takes a bit of experience, it’s best to be able to understand the cant of your rifle and adjusting your hold on your weapon accordingly. It takes a skilled eye to identify a cant, which is of 5 degrees or less. This is particularly true for uneven and hilly terrains.

Best Scope Bubble Level

A quick search on the internet will be sufficient to show you that there are countless different types of levels available on the market. The accuracy of each bubble level definitely varies.

Check out the ones with the best reviews and you will end up with the Vortex Anti-Cant Bubble Level. You can also talk to your rifle manufacturer and find the anti-cant level that works best with the kind of rifle and scope you’re working with.

Vortex Optics Bubble Level

We’ve seen some great results using the Vortex Bubble-Level. You can get more details by clicking on the image below to see what others are saying about the Vortex Bubble Level as their preferred and recommended anti-cant scope level.

Some great anti-cant devices will allow you to transpose the image of your scope level and reticle together. This will help you avoid wasting time repeatedly lifting your head above your scope to adjust your level.

Prevent Cant Errors without a Scope Level

If purchasing an anti-cant level is out of your budget, you can prevent cant errors from ruining the accuracy of your aim by looking above your scope and adjusting your rifle’s top turret so that it’s in line with the horizon.

Remember, if you want to have enjoyable shooting experience, you want to be able to aim properly. Take your time in picking the perfect anti-cant scope level so that your aim is on point every time.

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Best Anti-cant Bubble Levels for rifle scopes - What you need to know to level your scope and what anti-cant devices work best!
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Rifle Scopes Center Staff