October 17th, 2007

Editorial: Scope-Makers, Stop Selling Scopes with Canted Reticles

Over the past year, your editor has discussed optics quality control with dozens of very successful shooters. There was widespread agreement that too many scopes are leaving the factory with canted reticles, i.e. cross-hairs that are not plumb with the turrets. In fact, to my surprise, most of the top shooters I polled said, yes they have, at least once, purchased a $700+ scope from a major manufacturer that arrived with a canted reticle. The amount of cant ranged from an estimated one to three degrees. Three degrees happens to be one major domestic scope-maker’s production tolerance. We all agreed that this was unacceptable in a high-dollar scope. (Note: here we are talking about an INTERNAL scope assembly problem that results in reticles being off-axis relative to the turrets. Don’t confuse this with the canting which occurs if you don’t level your rifle. A canted reticle is a production defect requiring factory repair.)

Three degrees may not sound like much–after all it is less than 1% of a 360-degree circle. Nonetheless, as the diagrams show, three degrees of cant is VERY noticeable in a scope. In fact, most people will be bothered by a reticle that is just one degree off-axis. Canted reticles are not just annoying to look at, but off-axis reticles cause a number of problems with sighting and accuracy. For example, if you set up your rifle so the vertical cross-hair is straight up and down, your turrets will be slightly tilted. This means that when you click elevation you will change windage slightly, and vice-versa. If, on the other hand, you cant (or tilt) the whole rifle to make the turrets square, this throws off the bullet trajectory–causing bullet impact that is low and displaced horizontally*.

Now, all manufacturers can have a production flaw now and then. Yet we’ve never heard a complaint about canted reticles in Nightforce or Schmidt & Bender scopes. So, it IS possible for the better manufacturers to get it right. Our point here is that it is time for the major scope-makers to address this problem and improve their quality control. That will happen sooner if consumers pay greater attention to reticle alignment during the purchasing process. If you have a scope with a canted reticle, send it back to the maker and ask for the problem to be fixed. If enough shooters do that, we expect the scope-makers will take notice and improve their products.


*CLICK HERE to read a very thorough technical article that explains the effect of rifle canting on bullet trajectory. CLICK HERE to see targets shot with canted rifles showing bullet displacement. The diagram below shows how this occurs.


Illustration courtesy Long Shot Products, Ltd.

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October 17th, 2007

Bulletin Submissions and Donations to Website

Based on reports from Quantcast, the AccurateShooter Daily Bulletin reaches nearly 36,000 unique readers worldwide every month. Many of our readers have asked how they can help support the site. First, we are always looking for good videos and interesting news items to put in our Bulletin and BLOG. Send your info and video clips to mailbox [@] 6mmBR.com. Keep Video clips under 4 megabytes if possible. Video clips can be edited using the Windows “MovieMaker” software that’s probably already on your computer.

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