July 24th, 2017

TECH TIP: Use a Block to Maintain Front Bag Shape

John Loh Front Rest JJ Industries

front rest bag blockHere’s a simple solution for lumpy front sandbags. Cut a small block the width of your fore-end and place that in the front bag between matches. You can tap it down firmly with a rubber mallet. This will keep the front bag nice and square, without bunching up in the center. That will help your rifle track straight and true. Rick Beginski uses wood (see photo), while our friend John Southwick uses a small block of metal. The metal block might work a little better, but the wood version is easier to make with simple tools. John Loh of JJ Industries offers a slick Delrin block with a built-in bubble level. Loh’s block helps ensure that the actual top surface of your front bag is level, as distinct from the front rest assembly.

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
March 16th, 2017

On the Level — Why You Need an Anti-Cant Device

anti-cant Device bubble level
This Holland Signature Series Level is reviewed in a SharpShootingUK Video.

Every serious shooter should have some kind of anti-cant device fitted to his or her rifle. When you tilt your rifle to one side or the other from shot to shot, even a little bit, this can alter your point of impact. Unless the direction and angle of tilt (or cant) is exactly the same for each shot, canting your rifle will open up your groups. And the effects of inconsistent cant* become more extreme the farther you shoot. READ MORE about rifle canting.

anti-cant Device bubble level
Jackson Hole Shooting Experience Instructional Video features scope-mounted Wheeler level.

In this video, Bryce Bergen of Long Range Shooters of Utah explains the key reasons you should fit a bubble level (anti-cant device, ACI) to your rifle. Bergen explains why inconsistent canting alters impact at long range. Bergen also offers tips on mounting your anti-cant device and working with bipods.

You don’t need to spend a lot of money on your bubble level. While there are fancy levels that cost more than $130.00, you can get a functional level for a tenth that cost. This Discovery scope level is CNC-machined to close tolerances for a good fit. It is available with three diameters to fit scopes with 1″, 30mm, or 34mm main tubes. The 1″ version is just $12.99 while the 30mm model is $13.95 and the large 34mm version is $15.95. This unit will do the job, and user reviews are very positive.

Optical Rifle Scope bubble level Discovery 30mm 1 inch 34mm Amazon

Scope-Mount Vs. Rail-Mounted Levels
Some “experts” recommend a scope-mounted bubble level rather than a rail-mounted level. The reason is that you can easily orient the position of a scope-mounted level. With the scope’s vertical cross-hair aligned with a plumb line, simply rotate the bubble level mount until the bubble is centered. It’s not so easy to adjust a rail-mounted level. If your rail is slightly off, or if the rail-mounted anti-cant device doesn’t sit perfectly horizontal when clamped on the rail, the bubble may not center in the view port.

anti-cant Device bubble level

Combo Anti-Cant + Angle Degree Indicator System
Flatline Ops sells a smart, scope-mounted leveling device with an optional vertical Strong Arm™ accessory for mounting an Angle-Degree-Indicator (ADI), which allows the shooter to make quick “true range” corrections for up-angle and down-angle shots.

anti-cant Device Flatline Ops

As a combined unit, the Accu/Level™ (fitted with Strong Arm and ADI) is a great set-up for the tactical shooter or long-range hunter. The bubble level rotates inward for protection, then kicks out to the left for easy visibility. The ADI is held in plain view on the left, under the bubble level. On LongRangeHunting.com, Jim See explains how the Accu/Level works in the field and how he employed the ACI during a hunt. CLICK HERE for Accu/Level™ Field Test.

We like the combined Level + ADI system that Flatline Ops has developed. But it is very expensive: The 30mm Accu/Level™ costs $139.99 and the Strong Arm (for ADI mounting) is $58.99. So you’ve got two hundred bucks invested before adding the $110.00 ADI. That’s a significant chunk of change that could be invested in your scope instead.

* By itself, canting the rifle does not hurt accuracy as long as the angle is exactly the same for every shot. Many sling/irons shooters, including David Tubb, cant their rifles. With scoped rifles, if you do prefer a cant, you should mount the scope so that the cross-hairs are plumb with your rifle at your preferred cant angle. You want that vertical cross-hair straight up and down always. The key is to never change the cant of your rifle from shot to shot.

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Optics 5 Comments »
November 26th, 2016

On the Level — Use Your iPhone’s Leveling App at the Range

iphone level app application bubble

iphone level app application bubbleMany shooters are familiar with ballistics tables, weather programs, and even wind meters for smart devices, but few may know about a very handy Leveling Tool that comes factory-installed on Apple iPhones. The leveling function is a little-known option in Apple’s Compass App. It works well for a multitude of tasks.

There are a numerous reasons that a leveling tool should be in every rifleman’s range bag. From leveling optics during mounting to figuring out how much extra compensation is going to be required for a tricky angled shot, knowing just how far off things are from plumb can go a long way towards realizing success in the field.

This writer has used the leveling app on his iPhone to level a rifle on a rest while at the range. It definitely worked for “field expedient” leveling duties. That’s especially important for long-range applications. Just one degree of cant (tilt) can move your point of impact 7 inches at 1000 yards.

Of course, the iPhone level doesn’t use an actual bubble to find angles. Rather, it relies on the device’s sophisticated accelerometer to do so, and with a great degree of accuracy. Navigating to the level is done by first selecting the Compass App, at which point the device will need to be calibrated by rotating it a full 360 degrees. Once the compass is fully calibrated, simply make right swipe gesture to bring up the level — it will start operating immediately.

iphone level app application bubble

From there, use is intuitive and easy, like most iPhone Apps. Switching from horizontal plane to vertical is done by simply changing the physical axis of the phone. How do you know when you’ve got things just right — well the entire lower half of the screen turns green when everything is perfectly level. You’ll also see a zero° read-out, like this:

iphone level app application bubble

Bottom Line: If you already own an iPhone, you should definitely give this App a try. The price is right (free), and for a wide variety of tasks the iPhone Level App is actually pretty handy.

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
February 14th, 2015

Tech Tip: Use Your iPhone as a Leveling Device

iphone level app application bubbleMany shooters are familiar with ballistics tables, weather programs, and even wind meters for smart devices, but few may know about a very handy Leveling Tool that comes factory-installed on Apple iPhones. The leveling function is a little-known option in Apple’s Compass App. It works well for a multitude of tasks.

There are a numerous reasons that a leveling tool should be in every rifleman’s range bag. From leveling optics during mounting to figuring out how much extra compensation is going to be required for a tricky angled shot, knowing just how far off things are from plumb can go a long way towards realizing success in the field.

This writer has used the leveling app on his iPhone to level a rifle on a rest while at the range. It definitely worked for “field expedient” leveling duties. That’s especially important for long-range applications. Just one degree of cant (tilt) can move your point of impact 7 inches at 1000 yards.

iphone level app application bubble

Of course, the iPhone level doesn’t use an actual bubble to find angles. Rather, it relies on the device’s sophisticated accelerometer to do so, and with a great degree of accuracy. Navigating to the level is done by first selecting the Compass App, at which point the device will need to be calibrated by rotating it a full 360 degrees. Once the compass is fully calibrated, simply make right swipe gesture to bring up the level — it will start operating immediately.

iphone level app application bubble

From there, use is intuitive and easy, like most iPhone Apps. Switching from horizontal plane to vertical is done by simply changing the physical axis of the phone. How do you know when you’ve got things just right — well the entire lower half of the screen turns green when everything is perfectly level. You’ll also see a zero° read-out, like this:

iphone level app application bubble

Bottom Line: If you already own an iPhone, you should definitely give this App a try. The price is right (free), and for a wide variety of tasks the iPhone Level App is actually pretty handy.

Permalink Tech Tip 1 Comment »
January 11th, 2011

New Scope-Mounted Level and ADI Mount from Flatline Ops

Every serious shooter should have some kind of anti-cant device fitted to his or her rifle. When you tilt your rifle to one side or the other, even a little bit, this will alter your point of impact. Unless the direction and angle of tilt (or cant) is exactly the same for each shot, canting your rifle will open up your groups. READ MORE about rifle canting.

anti-cant Device Flatline Ops

New Anti-Cant System from Flatline Ops
Flatline Ops has developed a smart, scope-mounted leveling device with a fold-out bubble level. Flatline’s Accu/Level™, crafted from black-anodized 6061-T6 aluminum, clamps around the scope tube. Models are available for all common tube sizes: 1″, 30mm, and 34mm. There is also a Leupold MKIV version which clamps to the scope rail so it functions as a scope ring as well as a leveling device. All Accu/Level™ models can be fitted with an optional vertical Strong Arm™ accessory. The 6061-T6 aluminum Strong Arm has a dovetail for mounting an Angle-Degree-Indicator (ADI), which allows the shooter to make quick “true range” corrections for up-angle and down-angle shots. An Angle-Cosine-Indicator (ACI) also fits the dovetail.

YouTube Preview Image

As a combined unit, the Accu/Level™ (fitted with Strong Arm and ADI) is a great set-up for the tactical shooter or long-range hunter. The bubble level kicks out to the left for easy visibility (see Video above). The ADI is held in plain view on the left, under the bubble level. Of course the whole system can be reversed for left-handed shooters. On LongRangeHunting.com, Jim See explains how the Accu/Level works in the field and how he employed the ACI during a hunt. CLICK HERE for Accu/Level™ Field Test.

Good System — But Not Inexpensive
We like the combined Level + ADI system that Flatline Ops has developed. It is sturdy and well-designed. Our only concern is cost. The 30mm Accu/Level™ costs $139.99 and the Strong Arm (for ADI mounting) is $58.99. So you’ve got two hundred bucks invested before adding the $110.00 ADI. The whole set-up runs about $310.00. That’s a significant chunk of change that could be invested in your scope instead.

More Affordable Anti-Cant Alternatives
If you don’t need to make angled shots, you can get a simple rail-mounted B-Square bubble level from Brownell’s for $14.95. Mounting Solutions Plus offers a $29.95 tube-mounted anti-cant device with bubble level on top. If you prefer the bubble level on the side (for easier viewing) U.S. Optics makes a sturdy, rail-mount bubble level for $76.00. A hinged version, with inward-folding level, is $95.00.

anti-cant Device U.S. Optics

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