January 16th, 2012

Effects of Rifle Cant at Long Range — Tubb Explains

Eleven-Time NRA National High Power Champion David Tubb knows a bit about long-range shooting. One of the key factors in long-range accuracy is making sure that the tilt/cant of your rifle does not change throughout your shot string. In the clip below, the first in McMillan’s Master Class Video series, David Tubb explains the importance of keeping your rifle level. He explains that, at 1000 yards, your Point of Impact can change dramatically by canting the rifle either right or left. David states that, when shooting at 1000 yards, if your rifle is level and your shot is centered-up on a 72″ (six-foot) square target, you can actually put your next shot OFF PAPER by canting your rifle. That means you can move Point of Impact (POI) three feet or more, just by canting your rifle! Bryan Litz confirms Tubb’s observation. Bryan tells us that, as a general rule of thumb (for common cartridges), a 1° cant will produce five (5) inches of lateral displacement at 1000 yards. Thus, if you cant your rifle just 8°, the POI would move 40″ from the center of the target, putting the shot off the edge of a 72″-wide target.

David explains that, after one of his students has made two or three 1000-yard, X-Ring hits with a LEVEL rifle, “then I’ll have him take his rifle, and cant it to the right. I’ll have him shoot a shot. He will MISS the six-foot-square frame off to the right. Then I’ll have him cant his gun to the left and shoot another shot. He will miss the six-foot-square frame to the left.”

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Rifle Hold and Canting — Consistency Counts
bubble level mountRemember that you must maintain the exact same amount of rifle cant from shot to shot. Yes, some iron sights shooters do tilt their rifle slightly to achieve a better hold or to index their sights better. However, these shooters do not change the tilt from shot to shot — the amount of cant remains the same on every shot.

When shooting prone with a scoped rifle it’s probably best to keep the rifle dead level, with the scope’s vertical crosshair straight up and down. Use a rifle-mounted bubble level to maintain a level hold, and avoid canting the gun either to the left or to the right. Affordable bubble levels that mount to your scope or scope rail can be purchased from Brownells and other vendors, starting at about $15.00.