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The Influence of Horizontal Cant on Shooting Error

The Influence of Horizontal Cant on Shooting Error


Precision shooting depends on many factors, the sum of which creates specific uncertainty (error) in shooting and affects the shooter's ability to reach the target.

Scope mounting level LV-05

One of these factors is the horizontal cant of the rifle. Shooting error connected with horizontal cant occurs because the barrel bore axis and the scope axis are not in the same vertical plane.

The optical scope allows the shooter to see the target along the straight line. This line is unaffected by wind, gravity, bullet velocity, or any other factors that typically affect the bullet in flight.

Under the influence of gravity, the bullet moves towards its target along a curved trajectory, constantly decreasing its altitude. Adjusting the vertical adjustment turret of the optical sight allows raising the bore axis. After such adjustment, the rifle barrel will no longer be parallel to the line of sight.

Now, the influence of horizontal cant on shooting error begins to significantly increase. Once the barrel position is no longer parallel to the aiming line, the horizontal cant of the rifle will result in shooting error. In practice, the bullet will drop to the left or right of the target (depending on which way the rifle is canted) and below the desired point of impact.

Picatinny rail level LV-01

The magnitude of the influence of horizontal cant on shooting error is directly proportional to the distance to the target. As firearm manufacturing technologies continually improve, allowing for precise shooting at greater distances, the influence of horizontal cant on shooting error will increase.

To eliminate this negative influence, it is necessary to ensure that the scope reticle corresponds to the horizontal level. Bubble levels for scope are tools for determining horizontal cant. Using the horizon as a horizontal reference, except in cases where the horizon is a large body of water, will also result in horizontal cant.

Scope Level or a Level on the Picatinny rail are the most effective tools of minimizing shooting error. The presence of a level for controlling the rifle's cant during shooting ensures that the rifle is held in a horizontal position.