Oak Ridge develops self-adjusting rifle scope

Oak Ridge National Laboratory has developed a riflescope with a reticle that adjusts automatically to always keep it aligned with the bore.

From the press release

The Reticle Compensating Rifle Barrel Reference Sensor takes the guesswork out of shooting by shifting the burden of knowing the relative position between the barrel and the weapon sight axes from the shooter to an electronic sensor. The system precisely measures the deflection of the barrel relative to the sight and then electronically realigns the moving reticle, or crosshairs, with the true position of the barrel, or bore axis.

With the ORNL technology, glass optical fibers are placed into the flutes. These flutes are either produced by the barrel manufacturer or subsequently retrofit. The sensor system contains a laser diode that sends a signal beam into the optical fibers parallel to the bore axis of the barrel.

“The optical fibers are designed to split the laser beam twice, sending one beam along the top of the rifle barrel and another light beam along the side of the barrel,” Rajic said. “Thus, we can measure both the vertical and horizontal barrel deflection.”

Through a combination of algorithms, optics and additional sensor inputs, the system can take into account distance and other factors affecting the bullet trajectory. Ultimately the shooter is left with crosshairs that automatically adjust for conditions in real time.

In the end, the resolution of ORNL’s Reticle Compensating Rifle Barrel Reference Sensor is 250 times better than that of traditional reticles, which can normally be manually adjusted by one-fourth minutes of angle whereas the ORNL sensor can sense angular displacement and shift the reticle by 1/1,000th of a minute of angle, Rajic said.

This is very cool. If they can also adjust for range, it would be, literally, a killer system.

[ Many thanks to Crystal & Antonio for emailing me the link. ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • drewogatory

    Do the fibers in the barrel have to be aligned to 1/1000th minute of angle for this to work? Because then you would have to align the receiver and barrel to that spec or machine it to that spec afterward. I might stick to bubble levels, straight lines on the wall and lots of swearing.

  • Lance

    Hmm too bad that much electronics will only foul in the gritty field. promising idea but far from standard issue.

  • Marc

    “If they can also adjust for range, it would be, literally, a killer system.”

    I don’t even see the purpose of this without the ability to automatically adjust for range. Compensating for barrel warp at 1/1000 MOA doesn’t mean anything when bullet drop is off 1 MOA, which can take just a few yards at longer ranges.

  • Matt G.

    Is barrel deflection that big of a problem with all the free float stuff nowadays?

    I agree with Marc, this money was wasted when it could have been used to develope a range/temp/humidity/wind adjusting scope.