This post was written by Dr. Jim and Mary Clary.
The primary topic of this article is to cover the Anti-Cant device; however, we have to insure that our scopes are “leveled” with our rifles before considering cant. There are several good systems on the market to level our scopes. We use the Wheeler Level-Level-Level because of the accuracy associated with bubble-levels that are used. The magnetic base level solidly mounts in the bolt track to level out the firearm. After placing the smaller level on the elevation turret we can properly align the scope. In case your scope has a rounded cap on the elevation turret, simply remove it and place the level directly on the turret’s top. Adjust the scope so that the bubbles in both levels are dead-center and lockdown the rings. The smaller scope level finds an additional use on our front rest at the firing range to insure that the rest is not canted.
The Level-Level-Level Kit has an MSRP of $24.99. Given the additional use of the small bubble level on our front rests during practice and competitions, it is a pretty good deal.
This brings us to the Wheeler Anti-Cant device. Benchrest, Palma and F-Class shooters are keenly aware of how canting can change the point of impact on the target. However, most hunters are unaware that even small cant angles can result in a missed shot. As such, few hunters have ever invested in an anti-cant device, let alone worry about the effect of canting on their hunts.
We hope that the following examples will convince you of the effect of canting and why you need to avoid it. You are at the range and have just finished sighting in your rifle. You pass it to a friend or relative for a few shots and low-and-behold, the point of impact on the target is not the same. One of you is canting the gun.
Cant errors become really noticeable when the rifle has been sighted in by a left-handed shooter and then passed to a right-handed shooter. How do I know? Well, I am left handed and routinely test new loads with my bride’s guns. When I hand the gun to her (and remember, she is a better shot than me), it never holds on the same point. Either I canted the rifle while sighting it in; Or, Mary canted the rifle when she was shooting. Using the Wheeler anti-cant device, we determined that I have been canting my guns for far too many years, and Mary, who used to shoot F-Class, holds level and steady. Thus, when she took her gun that “I had sighted in”, it was not.
If you regularly practice at the range with the Wheeler device installed you will get in the habit of holding the rifle level. The old saying “practice makes perfect” was never more true than when learning to keep from canting your rifle. With enough practice, you won’t have to worry when you take that shot at your once-in-a-lifetime trophy, you will be dead on. We kept the Wheeler anti-cant device permanently installed on our primary hunting rifles, just to check ourselves from time-to-time, as it folds out of the way when not in use.
Slight canting at close range in brush country is probably of no great consequence; but, if you are in the wide open spaces of the mountain west or on the open range, it becomes a major problem with long shots. We will never know how many animals have been missed or wounded due to canting; but, it is a problem which can be avoided with this device.
The Wheeler Anti-Cant device comes in four sizes, one for 30mm scope tubes, one for 1″ tubes, one for 34/35 mm tubes and one for Picatinny Rail attachment. With an MSRP of $39.99 it is a good investment.