Review: Wheeler Engineering Professional Leveling Reticle System

Wheeler PRLS: Photograph by Jim Clary

Wheeler PRLS: Photograph by Jim Clary

[ This review was written by Dr. Jim and Mary Clary ]

For years we pretty much mounted our scopes the old fashioned way, setting our rifle between two sandbags to level it out, placing the scope in the rings and using our eye to “level” the horizontal bar of the reticle and then adjusting the vertical component until it was perpendicular to the axis of the rifle.  While it worked, it was time consuming and not always perfect.  Since that time, several inexpensive reticle leveling systems have come on the market that work well for the average shooter who mounts only one or two scopes a year.

However, for professionals who set up scopes for paying customers, a faster and more accurate system is required. Wheeler Engineering designed their Professional Reticle Leveling System with dealers and gunsmiths in mind (and folks like us who like neat time-saving tools).   What is very nice about this system is that it can be used on any type of firearm:  bolt action, falling block, pump action or semi-automatics, including AR platforms.

We set a new test rifle (CVA Optima V2) into our Tipton Gun Vise.  The Tipton vise is one of the handiest tools you can have on your reloading bench.    It will securely handle any rifle or shotgun made.  OK, you might have trouble with a Barrett M82A1 50 BMG, but for conventional sporting firearms, the Tipton Vise works perfectly.  Mounting a scope, making repairs or cleaning your gun is easy if you have this device.  It is well worth the MSRP of $129.99 USD.  But, we digress, this article is about the Wheeler Engineering Professional Reticle Leveling System.

AR in Tipton Vise

Wheeler 2

 

The instructions for the Professional Reticle Leveling System (PRLS) are so simple that rather than paraphrase them, we decided to simply quote them as follows:  “The system is comprised of two machined aluminum level housings calibrated to their integrated levels. The Barrel Clamp Level is attached to the gun’s barrel while the smaller Reference Level is placed on scope base, bottom half of a ring or other flat surface perpendicular to the vertical axis of the gun. The gun is then rotated until the Reference Level is aligned. The tuning adjustment knob on the Barrel Clamp Level is then turned until its level is centered to match the Reference Level. At this point the Barrel Clamp Level is calibrated to the guns axis. The Scope can be installed loosely and the Reference Level placed on top of the scopes turret cap. The scope is rotated until the Reference Level is aligned with the Barrel Clamp Level and then simply secured in place.”

Wheeler 3

It took more time to torque the rings down with my F.A.T. wrench than it did to level out the reticle on the new scope.  Given the fact that we change our scopes around a lot during the course of a year, I believe that we will keep the PRLS.  With an MSRP of $64.99, it is not cheap.  However, given its precision, quality and the ease of operation, it is a fair price for the guaranteed accuracy of the results.  After all, what good is a three or four hundred dollar scope if it is not properly mounted?

Related

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.


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  • Julio

    Less a review, more of an advertising piece for Battenfeld products. That said, from my own experience, the levelling device works as advertised – as does the (much cheaper) Level-Level-Level.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      Nope not at all. One thing I’ll never understand is why readers think something is fishy when a product works as advertised and there’s honestly nothing to gripe about.
      We should be glad the industry puts out some fine products. Are there bad or lacking products sure bit I stear clear of them when obtaining products for review.
      I won’t obtain a bad product just to talk about how bad it is.

      • Julio

        OK. But the inclusion of items that were not the headline topic of the review, i.e. the FAT torque wrench, and the Gun Vise, from the same company, came over as “product placement” and the overall tone suggested uncritical enthusiasm rather than considered approval. I’m not calling on your writers to go to the other extreme of trashing products, or even of griping for the sake of griping. Moreover, as a gear reviewer myself I understand the attraction of selecting products it’s easy to say positive things about. But why not start: “Battentfeld sent us a bunch of free stuff to review and we liked it all: here’s why”? Isn’t a direct opening like this more convincing to the reader?

  • JT

    I used the level level level on my Savage. Receiver level was a bit of a pain, but otherwise, it really can’t be beat. When you consider how much the screw twist-order affects the scope in the final stages when you can see it with the levels it’s amazing how people can mount a scope any other way. Then again I was using Warne Maximas which screw horizontally :P not vertically

  • Tuulos

    As a scope store specialized in sniper scopes taught me, the top of the turret actually may not be level at all, they’ve observed that the level actually changes depending what is dialed onto the scope. I’d imagined only trouble with covered turrets is the change that the cover isn’t level or it has curved top.

    What I’ve been using is putting feeler gauges between the bottom of the scope and the top of the rifle which leads to a very good accuracy when done properly.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      Feeler gauges are a good way to go. Doesn’t work on all platforms though.

  • Dr Jim

    We have a couple of scopes with convex turret covers, so we take the cover off when using this device. For the record, Mary and I are financially independent and retired. We started writing as a hobby seven years ago (after hunting/shooting for 50 years). It has grown rapidly since we Do Not accept sponsors, advertising, or money for our articles. POMA execs do not like us! But, since we do not make any money for our efforts, it seems excessive to us to pay $200/year to join… no benefit to us.

    We receive lots of products to test and review over the course of a year. The only ones you hear about are the ones we like. If a product is pretty good, with only minor problems, we try to point out the minor problem and offer a solution. I.E., in our GAMO airgun reviews, we have repeatedly stated that we would like to see metal trigger blades, rather than plastic. In our CVA rifle review, we pointed out that the ramrod would “pluck” the ballistic tip from most bullets and needed to be “cored out” more (which they did).

    Like JT, we also like the level-level-level system, except consider it a bit over-priced for plastic… but, it does work well (except not for my Ruger Nr 1s). We only write reviews on 1 out of every 4 products that we receive…. some have already been reviewed by others, while some are just junk. We pass on the junk, as everyone already knows what they are.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      Why does your comment read like a spam-bot? I’m honestly confused.

      • Dr. James Clary, PhD

        Sorry, I don’t know what a spam-bot is… our website is:

        http://home.earthlink.net/~manzanovalph/

        If you don’t like our writing, then by all means, don’t read it. Makes no difference to me… Steve knows us and has had dinner with us at the SHOT Show… so we are not what you think. We own a small ranch in New Mexico to indulge our other hobby…. horses and donkeys…. lots of them.

        • JumpIf NotZero

          uuhhhh…?

          • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

            Not everyone is on the computer all the time.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            :) copy that

      • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

        Far from anything like that. Jim and his wife are fine people and I’ll stand behind what he says 110%. In his area of knowledge nobody can touch him.
        He writes what he thinks without concern for what somebody may think. You really should visit their website. You’ll get an idea of how much both Jim and Mary know.

  • Limonata

    My father was a mason. Making things straight and level was his job. He showed my brother and I a method we still use that is low tech and I have yet to see a better way.
    He had done this on his hunting rifle for years.

    In the basement we set the muzzle of the rifle 25ft from a wall.

    We do use Tipton Best Gun Vise which we have attached leveling feet. We first level the vice. My father had one made out of wood he had made. We put the gun on the vice and make sure the gun is level using a spirit level. With the scope rings attached (we always use Burris) we place levels on the scope rings as well. At this point, the table, the vice, and the rifle should all be level.

    At the wall that rifle is pointing at, we hang a plumb line from the rafters that has been painted orange to make it easy to see. This will give you the vertical line to line up your vertical reticle line. Place scope on ring and turn until you see that the lines line up. As an added bonus, we also have two nails that have been plumbed horizontally with a laser and spirit line level. When we look through the scope we simply match the string against the wall, and we are done.

    The description may be more complex than it is to actually do the operation.

  • Jim… the old guy from NM

    Hi everyone,

    I write this “tongeue-in-cheek” to be a bit light…. next time I take a picture, I’ll make sure my can of Butternut coffee, RCBS Chargemaster, Lyman Turbo Tumbler, Dillon 550 press, Speer brass loaded 40S&W, Lapua 6.5×284 brass boxes aren’t in the shot. How about that I take it with me one of the horses? Better yet, my favorite donkey, Charlie…. a girl. I get it.