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Have you noticed inconsistencies in your shooting accuracy, but can’t quite pinpoint the problem? Scope cant may be to blame. This common yet overlooked issue occurs when your scope is not mounted level with your rifle, leading to shots falling left or right of your aim point.

In this article, we will demystify scope cant; exploring its causes and impact on accurate shooting, while offering effective solutions to improve overall precision. Ready for tighter groupings? Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Scope cant occurs when the reticle of a riflescope is not aligned vertically with the centerline of the rifle, leading to inaccurate shooting.
  • Cant on a scope can have a significant impact on accuracy and precision, causing shots to fall left or right of the aim point.
  • Proper scope mounting and use of scope levels are essential to correct and prevent scope cant, ensuring accurate shot placement.
  • Maintaining a level position during shooting through proper alignment reduces scope cant issues and improves overall shooting performance.

Understanding Scope Cant

Scope cant occurs when the reticle of a riflescope is not aligned vertically with the centerline of the rifle, leading to inaccuracies and imprecisions in shooting.

Definition of scope cant

Scope cant, often overlooked by many hunters and shooters, is a critical aspect that could affect the accuracy of your shot. It’s essentially a term used to define an occurrence where the scope is not mounted level with the rifle.

This results in a misalignment between the vertical reticle line and the centerline of your firearm – a condition known as “scope cant”. Notably, this can lead you to miss targets particularly at longer distances as it causes rounds to impact low and left or low right instead of hitting intended point.

Worse still, if your scope is mounted high above bore axis, it could exacerbate windage errors induced by canting. Therefore understanding what scope cant means allows us to take necessary measures such as accurate mounting and use of leveling tools to ensure our shots hit their mark each time.

Impact on accuracy and precision

Cant on a scope can significantly impact your accuracy and precision while shooting. When your scope isn’t mounted level with your rifle, it throws off the alignment of your shots. This misalignment can result in rounds hitting lower and to the left or right of your intended target.

The canting of your scope becomes more pronounced at longer distances, causing even greater errors. It’s important to note that mounting the scope higher above the bore axis can worsen windage errors caused by cant.

To ensure accurate shooting, it’s crucial to correct and prevent scope cant. Proper scope mounting is essential, as incorrectly mounted scopes can lead to canting issues. Using a scope level can help you maintain a level reticle during shooting, ensuring that you’re aligned with the centerline of your rifle.

Causes of scope cant

Scope cant can be caused by a variety of factors, ultimately resulting in inaccurate shooting. One common cause is improper scope mounting, where the scope is not aligned level with the rifle.

This misalignment can throw off the vertical reticle alignment and lead to trajectory deviation. Another factor is gun cant, which refers to not holding the gun perpendicular to the earth. When leaning out from behind cover or an uneven surface, it’s easy for the gun to tilt and introduce canting errors.

It’s important to understand these causes as they directly impact the accuracy and precision of your shots.

Correcting and Preventing Scope Cant

To correct and prevent scope cant, ensure proper scope mounting to maintain level alignment with the rifle. Use scope levels to check for any misalignment during shooting, as maintaining a level position is crucial for accuracy.

Proper scope mounting

Proper scope mounting is crucial to ensure accurate shooting and prevent scope cant. When mounting your scope, it is important to align it properly with the rifle. This means making sure the vertical reticle line is perfectly aligned with the centerline of the rifle.

If your scope is not mounted level, it can result in significant cant error, especially at longer distances.

To mount your scope correctly, start by using a quality scope mount that securely attaches to your rifle. Make sure all screws are tightened properly and use thread-locking compound if necessary.

Additionally, consider using a bubble level or an anti-cant device during installation to ensure precise leveling.

Maintaining level during shooting is also essential for accurate results. You can check for any cants while aiming through the reticle by observing if the horizontal crosshair appears parallel to any reference points such as buildings or trees.

Remember that when mounting your scope high above the bore axis, windage errors due to canting can become more pronounced. Therefore, it’s important to take this into consideration during installation.

Use of scope levels

Scope levels are an essential tool for any hunter or shooter looking to improve their accuracy. These small devices attach to your scope and ensure that it is perfectly level with your rifle.

By using a scope level, you can eliminate the risk of scope cant and its negative impact on your shooting.

When your scope is not mounted level, it can cause the reticle to be misaligned with the centerline of the rifle. This misalignment can lead to shots being off target, resulting in missed opportunities during hunting or competitions.

However, by utilizing a scope level, you can easily correct this issue.

By maintaining a level reticle alignment, you ensure that your shots will go exactly where you aim them. This precision is especially important when shooting at longer distances where even slight deviations from proper alignment can result in significant trajectory deviation.

Importance of maintaining level during shooting

Maintaining a level position during shooting is crucial for hunters and shooters. When the scope is not mounted level with the rifle, it can result in canting, causing bullets to impact off-target.

This misalignment of the vertical reticle line with the centerline of the rifle can lead to trajectory deviation and shot errors. By properly mounting the scope and using scope levels, shooters can ensure their equipment is aligned correctly.

Incorrectly mounted scopes are a common cause of scope cant, so taking the time to mount your scope properly is essential. Additionally, maintaining proper gun alignment by holding it perpendicular to the earth prevents any unintentional canting while shooting.

With a level reticle and barrel alignment, you’ll have greater accuracy and precision when taking shots.

Remember that cant-induced windage errors can be worsened if your scope is mounted high above the bore axis. It’s important to understand that different calibrations for cant may be required depending on bullet drop characteristics.

By utilizing tools like cant calculators, you can determine how much correction you need for your specific setup.

Keeping your firearm level during shooting becomes even more critical when shooting from behind cover or leaning out in an uneven position. Any amount of cant will affect shot accuracy, potentially causing rounds to impact low and left or low and right.


In conclusion, understanding and addressing scope cant is crucial for hunters and shooters who want to achieve accuracy and precision in their shots. By properly mounting the scope, using scope levels, and maintaining level during shooting, the impact of scope cant can be minimized.

Remember to always check for proper alignment before taking that shot to ensure optimal performance from your rifle scope. Happy hunting!


1. What is “cant” on a scope?

“Cant” refers to the misalignment or tilting of a scope in relation to the rifle barrel. It can affect accuracy and precision when aiming and shooting.

2. How does cant affect scope performance?

When a scope is canted, it introduces an angular error that can cause shots to miss their intended target. The extent of the error depends on the severity of the cant angle and distance to the target.

3. How can I detect if my scope is canted?

Use a leveling device or bubble level mounted on your rifle or scope mount to check for cant. This will help ensure that both your rifle and scope are perfectly aligned.

4. How do I fix cant on my scope?

To correct for cant, you can use adjustable mounts with built-in leveling systems or add aftermarket equipment like anti-cant devices or bubble levels directly onto your existing setup. It’s important to regularly check and adjust for any cant issues before shooting for optimal accuracy.

George Grey

About the author

Being an avid outdoorsman since I can remember, my passion for survival, hunting and the outdoors has grown every year. I love being out in the country and living off it whenever time allows. Huge Rifle Scopes aficionado!

George Grey