Spirit Levels For Target Scopes
With Field Target shooting acting as the flagship discipline for outdoor air-gunning, ever greater sophistication is inevitable. Hard won results depend upon pushing performance to the limit, and extracting every last ounce of accuracy from the equipment.
Of course much of the sophistication lies in the range finding capabilities of the scope, but a host of other features play their part; all helping to smooth the path of the competitor, and maximize scores. Fundamental stuff, but many much cheaper add-ons and accessories, whilst appearing fairly basic, can also make a serious difference between leading the field, and just being an also-ran.
Spirit levels are one such accessory that really has become something of a ‘must’ among competitors at the highest level. I first became aware of spirit levels and their application to competitive air rifle shooting back in the late ‘80’s. The FT course for the main event was cleverly laid out in a fir tree wood that, whilst being picturesque, utilized a piece of land that was anything but flat. Angles of around thirty degrees in all directions meant that the shooter had to think on their feet. As directions changed, so did the required windage allowance; yet this was often the least of the problems. On viewing a fellow competitors rifle mounted ‘bubble’, I just couldn’t believe the amount of correction required on a rifle that I considered correctly held.
The extreme angle meant that without realizing, the shooter could cant the rifle (allowing the rifle to lean off to one side) and cause an error in the sight line. This means that the centre of the scope is no longer in line with the centre of the barrel- effectively setting up an error that becomes amplified as the range of the target increases. The end result is that the pellet strikes to the left or right of the desired aiming mark, and regularly accounts for some unexplained misses.
Several manufacturers produce products specifically to remedy this problem, with small spirit level ‘bubbles’ that either fix to scope mounts or the scope body itself.
Dave Welham, an old friend of mine, and the man behind Airmasters’ 88, produces spirit levels aimed at the serious FT shooter. He made a custom level for me that was fitted into a block that clamped the dovetails of my old Air Arms 100 series rifle, but a mainstay in his line up is a level ‘bubble’ set into a conventional scope clamp. This fits around the scope body, and whilst it obviously needs some careful setting up to achieve a true reading, there’s no doubting the neatness of the design.
Airmasters88 – Scope-mounted level £30
Sportsmatch are world renowned for British made scope mounts to the highest standards. It therefore comes as no surprise that several spirit level sets are included in their extensive product line up.
Two main types exist, with the bubble on one remaining fixed. This is attached by removing two of the existing scope mount screws, and screwing the bubble into their place. The level sits just above the mount on two small pillars.
The other type is a ‘swing-out ‘variety, and fixes via one pillar only. The spring loaded mechanism allows the unit to simply push flat when the rifle is in storage.
Sportsmatch SP3 £25.95/ SP1 & 2 kits £24 approx
Again British made, Pro Mount offer a fixed spirit level design utilizing the existing mount sockets. Pro Mounts Levels are available (P.O.A) from Webley Ltd.
Get on the level
All these options represent a sound investment , being simple but highly effective, and could transform your shooting, whether in a target scenario, or when out hunting.
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates