Share On:

Online Training Lesson: Mechanics of a Rifle Cant

Canting your Rifle

A lot people have read my article on setting up your precision rifle with a small amount cant built in based on the shooter. This serves several purposes, the main is to protect from subconsciously canting the rifle.  The body has a natural hold, it will always attempt to default to this natural position which, in many cases induces rifle cant without the shooters knowledge.  Because the brain wants the rifle held this way, you will ignore it until the effects compound to an unnatural point.  Then you see the shooter correct it, and straighten out the rifle.

(Link to Leveling your Scope Article )

Here you can see a small amount of rifle cant with this shooter during a recent precision rifle class.  It’s pretty common to see a shooter being slightly canted.  The use of levels has made this even easier to see as most don’t pay any attention to them.  They look once, straighten the rifle out, go back to lining up the shot, move and never see it.

Most guys would rather dial in .2 mils left and call it spindrift, true story. 

Rifle Cant
Canting the rifle

When you level the scope and reticle to the rifle and then cant it, you compound the error vs using your natural hold to the brain’s advantage.

Levels vs Vestibular System

So what is more accurate, the $6 level placed in a $100 wrapper or your inner ear ? 

The vestibular system is there to maintain your proper equilibrium. It also works to coordinate the position of the head and it’s relationship to the eyes.  So in other words, we have a system within our body to maintain level based on what we see, and the position our head is in.  For the shooter you have a more accurate level built into your head.  It’s even liquid based.

Thomas Haugland of the LongRange Norway Vlog has an excellent video comparing this against a highly accurate electronic level.  He shows the small vial levels are only about .8 degrees accurate versus the inner which was closer to .2 degrees.  Not sure about this, here:

Training Tools vs Shooting Aid

I view a level as a training tool versus a shooting aid.  We don’t do well trying to watch two things at once, honestly about 90% of the people out there with levels don’t use them at all or correctly.  By putting it in the “training” category, you pick up on the clues it is handing you.  Clue number one, if every time you do reference the level you are off center, that is a clue telling you to adjust your system to fit you.  If you find looking at your level it’s off, your body will subconsciously move it as soon as your attention goes somewhere else like the target.

For the guys who talk uneven terrain, horizon lines, etc, if your systems is set up to your body, your natural hold, none of that matters.  When shooting a target like this, where is my horizon line anyway?  The terrain is not only uneven, the horizon is not visible in the scope.  The targets do not have straight lines to reference.

Reticle leveled to the target

The goal should be to quarter the target, our attention goes to the reticle as that is where our bullet is expected to go.  Consider how many people know the shot will be bad before it breaks, this is common.  You see the reticle drift off but you fire anyway, the mind says, “Well how bad can it be“…

Sniper’s Hide Online Training


This video is only a small part of our Online Training Lessons located in the Sniper’s Hide Forum.  We offer new lessons every month, this month, we did a 10 minute lesson on canting the rifle.   The training lessons are not intended to replace a competent instructor, rather they are there to help educate the long range shooter.  Our online training section is a private forum, so only guys who want to be there are participating.

Established in 2009, we have a host of videos on a wide range of topics.  We also take specific requests for lessons.

Deliberate Canting Data

The article about leveling your scope to gravity gets referenced a lot, so I want to includes the instructional slides we have to demonstrate the difference between a deliberate cant vs. accidentally canting the rifle as most do.  I want to state this set of slides talks about a 2 degree cant, but most shooter’s natural hold is far less than 2 degrees.


This is just a small piece of the puzzle there is so much more to explore.

Muzzle Velocity Variations, Prone vs Bench

Scope Buying Advice

And more…

Thanks for Watching, and always ask “why”