Video: The Effects of Rifle Cant and Long-Range Shooting

Ryan Cleckner shooting an AR-15 rifle with a backpack as a rest

When shooting, especially at longer ranges, little things mean a lot. One of the biggest obstacles to long-range accuracy is rifle cant. At the range, keeping your rifle properly positioned may be easy. However, in the field, the ground is seldom even, flat, and level like the bench at the range. When canted, the rifle will not only miss to the right or left, it will also hit low. Do you know why?

In this video, former Army Ranger sniper team leader Ryan Cleckner explains the importance of keeping your rifle straight up and down when shooting at distance, as well as the effect of canting and why it causes a miss.

range accuracy starts with a properly set up rifle. To ensure your rifle is level at the range check out Wheeler’s Scope to Rifle Crosshair Leveling Kit.

Do you have a long-range shooting tip? Share it in the comment section.

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Comments (12)

  1. Great tips.

    I went to a long range shooting school ( and they talked about this. We often shoot prone, and then can’t get a flat spot when out in the field.

    It’s the most important part of shooting- preparation. Set the right can’t up, don’t rock or lean, and make the shot.

  2. Hickock45 did a video demonstrating the accuracy of standard hold vs “gangster hold” when shooting a sidearm. Turns out that, at typical handgun ranges (to about 25 yards), there is little notable difference. Of course, that assumes you use the sights!

  3. I clicked the link to read about handgun sights and I am taken to understanding rifle cant. Where is the article on handgun sights?

  4. Louis, it does apply to pistols but the effect is much smaller in practice.

    This is because pistol engagement ranges are much, much shorter; in spite of the higher velocity of the rifle round, gravity has longer to suck the round down off course.

    Ryan was taking a 500 yard shot with his rifle, but pistols are most useful at less than 30 yards. At that distance the orientation isn’t going to matter much, especially with less than ten degrees of cant.

  5. I tried to read the handgun sight article and continued to get directed to rifle long distance shooting. Your web people should always double check the links they set up. Mistakes show sloppiness at best….at worst inconsideration for your customers.

  6. Really I can only reiterate what everybody has been hearing forever.
    A well adjusted scope
    A good cheek to stock weld
    Breath control
    Smooooth trigger control
    Then send it
    Its been working for me and every other long shot specialist forever. Of course there is more, but those basics will keep you dangerous at distance. Guaranteed.

    As always
    Carry on

  7. Ya can’t make it any clearer than this! Good tips thank you. Just added Sig Sauer TANGO4 6X24X50mm to my Winchester Model 70. Canting with this scope is not an option i’ll tell you what!

  8. That was great information. I never knew that Ryan. Does the same hold true for hand guns, not that I would ever shoot them gangster style? Thank you!

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