How to Zero Your Rifle

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    • #101909

        How to Zero Your Rifle
        Video by Kyle Defoor
        Kyle Defoor is a former Special Mission Unit combat decorated Navy SEAL and sniper who served in Afghanistan.

        Comments by Danie Theron:
        Some notes on zeroes: I prefer a 100 yard zero. Paul Howe, Larry Vickers, and Kyle Defoor are also all proponents of the 100 yard zero. (Why mention them – it is because they all come from a Teir 1 background and have had the responsibility of training others in their units and later, in the civilian world. In short, they have a good frame of reference to suggest what works well.)
        For me, I like that it is point-of-aim point-of-impact at 100 yards – for a head size or small target, this works better than a hold off. That being said, many good shooters use a 50 yard zero. No problem – just be able to shoot it at 100. Quite a few don’t seem to be able to – in spite of what all of their internet trajectory research told them. I have found that the only people who can shoot a 50 yard zero at (and past) 100, are people who actually get to the range and practice doing it physically.

        Another thing. A 50 yard zero, is not a 50/200 yard zero. If it was shot at 50 yards – it is a 50 yard zero. If it was shot at 200 yards – it is a 200 yard zero. I don’t care what your internet chart says. The fact is different weights of bullets, velocity, and different lengths of barrels all can have an effect on trajectory. I cannot count the times someone has been at the range with a “50/200” yard zero that was really only shot at 50 yards – only to demonstrate their inability to make good hits at 100-200 yards. They promise that it was shooting perfect just the other day. Then they talk about how their optic must have gotten un-zeroed. Then they just ponder it like it is some great mystery how the chart they saw on the internet that was put there by a real live commando didn’t magically work out for them. It is the same every time. I don’t know what to tell you. You have to go out and shoot it to be able to shoot it.

      • #101910
        D Close

          Danie, I’ve gone back and forth on this a few times. I have seen persuasive argument for a 300m zero as the correction for 100, 200 and 400 meters was easy. Training with Max, 100m made the most sense. I’ve left it there. The holdover for 200 and 300 meters on my MTAC is very manageable. If things change I will of course reconsider. I agree that 50 is not 200.

        • #101911

            Sorry Dany, I will have to disagree with you on a couple of points here. :bye:
            (I did just zero 2 rifles last night when I changed optics)

            I feel pretty strongly about it too. :unsure:

            Rant on:

            A lot of the Larry Vickers, Kyle Lamb etc people are now in SWAT and propagate methods that are useful for that PoU and ,maybe their old “team Pou”

            I really dont give a xxx what these people say, they have a proven track record of selling methods of their own PoU to the armed civilian w/o changing them.. :wacko:
            As a result they mislead many well intentioned people who spend their hard earned dollars with them trying to learn life saving skills.
            But they give them a lesser product mostly out of mental laziness..

            This shows in their curricula ..

            They have the mental agility to adapt their methods but they refuse and instead just ride their “Tier 1” credentials.

            Their teaching style and their uncritical students is what many of us at MVT mean when we make fun of the “tacticool community”.

            There is always a danger in being dazzled too much by others “credentials” instead of reasoning out what fits your own PoU, which is usually distinct what they are doing now (or used to do).

            Sorry rant off:

            Its a decent video, some comments though…

            As for Kyle statement on the 100m zero in the beginning.. “When you have a 100m zero your hit will not be off by more than the distance form the sight to the barrel” is basically correct but it also (very nearly) applies to the 200m zero and (even if we concede that most conflict is fought at 100 m or less) thats a more useful engagement envelope no matter where you are.

            Your points about the different zeros are well taken..
            One should check and the ballistics of different ammo and barrel lenghts mean not every chart transfers….

            But even so…..if you accomplish it properly w/ your barell and ammo combination…for our PoU the 200m Zero is hard to beat and is better than both the 100m zero and the 300m zero.

            (Of course unless you are in Alaska or in the countryside in a plains state, I am talking about a urban, sub urban, and/or wooded conflict environment as is typical in the North, East and South of the US as well as Urban and suburban areas in the rest of the country)

            – For the 300m zero (which is intercept of point of Aim and Point of impact at both at 300m and at 25m) you have the point of Impact several inches above the Point of Aim between 100 and 200m.

            So when using the 300m zero …you are forced during important engagement distance (100-150) you need to raise your point of aim … This is counter intuitive for most shooters.

            That is fine on a bench-rest but during conflict you dont want to have to overthink it.

            -Conversely the 100m zero may be great for a SWAT team that is mostly concerned about indoor shooting but the armed civilian does not have such a limited view. (This is why I distrust many of our current celebrety “combat trainers” most are now working in SWAT and dont seem to bother adapting their methods to anything else.)

            With a 100m zero you need to raise your PoA assoon as you are above 120/130 ish meters. Doesnt matter for a SWAT team in a house but for most of us it does.

            So with a 200 m zero (which if memory serves also means an intersect of PoA and PoI at 50m) you have the most natural aiming behavior of all:

            All the way up to 250m you dont worry at all about raising or lowering your point of aim in response to distance!

            And after 250 m or so you can start raising up your Point of aim a little and then ever more as distance increase.
            This is very intuitive and frees your mind to focus on the tactical situation rather than driving your gun.

            So as a result in most situations you dont worry about raising your aim at all except when you have time ..or you wouldn’t be attempting a longer aimed distance shot anyway

            Please dont be dazzled by the “cool kids” credentials.. Do an operational analysis that fits the PoU of the armed civilian / resistance fighter/ WROL Survirvor.

            This is one thing I like about Max’s approach, he smartly modifies the “cool kids” approaches and doesnt publish anything that doesnt fit our PoU.

            PS: A few caveats.
            Its nice when he talk about you should zero at the distance you will shoot.
            But mos tof us dont have that luxury.
            Even the Army and USMC the prime wielders of small arms power in the US use reduced distance zeros and thier soldiers qualify with thier wepons based on that.
            And do so sucessfully.
            if the ballistics of your barrel/ammo combinationa re known there is no reason not to.
            Plus many of us have no other choice.
            if our barrel/ammo combo is different than the ballistics tables we may get different results..but that is a resource limitation rather than an active training choice, It almost like saying.. well my preference is to have a 3000 dollar rifle brand X when most make do with 800 dollar rifles of brands Y and Z.

            As for being “off” in the 100m distance he propagates even if your ballistics are crazy off it will not move you more than an inch or so up or down on the x axis. which since humans are vertical creatures wont affect your hits.

          • #101912
            Brian from Georgia

              SOP for iron sights has traditionally been a Battle Sight Zero of 275 or 300 yards, depending on the rifle. You’ll make center of mass hits from point blank to 300 yards. Unless it’s past 300 yards, you don’t have to fool with the sights.

              This works out well with the AR-15, M1 or M1A sights since the front sight is 7-8 MOA. So if the man-sized target appears as big as your front sight or larger, you know you’re within 300 yards, you hold center mass and take the shot.

              You can use the front sight as a range estimator, too. Target half as wide as your front sight post? He’s 600 yards away, give or take. Come up to 600 with the elevation adjustment knnob and fire for effect.

              I run a Burris XTR on my go-to. It has BDC so I zero at 100 yards. The horseshoe reticle is centered on the 100 yard dot and is 8 MOA -about the size of a noggin at 10 yards. It uses MRAD graduations on the horizontal line so it’s easy to range with it and “go down the ladder” to the appropriate range hash mark.

              I also like the 50/200 zero on red dots like the Aimpoint or EOtech. It’s a good compromise for the working range of red dots that I’m comfortable with.

              That’s 3 different zeros for 3 rifles. THat makes a strong argument for training with 1 combo so you don’t forget your zero in a crucial moment.

              Brian from Georgia

            • #101913

                I use the IBZ that I got off of WSRA who linked from an deal. It will be good enough to use on Ivan Popupovich this month.

                IMO it is very useful to study the ballistic charts to know your bullet flight and come to understand the terms used in that field.

                MV has made the point that your weapon should be zeroed before you show up, and IMO that cannot be said enough. Don’t be that guy or gal who takes up our time with your gun drama. Which reminds me of a Mosby AAR in which a young man buys an AK never zeroes it, no clue on how to do so and then shows up at the patrol class. The young man shortchanged himself and luckily Mosby had a very well qualed assistant that day who shortened the guy’s drama and did not let the drama interfere with the class at large.

              • #101914

                  RRS: Agreed the ballistic charts should tell you what to use if you can make your own analysis.

                  Many folks cant and as a result use zeroes unsuitable for their environment, like a 300m zero in town etc etc.

                • #101915

                    Ok Mvfmoderator, I will reply. First, no sweat on disagreeing with me.

                    This is not religion to me and I don’t take it personally. When I make a recommendation, it is because I have found it to work or seen it work and I do it that way myself. Sometimes, I recommend things that I have known of for years and stubbornly refused to accept myself. I was able to get what I felt like was good results with the method I was already using and frankly saw no need to change. There were always lots of well intentioned and semi-skilled dummies to back me up so I pretty much would conclude I was right. Later, I would run into a situation where my way (sometimes a very popular and accepted way) didn’t work. At that point, I would reluctantly give the new method or idea a try only to find that it worked better than the way I had been using for so long.

                    I try to learn faster nowadays.

                    My purpose is just to help people skip a lot of that “learning the hard way” part and find success early on.

                    I am not trying to control anyone else or prove them wrong in a debate. In the end, it doesn’t make me a lick of difference how other people do it. My only motivation is to help them find success in their journey.

                    Regarding the “Tier 1 fanboy” comments:
                    I am not sure if your warning against being a Tier 1 fanboy was meant for me specifically or the larger forum viewing audience. Personally, I am not a “fan” of anyone. The whole idea of “fans” disgusts me. I have friends, acquaintances, and people I do not know personally – but respect. There are also people in the community who I don’t care for at all nor do I respect them. However, there is no one that I am a fan of. I sincerely hope I do not have any fans in my personal life. I evaluate the things people say on the merit of the logic that is behind it and whether or not it has worked for me or others close to me. That is all. I also see things I disagree with – attitudes, technique, and tactical. No problem, I don’t discount everything a man says simply because we disagree on something – or because he is worshiped by a herd of chest thumping dorks.

                    No one is above reproach and I do not think someone should get a free pass on everything they say because they were in a certain unit. However, I do think it is worth taking the time to listen and consider that they are trying to help you and their advice is based on more than internet theory.

                    The tactical community (military, LEO, and civilian) is as full of the biggest bunch of drama queens and purse swingers as any place I have ever seen. Feelings are hurt easily and the repercussions are swift and severe. The time spent on veiled threats, outing, vetting, disproving, and backstabbing becomes a second career for many. I try to take a measured and reasonable approach and avoid as much of it as possible.

                    Will Rogers once said “Never argue with an idiot. Onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.” I try to remind myself of that.

                    Rant on:
                    In reference to what Max teaches compared to what some of the “other guys” teach – What is the problem???? They teach different things. Generally, the “other guys” teach things related to individual skills. People need that. Then they can take that and go to Max or someone like that and learn team application and SUT. It looks to me like then you have a better product that way because you have had specialized training in each step of the development process. Everyone is providing expertise in the area they want to and feel comfortable with. I cannot understand what all of the fuss is with each side viewing the other as the enemy. There are plenty of potential enemies out there. Why put so much effort into being your own worst enemy??
                    Rant off:

                    Now, back to zeroing. I would refer the reader back to my first comment where I said, if you want a 50 yard zero – no problem. Just make sure you can shoot it at 100-200. That requires actually going to the range and actually doing it. I will say it again – I have seen with my very own eyes where many cannot do this well. All I am saying is try not to be that guy. As for me, I will shoot a 100 yard zero. I have been doing it for years with good success.

                    I will add that the only thing in all of this I feel really strongly about is that a 25 yard zero is not a suitable choice and shouldn’t even be discussed seriously with the 50 or 100 yard zeroes. I am not aware of any highly performing shooter coming out of a unit, organization, agency, or performance competition shooting who recommends it. I know it is the standard for basic training and it is used successfully in that format. What I am saying is that fact should not give its consideration equal weighting to the fact that no highly performing shooters are recommending it.
                    If you go out and shoot a lot from 50-250 yards on a target that is not an enormous qual target -it may become evident to you as well. If not, no big deal. Again, it is not religion to me.

                  • #101916


                      I apologize if my reply seemed at all as a dig to on you.
                      It was not intended. :bye:

                      I admit i have a bit of a soapbox about all those ‘Tier 1 “guys going out in teaching things that applied to their PoU but doesnt apply to the PoU of their students.

                      That goes for the SWAT friendly 100 m zero to etc etc.
                      Has nothing to do w/ you.. I just think its important to not be dazzled too easily just because the cool kids do it a certain way :yes:

                    • #101917

                        mvfmoderator, sure thing and no apology necessary. I don’t get offended easily and did not take your comments personally. I just wanted to further clarify some things that relate to my approach in this post as well as the other ones I participate it.

                        Thank you for the comments.

                      • #101918

                          I use the USMC 275 yard zero. It creates basically a point and shoot center of mass (within roughly a 9 inch circle) system for targets between about 25 and 300 yards. Beyond that is a bit of a holdover. I find that the most convenient for me.

                          Travis Haley did a great video (which I can’t find a link to) on the various “zeros” and the resulting impact at rages out to 400 . Very interesting. He didn’t make a right or wrong call, just showed the differences. Except for really long range shots they were all pretty useful.

                        • #101919

                            Brian, as a point of reference, point blank is defined as being from the muzzle out to the point where you must elevate the front sight to hit center mass. Chuck Hawes has a great piece on his site that better explains the definition than I did here.

                          • #101920

                              I use the 25/300m zero for my back up irons, pretty much just out of habit. I haven’t used irons as a primary sight in years so they’re pretty much an afterthought at this point. As long as I can hit minute of man out to 300m (assuming I can even see the dude at 300m with the way my eyesight is these days).

                              But my optics are zeroed at 100m because they are designed to be. Generally speaking any optic with a BDC is designed to be zeroed at a specific range. You should zero it at that range unless you’re really really good at doing math in your head. I’m not. If you’re running a RDS, then do what works for you, just have an idea what your holds are based on whatever range you prefer to zero the thing. There is no right or wrong answer unless the particular piece of gear is designed for a specific zero.

                            • #101921

                                I don’t know if this if fully in keeping with the intent of this thread but I think it may be of some use.
                                I’ve been a shooter since I was very young. I fired my first .45 and my first .30-30 when I was 8 yo. I’ve heard, read, seen, and tried a lot of nonsense concerning zeroing (and guns in general) in the 50 years since.
                                I enjoy the technical side of shooting as much as the bang-bang so I’ve done a lot of reading about ballistics and long range shooting, and my own often unscientific experimenting, along with reloading.
                                I have a safe full of guns, some of which were chosen for specialized roles. I found that a 100 yd zero is best for all but 2 of them – my .45 auto Camp Carbine (50 yd zero) and my .30-06 bolt gun (200 yd zero). This won’t be true for everyone but it works for me.
                                Once I established zero with each rifle I put it on our 500 yd range and charted where it hits from 50 yds out to as far as I can consistently (more loosely defined for some guns than others) hit from prone in 50 yd increments. My standard is the 5 1/2″ embossed circle on a cheap paper plate.
                                This is 500 yds for the -06 and 300 for everything else. While playing I found that I’m pretty good at knocking down pepper poppers at 300 yds with my Win M94, SKSs, and even my Camp Carbine so I charted them on out.
                                I attached each chart to its rifle so it’s always right there for reference.
                                Even though I’ve charted my range for each rifle I’ve established my own practical limits for them that are less than the maximum charted range. (except the .30-06)
                                I practice frequently at various distances using the four positions and never from a bench. I’m confident that if I can see you, you don’t want me to have a reason to shoot at you with any gun I own.
                                I don’t have the opportunity to get the kind of “tactical” practice I probably need (when SHTF I don’t expect my tired old butt to be light infantry humping a ruck in the boonies ala MV, Mosby etal but I’ll do my part) but I know my guns and what I can do with them.

                              • #101922

                                  I’m confident that if I can see you, you don’t want me to have a reason to shoot at you with any gun I own.

                                  Love it!!! :yahoo:

                                • #101923

                                    I use a “50/250” zero.
                                    So far I’ve made it out to 100yds. with it, and while there is a little offset in your bullet impact vs 50 yards, it’s pretty small- so much that if I aim for the chest, I know it’s going in the general area.
                                    So I really don’t worry so much about it.

                                    I will agree with what was said about “if you haven’t shot X distance, you’re not zeroed at X distance”. Obviously firsthand info is the best, and I personally view all these 25/300 or 50/250 or similar zeroes as “theoretical zeroes”.
                                    But at the same time, who’s going to re-zero every time they change ammo brands, especially in these days of “shoot anything cheap and available”? So one could almost say they’re ALL theoretical zeroes…. :whistle:

                                    However, one also needs to take into account personal issues-
                                    How many here have 500 yards to shoot on? Raise your hands.
                                    How about 300?
                                    200? 100?
                                    Truth is most people have a stupid 25 yard indoor range, and are lucky to find 50 or 100 yards to shoot on.
                                    So it’ll be “run what you brung” in terms of zero for the foreseeable future.

                                  • #101924

                                      I have debated this with myself to the point that I am back to where I started. Irons are 25/300 meters and RDS is 50 meters because that is what I have available to work with.

                                      I need a lot of practice with my RDS. Twenty-five years of irons only made the transition to RDS a comfort factor issue. I am comfortable with the RDS and more comfortable with irons.

                                      The 100 meters zero is an urban combat zero that is popular because we have been gun fighting in urban areas for more than 10 years. The purpose of the 300 meter zero was to obtain stand off distance for engagements against COMBLOC forces on the plains of Europe.

                                      Based on the SUT taught by Max, the 100 meter zero may not be the best zero for the guerrilla environment. I would expect to see a lot more shooters zero at longer ranges because that is how a guerrilla fight will take place. I want a 300 – rather than 100 maximum and lots of holdover beyond that range.

                                      Good thing this is all personal choice stuff, else we might have to argue about it! :yahoo:

                                    • #101925

                                        I am a newcomer to this forum and am prepping for the Nov class. Am I correct that a 200yd zero its whats considered optimal for this class. I will be shooting a 5.56 that I just purchased so I can be in sync ammo wise with most of the folks here. Also what ranges do the targets range btw on the course. I will be using a tevor with a leupold 1 x 3 optic.

                                      • #101926

                                          I am a newcomer to this forum and am prepping for the Nov class. Am I correct that a 200yd zero its whats considered optimal for this class. I will be shooting a 5.56 that I just purchased so I can be in sync ammo wise with most of the folks here. Also what ranges do the targets range btw on the course. I will be using a tevor with a leupold 1 x 3 optic.

                                          I won’t say what is optimal, but when I was there, my rifle was sighted for a hundred on a 25 yard range, and it worked very well. I had to aim a little high if the target was within 15 yards or so, which several times they were. I don’t remember shooting at anything over a hundred yards.

                                        • #101927

                                            100, 50/200, 25/300. Any common zero will work for this class. Not sure about the short range zeroing procedure on your rifle and the height of the scope rings may change that.

                                            My preference is a 200 meter z.ero due to the lower maximum ordinate on the ARs.

                                            Read “Taking Back the Infantry Half Kilometer”

                                            Page 49 “Improved Battle Sight Zero”

                                            Either way, don’t sweat it too much as training will answer your questions.

                                            One thing you may want to consider is taking an Appleseed two day marksmanship clinic. That will work on your fundamentals and help get your rifle zeroed.

                                            The only Leupold 1-3 optic I could find was the Leupold Mark 4 1-3x14mm CQ/T

                                            You will notice that if you have the CM-R2 reticle that it is to be zeroed at 50/200 to use the BDC on it.

                                          • #101928
                                            Brian from Georgia

                                              I’ll second the Appleseed. They will go into near and far zero, battle sight zero, trajectoty and all that on the second day.

                                            • #101929

                                                I wrote a post on this. Funny that. Here:

                                                Here is an extract:

                                                This post is gong to be deliberately simplistic and lacking in ballistic charts. The purpose is just to advocate to you the benefits, in my opinion, of the 100 meter (or yard if you insist, as it does not make a world of difference in practical terms) zero for a 5.56 AR style platform.

                                                I am a great fan of the 100 meter zero. My reasons, in simple terms, are this:

                                                Ballistically, if you zero at 100 meters, there is not a great deal (a couple inches) difference in your point of aim and point of impact between 0 and 100 meters. Due to the ballistics of the 5.56 round, and this will vary very slightly due to factors such as barrel length and the actual round you are firing, the round will ‘graze through’ at around 100 meters and drop thereafter.

                                                Why is this good? It means that I know I am good from 0-100 meters. This is my most likely firefight range, perhaps out to 200 meters. Beyond 100 meters the round is dropping in relation to the correct impact point in the center of my target. This means that as ranges increase, I simply have to adjust my point of aim upwards to compensate. If I forget, then my round will strike low, which in my opinion is preferable to striking high, because I have more chance of seeing the strike and applying my fire by raising my point of aim.

                                                Also, I am a fan of the Trijicon ACOG x 4. With a 100 meter zero in this sight, I can use the range finder and graduated ranged aiming points to accurately shoot beyond 100 meters. I don’t have to adjust sights like I would have done when using adjustable iron sights (setting for range), I just have to line up the correct aiming point for the range, effectively raising my barrel to compensate for increased ranges.

                                                If I am forced to zero at 25 meters, I will aim at the correct aiming point (center of target) but zero the strike of the rounds to 1.5 inches below the center of the target – that is the correct zeroing point at 25 meters. This compensates for the ballistics of the rounds striking a little low at 25 meters out to a 100 meter zero and in effect gives me a poor mans 100 meter zero.

                                                A couple of things to add here:

                                                1) ‘Back in the day” the idea was to have a 300 m zero with an M16, and then adjust your iron sights for elevation at longer ranges. Hence Distance. direction, description for a target indication. If you have an ACOG zeroed to 100m, you are also able to do the same, using the choice of aiming arrows for the different ranges. If you just have a red dot, you have to aim up beyond 100 m.

                                                2) For practical reasons, zeroing is often done at 25 m. This does not give you a ’25 m zero’. With the M16 with iron sights, you adjust the elevation drum one click back to compensate (this actually gives you a 300 m zero once you move it back to the 8/3 position). If you have optics, you just zero 1.5 inches below the center of the target/POA i.e. you aim at center mass, but adjust your group lower. This will give you the poor man’s 100 m zero.

                                                3) Its best to confirm that zero actually at 100 m.

                                                If you want to be fussy, any of these zeros will work at MVT. You will not shoot beyond 100 m, and mostly it is closer.

                                                Its late, I hope i explained that sufficiently, without technical errors….


                                              • #101930

                                                  Sure I’ll defend the 25/300! Why not! So for irons I like this for a few reasons. One is that it’s familiar. I use a 14.5 carbine with 62gr for anything serious. So this is natural.

                                                  Two is that combat is a dynamic situation. Even in urban environments you’ll turn the corner and start chewing up a window at 300meters. Or you find yourself shooting through a cemetery, soccer field, freeway etc. now your engagement envelop just opened up. If I’m using irons (and a 100m zero) I now have to raise my sights. This can easily obscure your target. No one stands up in a gunfight at those distances so your target is much much smaller and you vertical hold over only matters when it’s too high. You drop your sights and you can see your target and or where your round hits. With your bullet hitting too low (with a 100m zero) you raise your sights and fire you won’t know if you hit or miss and of you miss you won’t know how badly.

                                                  On a two way range you’re more likely to miss laterally than vertically at distances where it won’t matter it doesn’t matter.

                                                  Three it’s always easier to aim lower. If you miss you still get a good hit like legs, stomach etc. shooting up or down hill you compensate by aiming low. At night most people shoot high so you aim low. It’s more forgiving in battle which I think is what most are preparing for. I’ve never shot any thing once. The one shot one kill mantra is great for snipers. I’m not a sniper. I’m a scared dude exposed with a rifle. I’m gonna hammer things hard and fast and gtfo. If I miss I aim lower until I hit something important.

                                                • #101931

                                                    Like Max said.. All these zeros will work at the MVT range and no target is above 100m.

                                                    For this training I dont think it is critical which zero you use as long as you have one and know why it is that you have picked that particular zero range.

                                                    If you are unsure listen to seasoned shooters on what their zero is and why.
                                                    All zeros can have their place for a give PoU (Philosphy of Use)

                                                    This is how I do it:

                                                    Going by ballistic charts for a 14.5/16 inch barrel I am happy whit an approximate 200m zero because it means between 0-230 ish meters i never have to worry about significant holdover up or down since it is never more than a couple inches above or below the Point of aim.

                                                    And when I shoot longer, say 250m and up it is intuitive to me to raise my point of aim just a bit to adjust for drop.
                                                    I figure at ranges of 250 one will likely take a more little time to aim anyway making a little PoA adjustment a non-issue

                                                    But people whose judgement I respect, use different zeros, Max and Skittles use the 100m zero, Aaron uses 300m

                                                    In the end there are different approaches to zeros and IMO its a balance between your rifle, your environment you feel you may fight in and your personal preference as to whats more intuitive for you at different ranges.
                                                    For me I currently run 200m but am willing to be converted otherwise and skittles has promised to convert me next time we meet..
                                                    But Aaron’s arguments in favor of the classical 300m in his post above were very interesting to me as well and I will discuss it with him when I have a chance in person.

                                                  • #101932

                                                      The great thing about the carbines that most of us carry is that we can have multiple zeros. I use 25/300 for iron sights and 100 meters for my RDS. I can do what I need to do with that combination.

                                                      Locking in to the 100 meter zero means that you lose the stand-off of the platform. The M16/M4 series weapon was designed to give accurate hits to 300 meters without changing the sight picture. No hold over was necessary to engage targets out to that range. The 300 meter effective range of weapon also exceeded the maximum effective range of the AK47 which meant that a rifleman could engage his target before his target could effectively return fire. That was a real advantage.

                                                      Like Aaron, I am accustom to that zero. All of them work but require the rifleman to know his weapon and his holdover.

                                                    • #101933

                                                        The “classic” 300m zero does have lot of holdover:
                                                        According to the M4 Handbook Figure 7.1 page 32:

                                                        – 300m Zero: At a common range like 100m it is 6 inches high (!), at 200 m even 7 inches high (!)
                                                        On the other hand:
                                                        – 200m Zero: at its highest point from 25 all the way to 200, only 2 inch high at 100m (!), at 300m it’s 10 inch low.

                                                        This means w/ a 200m zero I never have to worry about holdover all the way from 0-250m.
                                                        A couple years ago I still used to run 300m zeros but once I looked at the ballistic charts converted all my sights to 200m for that reason.

                                                        Back in the day as a young soldier blissfully unaware of the above, I never realized why I kept missing the 150 and 200m targets on the pop up range, with standard 300m zero while making most of my (supposedly harder) 300m shots.

                                                        Nothing wrong with 300m zero as long as you know (as Aaron alluded to) to aim lower at some ranges.
                                                        As for me I use 200m zero so all I have to remember is to aim center mass and it will hit all the way 0 to 250.. and above that to start aiming high.

                                                        That’s simple and intuitive to me. :-)

                                                        PS: Having said all that your hits do vary somewhat w/ your specific ammo.. Best try your zero with your most commonly stashed ammo.
                                                        Lateral zero is more important that vertical though..

                                                      • #101934

                                                          Another way to think of the 25/300 zero is if you, your rifle and your ammo shoot 4 MOA (optimistically). At 200 meters your bullet could be theoretically 15-16 inches high.

                                                          4 MOA (8 inches@ 200 meters) Maximum ordinate (7-8 inches at 200 meters)= 15-16 inches.

                                                        • #101935

                                                            I love this topic so I keep coming back to it. I should clarify some things too. One is that for my RDS I absolutely use a 50/200 zero. That’s my primary sight (Aimpoint) and I dont have to worry about obscuring the target with irons which is why my irons are zeroed at 25/300.

                                                            For my ACOG I zero at 100m and just use the BDC reticle. You’d be crazy not to.

                                                            Another thing I’m a fan of are the KNS precision front sight posts. There are some good ones that can help you squeeze a little more accuracy out of your rifle. I’m currently experimenting with a few different designs to see what I like more.

                                                            It’s similar to how fighter pilots would zero their 6 50cal machine guns way back when. Some liked all the guns to converge at a set distance others liked to create a cone of fire that had 3 different point of impact and a few crazy ones had 6 different POI for a long stream of fire. Anyway it’s all personal preference.

                                                            Like people have said it comes down to knowing and understanding your weapon, ammo, optic, mission and thinking critically.


                                                          • #101936

                                                              What kind of Aimpoint do you run around with and have you used it in a dynamic tactical two way range situation?

                                                            • #101937

                                                                Lol dynamic tactical two range. I prefer the term “ballistic hunger games environment.”

                                                                I have Aimpoint PROs because they’re cheap and work. I will say you need to take the screws out one by one and put some thread locker on them or the sight can rotate in the mount.

                                                                My first two tours I had EOtechs. I liked them but the 512 shit the bed on me. The exp worked great in Iraq. My third tour I used an Aimpoint Comp4. I really liked it and it made me an Aimpoint convert. I really wish I’d have had an ACOG my first and third tour (afghan has lots of long distances in my experience) but shit in one hand and wish in the other.

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