March 27, 2014 at 3:38 am #3904
As you will see in future posts – I highly recommend a magazine fed semi-automatic rifle. I use the AR15. This article relates to zeroing iron sights and optics (another thing I strongly recommend). FYI: Zeroing refers to adjusting the aiming point of the sight so that the bullet impacts that same point at a certain desired distance.
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.March 27, 2014 at 3:40 am #3905
I know that this is a varied audience that ranges from those that are new to guns and those who are trained professionals. If anyone has a question or is unfamiliar with a term – please ask. No question is silly or dumb. We are all here to learn from and help each other.
Also, I don’t know what I am dealing with here as far as experience and knowledge. Let me know what you want to know and what you are interested in finding out more about related to the weapons and tactics area.March 27, 2014 at 4:04 am #3918
I appreciate your guidance. I have a unique situation where I have used mostly muzzleloaders for years and am used to sighting in at 75 yards, which with a patched round ball in black powder velocities is pretty much comparable to 100 yards on the target.
I now have been training with the AR15 and it is a whole different critter altogether. I recently went to the range to sight one in. I was using the typical orange and round target provided by the range. I was advised by the range officers to place the target at 25 yards and aim (and set sights to) the bottom of the 2nd. set of rings, that this would be dead center at 100 yards. I did not have time to check the actual 100 yard accuracy before the last line was called due to it being closing time. The range officers said this is the way that all ar15(s) should be started, at 25 yards. Although I followed their lead I fail to make total sense of it.
Personally I agree with you. I think I need to get a good spotting scope and just move the target out to 100 yards to really set my sights.
I need to ask if I sight optics in the same way as the plain iron sights?
Thank You !!!
Many of them cried; "Me no Alamo - Me no Goliad" and for most of them these were the last words they spoke.March 27, 2014 at 12:46 pm #4006
GRA, even though that isn’t Kyle’s way, many are limited by range policy or rules and are forced to make modifications to the zero process. In truth, there are many ways to skin a cat. That being said, the way they recommend will will work just fine. Now that you have shot it at 25 yards and have adjusted your sights to where the round (projectile) impacts 1.5 inches below your point of aim, it is time to confirm that at 100 yards. At 100 yards, shoot some 5 round groups and then make any fine tuning adjustments to your sights to get you where your round impacts the target at the point of aim with your iron sight or optic.
Do it the same way for optics.
I hope that helps.March 27, 2014 at 4:26 pm #4052
Yes, this helps. Thank you both for your contributions. As soon as I get some more range time I’ll go zero the sights and then post the results here.
Many of them cried; "Me no Alamo - Me no Goliad" and for most of them these were the last words they spoke.March 30, 2014 at 1:47 am #5263
Hello, here is info you can copy and paste to two pages and bring to the range to zero your iron sights. The first page shows 200yd and 100yd zeros, and I also recommend to stick with the 100yd. The second page is to adjust your rear sight so it always has the flat 8/3 or 6/3 centered on the left side of your rifle, while being zeroed. We do this to know at a quick glance that your rifle is good to go, or was possibly bumped and knocked out of zero by seeing the flat not centered.
The video of Kyle that Danie posted is good. It appears Kyle has a Magpul Magazine, which is highly recommended. I would not fire a rifle resting on the magazine, due to possible malfunctions. Get sandbags to set up a solid base under the forward-most part of the forearm for stable shooting.
And just a side-note, as the 100yd zero is prefered, I kept my duty rifle zeroed at 40yd. From a police/swat view, the vast majority of shootings occur at close range, so we were set up that way. And for GRA, the 25yd zero to start is just that…a start. When anyone begins with a new rifle platform, train/practice close to target until you are familiar with the rifle, and 25yd is perfect for that. Gain the understanding, then move that target out. Thanks Steve
Zeroing the AR-15
• Use 200 yard line
• Use Zero Windage
• Use five shot groups
• Use bipod or sandbags
1. Run Rear sight all the way down then up 8 -10 clicks
2. Correct Elevation with Front Sight
3. If using NM tapered front sight – All elevation adjustments must be made in 360-degree adjustments.
4. If smaller adjustments to elevation need to be made, use rear sight -Remember the final amount of clicks from the bottom.
My Suggested Modifications for 100 Yard – line Zero
• Use 100 Yard Line
• Use 3-6 clicks up for rear sight to start – you don’t need as much adjustment here as you do for the 200 yard zero.
Additional Step for NM Front Sights.
• Count the clicks as you run the rear sight all the way down. Should be 6 -10. I suggest 3-6 for 100 yard zero. 4 would be the best.
• If more than suggested, try rotating the front sight 360 degrees and re-adjust with rear sight.
Zeroing the AR-15
• After you have a Zero on the rifle
• Rear sight Zero is within the previously described number of clicks from bottom.
• Know the number of clicks it takes from bottom to the Zero.
1. Rotate elevation knob until the 8/3 (or 6/3) appears centered on the left hand side of the upper receiver.
2. Insert a 1/16th allen wrench through the hole in the top of the carry handle just in front of the rear sight aperture.
3. Loosen the allen screw no more than 3 – 4 turns. Loosen, do not remove.
4. Leave allen wrench in the allen screw.
5. Using the lower portion of the elevation drum, return the sight elevation to Zero (using the noted amount of clicks from bottom to Zero).
6. Tighten and Lock the allen screw.
7. The Zero (either 100 yard or 200 yard, whatever you zeroed) will now be recognized as having the 6 or 8/3 markings centered on the left side of the receiver.
Important – record the amount of clicks it takes to go from the bottom to the Zero on your Range Card. This can then be used to double check the correct Zero and insure the settings are not 360 degrees off.March 30, 2014 at 2:50 am #5283
As stated above, actually shooting a rifle at different distances is the best way to get to know how your rifle shoots.
The US Marines use a 36 yd zero for iron sites and red dots. With this zero standard ball ammo stays within a 5″ circle out to about 300 yds. Bullet weight and velocity will have affect on this formula so you should test it for yourself. With a 55 grain bullet at about 3200 feet per second this formula will put you dead on at 36 yds, about 3-4″ high at 100 yds, 1-2″ high at 200 yds and about 3-4″ low at 300 yds. This is not the bulls eye accuracy one would want for competition but for self defense it will keep you center mass for a fairly long distance without having to adjust your sites. One other hint I would like to pass on is for scoped weapons after getting them on paper at 25 yds. Use sand bags or any rest you can that will allow you to let go of the rifle without it moving. After your last shot that gets you on paper, position your sites on the spot you were aiming at. Then look through the scope without touching the rifle. While looking through the scope begin to adjust the elevation and windage. You should begin to see the crosshairs moving. Adjust the crosshairs until they are aiming where your last shot hit. Take a shot. You should be very close to dead on. This saves ammo instead of shooting, adjusting a little, shooting again, adjusting some more and so on. Hope this helpsMarch 30, 2014 at 3:05 am #5297
I forgot to mention that the 36 yd zero was for a 5.56 or .223 AR 15March 31, 2014 at 2:58 pm #5821
WOW … I really do appreciate all this detailed information. I’m going to slow down a bit and zero the iron sights first then later I’ll put the EoTech and patrol optic on and zero them separately.
I have the smaller EoTech on an AR15 in 7.62×39 caliber and an Aimpoint Patrol Rifle optic on a 556/223 caliber AR15 with a 1-in-7″ twist (do I have this backwards … any suggestions on which optic to use on which caliber … ???) with both rifles having the 16″ barrels. Both have been upgraded with Magpul pieces with the A2 birdcages for front sights and the magpul flip-ups for the rear sights. I have been using the Vietnam-era front bipod on the bench. I have yet to zero either rifle very well.
I was told to limit the 7.62×39 caliber to 100 yards only due to it’s ballistics. I wanted to zero the 556/223 with both 55 grain and 62 grain rounds and record the settings for each somehow that way I can possibly do a quick adjust if I change bullet weights. I’ll get some sandbags and see what happens. Thanks for taking the time to explain the 6/3 and 8/3 method as I think that is a great idea. Thanks again gentlemen for all the help.
Many of them cried; "Me no Alamo - Me no Goliad" and for most of them these were the last words they spoke.March 31, 2014 at 3:26 pm #5829
By the way … (for prep purposes) … the main reason I built a 7.62×39 AR15 is because that seems to be the most popular “alternate” caliber (as opposed to 556/223) we will encounter here in Texas if the SHTF courtesy of the racist lunatics in Mexico. Some of us here are hearing “chatter” (small talk in groups, etc.) from illegals as well as LaRaza political groups here that Mexico has been eyeballing an attempt at re-annexation (with or without actual Mexican govt. approval) of the southwest, possibly within the next 5-10 years.
I might want to point out that this was buzzing long before the Ukraine-Russia recent fiasco. For several years now we’ve had occasional shootouts in the Houston streets between rival smugglers which goes to prove they have no problems being here illegally AND being armed illegally.
I also gave consideration to possible UN actions over here and what caliber(s) they may be utilizing … (???) We’ve had UN “election monitors” here in Houston watching the 2012 elections and with our proximity to Mexico and our current political climate I don’t think it is paranoid to consider possible extreme scenarios. It would not surprise me that martial law is declared in the event of another hurricane Katrina/Rita/Ike and the UN is thereafter called in to “restore order”.
After Katrina, Bush sent out an international distress request and the Mexican Army dispatched a significant number of uniformed troops north to San Antonio in response and were there for a while. Although mostly what they did was prepare meals and provide first aid for the Katrina evacuees, IMHO their presence was a little too well-received by a lot of the reconquistas in San Antonio. This past summer was very hot and dry here in the Gulf Coast area where I live and we had a colder winter here also this year compared to years running in the past and I fear the Gulf will get restless again this summer.
Any other advice and knowledge regarding small arms prep that I need to do will be well appreciated. As Yall may be able to tell I am relatively new to this so please educate me if and when Yall may have the time.
Again … thanks for all the assistance and information thus far. God Bless …March 31, 2014 at 8:44 pm #5924
I AM HUMBLED…
i was wondering if at 300 feet, using a mossberg 10/22 with open sight, and getting three inches off center target was good. now im going back over these threads and writing down some of great info i am looking for. all you guys are swell…
Prepare, Preserve, Protect...March 31, 2014 at 11:27 pm #5980
GRA, this is how I set my 5.56 duty rifle up. It was a Colt AR-15, 16″ barrel, 1 in 9 barrel. (Your barrel rifling will be stamped on the top of the barrel.) I used 55gr FMJ ammo only and the Boat Tail(BT) for duty carry, cause that was a hair more accurate. I had the standard front sight and a flip up rear sight along with the N battery EOTech. (I recommend the AA battery, even though it’s a little bigger, because AA batteries are everywhere.) My EOTech, on my 5.56, was as far forward on the upper rail as I could get it and the flip up sight was as far back as it would go. For sighting in, leave the EOTech off, and use the steps above to zero your iron sights. Once that is done, flip your rear sight down and turn on your EOTech. Zero the rifle to your EOTech. Once that is done, flip your rear sight back up and leave EOTech on to zero, using all three points of aim. (You should actually be right on with them) Once this is done, you now have three points of aim as a choice to use, bringing your potential accuracy way up. As I said above, with my rifle zeroed at 40yd, and using all three points of aim, I was able to shoot 1/4″MOA and better. If the EOTech craps out, you have your iron sights to back up, but you should become a very proficient shooter with your iron sights before using any optics.
I’d recommend your 5.56 done like above, only zero for 100yd, once you are comfortable. I’d use the Aimpoint for the 7.62, because you may want to use the 3x, and I like the magnification with the larger round. Also, make sure your iron sights are usable with the aimpoint off. I don’t like any optics without a solid iron sight backup, unless you are going with some sort of scoped, bolt action, sniper rig.
Let me know for sure what your rifling is for your 5.56. My 1 in 9 was an effective 200yd gun for what the 55gr FMJ was designed to do. Outside the 200yd, the bullet slows enough to no longer fragment, and just makes small holes. A 1 in 7 barrel will effectively take you to 225-250yd, but the rounds will tend to over-penetrate more at the close ranges of 50yd to 0, due to the faster spin. That’s for the 55 and 62.
As for your 7.62, take 3-4 squares of sheet rock that you can hit at 100 yards and farther. Set them up in a line approx 4″ behind each other. Once your rifle is zeroed for 100yd, shoot the sheet rock and note how the yaw marks are as the round passes through each sheet. This is how you can tell how effective your round is at which distance you are shooting, and not what someone tells you. I suspect that round will do very well quite farther than 100yd, especially from an AR platform.
Good luck and keep me posted.
Darin, a 3″ iron sight group at 100yd is good. Check your zero, and shoot it at 50, 40 and 30yds…a lot. Once you are kicking ass at those closer ranges, go out to 100yd, and see what you do.
SteveMarch 31, 2014 at 11:50 pm #5985
Thanks Steve I appreciate all your help.April 1, 2014 at 12:47 am #5990
7.62×39 will work out to 500 yds – IF your a good shot and you’ve got a quality set up with quality ammo. Chinese stuff, not likely. Most of your decent quality ARs and 5.56 ammo will shot at least 2 MOA (that’s 10 inches at 500 yds!) if you do your part. I’m not a big fan of the 5.56 or ARs, but considering it is probably the more accurate rifle at distance (actually it isn’t that it is more accurate but rather with a flat trajectory the cartridge is more forgiving for the shooter) you might want the magnified optics on it. Or go simple, the rifle you like to shoot the most gets the optics you like the most and sell the other one so you can do more shooting and attend some training- worst case situation there will be other rifles around and MX has lots of ARs/M16s/M4s.April 1, 2014 at 12:53 am #5994
Try resting your mag on the ground and using it as a “monopod.” Some work and some don’t. If yours works, try it with every magazine you own. If most work, then replace the ones that don’t and vice versa. It gives you the ability to get lower than if you hold your rifle off the ground, someday that maybe important (you will also want 1 or 2 20 round mags). If you are going to try this, learn how to clean your magazines and do so every time you do. Simple rule of thumb, if your magazine hits the ground then you need to clean it.
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