Where to zero a hunting rifle


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Old 01-14-2012, 12:28 AM   #1
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Default Where to zero a hunting rifle

This topic has been covered before, but I thought I would share my opinion. I thought I would explain it in layman's terms to make it easier to understand the basics. A bullet passes the line of sight twice as it travels. Think of it like a football being thrown down field. You will have a near zero and a far zero.

For the average .22LR high velocity round used for squirrel/rabbit hunting and plinking, it will pass the line of sight at 20 and 60 yards. With that said, when setting zero on your 22, set it at 20 yards first. Then go to 60 yards and fine tune it if necessary. This will put you at minute of squirrel out to 75 yards.

For the average centerfire non-magnum round used for deer hunting, it will pass the line of sight at 35 and 200 yards. With that said, when setting zero on your deer rifle, zero at 35 yards. Then go to 100 yards and adjust windage if needed. This will put you at minute of deer out to 300 yards.

This is what I was taught 30 years ago, and I have had great success using this simple method. Obviously, your specific needs may require you to set zero at a given range, so mileage will vary.



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Old 01-14-2012, 12:35 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dks7895
This topic has been covered before, but I thought I would share my opinion. I thought I would explain it in layman's terms to make it easier to understand the basics. A bullet passes the line of sight twice as it travels. Think of it like a football being thrown down field. You will have a near zero and a far zero.

For the average .22LR high velocity round used for squirrel/rabbit hunting and plinking, it will pass the line of sight at 20 and 60 yards. With that said, when setting zero on your 22, set it at 20 yards first. Then go to 60 yards and fine tune it if necessary. This will put you at minute of squirrel out to 75 yards.

For the average centerfire non-magnum round used for deer hunting, it will pass the line of sight at 35 and 200 yards. With that said, when setting zero on your deer rifle, zero at 35 yards. Then go to 100 yards and adjust windage if needed. This will put you at minute of deer out to 300 yards.

This is what I was taught 30 years ago, and I have had great success using this simple method. Obviously, your specific needs may require you to set zero at a given range, so mileage will vary.
Zero all my rifles 243 an over at 3'' high at a 100, not zero at 100 ,that really puts u at the kill zone to around 300 ,not a 100 yard zero for dead on hold to 300


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Old 01-14-2012, 12:42 AM   #3
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Some people need a shorter zero, like my step dad. Where he hunts, there is no chance of a shot greater than 150 yards, with the vast majority being 100 or less, so he zeros at 100, with his irons set to around 50 with see through scope mounts. The only reason he even uses a scope is because he's getting a few years on him and can't pick up the irons as well anymore.

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Old 01-14-2012, 12:49 AM   #4
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Zero all my rifles 243 an over at 3'' high at a 100, not zero at 100 ,that really puts u at the kill zone to around 300 ,not a 100 yard zero for dead on hold to 300
I did not suggest a 100 yard zero....I suggested a 35 yard zero and then adjust "windage" at 100. This will yield a 200 yard zero and be a dead on hold out to 300. Or at least pretty darned close for most non-magnum centerfires....like your 243.
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Old 01-14-2012, 01:17 AM   #5
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Zero all my scoped rifles at 100 yards. Have dope for elevation adjustments out to 1000 yards. Use hold off for windage. If less than 100 yards use hold over for that.

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Old 01-14-2012, 05:34 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dks7895

I did not suggest a 100 yard zero....I suggested a 35 yard zero and then adjust "windage" at 100. This will yield a 200 yard zero and be a dead on hold out to 300. Or at least pretty darned close for most non-magnum centerfires....like your 243.
Yes you are in fact very close to 300 for dead on hold wasnt sayin u werent I just start at 100 set to 3 high an puts me right on as well but the way u do it is perfect for people that dont have a full 100 yrd range. Good post tho
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Old 01-14-2012, 05:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dks7895

I did not suggest a 100 yard zero....I suggested a 35 yard zero and then adjust "windage" at 100. This will yield a 200 yard zero and be a dead on hold out to 300. Or at least pretty darned close for most non-magnum centerfires....like your 243.
I even use the 3'' @ 100 for my 300 ultra mag, an well most all but my rimfires. But yes I could do the same your way an be right on where im at now
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Old 01-14-2012, 02:53 PM   #8
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Yes you are in fact very close to 300 for dead on hold wasnt sayin u werent I just start at 100 set to 3 high an puts me right on as well but the way u do it is perfect for people that dont have a full 100 yrd range. Good post tho
Thanks. Most shooters have a limited range to practice and/or zero their scopes. Ballistics calculators can be very confusing as well. This was my attempt to share my knowledge/experience and get some basic info out here so "Joe Hunter" can properly zero that new scope that Santa brought them.
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Old 01-14-2012, 04:17 PM   #9
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Not a bad idea, but it does have a few flaws. Not all cartridges are the same. If Joe hunter zeros a .358 Winchester w/ a 250gr bullet he will be almost 15" low at 300 yards.

With a 200 yard zero:
140gr sp .264 @ 2650fps
100 yards: +2.1"
300 yards: -8.8"

165gr .308 @ 2700fps
100: +2.1"
300: -9.9"

195gr .323 @ 2500fps
100: +2.4"
300: -10.5"

286gr .366@ 2100fps
100: +4"
300: -15.5"

You could say your method has some serious merit, it truely does, but the Max PBR w/ most cartridges w/ an 8" kill zone is under 250 yards(W/ 35-200yard method), which is a longer distance then most people will ever shoot. By using a slight hold over, it does work. But for a new hunter, that may cause new issues. If a new hunter can put his rounds in an 8" circle, say a cheap paper plate (9") at 200 yards, off hand that would be very good. Your method of sighting in does make that fairly easy. Long range is not for the masses, it takes years to master. Even 100 yards off hand can create challenges for someone new to hunting. I would also suggest practicing as you would hunt in the field. Work on trigger control, use of a sling, methods of support or shooting positions. Many new hunters also get scopes that are over powered for realistic ranges. A quality 4x32mm would be more useful then a cheap 6-18x50mm, or even a 10x. W/ a 4x scope game at 200 yards would look to be at 50 yards+-. W/ a 10x, which seems popular since U.S. snipers use them, a deer at 50 yards would look like it was 5 yards. I doubt the shooter would ever find it in the scope. ok, enough ranting for 1 day.

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Old 01-14-2012, 05:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpattersonnh
Not a bad idea, but it does have a few flaws. Not all cartridges are the same. If Joe hunter zeros a .358 Winchester w/ a 250gr bullet he will be almost 15" low at 300 yards.

With a 200 yard zero:
140gr sp .264 @ 2650fps
100 yards: +2.1"
300 yards: -8.8"

165gr .308 @ 2700fps
100: +2.1"
300: -9.9"

195gr .323 @ 2500fps
100: +2.4"
300: -10.5"

286gr .366@ 2100fps
100: +4"
300: -15.5"

You could say your method has some serious merit, it truely does, but the Max PBR w/ most cartridges w/ an 8" kill zone is under 250 yards(W/ 35-200yard method), which is a longer distance then most people will ever shoot. By using a slight hold over, it does work. But for a new hunter, that may cause new issues. If a new hunter can put his rounds in an 8" circle, say a cheap paper plate (9") at 200 yards, off hand that would be very good. Your method of sighting in does make that fairly easy. Long range is not for the masses, it takes years to master. Even 100 yards off hand can create challenges for someone new to hunting. I would also suggest practicing as you would hunt in the field. Work on trigger control, use of a sling, methods of support or shooting positions. Many new hunters also get scopes that are over powered for realistic ranges. A quality 4x32mm would be more useful then a cheap 6-18x50mm, or even a 10x. W/ a 4x scope game at 200 yards would look to be at 50 yards+-. W/ a 10x, which seems popular since U.S. snipers use them, a deer at 50 yards would look like it was 5 yards. I doubt the shooter would ever find it in the scope. ok, enough ranting for 1 day.
...and now "Joe Hunter" is confused. Just kidding. My suggestions were based on the average non-magnum centerfire deer rifles. Such as the 30-06 and 308 family of cartridges. And I stand corrected that my method of 35/200 yard zero yields a max point blank range of 250 rather than 300.


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