John Paul, of JP Enterprises, shows your choices of zero distance and how to choose for precision rifle shooting:
You’ve heard of the three amigos? Well these are the three zeros. The three most commonly used zeros for the vast majority of rifle shooters for different applications. Why would you choose one over another?
First let's talk about the 200 yard zero or more specifically the 50 slash 200 because that is your two points of intersection with your line of sight.
You notice I’m intersecting at 50 and I’m intersecting at 200. What does that allow you to do with a practical field rifle? Well it allows you to shoot to your point blank range anywhere from about less than 25 out to about 225 or so. You don’t have to think about interjecting any come ups or DOPE on that. You can just shoot, or hold dead on to your target, and you’re only going to be an inch and a half or two inches off. And for field expedient shooting that’s good enough. You’re not going to miss a game animal doing that.
The 300 yard zero, or the 25 slash 300 yard zero is specific to what I call hyper velocity cartridges. Cartridges that are so fast that you got a flat trajectory that allows you to stretch your main zero out to 300, which moves this center section point back to about 25 depending on the cartridge.
Finally the 100 yard zero is something that is generally used by everybody in the precision shooting community because close is not good enough. We want exact DOPE. So we’re not looking at extending our point blank range of shooting. You notice my trajectory just kisses the 100 yard mark at the apex so that’s my zero, 100 yards is the apex of the trajectory.
So now it has the advantage of simplifying things in my head. I know that all of my DOPE is positive. What I mean by that is I have to come up. I have to adjust up whether I’m shooting shorter than 100 yards or after the 100-yard mark. All of my DOPE is positive. Now let's go out to the range and show you how to actually zero your rifle in just a couple of rounds, and save a lot of money.
When I’m at the range many times I’ve seen people burn up as much as 50 rounds of expensive ammo trying to zero a rifle. There’s no need for that. I’m going to save you some money and show you how to do this in two or three rounds.
First we’re going to have the rifle bore sighted. I’m not going to go into to that because there’s plenty of information online to show you how to bore sight a rifle, but what bore sighting the rifle does it actually gets you on paper. And that’s what we need to know, that we’re actually on paper first off.
Unless you are really lucky it’s going to be somewhere else than where you aimed. So now that I see that hole in the target now I’m going to grab my rear bag.
Notice how I use the rear bag to aim the rifle. So I’m going to come back to my point of aim to the center of the target.
Now I’m going to adjust my elevation until it’s down to where the whole in the paper is. And then I’m going to adjust my windage until the reticule the crosshair comes right into that hole. All the time you want to be careful of keeping the rifle stable as much as possible. Now you are going to be very close.
I’m going to fire another round. That should be pretty close to my center point of aim, and if I have to tweak it some more it should be pretty easy at that point. And there you got it. You can zero your rifle in two or three rounds.
NOTE John uses the term DOPE, meaning “Data of Previous Engagements. Knowing where your rifle will hit at different distances.