What distance to sight in?

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by goebs66, Jun 7, 2015.

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  1. goebs66

    goebs66 Well-Known Member

    May 26, 2015
    I got my new sako 85 7mm rem mag and after giving it a good cleaning and putting on the optics, I now need to sight in! Most of my shots will be 300-700 yards on coyotes and deer. I have read multiple reviews on what to sight in at. I thought I should sight in at 300 so I can dial in easier/quicker for further shots... But then I heard I should sight in at 100 because there will be less wind drift on the bullet so I will be more assured that it is a "true" zero. Any suggestions on what yardage to sight my 7mm rem mag in??
  2. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2008
    I like to set the zero on my hunting rifles at 200 yards, but will note the POI at 100 yards if I want to conveniently check my zero. A 300 yard(and sometimes even a 200 yard) zero check may be difficult to set up at some locations, and it always seems to be windy when I want to check my zero.
  3. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2004
    Everyone has a different sight in distance because of the planed distance they will hunt.

    I personally like to sight in at 100 yards Then build a drop chart for at least 200, 300, 400, and 600
    by shooting at those distances. (It also tells you is you are canting the rifle or the scope).

    With good zeros at up to 600 yards you can calculate the zero at greater distances if you cant shoot any further on known ranges.

    If you are not a turret twister you will need a mil-dot reticle. if you are, I would recommend that once you have a good 100 yard zero that you leave it on 200 yards so you can shoot fast at 0 to 300
    without any adjustments. And when you get a longer shot you can adjust the scope to the proper zero for the distance (You will have more time)

    Just the way I like to set my zero.

  4. Rick Richard

    Rick Richard Well-Known Member

    Jan 7, 2014
    Here in the southeast for deer, my shots are never greater than 300 yards. So, I set at 200 yards which will get me in the kill zone without any or little compensation.

    Now for hunting out west, it really does not matter that much if set at 100 or 200 since shot opportunities can be much farther. Therefore, either dial turrets or compensate with reticle sub tensions based on known drops. I still usually sight at 200 yards.
  5. goebs66

    goebs66 Well-Known Member

    May 26, 2015
    This seems the most logical. I think I'm going to sight in a 100 first just to get on paper with my new scope, then 200. Then keep the turrets at 300 yards. I should be able to pretty easily adjust up to 1000 yards for a shot with a 200 yard zero and 20MOa base right? (vortex Razor HD 5-20X50)
  6. FearNoWind

    FearNoWind Well-Known Member

    Jul 10, 2012
    I think that'll work. Except that you'll need a very reliable (and well tested) dope sheet before trying to stretch it out to 1K. I usually sight in a "zero" at 100, then re-zero at 200 and leave it there. I know I'm about 1.5 inches high at 100 and can still rely on that zero to accommodate any drop out to 300 without dialing in new data with a hold on the target sholder.
  7. roninflag

    roninflag Well-Known Member

    Feb 27, 2006
    sight in for 100 or 200 . once you get a load shooting .6 at 100 and 6" at 600 . put one of those ballistic turret that is marked with your come up for 25$.
  8. MajorSpittle

    MajorSpittle Well-Known Member

    Aug 24, 2012
    When I hunted in Montana for Mule deer with my 7mm I would sight in at 300 yards or 3" high at 100 with 150gr Ammo. This would allow me to shoot off hand out to about 350 yards which is about my limit while exerting myself during a hunt. This is important because well over half the Mules I have shot were off hand. In the river breaks you tend to jump them when cresting a ridge and they are 75-200 yards down from the ridge line. I learned to eyeball 300 yards very well between golfing and hunting. Being able to make these shots quickly is the most important thing you will ever do as a marksman. Learn to aim while winded and be accurate. I have found slowly lowering my crosshairs through the target and squeezing off the round as they pass through the target most accurate for me when winded.

    So from 300-600 yards the bullet will be dropping like a rock and any wind will be in play at those ranges. Learn wind drift at 10 mph. In Montana there was 2 types of wind, 10mph and too gusty to shoot accurate. I found knowing 10mph was good because you really won't notice the wind until 5mph and 15mph is a pretty strong wind where you start running into gusty variables that are extremely difficult to factor. So at 10mph I calculate 12" @400; 18" @500; 28" @600. for 5mph I shift the scale out 100 yards and for 15mph I move the scale in 100 yards. ie 15mph is 18" @400 and 28" @500. Easy to remember and calculate.

    For bullet drop you get 10" @400; 25" @500; and 50" @600yards. I would shoot Kentucky Windage as I never owned a laser rangefinder and used my scope for ranging target so it was never exact. At 400 I aimed just below the back up to the back bone itself depending on if I thought it was over/under 400yardish knowing the round would be striking ~ 5-18" low depending on actual range. @ 500 yards I would aim Half a form high. ie if aiming center mass between back and chest raise up from that point the height from chest to back (~ 23"); This gives a hit from a 13" drop (430yrds) to 30" drop (530yrds). If I feel the deer is over 530 but less then 600 yards I aim the height of the body (23") above the deer (1 form high) which is good for 480yrds to 580yrds. If it is farther then 580 yrd the round will strike low and I adjust from POI for second shot. 600 yards is a long way. I have made the 600+ shot but it was adjusting off of POI. I actually aimed in front of the standing deer at a rock on the side hill to get POI then shot the deer with my second round in the neck, round hit about 12 in left from where I was figuring to hit but dropped him clean from about 700 yards regardless.

    I shoot a lot of rocks while out hunting. We usually bet beers on shots. If I saw something way out I would bet my buddy a beer he couldn't hit it, if he passed on taking the shot I had to take it for the same bet and vice versa. It was fun and a good way to get things moving in the afternoon when the deer were bedded down and you were leaving an area you already scoped to death.
  9. Timber338

    Timber338 Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2011
    I personally zero my rifles at 200 yards and mentally categorize shots into 3 categories.

    250 yard shots and shorter tend to provide the least amount of time with animals moving in and out of frame very quickly. A 200 yard zero let's me quickly aim and shoot as we are all very capable in quickly determining a sub 250 yard shot with nothing more than the naked eye.

    For the 300 to about the 700 range I'll use my MOA reticle and a printed out drop chart. I am not as concerned about small deviations in altitude or temperature or even a slight shooting angle. I can just range-find the animal, read the correct MOA hold from my drop chart and hold to the correct moa location in my reticle. This also assumes mild environmental conditions such as wind and shooting angle and within a reasonable elevation (pressure) range for the drop chart that I created.

    For 700+ yards shots that take more thought and time I'll use my iPhone and Shooter app to generate a shooting solution. This obviously takes the most time with inputting absolute pressure and temperature that I read off my Kestrel, reading shooting angle from my phone as well as dialing for wind.

    And of course I practice all three methods throughout the year.