Zero at 100 Yards and Leave Turret at 200 Yards for Hunting?

clark33

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2017
Messages
111
What your entire argument is ignoring is physics. The *same* atmospheric conditions that affects your 200 yard zero also affects your 100 yard zero, albeit to a lesser degree. If atmospheric conditions change enough to move your 200 yard zero by 2", your 100 yard zero will have shifted by probably an inch or so, and your 1000 yard dial will probably be off by 10" or more. In that scenario, it wouldn't matter what your zero range is; if you fail to adjust for current conditions, or do not have accurate data, you are unlikely to have a good engagement.

Example - 162gr 7mm ELDX with a G7 BC of .318, MV is 2940 @ 28°F. Zeroed at 200y, with a DA of -1500' (typical of my hunting conditions). At 100 yards, I am 1.3" (1.2 MOA) high, at 300 my POI is 6.7" (2.1 MOA) low, at 500 I am 37.3" (7.1 MOA) low, at 1000 I am 259" (24.7 MOA) low. This is according the "Shooter" app (developed by Bryan Litz), and verified on paper to 700 yards.

If my conditions change, and my new DA is 12,000' (temp remains 28°F), my 100 yard POI is still 1.3" high. My 200 yard impact is still 0. My 300 yard has shifted to 5.9" (1.9 MOA) low, 500 yard is 33.3" (6.3 MOA) low, and 1000 yard is 212" (20.3 MOA low) this is again, calculated using the Shooter app, although unverified. Based on my established DOPE though, I have no reason to believe any substantial error exists in these calculations.

Conditions change *again*; this time we have a DA of 2500' and a temp of 85°F. Due to the increased temperature, MV is now 3006. These conditions are consistent with my mid-summer target practice. 100 yard POI is 1.2" (1.1 MOA) high, 200 yard is .1" low, 300 yard is 6.2" (2 MOA) low, 500 yard is 34.4 (6.6 MOA) low, 1000 is 233" (22.2 MOA) low. This is again calculated from the Shooter app. Since I am unable to hold .1 MOA from a field position, the data inside 300 yards is "unverified." However, I *can* hold .5 MOA pretty consistently, and the data from 400-740 yards has been verified as accurate.

What is the take away from all of this? Your zero range is not relevant. What is relevant is that you have a system. This system needs to be capable of gathering and logging accurate data, *and* verifying it against whatever ballistic calculator you use. Put garbage into your system, and it will produce garbage results.

With *my* system, my rifle, and my load; a change of 55°F AND 4,000' density does not substantially effect my trajectory inside of 300 yards. With this in mind, I zero at 200. From 0-250 I can hold dead on (elevation) and expect to impact within 3" of my POA. from 250-300, hold for a high shoulder shot, and I'm still good. Beyond 300, I need accurate data regarding my current atmospheric conditions. This level of precision is more than acceptable for me with my style of shooting and my style of hunting. I am not shooting 1" "X" rings. I am shooting 14"+ vital rings.

Would I travel from my "comfortable" -1500' DA to 12,000' and fire at a game animal? Not if I could avoid it. I would make every effort to validate my calculations in the conditions which I will be shooting. However, based on my already established and verified DOPE, I feel reasonably comfortable that the calculations provided would be accurate enough to be effective at the ranges I am willing to shoot.

PSA: Listen to the pro's

"Beyond 300, I need accurate data regarding my current atmospheric conditions. This level of precision is more than acceptable for me with my style of shooting and my style of hunting. I am not shooting 1" "X" rings. I am shooting 14"+ vital rings." - freak007

First part of the sentence you prove our point, and a 100 yard zero would be more reliable to build off of, and the last part is a bit concerning, you should always try to be as accurate as possible. The animal deserves it no?

#zerorangematters
 
Last edited:

Tommo64

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2018
Messages
140
Location
Adelaide
Where I do most of my hunting (Victorian high country) it is mostly heavily Forrester, so short range (<100 yards) is the norm but with the occasional open pasture areas. So I always zero at 100, figuring if a longer shot presents itself, I will have time to dial in my dope.
 

rammac

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2010
Messages
230
Location
SW Montana
It seems to me that none of the concerns about changing zeros and errors matter if you actually, physically re-zero your rifle when you get to your hunting location. Arrive on site, expend a few rounds to adjust your zero and then your ballistics tables/calculators will work just like they did when you used them at a different site, regardless of what zero distance you use.

In my military experience we actually verified/adjusted our zeros when we arrived in country, at that point we didn't have to worry about how much error our location change added to things, we just used our knowledge of how the bullet dropped at range.
 

Goldengun

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2019
Messages
135
Location
oklahoma
An option. Find the sweet spot zero range where your cartridge stays below 3" high at 100yds and above 3" low at 300yds. Dead hold out to 300 and relatively easy adjustment for 350/400yds.
 

jnwise

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2015
Messages
57
Location
Perryville, AR
I understand some guys want a MPBR zero, the problem is it is a very poor starting point for LR accuracy. If you want a 275 yd zero, or 300, 325 or whatever MPBR range you desire your best starting point is a 100 yard zero then dial whatever you want for your MPBR “zero” for the current conditions you are in. There is no rule against walking around in the woods with 1.1 mils dialed up if that’s your thing for a MPBR zero.

I don’t understand all the comments about how long it takes to dial. If it takes more then maybe 5 seconds to dial anything on the first revolution of a turret then it’s time to dent some more primers and practice. It takes longer to pull your RF out of your pocket, get a range and put it back.
Explain to me how that’s a “poor starting point for long range accuracy?” . What I have for dial up is from on the range out to 600 yds. Not using a ballistic calculator for those dial ups, but consistent rounds on target at range. Which would seem to be more accurate than using calculations provided by a computer.
 

7stw

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2010
Messages
2,164
Location
Salisbury Maryland
As a rule. I usually zero too 200. With that said, I can hit anything out to 600, and not be lower the 6 inches.
I know a few who zero to 350. Well, the only problem with that is IF, you get a midrange opportunity, you have to remember to hold low. Holding low is not a natural thing to do, and in the heat of the moment, you may forget, and shoot over!. I know that, because I did it. If all your shots are dial up, you can zero to what ever you like. I find 200 zero gives a little flexibility, without dial up. Just my opinion!
 

memtb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2013
Messages
1,504
Location
Winchester, Wy.
As a rule. I usually zero too 200. With that said, I can hit anything out to 600, and not be lower the 6 inches.
I know a few who zero to 350. Well, the only problem with that is IF, you get a midrange opportunity, you have to remember to hold low. Holding low is not a natural thing to do, and in the heat of the moment, you may forget, and shoot over!. I know that, because I did it. If all your shots are dial up, you can zero to what ever you like. I find 200 zero gives a little flexibility, without dial up. Just my opinion!

I use a 300 yard zero, and can easily shoot over a fox or coyote at around 180 due to the mid- range trajectory. But, with almost 30 years using this zero and not getting extremely emotional about a shot on a varmint, making an adjustment for the smaller target is quite easy. My zero is a non-issue when shooting big game. Even if, at my peak of trajectory I aimed a bit high on a deer or Antelope ( our smaller big game) I will likely get a spine shot....pretty effective on stopping animals. If my primary target were small varmints.....I would likely use a different zero point! I guess the intended use for the firearm may play into the zero range! memtb
 

Lenny Foffa

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2017
Messages
284
Just returned from Kentucky White tail Hunt , took off my 2.5 X to 8X Vari X 3 and put on a 4.5 X to 14 X Vari X3 And zeroed the 270 win with 130 Grn for 200 yards ! It turned out the 2.5 to 8 With the 100 yard Zero would Have been Just fine ! The longest shot was the tree line at the end of the hay field was 247 Yards ! The Close up shots Were 5 to 7 yards ! Ugghhhh
 

7stw

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2010
Messages
2,164
Location
Salisbury Maryland
Just returned from Kentucky White tail Hunt , took off my 2.5 X to 8X Vari X 3 and put on a 4.5 X to 14 X Vari X3 And zeroed the 270 win with 130 Grn for 200 yards ! It turned out the 2.5 to 8 With the 100 yard Zero would Have been Just fine ! The longest shot was the tree line at the end of the hay field was 247 Yards ! The Close up shots Were 5 to 7 yards ! Ugghhhh
It never fails every time you take a rifle to the woods you can kill the deer that you're hunting with a bow but when you go bow hunting everything is rifle distance
 

Ckleeves

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2014
Messages
490
Location
Montrose, CO
Explain to me how that’s a “poor starting point for long range accuracy?” . What I have for dial up is from on the range out to 600 yds. Not using a ballistic calculator for those dial ups, but consistent rounds on target at range. Which would seem to be more accurate than using calculations provided by a computer.

When I first started I would make dope charts based off that days targets. Then I would go out, quite often to a different location and use the same dope as I “knew” was accurate because it had worked perfect previously.

It would frustrate me to no end, how was I absolutely perfect the previous outing and now at 1000 yards I was a minute low? It wasn’t until I started to gain experience that it all started to click. Different altitudes, temps, humidity, etc. It all adds up.

If I only hunted at 6k’, in 68 degree weather with 15% humidity then hard number drops would be great. But I don’t.

I still verify everything after I arrive just to make sure nothing moved etc.

But I’ll take that bet all day long. A Kestrel is more accurate then your known drops from one elevation, temp, etc. You can see it easily on a really long target just by leaving a Kestel in the sun for a few minutes. So the question is was it 50 degrees out or 80 when you got those known drops?

You can argue it doesn’t matter at 600 yards, and I would agree it’s not going to make a a lot of difference. I ran the numbers on 2 different locations I hunted this year that were pretty far apart as far as environment and came up with 1/2 minute of change between the two at 600. But why add even 1/2 minute of inaccuracy if you don’t have to?
 

rammac

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2010
Messages
230
Location
SW Montana
If you live where you hunt or target shoot then your zero distance doesn't matter as much because your environmental conditions are going to be fairly consistent. A 100 zero is still a better option but it wont be as important as if you are one of those guys with money to burn and you travel all over to hunt shoot competitively.

The rationale in regards to using a 100 yard zero vs. any other distance is pretty simple;

The shorter the distance to the target the smaller any error will have on the point of impact.

At longer distance to the target any trajectory error (regardless of where it comes from; the shooter, ammo, or the gun) will be multiplied.

So if you zero your weapon at 100 yards your chances of having any error (regardless of where it comes from, shooter, ammo, or gun) will be less and therefore, your chances of having an increasing error at longer distance is less.

I'm not a rich guy, I hunt and target shoot where I live so I set my rifle up for a 200 yard zero, but I've shot that zero distance over years in every weather and physical condition that I could ever expect to shoot so over time my zero (that has been adjusted a click here or there under those varying conditions) has settled to a place where I'm always on target. I live at 5400 feet in the Montana mountains, if I were to visit friends in Yuma, Arizona (elevation 104 feet), I'd expect my zero to be off by some amount and that error would be substantially worse at longer ranges.
 

73driver

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2011
Messages
315
Is my Marine sniper 85E nephew a "professional " i asked him last night what they zeroed there rifles at he said 200 YARDS.
Well since you ask. I would consider the Marine Sniper School Instructors as the professionals. A recent graduate of a Army or Marine Sniper School I would consider a well trained and demonstrated skilled shooter that has just begun the journey of learning.
 

jnwise

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2015
Messages
57
Location
Perryville, AR
When I first started I would make dope charts based off that days targets. Then I would go out, quite often to a different location and use the same dope as I “knew” was accurate because it had worked perfect previously.

It would frustrate me to no end, how was I absolutely perfect the previous outing and now at 1000 yards I was a minute low? It wasn’t until I started to gain experience that it all started to click. Different altitudes, temps, humidity, etc. It all adds up.

If I only hunted at 6k’, in 68 degree weather with 15% humidity then hard number drops would be great. But I don’t.

I still verify everything after I arrive just to make sure nothing moved etc.

But I’ll take that bet all day long. A Kestrel is more accurate then your known drops from one elevation, temp, etc. You can see it easily on a really long target just by leaving a Kestel in the sun for a few minutes. So the question is was it 50 degrees out or 80 when you got those known drops?

You can argue it doesn’t matter at 600 yards, and I would agree it’s not going to make a a lot of difference. I ran the numbers on 2 different locations I hunted this year that were pretty far apart as far as environment and came up with 1/2 minute of change between the two at 600. But why add even 1/2 minute of inaccuracy if you don’t have to?
That’s pretty a bloviating soliloquy with numerous presumptions that ignores when you hunt in the same conditions that you sight in, getting at bullet into an 18 inch kill zone even out to 600 yds is easily repeatable. It exemplifies bringing a “target shooter’s” attitude to hunting. Shooting opportunities can be quite fleeting when hunting. Best is “Good Enough’s” worst enemy.
 
Last edited:

Primary

LRH Assistant
Here are some related products that LRH members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to LRH’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to LRH discussions about these products.

 
 

Recent Posts

Top