Best Distance to Zero AR 15

A Comprehensive Guide

Many factors come into play when sighting a rifle, including distance, ammunition type, and wind conditions. This blog post will discuss the best distance to zero AR 15 and tips on achieving the perfect zero. To zero your AR 15, you must first understand how the rifle works and what adjustments need to be made. Stay tuned for more information on sighting in your AR 15. The AR 15 rifle’s exterior is a simple design. However, it can be challenging to master when one wants to shoot accurately at long distances. While the bullet will only be moving .223 inches (5.4 mm), the bullet will lose velocity and accuracy if not sighted correctly. It is important to get the perfect balance between accuracy and distance to achieve excellence when shooting this rifle.

Table of Contents

If one shoots too far, they will lose accuracy because of the bullet’s velocity loss at long distances. This requires different adjustments than you would make for a closer range shot. Sighting in your AR-15 can be accomplished by adjusting the front and rear sight. You should start by placing a target at 25 yards, the best distance to zero AR 15 rifles. It will allow you to accurately assess your rifle’s accuracy from different angles and positions.

Target at 25 Yards

The first step of zeroing your rifle is to place a target at 25 yard range. This will allow you to zero the AR-15 with relative ease. After placing the target at shorter range, aim for the center of the target by adjusting both the front and rear sight, so they are on top of one another. You can move these sights up or down by clicking them and moving them one piece of click at a time. You can move the rear sight right or left by screwing it in or out. At this point, you will want to adjust your front sight so that it is halfway between the center and the edge of your target. This gives you a center-sight picture when looking through the sight. After adjusting your front sight, adjust your rear sight to centered behind your front site.

 

Once this is done, take careful aim at the center of your target and shoot two or three rounds to be sure that you are on target. Once you hit the center every time, shoot at a lower distance. If one-shot will not do it, fire another round into the bull’s eye and allow the rifle to cool down. This will not affect your zero because all rifles lose their accuracy during high rates of fire and cool-down periods. Landscapes such as hills and trees can also be used for zeroing your rifle – but ensure that they are far enough away not to affect your accuracy.

Target at 25 Yards

Target at 50 Yards

Continue to aim for the center of the target by following steps one through three above (zeroing at 25 yards) and adjust your sights accordingly. After achieving excellence at 25 yards, move your target out to 50 yards. This will allow you to change the bullet’s drop and acquire more accurate shots at longer distances. Repeat this step until you are confident in your rifle’s sighting capability at fifty yards, then move out to 100 yards. To increase the accuracy of a rifle, it is necessary to continually improve and refine one’s shooting skills by practicing often. Practice with your AR 15 at different distances for perfect marksmanship.

Target at 100 Yards

At this point, with the AR 15, you are ready to begin sighting in. You will move your target out to 100 yards. Shoot with 2-3 rounds, ensuring your aim is true when you shoot at this effective range. If you need to make fine adjustments, do it in half-inch steps. At 100 yards, you can adjust your rear sight down to be dead on at 200 yards. If you need to make a minor adjustment for this distance, use 1/4-inch clicks. Make sure that the rifle’s sights are level before aiming. When adjusting the front sight for 100 yards, ensure that it is halfway between the edge of your target and its center. Additionally, move the rear site up or down by turning it clockwise or counterclockwise to ensure your sights are aligned together. Take careful aim at the center of your target and shoot 2-3 rounds to ensure you are on target. If you need to make more minor adjustments, use one-quarter-inch clicks.

Target at 200 Yards

If your target is on the bust of a hill or some other uneven surface, click two full inches to compensate for the drop. You only need one inch to adjust the rifle’s trajectory if it is level. Take careful aim and shoot at least 2-3 shots at 200 yards’ maximum range to make sure you are on target. If you need to make adjustments, use 1/4-inch clicks until the front sight is centered between the edge of your target and its bull’s eye. After shooting at 200 yards, move back to 300 yard range. If shooting with a .223 Remington or 5.56mm cartridge, you should be able to hit a target at this distance with ease as long as your rifle is zeroed correctly.

Target at 200 Yards

Target at 300 Yards

Shooting from a bench rest at 300 yards is typically enough to sight in a AR 15 platform rifle accurately. However, if you have access to a shooting range that offers distances of up to 1,000 yards, you can adjust your sights to that range. At 300 yard rifle range, adjust your rear site down two full inches and your front sight up one half of an inch. Take careful aim and shoot 2-3 shots at this distance to make sure you are on target. If you need to make adjustments for a 200-yard shot, use 1/4-inch clicks. Once you’re confident with your accuracy at 300 yards, move back to 400 yards and adjust your sights accordingly. If you do not have access to a range that offers 1,000-yard shooting capabilities, shoot the rifle’s 500-yard target using 1/2-inch clicks for adjustments, then continue to its 600 and 700-yard targets.

Target at 400 Yards

Shoot the rifle’s 400-yard target by aiming one half of an inch above the bull’s eye. When you need to adjust the front sight, use 1/4-inch clicks until the front sight is centered between the target’s edge and its center. Take careful aim and shoot at least 2-3 shots before adjusting. After shooting at 400 yards, move back to 500 yards and make your adjustments accordingly. If you do not have access to a range that offers 1,000-yard capabilities, use one-half-inch clicks for measurements when making adjustments. After shooting at 500 yards, continue by adjusting the sights to hit 600 yard and 700-yard targets.

50 Yard Zero with A Red Dot

You can zero your AR 15 sight for a 50 yard shot by using a red dot gas block site. This kind of site is always on and doesn’t require any manual adjustments to be made. Simply zero the rifle for its 500-yard distance, then turn it down two full inches to compensate for the drop at 200 yards. The center of the rifle’s 500-yard target should line up perfectly with the red dot. If you need to make adjustments for a 200-yard shot, do so by turning the site one-quarter of an inch at a time. Determine how much precisely by running through this formula: divide your sight adjustment number in half and then add that number to your initial adjustment. For example, if your rear sight needs to be adjusted up one half of an inch, add a quarter of an inch to the number and adjust the sight by that much. If you need to shoot accurately at 50 yards with a red dot sight, use 1/4-inch clicks for measurements when making adjustments. You don’t have to shoot at 50 yards to zero the rifle, but doing so will allow you to become familiar with your red dot sight’s accuracy.

Is there a Best Zero?

The best zero for your AR 15 is the one that places your shots where you need them to land at all possible distances. This means if you use the rifle’s iron sights, you should strive to shoot a perfect 100/300/400/500 yard shot whenever possible. If using a red dot sight, dial in 1-2 inches above the center of your 500-yard target, then adjust your rear sight up one inch and down two inches to compensate for the drop at 300 and 400 yard range.

FAQs

Shooting at 100 yard/meter range will not help you zero a AR 15, but it can familiarize you with the accuracy of your rifle’s red dot sight. For iron sights, shoot for a perfect shot at 300 and 400 yards before turning your rear sight up one inch for 500-yard shots.

You should zero your AR 15 sight for a 100/300 yard shot by adjusting the height of your shots with the front sight. To compensate for 500-yard shots, turn down your red dot two inches or adjust an adjustable rear site one inch up and two inches down. 

To zero your sights for a 100/300/400 yard shot, use the front sight to adjust the height of your shots. To compensate for shots at 500 yards, you can either use an adjustable rear sight or simply turn your red dot down two inches. 

Conclusion

By adjusting your AR 15’s front and rear sites in a way that puts the center of its bull’s eye in line with the target’s edge at 300/400/500 yards, you can best compensate for any drop-offs in accuracy. Just remember to use 1/4-inch clicks when making sight adjustments. We hope this article about the best distance to zero AR 15 has been informative. If you have any comments or questions, please post them below.

Author Profile

Gabriel Tackett
Double major in Engineering and Geology at the University of Minnesota. Experienced shooter & hunter for over 15 years. Certified NRA officer for over 10 years working as a writer at Ballachy.com .

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