Commentary – Why I zero my AR at 50 yards…….

Rourke: This “Blast from the Past” was originally published HERE in

First off – my eye’s are not what they used to be. 100 yards with a non-magnified optic looks pretty far. 200 yards with a non-magnified optic or open sights is extremely far especially considering target identification. Anyways  – back to why I zero my AR at 50 yards.

The M193 55 grain 5.56mm round – and similar loads – are very flat shooting out to 200-250 yards. A lot depends on sight type and distance the sights are above the bore. Typically, with a zero at 50 yards – the bullet will be close to 2 inches high at 100 yards – and 2 inches low at 250 yards. That is pretty flat. My normal shooting distances are between 25 yards and 100 yards – so everything is pretty right on between those ranges.


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With my AR’s sighted at 50 yards I feel confident that at any range from 0 – 250 yards – my rifle can hit a torso sized target as long as I have steady aim and good trigger pull. 


By the way – my tired eyes enjoy the view using the EOTech 552 Holographic Sight.


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8 thoughts on “Commentary – Why I zero my AR at 50 yards…….”

  1. Back when, I seem to recall it was a 43 yard zero to 200 yards with mil ammo but whatever. I zero most of my small caliber rifles at my pistol range using similar ballistic information. When using holographic sights such as the EOTECH, I recommend turning down the sight illumination until just distinguishable when zeroing. I think you will find that the smaller center dot will reduce the group size.

    Knowing ballistics will let one set a battle zero on main battle rifles. For instance, 23 clicks up on my M1A with groups one inch above sight zero at 45 yards gives me a nice and quick battle range zero.


  2. 50 yard zero IS an excellent all around zero for MOST applications we here in the USA would face in any kind of exigent circumstance.

  3. It’s bee a long time since boot camp, but as I recall, the Army site in zero for an M16 was 25 meters — which was close enough at all ranges out to 300 meters to get a target “hit”.

  4. Green Machine–you are correct–if I remember correctly your “Battle Sight Zero”, what a fancy term” was at 25 meters and wrote on a piece of masking tape stuck inside your “STEEL POT” lol, makes me a bit dated doesn’t it. — I remember “sighting” in the m60 in at 25 meters also, BUT, of course–with tracers–you didn’t really need much of a sight in–did you–just a lot of barrels and a lot of ammo–my AK’s–25 meters–you put that red dot on their nose–gonna hit something that hurts out to a couple hundred yards ( a fine gut shot at 300) . Farther than that–my 308, 30 06 or 7mm mag will take care of that. I do agree with Rourke though–these old eyes have a harder time every year–suks getting old for sure

  5. Like OhSotired above, I remember that the recommendation for zeroing in SCOPED rifles was 25 yards for much the same reason. Maximum point blank range, where your bullet’s impact did not rise / fall over 4″ (I think) from the distance. Depending on what you are shooting of course – a heavy slow bullet will fall quicker than a speedier light bullet.

  6. My eyes are getting older too that’s why I use a 1x6x30mm tube.
    1 power is for everything and if you need to 6 power for further out. I zero at 100m and if I really need to go past 300 I use the turrets.
    My irons are set using an Improved Battlesight Zero so I can dial down to 25 m and on out to what is needed.
    Good article.


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