How to Zero an AR-15

These days AR-15s are a popular choice for home defense weapons, and even for game hunting.  When using your rifle for hunting, you will need to be able to shoot at a greater distance than the vast majority of defensive scenarios.  And if your next meal is riding on your shot, you will want to hit exactly what you are aiming at.

What is zeroing?

Zeroing a rifle is basically getting the sights of the rifle (or additional optics) to align on the point that the rifle is shooting.  This is your “zero”.  Once your rifle is set to zero you can then adjust your sights to account for distance and windage.

How to zero

You will need to start 36 yards from your target.  (The reason for this has to do with the arching path a bullet takes).

It will help you greatly if your target has a marked grid of 1-inch squares.  From 36 yards, get in the most stable position available to you, either in the prone position with a sling for better dynamic tension, or at a table with a bag to rest the rifle on.

Take 3 well-aimed shots, 1 at a time.  Then examine your target and adjust your sights accordingly (always start with the rear sights and leave the front sights as flush as possible).  If your shots are too high, lower the sights, if they are too far the left, move the sights to the right, and so on.  If your shots are spread up and down, work on firing when you have exhaled completely, at your respiratory pause.

If your shots are spread left and right, work on squeezing the trigger while remaining relaxed instead of pulling the trigger while tensing. You should be able to get an effective zero by firing 3 groups of 3 and a final group of 4.  This zero will be effective from point blank to 300 yards.  The rear sight will need to be adjusted to fire at greater distances.

When stocking up on ammo don’t always buy “green tip” full metal jackets.  Full metal jackets will not do you any good when hunting large game like deer.  Make sure you are also storing hollow point game rounds.  Because despite what CNN well tell you, the AR-15 makes an effective hunting rifle.

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