Zeroing Rifle with limited range

So I zeroed my rifle a ways back to 15 yards at my local range. 15 yards is about the distance I’d expect to have to use an AR for home defense, even though it’s not my primary weapon choice.

I would love to get to a large range, but the distanced range in my area doesn’t allow FMJ. I would also like to zero based on the ammo I use.

The range that I visit the most and is near by is only 15 yards. I zeroed my rifle to this range, but after further research, I realize that I’d have to aim low at 50 yards and even lower at 100 yards. I’ve seen some targets that will give you a guesstimation 50 yard 100 yard zero from 10 yards. I’d like to get zeroed to 100 yards for simplicities sake, but I don’t see a way of doing that other than going out and shooting 100yds, which is just something I can’t do regularly.

I don’t plan on engaging targets at 50 to 100 yds out. I’m more concerned with sending rounds into nowhere land if that makes sense.

1 Like

Download a zeroing app and put in what you want your zero to be.

Example if you had a 50 yd zero it would tell you where the round would impact at 15 yards. Let’s say 2 inches.

So at 15 yards you want your point of impact to be 2 inches below your point of aim.

This is not as good as verifying the zero at the actual distance. However it will get you very close


I believe we discussed this before. Are you using open sights.


Good post, I must have missed that one in the shot placement topic. That makes a lot of sense.

A lot of what I’ve been reading seems to be some people practice a zero were one always aims over the target. Anticipating a lower shot.


I’ll look into this for sure :+1:

My red dots are zeroed this way. I use a 36 yd zero most ranges have a 25 yd line. So I just plug in the math and tells me the hold over.

I verify it a 300 yds and is always within one or two clicks of being on.

I make targets that have 2 dots on them. I aim at the upper dot, making adjustments to hit the lower. Depending on your zero the dots will be different distances apart


I’m using a red dot now, I do have back up irons.

1 Like

It’s about the same difference, all about the hight of the sight from the barrel. :+1:


Just my thoughts, since you are going to use iron or red dot without any magnification, I’d zero it to maybe 25 yards tops. 50 yards without magnification will be tough. Also, a 50 yard shot, will it be moving, will it be advancing on you, will you really have a lot of time for target acquisition,??

If you only ever intend to shoot at paper or metal out to 50 or 100 than yes, take the time to really zero it in.

I’m answering this based on talking with folks who have hunted hogs at my place with no magnification, a moving target and in some cases the thing running at them. They always wait until the target is less than 20-25 yards, or even closer in some cases.


That is my experience as well. Also, do you have astigmatism and does that make your red dot a bit blurred? Or are you nearsighted? I am. And at 25 yards my focus with a red dot was a bit of a problem. I found that when I went with an actual lens/prism (such as a Vortex Spitfire) scope, I was shooting much better when zeroed at 25 yards.


Hornady has a nice app for this. They have some preloaded Hornady information. It also has a section to manually enter the info.

I’m hoping to hit the range tomorrow to shoot a new rifle. This is the ballistic info for the bullet, and rate of twist for said rifle. I’ll let you know if this is accurate.


I recommend zeroing at 100 yards and adjust your aim per this chart.


There was a rather lengthy discussion on this in another post. I’ll try to find it and link it below. Whether a PCC, rifle, or even a scoped handgun, if the sights/dot is mounted high above the barrel, it is a good idea to understand the trajectory, even at close distances.

Here’s the OP: AR 9mm Carbine - What Zero to Use?

Here’s a video that explains some of the related concepts:


Here you go. I plugged the numbers in for a Hornady 55 grain hollow point 5.56 NATO round, with a 50 yard zero, and a 17 yard(51 feet) zero.

1 Like

Forgot to add the last screen. This is the drop for the 5.56 zeroed at 17 yards.

1 Like

Road trip!!! :laughing:

I love the Hornaday app. So useful and super easy to use. I do use Hornaday a lot which makes it even easier.

1 Like

So would it be bad if I kept zero at 15 yds? I could confidentially manipulate and use the weapon at room clearing ranges (not that I plan to clear rooms), and if the fight ends up further our aim lower.

1 Like

I would say yes, if you keep it at 15yards, just “learn it” at that range.
In a home defense scenario, at most you may be an inch or so off, which should be enough to stop the threat.


If you zero at 100 yards you don’t have to worry about not hitting the target at 15 yards. The drop at 100 yards is only about .0017 inches at 100 yards. That puts in about the same distance high at 15 yards. You can also get a laser bore sight and find a longer distance to sight in. I used on to sight in my iron sights and I had to wait till almost dark to see a back wall about 75 yards from my back porch. I then co witnessed my red dot with the laser dot and there you have it. Yes I had to adjust a
click or two at the range but I was on the paper and in the black. Worked for me.

1 Like