Art of the Zero

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Art of the Zero

Post by DavidR on Mon May 04, 2015 4:19 pm

Im sure many have a way they get a good zero, I would like to hear the way some of our TOP shooters acquire theirs. Ive found with as many ranges and many different target heights zeros change. Of the two ones we shoot monthly, one faces north the other south and there is 4 clicks difference. How do you shoot the match, just shoot/call/adjust or is their a better way especially for newer shooters who may not can call a shot that well yet.

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Re: Art of the Zero

Post by LenV on Mon May 04, 2015 4:54 pm

I have a tag on each pistol that lists the distance it is zeroed for and the ammo I was using when it was zeroed. The tag also says how much to change for next distance. As an example the tag on my Gold Cup says..50yd zero, down 4 for 25yds, 200gr LSWC, 4.2 BE.  That is the best I can do until I fire the first round. After that it is all about the call.

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Re: Art of the Zero

Post by SteveT on Mon May 04, 2015 6:38 pm

A shooting notebook is where you keep this kind of info. I don't see any changes from one range to another using a dot scope. Even open sights, I don't adjust unless I am shooting in the open, and then it is based on the sun brightness and elevation rather than a particular range.

As for getting a zero, If you can shoot at the range, do it. If possible, do it at the same time of day. Sometimes you gotta adjust your zero off hand in a match. Just make sure you have a valid group before you start cranking on the screws. I've lost far more points by chasing my zero around the target than I did from bad zeros. I can't tell you how many times I started adjusting my sights and by the end of the 900 I was within a click or two of where I started.

Similar to OldMaster65, I have a card stapled to my box with sight adjustment direction, clicks per inch and number of clicks to go to 50 yards for each gun and ammo. I always keep my guns at 25yd.

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Re: Art of the Zero

Post by sixftunda on Tue May 05, 2015 5:58 pm

I keep a notebook and I have marks on my MatchDot that are five clicks apart to give me a reference point.  I do notice elevation changes at certain ranges and also mark those down in my notebook.

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Re: Art of the Zero

Post by rvlvrlvr on Tue May 05, 2015 10:05 pm

Piece of tape w/ the adjustment information (4 clicks down) and load information (185gr LSWC over 4.5gr W231) at 25 yards. At 50 yards, I just kinda know that I use a 200gr LSWC over 4.5gr W231, and I make sure to reset the sight 4 clicks up after shooting at the short line.


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Re: Art of the Zero

Post by Sa-tevp on Tue May 05, 2015 10:17 pm

rvlvrlvr, white bandage/medical tape would look and last better in that application than masking tape. I've used it on race car and aircraft wire harnesses and panel labeling to good effect.

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Re: Art of the Zero

Post by rvlvrlvr on Tue May 05, 2015 10:19 pm

Sa-tevp wrote:rvlvrlvr, white bandage/medical tape would look and last better in that application than masking tape. I've used it on race car and aircraft wire harnesses and panel labeling to good effect.

Agreed; I just re-did this one for this picture tonight; the first one I had was getting kinda gummy and peeling off after having been on there for about a year.

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Re: Art of the Zero

Post by LenV on Tue May 05, 2015 10:20 pm

It was the part about "make sure I reset" that made me go to a tag. I find it is very easy to forget if I did it when I put it back in the box or if I planned to do it when I got home. Now I take the tag off in my 3 min prep and put it back on only when I am adjusting back to 50. If the tag is on it is adjusted for 50. Tag off and it is set for 25. I didn't have to do that when I was younger......now what were we talking about?

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Re: Art of the Zero

Post by rvlvrlvr on Tue May 05, 2015 10:59 pm

OldMaster65 wrote:It was the part about "make sure I reset" that made me go to a tag. I find it is very easy to forget if I did it when I put it back in the box or if I planned to do it when I got home. Now I take the tag off in my 3 min prep and put it back on only when I am adjusting back to 50. If the tag is on it is adjusted for 50. Tag off and it is set for 25. I didn't have to do that when I was younger......now what were we talking about?

That's making me wonder if there's a physical way to force myself to reset the sight, other than making it part of the routine of turning it off and putting the gun away. My current process is:

1) turn the rheostat to 0 (clockwise-only)
2) reset the sight for 50 yards
3) close slide on empty chamber
4) decock hammer
5) insert empty magazine (always store one magazine in the gun; don't want to show up to the range next time without at least one magazine for the gun)
6) put gun in zippered gun-rug
7) put gun-rug in box

Nothing physically prevents me from forgetting to reset the sight, and indeed I have forgotten to reset the sight between CF and .45 and spent 30 shots wondering if the lunch I ate in between was affecting me more than usual.

What I do lack is an indicator mark on the adjustment indicators to show where my 50-yard zero is. I haven't done this because I'm afraid of Sharpie ink being too permanent (what if I change loads? what if that changes zero?), but I just tried it, and it appears I can scratch off the ink with a fingernail even after it dries, so I will rectify this now, and at least I'll be able to visually tell if my sights are off.

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Re: Art of the Zero

Post by Sa-tevp on Tue May 05, 2015 11:29 pm

Sharpie ink comes off with 90% isopropyl alcohol. Just don't leave the alcohol on so long it softens other lines.

I shoot iron sights and like to make a punch mark on the adjustment screws with an automatic punch, and then put a tiny drop of white enamel paint in it with a fine paintbrush. When I get my 50 yard zero I paint a fine line to mark the position. The line comes off with a quick wipe of acetone without affecting the blueing or parkerizing.

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Re: Art of the Zero

Post by LenV on Tue May 05, 2015 11:57 pm

Old school for iron sights. Always know how many clicks it takes to bottom out the sight and how many clicks it takes to move sight all the way left or right. When the pistol is sighted in count how many clicks it takes to bottom it out (don't force it) Write that number down/staple to box etc. Do the same for windage. I still remember the clicks on my M-14 ( hey,at least it wasn't an M-1). That simple exercise will get you back to zero from wherever you cranked it to. Just bottom the sights out and click it back up/sideways that number.

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Re: Art of the Zero

Post by tierney on Wed May 06, 2015 2:59 am

Fortunately, I don't find it necessary to have to make sight changes between 50 and 25 with either the 22 or the 45, probably due to the higher velocity of 22 ammo and my 45 load- 4.8gr bullseye with a jacketed zero 185 tumbled in BNT.  If a shot is not on call I might take another shot- never more than 2 before I check the position of the red dot adjustment dial against the recorded position in my shooters log.  Next, I check the rings and mounts for looseness.  Third, I evaluate my stance, especially if the shooting position is on uneven ground. Lastly, I check my grip, a slight change in grip angle can radically effect the point of impact.  If all of these elements are correct the bad shot is probably due to lighting or wind drift and then I would make the sight change.

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Re: Art of the Zero

Post by DavidR on Wed May 06, 2015 10:30 am

The slower your load and/or the heavier the bullet the more drop it has and more adjustment from 25 to 50 is needed.

Tierney... do you shoot the 4.8 185 fmj load at 25 and 50?

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Re: Art of the Zero

Post by Ed Hall on Wed May 06, 2015 11:44 am

Just a side note for some users of dot sights.  There are several out there that have dial indicator rings that are removeable.  These normally have a cut in the ring opposite the 0 indication.  The concept was to be able to remove the ring and replace it with the 0 aligned with your shooting zero.  In practice, these rings fly off during firing, taking any marks with them.  I have no idea whether these are still being offered in newer models, but just something to keep in mind.

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Re: Art of the Zero

Post by tierney on Wed May 06, 2015 1:40 pm

David, In answer to your question, if it is an important match or I am not wobbling too much at 50 I will use the zeros.  If things aren't going so well I'll use the less expensive lead 200 H&G at 25.  With 4.2 bullseye they have the same zero as the 185's at 50 although they won't hold quite as tight. Also, I do have a couple of wad guns that just will not feed the jacketed 185 so I use the lead with those weapons.
   I forgot to mention in the earlier post that if you can call every shot at 50, even the bad ones, and your shots are off call never automatically assume that there is something wrong with you or the sight dope.  Always rule out mechanical or ammunition failure first before you start cranking on the sights.

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Re: Art of the Zero

Post by DavidR on Fri Jun 05, 2015 11:36 am

We are picking back up on this topic to talk about Zero and Fronecks theory of dot placement to achieve a same zero point at 25 and 50.

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Re: Art of the Zero

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