So, Mack called me up the other day and asked if I’d ever heard of the 36 yard zero. I hadn’t, so the search for information on the best battle zero for Mack began. For this battle zero I’m talking about for your 5.56 carbine with either irons or a red dot. Other rifles are going to go in a whole different direction. From what I read it sounds like the Marines used to use this zero with their old M16 muskets and apparently if you want to be a Navy SEAL then this is the zero for you as well. However, what happened to the 25/300m, 50/200m, or the 100m zero. Notice how these use meters and the wonderful guys that like boats and the sea are talking yards.
I’m not sure what started the 36 yard zero fad but I can tell you the 25/300m definitely started with the big green machine. It doesn’t mean it is right for everyone but for them it is. I used this zero while in the Infantry for a little while. It worked enough for the majority which is why it was chosen. Once I began eating snakes, I changed my zero a couple times for different reasons. With my 14.5in carbine and ELCAN I chose a 100m zero because it is set up that way and has a bullet drop compensated reticle for our guns and ammo. (A quick note that BDC reticles are only accurate for the specific setup they were designed for. Don’t be mad when your Bushnell 1-4 isn’t dead on where it is supposed to be because you are using quality ammo they didn’t test it with.) Anyway, I chose this setup and the 100m zero because I was getting ready for a deployment to Afghanistan and knew I would need it for longer engagements way more often than close in running and gunning.
This was an interesting day of trying to zero with our partners.Fast forward a couple years and I now run a 10.5in carbine with Eotech and a 50/200m zero. Uncle Sam now uses me for close in running and gunning where extreme precision is more important than popping bad dudes at longer distances. Additionally, the 50/200m zero is where I keep my personal carbines set at as well. I like it the best because from muzzle to 250m the trajectory is about as flat as you can get it. To me it is the most preferable for urban work. (I don’t like to think anymore than necessary. Don’t want my brain getting in the way.)
I’m not saying one is better than the other. I’m just stating why I chose each one and that each has its place. You have to figure out what is right for you. But don’t go running to the newest fad just because some guy wearing skinny jeans tells you it is the best. Whichever of the thousand zero options you choose, just make sure to verify at incremental distances out to where you think your farthest likely engagement will be. No matter what I use for my zero distance, I always do my best to confirm at intervals out to as far as possible. Each person’s carbine and ammo choices are going to give them slightly different results. These different zero distances: 30yds, 25/300m, 50/200m, and 100m are just the most prevalent that you’ll see.
With all that said, I understand most people especially in the nice urban centers of this great country are only going to have access to a 25m indoor range. Because of that, I have added a couple of links at the bottom where you can download each of these different zero distance targets that are adjusted to be used at 25m and give you at least a somewhat close to your preferred distance zero. Do what you can with what you’ve got just like Burt and then go verify at longer distances as soon as you get the chance.
Hopefully in the next installment of what do I do for zero distances I can muddy the water even more when discussing red dots on handguns and at what range to zero them at and why. Or maybe I’ll take the plunge into the deep end of different zeros for your laser. Stay tuned!