25 comments on “What Distance To Zero A Red Dot On An AK-47

  1. Excellent post! Thanks for more great information. I assume that having a red-dot with a slightly larger MOA (i.e. AK OPTICS = 3MOA) would change this analysis slightly.

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  2. Great article. This is excellent information. I expect that the ideal distance might be a bit difference for a 3MOA red dot like the Bushnell AK OPTICS, correct?

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    • The “ideal distance” will be the same. The only difference is the relative size of the dot at any given distance. At a particular distance the round might theoretically impact on the bottom or top edge of a 2 MOA dot, but still impact in the slightly larger 3 MOA dot. At 300 yards the 2 MOA dot will be 6″ in diameter, while the 3 MOA dot will be 9″ in diameter. There is significantly more red dot area for the round to impact in.

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  3. For red dot zeroing would you recommend a 25 yard point of aim point of impact? Based on what I read in your other article (How To Zero The Kalashnikov AK-47 — 7.62x39mm) wouldn’t that give me the 25 yard 200 meter zero? Also, is the height of my red dot irrelevant in relation to the height of my irons? Meaning, if I’m zeroed at 25 yards I’m going to be dead on at 200 meters regardless the height of my red dot, correct?

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    • Awesome question. The article that I wrote about zeroing the iron sights was based on the AK sights that sit 2″ above center of bore, however this particular article was in response to a reader’s question about a red dot sight whose mount places its dot 2.5″ above the bore and what kind of trajectories that he might expect with different zero distances.

      You might not think that 1/2″ would make a difference, but as you can see from the computations, rather than the near zero of a 200 meters (218 yards) being 25 yards with sights 2.0″ high, the near zero of a 200 meter zero with a dot that sits 2.5″ high is approximately 29 yards. This isn’t a huge deal, especially if your use a 2 or 3 MOA dot, but if you are a details oriented person and want your 2.5″ high red dot zeroed to 200 meters, then your initial near zero should be 29 yards instead of 25. If your red dot is co-witnessed with the iron sights, then simply zero at 25 yards for the 25 yard / 200 meter zero trajectory.

      I listed out the 17/326 yard zero trajectory with a red dot 2.5″ over bore because YouTube AK expert Rob Ski suggests it, however after analyzing it I can’t recommend it.
      I listed out arbitrary 30 and 35 yard zero trajectories from a 2.5″ high red dot sight to show what you how similar they might be to the 25 yard / 200 meter zero with 2.0″ high sights.

      As stated earlier, if your red dot is co-witnessed, then simply zero at 25 yards / 200 meters. If you red dot is 2.5″ above center of bore, then you will probably be well served by the 35/186 yard zero.

      I hope that this helps.

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      • Thank you. Yes, it helps a lot. This is by far the best AK shooter website I have found on the Internet. I appreciate your response and all the hard work you’ve put into this site. I look forward to digging into it more.

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  4. Do muzzle breaks change trajectory? Will I have to re-zero my rifle if I change my muzzle break?

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    • Yikes! Good question. I don’t think that it would. I’ve changed muzzle devices on ARs and never had an issue (stock birdcage flash hider to AAC 51T) and didn’t have any zero shift. If you are concerned then I’d definitely verify your zero after changing it out. Please report back and let us know your findings.

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  5. I am trying to use your data to determine a zero on my 7.62×39 ar-15. Barrel length is the same as the ak-47. I am using a red dot at absolute co-witness so my height above bore will only be .1 higher than your data. Do you think this will affect the points of impact much? I plan on using the 35/186 yard zero and am looking for an effective battle zero up to 200 yards.

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    • You AR sights should be 2.5″ above center of bore (just like the red dot discussed above) and your 16″ barrel should produce the same velocity as the 16″ barrels on the AKs. You should expect similar results. Please let us know how it works out.

      Thanks!

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      • Please do. I read it as a micro dot on an AK that was 2.5″ above center of bore. My AR would be around 2.6 and seemed like it would be really close. I am currently zeroed at 25 yards but haven’t gotten out past 50 yards with the gun yet. Hoping to try it at 100 and 200 yards tomorrow if the wind dies down.

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        • I incorrectly replied to you and then edited it. You are correct that I had written about the AK’s red dot being 2.5″ above center of bore. Your 16″ barrel should produce the same velocity. I would expect the same results from your rifle. The .1″ difference won’t make any noticeable difference. Please let us know your results after you get it all set up and zeroed.
          Thanks for your patience.

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          • I zeroed my ar-15 chambered in 7.62 x39 at 35 yards today for the 35/186 zero mentioned above. 16″ barrel like the ak-47. My aimpoint CompM3 2 MOA red dot sits at absolute co-witness or roughly 2.6″ above center bore. I used Russian military surplus ammo. Here are my results. I used a bullseye target for my 35 and 50 yard shots and man sized silhouette targets at 100,200, and 300 yards. 35 yards was point of impact. At 50 yards I didn’t really notice a difference from 35 yards. At 100 yards my first group was about 2 inches high aiming directly at center. I was able to compensate and bring in almost dead center. at 200 yards I was roughly 2 inches low aiming dead center. I tried to adjust and ended up a couple inches high. At 300 yards I aimed at the top of the head of the target to compensate for the expected drop. I was able to put 2 out of 5 shots level with the center of the target about 3 inches to the left and right. There was some wind and honestly the target was pretty hard to see at that range. I think this will make an extremely effective battle zero. Only 3 shots at 300 yards didn’t hit on paper within 6″ of the center “x” of the 40 shots I took for this test. I am adding a flip to side 3x magnifier behind the red dot. I think I will be able to tighten up my groups at 200 yards and reach out to 300 yards effectively with this zero with it.

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          • Outstanding After Action Report.
            Those numbers aren’t too far off from what we expected.
            Would you say that the drop at 300 yards was ~ 15-16″?
            You will notice that if you use different brands of ammo that you will have different results as they have hugh variations in velocity… ie. according to testing done in a YouTube video Golden Tiger had a velocity 200 FPS greater than several other brands and loads that they tested. Regardless, it will all be pretty close.

            I think that that zero is very flat shooting out to 225 yards in terms of a combat shooting with a red dot. Past that distance and out to 300 yards you now know your dope to still make the shot.

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  6. I will let you know. Thank you for posting this data. It is the best I have been able to find on this. There is a ton of info on zeroing an ar-15 of .223 caliber as well as zeroing and ak-47 with iron sights. Neither of which fit my particular application. I am waiting on a cantilever spacer for my aimpoint mount to move it forward in case I decide to put a magnifier behind it. Once I get it set up and dialed in I will post my results. Thanks again.

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  7. My red dot sits 3.5 inches above my bore. I’m shooting 123 grain (7.62x39mm) with a ballistic coefficient of 0.294 Drag function is G1 and muzzle velocity is about 2410 fps. Would I be best suited with a 50/190 yard zero? I’m new to this shooters calculator thing. Take a look at the numbers and tell me what you think. Did I do it right? What method do you use to calculate your trajectories? If its not to much trouble tell me what you came up with and what you would recommend for a red dot 3.5 above bore. Thank you.

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      • Well, I’m ok with the height because it clears my 2″ Irons. I really don’t like co-witnessing. I’m running an RS regulate side rail mount with an Aimpoint Comp M4s. That’s just how it sits. Even if I took the spacer out I’d still be at like 3.25″. But I like having a clear piece of glass to look thorough without seeing my irons so 3.5″ is cool with me. The rail mount and optic both have quick release so I could take it off fast if I had to.

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        • What Distance To Zero AK-47 With Sight Reticle 3.5″ Above Center Of Bore

          Mounting a red dot 3.5″ high on an AK will require some compromise with regards to what distance you want to zero the rifle. As demonstrated by the two different zero trajectories below, you can choose either a flat shooting zero that will facilitate easy target shooting on 100 yard rifle ranges with miserable performance past 200 yards, or choose a zero that will allow you to make combat effective hits on human size targets out to 300 yards, but not be the best solution for shooting soda cans at the range.

          60/150 Yard Zero — Good For Target Shooting:

          If your shooting will be restricted to less than 200 yards, then you might be well served with a 60/150 yard zero. It will provide impact within +/- 2″ of point-of-aim from 21 yards out to approximately 185 yards. As you can see below, with that ammunition velocity and sight height above bore, this is VERY flat shooting trajectory between 40 and 170 yards, but you can also see that past 180 yards the bullet starts to fall very fast. With this zero’s trajectory you can expect:

          • 10 yards: -2.8″
          • 21 yards: -2.0″
          • 30 yards: -1.5″
          • 40 yards: -0.9″
          • 50 yards: -0.4″ *
          • 60 yards: POA=POI *
          • 70 yards: 0.3″ *
          • 80 yards: 0.6″ *
          • 90 yards: 0.7″ *
          • 100 yards: 0.8″ *
          • 110 yards: 0.8″ *
          • 120 yards: 0.8″ *
          • 130 yards: 0.6″ *
          • 140 yards: 0.3″ *
          • 150 yards: POA=POI *
          • 160 yards: -0.4″ *
          • 170 yards: -1.0″ *
          • 180 yards: -1.6″ *
          • 185 yards: -2.0″ *
          • 190 yards: -2.4″ *
          • 200 yards: -3.3″ *
          • 225 yards: -5.9″
          • 250 yards: -9.4″
          • 275 yards: -13.6″
          • 300 yards: -18.6″

          * = impact within Comp M4’s 2 MOA dot.

           

          26/300 Yard Zero — Good For Combat Style Shooting Out To 300 Yards:

          This zero’s trajectory is a roller coaster of a trajectory, however it can be very effective if you apply the “Soviet Technique” to you shooting. As you can see from the data below, from 26 yards out to 300 yards your rounds will always hit above your point of aim. With the Soviet method you aim at the enemy’s belt line, knowing that at what ever distance they are (within the 26 to 300 yards) that they will be hit in the abdomen or chest (somewhere within approximately 10″ above your point-of-aim (POA). This is a very effective fighting zero and technique, but obviously it isn’t that good for shooting soda cans at 100 yards.

          • 10 yards: -2.1″
          • 20 yards: -0.8″
          • 26 yards: POI=POA *
          • 30 yards: 0.4″ *
          • 40 yards: 1.6″
          • 50 yards: 2.7″
          • 60 yards: 3.7″
          • 70 yards: 4.7″
          • 80 yards: 5.6″
          • 90 yards: 6.4″
          • 100 yards: 7.1″
          • 110 yards: 7.7″
          • 120 yards: 8.3″
          • 130 yards: 8.8″
          • 140 yards: 9.1″
          • 150 yards: 9.4″
          • 160 yards: 9.6″
          • 170 yards: 9.7″
          • 180 yards: 9.6″
          • 190 yards: 9.5″
          • 200 yards: 9.3″
          • 225 yards: 8.2″
          • 250 yards: 6.3″
          • 275 yards: 3.6″ *
          • 300 yards: POA=POI *
          • 325 yards: -4.6″ *
          • 350 yards: -10.2″
          • 375 yards: -17.0″
          • 400 yards: -25.4″

          * = impact within Comp M4’s 2 MOA dot.

           

          Choose wisely, and good luck! Keep us posted with your shooting results!

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          • Ok, thank you for the help. Did you use a ballistics trajectory calculator to get these numbers? I used http://www.shooterscalculator.com and I came up with a 50/190 yard that seemed to be pretty effective looking. What did you use?

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          • Regarding your 50/190 yard zero:

            I couldn’t quite replicate that. Using a 123 grain FMJ at 2350 FPS, sights 3.5″ above bore, and a near zero of 50 yards, the far zero will be about 178 yards. You rounds should impact within +/- 2″ of your point-of-aim out to 205 yards.

            The trajectories for the 60/150 and 26/300 yard zeros are posted above.

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  8. Awesome stuff!! For a novice like me it’s great info. My red dot sits 2.75″ at the dot from bore. Will the 35/186 work for me? 16″ barrel and 123 gr ammo. Thank you!

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    • That trajectory is for a specific velocity and sight height above bore. You won’t have the same trajectory because of the shorter barrel length.

      I doubt that you would ever shoot it past 100 meters. Just zero at 100 meters with the “1” setting and then leave it.

      I don’t know what the near zero will be without a muzzle velocity, so you are on your own.

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