What Distance Should You Zero A Micro Red Dot Sight On An AK-47?
This article originated from a question asked by a reader on the How To Zero The Kalashnikov AK-47 — 7.62x39mm page with regards to what distance to zero a micro red dot sight mounted to an AK-47 that. His mount does not allow the red dot to be co-witnessed with the iron sights. His mount puts the red dot 2.5″ above the center of bore, rather than the 2.0″ height of the iron sights.
Reader: Please help! How many yards/meters do I zero my ras47 red dot primary arms micro dot? Please thanks!
Savannah Arsenal Reply: Look at the trajectories for the different zero distances and see which one works best for you. If sight can be co-witnessed then simply zero it to that distance. If it can’t be co-witnessed (maybe sits a little high) then we can figure out a pretty close compromise if we know the height of the red dot (probably the center of the sight) above the center of the bore.
Reader: Thank you so much for helping! I’m using a Ras47 with a primary arms advanced micro red dot. with the century red army standard scope base and mount which was made from century for this ak47. Using wolf fmj 123 grain. The iron sites are zero in by using your website! 25 yards with rear setting at 2. Then 100 meters and rear setting back to 1. But I always use battle setting!
The red dot sight can’t be co witness and the measurements, center of red dot sight and center of bore is roughly 2″1/4-2″1/2. I’m no expert but by using a tape measure that’s The measurements. Bullets are 123grain wolf fmj 2350 thanks!!
Using 7.62x39mm Soviet 123 grain FMJ at 2350 FPS and a sight height of 2.5″ above bore I came up with a couple of decent trajectories. I used yards for both. I’m assuming that you are in the USA and think in terms of yards.
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35/186 Yard Zero:
This looks like a GREAT zero for shooting within approximately 250 yards. This zero will provide a trajectory that never rises above or below the height of the front sight from the muzzle out to 220 yards. You will hit anywhere within a 5″ circle out to that point. The Primary Arms Micro RDS has a 2 MOA dot. As you can see from the numbers below, you rounds will impact within (or very close to) the red dot from about 25 yards out to almost 250 yards.
- 35 yards: POA=POI – Within the sight’s red dot.
- 50 yards: +.82″: – Within the sight’s red dot.
- 75 yards: +1.82″ – Bullet impact slightly over the sight’s red dot.
- 100 yards: +2.35″ – Within the sight’s red dot.
- From approximately 105 yards to 120 yards the bullet skims along the trajectory’s apogee of 2.4″ – Just slightly above your sight’s red dot.
- 125 yards: +2.36 yards – Within the sight’s red dot.
- 150 yards: +1.82″ – Within the sight’s red dot.
- 175 yards: +.69″ – Within the sight’s red dot.
- 186 yards: POI=POA – Within the sight’s red dot.
- 200 yards: -1.08″ Your 2 MOA red dot will be 4” wide at this distance – Within the sight’s red dot.
- At approximately 215 yards (almost 200 meters) the trajectory passes 2.5″ below POA.
- 225 yards: -3.54″ – Within the sight’s red dot.
- 250 yards: -6.75″: The red dot will be approximately 5” wide, so your rounds will impact slightly below the dot. Can you really tell one or two inches at 250 yards?
- 275 yards: -10.75″: The dot will be approximately 5.5” wide, so you will need to aim approximately one dot width high.
- 300 yards: -15.61″: Your dot will be 6” wide, so you will need to aim between two to four dot widths high.
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30/212 Yard Zero:
This zero doesn’t provide a trajectory within the red dot like the 35/186 yard zero, but it is still very usable.
- 30 yards: POA=POI
- 50 yards: +1.33″
- 75 yards: +2.59″
- 100 yards: +3.37″
- 125 yards: +3.64″
- 150 yards: +3.36″
- 175 yards: +2.48″
- 200 yards: +.97″
- 212 yards: POA=POI
- 225 yards: -1.24
- 250 yards: -4.18″
- 275 yards: -7.93″
- 300 yards: -12.54
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17/326 Yard Zero:
Rob Ski of The AK Operators Union recommends zeroing your red dot sight so that your rounds impact 9″ high at 100 yards. This translates to a 17 / 326 yard zero. Initially I thought that this would be a terrible zero to use, however if you follow the “Soviet method” that Rob and so many other YouTubers refer to and aim at the waistline of a humanoid target then your rounds will hit somewhere in the upper torso out to 326 yards. Still, I’m not a big fan of impact of over a foot above point-of-aim at 200 yards.
Assuming the same ammunition and sight height above of 2.5″:
- 17 yards: POA=POI
- 25 yards: +1.03″
- 50 yards: +4.13″
- 75 yards: +6.81″
- 100 yards: +9.00″
- 125 yards: +10.67″
- 150 yards: +11.80″
- 175 yards: +12.33″
- 200 yards: +12.22″
- 225 yards: +11.42″
- 250 yards: +9.88″
- 275 yards: +7.54″
- 300 yards: +4.34″
- 325 yards: +.21″
- 326 yards: POA=POI
- 350 yards: -4.93″
- 375 yards: -11.16″
- 400 yards: -18.55″
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I’m mounting a 2 MOA Vortex Sparc RDS to a Midwest Industries Gen 1 Universal Handguard. I’m going to go with the 35/186 zero to take advantage of bullet impact within the red dot.
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.
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?
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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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?
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.
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.
Do muzzle breaks change trajectory? Will I have to re-zero my rifle if I change my muzzle break?
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.
I run 7.62×39 through my 18.6 in. barrel SKS. I tested zero shift with a Lantac Drakon muzzle brake installed, without the brake installed, and with a muzzle comp. (AK slant brake) Each gave a markedly different in POI.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Before we calculate a good, flat, useful trajectory I have to ask why do you have it so high? It should be 2.5″.
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.
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:
* = 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.
* = impact within Comp M4’s 2 MOA dot.
Choose wisely, and good luck! Keep us posted with your shooting results!
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?
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.
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!
Should work great. Keep us updated with your results.
will the 35/186 zero still work with a m92 10in barrel?
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.
Hi. I read your article about zeroing AK iron sights…..”How To Zero The Kalashnikov AK-47 & AK-74″…. and put it to the test and had outstanding results. Because your instructions were so valuable in that area, I thought I’d explore what your thoughts on zeroing a red dot on an AK were. I read what you wrote about red dots that were 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 inches over bore. My set up is slightly different….I have a Romanian WASR 10 with a Primary Arms MD-RB-AD red dot sitting on an RS Regulate mount. Their AK-302M Rear Biased Lower and the AKML Micro Red Dot Mount Upper, to be specific. When I used calipers as best I could, it seems that the distance between the center of the red dot and the center of the barrel is about 6 cm or 2.36 inches. I zeroed it at 17 yards and tried to do things the Rob Ski way. Aiming at the belt buckle of a 2/3 torso shaped target at 100 meters. The hits were not what I was expecting though. I was expecting the hits to be 9 inches high. They were more like 4 or 5 inches high. When the target was placed at 300 yards, there were no hits. I’m fairly certain the issue has quite a bit to do with the grain weight of the bullet I was using (and/or the zeroing distance). I managed to acquire a decent amount of Tulammo 8M3 7.62×39 124 grain ammo. I’ve read great things about this ammo and would love to use it. I’d love to use it if I can actually hit targets at desired distances with it, that is. Don’t have any specs on 8M3 ammo though. E-mailed Tulammo and asked for specs and they haven’t responded. Only know it’s 124 grain. My main goal though, is to be able to hit a target from up close and personal out to 300 yards without needing to adjust anything and without having to do much holdover/holdunder. If you believe I must use 122 or 123 grain ammo, that’s doable. Please let me know what distance you believe I should zero at and where the rounds should hit at different distances (like you did for the 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 (red dot over bore) folks. I’m truly looking forward to your reply/response. Most people freely disperse information but it’s often simply incorrect. That’s not the case with you. You have valuable knowledge and information and because of that, like I wrote, I’m truly looking forward to your reply/response.
Hi Martin. I’m so sorry that I’ve taken so long to respond. Christmas, family, work, etc…
I ran numbers using 124 grain ammo at 2350 FPS and a sight height of 2.4″ (close enough to what you stated that you have) and the numbers were almost identical to the numbers that I listed above.
Ready to get confused? Here we go.
I have gone back and watched Rob Ski’s video again. My 17/326 yard trajectory numbers are sound. The problem is that Rob changes his numbers throughout the video and they all don’t match up with any specific trajectory (my 17/326 trajectory matches his 4:13 statement that it should be 9″ high at 100, but none of the other of his other heights of impact that he quotes). At the 1:23 mark in the video Rob stated that he sighted in so that he would have bullet impact 7″ above point-of-impact at 100 yards. Simultaneously the graphic shows 8″. At the 2:13 mark he states that the point-of-impact will be 9″ high (Rob always contradicts himself and confuses me to death). That is why my numbers above are based on a 9″ impact above point-of-aim at 100 yards. To add to the confusion, he states that at 300 yards that he has to aim higher than he does at shorter distances. While there isn’t anything wrong with estimating distance and memorizing hold-over at different distances, his “belt-buckle / 7 or 8 or 9 inch high (or whatever it is…) at 100 technique” doesn’t quite work at 300 yards, and so you will have to remember to aim higher… except that you, and the rest of us, want a single set it and forget it zero. He doesn’t provide that in the video.
Want to be confused ever more? Here is comes…
I think that Rob is shooting a 17/326 yard trajectory. At the 4:32 mark he states that at 25 yards he is shooting point-of-aim = point-of-impact (hits where he aims), although in the vid it looks like he is hitting an inch or so high. If you look at my numbers on the 17/326 yard trajectory above you will see that it corresponds with his 1″ high hits at 25 yard hits in the video. Therefore I figured that is statement that he was making 9” high hits at 100 yards was the most accurate statement that he made, and that he was shooting a 17/326 yard zero.
Are you sure that you didn’t zero at 25 yards? Out of curiosity I ran numbers for point-of-aim = point-of-impact at 25 yards (not 1″ high as in the video). Guess what? The trajectory matches your result of 4.5″ at 100 yards. Great… except that you stated that you didn’t zero at 25 yards. You stated that you zeroed at 17 yards. Hmmmmm. Another interesting number on the calculation… at 300 yards with the 25 yard near zero you will hit almost 10″ below your point of aim. You said that you were missing at 300 yards. Were you impacting below your target? Also, as you can see with the 17/326 numbers above, with a 2 MOA dot like you have, at 300 yards your bullet should impact within the perceived 6″ wide dot (2 MOA x 300 yards = 6″ wide). You said that you missed completely, which also would happen with a 25 yard zero. If I didn’t know better I would think that you had zeroed at 25 yards and not 17.
Go back and double-check and verify that you didn’t accidentally zero at 25 yards. If you did, then you can expect these results:
10 yards: -1.4″
25 yards: POA=POI
50 yards: 2.0″
75 yards: 3.5″
100 yards: 4.5″ (a couple of inches above the red dot. Not worth worrying about hold under. Just aim middle of meat and press the trigger.)
125 yards: 5.0″
From 123 to 146 yards the bullet hovers at approximately 5.0″
150 yards: 4.9″
175 yards: 4.2″
200 yards: 2.9″ (within the red dot… but right on the edge).
225 yards: 0.9″ (within the red dot).
234 yards: POA=POI (within the red dot).
250 yards: -1.8″ (within the red dot).
275 yards: -5.3″ (within the red dot, but right on the edge).
300 yards: -9.6″ (2 or 3″ below the red dot… not even worth worrying about any hold over. Just aim middle of meat and press the trigger).
You have homework to do. Verify that you aren’t zeroed at 25 yards. Then shoot at 50, 75, 100, 200, and 300 yards to verify the other numbers. We will be waiting to hear back from you.
Also, I’ll want to know how many times that you read this before it started to make the least bit of sense.
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This is why I love this site. No where else do you get such a thorough, honest and diligent response to a question.
Thanks! I try!
You would think that I know what I’m talking about.
While I’m only kidding with that statement, on a serious note, don’t trust me or anyone else on the internet. Try it and verify that it works or not before you trust your life to any of my techniques and tricks. I always appreciate hearing about your results and receiving your feedback.
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Thanks for the reply. Been eagerly awaiting it and totally understand and can relate to your being busy. So…..I’m 99.9 % sure that I zeroed at 17 yards. (Then again I’m frequently wrong, so I’ll double check of course). I have a measuring wheel/walking wheel that reads the feet. And now it’s time for me to write a tad confusingly……. I wrote Tulammo an email in English, asking for specs on the 8M3 124 gr. ammo. They didn’t rapidly respond so I sent them the same email in Russian. They responded shortly thereafter and told me they don’t manufacture that round. Kinda weird. It says Tulammo on the boxes. They said to contact The Ulyanovsk Cartridge Works. So I sent The Ulyanovsk Cartridge Works the same Russian email asking for specs and what’d they do? They sent me a link to a 124 gr. HP round that Tulammo makes and has on their (Tulammo) website. It’s not 8M3 though but I guess it’s close enough. Maybe. Anywho, on the specs for that 124 gr. HP round that may be close to the 8M3, the muzzle velocity is 2,329 fps. A bit slower than the 2,350 fps in your calculations. And it feels weird to be crunching numbers and trying to be so exact. C’mon……We’re dealing with Russian stuff and Russian (well…Romanian) AK’s. Not generally the most exact kinda stuff. Still…..I tend to try to get almost surgical when really getting a weapon to do what it’s supposed to do and what I want it to do. And what I want my ol’ WASR to do is hit targets from up close and personal out to 300 yards. With no (or minimal…the Rob Ski way) hold over/hold under. Just not sure it can be done. As a sidenote, this ability to hit targets from up close out to 300 yards has been my goal for several weapons and I finally had success with an M4 (with a 16” barrel, Primary Arms MD-RB-AD red-dot and xm193 55 gr. ammo). The magic number was 36. Read forums and watched videos on youtube because I’d never heard of the 36 yard zero. I’d heard of the 20/200 and the 25/300 zeroes. Never really had good results with those zeroing distance though. Tried the 36 yard zero and got exactly what I wanted. The target could be up close out to 300 yards and it’d get hit (in a surprisingly small group) with no hold over or hold under. Just aim at center of mass and hits are made. I was really pleasantly surprised. Couldn’t find that zero on your web page so I thought I’d mention it. I believe in reciprocity. You’ve helped me so I try to help if I can. Anywho, back to the original topic……..I totally agree that Rob Ski gets a bit vague and confusing. What I’m going to do is……. the next time I go to the range, I’ll set the target at 17 yards. Make sure it’s zeroed there. Then I’ll move the target back to 25 yards. See if the hits are an inch high (shooting the Rob Ski way). Then I’ll move the target back to 50, 100, 200 and 300 yards and see where stuff’s hitting. That’s pretty much what I did already but my results may be better this time. I often have negative results initially and kinda give up. Sometimes that second try is a success. If the results are the same this second try as they were initially though, I’ll try some rounds with slightly different grain weights. Wish there was a magic number for zeroing an AK with a red-dot like there is for an M4 with a red-dot. That magical 36. I’ll report back my results. Haven’t given up yet (and doubt I ever would). Love the AK and the 7.62×39 round. Just gotta make it hit from up close out to 300 yards!! It’ll happen (I hope) and like I wrote, I’ll report back with the results. And thanks again.
So as not to confuse anyone, this is a response to Martin Solla’s above comment about his AR15 zero. Don’t get confused. Ignore this with regards to the AK series of rifle.
I wrote an article on different ways to zero the A2 sights on an AR15/M-16/M-4 rifle.
AR-15 — Methods For Zeroing A2 Type Sights
I discussed several different ways, including the USMC method. Before adopting the ACOG sight, the USMC zeroed their 20″ M-16 rifles at 36 yards with 62 grain M855 ammo in order to achieve a 300 yard zero. If you are using a 16″ rifle and M-193 then you can expect slightly different results, but probably close enough.
Wtih the AR I like the 50 yard/200 meter zero. Shooting a 30″ diameter steel target at 300 yards I simply put the red dot right over the top edge of the target (not quite a snowman) and make hits with boring regularity.
I just ran the numbers with a 16″ barrel and 55 grain ammo. It looks like you get +/- 4.5″ from the muzzle out to about 330 yards (a hair over 300 meters). No too shabby.
I should publish some ballistic charts with different zeros as I have with the AK. Not sure why I haven’t thought of that. I’ll be sure to include the 36 yard zero with m-193
Oh….and I forgot to answer two of your questions. You asked about where the rounds were hitting at 300 yards. No idea. Aimed higher than belt buckle, basically center of mass, initially and fired about 5 shots. Nothing hit and I couldn’t tell where they hit on the berm. Then I tried to aim slightly above the target, slightly under it, to the right, the left…..still no hits and I don’t know where they wound up. And the second question of yours that needs an answer is how many times I had to read your message/reply. You write well and you’re easy to understand. Still read the message 3 or 4 times though. : ) Really I was going back to see if I missed something (like the magic number…..36). And Mr. Sopater…., I totally agree. The answers these folks give are priceless and much appreciated. And not very likely to be found elsewhere. Elsewhere you may find answers but they’re wrong 9 times out of ten. The folks at the Savannah Arsenal Project give advice/answers/recommendations that are worth receiving. No doubt about that.
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I ought to look more thoroughly at your web page. Never saw that you mentioned the 36 yard zero. And I was surprised. Figured you’d have just about all the truly effective tips and tricks on your web page and when I didn’t see the 36 yard zero I was, like I wrote, a bit surprised. And like I mentioned
in an earlier message….., I was wrong. See? I’m wrong just about all the time. Funny thing is though, that when I’m wrong about something, it winds up being for the best. And I’d read somewhere that the military did use it. Didn’t know it was for their 20” M-16’s though. There’s a video on Youtube from a group called–“Vigilance Elite”. The video’s called–“Spec Ops Dude’s Favorite Combat Rifle Zero”. It’s a fairly quick, about 11 minute, video. And like you mentioned the hits are within about +/- 4 1/2”. As the Vigilance Elite fella says, the hits are in the compact disc sized space. And a compact disc when held up to a chest is a small enough space. Sorry to anyone who may be reading this. This thread’s about AK’s with red-dots and now, getting back on the original topic……. I’m still looking forward to trying out your recommendations on my ol’ WASR and reporting the results back to The Savannah Arsenal Project.
Went to the range today and finally have the results. Started off at 17 yards. 51 feet. Took 3 or 4 shots (with the 124 gr. 8M3 ammo) and found that it was definitely zeroed for 17 yards the last time I shot it. Today the rounds were hitting a little less than 1/4”…maybe as little as an 1/8” low so I adjusted the elevation on the red dot just a little and got the next 3 or 4 shots just right. As long as the target was at 17 yards I thought I’d also try a few 122 gr. rounds and at that distance they were landing just about where the 124 grain rounds were. Then I moved the target out to 25 yards and went back to the 124 gr. 8M3 rounds and fired 4-5 of em’ and they were hitting about an inch high. So things were going well and as planned so far. Then the target was moved out to 100 yards. The shots were landing but they were just a little to the right of center and they weren’t quite 9” high. They were maybe 6” high. If that. So the windage knob on the red dot got adjusted just a little bit and the target got moved out to 200 yards. At 200 the hits were landing almost POA/POI. The first 4-5 shots hit right around the belt buckle area and that was where I was aiming. Moved my POA up a little. Near chest, slightly above abdomen. Took a few shots and that’s where the shots landed. So…….so far I was satisfied but remember, the last time I shot/tried the 17 yard zero, rounds were hitting out to 200 yards but none hit at 300 yards. So today when I moved the target out to 300 yards the real test was done. Will it pass the test or will it fail miserably like last time? What’ll happen?……………… What happened was awesome! How and why, I’m not entirely sure. Great weather today. Almost no wind. That may have made a difference. Perhaps the first time I tried this all I just did something wrong and today did it correctly. Not sure though and who cares? Today at 300 yards, using the 124 gr. 8M3 ammo, 10 rounds were fired. A bit more than half of ’em hit paper. I was thrilled. One actually hit the bullseye dead center! Never done that from 300 yards with an AK before. And I was aiming higher than belt buckle. Again it was pretty much POA/POI. Like I wrote, I was thrilled. Very, very satisfied. Then I thought I’d try a few 122 gr. rounds and see if they too would hit paper at 300 yards. And they did indeed. Took 10 shots with the 122 gr. ammo and a little more than half of ’em landed on paper. And one was in the center of the 2/3 sized torso targets head! So today, out of twenty rounds fired at 300 yards, 14 hit paper and out of that 14, one was a bullesye and one was a head shot! Now I know these may not seem like amazing results to some but they were amazing to me. Never before have I been able to hit targets at such varied distances with an AK with a red-dot optic on it. Been trying to accomplish for quite a while what was accomplished today. Suffice it to say that I was totally satisfied today and actually pretty amazed and happy. And my satisfaction, amazement and happiness are all thanks to The Savannah Arsenal Project. You folks are awesome! Thank you very much. I truly appreciate all you’ve done.
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Awesome! So, what are you running for a red dot and what kind of AK? Inquiring minds want to know!
Hi Sopater. Just a regular ol’ Romanian WASR-10 with a Primary Arms MD-RB-AD red dot. And good ol’ Tulammo 124 gr. 8M3 and 122 gr. FMJ ammo.
Wow, that’s encouraging to all AK owners. Thanks Martin.
You’re welcome Sopater. Tell you what, something else that would be very encouraging to all AK owners would be for folks like us to recommend the S.A.P. web page to ’em. The conversation would sound a little something like this— “You wanna get your AK to the level it’s truly meant to perform at? You wanna learn how to properly zero your iron sights or red-dot?……..Go look at the Savannah Arsenal Project web page.” I love my ‘ol WASR much more now, thanks to what the S.A.P. has done. No doubt in my mind others would too.
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Hello again. Made a little change to the ol’ WASR. Wasn’t getting lower 1/3 co-witness with the RS Regulate optic mount I was using. So I switched to an Ultimak M1-B gas tube/rail. Also switched from the Primary Arms MD-RB-AD red dot to a Bushnell trs-25. It sits just a tad lower and now the ol’ WASR actually does cowitness properly. Here’s the current issue though…..Obviously it needs to be zeroed again. Was wondering if I ought to use the 17 yard zero again. Not sure though because of where the red dot is mounted. Before it was over the dust cover. Now it’s over the gas tube. Not sure what sorta difference that may make. And the height of the center of the red dot is just a little closer to the center of the barrel. If you’d like me to get out the calipers and get measurements, I can. Anyway, it’d sure be nice if I could reach out to 300 meters still with the Ultimak. And it’d be nice if it still had to be zeroed at 17 yards. Sometimes things aren’t so nice though. I figure if anyone knows what ought to be done and what is to be expected, it’d be you. When you get the chance, please let me know what you think and what you’d recommend. And thanks.
Mine is on the dust cover. I don’t think that it will make a big difference. The TRS-25 is a 3 MOA dot which means that it will be 9″ wide at 300 yards. Also, the rifle and bulk ammo that you are shooting are probably not precise enough for you to tell a difference. Just try the 17 yard zero and see what it does at 300 yards. Keep us updated.
Update———I zeroed it at 17 yards. Then hit targets at 25, 50, 100, 200 and 300 yards. No hold over/hold under. Simply aimed at the center of mass and hits landed on paper. One thing that was pleasantly unusual was how few rounds were used. And I was using the 124 gr. 8M3 ammo so I was glad not to use many. Sometimes I zero a firearm and a ba-jillion rounds get used (or at least that’s how it feels). Not this time though. The day at the range was one of those days that I wish were more common. Very little ammo used and hits landing right where you want ’em to. Definitely made me dig the ‘ol AK platform/world again. Anyway, thanks for your reply.
We found the Ultimak tended to cook, and distort, most red dots after ~100 rounds.
Dot would move, get weak, turn off/stop working altogether. Several models of Primary Arms and Vortex optic were tried.
In the end, everyone I know went back to a RS Regulate or similar receiver side mount.
Sounds like a problem with most red dots.
Some have had negative results when using Ultimak rails, like you wrote. They do indeed get hot. I switched the trs-25 to a Primary Arms md rb ad. I’ve fired more than a few rounds with that ol’ 47 and things have been fine. Recently threw an Ultimak on a 74. Put a Sig Sauer Romeo 5 on it and it’s performing fine as well. You could be right. Maybe heat will fry either set up. Suppose we shall see. For now, things are fine and dandy. Thanks for the heads up though.
If you think you can use laser sights on a battle field you are a fool.