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Zeroing red dots. Is it right if it’s only right for YOU?


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When I recently zero’d a couple red dots I noticed that I could shoot them great, but others couldn’t shoot them as well. What I determined was one of us was pulling, one of us was anticipating, and the other was not doing either. So depending on who set the red dot up, they were the only one that could shoot it well. 

 

This leads me to two questions.  (1) if you don’t know you are pulling how can you set up a red dot to be at zero? And (2) does it matter if it’s your dot and you are the one shooting? 

 

I’m not aware of a way to set up a red dot with graphs in a room and not shoot the gun. That would get true zero. Anyone know of a better way than trusting grouping? Changing ammo, shooters, etc changes everything. 

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Everyone will be different. Things like Eye glasses vs. Contacts, Both eyes open or one eye closed. Trigger pull is the biggest thing; even with the same person shooting.

 Being a target shooter is hard. That’s why you don’t see most people at an indoor range run the target out all the way, usually 25 yards. Because their “groups” look like a shot gun blast.

Can you and your friends shoot a tight group? It doesn’t matter where that group is, is it tight?

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Posted (edited)

For my personal grouping I typically shoot a hole in the target instead of individual holes. It’s hard to see once the target is shot out, but I’d do about 4 shots and change the red dot. Most of the groups of 4 are about 1.5” to 2” but I can’t say which ammo was which or who was shooting. If I had wanted to rely on the results of the targets I’d have shot one by myself totally, but it was really just progressive as I didn’t expect to have issues once done. Actually as far as the zero is concerned I was pleased with the result in the end. I shot about 1.5” groups in the yellow and then packed up. I didn’t ever solve the question though of is it really zero or not because I could be pulling.

 

 

Edited by One1
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First off, if you are "pulling," you need to fix yourself.  

Secondly, you zero the pistol for you.  Optics are always zeroed for the owner or primary user.   Period.  

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Me personally I use a sled with 50 pounds of lead when zeroing any optic. The point being remove yourself from the equation. After I achieve point of aim point of impact I let it be. Most of my rifles whether it be a. 22 or my. 50 bmg, I focus on the grouping whether or not it is in the bullseye or not. I have found that as I have gotten older my natural aim has slowly shifted to the lower right of where I know the optic is actually centered. With this knowledge does it really matter if my impact zone is off center 3 inches if the grouping is. 75"?

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RDS should be parallax free. There should be no difference between shooters except for the shooters themselves.

With that in mind, if you are zeroing your RDS to compensate for jerking the trigger - you are really just enabling bad form.  It may work for you at the distance you're zeroing it at, but you will again be inaccurate as that distance changes.  With a handgun the difference won't be signfiicant due to the overall shorter distances at which we generally shoot them, but there will be a difference.

Also, what group size are you aspiring for?  If you are grouping your shots within a 5-inch circle of each other, at a reasonably quick pace, at a reasonable distance for self-defense purposes... maybe just accept that it is what it is.

If you are trying to thread the eye of the needle at 15-25 yards and cloverleaf your shots, then you need to focus on your grip and your trigger press then worry about dialing in the dot.

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I just started watching your video, so I will make an additional point:

Zero your gun for the ammo you will use the most often for whichever purpose you bought the gun.  Different ammo from different manufacturers will generally print differently on target.  Dial it in for your ideal ammo, then understand how to adjust your hold for the other ammo you tend to use.

Example:  I carry Federal HST 124gr 9mm.  I zero my RDS for that at 15yds.  I know how to adjust my hold (POA) for the desired point of impact (POI) at distances closer and further.  I also know how to adjust my hold if I am shooting 115gr Fiocchi FMJ at the range, or 115gr Magtech, or 115gr Winchester, etc.  I don't adjust my dot for those.  I adjust my hold.  I leave my dot zeroed for my carry ammo.

I also accept that there may be variances in each round of my preferred carry ammo due to manufacturing tolerances.  At the distances I expect accuracy of myself and the gun, those variances generally don't amount to much on target.

 

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Posted (edited)

A handgun shouldn't vary much between shooters, iron sights or dot.  If it does, it is more than likely shooter error by one or more of the shooters.  One or more of you are probably flinching, milking, or jerking the trigger or not taking up the slack before breaking the shot.  Also, how much finger is placed on the trigger can greatly affect the shot.  Out of curiosity, are you or your buddies left-handed?  

Edited by deerslayer
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We are shooting about ten yards on the last trip. I didn’t want to put anyone under the bus so i just gave three examples without names. My shots are more centered, i tend to shoot slightly high, but centered. I just wanted to get opinions on a more scientific way to center a red dot. Most of the shots i took on the target were high or low, but when i changed ammo and shooters they went right and left so i saw room for the red dot to be setup wrong by certain people. I’ve had a tendency to shoot slightly left of center if anything, but not low and left. My last target test was this one. 
 

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I’m not a marksman, but I don’t really have issues that I’d be concerned about. That wasn’t always the case as my first shooting days I did the typical low left pull and changing guns made a bigger difference than changing techniques. One’s that fit better didn’t make me have to work so hard. 
 

i just feel like there’s gotta be a better way to get a non biased approach to centering the red dot with people’s natural tendency to pull or anticipate. I’m not completely convinced that I’m shooting center either because i have no reference when setting a red dot so my inquiry is also for my own shooting just incase maybe i am pulling, who knows..... there is no center point reference when setting a dot  

 

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4 hours ago, deerslayer said:

.  Out of curiosity, are you or your buddies left-handed?  

Negative

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If you want to see if there is a difference between shooters, clamp the gun in something so you can put the dot on a point (as far away as possible), and you can look through it at about the same distance you would when holding it. Do you all see the dot at exactly the same point? If you move your head, does the dot move?

5 hours ago, One1 said:

i just feel like there’s gotta be a better way to get a non biased approach to centering the red dot with people’s natural tendency to pull or anticipate.

You don't adjust for pull or anticipating. As you have found out; it's not repeatable. 

5 hours ago, One1 said:

I’m not completely convinced that I’m shooting center either because i have no reference when setting a red dot so my inquiry is also for my own shooting just incase maybe i am pulling, who knows..... there is no center point reference when setting a dot  

Put a laser in the bore, adjust the sight to it. Or pick out one of the guys drilling the center out of the target at the local range and ask them to shoot it.

This isn't usually a big deal because you put it on and go shoot to dial it in. If you can't, or if its not repeatable, either you are doing something wrong or the sight is moving. 

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Eliminate the dot from the picture.  Take a handgun with iron sights to the range and repeat the test with the same buddies.  I bet you get similar results.   Which removes the dot as the issue. 


Unless the dot is actually an issue and it's not holding zero. 

 

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