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Improved Battlesight Zero for the M4/M16/AR15

TGO David

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This used to be an HTML how-to guide hosted by the Maryland AR15 Shooters site but the document was missing the last time I tried to search for it. So I revived a copy that I had saved, cleaned it up in MS Word and then saved it back off as an Adobe PDF file.

You can download it directly from this post. :lol:


1.The current 300 meter battlesight zero is a function of the sights on the rifle and I personally find it shoots too high for the vast majority of combat targets, including the Army's qualification ranges. The procedure listed here takes better advantage of the flat trajectory of these rifles as well as the use of civilian ranges, which are seldom surveyed in meters.

2.When zeroed at 200 meters, a distance twice that of normal combat engagements, these rifles have a very flat trajectory that is less then 2" from line of sight at all intermediate distances; a distance that's smaller than the normal dispersion of arsenal or factory loaded ammunition. This tiny trajectory arc allows very precise shooting out to 250 meters where the bullet is only 2" below line of sight.

3.A 200 meter zero has the happy coincidence of an initial trajectory cross-over at 50 yards, a distance available on almost all civilian ranges including many indoor ranges. This makes it easy to achieve a 200 meter battlesight zero without recourse to surveying your own range. If 200 meters is available you can fine-tune the zero at the real distance. And should when you get the chance.

The lowest sight setting, however, on these sights is 300 meters so the sight needs to be modified to preserve the markings on the sight

Improved Battlesight Zero.pdf

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Guest Todd@CIS

We recommend a 50/200 zero for defensive ARs (optics and iron sights).

With a 50/200 zero, point-of-impact will never be more than 2.5 inches low or high from 0-225 yards/meters. That's pretty good for a 16" AR.

16” AR-15 with 55gr. 5.56mm M193 (approx.)

50/200 YARD ZERO* (recommended)

Range (yards) Point of impact

0 -2.5”

25 -1.1”


75 +0.9”

100 +1.4”

125 +1.7”

150 +1.6”

175 +1.2”

200 ZERO


Range (yards) Point of Impact

0 -2.5”


50 +2.2”

75 +4.2”

100 +5.9”

125 +7.3”

150 +8.3”

175 +9.0”

200 +9.3”

IMO, use the "Improved BSZ" if you want, but the 50/200 zero is easier and more realistic (since the "range elevation wheel" was a silly addition to the A2).

Edited by Todd@CIS
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  • 4 months later...
Guest ibavol

Will the 50/200 zero work the same for an M4 with an Aimpoint mounted on the flat top since the line of sight is different (lower) than a A2 sight? Right now I just have it zeroed at 100 yds.


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  • 1 month later...
Guest Todd@CIS
Will the 50/200 zero work the same for an M4 with an Aimpoint mounted on the flat top since the line of sight is different (lower) than a A2 sight? Right now I just have it zeroed at 100 yds.


Sorry for the late response (never got a post notification).

I imagine your Aimpoint is either set-up for "Co-Witness" or "Lower 1/3 Witness." Either way, yes it will.

You might just keep your zero at 100 yards. It's just as good as a 50yard zero. The trajectory is flat like the 50 zero, but the trajectory is different from what's listed above.

Edited by Todd@CIS
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I spent three years (1963-1966) in SE Asia with MACV. I was trained to zero my Winchester 70 in 30-06 (Remington 700 in .308 didn't become available until 1966) at 200 yards. I think the actual mathematical zero was supposed to be 196 yards, 200 was close enough! This kept the bullet in the 4" kill zone for COM shot from the muzzle to 225 yards. For 99% of our shots , all we had to worry about was windage! Since there wan't normally that much wind, we could actually make most of our shots without touching the drums! I still do this with my Mossberg ATR in 30-06 for deer.

Edited by wjh2657
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How does one do the 50/200 zero. I'm not exactly clear on how the sights should be adjusted with that, especially with the standard flip up style backup site common on military issue weapons.  Also, is there a way to accomplish the 50/200 zero by using an offset at 25m? Adjust the the sights like normal for the Army method of zeroing but have the point of impact be 1" low for the group at 25 meters?      Yes I am planning on trying this at my next qualification range.

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Great source of information. Currently I recommend a 50/200 yard zero to my students and folks that ask my humble opinion. Although, I am starting to sway to a 100 yard zero recommendation. As a little back ground on how I have come up with what I teach. I ran a 25/300M zero for a large percentage of my time in the military (24 Yrs). I switched over to a 50/200 zero while I was in Special Forces and have been running it still, now that I am retired from the Army and training folks. 

About 4 months ago, in addition to running classes, I started developing, vetting and running twice a week, what I am calling The American Rifleman - Battle Standards. I started out with a 50/200 zero and it worked well, but have changed over to a 100 yard zero and my overall groupings have improved at the various distances run in the Standards (100 Yards to 10 Yards). I am also taking into considerations the distances encountered as a Armed Citizen and being able to articulate engagement of a threat at distances. I have been working hard to "put the work in", so my conclusions come from my experiencial base.

That being said, in our Indermediate Distance Rifle/Carbine course, we shoot out to 200 yards. I talk about all the various popular zeroing distances and what the max ord is, in theory, for them, then we go out and shoot the distances to see. I have found that all rifles have their own personalities and will be different from what may be on paper. Also, that is not talking about marrage of bullet weight/barrel twist combinations and a few other factors, that I will save for a different post.

Anyway, sorry for the long post, but I saw this thread and it interested me. I wanted to be more involved with TGO, so this is where I chose to jump in.

If there is interest in our Battle Standards, just let me know. I would be more than happy to share them. Thanks for reading.



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