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what's the best distance for sighting in an air rifle?

September 15 2008 at 11:02 AM
  (Login Veerah)

i thought it was 10 yds but after seeing the videos on pa's site i now sight in at 20 yds. then i read a review (may have been straight shooters) where they sighted in at 35 yds. i've been told to sight it in at the distance i plan to shoot but i was wondering if there was an "ideal" distance. here's my dilemna which may not be related to what distance i sight in my guns..... on my rfm tuned .20 rws 34 it's dead on at 20 yds but about an inch or so low at 10 yds. whereas my untuned ,22 rws 34 is dead on at bith distances. i;m guessing it has something to do w/ the trajectory of the pellet coming out faster at the .20's muzzle but what the hell do i know. thanks.

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(Login JimL911)

Sighting in

September 15 2008, 11:43 AM 

I believe Chairgun will give you "ideal" conditions. I zeroed my .177 at 30yds(max I am comfortable with).My .22 with peep at 25. Then just set targets at 10 yd increments out to 50yds. All about how YOUR gun shoots.

Happy Canuck

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(Login Vilters)


September 15 2008, 11:53 AM 

As far as you can...
The longer the distance, the less error.
but, what rifle???
Check chairgun, there is an option "optimum zero range" for a given "kill" zone.
But you have to give inputs, as speed, pellet, scope height, etc
A lot of varables come into consideration.

HW 45 in .177
Shadowmatic in .177
CFX in .177
Diana 48 in .177
Career 707 in .22
Gladiator in .22

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(Login pneuguy)

That's easy: There isn't one.

September 15 2008, 12:08 PM 

The optimum zero distance(s) depend(s) on velocity, sight, and pellet. Ballistic tools like the ones found on Perry Babin's site, will help you chose yours.

Check out in particular, demos #9 and #13: http://www.arld1.com/


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(Login 22MK1)

Steve, I want to use the holdover calculator to figure mildots on my Tasco Varmint

September 15 2008, 10:09 PM 

2-10x using .45 projectiles out of a Saver 909.
Are there any BCs charts that anyone has done, or is there a way to back figure them from shooting same poi at a few differnt distances?

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(Login Yrrah)

Mal I think this is what you may need.

September 16 2008, 4:54 AM 

"RealWorldPOI V1.0.2



No need for BC and it will give you the goods for mil dots, clicks, MOA or holdover/ under from just shooting at any zero range and then a couple of other ranges. I've checked it out, it is excellent. I have used the same basic concept with a very basic stats programme for my Sheridans for 15 years and the bunnies have always prostrated themselves in approval.

You will find it at the bottom of Chairgun's download page below the somewhat similar RealWorldClicks programme ........ It is good for up to 200 metres. Kind regards, Harry.

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(Login RedFeather)

Kind of like zeroing a .22lr?

September 15 2008, 12:57 PM 

I've heard where a dead-on sighting at twelve yards will give good results at 25/50/75. That's with a twenty-two long rifle, though. I suppose you could do the same with an airgun but it would be a bit more trial and error. As pointed out, it would be for one type of ammo, only.

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(Login raydj)

sighting in

September 15 2008, 1:10 PM 

I highly recommend you run chairgun with what information you have: muzzle velocity, ballistic coefficient, pellet weight, scope height are all very useful. Then you can look at your trajectory and what ranges you'll be shooting and make a determination. I currently have my RWS 52 'zeroed' at 30 yards for Field Target. This gives me good results from about 18 to 30 yards. Closer than that, I hold over. Beyond that I start 'clicking'.

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(Login 144man)

Exactly 28 yards...

September 15 2008, 1:36 PM 

...because that's how much I have available in the backyard!

I think we're all Bozos on this bus.

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(Login nced)

For my nc/wved tuned .177 R9s...............

September 15 2008, 1:38 PM 

shooting CPLs at 905 to 910fps I prefer a 30 yard zero. I use this zero for all my shooting if it be squirrel hunting or hunter class FT. With my setup I can aim "point blank" at any distance from about 15 yards to 30 yards since the midrange rise is only about 1/8" above the line of sight. If I used a 10 yard zero for my R9 setup the midrange height would actually miss the squirrels head if I used a "base of ear" hold. 

When I had a .20 barrel on my R9 I used the same "formula" for setting up the zero (keeping the midrange rise to about 1/8" above the line of sight) however the loopy trajectory of the .20 pellet made for a much shorter "useful zero".

Anywhoo.........just go out shoot some targets to determine the most useful zero for your gun and style of shooting. Keep in mind that if your midrange height is too high then you'll have to learn BOTH hold under and hold over. For my purposes I can ignore a 1/8" rise midrange so I only need to learn holdover at all ranges (except steep angled shots that require hold under). I played around with a couple different ballistics programs and found them to be pretty much a waste of time since I'm too stupid to "do it right", but your mileage might vary.

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(Login Squirminator)

No brainer for me...

September 15 2008, 2:29 PM 

My HW100T can thread a needle at 20 yards - and that is also where my Bushnell Elite 3200 3-9x40 scope is currently zeroed.

It is also where I am mostly dispatching pest squirrels. I only use head shots these days. Sometimes I am closer (~10 yards) and then I will just aim slightly high. And very occasionally I will go up to 30-35 yards and then I simply aim for the lower part of the head and also zoom right in on the scope.

I'd never attempt a shot beyond 35 yards because it is nearly always possible to get closer to the target and then do a cleaner and safer job.

Recently I shot a test group using Kodiak Double Golds of 10 shots at 20 yards and I ended up with a single hole smaller than a pinkie nail. The accuracy of this PCP rifle and its scope still amazes me.


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(Login owldo)


September 15 2008, 6:26 PM 


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(Login BillC.)

One Vern

September 15 2008, 3:19 PM 

41yd ,  blast from the past

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(Login owldo)

Wasn't that the.........

September 15 2008, 6:29 PM 

Distance to the tree on the other side of the creek? LOL

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!" -- Benjamin Franklin ...

Take out the "(trash)" to respond

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(Login DRGreysun)

Re: what's the best distance for sighting in an air rifle?

September 15 2008, 4:31 PM 

Sight in at the range you and your rifle/pistol have the greatest capability of hitting what you shoot at. It does no good to sight-in at a range/distance that you can not shoot to accurately. Makes no difference if it's 10 yards or 50 yards. Keep it reasonable, if you shoot off-hand and you can't hold 1/2 MOA at even 10 yards what the since of sighting in at 10 yards. Likewise if you bench shoot to 50 yards and can't hold 1/2 MOA you chances of hit anything smaller than a bucket are slim and maybe. I like the term 'Hold on fur, hit fur!' Simply put, stay within your 'kill zone'! Know your limits and capabilities.


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(Login Tyrathect)

Why around 27 yards is usually good ...

September 15 2008, 4:35 PM 

If you use a scope, and you're shooting at around 800-1000 fps, then you're pellet will reach the top of it's flight (relative to the light of site from the scope) at between 28 and 38 yards. If you zero somewhere below this area, then you are maximizing the range over which the pellet is really close to the point of aim.

If you zero at around 27 yards then:
- below 27 yards, the pellet will hit a little low.
- At 27 you'll be right on.
- in the low to mid thirties the pellet will hit very slightly high (maybe 1/2 to 1 pellet diameter).
- In the mid to high thirties, you'll be right on.
- at around 40 the pellet will be hitting low again.

if you're using iron sights, set it up for something like 18-20 yards instead, since the line of sight is much closer to the barrel.

Definitely run chairgun to get the right range for your setup, and check out Steve's demo (referenced earlier) since it will explain the concept.

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(Login mightyd)

20 and 35 are probably about the same.

September 15 2008, 7:07 PM 

figure 20 in the front, small midrange rise in between, and 35 on it's way back down.
I usually sight in around 22 paces and it works for squirrels between about 15 and 40 with a little holdover before and after, and a little hold-under when the angle gets steep. Not real scientific, but real effective for my purposes.
Dan (in NY)

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(Login ERdept)

I just sighted in based on this thread today. What's my hold at 35 yards?

September 15 2008, 11:52 PM 

I'm using an AA S 410 ERB, .22.


I sighted in dead on cross hairs at 25 yards.

At my usual shooting distance (backyard), of 10 yards, now hold EXACTLY one mildot over. It's dead on the mil-dot.


I dont' know how much I have to hold over or under past 25 yards to the distance of 35 and 45 yards. Can anyone answer this queston.

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(Login laanguiano)

Talon SS .22 JSB

September 16 2008, 11:53 AM 

I use Chairgun to computate Optimum Zero.

Optimum Zero: This is the zero distance that will give you the most yardages to shoot where the bullet will hit the target no more than "X" distance(Kill Zone) from the center of the crosshairs.

If I want a Kill Zone of no greater than 1" in Diameter Chairgun says the following.

Stock Talon SS .22 Caliber
JSB Exact 15.9 grain
Velocity: 810 FPS
Ballistic Coefficient
Scope Height: 3 inches

Zero Scope at 22 yards (Which makes the other zero point 43 yards)

This will make all shots from 17yd to 46yd hit no more than 1" from the center of the crosshairs.

Adrian AKA laanguiano

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(Login laanguiano)

Using Chairgun

September 16 2008, 1:58 PM 

Get Chairgun, its free. www.chairgun.com

To erdept and others. This is how you use the program and what numbers you will need.

MV (Muzzle Velocity):
Mass (Pellet Weight in grains):
BC (Ballistic Coefficient):
Scope Height:
Zero Range:

I will use erdept's AA S 410 ERB, .22 as an example. This is variations in Inches not Mil-Dot.

1)MV (Muzzle Velocity): This is the Feet Per Second (FPS) that your gun shoots at the end of the barrel. This changes depending on the weight of your pellet, and also the air in your tank if you have a PCP, and also changes if you have a power adjustment wheel or setting. To get the MV use a chronograph at the Muzzle (The end of the barrel). If you dont have one then you can first check www.straightshooters.com and see if they have your gun. If they do then click on your gun, and click on the link "Our Take." Then click the link "Velocity Test Results." They will tell you the FPS using your gun with different pellets. Here is the page for your gun: http://www.straightshooters.com/ourtake/ottestaa410erb.html Since you didnt say what Pellet you are using I will use the JSB Exact in .22 to get your FPS. Which they have listed as 927fps

2)Mass (Pellet Weight in Grains): Chairgun lists the pellet weights of just about any pellet you can buy. You get the data by clicking the "Pellet 1" button under the Variable Data Screen. Also the straight shooters website also shows pellet weights. If you want more accuracy than that you can buy a reloading, jewlers, diamond, or powder scale to weigh your pellet. Even better if you weigh the pellet then shoot it through a chrony. For the JSB Straight Shooters said 15.8gn

3)BC (Ballistic Coefficient): This is how aerodynamic your pellet is. Basically how well it flys through the air. Think about throwing a wiffle ball, versus throwing the same ball without the holes. They would be roughly the same weight but the wiffle ball isnt "aerodynamic" so it doesnt go as far. Same thing with pellets. 2 pellets can leave the gun at the same speed (FPS), but if one has a higher BC then it will go father than the one with a low BC. To get an accurate BC you need to use a chrony at the end of the barrel, and then another chrony closer to the target to check the FPS from a distance. This requires alot of equipment so we can just take the numbers from Chairgun or straight shooters using the same method as finding the mass. Straightshooters says the BC is .026

4)Scope Height: This is how high the scope is mounted on top of your barrel. 0 Scope Height would be if the scope was inside your barrel. There are many ways to figure this out. Here is one method to get precise: http://www.network54.com/Forum/79537/message/1191092281/Here%27s+a+different+way+to+directly+measure+Sight+Height+of+a+riflescope You could also get a ruler and measure from the middle of the barrel to the middle of the scope for a very rough quick figure. In general with medium rings the scope height is 1.5" which means your scope is mounter 1.5 inches above the barrel. We will assume yours is 1.5" for the example

5)Zero: The yardage at which the bullet hits exactly where the crosshairs meet. In your case you have made it zero at 25yards. Enter 25 under Zero in Chairgun

Thats all chairgun needs: Click the graph button. Then Select Ballistic Table under Tables. It will produce a ballistic table with some great data. Pay attention to POI (Point of Impact). This is how many inches up or down your shot will be at various yardages if you aim in the center of the cross hairs. So here is a few yardages for you:

10yd: -.6"
20yd: -.1"
25yd: 0"
30yd: -.1"
40yd: -.6"
50yd: -1.7"
60yd: -3.5"
70yd: -6"
80yd: -9.3"
90yd: -13.4
100yd: -18.5

Remember: If any of the 5 things change or are not as I stated then your POI (Point of Impact) will change.

Mil-dots: Chairgun will also let you calculate MilDot's POI's instead of Inch POI's. BUT the key here is you have to tell the program what zoom magnification you are using. 1 Mil-Dot at 5 zoom is a lot more inches than 1 mil-dot at 15 zoom. I personally have 5-15x zoom scope. So I put in a zoom of 5. Then when you look at the balistic table there is a column for mil-dots that will tell you the hold over. Then if I decide to shoot a target at 10zoom then i merely double the amount on the chart. If I'm at 15zoom i triple the amount on the chart. Find what works for you. if you have a 3-9 scope. Chart it on 3zoom, then you have a good way to double or triple the number.

Optimum Zero: If you want to find this like I posted on my last post, then click the Killzone button in Chairgun. It calculates the best zero distance for you based on your gun and your pellets data. The mission here is to find a range where your point of impact doesnt change much over a long set of distances so you dont have to aim above or below the target too much. You set the distance (Kill Zone) that you would like to be the maxiumum you would like to be off by, then it calculates the distance you should zero at. As Easy as that.

Ill try to write this in its own post in the future with some more steps for reference.

Adrian AKA laanguiano

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