A 30-Yard Zero For Precision .22s

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posted on June 11, 2024
30-Yard Zero For Precision .22’s graphic

If you’re like most people, your .22 Long Rifle zero is probably 25 yards, or maybe 50 yards. But have you ever tried something in between? Back in 2012, Jack Leuba of Quantified Performance wrote a short article called “The Zen of the 100-Yard Zero.” His focus was on AR-15s and combat rifles, but the philosophy holds true for many platforms.

The gist of Jack’s article was that with a 100-yard zero, particularly with a .223 Rem., the bullet just kisses the line of sight and then begins arcing back down again. In practice, this means that you only ever need to consider holding over a target, regardless of the distance, from 0 to 600 yards and beyond. Simple. No holding below the desired point of impact or any extra mental math.

I thought about Jack’s article while choosing the “best” zero for my precision .22 LR rifle. Obviously, the .22 LR doesn’t have the same trajectory as a .223, but the concept applies nonetheless. Choose a point along the bullet’s path where the bullet kisses the line of sight before beginning its downward arc. To save you all the number-crunching, that turns out to be at right around 30 yards. I’ve found this to be very close for a variety of loads and optic heights.

Is it perfect for everyone? No. If you know you’re only shooting at 25 yards, as many matches do, then zero for exactly 25 yards. If you are hunting and prefer a point-blank zero that keeps the bullet within a set radius of the point of aim, then use that. But for precision rimfire field events with unknown target distances, give 30 yards a try as a starting point and see how it works for you.

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