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Old August 10, 2012, 12:24 PM   #1
Firefighter88
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Sight in distance?

In the past I have sighted my rifles in at a 100 yd zero. I have had people lately recommend a 200 yd zero. I will be shooting a beautiful new winchester model 70 featherweight chambered in .270 winchester. The scope is a Nikon Monarch 3-12x42SF with a BDC reticle. Honestly, any deer out past 300 yds i will not take a shot on, that is, until i get more comfortable shooting at that distance and beyond. For now though, inside 300 yds what are the pros and cons of 100 yd and 200 yd zeros. I do not have a laser range finder YET so will be estimated yardage when hunting, but have access to one while sighting in. What do yall think?
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Old August 10, 2012, 12:36 PM   #2
Wyoredman
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Sight your new rifle in for 2" high at 100yards.

After getting the scope set so you can aim at the bull and hit 2" high, shoot a few at the 200 yard target. They should land in the center. Now try the 300 yd taget. You should be about 6" low.

You are ready to hunt! For critters out to 300 yards you are ready to just "hold hair"!

Good luck!
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Old August 10, 2012, 12:47 PM   #3
kraigwy
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First I want to complement you on your rifle, the New FN Model 70s are the best of the Model 70s (and I have several, pre and post 64s).

I also have the New Model 70 in 270 Win. Normally I don't hunt deer and antelope with the 270 ( I use a Model 70 Featherweight in 257 Roberts) but this year I'll take my 270 Elk hunting and have been working on Hornady inter bond 150s.

First, you need to decide what you're hunting and know the "vital size" of that animal.

• Pronghorn antelope = 8.5"-9"
• Small deer = 8.5"-9"
• Medium size deer = 10"-11"
• Large deer = 11"-12"

Next you'll have to determine what is your max hunting distance. I have never found the need to shoot anything over 300 yards. So what I do is take the vital size and adjust my zero to Max Point Blank Range, meaning where do I sight the rifle in where it will never be too high or too low taking me out of the vital zone.

So with a 250 yard zero with my load the highest I'll be in the trajectory is 2.63 inches (150 yards) and at 300 yards I'll be 3.34 inches low.

Using the same data for my load, if I sighted in at 100 yards I'd be 9.52 inches low at 300, if I was to use a 200 yard zero I'd be 6.28 inches low.

Both those numbers could take you out of the Vital area if you shoot center.

I pretty much can tell if the critter is with in 300 yards and with a 250 yard zero I don't have to worry about hold over's hold under's.

I like shooting for hair, not air.

Of course if you use a 130 grn 270 bullet these numbers would flatten out a bit.
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Old August 10, 2012, 12:55 PM   #4
Brian Pfleuger
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Hard to say exactly without knowing what you're hunting and what bullet you're shooting but a 2" max height above zero should be reasonable, and go with whatever 100 yard number that matches.

For instance, if you're shooting a 130gr Hornady SP at 3,000fps, you'd be 2" high at 120, 1.8 at 100, with a Maximum Point Blank Range (MPBR), where you're 2" low, of about 255.

2" high at 100 is not unreasonable.

BTW, never trust a ballistics calculator (or Internet suggestions) without shooting at the actual distance. In other words, don't shoot deer at 300 unless you've shot paper at 300 and KNOW where that bullet is going.
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Old August 10, 2012, 01:00 PM   #5
Wyoredman
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Kraig's way is the correct way! Do it his way.

Now that I think about it, my way is the "lazy" way. It works for me, but I shoot my hunting rifles alot! Seems that before we ever became educated about ballistics, the "2 inches high" at 100 yards was how we did it with all hunting rifles! Old habits are hard to break!

Tanks Kraig.

And BTW, thw FN Model 70's are truely an excellent firearm. I own two, a .270 wsm and a .338 win. Enjoy your new rifle, it will serve you well.
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Old August 10, 2012, 01:17 PM   #6
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Excellent info, thanks. I'm not sure if i'm ready to add so many variables to the equation. I tend to use the K.I.S.S. Method. Once I get a day at the range and have some time under my belt with this rifle and the basics, i will definately crunch some numbers and slowly work towards the details. I haven't actually heard about the kraigwy method, so to speak, definately will consider it. When i'm ready.
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Old August 10, 2012, 01:20 PM   #7
kraigwy
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Quote:
never trust a ballistics calculator (or Internet suggestions) without shooting at the actual distance
I agree with that 100%, I don't sight in at 100 and see what the computer says. I sight it in at 250 yards on a paper target, then set targets up at 100, 200, 300 and 400 yards in my back yard and see what my bullet does.

If I can't keen them in a circle reposenting the vital area of the animal I hit and each range, then I do some adjusting.

(the 400 yard target is just for fun, like I said, I've never found the need to hunt past 300)
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Old August 10, 2012, 02:02 PM   #8
JerryM
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The old hunters/writers like Page and O'Connor recommended the "rule of three." Sight in 3" high at 100. That gives a max rise/fall of 4 inches out to 275 -300 yards for rifles like the .270, and 250 yards for the 30-06 with 150 gr bullets. That permits a center chest hold on animals the size of deer and antelope to those ranges. Of course actual firing is needed. That also puts the drop at 400 at 12 inches and 30 inches at 500 yards. I always found that accurate. For the first shots to sight in shoot at 25 yards and it should be centered for the 3" sat 100.

I have always sighted in my rifles for that and have never seen any need to change.

I liked the Weaver Rangefinder reticle which had two cross hairs 6 inches apart at 100 yards. At 500 yards I could hold slightly below center chest. I only did that a couple of times on antelope. Today the variables can be checked to see at what magnification you get 6" at 100. On my Leupold 2.5X8 I believe I found that the 6 inch distance from the center to the heavy part of the reticle was at about 7 power.

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Old August 10, 2012, 04:18 PM   #9
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You have a BDC reticle. It stands for bullet drop compensator. Sight the main cross hair to dead on at 100. Then shoot at 200, 250, 300. The top, center, or bottom of the circles under the main cross hair will be very close at these distances or further depending on your bullet weight. The key is shoot it at those distances to check it. The BDC only works at the power setting you sight in at (ie 4x. 6x) when you adjust the power setting it changes the size of the reticle in relation to the target. The BDC also gives you a built in range finder. The reticle is marked so you can calculate range based on the size of your game and the moa between the marks. Sounds complicated but you can buy a paper target and cut it to the size of your game animal. A deer average size from top of back to bottom of chest is 18 inches. Move the target to the distance you know and look through the scope. Write down or draw a picture showing how the reticle looks at 100, 200, 300, 400 yards. Remember this or tape it to your stock or binoculars. Now you know how far it is and which circle to hold on. Practice at those ranges and you will be able to do it quickly this hunting season
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Old August 10, 2012, 04:32 PM   #10
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If you check with Nikon's Spot On program, you will find that if you sight almost any big game rifle for 2 1/2 inches high at 100 yards, you will maximize the range at which the bullet will neither be over three inches high or three inches low, ideal for deer. For your 270, that would give you a maximum dead hold range just under 300 yards. As suggest above, 3 inches high should keep you within 4 inches which is fine for elk, but cuts it a bit fine for deer and such. Whatever you are comfortable with. Try the Spot On program at nikonhunting.com. It is free and is adjustable for just about any variable. It covers nearly any cartridge and bullet combination. It helps if you know your velocity. If you don't have a Nikon scope, choose any Nikoplex scope and the information is good for any scope. I have found the information to be quite accurate.
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Old August 10, 2012, 04:34 PM   #11
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I hunt with a .308WIN shooting 180gr BTSP these days when it comes to gun deer season.

I sight in 4" high at 100 yards which puts me almost dead center at 200 and about 5.5" low at 300 out of my rifle. Its not what the ballistics calculators say but that's how it shoots so that's what I go with. Thus far if I've lost a deer its not because I sighted in wrong - its because I forgot to disengage the safety!

The way that Kraigwy does it is the correct way. I really should start doing things that way but old habits die hard especially if they have been working all this time.
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Old August 10, 2012, 04:44 PM   #12
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I sight in at 200yds. It's just the way I was told and so far it works fine.

Most people over estimate how far away a target is. Use a range finder for bambi if you have any doubts.
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Old August 10, 2012, 06:50 PM   #13
jmr40
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The BDC reticle works best with a 100 yard zero. No it won't be perfect, but close enough. Yes you will have to actually shoot at 200, 300, 400 etc. to find out exactly where your bullets impact at those ranges in relation to the scope settings at those ranges. I've never known of the bullets impacting more than an inch higher, or lower than expected. Your group size at 300-400 yards will be larger than the margin of error from the scope.

Even without a long range type reticle I still like a 100 yard zero unless I anticipate a very real chance at 300+ yard shots.

Quote:
if you sight almost any big game rifle for 2 1/2 inches high at 100 yards, you will maximize the range at which the bullet will neither be over three inches high or three inches low, ideal for deer. For your 270, that would give you a maximum dead hold range just under 300 yards.
You can still do this with a 100 yard zero. Not a 270, but my 30-06 zeroed at 100 yards is only 3-4" lower at 300 yards than it is with a 200 yard zero. I can still hold on hair at any range out to 300 yards and make hits. When you start making shots at ranges longer than 300 yards then a 200-300 yard zero is helpful.

But 90-95% of all shooting is between 50-150 yards even in the wide open West. Having your bullet 2-4" above your line of sight precisely at the ranges where you are most likely to shoot seems overly complicated to me. It is much easier and natural to hold a little high at long range, than to have to remember to hold low on that quick snap shot at 50 yards. Particularly when you are having to shoot through openings in brush which could happen anywhere you hunt. A bullet 3" high at 75 yards could easily strike a branch you cannot see through your scope. With a bullet 2.5-3" high you are trading off a very slight advantage at ranges where you may never actually shoot for a more complicated shot at the ranges you will most likely shoot.

With a 100 yard zero your bullet will never be more than 1/2" above or below your line of sight from 50-150 yards. The ranges where you will most likely shoot. You can still hold on the top of any deer's back out to 300 yards and be in the kill zone. Much less complicated and much more precise.
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Old August 10, 2012, 10:12 PM   #14
doofus47
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The Wyoming kids have the full math stats above^^^^^^
But I sight my 30-06 in 2" high at 100 when I only have a 100 yard range and dead on at 200 when I have a 200 yard range. that way I am good to go out to 300 yards.
I hunt elk. No deer tag this year.
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Old August 11, 2012, 03:03 PM   #15
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Sight in at 2 to 2 1/2 inches high at a 100 and you can hold dead on to 250 or further. A hit anywhere from three inches above to three inches below point of aim is still a dead deer. I don't quite agree with 4 inches high at a 100 if it is to be used for deer as at the top of the trajectory it will be 5 to 6 inches high which could result in an miss or worse yet a bad hit. You have to adjust your hold, which defeates the concept of being able to hold dead on. BDC scopes usually do need to be zeroed at 100. They work great for long shots at known distances, however if you have to get off a quick shot at 225 unmeasured yards, or is it 275 yards, then you start having to guess holdover at what should be a dead on hold for a rifle sighted in a couple of inches high to begin with. If they call for initially zeroing in at 200 yards, then you should be fine. My 7mm mag can be shot dead on for deer to 296 yards which is as far as I am comfortable shooting from a field position.
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Old August 11, 2012, 06:29 PM   #16
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I sight in at 100 to be on at 200 yards. With that 270, if you are on at 200 just remember "7, 20, 40". Your drop at 300 will be approx 7 inches and your drop at 400 will be about 20 inches (and 40 inches at 500). For me, that's about as simple as it gets. No BDC required to 400 yards. If the shot is 300 to 400, just put the crosshairs on that big buck's back and Sqeeeeze. I have rarely shot a deer out past about 375 yards, but I'll shoot pigs and coyotes wherever the heck I see them, and that's often past 400. I passed on a coyote at 500 the other day, but I should have had a go at him.
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Old August 11, 2012, 07:38 PM   #17
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I do pretty much what kraigwy does except a little simpler. I find my accurate load and run it across my Chronograph. I then plug my average speed into a ballistics program like JBM for an 8" diameter kill zone and adjust my scope from my 100 yard zero. Then I go test it at the range on an 8" steel gong at a minimum of 300 yards, if I can't hit the gong better than 95% of the time from field positions I know I need to get closer.

2900 fps is pretty common for a .270 with 150 grain bullets and if yours runs near that then you can hold on hair out to 324 +/- yards with a maximum point blank range zero. At 400 you can hold top of their back or slightly over on deer and still hit the kill zone. You should be turning the knobs if you want to shoot past 400 yards.
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