M*CARBO Brotherhood

Question about ballistics and sighting in .22 rifle

I have a question concerning sighting in a .22 rifle (3X9 scope) that I hope you can answer. From a practical point of view, what I want to achieve is to hit more gophers at various ranges-up to perhaps 100 yards- and therefore would prefer my rifle to be sighted in to the optimal range. While my targets are generally at 50 yards or less, I recently read somewhere that it is best to sight in a .22 rifle at 75 yards (vs 50 yards) because, according to ballistics tables, the bullet trajectory of the bullet is, at maximum, about 1.25” high up to 75 yards,. I suppose the rationale, (theoretically anyway) is from 0 to 75 yards out, you will always strike your target as long as you aim center of your 4” target. I accepted this rationale, and at seasons end (winter has arrived here in Canada) I changed my sight-in range from 50 yards to 75 yards. Since I did this though, I am wondering if I made a mistake changing my sight-in range. What has me questioning this change, is the following:

With your rifle sighted in at 75yards, if you are aiming at a target 75 yards down range, according to the ballistic tables, your .22 bullet will be about 1” high 50 yards out. But what happens when you actually aim at a target that is 50 yards down range? Will the bullet be high or low or on target, relative to the two target ranges?

Conversely, I am guessing that this also means that if your rifle has been sighted in at 50 yards, and you actually aim at a target 75 yards down range, some similar effect will be at play (whatever that might be). So, would the bullet be high or low, or on target, again relative to the two target ranges. I am back to my original question-what is the best range to sight in a .22 rifle?

I guess, in the final analysis, the probably doesn’t matter a whole lot. But I’d sure like to know and understand the facts about this.


I use a BSA 3x9x40 on my 22 rifles. You zero it at 50 yrds and the adjustment allows me to aim dead on at any distance out to 125 yrds. I was sceptical until I got my 39a zeroed at 50 yrds. I was able to aim dead on at 75 and 100 yrds and ring my 5x6 metal targets. The scope can be set for 36,38 and 40 grain ammo. I have always used a 50 yrd zero on my 22 rifles and held over for longer ranges. I like the target scope I’m using now. No more guessing. I need to get my model 60 zeroed again. I changed mounts. It can’t match the 39a grouping but it’s close.


@Marty Welcome to the Brotherhood. Don’t forget to stop in here and formally introduce yourself to the other crazies…


@Marty welcome to the forum. To chime in as I just sighted in my marlin 795 for a appleseed event (Nikon 3-9 .22lr scope). I sighted it in for a 25 yard target and I was spot on at 100 yards on small steel targets with some wind 5-10 mph. 100 yards would be a stretch for .22lr but .223 is a bit much for gophers and stuff.


Howdy Marty. When it says your 75 yard zero will be one inch high at 50 yards, this means your Point of Impact will be one inch higher than your Point of Aim at 50 yards.


@CatFood @Marty

I am just finishing a Custom .17MH2… I will let you know… I am waiting for a few Power Custom parts to arrive on Monday… :checkered_flag:(we’ll see?) The rifle weighs a mere 4 LB 15.3 OZ :thinking: How ‘perfect’ for the varmints???


Welcome aboard @Marty


all depends on bullet your using you can look up balistic charts on line and will give you all the info you will need @Marty


Thanks for your reply Dillon (or is it Kieran):

I have referred to ballistics charts, and what they will tell me that if I sight-in at 75 yards (for example) and then aim at a target 75 yards away, while my bullet is on its way to the 75 yard bullseye, it will be about 1" high, 50 yards out (and still 25 yards short of the 75 yard target). But, what happens if I actually re-AIM

at a new target 50 yards down-range? Will the bullet strike the 50 yard target high or low or on target? Remember, it is still sighted in at 75 yards. I realise it won’t be far off, but I am still curious. What really brought up this question for me is, is it better to sight in my .22 at 75 yards or 50 yards?

Again thanks for bothering to answer. I appreciate it.



Let me have a stab at answering this.

If you’ve sighted your .22lr in at 75 yards and shoot a target at 50 yards, with the cross hairs (reticle) centered on the target, your point of impact should be an inch high of center. Think of the trajectory as an arch. From the time the projectile leaves the barrel, it starts to rise in it’s flight, until gravity takes over and the curve begins to drop. By looking at the chart, you can get a rough idea how much a typical 40gr projectile will rise, then fall at the yardage in question. Which is better? It would depend on you and your reticle. The second photo is a basic hunting type and would be difficult for a “hold over” required if you’re sighted at 50 and wish to take that 100 yard shot. The last photo is a military type reticle and has hash marks for hold over and hold under which are useful for shooting different ranges from what we’re sighted in to. As an example, you’re sighted in at 50, want to shoot 100, so using the first hash mark above the center junction should put you on target. Conversely, if you’re sighted in for 100 and want to make a 50 yard shot you would do a hold under, using the first hash below the center.


I have received your reply Richard, and I thank you for taking so much time and effort to answer my query. There is one point that bothers me, however. That point is this: while you are firing at the 75 yard target, the trajectory tables have your bullet 1" high as it passes through fifty yards. In other words, if there was a target in line with the 75 yard target, 50 yards out, I accept and get that the bullet would punch a hole in that 50 yard target, 1" high while it was travelling to the actual target, 75 yards away. Now, when you re-aim from the 75 yard target to the fifty yard target, wouldn’t your aiming point change slightly (intuitively, I’d say slightly lower). If this is indeed true, then wouldn’t the bullet strike the 50 yard target slightly lower than 1" high?

I sighted my .22 in for 75 yards this fall and could actually test this perplexing question once and for all, except I live in Canada and it is cold and snowy here. I won’t be able to actually test it until the spring

This exercise is primarily academic for me because your bullet will likely kill any gopher whose middle you aim at, but I would like you hear your thoughts about my first paragraph. Am I still missing something?

Thank you again.

Martin from Alberta


You are correct. You’ll have to adjust your point of aim when shooting different yardages from what the rifle is sighted for. Ballistics can be deceiving. For example in the attached table I provided, there’s no mention of the barrel length. This will have an effect on the trajectory and ballistics. In theory, a 22" barrel should provide better ballistics and accuracy over a 16" barrel. Most tables are developed with an optimum barrel length for the round, in this case the .22lr.

In my own experience with my Remington 597, with a 16" barrel and sighted in at 50 yards, will shoot 3" low at 100 yards. I have the second type reticle so making the sight adjustment is easy and repeatable.


Gotcha, and thanks again



Good hunting! And a few more words to make the minimum requirement.


@Marty 75 yards for a 22 wmr or 50 for normal .22 but thats my own preferance and dont forget if shooting up or down hill always aim slightly low ,some of it is trial and error