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  1. #1
    Plinker

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    How to bench rest a pistol and sight it in: Wisdom from the collective

    Iím sure there are many like me who would appreciate the sage advise of those who have more experience. Especially when it comes to fine tuning your pistol sights.

    What do you use to keep it steady?
    • I have bean bags. But I donít feel confident that Iím getting a sure and steady shot. Iíve been told to use a vice with some rags to keep it from scuffing.


    At what distance do you start?
    • Should you start up close, 10-15 ft, zero it in there and then take it back in increments?
    • My personal goal is to be able to shoot 25 and 50 yds (NRA Bullseye).


    Sight Alignment: proís and conís
    • Front sight covering hit spot
    • Hit spot sitting on top of front sight


    What else should be taken into consideration to truly fine tune your sights?

    Thanks in advanced 🤘🏻

  2. #2
    Plinker

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    I used to sight in my rifle. I liked it well enough.. Cheap, steady, and easy to pack in a range bag.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MH4529V..._kZR.Eb0F75GQ6

  3. #3
    Plinker

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    I use a small rifle tripod bag when I zero in my Pistol red dots at 15-20 yards.

  4. #4
    Plinker

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    I was able to sight in the CZ shadow so it hits just above the front sight at 25 yds.

    I was using a v shaped bean bag to set the barrel on and a rifle bean bag to support the bottom. Strange thing, when I checked my 22 I was hitting spot on, all red center. But when I switched to 50 yds I was hitting high.

    hereís a shot of 20 @ 50yds. Target was upside down. Shots are going high
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #5
    Expert marvin02's Avatar

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    When you use your method to rest your gun are you getting good groups when you maintain the same point of aim? The point of impact doesn't matter yet. Are the shots grouping well? If they are then your method is fine and you can adjust your sights to bring POA and POI to same place, when you are using whatever site picture you want. When resting a pistol I have found that it is not enough for me to just rest the barrel. I like to use bags so that my hands are also rested, YMMV. If you aren't using a ransom rest that literally locks your pistol in place don't be afraid to throw out an outlier when analyzing your groups, i.e. looking at the best four out of five. Because no matter how solid your rest you may still introduce errors that wouldn't happen with a full mechanical rest.

    The distance you site in at will be determined by what you use the pistol for. For my steel challenge pistols I use 15 yards because that distance has worked for me. Since you want to do precision shooting you will need to sight in at the distances you will compete at.

    Here is a discussion of the various site pictures types.

    Shooters Calculator
    - allows you to see the effect of sighting in at various distances. If you set the chart step size to one yard you will get a chart that shows you the rise/drop of the bullet over the chart range you set. You may need to research the ammo you will be using to find the velocity out of your gun or one similar so that the charts are accurate.

    Here is an article I found useful, it is about sighting in a rifle but the discussion of trajectory was both interesting and useful to me.

    If you go back and forth between red dots and iron sights you may want to use combat hold on your iron sights as this is pretty much the equivalent of putting you dot on the point of impact.

    This is just my opinion, I am in no way an expert.

    6 o'clock hold discussion at the NRA blog


    Combat site picture discussion
    Quit looking - no quality posts here.

  6. #6
    Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Triton View Post
    ...Strange thing, when I checked my 22 I was hitting spot on, all red center. But when I switched to 50 yds I was hitting high...
    Nothing strange about it.

    The top of the sights are above the bore of the barrel so the sights are adjusted so that the bullets trajectory is going up to make POA match POI at 25 yards. The bullet is still going up after 25 yards and hits high at 50.

    Use the shooter's calculator marvin02 linked to see how this works for various sight in distances.

  7. #7
    User Unknown

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    Triton, I think you and I ought to chat on the phone. Youíve asked some very good questions, and since you were good enough to tell us what your goals are (THANK you), Iíd like to help out.

    I just donít feel like typing for an hour.

    If you want, shoot me a PM, and weíll chat.

    I am an NRA/CMP Rifle guy obviously, but Iíve shot enough pistol and read enough of the rulebook to be dangerous.

    Bullseye is a kinda-specific subset of pistoleering, and has a lot higher demands on accuracy than most other uses and shooters.
    President's Hundred
    A2 Service Rifle High Master XC
    Distinguished Rifleman
    1,000 yd A2 Service Rifle Expert
    Incessant Tinkerer

  8. #8
    Grandmaster sloughfoot's Avatar

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    Shoot from position. Don't bother with bench. Shoot a lot. You and the pistol are a system that must work together. Hundreds or thousands of rounds. You do not establish zero with a single box of ammo.

    I give the same advice for a rifle.
    Red Fire 372

  9. #9
    User Unknown

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    Quote Originally Posted by sloughfoot View Post
    Shoot from position. Don't bother with bench. Shoot a lot. You and the pistol are a system that must work together. Hundreds or thousands of rounds. You do not establish zero with a single box of ammo.

    I give the same advice for a rifle.
    Good advice. For everybody EXCEPT true BR Shooters..and maybe the African rifle dudes, benches can be dispensed with as a means ďzeroingĒ firearms to shoot accurately OFF said bench.

    Pistols are particularly particular about recoil consistency.
    President's Hundred
    A2 Service Rifle High Master XC
    Distinguished Rifleman
    1,000 yd A2 Service Rifle Expert
    Incessant Tinkerer

  10. #10
    Grandmaster sloughfoot's Avatar

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    I forgot the most important thing. The ability to call your shot. Without that ability, you will never know where you are at. Bench or from position.

    I have shot pistol bullseye for many years. Zero's are constantly changing. Being able to call the shot leads to good results om a particular day.

    The bench is never considered. It gives false info. Even for loose self defense accuracy standards.

    Red Fire 372

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