AR at 100 yards


October 20, 2011, 08:19 PM
How easy or hard should it be to hit an 8 1/2 X 11 sheet of paper at 100 yards with an AR using standard iron sights? I was at the range earlier and at 100 yards the front post on my AR pretty much covered the entire sheet of paper.

I do wear glasses and don't have a lot of experience shooting rifles so I know I am the problem in this equation not the rifle.


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October 20, 2011, 08:28 PM
Not hard. I am a poor shot and can hold 3" groups at 100 yards all day with an AR. Practice, practice, practice. Don"t just aim at the sheet of paper, though. Put a small but visible black circle on your sheet of paper - you need a distinct aiming point.

Van funk

October 20, 2011, 08:35 PM
Do what vanfunk said, and when you line up the sights put the top of the sight post on the bottom edge of the target dot to form a "lollipop" silhouette as the Daisy airguns manual used to say. From there, you should be fine. Don't get discouraged. Just keep practicing your sight alignment, breath control, and trigger control. You'll be shooting little groups in no time.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
October 20, 2011, 08:37 PM
I agree, I have my open sights adjusted so the very tip of the front sight is where the bullet strikes at 100 yards. As long as your sight tip is in the center of the back peep hole, you should be fine. I can shoot rocks smaller than that, offhand and with open sites, hitting them nearly every shot.

October 20, 2011, 08:38 PM
And remember the old saying, "Aim small, miss small."

Used literally, or figuratively, this is sound wisdom for many areas of life.

But applied to using Irons at distance, it's very useful as well.

Imagine a point in the very center of the top of your front sight post.

Use that as an aiming reference and sight the rifle to impact just above it.

And, as always, while keeping the front sight as close to your intended point of impact as you can, squeeze the trigger slowly and steadily until the shot breaks and surprises you.

Your AR shouldn't have any problem hitting a target that size at that range all day long.

October 20, 2011, 08:43 PM
pretty easy
any rifle, any carbine, most any handgun for that matter (leastways with more than a snubbie barrel, which is really not that hard to do either given enough practice).. and that includes both centerfire and rimfire, any caliber

suggestion - never start with any new-to-you rifle or handgun at 100 yards
Start at 25 yards with any rifle/carbine, pattern the gun, learn your sight picture, adjust your sights, get your groups tightened up.. then at 50...then at 75-100

Always start with benching the gun (just resting the forearm on a sandbag will do)
If you don't first convince yourself of what gun-can-do vs you-do, you can waste a lot of ammo out guessing yourself and/or the gun. Throw at least 3 rounds in a row at each target "group" before messing with sights. You need to know what your spread is before you start adjusting those sights.

If your front post really is that big at 100 yards, go to a 6 'o'clock hold on the target.. But put a big black X on that paper that you can see for an 'aim point' anyway.. shooting at shapes several times the size of intended group size is doing yourself no favor

October 20, 2011, 09:48 PM
A couple of things that might help.
1. Shoot at 1/2 of a sheet instead of an entire sheet. A stick on red target dot may help. The smaller target forces you to concentrate.

2. Always approach the target in the same manner each time. It's easier to approach your target from the left or right instead of trying to find the center in an up or down approach. Consistency and repetition is what matters. This is especially true when attempting to find the center of black target with a black front sight post.

3. Start with your target at 25 yards. You should be able to keep at least a. three shot group the size of a 50 cent peice. Move your target to 50 yards and shoot the same 3 shot group. Keep making the distance longer until you are unable to keep your group under a 50 cent peice. At that point you have reached your max effective range with the combination of 3 factors... your weapon, ammo, and shooting ability. I say max effective range because your groups will at the very minimum double in size when shooting offhand.

October 20, 2011, 10:47 PM
Assuming the gun is properly zeroed, shooting a piece of 8.5x11 in. paper from the bench should be extremely easy.

October 21, 2011, 08:42 AM
Vanfunk nailed it.

Shoot it "lollipop" or 6 o'clock drop not cover up.

"aim small, miss small"

October 21, 2011, 09:27 AM
Just propped up on a shooting bench, no bipod, hitting a sheet of paper or paper plate consistently is about it. It takes a lot of practice to gain the discipline, just like a bowler getting consistent strikes in a row. That's the point - practice practice practice.

What shooters do to get shortcuts to accuracy in big steps is reduce their inaccuracy with mechanical aids: bipods, machine rests, slings, and scopes. They can then aim a lot smaller, being able to see a 1" bullseye at 100 yards, and prevent the muzzle swinging around. It reduces their inaccuracy at 100 yards to nearly the same level as a 25 yard indoor Olympic shooter.

The controversy remains, does it "make" them a better shooter, or actually make them less of one and more a machine operator? Is shooting skill something you can order from Cabelas or Brownells?

October 21, 2011, 09:36 AM
We shoot 3 gun matches with 9mm AR's, and make short work of the 6" plate rack at 100 yards. We are now using red-dot optics, but even with the Irons, it wasn't "hard." It does take a surprisingly long time for a subsonic 9mm round to reach a plate at 100 yards!

Sight picture, breath control, trigger squeeze, follow through. When the distances get longer, every little "quirk" gets magnified.

October 21, 2011, 09:36 AM
The above is really good advice. Don't aim at the paper, aim at the center of the paper. Don't use the front post for aiming, use the center of the front post; the rest of the post is just structural, not for aiming.

October 21, 2011, 09:37 AM
Don't start at 100. Move the target in closer and work your way out. That way you can validate the zeroing of the rifle and build some confidence as you push the distance out.

October 21, 2011, 10:56 AM
You don't need to be able to see a tiny little target to be able to shoot tiny little groups. Accuracy is about consistency and what you need is a target that you can see clearly but more importantly, that you can consistently bracket your front sight against. Which is why, for iron sights, I use a 3" black square for handguns at 25yds and rifles at 50yds. At 50 and 100yds respectively, double the size. With a post front sight, I guarantee you will shoot more accurately at 100yds, more easily and with less eye fatique, with a 6-8" black square than a little orange dot.

All a tiny little orange target will do is fatique your eyeballs.

Poor quality picture but illustrative in showing both sizes.

I also suggest a lighter color background but with less glare than plain white paper. I've been using brown wrapping paper as of late.

October 21, 2011, 11:52 AM
Thanks so much for the replies. I do need to practice more but the closest affordable rifle range is an hour and a half away so I don't get out there but a couple of times a year.

I probably didn't have targets suited for shooting irons at 100 yards either but what everyone is saying makes sense so I will get some targets better suited for that.

I did sight in the rifle at 25yds and was able to put a three shot half inch group just about center target with two of the shots on top of each other. That shows me that the rifle can do it, i just need to work my part.

I also had the rifle resting on a sand bag for stability so that part was correct. It was just depressing shooting a handful of shots at three different sheets of paper and not have a single hole in any sheet. Oh well, shows me I have quite a bit of work to do.

I have been thinking about attending an Appleseed shoot to get some type of basic help so I am sure that will help. I also appreciate all of the pointers from everyone here. It is very much appreciated.

October 21, 2011, 12:25 PM
just about center target ... not have a single hole in any sheet

OK, I think I see the problem. At 25 yards "just about" doesn't cut it. Remember that a slight deviation at that range equals a growing deviation the farther out you go. So if you aren't pinpoint exact sighting in initially, you may find yourself off target completely at 100 or 150. I don't think you were aiming wrong, I think your windage and/or elevation were skewed. Try moving it out to 50 and use big targets.

Also, don't overthink the aperture. If you find yourself blurring out or losing focus on the front sight, take a minute and rest your eyes. Stare at the mountains for a second. Remember festina lente applies--make haste slowly.

Also make sure you are properly zeroing your AR in the first place. This will save MUCH heartache later on:

I used the Santose method, but all will work. And though some folks can zero with a few shots, I've never been one of them. Don't be afraid to start over and do it again if you didn't get it quite right.

The real challenge comes after zeroing when you shoot from the stances!

October 21, 2011, 12:34 PM
Going to an Appleseed is an excellent idea. The instructors there will teach a lot of what is being said here (plus a lot more) in a very systematic and understandable way, and will reinforce each item taught by having you perform it with live fire. You can get advice from us here online, but there is really no substitute for actual live coaching... that is true whether you're a beginner looking to learn skills, or an expert looking to keep his sharp.

October 21, 2011, 12:43 PM
+1 for an Appleseed!

October 21, 2011, 12:49 PM
I know what you mean. I'm near sighted and when I was shooting my M16 qualifications with the navy we were aiming at a 1 inch bullseye in surrounded by 2 1" rings on an 8x11 piece of paper. my glasses made the front sight so blurry that I had to take them off and shoot blind, it made the target blurry but I at least was able to qualify. at 100 yards if all you are aiming at is the paper the I would say that a seeing impaired person would still have a bit of difficulty. no this is just me and I dont have completely horrible sight but if I was shooting prone at the target and range you specified I would say that it would be about a 60% hit, 40% miss type deal. off hand I would be lucky to hit it at all. every gun I own has optics for a reason. I dont have to focus on a front and rear sight and a target, I just have to focus on the target and get that reticule/dot right over my target and squeeze the trigger. I can shoot with my glasses and that improves my accuracy a great deal.

October 21, 2011, 02:08 PM
I see the pics and the text of people with 1" groups with iron sights at 100 yards. I can't do that. I've shot at most a total of 200 rounds in a rifle (just bought a DPMS TAC20) and my iron sight top of box groups at 100 yards are 3 1/2" to 4 1/2". Heck I thought that was good. Now my standing unsupported groups are at about 12". So, according to what I see in here, I'm not only sub-par but need a heck of a lot of practice.

To the OP, there are other people out here that can't shoot like a lot of these guys. As said, with only having shot 200 rounds from a rifle, I can't help to get better. We love shooting too and look forward to getting much better in the sport.

October 21, 2011, 05:45 PM
I shoot pennies at 50 yrds with my stock M&P and red dot. Four or five inch clays offhand at 100 yrds.

Welding Rod
October 21, 2011, 08:43 PM
We shoot 6 MOA black targets at my club matches.. so that is about 6" at 100 yards and about 12" at 200 yards. All of our shooting is done with iron sights at 200 yards, prone, sitting, and standing (no sling standing). I was foruntate enough to have barely won our last match with a 466/500.

I like the 6 MOA targets. The are big enough to see. On a good day from the bench with my non-floated chrome lined Rock River, shooting about 5 groups of my handloads, I will probably put 5 shots into about an inch once, probably two groups at about 1 1/8" to 1 1/4", and as my eyes get strained (which happens pretty fast when I take alot of time trying to shoot the smallest groups possible from a bench) maybe the last two into 1 1/2" to 1 3/4".

The AR sights aren't bad. I prefer the GI sights on the 20" rifle. I have a match rear sight with a smaller aperature but don't use it because it makes everything dark and spider-webby for me.

October 21, 2011, 09:27 PM

October 21, 2011, 09:47 PM
I'm a competitive highpower shooter currently shooting master level scores. With my AR (White Oak Armament upper), I can shoot golfball-sized groups all day long from the prone position with a sling using open sights at 100 yards.
I can hit an 8.5x11" sheet of paper offhand, pretty much every shot, at 100 yds, using open sights.

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