Recently my father asked me to zero in his old bolt action .22LR. This gun is our varmit rifle and
is primarily used against snakes. Head shots on a snake stationary or moving can be a
Shots are primarily takin from his 2nd floor deck overlooking a set of ponds in our back yard. I estimate that ranges vary from 10 to 40 yards. I wanted to zero in at 25 yards so that id be as close as possible at any range. I understand that bullet drop will not be significant at these ranges but I am not 100% familiar with .22LR balistics and a snakes head is often no wider than 1/2in, doesn't take much variation to miss.
My little issue is that where I shoot the rifle range starts at 50 yards. Should I zero the rifle a little high at 50 yards or no? If so how much?
Rifle has a 20 inch barrel. Ammo used was some sort of Remington hyper-velocity hollow point.
Box isn't infront of me so I can't be more specific.
Also does anyone have a reccomendation for a good cheap scope for this type of shooting.
The scope curently on the rifle is an old tasco 3-7X20 and I hate the thing. Image clarity is horrible and I often wish I had a little more magnification when trying to pick out a snakes black head in grass or water.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
I've been hunting rabbits at 25-75 meters and I've got my rifle zeroed at 50m
And haven't missed one yeat, but a rabbits head is what? 3-4" wide not 1/2 like a snake.
1 yard = 0.9144 meters
I found this, hope it helps to some extent
Here is a table from Lapua regarding their .22 ammo
I'd zero it at 25 yards. That's what I did and I hold 1" high at 50. Hits every time. You might also want to try some other ammo. I find hyper velocity to be less accurate than high velocity. Stingers usually give me a 2" group at 50 yards, where Federal Lightning will give me <1" groups. Those aren't appropriate for your purpose, but maybe a high velocity hollowpoint would work better. I use a BSA 4x32 fixed power scope. It's does a good enough job to pick off empty 9mm cases at 25 and 50 yards. Field of view is great too. Higher magnification will decrease your field of view which may or may not be important to you. MJD
As a rule of thumb, I find if I zero a .22 at 50, it will hit ABOUT an inch low at 25 (because the bullet has not yet crossed the line of sight). If you zero at 25, it will hit ABOUT 3 inches high at 50. These numbers will very of course with exact ammo type and the exact height of your sights above the bore, but they are good enough ballpark numbers to get you started.
You could always get the ammo you use most often, zero it at 50m/yards and then set up a target at 25m/yards and see how it hits, and vice versa.
I did similar here
The two to the right were shot with my can attached, top at 25m an bottom at 50m. (or the other way around can't remember)
The top left and center were without the can and at 25m, bottom left without can and at 50m.
The reason why they aren't dead center is I had wind gusting at 11miles/hour but since they were grouping nicely I zeroed it at a later date.
Wish I could zero it at 25yds. In the past I used to just set up a target in the backyard in the middle of the anticipated shooting area, and zero it there. At the time the neighbors didn't care. Couple years ago one of the tolerant neighbors moved out and another couple moved in.
Concerned that we'd piss them off we didnt bother to re-zero the rifle and used it only occationaly on larger varmit. When a snake appeared we had to make due with the iron sights on a 1000fps RWS air rifle. Very accurate air rifle but you couldn't even see a snake in the grass unless he was moving, or traveling across the water. Even then you had to guess where the head was.
Anyway point is that I don't wanna piss off the newer neighbors and get the cops called if I set up in the backyard and start testing ammo and re-zeroing the rifle. To much gunfire can make neighbors nervious, especially neighbors who you've never really met.
One shot every now and then is far less likly to spark any nerves.
At my range 50 yards is as close as it gets so I am forced to work with it.
I went to the range today to see where it would hit at 50yrds.
Was extremely hard to get a clear sigh picture with that tasco 3-7X20, image was very blury and made it difficult to place crosshairs in the same spot. Took out a bushnell 4-12X40 that is waiting to go on my 30-06 and held it up to compare, the difference in image was amazing...that damn taso has got to go.
Did notice some odd shifting of groups and the occational flyers. Not sure if this was due to the junk scope or inaccuracy of the hyper-velocity ammo.
At first grouping was consistently 1 inch left and varied from 1 inch low to 1 inch high.
Moved the windage knob a couple clicks to hopefully shift the group to center, and suddenly I was hitting 3-4 inches high, perfect windage. Moved the knob back to where it originally was and group moved to 1 inch left and 1 inch low. I did not touch the elevation knob during any of this.
Then I would have the occational flyer that would hit 3 inches high or 2 inches right.
I guess ill have to replace that scope in the future and see if that tightens up the groups.
As for ammo.
What ammo would you recomend for this type of shooting. I need some sort of very accurate hollow point. Better ammo might tighten the groups as well as minimize those damn fliers.
Now just so I have this straight, if I want my zero to be at around 25-30 yards I should zero in about 2-3 inches high at 50 yards???
Doesn that fact that our shooting position is normally about 25 feet above our target change this any???? We shoot from the 2nd story deck and the pond is also down a small slope behind the house.
Does the fact that my bullet is already traveling down when it exits the barrel have a drastic affect on the trajectory over 25/50 yards???
It has no effect whatsoever.
As you your other problems:
1. You need a new scope.
2. Tell the neighbors you will be shooting snakes. This idea will be met with approval by most people.
3. After getting your 50 yard zero, if the gun is accurate, you can check your 25 yard zero from your window with one or two shots, same as if you were actually shooting snakes.
4. Use subsonic ammo, makes less noise. Winchester Dynapoints are subsonic, quiet, and very accurate in most guns. They're available at Walmart or KMart.
Subsonic ammo zero at 50yds. Learn hold overs, it is easy and most efficient/ accurate and quiet. Lubed lead subsonics, no cleaning/refouling chores too
eta; Weaver 2x7 rimfire, 120.00 very good for your snake problem. Reticle is about right. Power range and clarity good too.[Unless you can find a Leupold 2x7 rimrife special w/ fine duplex, awsome rimfire scope].
Hmmm, where I live snakes are protected. You can kill them if they're a nuisance or threatening something but generally the law is to leave them alone . . .
Good thing im not in MO he
One of my better shots (when the rifle was still zero'd in and scope was still half decent) was when I spot a snake on the far pond edge trying to swallow one of our fish, the fish was still alive and trying to get away. One shot behind the snakes head area and the snake starts flopin around while the fish falls into the water and swims away. My father was standin behind me with some binoculars watching...he couldn't believe I hit the snake without hurting the fish.
Tell the neighbors that your killing nuisance snakes with your 22 and ask them if they have a problem with it.
That is good advice. I have a Leupold 2-7 power zeroed at 50 and I use it exactly the same way. Works great.
The subsonic ammo is good too. Use any normal "subsonic" stuff that your rifle likes if your neighbors don't mind, cause they'll probably still be able to hear it, depending on how close they are... although I can't imagine it being loud enough to bother them. - If your neighbors are real liberal assholes though, and they don't want you shooting at all, then try using some Aguila "Super Colibri" ammo. That stuff goes about 575fps and is so quiet all you can hear is the hammer drop. It has no powder, but just a good strong primer charge. Obviously, it's not gonna be your first choice, but in a situation where you can't let them hear you, it'll work. I used to shoot squirrels in the back yard with it and it usually penetrated both sides out to about 30 yards. Never tried to shoot it any further than that though. I actually managed to get a couple of rabbits with it at about 30 yards as well. I think that was sort of pushing it though. When I used it, I zeroed it at 30 yards because I knew I wasn't gonna use it further out than that (tree line), and when I used it closer in... at about 10-15 yards... I just counted on the bullet striking slightly low. Anyway, once again, I'd only use that in a worst case scenario where you just can't let them hear you. Good luck!
My advice would be try your weapon with different types of ammo, whichever it likes the best use. Then practice at 10-50 yards untill you can judge distance and know where your weapon will hit at each range.
You can even expand the ranges if you want, I have a cheap scope, no bipod and a stock Remington 597, I can easily hit a, say sparrow at anywhere from 5 to 100 yards. Im not even a good shot, I've just found what ammo my gun likes, shot everyday and learned where to aim at what ranges.
The key is practice. Practicing on snakes will actually be great, you can see your rounds hit the water. I've done it before myself while fishing at someone I knows pond. It ended up being more fun then fishing.
Btw I'd go with a 3x9 scope. If need be it can be put on a hunting rifle, the 9X is nice for small targets. (Although I usually use 8). Leupold is my fav also but I dont use emm on my .22.
What are known to be the most accurate or most consistant subsonic rounds around? I saw CCI and Remington Subsonics mentioned, just wondering if those are the best or are there others that are equal. If not looking for a super expensive match round, but something that will provide good accurate consistant results.
Also, approximatly how loud are these subsonic rounds? All im used to is the ear ringing sharp crack of remington hyper velocity rounds... Sucks cause we are lakefront in a valley...that loud crack really echos around the lake/valley.
rem. subsonics didnt work at all in my rifle.
The CCI standard velocity worked good though. It's pretty quiet too. I hear the hammer drop, and then the report of the round "downrange". It doesnt make that quick "crack" sound that high-vel. .22lr usually makes.
Try both and see.
I'm glad you don,t live in MO too. Water snakes eat very small fish ie. minnows. I like to see snakes on my property, they help control rodents.
They also eat the larger fish that we paid to have put in the pond. Read one of my above posts when I cought one in the act. They also eat the frogs that help keep the lakefront insect population down. Also on a couple rare occations they have made aggresive motions to either myself, my family, or one of my pets. It's very rare that we come accross a snake that rather than quickly slither away actually attacks or assumes an aggressive position, but it is rather frightening when it does.
The .22 also provides more than enough rodent control when it is needed.
For the above reasons, ill hang on to those minnows and other little fish you speak of, and ill quickly dispose of any snake that decides to set up camp in the yard.
Fortunatly our larger fish love to eat those little minnows to!
Now id like to put this thread back on topic since I did not ask your opinion about shooting snakes, I asked for suggestions and advice about rifle zero and ammunition from people who are willing to give it.
Thank you to all who are sharing your suggestions and advice, it is most helpfull.
It would take a year for any snake to eat the volume of food a small mammal will eat in 2-3 weeks. Heck they are only active in NJ for 6 months (see link below) You must have a really small pond if your worried about them reducing your fish population.
You have two poisonous snakes in New Jersey, The copperhead and the Timber Rattlesnake. Copperhead bites have no reported fatalities nationwide (their venom, while unpleasant is not fatal) and shooting a Timber Rattlesnake would be a Felony (its an endangered species). The other snakes are not dangerous and pose no threat to your family. Should you have small children I would shoot the copperheads (they are prolific and you are unlikely to hurt their numbers) and call animal control to have a timber removed (due to them being Endangered). All the native non-poisonous snakes are much less capable of hurting a human (even a small child). A mouse, rat, or mole would be a much bigger threat.
Take a moment to review the document below and that will assist you on identifying the snakes you see:
I have lots of experience with snakes and they are a very important and useful part of the ecosystem, unlike imported animals like the starling in the USA, or the toad in Austraila.
Of course, if you still intend to shoot them then drop the whole "they scare me. they eat my fish" excuse and just be honest. You blast them because it entertains you. And no, I'm no animal rights wacko. I shoot starlings for fun.
Now, as to what to shoot them (or starlings) with? I like the Agulia ammo and the CB caps. They dont cycle a semi but they kill them just fine and its funny to see how confused the others get. An alternative (though probably not in NJ) is to use a suppressor and full power subsonics. They sound about the same as a agulia round but will cycle a semi.
Do us all a favor and add starlings to your "kill list".
Honesty the snakes are not the only "threat" the fish population. We also have issues with large birds (herrings i think??? not exactly sure what they're called), large rodents , small mammals (occational beaver, more of a threat to the trees they like to chew apart), and the to round out the list there are the large mammals witch include the bear that like to go fishing in our larger pond. Between the large birds and the bear there are no fish left in our smaller shallower pond (used to have a larger species of goldfish, would daily hear the splash of a bear looking for a midday snack untill the fish were all gone).
The larger pond is deeper and provides more hiding places for the fish.
Nothing we can really do about the bear, my father has on occation got annoyed at them and shot them in the butt with the RWS 1000fps air rifle, that usually sends them running out of the yard. Not going to break out any high caliber weapons on them, that would only bring the state of NJ down on us for illegally killing a bear. Also dont want to severly injure a bear and now have a even more dangerous injured bear running around the neighborhood.
Those big birds we dont kill, not sure if they are protected or not, and we dont really want to deal with a body that big. We just land a warning shot nearby and scare them off.
The rodent and small mammal population has really gotten on my fathers nerves in recent years. Between muscrats digging holes all over the place and eating the fish and the beavers chewing up the trees his patience are gone and he wants them gone to. Muscrats and other small furry animals that present themselves while my father is around will recieve either a .22LR or a .177 pointed pellet, which ever my father has easier access to at the time. Don't think he has ever shot a beaver, just curses at the damage they leave behind. I leave the small furry creatures alone.
We have never had an issue with either copperheads or rattlesnakes, they tend to stay up in the mountain rather than down near the lake. My father just hates snakes, hates them even more once we found them eating the fish. I got started on them also when we found out they were eating the fish.
Snakes have it bad, if either my father spots one or i see one while im visiting, there is soon to be a barrage (sp?) of again which ever is more easily available .22LR or .177 fire. Multiple shots only because on one particular occation i put a .177 point pettet through the middle of a snakes head from close range (about 15 feet), i could see the hole in the head. The bastard flopped around for a few seconds and then jumped into the water and swam away under the surface. Really caught me off guard and annoyed me as .177 pellets dont penetrate the surface of water very well and my follow up shots were on target, but ineffective. Also gave me mixed feelings, i was mad that I shot the thing and it still got away, and I also felt guilty that now the animal is severly injured and will probally go hide somewhere and suffer until it dies. Ever since then I put one in the head and then while their flopping around I continue to fire into the body to make sure they dont get away and expire as quickly as possible.
As for the starlings that you request we add to the kill list. There are some bird species that my father would like to see gone (starling im sure included) but the birds tend to stay up in the trees around the yard. Neither my father or I will take a shot at anything up in the trees. When we fire at ground targets we know our bullet or pellet will strike the ground if we either miss or over penetrate our target. Their are houses in the distance and we will not risk a missed shot not having a backstop to stop the round. The air rifle doesn't have the range capability to reach those houses, but even so we will not risk it.
Therefore the pesky birds live on...
I am looking for a very quiet and accurate round for yard use. May have to buy and test a box of the agulia, sounds like interesting stuff. Suppressors are illegal in NJ, i would absolutely love to have one...but that's just not an option.
Give those Agulia and CB caps a shot, they should work fine. And honestly I doubt you'll ever put a dent in the snake population by shooting them, I just grew up in texas and those rattlesnake roundups still piss me off. Its done major damage to the snake population.
Now I need to buy a .22. I have access to a great range and feeding the centerfires is going to get expensive!