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  #1  
Old 02-07-2012, 06:17 PM
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Default Red dot optic placement?

Recently received a hand-me-down red dot site from a friend. Up until now I've just been using the irons and have been very happy with them. I've never used a red dot optic before and wanted to know if people had different opinions on how far forward or rearward on the rail it belongs.

Is it purely a matter of preference and comfort? Does it depend on the distance or style of shooting? Any advice or opinions are appreciated.

Thanks all.
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Old 02-07-2012, 08:01 PM
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It's going to depend on the optic itself, as well as the individual shooter (cheek weld, sight picture, etc.). For me, it's about 1/3 of the way forward on the rail from the rear sight.
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Old 02-07-2012, 09:31 PM
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I just confronted this question when deciding where to mount an Aimpoint Micro on a bolt action Ruger carbine. As the Aimpoint has no critical eye-relief distance, and because the Aimpoints, at least (I don't know about other red-dot sights) are not fussy about parallax, (or perfect alignment of eye and optic), I opted to mount the sight as far forward as the mounting hardware would permit, because the dot is just as well visible and as easily aligned in the forward-most position, and where it obscures less of the downrange view. This permits the maximum view of the downrange target with a both-eyes-open, "heads up" view, and adequate placement of the red dot on target. To illustrate this point, try reading this post on your computer screen while moving your "thumbs up" thumb nearer and farther from your eye, and noting how much more or less of your view is obscured at various distances. It doesn't take much distance to make a big difference, as you'll see. Good luck.

Last edited by jkc; 02-07-2012 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 02-07-2012, 10:23 PM
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I'm not exactly sure what type of Iron sights you're using, but in my case I've got the MOE flip-up sights. When I first mounted my red dot, I put it directly over the ejection port. Looked a little weird to me, so I moved it back (towards the shooter) just enough I could still get my flip-up sights to work at the same time for co-witnessing. I believe the Military trains for your face to pretty much be touching the scope, but I'm not 100% about that one. More or less, it's a matter of preference.
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Old 02-07-2012, 11:35 PM
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I'm using a Trijicon RX01NSN with the 4.5 MOA amber dot and the suggested mounting for it is at the forward end of the receiver. Using that mount point with standard S&W sights, I can look over the rear sight and use only the reflex sight or drop my head a little and use it co-witness.
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:37 AM
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As a general rule, the Red Dot can be placed anywhere on the flat top just above the receiver as far forward as the forward guard. Why, well because shooting the Red Dot requires both eyes open (you can even have a lense cap closed on the front of the Red Dot (so you can't see thru the RD at all). You brain will place that red dot to your other eye and you will only see a RED DOT on your target.

Now with that said, most place it right above the ejection port. Some that use a magnifier need more room behind the RD. So that is the basic placement. Is that the best location. Well LEO and Military places them there and that kind of says it all.

Good luck, don't forget about backup sights, Iron Sights, and co-witnessing, just ask on this and you will be helped by many wonderful shooters... But that's another story... Keepem in the Xring.
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Old 02-08-2012, 09:09 AM
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Thanks so much for the advice everyone. If I might ask one more related question.

The sight I have sits very low along the rail. I own the standard model of 15-22. That being the case, if I want to co-witness with my iron sights I'll need to install a riser to put the red dot on. Is there a standard size riser I should get?

Thanks so much for the feedback. It's great getting such diverse and at the same time equally sound explanations. Really appreciate the help.
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Old 02-08-2012, 10:58 AM
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That depends on if you're keeping the irons, your cheek-weld, etc.

On my 15-22 I don't need irons, so I put my Bushnell closer to the charging handle.
On my 5.56, I moved the Aimpoint forward to clear the BUIS. With a 1x red dot, it doesn't make a lot of difference where you put it on your rail. Find a spot where it's comfortable for you and set it there.
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Old 02-08-2012, 11:13 AM
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I place all my RDS on all my AR's in the most forward slot on the top of the upper receiver.
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Old 02-08-2012, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LemonadeGrenade View Post
Thanks so much for the advice everyone. If I might ask one more related question.

The sight I have sits very low along the rail. I own the standard model of 15-22. That being the case, if I want to co-witness with my iron sights I'll need to install a riser to put the red dot on. Is there a standard size riser I should get?

Thanks so much for the feedback. It's great getting such diverse and at the same time equally sound explanations. Really appreciate the help.
What red dot is it? If you have all the parts simply rest the rifle or have someone hold it for you, so you can look through the iron sights. Then hold the red dot above the rail where you would want it, then measure the distance between the rail and red dot. It will probably be somewhere between .5"-1"
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Old 02-08-2012, 11:22 AM
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Like others said it's a preference thing. I like them all the way forward on the receiver. A little further out would be ideal for me, but I don't trust the flimsy handguard. It's nice and solid on the upper though.
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LemonadeGrenade View Post
Thanks so much for the advice everyone. If I might ask one more related question.

The sight I have sits very low along the rail. I own the standard model of 15-22. That being the case, if I want to co-witness with my iron sights I'll need to install a riser to put the red dot on. Is there a standard size riser I should get?

Thanks so much for the feedback. It's great getting such diverse and at the same time equally sound explanations. Really appreciate the help.
I have a Bushnell red dot on mine. After reading many posts about co-witness I bought a .83" riser and it works perfectly (looking at it in the house since I just got my gun yesterday). It seems that the .83" works for most red dot sights. If you want 1/3 co-witness, most people have recommended the 1" riser.
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Old 02-08-2012, 05:31 PM
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Thanks for all the advice and opinions. I appreciate it so much!
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Old 02-09-2012, 09:43 PM
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I used the A.R.M.S. #74 Spacer 1/2", this allows a lower 1/3 co-witness for my SightMark Red Dot optic. For me this was a natural position for my AR (where my cheek and stock fit placement was).

But everyone is different and you have to find your position. Leaving the optics directly on the rail places the rifle to tight and high to my face. Although rumor has it that it is always better to have the optics as low and close to the barrel, but maybe more so with a magnification scope vs. a non-magnification Red Dot. Good luck.
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Old 02-09-2012, 10:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aceman58 View Post
I used the A.R.M.S. #74 Spacer 1/2", this allows a lower 1/3 co-witness for my SightMark Red Dot optic. For me this was a natural position for my AR (where my cheek and stock fit placement was).

But everyone is different and you have to find your position. Leaving the optics directly on the rail places the rifle to tight and high to my face. Although rumor has it that it is always better to have the optics as low and close to the barrel, but maybe more so with a magnification scope vs. a non-magnification Red Dot. Good luck.
Aceman,

Do you know what the rational is behind the "rumor" of having your optics as low as possible to the barrel? Thanks for the help by the way.
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Old 02-10-2012, 01:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LemonadeGrenade View Post
Aceman,

Do you know what the rational is behind the "rumor" of having your optics as low as possible to the barrel? Thanks for the help by the way.
I think the "rumor" you are referring to has to do with the fact that a bullet travels in an arch, and your line of sight is straight. If your gun is not held perfectly level, the differences are exaggerated the higher the optic is off the barrel. If you could imagine aiming directly through the barrel it would not matter the orientation of the barrel. Now imagine having your optic a foot off the barrel. Any error in the vertical orientation between the barrel and the optic will cause a large change in the point of impact.
I dont think there will be much if any difference between .83" and 1". You will be better off learning how the gun "feels" when held correctly, it will become mussel memory.
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Old 02-10-2012, 01:46 AM
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As a speed steel competitor, for reflex red dots (window instead of tube) I put it as far forward on the receiver as possible regardless if it is a TruGlo, C-More, or what. And as low as possible. I have tried risers but keep going back to flush because when I raise the gun from ready to the first shot I find it puts the rifle right on my cheek every time with the dot centered which does not happen 100% when placed higher. If I was to use it higher I would want a cheek riser on the stock. With tube sights (AimPoint, Burris, Ultradot) the tube actually sits lower on the receiver compared to a reflex window so in that case I do use a riser to get the window a little higher. I also place it a little more to the rear than a reflex sight.
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Old 02-10-2012, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c7aea View Post
I think the "rumor" you are referring to has to do with the fact that a bullet travels in an arch, and your line of sight is straight. If your gun is not held perfectly level, the differences are exaggerated the higher the optic is off the barrel. If you could imagine aiming directly through the barrel it would not matter the orientation of the barrel. Now imagine having your optic a foot off the barrel. Any error in the vertical orientation between the barrel and the optic will cause a large change in the point of impact.
I dont think there will be much if any difference between .83" and 1". You will be better off learning how the gun "feels" when held correctly, it will become mussel memory.
I get what you mean. Thanks for the help. I definitely think you're right that the more you use whatever set-up you have the more your brain will do the work for you. Thanks for the advice!
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Old 02-10-2012, 09:22 AM
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Really appreciate everyone chiming in with their opinions and advice. It was very helpful. Thanks a lot!
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Old 02-11-2012, 03:32 PM
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Another reason, it depends on the kind of scope, the size of the front collective and the clearance of the scope to any of the weapons funtions exp. (bolt rilfe). Here's a vid from Midway USA on sellection of a a scope height. (Note: it's a little different on a semi-auto, but the same rules apply with them as well).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpLi064e_JI
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