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Alaska Department of Fish and Game


Bullet Trajectory

Where Will That Bullet Go?

Let’s say that you are shooting a rifle that sends a pointed 150- to 250-grain bullet down range at between 2600 and 3000 feet per second velocity. This example would include a 7mm Magnum with 175-grain bullet, a .308 with 180-grain bullet, a .30-06 with 180-grain bullet, a .300 Winchester Magnum® with 180-grain bullet, or a .338 Winchester Magnum® with 225- or 250-grain bullet. All of these are popular choices with Alaskan hunters. You have sighted in this rifle to hit between 2½ to 3 inches high at 100 yards. Based on the above information can you answer the following questions?

1. If you place the crosshairs on a target at 200 yards, will your bullet strike above or below the point of aim? How far?

Answer:
At these velocities the bullets will strike on the crosshairs (the point of aim) or 1 to 3 inches above the crosshairs.

2. If you place the crosshairs on a target at 300 yards, will your bullet strike above or below the point of aim? How far?

Answer:
The bullet will strike 4 to 10 inches below the crosshairs.

3. If the wind is blowing from your right at 10 m.p.h. (a very light breeze) and the target is 200 yards away, how far from the point of aim will your bullet strike?

Answer:
The bullet will strike 4 to 6 inches to the left of the point of aim.

4. If the wind is blowing from your left at 20 m.p.h. and the target is 300 yards away, how far from the point of aim will your bullet strike?

Answer:
The bullet will strike 10 to 14 inches to the right of the point of aim.

If you knew the answers to all the questions above, you are either a ballistics trivia nut or a very experienced, practiced marksman. If you knew the answers to these questions by experience on the range, then you will be comfortable taking most shots out to 250 to 300 yards when the wind is calm and you have a solid rest.

If you didn’t know the answer to all the questions, especially the questions about wind drift, you should spend more time at the range and limit yourself to shots of 200 yards or less.

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