Tip of the Week: Ballistics Do not Have to be Complicated
I like to study ballistics charts because they help me fully understand what my ammunition will do at varying ranges. Most ballistics charts show bullet drop out to 500 yards and include information about crosswind drift.
Such detailed information is extremely helpful, especially if you’re used to hunting where shots are close and you are planning a hunting trip to somewhere with wide-open spaces. Modern rifles and bullets will do their job at very long distances, but only if you know where to hold so the bullet hits the target.
Studying a ballistics chart also will help you in selecting a bullet design and weight. It can likewise help you determine what caliber gun will work best for your style of hunting.
For example, the .35 Remington, a popular caliber for deer hunters in thick woods, works just fine in close quarters. If you have to make a 400-yard shot with a .35-caliber rifle sighted dead on at 200 yards, however, you’d have to hold 70 inches above the target! I don’t know many hunters who can make that shot ethically.
A ballistics chart allows you to compare calibers and loads to help you make decisions regarding various hunting conditions.
Once I have made a decision on caliber and load, I study the table for bullet drop like I’m preparing for a test so I know where to hold in different yardage situations. If you have trouble remembering numbers, you can even write the drop figures/yardages on a piece of paper, laminate it and tape it to your rifle stock. If the deer is several hundred yards away, you’ll probably have time to consult the chart — and you’ll be glad you did when you make a nice, clean shot!
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