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Rifle Trajectory Table - SWFSA - 100 yard rifle zeroing target

Rifle Trajectory Table - SWFSA-100 yard rifle zeroing target

Rifle Trajectory Table
By Chuck Hawks
In order to hit a distant target a rifle must be
correctly sighted-in, and to accomplish that the
shooter must have some working knowledge of
the bullet's trajectory. Sighting-in a hunting rifle
to hit a certain number of inches high at 100
yards (or 100 meters) maximizes the point
blank range of the rifle and cartridge and is
superior to zeroing at a fixed distance like 200
yards. This system maximizes the distance in
which no "hold over" is necessary. Of course,
the actual distance the bullet should hit above
the point of aim at 100 yards (or 100 meters,
which is about 108 yards) varies with the
individual caliber and load.
The table below is designed to serve as a
starting point from which a shooter can work.
Used as such it can save a lot of trial and error
experimentation. Of course, no trajectory table
can possibly cover all loads for all calibers in all
rifles. So after sighting-in, always check your
individual rifle at various ranges to see how
close its trajectory comes to the published data.
(It may well vary.) This trajectory table can also
serve as a comparative tool, allowing the reader
to compare the trajectories of different
cartridges or loads.
The trajectories in the table below were
calculated for a maximum bullet rise of 1.5
inches above the line of sight for all small game
and varmint loads, and three inches above the
line of sight for all big game loads. In ballistics
catalogs the point of maximum bullet rise is
often called the mid-range trajectory, or
sometimes the maximum ordinate. In the table
below I used the term "mid-range trajectory,"
abbreviated "MRT."
A maximum bullet rise of 1.5 inches is
appropriate for shooting small animals, as they
present a small target, particularly if head shots
are necessary. Allowing a greater mid-range
trajectory might result in shooting over an
animal at an intermediate distance.
A maximum rise of 3 inches is appropriate for
hunting the smaller species of big game,
creatures from perhaps 75 pounds to 150
pounds on the hoof, which typically have a kill
zone of about 8 inches from top to bottom.
More mid-range rise can be accepted when
hunting larger animals (a 4 inch MRT might be
appropriate when hunting mule deer, for
example), but if a mixed bag hunt for larger and
smaller species is envisioned, then the 3 inch
rise used for this table is probably safer. A 3
inch MRT also allows for a little bit of human
error, which is probably a good thing when
shooting in the field.
The Maximum Point Blank Range (MPBR),
which is shown in the last column of the table
below, is the distance at which the bullet falls 3
inches below the line of sight. Thus between
the muzzle and the distance given as the
MPBR, the bullet never strays more than 3
inches above or below the line of sight (1.5
inches for varmint loads).
Most of the loads below are similar to popular
factory loads for the selected cartridges. All
trajectories were calculated for a rifle with a low
mounted telescopic sight of moderate size
whose line of sight is 1.5 inches above the bore
axis of the barrel. If your scope is not 1.5 inches
over the bore, and most scopes with oversize
objectives require higher mounts, your
trajectory will vary from those given below. All
trajectory figures are rounded off to one decimal
place. While environmental factors such as
altitude and ambient air temperature affect
trajectory, their effect is relatively minor. For the
record, this table was calculated for an air
temperature of 60 degrees F and an altitude of
1000 feet. The following data was taken from
various sources including reloading manuals
and the online Ballistics Calculator provided
by BigGameInfo.
For an expanded version of this table
showing more loads, including British,
European, wildcat, obsolescent American
and proprietary calibers, see the "Expanded
Rifle Trajectory Table" on the Tables, Charts
and Lists Page.
To save space, the following abbreviations are
used in the table below: Wb = Weight of bullet
(in grains); MV = Muzzle Velocity (in feet per
second); BC = Ballistic Coefficient; MRT = Mid-
Range Trajectory; yards = yds.; inches = ";
MPBR = Maximum Point Blank Range; BT =
Ballistic Tip; FP = Flat Point, HP = Hollow Point;
RN = Round Nose; Sp = Spitzer; SP = Spire
Point; SSp = Semi-Spitzer.
Cartridge Bullet 100 200 MRT@yds. MPBR
(Wb@MV) BC yds. yds. (yds.)
.17 HMR
(17 SP at .123 +1.5" -5.5" 1.5"@100 165
.17 Mach
IV (20 V- .185 +1.2" +0.8" 1.5"@140 260
MAX at
.17 Rem.
(20 V-MAX .185 +1.1" +1.0" 1.5"@150 275
at 4200)
.204 Ruger
(33 BT at .185 +1.1" +1.0" 1.5"@150 275
.218 Bee
(45 SP at .202 +1.6" -1.5" 1.5"@125 200
.219 Zipper +/-
(60 SP at .264 +1.4" 0" 1.5"@120 230
.22 LR (40 .100 -3.0" - 1.5"@45 90

How do you zero a target?Soldier zeroes by adjusting sights to move groups to center, firing groups to confirm and readjusting as needed. On the old zero target, a four-centimeter circle subscribed in the silhouette indicates center and at least five rounds out of six from two consecutive groups must land there to be deemed acceptably ze- roed.