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Transcript for Understanding Rifle Ballistics

Haley: Whether you’re hunting or practicing with a firearm, there are several things you can see and control, like where your muzzle’s pointing, if the safety is on, and if the gun is loaded.

Rob: But there’s some very important things happening that you just can’t see, like the speed and angle at which the bullet travels and the distance that it will go. And these factors make up the science of ballistics.

Haley: Ballistics: The science of the motion of projectiles, such as bullets or pellets.

Haley’s bullet strikes the target.

Rob: Nice shot! So we saw where the bullet hit. But what’s really happening as the bullet is rocketed toward the target?

Once it leaves the gun, the bullet of a 0.22-caliber will not travel in a straight line. Instead, it slowly drops due to gravity. At 100 yards, it will have dropped about four inches. So in order to hit the bull’s-eye, we have to aim four inches higher at the get-go. Now, Haley made that bull’s-eye because she knows her gun, and she practices with it.

Haley hands the gun to Rob.

Rob: Here you go.

Haley: Another important thing to know is how far your bullet will travel. How far do you think a 0.22-caliber rifle bullet can go? 100 yards? 500 yards? Over 1,700 yards?

If you guessed over 1,000 yards, you’re correct. A 0.22-caliber bullet can travel over a mile.

Rob takes aim and shoots.

Rob: Wow! Over a mile. So it’s obviously important to only shoot at game or targets when you have a backstop.

Haley: Now that you’ve seen what a 0.22 can do, let’s consider some other popular calibers. You should know how far a bullet could go before you pull the trigger.

On screen: Caliber Range

  • This 0.243 bullet can travel 2.5 to 3.5 miles.
  • This 0.270 bullet can travel 2.5 to 3.5 miles.
  • This 30-30 bullet can travel 2 to 2.5 miles.
  • This 0.308 bullet can travel 2.5 to 3.5 miles.

Rob: So, as you can see, these bullets can travel a very long distance. Just be sure that you’re shooting against a backstop.

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