"Flat-shooting" calibers


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Shawnee
October 25, 2008, 09:39 AM
The term "flat-shooting caliber" gets tossed around all the time but what does it really mean to deer hunters?

Pick a caliber - .243, 6mm, .257 Roberts, .25/06, .260, .270, .280, 7x57, 7mm/08, 7mm Mag., .308, .30/06, .300 Win. Mag. - sight it in at 250yds. and guess what...

All of them will always be within 4" above or below the line of sight from 0 to 300yds., and the "flattest" of them will still spread to 3" above/below the line of sight from 0 to 300yds.

So from "worst" to "best" there is only 2" total vertical difference at 300yds. and just what does that 2" mean when shooting in the field at a 16" target ?

Said another way - if that vertical 2" against a 16" target makes the difference between a kill and a loss - somebody probably needs to quit hunting until they learn how to shoot because simply buying this or that caliber ain't gonna "git 'er done".

:cool:

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Art Eatman
October 25, 2008, 11:17 AM
One of the reasons I've always liked the Sierra reloading handbook is that it has the best set of trajectory tables in the appendices. So, browsing through, way back when, I found just what you described.

Aside from the magnums and the "slowlies" like the .30-30 or .38-55, I just figure that if you sight in for two inches high at 100 yards, you'll forever do as well as anybody with anything.

Folks that want to regularly ruin Bambi out beyond 200 yards are minority players, and all they have to do is a little more practice than Alvin Average.

You get right down to it, I think shooters can pick more fly poop out of less pepper than most any other bunch.

Fun, though--as long as it's not taken seriously.

:), Art

R.W.Dale
October 25, 2008, 01:52 PM
adding to this, you get all this hyperbole over how cartridges such as 30-30 are only good to 150yds except with some new fangled $25 a box load that turns it into a 250yd gun. Especially with a 24" tube

In my book for the hunter who knows his trajectory an load rather well the 30-30 has always been a viable 200yd+ rifle. The bullets used xpand well at low speeds and you still have a much energy at 300yds a s a 357 magnum at the muzzle.

What these "flat shooters" really do is just gives the average Joe the ability to connect with 300yd targets without worrying about holdover or trajectory.

caribou
October 25, 2008, 02:45 PM
Flat shooting guns are popular with the Seal hunters around here.
A Seal on the ice that is newborn looks just like a 20 year old bull......and with a back ground of white, on ice, it is extreamly difficult to judge the range or size of your target....except if they lift their heads.....the head of adult Seals is about as big as your knee.
A flat shooting cartridge is a must in this situation.
Putting a bullet right through the brains is a must, as Seals laying on ice face their hole, for excape to the ocean below.
A bad hit or a miss, and they are gone in a flop.
Its about a 4inch X 4 inch target.

.243w and 22-250 are the two most all around popular "Flat shooting" cartridges there are here, tryed true and proven.

HM2PAC
October 26, 2008, 06:38 AM
Caribou wrote:

.243w and 22-250 are the two most all around popular "Flat shooting" cartridges there are here, tryed true and proven.

Boy, didn't you just make Shawnee's day.:cool:

35 Whelen
October 26, 2008, 09:17 PM
I think if the truth were known, probably 90% or more of the nimrods who use these "flat shooting" cartridges don't have a clue how to get the most of their flat trajectories. In other words, they never look at their ballistics charts.
I'm blessed to live in a somewhat rural area with plenty of acreage for a genuine, well equiped 100 yd. rifle range. Word has gotten around at work and among my friends of my range, so I have quite a few people that come out to sight in or "check" their rifles prior to deer season.
NONE, and I mean not one of them so far has sighted their rifle any way except dead on at 100 yds. A few days ago I suggested to a buddy that he might want to sight his .243 a couple of inches high at 100 yds. to make shots out 200-250 yds. a little easier. You should've seen the look of disbelief on his face at this suggestion. "Naw....I think I'll just keep 'er dead on at a hunnert." I just nodded politely. I sure as heck don't want to be blamed for a miss!
Here's some food for thought regarding flat shooting cartridges: With the advent of laser rangefinders, why do we need hunting cartridges with stretch-string trajectories? They're really not advantageous if you know how far to hold over at yon' wapiti. I don't think it's any more strenuous or difficult to hold 15" over the back of a bull than it is to hold 6" over his back.
Please...no one respond to this last paragraph as I've been wanting to post this in a separate post! :D

35W

ArmedBear
October 27, 2008, 01:16 AM
I think if the truth were known, probably 90% or more of the nimrods who use these "flat shooting" cartridges don't have a clue how to get the most of their flat trajectories. In other words, they never look at their ballistics charts.

If they did, they might not go out of their way to shoot a "flat-shooting" round.

Just peruse a factory ballistics chart, like this one comparing a factory .308 150 grain with a .25-06 115 grain. http://www.remington.com/products/ammunition/ballistics/comparative_ballistics_results.aspx?data=PRC2506RA*PRC308WA

Sight them both in at 200 yards, and what do you find?

At 300 yards, the sleek, fast .25-06 has dropped 7.1 inches, whereas the sluggish .308 has dropped 8.6 inches. At 400 yards, the .25-06 has dropped 20.5", to the .308's 25.5".

Who cares? You still have to know your range and your holdover at long ranges. 20" or 25", you still have to account for drop. It doesn't make hunting any easier if the drop is different; it only makes hunting easier if the drop can be ignored. 20" can't be ignored any more than 25".

Compare the flat shooting .270 to its parent cartridge, the .30-06: http://www.remington.com/products/ammunition/ballistics/comparative_ballistics_results.aspx?data=PRSC270WA*PRSC3006C

Sighted in at 200 yards, the 400 yard drop of the flat-shooting .270 is 18.8", compared with 21.1" for the .30-06.

Big whoop.

When you shoot the highly-effective but rainbow-trajectory .45-70, you realize just what a great thing the modern high-velocity cartridge is. And you also find that the difference between, say, a .30-06 and its flat-shooting necked down brother, the .270, really isn't all that much.

Yes, you can set up a .270 for a longer MPBR than a .30-06, but the numbers aren't as different as one might expect.

Now, you want to shoot one of the Weatherby Magnums, you can get a +/- 3" MPBR well past 300 yards, but you pay the price in several ways. That's really how you get something to shoot appreciably flatter than a standard cartridge with a premium bullet: really high velocity. It works. And it hurts the shoulder and the back pocket.:)

See this chart. It's illuminating: http://www.chuckhawks.com/rifle_trajectory_table.htm

Yes, if you hunt a lot in the 300 yard range, a "flat shooter" might be a wonderful thing to have. But under 275 yards it doesn't matter, and over 300 you'd best know your range and drop, no matter what you're using.

Only you know if that critical range between 275 and 325 yards is important to you. Past that, I'd say that retained energy matters more than "flat shooting", since you'll have to know the range and the holdover anyway.

Ridgerunner665
October 27, 2008, 02:08 AM
Said another way - if that vertical 2" against a 16" target makes the difference between a kill and a loss - somebody probably needs to quit hunting until they learn how to shoot because simply buying this or that caliber ain't gonna "git 'er done".


Good thread Shawnee...but you said everything I could have added to it right there.

Ridgerunner665
October 27, 2008, 02:09 AM
Said another way - if that vertical 2" against a 16" target makes the difference between a kill and a loss - somebody probably needs to quit hunting until they learn how to shoot because simply buying this or that caliber ain't gonna "git 'er done".


Good thread Shawnee...but you said everything I could have added to it right there.

Ridgerunner665
October 27, 2008, 02:10 AM
Said another way - if that vertical 2" against a 16" target makes the difference between a kill and a loss - somebody probably needs to quit hunting until they learn how to shoot because simply buying this or that caliber ain't gonna "git 'er done".


Good thread Shawnee...but you said everything I could have added to it right there.

Ridgerunner665
October 27, 2008, 11:08 AM
Sorry...the three shot burst was not intentional.

Water-Man
October 27, 2008, 01:36 PM
krochus... Your numbers are way off in your comparison of .30-30 vs. .357mag.

rcmodel
October 27, 2008, 01:53 PM
No it isn't.

A 30-30 150 grain load has 651 FP remaining energy at 300 yards.

A 158 grain .357 out of a handgun has 535 FP at the muzzle.

rcmodel

ArmedBear
October 27, 2008, 02:16 PM
You can do better than 535 ft/lbs. from a .357, but if you're comparing factory loads, that's certainly true.

john1911
October 27, 2008, 02:33 PM
Can someone clue me in as to why we're seeing all this harping on calibers for hunting lately? Is someone trying to make the .243 the only allowable deer round? Can't some here respect the right of other to spend money how they want? To shoot what they want? To hunt the way they want?

ArmedBear
October 27, 2008, 02:41 PM
In the field, none of this stuff matters, john1911.

When bored at work, though, I suppose some hunters find it amusing to debate the relative merits of the .260 vs. the 7mm-08 vs. the 6.5x55 vs. the 7x57.

I doubt that anyone here would bother with such conversations once their boots are laced.:)

Shawnee
October 27, 2008, 03:27 PM
Hi John1911...

Inspite of the fact that I post things like this (from the OP)...

"Pick a caliber - .243, 6mm, .257 Roberts, .25/06, .260, .270, .280, 7x57, 7mm/08, 7mm Mag., .308, .30/06, .300 Win. Mag. - sight it in at 250yds. and guess what...

All of them will always be within 4" above or below the line of sight from 0 to 300yds., and the "flattest" of them will still spread to 3" above/below the line of sight from 0 to 300yds.

So from "worst" to "best" there is only 2" total vertical difference at 300yds. and just what does that 2" mean when shooting in the field at a 16" target ?"

... and do so in hopes of quelling some of the caliber hoohaw, or at least introducing some veracity to it...

Personally, I think discussion of calibers is a good thing as long as there is a preponderance of Reality involved. But there are some who cling to UNReality and often they feel the need to falsely accuse me of demanding that everyone use a .243 (or 30/30) - or else. I hope you're not one of those people but if you are, I'm sorry to hear that.

Good Hunting Season to Ya,
:cool:

mbt2001
October 27, 2008, 06:11 PM
.257 Roberts is the greatest American game hunting round. Can take virtually any game in North America save Polar and Griz bear and Moose...

Flat shooting round, capable of doing pest / varmint work as well.

Shawnee
October 27, 2008, 06:39 PM
The .257 Roberts is "top shelf" in my book too ! :)

:cool:

skinewmexico
October 27, 2008, 07:04 PM
The more I look at ballistic charts, the more I think.........they're all roughly the same. As long as you have a drop chart for what you're shooting, doesn't really matter.

IndianaBoy
October 27, 2008, 08:23 PM
I think you guys are forgetting the 6.297 Ultra WarHog Magnum Super Short Really Long Deluxe.

It actually flies upwards as it travels. You have to AIM LOW!

Beat that with your 7x57.

homers
October 27, 2008, 10:16 PM
Is somebody ragging on my 7x57? ;) I guess somebody forgot to tell me and the deer that the aimpoint was off by an inch at 100 or 200 yds. Didn't seem to matter that much when the deer fell over since most were shot at around 100yds.

litman252
October 27, 2008, 11:50 PM
Shawnee-
Great thoughts, and very true. You can expand this to bullets, scopes and much more for what it takes to hunt deer or elk ect................ Most any normal caliber with any normal weight bullet out of any normal rifle will do just fine. Some work better for certain things of course!!

The fun comes from being free to hunt with what we want to as we see fit.


I think the Nosler book said something like- "For the most part, 80% of deer are taken with a bullet weight between 120gr. up to 180gr at 2700FPS to 3100FPS at the muzzle." Nearly the same point.

Heck, I have a SKS, .25-06, 6.5x55, .308, 30-30, 7mmSTW and a (2) 30-06's. It comes down to what I'm comfortable with, easy on the shoulder and the weather (some are nicer than others) are becoming prime factors. 6.5 and .25-06 will do 85% of my hinting in the next 5 years would be my guess.

Fun Read,
Tony

skinewmexico
October 28, 2008, 09:23 AM
And I forgot to mention that a deer has about a 12" kill zone, so it takes a pretty crappy rifle, and shooter, to not shoot minute of deer out to 300 yards.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
October 28, 2008, 10:47 AM
Excellent point and good information which should be shared. At all reasonable hunting ranges, all bottlenecked cartridges shoot essentially the same. If you use the PBR/point n click method, then you might extend your PBR 25 yards or a little more, but there is ridiculously little difference between "full-powered" bottlenecked rounds in trajectory.

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