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shooting uphill

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by bradm, Mar 28, 2008.

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  1. bradm

    bradm Member

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    When shooting from the bottom of the hill at animals at the top of the hill, do you hold low, high, or right where your scope shows?

    A guide on a recent hunt (my first ever) said I need to hold high (after my shot hit about 6" low at 150 yds, scope zeroed at 100 yds), while the other hunters said to hold where the scope shows.

    I really want to do this right on my next hunt, since my first shot, although it nearly took off a front leg, did not kill the hog or stop him from running at full speed. I hated feeling that the animal suffered due to my ignorance.
     
  2. Hkmp5sd

    Hkmp5sd Member

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    For both uphill and downhill shots, you need to aim LOW to compensate for the angle.
     
  3. Harve Curry

    Harve Curry Member

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    bradm ,
    To add to what Hkmp5sd correctly wrote.
    Gravity working on the trajectory of the bullet is the flat horizontal distance across the earth.
    On uphill or down hill shots the real distance (as far as trajectory is concerned) will be shorter.
    So you have to estimate that when you make a up or down hill shot. Figure the angle, 45 degrees or whatever, and deduct that from what the laser range finder reads.
    I don't know the formula, I just guesstimate.
     
  4. 351 WINCHESTER

    351 WINCHESTER Member

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    That's correct. You hold low otherwise you will most likely shoot over your quarry. I read that years ago in a gun magazine before we had computers.
     
  5. K3

    K3 Member

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    Sometimes I keep a little notebook handy with some trig problems worked out. I use a laser to get the linear distance to target and generally I know the elevation distances where I hunt. From the canyon rim to the flats below, the vertical distance is usually ~200' or about 70 yards.

    I wish I could eyeball distance better, but I was not blessed with that ability.
     
  6. eliphalet

    eliphalet Member

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    At 150 yards it should make no noticeable difference, the bullet will hit where you aim. At least the several deer I have killed up or down have, some extremely steep well in excess of 45 degrees. My own experience is all I can draw on and not what some one said or wrote.

    Edit: Have shot ground squirrels on or about 100 yards up and down too at approximately 45 degrees with a .223 and was aiming right on, so aiming on target worked for me on small critters too.

    Long distances will change the trajectory and point of impact at steep angles, but at 150 yards it is not far enough to tell in the field, in your typical hunting environment IMHO.
     
  7. mewachee

    mewachee Member

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    I learned this my first year rifle hunting for elk. It can make a big difference. When you shoot a sighted in rifle the bullet generally rises about the sight plain, then comes down again. Here is where the problem is. Imagine shoot with the barrel in line with gravity. Of course, with no other force acting on the bullet, it would travel straight up until gravity would stop it, then it would fall straight down. I don't know the calculus, but at let's say 45 degrees up, gravity is not acting relatively at a 90 degree angle to the bullet, but at a 45 degree angle. This increases the gravitational pull on the forward motion of the bullet, but decreases the pull that is pulling the bullet out of it's trajectory (I guess by half). Down Hill shooting is similar, because of the 2nd influence just stated.

    I missed a cow elk my first year shooting at 400 yards, at about 40 degrees up. My assumption was that shooting up I would have to at least use my normal hold for that distance or higher (idiot, a responsible hunter should know the ballistics of his weapon, in any hunting situation he might be in). I shot at her lying down, then broadside and then quartering away. All, three shots high.

    I have since gone back to the same mountain, and shot the same shot in to paper; I should have held 18 in. low. There are ballistic programs that you can put in the shot angles, then you can use the results on a cheat sheet.
     
  8. dagger dog

    dagger dog Member

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    A great book on this and other ballistic related info is
    UNDERSTANDING FIREARM BALLISTICS by Robert A. Rinker
    ISBN 0-9645598-4-6 published by Mulberry House Publishing PO Box 2180 Apache Junction AZ 85217,USA
    1-888-738-1567

    This book is written in lay terms also for you number crunchers a lot of formulas pertaining to the subject. It will make a lot of misunderstood facts easy .

    I can't go to say enough about this book I picked it up at a show and it has sure opened my eyes!
     
  9. mewachee

    mewachee Member

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    thanks for the reference.
     
  10. ShunZu

    ShunZu member

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    +1. Although it defies logic, low for both angles. And the steeper the angle, increase your aim (lower) accordingly.
     
  11. Titan6

    Titan6 member

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    Other than hunting in Colorado I have rarely been lucky enough to have the option of shooting at a target on top of a hill. Normally that is a rule violation.


    This is quite true.
     
  12. dagger dog

    dagger dog Member

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    Squirrel hunters are faced with this problem from the get go. Thats why I miss so many!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  13. highorder

    highorder Member

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    um, its quite logical. as others have posted, the actual distance to target is not affected by the same gravitational pull of a shot that is taken over level ground.

    Sometimes people say that something is "illogical" not understanding what logic is... perhaps you just misspoke. :)
     
  14. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    The difference in hold due to slope is often highly exaggerated. Going to Ballistic Explorer, I plugged in a .30-06, 180 grain bullet, 2800 fps. Zeroed range was 225 yards, and compared trajectories for 0 degrees slope with 45 degrees slope.

    The difference at 300 yards was 6 inches drop at 300 yards for the 45 degree shot, versus 4 inches for 0 degrees. At 300 yards, that's a piddling difference -- probably well within the margin of error for the rifle and shooter.

    On the other hand, a real problem with shooting up and downslope is foreshortning -- it's often difficult to visualize where the critter's vitals are, so you will get a center hit, but miss the vitals when shooting steeply up- or downhill.
     
  15. dagger dog

    dagger dog Member

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    Vern,

    Add in buck fever, physical exhaustion, pressure to get the shot in time plus equipment problems etc.
    and that margin gets a lot wider.!

    The deer hunter in the tree stand has a foreshortning problem for sure and the bow hunter has it in spades, as he trys to get that arrow through BOTH lungs.
     
  16. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    And they have those problems at very short ranges -- where the gravitational effect of shooting up- or down-hill would so small as to be unmeasurable.
     
  17. mewachee

    mewachee Member

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    Vern, "unmeasurable" just isn't right. A five hundred yard shot is only the beginning of a long range shot here in the west, at least for a lot of us. Bump your distance out to 400 or 450 and you will see the difference of good shot and a miss.

    If you look at the distances between the first time the bullet pass through the sight plain and the second when it comes down, there is a considerable difference. By pushing the sighting out to 250 yards and looking at data only at 300 yards, you don't get data representative to other distances.

    I would call it measurable and any ethical hunter would take this into consideration.
     
  18. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    At 350 yards, the difference is only 4 inches -- and beyond 350 yards, I would think long and hard about shooting.

    Let me point out also that the angle is 45 degrees -- it ain't often you get a shot at that steep an angle. Change the angle to 30 degrees -- still very steep, and the difference at 400 yards is only about 2 1/2 inches.
     
  19. Sergeant Sabre

    Sergeant Sabre Member

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    I am a firm believer that "slope dope", as it is called, is absolutely negligible in hunting situations. Meaning, not a factor at all to the hunting rifleman, hand gunner, or bow hunter.

    However, our toy manufacturers are starting to cash in on the mysterious phenomenon of a bullet or arrow "floating" when launched at an uphill or downhill angle. Leupold now has range finders that will calculate the angle and adjust from linear range to true range. It's just a gimmick that their advertising people will try to exploit, but some hunters will buy it.

    I will re-iterate: "Slope dope" is not a factor to the hunter.
     
  20. mewachee

    mewachee Member

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    I use a leupold RX-IV range finder that tells me my angle of shot and hold over. When hunting mule deer and elk, I have to climb a 1000 feet before the sun even rises. Other than shooting hill to hill, I have an up or down shot. Since I have used this range finder, I have not missed. I can trust it, because I have shot with it.

    Again, I don't believe one can put a distance on what is ethical and not. I do however think if you can't shoot inside 8in at 100 yards you should take the shot. If you can shoot a balloon at 600 yards with your rifle confidently, then I say go for it.
     
  21. mewachee

    mewachee Member

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    if you shoot paper in these situations, you will not think it is a gimmick.
     
  22. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Where do you shoot paper at steep angles? And without sighting shots?
     
  23. mewachee

    mewachee Member

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    When we scout, we bring balloons with us. We hunt with the goats sometimes. That is where we find the big mules.
     
  24. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    I've shot extensively out here in the West and it is almost unheard of to need to make correction for angle of fire because to apply a large angle over a long distance shot requires a huge amount of vertical elevation vs. the target (or vice versa).

    However, it is not quite correct to use the "level distance". This page explains why and is pretty much the last word

    http://www.exteriorballistics.com/ebexplained/article1.html
     
  25. eliphalet

    eliphalet Member

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    Deleted, Above link is sufficient.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2008
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