# How far will a .308 travel in a straight line?

lets say it travels straight for 500meters, can you sight your scope in at 500 meters and just keep it like that when shooting within that distances.

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• john r
Lv 6

A bullet begins to drop as soon as it leaves the muzzle. It drops toward the ground at the same speed one would drop from your hand. Sighted in for 200 yards, a .308 will be about 50 inches low at 500 yards.

No bullet travels in a straight line once it leaves the barrel. The problem is this thing called gravity and gravity always wins. If you always wanted to shoot at 500 meters, you would adjust the scope so that the arc of the bullet would cause it to hit the same spot as the cross-hairs of the scope but the bullet would be higher in between.

Source(s): 60 years of shooting

In theory, you might be able to. In reality, it wouldn't be a good idea.

When you mention a straight line, you are thinking in a single dimention for the most part (lets say the X-axis).

As people have mentioned, bullets tend to travel in a parabola (if the rifle is kept parallel to the ground, the bullet actually begins to drop the second it leave the barrel. The parabolic shape is due to the rifle barrel pointing up to compensate for the effect of gravity). We'll call this the Z-axis.

However, bullets tend to move left to right as well. The most common reason is wind sheer. If you are shooting at 100m, chances are the effects of wind are very small and you can ignore it. At 200m, it might be as much as a few inches on a bad day, but you'll still it a target. When you are talking about 500m, the wind can shift the bullet by well over a foot on a really windy day. We'll call this travel in the Y-axis.

Given the effects of the wind, if you shoot at 500m with no adjustments, you may very well not even hit in the same spot on two different days.

The effects of gravity are constant enough to say it never changes. I don't have a ballistics table in front of me, but I think the first answerer is right when he says the drop of a 308 Win is about 50 inches at 500m (by memory I thought a 165 gr bullet at 308 velocities will drop almost 60 inches with a 100m zero, but I could be wrong. I think even with a 300 m zero, I still think the drop is about 3 feet). So if you are right on at 500m, that means given the bullet travels in a parabolic flight pattern, you are going to be way high at some point (my guess is at about 300 to 350 m will be the peak of the flight path). Again, without having a ballistics program, I am going to venture a guess that you will be over 30 inches high at that point.

If you knew your flight path very well and could judge distances and wind speeds with pin point accuracy, a prson might be able to do what you are asking. However, I have been shooting almost 30 years and I know of no one who could acheive such a feat without adjusting their scope on the fly.

For most people, shooting at distances as varied as you are mentioning would require an accurate ballistics table, a range finder, and time to adjust the scope.

• Anonymous

No. There is no straight-line travel. What you're interested in is called "point blank range." Most people think the term means "really, really close," but ballistically the term means something altogether different. And you can't figure it based only on the rifle/load. You have to take into account the target, as well.

If, for instance, you're hunting deer, they have a vital area that's roughly four inches in diameter, so you'll want to figure a distance to zero the sights of your rifle so that at point blank range it'll be shooting no more than four inches low, and at no closer point is it shooting more than four inches high. Actually, you'll want to cut those roughly in half to compensate for the fact that the gun will shoot a group, not all bullets falling exactly at point of aim on the zeroed spot. 500 yards is a bit much for any hunting application, but a lot of rifle/load combinations will have a PBR of 150-250 yards, and if you zero to that range, you'll cover almost all the shots on game you have any business taking. 308, by the way, is not a great long-range hunting caliber, its reputation coming from known-distance target shooting and military use, quite a different proposition from hunting. Shooting people and shooting paper both have totally different requirements from shooting game animals (and boy, am I going to get some "thumbs down" from that little bit of fact!).

Bullets do not travel straight even one millimeter. Their paths are curved, i.e. parabolas. Gravity pulls then down as soon as they leave the muzzle. If you sight in a scope at 500 meters, the bullet will shoot quite high at the mid-range trajectory point. It is not practical to sight in such a round as the .308 at such a distance. Indeed, one should not sight in any cartridge for such a distance, unless he was shooting often at that measured distance. It is difficult to find charts of trajectories for rounds sighted in at 500 meters.

That'd be a good experiment to figure out. Remember that objects fall towards the earth at 9.8m/s per second (it's an acceleration towards the earth), regardless of their lateral motion. This means that your .308 bullet, if fired from say, 1.5m height in a perfectly straight angle parallel to the ground, will fall that 1.5m in 0.15 seconds. So to determine how far it will travel in that time, we need to know the muzzle velocity, or how fast the bullet will travel per second.

I did some quick googling to find that the approximate muzzle velocity of a .308 bullet is 1000m/s. So just doing the math, a horizontally angled bullet, fired from 1.5m, with an initial speed of 1000m/s (not accounting for deceleration from wind resistance) will fall to the ground after having traveled 150m.

However, if you have a scope, and adjust it to 500m, that is supposed to correct the firing angle to make it so that the bullet's trajectory is arched just enough to that it will return to the original firing height after 500m. Think of it like throwing a ball. If you just huck the ball straight, but fast, it won't go as far as if you arch it. All your scope does is help you determine the correct arch angle for a particular distance (and the horizontal bar is to aid in crosswind allowance).

So if you set that baby on 500m, and it's calibrated properly, you can just leave it there when firing from that distance.

If you sight in at 450 yards, then use a center hold for 100 yards to 450 yards, the only time you need to readjust your sight is for shots longer than 600 yards.* This is for your 308 caliber rifle.*One shot one kill.* The two longest shots made in combat on two (2)* enemy soldiers was with a model 70 Winchester with scope at 1500 meters, of course they are not here to testify to that.* Two (2)* shots, two (2)* less enemy soldiers. Caliber was 308.*

Source(s): You cannot teach what you have not experienced.*
• ludlum
Lv 4
5 years ago

Wolf has no printed ballistics apart from velocity, that's 2396 ft consistent with 2d for this load. Remington lots a 123 grain bullet at 2365 so i'm going to apply their printed trajectory tables. the two loadings are virtually indistinguishable. whilst sighted in at one hundred fifty yards the Remington load drops 20.a million inches at 3 hundred yards, fifty one.3 at 4 hundred yards, and 102.5 inches at 500 yards. Assuming a table or bench height of 40 inches, or approximately 3 a million/2 ft, your bullet might desire to hypothetically strike the floor between 350 and four hundred yards.