Petzal: Bullets Go Where They Want To

What with range-compensating devices becoming as common as rat turds in a grain elevator, I feel compelled to say once more, you got to check these things out by actually shooting. Some weeks ago I mounted an all-conquering Zeiss Victory 6X-24X x 72 scope* on my .25/06 beanfield rifle. I use two loads with the gun, a 115-grain Nosler Partition at 3,160 fps (for deer) and an 85-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip at 3,370 fps (for annoying life forms).

The Zeiss has crosshairs with mil dots, and I started by sighting it in dead-on at 100 yards with both loads, using the intersection of the crosshairs. At 200 yards, the 85-grain bullets shot 3.5 inches higher than the 115s. At 250, they grouped only half an inch higher than the 115s. At 300 the two were even. At 350 the 115s were shooting a half-inch above the 85s**. Moreover, at 200 yards I could still use the crosshairs to aim with the 85s, but I had to use the first dot to put the 115s where they should go. Past 200 all aiming was done with the first dot. I expect that when I get out to 400 and beyond, I'll need to use the second dot, although I would have sworn I would have needed it at 350.

Don't guess where to hold; the odds are you'll be wrong. Know for sure.

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*_So sharp that at 12X, you can see a .257 bullet hole at 300 yards._

**_Elmer Keith used to point out at least once a month that heavy bullets outrange light ones, even if the latter start out much faster. He could speak with authority, having studied physics under Max Planck at the University of Gotterdammerung in the 1920s._