Petzal: Ballistics Tables and Blind Faith

In my post of June 11, I told you about shooting my Savage .25/06 at 350 yards, and how the heavier, 115-grain bullets I used shot flatter than the faster 85-grainers. Well, yeah, up to 350 yards. Last week I got to shoot at 400, 500, and 600, in West Virginia, courtesy of Melvin Forbes of New Ultra Light Arms. And things went according to script until I got to 600 where the 85-grain bullets printed 8 inches above the 115s, which suddenly got tired and took a rest. My extensive training in exterior ballistics led me to conclude WTF? This wretched episode only serves to underline the fact that if you don't actually shoot at long range, and rely instead on ballistics tables and blind faith, get used to missing.

Six hundred yards also shows you that distance can be dealt with, but wind is the real killer of accuracy. I shot on a calm morning, and looking through the supernaturally sharp Zeiss Diavari 6X-24X-72mm that resides in Teutonic splendor on the Savage, I could see no sign of wind. Nothing. Nichts. But there was enough to push my bullets a foot to the right.

When I shot at 600 yards at GunSite, neither I nor the two instructors with me could see anything doing, but there was enough of a breeze out there to cause me to hold 4 feet off the target with a .30/06 in order to hit.

Will you break wind, or will wind break you?