Certain calibers such as the 300 Winchester Magnum are often called flat shooting.

What does that mean and why would a hunter care that the caliber is flat shooting when selecting a rifle to go hunting with?


1 Answer 1


Bullets follow a parabolic arc as seen below,

enter image description here

Image Source

As you can see the yellow line is a bullet fired from a longer barrel which results in a higher velocity and thus less drop over distance. In this case the yellow line is a flatter shooting rifle.

Cartridges that are regarded as flatter shooting have one or both of two things going for them, they are traveling at a much higher velocity to start with and or have a better ballistic coefficient resulting in less drag.

See for example 6.5 Creedmore vs. 308 Winchester.

(source: gunwerks.com)


The reason that this matters is that with a flatter shooting cartridge you don't have to get the range to the animal as accurately because the bullet is dropping less. This leads to the concept of point-blank-range as fully explained here

  • 4
    ..is it common in american ballistic charts to use meters AND inches in one graph? Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 10:32
  • @FlyingThunder what concerns me more is the first chart doesn’t start at zero, the bullet leaves the barrel at -2.5 inches.
    – Notts90
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 12:54
  • 3
    @Notts90 No it's that the barrel is 2.5 inches below the sights. Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 15:10
  • @CharlieBrumbaugh ah zero is set the the sights, makes sense.
    – Notts90
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 15:14
  • @FlyingThunder I am assuming that Wikipedia got that chart from the US military and that probably explains the meters and inches. Normally no, its inches and yards Commented Mar 2, 2019 at 16:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.