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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?

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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

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

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    ..is it common in american ballistic charts to use meters AND inches in one graph? – Flying Thunder Feb 28 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 Feb 28 at 12:54
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    @Notts90 No it's that the barrel is 2.5 inches below the sights. – Reinstate Monica Feb 28 at 15:10
  • @CharlieBrumbaugh ah zero is set the the sights, makes sense. – Notts90 Feb 28 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 – Reinstate Monica Mar 2 at 16:22

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