Shooting Up or Down at Distance-Zaitsev Meets Leupold
I hunt and shoot at sometimes fairly long ranges in the steep hills and mountains of California, where a nice flat shot occurs only on the shooting range. This poses the angle shot problem many of us have faced and which has given me fits on occasion.
The great sniper Zaitsev wrote about discovering for himself the effect of shooting at steep angles when he repeatedly missed his shots from the top of a large smokestack at Stalingrad. Since he knew he could shoot well, he was curious about what was happening.
This prompted the experimenter in him (he had been an accountant after all, before becoming a sniper) to work out DOPE card holds for different ranges and angles for himself and his students as he realized what was happening as the normal bullet arc was altered by targets which were much higher or lower. This later became a regular part of Red Army sniper training. He had, of course, worked out the ballistic arc of the 7.62X54R bullet for himself the hard way, with no computers to help.
The answer is, oddly enough, to treat extreme angle shots up or down as shorter distances, reducing the range to a "ballistic range" rather than the line of sight range normally assumed on flat ground.
I discovered this phenomena the hard way years ago when I overshot a nice buck badly on a steep hill and could not figure out why. I learned a few basic tricks of reducing distance for more or less steep hill angles, but had to be content with a ranging shot or two when really stretching to or beyond 400-500 yards at distant gongs on steep hills.
The point of all this is to tell you that I just got a new "Leupold RX-1200i TBR w DNA" rangefinder that internally calculates this for me, allowing input of dozens of cartridge/bullet combinations to use an internal computer matched to a 1200 yard laser to measure the angle of the target, measure the distance by laser and instantly plot the ballistic curve to show you the "TBR -True Ballistic Range" for your shot. For those of us using ballistic dials on the turret or BDC dots inside the scope, this is the needed data. It can also be set for holdover or for mildots or MOA settings which it automatically calculated for you instantly.
I set mine right now for the .308 168 grain Sierra Match Kings I shoot from a number of my .308s -at the range it worked great to 700 yards! On the flat it ranges flat distance and compensates for angles, showing ballistic range and the actual angle. Cool! It is 6X, not 4X like my earlier one.
Anyhow, for the past few days I have carried the Leupold and my old rangefinder in my pocket, ranging targets high on steep hills everywhere to see the difference, and it is fascinating to see the shorter calculated ballistic distances required versus the actual range to the target. Nobody seems too worried when I laser their house 900 yards away and way up a steep canyon wall.
Easier than Zaitsev's way of creating a DOPE card while shooting off a smokestack at Stalingrad and nobody is shooting back!
Last edited by Stalin's Ghost; 03-24-2017 at 01:07 PM.