Long-range shooting is one of the biggest trends on today’s shooting scene, big enough that it’s driving purpose-designed new rifles and riflescope models. Whether your game is hunting, tactical, competitive or simply recreational, there’s a movement within it to stretch the distance at which you can consistently and precisely hit a target. And there should be — pulling off a tricky shot on a small target a half-mile away is challenging, gratifying and takes skill and practice.
The movement has adopted several common terms and generated new ones. If you’re new in the game, the jargon tossed back and forth at the range or during a match can be bewildering.
Here’s a look at several common ballistic terms shooters use, along with details on how they apply to long-range shooting. So next time you hear a shooter say, “My dope is off; I had to come up a full minute to compensate,” you won’t have to worry about whether it’s ok to let your teenager hang out with him.
<h2>Trajectory</h2>Simply put, this is the path your bullet takes as it travels toward the target. Gravity and air friction affect projectiles speeding through the atmosphere, causing them to continuously slow. This in turn causes them to drop faster and faster toward the earth, resulting in a parabolic curve in the bullet’s path. Simple apps on a phone or computer can, when fed accurate information, calculate trajectory with admirable precision, enabling shooters to compensate and hit their target.