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Elevation levels for sighting in a rifle

 
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Old 02-16-2011, 02:33 PM
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Elevation levels for sighting in a rifle

I hope this is the right place for this question. My brother in law and my father in law, both tell me this. When sighting in a rifle, does it matter if the elevation plane between the rifle and target are on a level plane? They have told me, that the target can be at a much higher or lower angle than the rifle and it will still sight in correctly. Meaning that I would not have to compensate for the difference, that I could still sight a rifle in straight. Like the angle difference means nothing and should still sight in straight. I don't believe that for one second. I believe you should sight in and shoot on as level of a plane as possible even though real time shots during hunting would be different. Who can tell me the truth on this one?
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Old 02-16-2011, 03:18 PM
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Re: Elevation levels for sighting in a rifle

Quote:
Originally Posted by hatfield954 View Post
I hope this is the right place for this question. My brother in law and my father in law, both tell me this. When sighting in a rifle, does it matter if the elevation plane between the rifle and target are on a level plane? They have told me, that the target can be at a much higher or lower angle than the rifle and it will still sight in correctly. Meaning that I would not have to compensate for the difference, that I could still sight a rifle in straight. Like the angle difference means nothing and should still sight in straight. I don't believe that for one second. I believe you should sight in and shoot on as level of a plane as possible even though real time shots during hunting would be different. Who can tell me the truth on this one?

I am probably not the most experienced guy to give this advice but I believe you should zero a rifle on a flat plane. If you zero it on a 45 degree angle and you load your zero on exbal as 100yds the figures generated would all be out as technically you wouldnt be 100yds away ballistically. I think you would have about a 50-60 yds zero.

If I am wrong here guys please set me straight.

If you dont intend to shoot at long range but would be happy with point and shoot at deer sized targets up to 200yds I am sure it would make very little difference.
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Old 02-16-2011, 04:00 PM
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Re: Elevation levels for sighting in a rifle

The closer to level the better but.......at a hundred yards a slight angle up or down will be almost undetectable for most and should not concern you. With that said angle does play an important role when shooting at distance. There is a lot of threads on this forum that can get you up to speed.
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Old 02-16-2011, 04:46 PM
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Re: Elevation levels for sighting in a rifle

The interesting word you used was 'much'. Your brother and father in law told you "that the target can be at a much higher or lower angle than the rifle and it will still sight in correctly". As robbobsam and kcebcj said, a slight angle and short range distance shouldn't make much of a difference. However, a 'much higher or lower angle' and the farther the distance will certainly through off the shot.

Essentially, if you zero your rifle at a steep angle and at 500+ yards, as long as you shoot near that same angle, your shots will be on. Once you use that zero for a flat trajectory at similar distance, your shots will be low.

Your best option is to zero at a relatively level trajectory (up to 10 degrees up or down doesn't affect the trajectory) and then aim low if you need to take an angled shot. Once again, a short range and a slight angle will not throw off your shot enough to notice.

Good luck
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Old 02-16-2011, 08:09 PM
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Re: Elevation levels for sighting in a rifle

Thanks men, for your responses. I felt like I was more right than they were. As for the angle I have talked about, it was roughly 40 degrees at 100 yards, shooting at an uphill target.
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Old 08-07-2014, 11:49 PM
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Re: Elevation levels for sighting in a rifle

I'm reviving this thread because I came across it when looking for an answer to a question I have.

Generally, I sight my rifles in from a bench with my target being roughly 4' high (or nearly level with my bench for the most part). I've got a new load for my long range rig and decided I might try something different. Due to the fact that I'll be shooting it off from a Harris bipod and from the prone position, I thought that I might zero it at 100 yards off of the bipod and from prone. My question is this, should I still leave my target height the same (4'ish) or should I move my target for zeroing prone down to say 1' (roughly the height of my scope from the ground)? Hopefully this makes sense and someone can give me some solid advice on which would be better.

Thank you!

Edit: I guess my question was kind of answered in the above posts, but what I really want to know is how much difference one will make over the other out to 1,000 yards? What would you guys do when zeroing?

Last edited by NWmissouriman; 08-07-2014 at 11:52 PM. Reason: I'm dumb
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Old 08-08-2014, 12:03 AM
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Re: Elevation levels for sighting in a rifle

I agree that a slight difference in elevation over 100 - 200 yards shouldn't have a dramatic effect. But it's still relative. The greater the difference in elevation the greater the error factor. Rule of thumb, as I learned it, was as long as the degree of slope is less thatn 10% no correction should be necessary. So if your 100 yard target isn't more than 30 feet above or below below your shooting position you're good to go.
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