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What is a ballistics table used for?

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Quick Answer

A ballistics table or chart provides information on bullets for a particular caliber and gun fired under certain conditions, helping individuals make the necessary adjustments when shooting at long distances in various conditions. The information on a ballistics table may vary depending on who created the table and what software was used to create it, but most tables typically include data on the bullet, such as weight, muzzle velocity and manufacturer, as well as data relative to the ambient conditions.

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Full Answer

A ballistics table is calculated based on ambient conditions input by the user. Required information on the ambient conditions include temperature, pressure, humidity and altitude as these affect how the bullet responds. A ballistics table is generally organized by range, or the distance in yards from the individual to the target, and other data is provided in relation to the range.

Other information included on the table include drop, windage, velocity, mach and energy. Drop, given in measurements of minute of angle, or MOA, provides information on the amount of adjustment needed on the scope of a long-range weapon to counterbalance for a certain distance in relation to zero range. Windage is provided in both inches and MOA, where the measurement in inches provides information on the amount of drift at different distances from the target as a result of wind, and the measurement in MOA provides information on the amount of adjustment needed on the scope. Energy, provided in units of feet per pounds, tells how much energy the bullet has left after a certain distance, which provides information on the amount of damage the bullet may cause.

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