I just bought two boxes of light magnum. On the back of the box I notice some trajectory figures. + 1.96 (call it two inches) at 100 yards is 0.0 at 200 and down 26 &1/2 at 300. So with the understanding that most of these figures mean little until you check out your own gun I did some ciphering. I have a piece of freeware called Point Blank. When I use the BC for the 265 Hornady and the published velocity I get... 2.16 (ya ya two inches) at 100 is down 3.78 (ok 3 3/4) at 200 and 24" low at 300. So this is kind of wierd to me since, according to the data and software the same POI at 100 is either dead on or almost 4 low at 200. Even wierder is that the lower POI at 200 is 2" higher at 300 than the data on the box. And to futher muddy the on paper waters ballistically, I used Hornady's trajectory calculator and these are the numbers for a 200 yard zero (where this light magnum should hit if 2" high at 100).... +4" @ 100yds 0.0 @ 200 yds -18.7 yds @ 300yds.
For me this does not matter too much. Once I get sighted in at 3" high at 100 and find out where I land at 200 I'm done. Even if my guns can reach out much further most places I have hunted and where I expect to hunt in the future 200 yards is"a fur piece" and not likely enough to worry over.
I look at all ballistics tables, advertisements, and other calculations as nothing more than a rough indication of what might be expected.
After I sight in at 100 yds. from a bench I shoot some groups from a conventional sitting position to see if the center is where I want it. Then I shoot sitting at 200 yards. From the 200 yard groups I adjust to get the POI I want. By making my final adjustments from groups fired in a manner similar to field conditions (offhand at 100 and sitting at 200) I end up with a trajectory that is usually somewhat different than the ballistics tables and advertisements. But it is a practical, field trajectory and I can count on it hunting.
If I only worked off the bench, who knows where the bullets would go on a real hunt?! My benchrest groups and field position groups have POI (center) differences of as much as 6" - 8" in some calibers. The benchrest groups are smaller but they do not represent a realistic POI that I can expect to get on an actual hunt.
I can tell you this: with the Hornady Light Magnum .444 Marlin ammo with the 265 gr. FN bullet, I sight in for +2.0" at 100 yards and get groups about 5" - 7" low at 200 yards. This meets my criteria for elk and deer hunting in the mountains of S.E. Wyoming. This year my .444 Marlin will wear a Weaver K3 scope in Weaver mounts. Last year I had a K2.5 on it.
Hope this helps. The bottom line is I only trust the written trajectory figures to get me started and then I shoot enough to figure out the trajectory I am actually getting when shooting from field positions. After saying all that I will add that in the last 10 years I have only fired at live game further away than 100 yards on two occasions that I can recall. The majority of my shots at deer and elk are 50 - 75 yards. Antelope run a little longer, but not by much. So a 100 yds. zero would work pretty well for me despite the caliber used.
"Hunt close, then get closer."
Team .444 -- Member #22
As I stated in my thread "Got a new 444 Marlin SS", I picked up my new Marlin SS yesterday and took it to the range. I made no modifications to it. I sighted it in with the factory Iron sights -- Rear semi-buckhorn and front ramp sight.
I took one box of Remington Express Rifle 444 Marlin 240GR Soft Points and one box of Hornady Light Magnum 444 Marlin 265GR Flat Points to the range with me. My target board was 24-inches by 36-inches so I started out at the 100 yard line from the get-go. Figured it had to at least hit the board at that distance.
I fired one round of each type of ammo to be sure I was on the target. Both shots struck dead-on-center but were low. I used the step elevator and raised the rear sight 5-notches and fired one more shot of each type of ammo and was 2 (Remington) to 3 (Hornady) inches high. It worked out (as it does with most step elevators) that each notch was worth 1/2" elevation.
After those initial shots, I walked down to the target and taped the holes I had put in it with the four rounds I had fired so far. Then the fun began.
I fired 3-five shot groups with the Remington ammo (pausing for 1/4 hour between groups) and all 3-groups were two inches high and dead on center at 100 yards. I then fired 3-five shot groups with the Hornady ammo (pausing 1/4 hour between groups) and all 3-groups were three inches high and dead on center at 100 yards. All groups were 1&1/2 inches to 2-inches. Oh, I waited 1-hour between firing the Remington groups and the Hornady groups.
What really surprised me was that even though the Hornady bullets were 25-grains heavier, they struck 1-inch higher than the lighter Remington bullets did. Usually a heavier bullet will strike lower than a lighter bullet. The only thing I can figure is that the Hornady Light Magnums must really be loaded HOT.
I am not an expert at ballistics and I am not a handloader. Just passing on an observartion I made while at the range. Can anyone offer an explanation for the heavier Hornadys hitting higher than the lighter Remingtons? I'm just curious. I am not complaining as I'm very satisfied with my results at the range.
Anyway, this rifle is a keeper and I think the ammo is too. As I stated in my thread, I got a Williams 5D receiver sight for the rifle but I think I'll stick with the factory sights for now.
The heavier bullet has slightly less velocity and is, therefore, in the barrel for a longer period of time. More barrel time means recoil has more effect on it's impact point.
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Team 60 #21
Team 35 #8
Team 444 #13
Team 45-70 #14
Team 30-30 #152
I think Jayhawker is correct. It is my understanding that this effect is very evident when shooting large bore pistols. The heavier bullets shoot higher than the light ones with the same sight setting. At least that is my understanding. The .444 behaves more like the pistol ammo in this regard than does higher velocity, smaller caliber cartridges like an '06.
In any case it sounds like your .444 is a real shooter. I personally prefer to have practice bullets (240 gr.) hit at, or close to, POI of my hunting ammo (265 gr.) at 100 yards.
"Hunt close, then get closer."
Team .444 -- Member #22