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Welcome to Shooters Notes!

Updates as of May 2020

The under the hood software has been modified from the original versions written several years ago.  This was necessary because several functions were being phased out as PHP and WordPress move forward with new methods.

These changes also helped motivate removing “Compute Sight Pictures!”, our inaugural online app from the active list.  Some other rarely viewed pages were also retired.  One or more of these pages can be returned to an active status if enough requests to the admin are sent.

Also, the menu bar has been updated to reflect a more topical grouping of tools and discussions.


The Recommended Bullet Weight Calculator was added to allow the reader to select a game weight and determine the minimum recommended bullet for that game.  It complements the tables found in the “Ideal Bullet Weight” pages.

Quick Review of “Ideal Bullet Weight”:

Many of us have an idea of what rifles and bullet weights are best for hunting game like antelope, deer, elk, and hogs with our favorite hunting rifles. For example, the .243 Winchester with its 90-100 gr bullets has built a reputation as a deer harvester but tends to struggle a bit on the larger deer. The .270 and its 130 gr bullets does well on all classes of deer and is marginal for elk, and so on. This understanding is based on a lot of factors including peer advice, reading, and personal experience. 

Nonetheless, many folks choose bullets and calibers that produce so much recoil that they are challenged to get the bullet to hit within the vital zone of their quarry. Others minimize recoil by choosing small caliber rifles or medium bore guns with lightweight bullets better classified as varmint bullets. Is there a happy in-between in weight and power that can be described as ideal for the intended quarry?

A happy medium can be described as being the lightest bullet that one can have reasonable confidence that a well-hit animal will collapse within about ten seconds of being hit. Here is an example chart built from a combination of knowledge gained by our mesolithic ancestors and modern tests of bullet performance: 

Example Recommended Minimum bullet Weight versus Body Mass of Example Medium Game. Impact velocity must be within manufacturer’s recommended velocity range and the shot must go into the vital zone and within about 30 degrees of the side.

Read more about how this chart was built in the Ideal Bullet Weight pages.

When are Pressures Too High?

As new powders or bullets appear on the market, folks have to wait a long time for commercially vetted load data unless they happen to shoot one of the popular calibers. Powder and bullet companies target their powder for these calibers. Similarly, long-range target shooters frequently press the maximum load ceiling to get the slight added performance edge that can make the difference between winning or losing a contest. How do you work up safe loads when you happen to be in one or both of these groups? Go here to read a discussion about finding out when pressures might be too high.

Hitting the mark!

Your favorite rifle is sighted to point of aim at 100 yards and that pesky deer shows up at 275 yards. What is the sight picture needed to center in the vital zone?

Look at the discussions in this section and try the calculators:

Build sight pictures using 200 yd zero and 500 yard drop

Build sight pictures using your computed drop and drift.

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