External Ballistics Factors

When the bullet is launched into the earth's atmosphere at some 2,200 mph, its path is influenced by various forces and elements. As the temperature rises, the bullet hits higher on the target. As the atmospheric pressure rises, the bullet hits lower —the higher the humidity, the lower the bullet strikes. A strong wind from the rear causes the bullet to hit high while a strong head wind causes the bullet to hit low. Firing uphill or downhill normally causes the bullet to hit high. Changing light conditions (bright to cloudy, different sun angles) can affect aiming and cause the bullet to hit in different locations.

These factors combined with slight differences in bullet shape and weight, powder charge, chamber pressure, muzzle velocity, barrel erosion influence the flight of the bullet. For these reasons, the firer will probably never see three bullets in the same target hole.

Some factors, such as temperature, produce only small effects at range— for example, a bullet that hits the center of a target at 250 meters when the temperature is 0 degrees Fahrenheit would strike the target 1.905 cm higher when the temperature is increased to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. One click of elevation at this range is almost 7.62 cm. Soldiers should not tty to adjust their point of aim by 1.905 cm on a 250-meter

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