Shooting Steeply Up or Down: How Does it Affect Point of Impact?


This is one from my youth. When you shoot at an angle steeply up or down, how does that affect your bullet’s point of impact? Well, I learned to aim a bit low when shooting up at squirrels and such, and that always worked. I’ve also noticed that the same thing applies when you’re shooting downhill steeply, but I’ve never done any sort of research into it.

Truth be told, most of the time when I am making such shots, I’m shooting at game — usually big game, which is fairly forgiving when it comes to accuracy — at reasonably short range. In those cases, “minute of whitetail” is good enough; keep your shots inside the diameter of a typical paper plate and you can kill deer consistently.

Paul Harrell decided to take on this topic, and in this video he gets right down to business. He first fires his Ruger 10/22 at 75 yards with the bullet’s path essentially level, then steeply angled downhill. Point of impact doesn’t change enough to even notice.

When he does the same offhand shooting at 75 yards uphill, he gets the same result, more or less. I would have said he was hitting a little lower on that one, but not by enough to really matter.

After that, he repeats the experiment at a mere 15 yards. He first fires it level, then steeply downhill — and he gets a definite difference when his bullets strike the target more than one inch higher. Interesting.

Bottom line: Yes, it matters, but only when the angle is quite severe.

Enjoy the video.

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