One of the primary factors in your calculated "path" value is the height of the sight. The sight height defines the upward angle of the barrel in relation to the straight line sight of the scope. Essentially the sight height, zero range, and velocity set the height of your trajectory arc. So your sight height must be accurate for your ballistic calculator to be accurate.
I don't know your setup but I ran what may be a typical setup below, scope center at +1.5 in. above bore center, a nosler 55gr. ballistic tip with .267 BC, 3600 mv, zeroed at 200 yd.
With this setup it is showing a point of impact (path) below sight line of -34.2, and a full value (90 deg, 3 or 9 o'clock) drift of 27.8 in. With my guns I find the ballistic calculators to be quite accurate with accurate input for most hunting applications.
To shoot consistantly accurate at 500+ yards on small targets with most any caliber it is best to use a ballistic scope so you can be aiming on target (dope the scope) rather than trying to simultaneously estimating something like 35 inches of drop and 28 inches of drift.
A 243 is a better choice for 500yd shots but in the Marines, every marine, every year, is required to qualify with the 223 at 500yd using "iron" sights. Not qualifying is not an option. We do it by doping the sights (same as a ballistic scope). We estimate the wind, and dial in the drop and windage on the sights for a dead center hold. I guess maybe if the weather was really excessive qualification day might be cancelled, but in 7 years I never experienced it nor heard of it. I do remember having so much wind that the sight was physically maxed out in windage and then had to add a lot of kentucky into the equation. You just learned how to cope with it.
Drop is a no-brainer with a rangefinder and drop table. But wind is VERY fickle. There is no man-made instrument to measure it across a 500 yard path. It can be going different directions at different values at different locations across the path. Nobody gets it right all the time.