This Week’s Tips or Tricks…
TIP: If you’re really serious about hunting and long range shooting, you should be leaving NOTHING to chance!!! Using a good ballistics calculator worth its salt may be the difference between hitting that steel silhouette at 1,000 yards or harvesting that Trophy Bull at 650 yards!
Now there are a few questions that we need to ask first when considering a good ballistics calculator:
1.) What price range can I afford to spend on a Ballistics Calculator?
2.) Am I looking for an integrated ballistics solution, a mobile solution, a desktop based solution, or do I want one that allows me integration with all three of these levels?
3.) How versatile am I going to need a Ballistics Calculator to be?
4.) What all am I looking for out of a Ballistics Calculator?
5.) What Ballistics Calculator product(s) are available?
6.) Which Ballistics Calculator(s) will Broken Box R LLC recommend?
Now, before we just go and jump off into the deep end of the pool here…let’s talk about what you need to know and consider about a good Ballistics Calculator before making an investment. The single most important thing to remember about conducting a ballistics calculation is this….”garbage IN equals garbage OUT”!!! The number one reason why most individuals have either had a terrible experience with using ballistic calculators or they do not believe in the accuracy of them is because they have put garbage values in and received garbage values back out! External Ballistics is the scientific calculation of a projectile’s predicated trajectory and impact point based upon its aerodynamic and gravitational properties. Now what do we mean by “garbage IN equals garbage OUT”? If you don’t know what you are doing, what input values are required, and how to properly calculate input values…these errors and inaccuracies will compound on top of each other resulting in gross errors in the ballistics calculation. For example, let’s say that you inaccurately measured your Height Offset (or bore height) which results in a 0.25” error and let’s also say that you additionally over estimated your muzzle velocity by 50 fps as well. These errors might seem miniscule, but let’s take a look at the effects of these errors for a .223 at various ranges using a Kestrel 4500 Applied Ballistics Wind Meter:
Ballistics Calculation when the actual correct values are input:
· Bore Height: 2.71”
· Muzzle Velocity: 2,673
· Ballistics Drop Solution at 250 yds: 2.62 MOA (6.85” Drop)
· Ballistics Drop Solution at 500 yds: 10.81 MOA (56.57” Drop)
· Ballistics Drop Solution at 750 yds: 22.43 MOA (176.17” Drop)
Ballistics Calculation when the “garbage IN, garbage OUT” values are input:
· Bore Height: 2.46”
· Muzzle Velocity: 2,723
· Ballistics Drop Solution at 250 yds: 2.60 MOA (6.81” Drop)
· Ballistics Drop Solution at 500 yds: 10.49 MOA (54.91” Drop)
· Ballistics Drop Solution at 750 yds: 21.63 MOA (169.84” Drop)
Now let’s compare the results and the differences just these two small errors will produce!
· Ballistics Drop Solution at 250 yds: 2.62 MOA (6.85” Drop) vs. 2.60 MOA (6.81” Drop) = Shot impacts 0.04” LOW of desired point of impact!
· Ballistics Drop Solution at 500 yds:10.81 MOA (56.57” Drop) vs. 10.49 MOA (54.91” Drop) = Shot impacts 1.66” LOW of desired point of impact!
· Ballistics Drop Solution at 750 yds: 22.43 MOA (176.17” Drop) vs. 21.63 MOA (169.84” Drop) = Shot impacts 6.33” LOW of desired point of impact!
Alright, now that you know why accurate data input is so important to our ballistics calculation results…let’s talk price and application. Ballistics calculators range from FREE up to hundreds of dollars for a top-of-the-line fully integrated calculator solution. Depending on your budget, there are good choices and bad choices, but we will explain the benefits and pitfalls of each.
· Online Ballistics Calculators
o Price: Typically FREE
o Accuracy: Online calculators account for many input variables to be considered in each calculation; however, these calculators only provide data based upon data the fixed values that were specifically input at the time of the calculation.
o Mobility: Mobility is very limited due to internet and/or cellular services being required to utilize these online ballistics calculators.
o Flexibility: Online calculators have extremely poor flexibility due to their internet and/or cellular service dependencies and especially due to their lack of real-time corrections for variable atmospheric conditions input.
o Available Platforms: Online calculators can be accessed from a Desktop, Laptop, as well as Android and iOS Mobile Tablet and Smartphone Devices when/where available.
o Overall Rating: Based upon the consideration of all aspects covered here for this class of calculators, we rate Online Ballistics Calculators at a 2 out of 5!
o Here are a few Online Ballistics Calculator Examples:
· Mobile Application Ballistics Calculators
o Price: Typically range between FREE or just a few dollars up to as much as $20-30 (not including any additional In-App purchases available).
o Accuracy: Mobile Application calculators that are FREE typically provide you exactly what you paid for…very little! Mediocre to good apps for ballistics calculations are typically around $10 and account for more input variables and results in more accurate calculations; however, some of the best ballistic calculators you will find that offer the most in-depth input variables, customization, analysis, and graphical data simulations and feedback will run you between $20-30.
o Mobility: Mobility is much better, however, you will still need internet and/or cellular service in order to get any atmospheric data input or you will also need a separate atmospheric data device such as a portable wind meter to provide these real-time input values.
o Flexibility: Mobile Applications have good flexibility due to their capability of being able to access remote weather stations data via internet and/or cellular service; however, the atmospheric corrections data from these weather stations may still be unavailable when outside of service coverage areas and well as the potential for being grossly inaccurate when comparing the real-time atmospheric conditions at your current shooting location due to the nearest weather station reporting back may be as far as 20-50 miles away!
o Available Platforms: Mobile Applications can be accessed from most Android and/or iOS Mobile Tablet and Smartphone Devices via the Google Play or iTunes stores.
o Overall Rating: Based upon the consideration of all aspects covered here for this class of calculators, we rate Mobile Application Ballistics Calculators at a 3.5 out of 5!
o Here are a few Mobile Application Ballistics Calculator Examples:
· Kestrel Mobile Weather Meters with Integrated Ballistics Calculators
o Price: Typically range between $399 (Sportsman model) and as much as $689 (4500NV Bluetooth models)
o Accuracy: The Kestrel Sportsman model was designed specifically as a low cost Weather Meter featuring the absolute essentials of the Applied Ballistics integrated Ballistic Solver capable of gathering real-time atmospheric data at the shooters current location and providing a very accurate point of impact shot predication calculation for hunters and sportsman alike in a wide range of field and atmospheric conditions. The Kestrel 4500NV and 4500NV Bluetooth models are for serious long range hunters, target shooters, and Law Enforcement and Military service professionals! The 4500NV models are jam packed with extensive atmospheric conditions variables, graphical data capabilities, and are available in either a Horus or Applied Ballistics solver model. The Applied Ballistics integrated Ballistic Solver model features the most advanced ballistics solver solution available on the market today coupled with the industry’s most advanced and accurate portable Kestrel Weather Meter at your fingertips. The Applied Ballistics model provides an on-board firearms storage library, custom drag curve function, reverse muzzle velocity calibration, ballistics range analysis, Range Table, and multiple target firing solutions calculations! The Horus Ballistics model utilizes the Horus Ballistics Solver integrated with the Kestrel 4500NV Weather Meter to provide you pin-point precision calculations…especially when coupled with a Horus Vision Scope on your rifle of choice!
o Mobility: Mobility of the Kestrel Weather Meters regardless of model is outstanding! With one single device at your fingertips capable of providing both real-time atmospheric data fed directly into the most accurate Ballistics Solvers available in the industry today without the need for internet or cellular service…you won’t put a more powerful tool in your range or field bag than a Kestrel Ballistics Weather Meter!!!
o Flexibility: The Kestrel Ballistic Weather Meters flexibility is unrivaled by any online tool or mobile smart device application. From just taking simple wind and atmospheric condition readings, to using a Kestrel for accessing potential fishing conditions, using the internal compass during hiking and navigation while out on the trail, or using them for the integrated Ballistics Solver to make a precision long range shot…the Kestrel Ballistic Weather Meters are a sizable investment that you can utilize in numerous applications and tasks all year long.
o Available Platforms: The Kestrel Ballistics Weather Meters are all built on a standalone integrated device platform, but may also be connected and integrated via Bluetooth with numerous Tablet and Smartphone Device applications such as the Kestrel Companion and Companion Pro, Kestrel Crumbs, Shooter, Sterlok Pro, and Applied Ballistics Mobile applications to provide real-time atmospheric data input into your favorite ballistics mobile applications. In addition to being able to connect to several Mobile Applications, with the Kestrel Ballistics Weather Meters you can also utilize the Desktop or Laptop Applied Ballistics Profile Loader software to transfer, backup, restore, and even create new profiles and manage them across your Kestrel Ballistics Weather Meter Devices!
o Overall Rating: Based upon the consideration of all aspects covered here for this class of calculators, we rate Kestrel Ballistics Weather Meters at a 4.5 out of 5, we would rate them at a 5 out of 5 on overall rating if it were not for the substantial initial investment of the meters.
o Here are the Kestrel Ballistics Weather Meters currently available:
Now that we have had a chance to compare and evaluate a wide array of the currently available Ballistics Calculator solutions available in the industry, we are now going to tell you which ones we endorse, trust, and use ourselves.
o Online Calculator: In our opinion, Berger Bullets offers the most comprehensive Online Ballistics Calculator solution available and additionally offers a very good Rate of Twist Calculator for optimizing your firearms performance!
o Mobile Application: In our opinion, the most accurate, comprehensive, and customizable mobile device application is the Applied Ballistics App.
o Kestrel Ballistics Weather Meter: In our opinion, the Kestrel 4500NV Bluetooth Applied Ballistics model is our preferred meter of choice and when coupled with either the Applied Ballistics Mobile App, Kestrel Companion, or Companion Pro Apps…you won’t find a better, more accurate, or more versatile Ballistics Solver solution package anywhere else on the market!
Please Note: Broken Box R LLC is an Authorized Dealer of Kestrel Ballistics Weather Meters, so if you have any questions regarding any of the Kestrel Ballistics Weather Meters products discussed above or if you would like to purchase one, please give us a call or email us today!
Do you have a Tip or Trick regarding reloading that you would like to see posted? Please send us your Tip(s) or Trick(s) and we will see about getting them posted!
Written By: Kyle R. CEO of Broken Box R LLC
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