July 16th, 2009

Book Review: A New Ballistics Resource from Bryan Litz

Bryan Litz Ballistics BookBryan Litz, chief Ballistician for Berger Bullets, has just released an impressive new, hard-cover treatise on external ballistics. While Bryan’s 536-page Applied Ballistics for Long-Range Shooting will surely take its place among the “classic” reference books on precision shooting, it does much more than explain theories of bullet flight. Using advanced equipment, Litz measured the actual drag of over 175 popular bullet types in the field. Armed with this new experimentally-derived data, shooters can now calculate their loads’ true trajectories with greater precision than ever before.

If you’re serious about long-range shooting, or just have an interest in bullet design and performance, you should buy this book. It is offered for $39.95 directly from Bryan’s website, AppliedBallisticsLLC.com.

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In the video above, Litz explains some of the key features of his new book. (Watch the video — Bryan explains what you’ll get for your $39.95!) Don’t be fooled by Bryan’s youthful appearance. This guy is the Einstein of external ballistics. He holds a degree in Aerospace Engineering, and he was an honest-to-goodness rocket scientist who worked with the U.S. Air Force on air-to-air missile design for six years before joning Berger Bullets. What’s more, Bryan is an extremely talented long-range shooter. Bryan was the 2008 National Palma Champion, and he holds the all-time NRA mid-range iron-sight record (450-39X).

Bryan Litz Ballistics Book

Even if you rely on a software program to calculate your come-ups, it is important to know how bullets are affected by wind and gravity, and how bullet ballistic coefficients are determined. If you’re looking to expand your knowledge of ballistics and the nuances of bullet design, you should find Bryan’s book informative and readable.

You don’t need an MIT degree to understand this book. It was Bryan’s goal to explain the important elements of exterior ballistics in a practical way that can be understood and applied by shooters. What you learn from Applied Ballistics for Long-Range Shooting can help you make better decisions about the bullet(s) and the caliber(s) you choose to shoot, and give you more confidence when taking those long shots in the field.

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July 16th, 2009

Billiard Chalks Make Fun Reactive Targets

Reactive targets — whether balloons, steel gongs, or clay birds — always add fun to a range session. But precision shooters may want something more challenging (i.e. smaller) than a clay bird when shooting inside 300 yards. For a change of pace, try shooting at small reactive targets attached to your target board.

AccurateShooter PaintballNecco Wafers and Paint Balls
We’ve seen folks shoot at candy NECCO® Wafers at 100 yards. When hit, these disintegrate nicely but don’t offer much of a visual display. For serious “splat factor”, some shooters use paint balls as targets. Glued to a cardboard backer, the paintballs explode dramatically when hit. Unfortunately paintballs make a really big mess, and your rangemaster might not be happy with the residue. Accordingly, we suggest you leave the paintballs to the “gravel pit”-type plinking ranges.

Pool Cue Chalks — Cheap, Fun, Dramatic
If you’re looking for a nice small target that makes a nice big cloud of color when hit, try pool cue chalks. You know, those little blue cubes you use to dust the end of billiard cues. Measuring about 7/8″ per side, billiard chalks make very challenging targets at 100 and 200 yards. When you hit them, if you nail the circular “dimple” in the middle, they disintegrate impressively, tossing blue “smoke” in all directions.

AccurateShooter Billiard Chalks targets

To see actual hits on chalk at 100 and 200 yards, watch the video below. The movie-maker, Phil of the Random Nuclear Strikes Blog, cautions that: “You’ll notice (in the video) that some of the hits are ‘wiffs’ instead of ‘poofs’. If you look at the picture above, you’ll see the 1/2 inch dimple in the cube face. If you don’t put the bullet in that dimple, it’ll ‘wiff’ on you.”

Pool cue chalks are inexpensive. You can buy a dozen chalks online for about $3.00 — just 25 cents each. And the prices drop with more quantity. One gross of chalks (that’s 144 pieces) costs just $23.00 at ozonebilliards.com.

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