October 12th, 2015

Print Handy Drop-Chart with FREE Hornady Ballistics Calculator

Hornady Ballistics Calculator

Hornady Ballistics CalculatorNeed a simple, easy-to-use drop chart for your rifle? Something you can tape right to the buttstock? Then check out Hornady’s handy Online Ballistics Calculator. This user-friendly calculator will compute your drops accurately, and output a handy “Cheat Sheet” you can print and attach to your rifle. Simply input G1 or G7 BC values, muzzle velocity, bullet weight, zero range and a few other variables. Click “Calculate” and you’re good to go. You can select the basic version, or an advanced version with more data fields for environmental variables (altitude, temperature, air pressure, and humidity). You can also get wind drift numbers by inputing wind speed and angle.

Conveniently, on the trajectory output, come-ups are listed in both MOA and Mils — so this will work with either MOA clicks or Mil-based clicks. There are more sophisticated ballistics solvers available on the web (such as the outstanding Applied Ballistics Online Calculator), but the Hornady Calculator is very simple and easy to use. If you just want a basic drop chart, you may want to check this out.

Hornady Ballistics Calculator

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo 2 Comments »
January 13th, 2015

Calculate Barrel Weight with FREE Software from Dan Lilja

Dan Lilja Rifle BarrelsAre you re-barreling a match rifle and need to know if you will still make weight? Or perhaps you want to select the right contour to hit an optimal carry weight for a new varmint rifle? Dan Lilja offers FREE software that will calculate barrel weight for straight contour, straight taper, and radius-tapered barrels. Dan’s software even calculates how fluting alters barrel weight.

For general info on barrel weight calculation for straight and straight tapers, read this article on Lilja’s website. Click HERE for another article explaining weight calculation with barrels that have a radiused (curved) contour section.

Here are the free software programs offered by Dan Lilja. Right click and “Save As”:

Straight Contour (.exe file) | Straight Contour (Excel file) | Contoured Barrels with Radius (Excel file)

Dan Lilja Barrel Contour diagram

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
November 15th, 2014

UltimateReloader.com Reloading Cost Calculator

How much can you save reloading your own ammo? Well that depends on the cost of components and how much you have invested in your reloading gear. UltimateReloader.com has created a handy online Reloading Costs Calculator that lets you quickly compare the cost of reloaded ammo vs. factory ammo. Just enter the costs of powder, primers, bullets, and brass, and the Calculator will tell you the cost per round, per 20-rd box, per 50-rd box, and cost per thousand. Note — when setting the price of the brass you need to divide the initial cost by the number of predicted reloads. For example if you have 500 pieces of brass that cost $40/100 to buy ($200 total), but you get 8 reloads per case, then you put $25.00 in the Calculator ($200 total brass cost divided by 8).

ultimate reloader cost calculator

True Reloading Cost Should Include Amortized Tool Expenses
Ah… but there is a catch. To understand the true cost of reloading, you also need to consider the costs of your tools and accessories, amortized over the tools’ loading lifespan. Let’s say you have $1000.00 invested in presses, dies, tumblers, measuring tools and other accessories, with a residual value of $500.00 (upon resale). If you load 5,000 rounds with those tools over their lifespan, you need to add $0.10 per round for tooling costs (your investment minus residual value, divided by the number of rounds loaded). The UltimateReloader.com Calculator does not include amortized tooling costs, but that’s something you can easily figure out on your own.

Excellent Resource for Reloading Videos
After you’ve tried out the Reloading Costs Calculator, check out the other content on UltimateReloader.com. This site features some of the best gun-related “how-to” videos on the internet. With sharp video and clear audio, the production quality is very high. If you use a progressive press (Dillon, Hornady, RCBS), you should definitely watch UltimateReloader.com’s videos — you’ll probably learn a new trick or two. In the sample video below, you can see how Hornady’s new Bullet Feeder works with its Lock-N-Load Progressive press.

YouTube Preview Image
Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 8 Comments »
May 4th, 2014

Are You Spinning Your Bullets Fast Enough? Twist Rate Calculator Predicts Gyroscopic Stability

Berger twist rate calculatorBerger Twist-Rate Stability Calculator
On the Berger Bullets website you’ll find a handy Twist-Rate Stability Calculator that predicts your gyroscopic stability factor (SG) based on mulitiple variables: velocity, bullet length, bullet weight, barrel twist rate, ambient temperature, and altitude. This very cool tool tells you if your chosen bullet will really stabilize in your barrel.

LIVE DEMO BELOW — Just enter values in the data boxes and click “Calculate SG”.

How to Use Berger’s Twist Rate Calculator
Using the Twist Rate Calculater is simple. Just enter the bullet DIAMETER (e.g. .264), bullet WEIGHT (in grains), and bullet overall LENGTH (in inches). On its website, Berger conveniently provides this info for all its bullet types. For other brands, we suggest you weigh three examples of your chosen bullet, and also measure the length on three samples. Then use the average weight and length of the three. To calculate bullet stability, simply enter your bullet data (along with observed Muzzle Velocity, outside Temperature, and Altitude) and click “Calculate SG”. Try different twist rate numbers (and recalculate) until you get an SG value of 1.4 (or higher).

Gyroscopic Stability (SG) and Twist Rate
Berger’s Twist Rate Calculator provides a predicted stability value called “SG” (for “Gyroscopic Stability”). This indicates the Gyroscopic Stability applied to the bullet by spin. This number is derived from the basic equation: SG = (rigidity of the spinning mass)/(overturning aerodynamic torque).

Berger twist rate calculatorIf you have an SG under 1.0, your bullet is predicted not to stabilize. If you have between 1.0 and 1.1 SG, your bullet may or may not stabilize. If you have an SG greater than 1.1, your bullet should stabilize under optimal conditions, but stabilization might not be adequate when temperature, altitude, or other variables are less-than-optimal. That’s why Berger normally recommends at least 1.5 SG to get out of the “Marginal Stability” zone.

In his book Applied Ballistics For Long-Range Shooting, Bryan Litz (Berger Ballistician) recommends at least a 1.4 SG rating when selecting a barrel twist for a particular bullet. This gives you a safety margin for shooting under various conditions, such as higher or lower altitudes or temperatures. Try changing the altitude and temperature in the calculator and you will see that the SG can increase or decrease when these environmental factors change. Under optimal circumstances you should aim for a 1.4, that way if you change circumstances you are still over 1.1.

Erik Dahlberg rifling illustration courtesy FireArmsID.com.

Story idea from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.

Permalink - Articles 6 Comments »
August 1st, 2013

Updated URLs for JBM Online Ballistics Program

laminated come-up range cardThe web-based JBM Ballistics Program is one of the most sophisticated and accurate ballistics calculators available — and it’s free. The latest version of the JBM Trajectory Calculator includes field-test-derived actual G7 BCs, as well as bullet drag data from Lapua’s Doppler radar testing. You can also change weather variables, and generate come-up tables for distances out to 3000 yards.

Whenever we have web access, the JBM program is our “go-to” resource for dependable ballistics calculations. In our experience, with most bullets, if you input all the correct variables for the JBM program, it should get you within 1/2 moa (2 clicks), at 600 yards.

New URLs for JBM Ballistics Calculators
With the release of the latest version of the JBM program, some URLs for the calculations pages have changed. You may want to update your bookmarks with the following web addresses:

JBM Calculations Entry Page: www.jbmballistics.com/ballistics/calculators/calculators.shtml.

JBM Advanced Trajectory Calculator: www.jbmballistics.com/cgi-bin/jbmtraj-5.1.cgi.

JBM Simple Trajectory Calculator: www.jbmballistics.com/cgi-bin/jbmtraj_simp-5.1.cgi.

JBM Trajectory Cards (Come-up Table): http://www.jbmballistics.com/cgi-bin/jbmcard-5.1.cgi.

Permalink News, Reloading 4 Comments »
May 18th, 2011

JBM-Powered Ballistics Software for Apple iPads

iPad Ballistics softwareA dedicated iPad version of Ballistic (‘Ballistic’ App), a full-featured ballistics calculator for the iPhone, is available for the growing numbers of iPad users. As with the iPhone version, ‘Ballistic’ App for the iPad is “powered by JBM Ballistics” so it offers very precise solutions — typically, at 600 yards, JBM will get you within two or three clicks, provided you have good bullet BC data and reliable MV from your chronograph.

The ‘Ballistic’ App for the iPhone and iPad features a library of over 3,100 projectiles; the library includes the latest 2010 commercial data and G7 military coefficients from Aberdeen Proving Grounds. Along with calculating bullet trajectories, this software has many extra features. There are several different target cards so you can input shot placement and scoring is calculated automatically. There is also a range log (for recording shooting sessions), a mildot and MOA range estimator, and a convenient load database for storing your reloading recipes.

Special features in the iPad edition of ‘Ballistic’ App include: fully integrated split-screen ballistics, favorites, and range log; full-screen, hi-resolution charts; ballistics calculations update automatically as you edit; larger target sizes in range log; and screens can rotate. The iPad Ballistic App (release 2.3.7) costs $19.99. The standard version for iPhone and iTouch units, costs $9.99. To learn more about this software, visit ballistic.zdziarski.com.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 2 Comments »
February 8th, 2011

New Whiz Wheel Ballistics Solver for Custom and Standard Loads

Product Preview by Bryan Litz
I’d like to make everyone aware of a new ballistic solver called the Whiz Wheel. The Whiz Wheel, from Accuracy 1st Development Group (Accuracy 1st) is a non-electronic device that calculates ballistic solutions out to transonic range for any small arms bullet. This device, similar to a circular slide-rule, is in the process of being adopted by several military units as a back-up to the electronic PDAs, and even as the primary ballistic solver since it’s faster to get a solution compared to the PDAs.

Whiz Wheel Solver Features include:

  • Density altitude calculator
  • Meters/MILS or Yards/MOA output
  • Trajectory prediction within 0.1 MIL or 0.25 MOA resolution
  • Wind deflection for any speed and direction
  • Spin drift
  • Leads for engaging moving targets
  • Corrections for inclined shooting
  • Ability to ‘true’ the solution for variations in MV or BC

whiz wheel ballistics solver

Use Different Wheels for Various Cartridges and Loads
The tan colored sleeve is universal, meaning it works with all load-specific wheels. The wheels are interchangeable laser-engraved plastic items. Accuracy 1st offers both “standard” wheels for popular factory-loaded ammo types, as well as custom wheels tailored to your specific bullet, MV, sight height, and twist rate. Each wheel provides a full solution for a single cartridge type and load. Different wheels are required for different cartridges/different loads. This is because the wheel’s solutions depend on bullet BC and muzzle velocity.

CLICK HERE for Whiz Wheel Ballistics Solver Instructions PDF.

How to Use the Whiz Wheel
Finding your come-ups (and windage corrections) with the Whiz Wheel is very simple. Start by solving the density altitude (DA) with the small wheel, or getting it from a Kestrel. Then line up the DA with the range, and the wheel outputs drop. The drop can be corrected for incline via the table on the back of the sleeve. The back of the whiz wheel also calculates the lateral solution elements including wind, spin drift, and moving target leads.

I was heavily involved in the development of the Whiz Wheel and can vouch for the accuracy of the solutions which are generated with a point mass solver and measured G7 BCs. If you have comments or questions about the Whiz Wheel, you can place those in the comments section for this Bulletin post. I’ll try to respond to your questions, time permitting.

Bryan Litz, author of Applied Ballistics for Long Range Shooting, is the Ballistician for Berger Bullets.

Whiz Wheel Pricing for Standard and Custom Loads
To order the Whiz Wheel go to the Accuracy 1st website. A Whiz Wheel Solver with one (1) custom wheel for your load costs $54.95 for civilians, $44.95 for LEO/Military. Each additional custom solver wheel, set up for your specific load, costs $24.95 for civilians, $19.95 for LEO/Military. If you shoot factory ammo, you can purchase the Whiz Wheel with one standard solver wheel — $49.95 for civilians or $39.95 for LEO/Military. A Standard Ballistics solver wheel (set up for a known production load) costs $19.95 for civilians, $14.95 for LEO/Military. Accuracy 1st also offers a package of Solver Sleeve plus three (3) standard wheels — $69.95 for civilians, $49.95 for LEO/Military.

Accuracy 1st Development Group
310 Indianapolis Rd. Building E-4
Mooresville, IN 46158
Phone: 317-834-5480
E-mail: jeffoverholser [at] accuracy1stdg.com

Permalink New Product 3 Comments »
January 4th, 2011

JBM Ballistics to Build Handheld Ballistics Calculator

JBM Ballistics (JBM), based in Las Cruces, NM, has provided free online ballistics info for the past 15 years. JBM Ballistics’ sophisticated algorithms deliver extremely reliable ballistics solutions. To complement its software, JBM plans to introduce a new hardware product: the BallistiComp.

Laster this year, JBM will unveil its new BallistiComp, a portable handheld ballistics computer that measures atmospheric temperature and pressure. Once your load data (Bullet BC, Velocity) is entered, the BallistiComp provides instantaneous drop and windage corrections for your load and shooting conditions. Calculated parameters include drop, windage, coriolis, drift and lead, plus terminal information including velocity, energy, time of flight and danger space. All of these parameters are displayed on an LCD display with backlight. Small enough to fit in your pocket, the BallistiComp is packaged in a rugged, watertight Lexan® case, measuring about 3″x5″x1″.

JBM Ballistics Calculator Ballisticomp

Why Not “An App for That”
Why would JBM produce dedicated hardware when there are good Ballistics Apps that can run on an Apple or Droid smartphone? Battery life is one reason. The single 9-volt battery should last for months (by contrast some smartphones need to be charged every DAY). Importantly, no connection to cell towers or the internet is needed. You could use this unit anywhere on the globe. Lastly, JBM wanted something that was inherently rugged and reliable. Smartphone touch screens are notoriously fragile.

How It Works
Using an 8-button keypad, you enter your firearm, ammunition and zero parameters into the system memory. BallistiComp then calculates the bullet drop and windage correction at the current atmospheric conditions, latitude and altitude (or calculated pressure altitude). BallistiComp continually measures the air temperature and pressure and provides constantly updated drop and drift numbers.

Product Availability
JBM has not yet disclosed a launch date or a suggested price for the new BallistiComp. However, you can download an Operators Manual to learn more about the BallistiComp. JBM cautions: “The manual is just a draft and may change during beta testing”.

CLICK HERE for BallistiComp Operators Manual (Beta Version) (PDF)

Credit Forum Member Edlongrange for sourcing this article.
Permalink Gear Review, New Product 6 Comments »
November 12th, 2010

Tactical Watch with Full-Featured Horus Ballistics Calculator

Just when we thought we’d seen everything, Horus Vision has teamed up with 5.11 to create a wristwatch with a built-in ballistics calculator. Priced at $199.95, the 5.11 Ballistics Field Watch incorporates the Horus Vision SureShot™ ballistic calculator, plus a digital compass to indicate direction and degree. The watch has a molded polycarbonate body, offered in three color choices: black, olive drab, and coyote tan. Equipped with a backlight for night use, the 5.11 Field Watch also features dual time zones, a stopwatch, a countdown timer, and alarm.

5.11 Tactical Field Watch Horus Ballistics

Horus Tactical 5.11 watchFull-featured Ballistics Calculator
The ballistics functions are fairly complete. Using the four control buttons you can input temp, scope height (above bore), altitude, zero range, target distance, inclination (up/down angle), wind speed, wind direction, bullet BC (Ballistic Coefficient), and Muzzle Velocity. Then the watch will calculate your elevation and windage correction in either Mils or MOA-fraction clicks. It’s amazing that Horus packed all these features into a normal-sized watch.

CLICK HERE for Interactive Watch Demo.

NOTE: This online product demo is very cool. By clicking the buttons on an interactive watch mock-up, you can test all the functions and see how to input values into the Ballistics Calculator.

We haven’t compared the Horus/5.11 Ballistics Calculator watch with more sophisticated ballistics programs, but if you can remember all the buttons to push (and in what order) this watch appears to be a compact alternative to a laptop or PDA with ballistics software installed. Buyers have rated the watch highly: “Brillliant — I ordered the 5.11 Tactical Field Watch for my husband to use on his tour in Afghanistan. He loves it. He loves every feature it comes with and says that it’s accurate and durable.”

CLICK HERE for more detailed product review from DefenseReview.com.

Permalink News 3 Comments »
December 14th, 2009

MOBALL Deployable Ballistics Computer from Bryan Litz

There are a variety of ballistics programs that can be used with handheld PDAs, and even Apple iPhones. But Bryan Litz, author of the new Applied Ballistics for Long Range Shooting book, has come up with something bigger and better. Employing the powerful Texas Instruments (TI) Voyage 200 graphing calculator, Bryan has created a Mobile Ballistics Solution (MOBALL) that is more sophisticated (and accurate) than typical PDA-based programs.

Litz Moball Ballistics Calculator
MOBALL includes TI graphing calculator and ballistics software. Kestrel windmeter NOT included.

Bryan tells us: “The Mobile Ballistics Computer (MOBALL) was created for one purpose: to provide shooters with the most accurate and complete ballistic firing solution possible for application in the field.” MOBALL runs on a TI graphing calculator — a sturdy, stand-alone, non-network device. That means you don’t need long-term cell phone contracts, expensive data plans, or weekly OS “updates” and patches. The TI also delivers long run-time on ordinary AAA batteries. That’s a big advantage over most laptop computers, which run out of “juice” after only 4-5 hours in the field.

According to Bryan, what sets MOBALL apart from other “deployable” ballistics calculators is that: “MOBALL provides a complete ballistic solution, with the ability to account for every major and minor variable affecting a bullets trajectory. In addition to the standard variables like atmospherics, uphill/downhill angles and wind, MOBALL also has the ability to account for more subtle ballistic effects like spin drift, Coriolis effect, and multiple winds in up to 3 zones.”

Importantly, Bryan’s MOBALL device can employ Ballistic Coefficients (BCs) referenced to the G7 standard. Compared to the older G1 BC model, the G7 BC standard better matches the characterics of the long, boat-tail bullets actually used by long-range shooters. Trajectories calculated using the G7 BC are more accurate for long-range bullets because the G7 BC doesn’t vary with velocity like the conventional G1 BC.

G1 BCG1 BC

The difference between G1 and G7 BCs is explained online in the Berger Blog article A Better Ballistic Coefficient. The subject is also discussed in detail in Chapter 2 of Bryan’s Applied Ballistics book.

Litz Moball Ballistics CalculatorAt $290.00, MOBALL isn’t the least expensive option for a mobile ballistics device, but that price includes the TI Voyage 200 graphing calculator, worth $180.00 by itself. Bryan adds: “As already mentioned, the feature set is extensive, and the software is much more sophisticated than most ballistics programs designed for PDAs. The solution is VERY accurate (CLICK to download MOBALL Accuracy Report). Also, the TI Voyage 200 is an impressive device itself, capable of solving advanced engineering and math problems. If you’re a high school/college student, engineer, etc, the TI Voyage 200 can be used for many school and work tasks unrelated to ballistics.”

Save $20 on MOBALL and Ballistics Book Combo
As a special Holiday Offer valid through December 31, 2009, you can save money when purchasing MOBALL and Bryan’s Applied Ballistics book together. The book and MOBALL unit are being offered as a Holiday Combo Set for $309.95. That’s a $20 savings over the $329.95 cost of purchasing both book and MOBALL unit separately.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, News 14 Comments »
October 5th, 2009

Coming Soon… Ballistics Software Package for Cell Phones

One of our readers, Rafal Walczowski, revealed that programmers from Poland have developed ballistics software for cell phones. The new program, KABAL, should be able to operate in over 90% of programmable mobile phones. Rafal tells us: “Our idea was to develop software which could be used on the most common devices people carry all the time — mobile phones.” Current mobile ballistics programs require a separate device (such as a Windows PDA), or are limited to a single type of phone (e.g. the KAC program for the I-Phone). The Polish developers came up with a handier, more universal application: “We made software that should work on every device with JAVA MIDP.2.0. That should work for about 90-95% of the phones on the market. And, later, we will make a KABAL version that runs with older versions of JAVA.”

Kabal Ballistics software cell phone

Rafal reports the KABAL Ballistics program for mobile phones has worked well in field tests: “The algorithm for our calculator was field-tested for 18 months at ranges up to 1076 meters. Many different calibers, rifles, and bullets were employed during testing. We are pleased with the results, even when compared to QuickTarget and Exbal programs. Our KABAL program often proved more accurate, especially for long-range calculations, whereas QuickTarget and Exbal could be too optimistic.”

English Version Coming Soon — and Free BETA Version Online
Rafal reports: “Several weeks ago we finished the Polish version of KABAL and we are selling it for mobile phones. We are now are working on an English-language version, which is currently in beta testing.” There is a free English test version that works in a PC browser. This includes a BC database, a bullet stability calculator, plus tooltips describing each field. You can try out the free online beta version by clicking the link below. Rabal adds: “We would highly appreciate any opinions/feedback about our software”.

CLICK HERE for Beta Version of English KABAL Ballistics Software (Web use only)

Permalink New Product, Reloading 6 Comments »