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March 28th, 2011

New Kestrel 4500 NV Weather Meter with Horus Ballistics Solver

Horus ATrag Ballistics software is now embedded in Kestrel 4500 NV Pocket Weather Trackers, eliminating the need for a PDA. Since the ballistics software is built into the Kestrel unit, environmental data automatically flows from the Kestrel side to the ATrag solver for accurate and instant ballistics solutions. You don’t have to punch in wind speed, temp, or air pressure — that’s all done automatically. The 4500 NV Weather Tracker is IP67 waterproof and MIL-STD-810F rugged. MSRP for the Kestrel with Horus Ballistics is $619.00 (non-Bluetooth).

Features of Horus ATrag
By integrating ATrag capabilities, you can now go to the field with just one device for weather AND Ballistics, eliminating the need to carry a separate PDA or smartphone. Along with a ballistics solver, ATrag includes an extensive gun list, customizable targets, and truing capability. Truing takes your factual data and models an accurate outcome of bullet drop, rather than a predictive one.

The new unit allows users to load and customize multiple guns and rounds from the extensive proprietary Horus database. You can create up to six targets, each customized for location, distance, direction, declination and winds. The Kestrel meter will meter wind velocity and direction, and, using its built-in digital compass, it will give the bearing to the targets. Once these parameters are set, the Kestrel meter takes over — tracking the current met data and automatically updating the firing solution. The Horus ATrag software even compensates for coriolis and spin drift at extreme long range.

When you switch out of Ballistics mode, you still have all the capabilities of a 4500 NV unit which can measure: speed and direction, temperature, humidity, heat stress, barometric pressure, altitude, density altitude, crosswind and more.

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December 11th, 2010

Kestrel Weather Meter with Built-in Horus Ballistics Software

Kestrel with Horus ATrag ballisticsKestrel has teamed with Horus Vision to produce a new Kestrel Weather Meter with integrated ballistics software. Previously, shooters would need to obtain environmental data from a Kestrel meter and then input that data into a PDA loaded with Horus ATrag ballistics software. Now, the Kestrel Ballistics Weather Tracker with Horus ATrag software contains all of the necessary data and solutions in one Kestrel device, which is IP67 waterproof and MIL-STD-810F rugged. MSRP for the Kestrel with Horus Ballistics is $619.00 (non-Bluetooth).

The new unit allows users to load and customize multiple guns and rounds from the extensive proprietary Horus database. You can create up to six targets, each customized for location, distance, direction, declination and winds. The Kestrel meter will meter wind velocity and direction, and, using its built-in digital compass, it will give the bearing to the targets. Once these parameters are set, the Kestrel meter takes over — tracking the current met data and automatically updating the firing solution. The Horus ATrag software even compensates for coriolis and spin drift at extreme long range.

When you switch out of Ballistics mode, you still have all the capabilities of a 4500 NV unit which can measure: speed and direction, temperature, humidity, heat stress, barometric pressure, altitude, density altitude, crosswind and more.

For a discussion of the new Kestrels with Horus software, read this Sniper’s Hide Forum THREAD.

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Kestrel + Horus FAQ

Q: Which Kestrel Meters will be available with Horus ATrag ballistics software?
A: The Kestrel 4500 NV series will be available with Horus Vision ballistics. The Kestrel 4500 is the only model to give wind direction, which is important for long-range shooting. For more money, you can order a model with Bluetooth capability that allows wireless data transfer to a laptop or PDA.

Q: When will the Kestrel/Horus be for sale and how much will it cost?
A: Kestrel is currently offering a limited supply of Kestrel/Horus 4500NVs to “preferred users” via an email campaign. If you did not receive the email solicitation, but really, really have to get one right now, contact Kestrel directly at 800-784-4221. MSRP for the Kestrel 4500NV with Horus ATrag Balllistics is $619.00, while the Krestrel/Horus 4500NV with Bluetooth capability lists for $739.00. According to Kestrel, “Supplies are very limited.”

Q: Can I upgrade my current unit to include Horus Vision software?
A: No. The Kestrel with Horus Vision ATrag software was specially designed and built to support the integrated ballistics solutions along with the Kestrel environmental data capturing capability. This is not just a software upgrade. Kestrel does offer a Customer Care Discount program where you may trade in your current Kestrel for credit towards the new Kestrel Weather Tracker with Horus Ballistics software.

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November 4th, 2009

Affordable Timex Offers Temp, Air Pressure, Timer Functions

Temperature, Atmospheric Pressure, and Altitude — all these things can and do affect bullet ballistics. Moreover, temperature changes can alter powder performance and chamber pressures. The smart reloader takes the predicted ambient temperature into account. And when calculating your come-ups and windage click values, you need to factor in Temperature, Air Pressure, AND Altitude.

Kestrel 4000 Weather TrackerHow do you keep track of these important variables when you’re shooting? The Kestrel 4000 Pocket Weather Tracker®, is compact and provides a wealth of information: atmospheric pressure, altitude, density altitude, temperature, humidity, wind speed, wind chill, dew point, and heat index. We like the Kestrels and recommend them. But at $279.00, a Kestrel 4000 is too expensive for many shooters.

Timex now offers a solution. Selling for about $60.00-$75.00 (street price), the Timex Expedition® Adventure Tech™ watch (item T41501EA) displays Altitude, Barometric Pressure, and Temperature (ABT). The thermometer function records temps from 14° F to 140° F. The Altimeter reads from -2,296 feet to +29,520 feet with 10-foot resolution. The Barometer tracks current and sea level pressure, and provides a graph of pressure changes over time.

Timex Altimeter Watch

Encased in a stainless housing with a resin band, the Timex watch is water resistant to 50 meters, and offers many other nice features, including dual time zones, countdown timer, alarm, and backlit nightlight (very handy). The countdown timer is very easy to set and activate; and yes the timer can be used effectively in a shooting match.

There are other quality watches, such as the Suunto Core, that provide Altitude, Atmospheric Pressure, and Temperature read-outs. But, at under $70.00, the Timex is one-fourth the price of the Suunto. Amazon.com is currently offering the Timex Temp/Altitude/Barometer watch for $62.88. It is offered with a silver band as well as the black shown above.

Useful Tool or Just Another Gadget?
Is this watch really useful or just another piece of male jewelry? Well just last week a friend was developing loads and he wanted to input the ambient temperature, and current air pressure. The Timex gave us the desired data. (Note: it’s best to take the watch off your arm when gauging air temp). For this editor, the Timex ABT watch is a useful tool. I bought one and use it during load development and when shooting competitively. Negatives? Well the Timex IS big and thick, really thick, but then it’s much handier than carrying BOTH a digital thermometer/altimeter AND a separate count-down timer.

Here’s an owner’s review: “I have been through a Nike ABT, a Swiss Army ABT, and a High Gear ABT watch this year alone. None of them, which cost quite a bit more, have been as accurate and durable as this Timex. It has a better fit, was easy to use and read and just plain ‘on the money’ as far as forecasting weather and altitude. Also, I have not had to take it off my arm for 10-15 mins to get a decent temperature rating. It has always been within 1-3 degrees of actual temp. And I live in the Carribean in a tropical climate… so, for it to be this accurate is a statement in itself.”

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October 10th, 2009

New Compact Minox Weatherstation

Here’s a new product we found on SWFA.com. Minox, famed maker of miniature cameras, has released the new Minox Weatherstation to compete with the Kestrel weather meters. The Minox is very compact and very light. It measures 4.68″ H x 2.28″ W and is just 3/4 of an inch thick. And it weighs just 2.36 ounces (67 grams)! This is definitely light and small enough to be carried in a shirt pocket.

Minox WeatherstationThe Minox Weatherstation has all the functions you’d expect, plus a few more: Wind speed, Barometer, Altimeter, Thermometer, Hygrometer (Humidity), Windchill, Dewpoint, Clock, Stop-Watch, Alarm, Timer, Race Timer. Of course it can display both °Celsius and °Fahrenheit, and the Hygrometer reads from 1% Relative Humidity through 100% Relative Humidity. The barometer function uses five graphically arranged columns on the LC display to show not just the current air pressure hPa, but also changes which have occurred in the last 24 hours.

We like the fact that the Minox offers timing functions as well as weather data. This way the Minox can do double-duty as a match timer. That’s one less piece of kit to bring to the range.

Kestrel 4000 handWith a “street price” of $249.00, the Minox Weatherstation is priced on a par with the Kestrel 4000 and is about fifty bucks cheaper than Kestrels’ top-of-the-line 4500 model. How does the Minox stack up against the Kestrels? Well, the Kestrel 4000 outputs Density Altitude, while the Minox (apparently) does not. The Kestrel 4000 can also record data points and download these to a computer. The Minox doesn’t offer a PC interface. The more expensive Kestrel 4500 has a digital compass so it can plot wind directions (crosswind, headwind, tailwind). It seems then, that the main advantages of the Minox are compact size and light weight (2.4 oz. for Minox vs. 3.6 oz. for Kestrel 4000).

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August 18th, 2009

Windtronic 2 on Sale For $59.90 (Group Buy Not Needed)

Windtronic 2 wind meter saleA few days ago we showcased the omni-directional Windtronic 2 Wind Meter in our Daily Bulletin. We proposed a group buy (at $85.00) if there was enough interest. Well readers were interested, but we’ve called off the group buy.

Windtronic 2 at $59.90 Beats Group Buy Deal
Don’t be disappointed — the group buy was nixed because Forum Member FClassRon found a source that is selling the Windtronic 2 for a lot less money. Ron searched the web and found that Hobby-Lobby.com is selling Windtronic 2 units for just $59.90 plus shipping. That’s lower than our wholesale price… by a lot.

CLICK HERE to order Windtronic 2 for $59.90.

Click the above link to get your Windtronic 2 for just $59.90, or visit hobby-lobby.com and search for product #KE421. That’s an awesome deal — this unit sells for $99.00 almost everywhere else.

We don’t know how many units Hobby-Lobby.com has available at this price, so don’t delay. We’re sorry there won’t be a group buy, but this deal gets you a Windtronic 2 for nearly $40.00 off retail. Can’t argue with that!

8/20 UPDATE: The link to the Hobby-Lobby.com page with the Windtronic Deal isn’t working anymore, but you can still search for product #KE421 and put it in your shopping cart. We assume Hobby-Lobby has run out, but it appears you can back-order by searching for #KE421 on the Hobby-Lobby.com web site, and then clicking the “Buy Now” button.

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August 15th, 2009

Omni-Directional Windtronic 2 Wind Meter

Windtronic 2 wind meterIf you want to win shooting matches you’ll need to gauge wind speed and direction. While many shooters use the excellent Kestrel line of pocket Weather Trackers, many top shooters are turning to the Windtronic 2, a German-made unit that measures wind speeds from any direction.

The Windtronic features rotating cups mounted on a vertical axis. With this design you don’t have to align the unit with the wind, unlike the Kestrel WindMeter or SpeedTech WindMate™ devices. Many users feel the Windtronic’s unique design allows it to read wind speeds more accurately; it certainly can respond to shifting winds more easily. The omni-directional functionality of the Windtronic allows it to be mounted on a stand or tripod and continuously display current wind speed, max wind speed, and average velocity.

The Windtronic 2 doesn’t guage temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, or density altitude, unlike the more advanced (and expensive) Kestrel 4000/4500 model pocket weather trackers. The Windtronic only records wind speeds, but it does that one task exceptionally well.

Made in Germany by Kaindl Electronics, the Windtronic 2 comes with a 2-year manufacturers warranty and normally retails for $99.00 on Amazon.com. Other dealers include Windtronic.us and Windpowersports.com.

Windtronic 2 wind meter
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September 11th, 2008

Kestrel 4500 Offers Full Set of Functions Including Crosswind Values and Density Altitude

Every long-range precision shooter can benefit from an accurate, full-featured portable wind and weather monitor. Right now the relatively new Kestrel 4500 is the best hand-held weather station on the market. Introduced at the 2007 SHOT Show, The Kestrel 4500 Pocket Weather Tracker is a complete weather instrument, offering instant and accurate measurement of wind speed, wind direction (including crosswind and headwind/tailwind), temperature, humidity, density altitude, barometric pressure and numerous other derived functions. The Kestrel 4500 has a built-in digital compass, a feature not found on other Kestrels. This allows you to track and log wind direction as well as wind speed. Wind direction is displayed in degrees and cardinal compass points.

Weekend shooters and military snipers alike have been calling for a Kestrel Meter with crosswind calculation for years — and the Kestrel 4500 now offers that capability. By means of its built-in digital compass, the Kestrel 4500 provides Wind Direction and velocity, Crosswind direction and velocity, and Headwind/Trailwind direction and velocity. In addition to these wind functions, the Kestrel 4500 will also display: Max Wind Gust, Average Wind Speed, Temperature, Wind Chill, Relative Humidity, Heat Stress Index, Dewpoint Temp, Wet Bulb Temp, Barometric Pressure, Altitude, and Density Altitude. These features are illustrated in a handy flash-based “Virtual Tour” that shows all the Kestrel 4500’s product features.

CLICK HERE for Kestrel 4500 Virtual Tour with Feature Demos.

Kestrel 4500 Pocket Weather Tracker

The bright yellow Kestrel 4500 is available for $289.00 from Kestrelmeters.com. An olive drab version with Night Vision-friendly backlighting is offered for $309.00 from the same vendor.

Full Review of Kestrel 4500 by SniperWorkx.com
A very detailed field-test of the Kestrel 4500 was conducted by Sal Palma for SniperWorx.com. In his write-up, Sal Palma explains why a precision shooter needs a tool such as the Kestrel 4500: “Altitude, temperature, barometric pressure, and relative humidity are critical pieces of data. As is wind speed and direction. What used to be a good 300-yard zero may now be a full minute or more off. At a range of 300 yards, a one minute error makes a 3″ difference in the point of impact. The [Kestrel 4500] has some major and significant new features not found in any of their other models. To start with, the 4500 offers a built in electronic compass, the compass can be configured to indicate true bearings as well as magnetic. In addition to the basic wind functions the [Kestrel 4500] also provides crosswind, headwind and tailwind data.”

CLICK HERE to download SniperWorkx.com KESTREL 4500 Review in .pdf format.

Kestrel Sponsors U.S. Teams in Spirit of America Match
Nielsen-Kellerman, maker of Kestrel Weather trackers, is sponsoring the U.S. Long Range Rifle Teams in the Spirit of America Match (SOA) running this week at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, NM. The SOA features one of shooting’s most prestigious international matches, the America Trophy Match. This September, the Match will be held for the first time since 2005. The national teams from Great Britain and Australia will compete against the U.S. National Team shooting at distances from 300 to 1,000 yards. The U.S. Long Range Rifle Teams consist of the National Team (who include former members of the Palma® team), the Veterans’ team, and the USA Young Eagles Under 21 / Under 25 team.

“The effects of wind and weather play a huge role in our sport. Not only does the wind affect the flight of the bullet, but differences in altitude, pressure, and temperature can also change the bullet’s impact,” said Dennis Flaharty, Team Captain of the National / Palma® Team. “Tools like the Kestrel Pocket Weather Tracker can often mean the difference between being a winning team, or being at the weather’s mercy.”

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March 22nd, 2008

Wind-Reading Skills for Hunters

On LongRangeHunting.com, you’ll find a good article about wind reading by Shawn Carlock. Shawn Carlock is a veteran law enforcement marksman and the current USPSA national precision rifle champion. Shawn offers good advice on how to estimate wind speeds and directions using a multitude of available indicators — not just your wind gauge: “Use anything at your disposal to accurately estimate the wind’s velocity. I keep and use a Kestrel for reading conditions….The Kestrel is very accurate but will only tell you what the conditions are where you are standing. I practice by looking at grass, brush, trees, dust, wind flags, mirage, rain, fog and anything else that will give me info on velocity and then estimate the speed.”

Shawn also explains how terrain features can cause vertical wind effects. A hunter positioned on a hilltop must account for bullet rise if there is a headwind blowing up the slope. Many shooters consider wind in only one plane — the horizontal. In fact wind has vertical components, both up and down. If you have ever piloted a small aircraft you know how important vertical wind vectors can be. Match shooters will also experience vertical rise when there is a strong tailwind blowing across an up-sloping berm ahead of the target emplacements. Overall, Shawn concludes: “The more time you spend studying the wind and its effect over varying terrain the more successful you will be as a long-range shooter and hunter.”

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