December 18th, 2012

Great Gift Books for Serious Shooters

Christmas Day is just one week away. Books have always been popular Xmas gifts. If you haven’t completed your holiday shopping, here are some recommended titles that should please the serious shooters and firearms enthusiasts on your shopping list. For Shooting Clubs, books also make great end-of-season member awards. Most of us would rather have a useful book than one more piece of wood to toss in a box in the closet.

Here are six recommended titles, in alphabetical order:

Applied Ballistics for Long-Range Shooting (2nd Ed. + CD)
by Bryan Litz, $44.95 (Hardcover)

If you’re a serious long-range shooter you NEED this book. Since its initial release Bryan Litz’s treatise has become the definitive resource on long-range ballistics and bullet design. While Bryan covers some very advanced topics, Bryan does a very good job of making the text comprehensible to the layman. You don’t need a degree from MIT to read this work. Bryan’s book comes compete with a CD packed with ballistics software and additional reference materials. AND, Bryan includes Ballistic Coefficient data for over 236 long range bullets.

Selous Africa Hunting book A Hunter’s Wanderings in Africa
by Frederick Courteney Selous, $19.95 (Softcover)

Frederick Selous was a legendary African hunter. It was for him that Tanzania’s famous Selous Game reserve was named. If you have an interest in big game hunting in Africa, you should get this book. As readers have noted, this is “Classic Africana”… “one of the very best exploration/hunting history books about Africa”. It is an excellent book, well-written and “all about hunting”. Selous’ life was full of adventure, and his book lets readers experience, vicariously, the danger and excitement of African hunting in a bygone era.

Precision Shooting Reloading Precision Shooting Reloading Guide
Edited by Dave Brennan, $22.95 (Spiral Bound Softcover)

This handy reference guide contains scores of useful tips from many top shooters. However, this is NOT a load manual. Rather, it explains the techniques for precision reloading, and offers advice on how to get the “Nth” degree of accuracy from your handloads. Each topical chapter is authored by a different expert. Chapters include: Reloading for Extreme Accuracy, High Power (Bolt Guns), High Power (Gas Guns), Benchrest, Magnums, Wildcats, Cast Bullets, and working up an accuracy load. Readers have praised this compact (5.5″ x 8.5″) reference: “I’ve been reloading for many many years, and [this] book still managed to contain pearls of wisdom I’d never heard before.” –T. Pratt.

Prone and Long-Range Rifle Shooting (2nd Edition)
by Nancy Tompkins, Price TBA (Coming in February 2013)

Tompkins’ treatise is a must-read for serious Palma,
F-Class, and High Power shooters. The revised and updated edition is set for release in 2013. Topics include Mental & Physical training, Reading Wind & Mirage Shooting Fundamentals, International Competition, and Loading for Long Range. Nancy Tompkins is a 4-time winner of the National Long Range Championships, and has won countless other major events. Nancy has been on six Palma Teams (as both a shooter and a coach).

Harold Vaughn Accuracy Book Rifle Accuracy Facts
by Harold R. Vaughn, $34.95 (Softcover)

Decades after it was written, Vaughn’s work remains a seminal treatise on accuracy. Vaughn was a serious scientist, working for the Sandia National Laboratories. Many “gun writers” toss out hunches about rifle accuracy. Vaughn, by contrast, did serious empirical testing and statistical analysis. Vaughn wondered why some guns shot well while seemingly identical rifles did not. Rifle Accuracy Facts covers a wide variety of topics, including internal ballistics, chamber design, barrel vibration, bullet imbalance, external ballistics, scope design and more. Writer Boyd Allen notes: “If you are serious about precision shooting, Vaughn’s book belongs in your library.”

Rifleman’s Guide to Rimfire Ammunition
by Steven Boelter, $29.95 (Softcover)

Steven Boelter’s 352-page book is a comprehensive study of all types of rimfire ammunition (including 17s and 22 mags), with over 600 photos. In a remarkable undertaking, Steven Boelter fired every brand and sample of rimfire ammo he could acquire (including 22LR, 17 Mach 2, 17HMR and 22 WMR), and recorded all the results. In all, Steven tested 11 brands and 137 different rimfire rounds, firing over 32,000 test rounds.

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November 14th, 2011

Popular ‘Shooter’ Ballistics App Now Available for Apple iPhones

iOS Apple Shooter Ballistics AppOne of the best ballistics programs for smartphones is the ‘Shooter’ Ballistics App originally created for the Android OS, which runs LG, HTC, Motorola and Samsung smartphones. Now the developer of the Android Shooter App has released a full-featured version that runs on Apple iPhones.

The new Shooter App for the Apple iOS includes ALL of the capabilities of the original Android program. So now, for just $9.99, iPhone users can enjoy the same advanced Ballistics Solutions as Andoid users. Bryan Litz tells us: “The iOS (Apple) version of Shooter has all the same functionality as the Android version including the same point mass ballistic solver and library of measured G7 BCs which makes it a highly accurate predictive tool”.

iOS Apple Shooter Ballistics App

Complete details of Shooter App for iPhones, including screenshots of the App, can be found in the Apple iTunes store, where you can purchase the App for $9.99. Here are some of the key features of Shooter Ballistics App for iPhones:

  • G1 and G7 BC capability, with the option to input ‘velocity banded’ BCs.
  • Angle Compensation (Up or Down Angle can be measured using the built-in inclinometer).
  • Bullet Library which includes Litz-measured “true” BCs.
  • Rifle and ammo profiles (for storing load info for all your guns).
  • Atmosphere effects (pressure, temp, and humidity).
  • Spin drift (requires bullet length and twist rate inputs).
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July 3rd, 2011

30 Caliber vs. 7mm for Long Range — Litz Offers Analysis

Bryan Litz, Ballistician for Berger Bullets, has authored an excellent article on bullet design, What’s Wrong With .30 Caliber?. This story originally appeared in Precision Shooting magazine, and now can be read on LongRangeHunting.com.

In this article, Bryan analyzes the design of long-range bullets, from .22 to .30 caliber. He notes that while 30-caliber bullets can have very high ballistic coefficients, 30-caliber bullets must be very heavy to match the BCs of the 6.5mm and 7mm projectiles. As the chart below shows, it takes a 240gr 30-caliber bullet to match the G7 BC of a 180gr 7mm VLD. But most 30-caliber shooters don’t use those ultra-heavy projectiles because the recoil is excessive and because it takes a monster cartridge burning lots of powder to drive 240-grainers to optimal velocities. Litz notes: “Heavy recoiling rifles are harder to shoot accurately. Even if a shooter overcomes the mental aspect of heavy recoil, the ‘system’ is more sensitive to minor imperfections in shot execution. This may be another reason that drives .30 cal shooters down to the ‘middleweight’ 190-grain class bullets instead of the proportionally heavy 220-240 grain bullets.”

Ballistic Coefficients

Litz concludes that the heavy 7mm bullets are a better choice than the biggest 30-calibers (except in unlimited weight “heavy guns” where recoil is not a factor.) Bryan writes: “Even a moderate 7mm chambering is capable of delivering 2800 to 3000 fps with the heavy 7mm bullets, much faster with magnums. The heaviest .30 cal bullet requires a big magnum just to get to 2800 fps. So the first problem is: you can’t get the heavy .30 cal bullets going as fast as the heavy 7mm bullets! Even if you could get the same muzzle velocities from the heavy .30 cal bullets, it would take much more powder to do it, barrel life would suffer, and you’ve only achieved parity with the 7mm. The various negative effects of the incredible recoil are really just the ‘nail in the coffin’ for the heavy .30 caliber bullets.”

Bryan’s Updated Second Edition Ballistics Book
If you are interested in learning more about bullet design and ballistics, check out Bryan’s book, Applied Ballistics for Long Range Shooting. This highly-respected resource, now in its second edition, includes experimentally-measured Ballistic Coefficient (BC) data for over 236 long range bullets of various makes. The new edition of Applied Ballistics was upsized to 7″x10″ and Bryan added two new chapters, while updating the existing chapters. Bryan’s book comes complete with a CD containing Version 2.0 of the Point Mass Ballistics Solver. CLICK HERE to order Litz’s book and CD for $49.95.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo 11 Comments »
February 2nd, 2011

Berger SW Nationals: Litz Wins Overall, Biggs Breaks F-Open Record, Spindle Shooters Excel

The Berger SW Nationals at the Ben Avery Range outside Phoenix concluded this weekend. Congratulations to: Bryan Litz (Overall Champion — sling), Trudie Fay (Palma Rifle Winner, 2nd Overall), Danny Biggs (F-Open Winner), and John Hayhurst (F-TR Winner). Among sling shooters, Bryan shot a 1441-77X, Trudy scored 1432-63X, and Gary Eliseo and Leo Ahearn tied with 1430-74X, with Gary getting the 3rd place spot on a tie-breaker.

Photos Courtesy Rick Curtis. CLICK HERE for more match photos.

Bryan Litz, Trudy Fay

Bryan Litz and Gary Eliseo Loads
For the Palma matches, Bryan Litz was shooting a .308 Win with 185gr, .30-cal LRBT Berger bullets, seated .015″ off the lands in Lapua brass. The load, pushed by Hodgdon Varget and CCI BR2 primers, ran slightly over 2800 fps. For his “Any Rifle” stages, Bryan shot a straight .284 Winchester at “about 2850 fps”, using 180gr Berger Hybrid match target 7mm bullets seated about .015″ off the lands. Bryan’s .284 Win load used Hodgdon H4831sc powder, CCI BR2 primers, and Lapua 6.5-284 brass, necked-up to 7mm. While Bryan favored a 7mm “Any Rifle” chambering, Gary Eliseo did well with a 6mm solution. Gary told us that, except for the Palma match, he was shooting his regular Across-the-Course load: 6mm BRX, 107gr Sierra MK jumped .025″, running about 2940 fps. This is a mild load for the 6BRX and it proves the little cartridge can be competitive at 1K even in tough conditions.

SW Nationals Palma

Danny BiggsBiggs Breaks F-Class Record
In winning the F-Open Division, Danny Biggs broke Charles Ballard’s 1000-Yard F-Open National record twice with two 200-15X scores. This was an amazing performance by Danny, who finished with 1439-76X Agg, five points ahead of runner-up David Mann. Forum member TonyR, who shot in the match, reports: “The big story is really Danny’s second 200-15X. He shot that through several big switches and most of us can’t figure out how he did it. I shot the same relay he got the first one on and I wasn’t surprised that someone broke the record on that one, but I was scoring another shooter on the relay when he set the second one and I was just amazed that he did what he did under those conditions.”

Sierra Spindle Shooters Top F-Open Team Events
In the team events, the Sierra Spindle Shooters’ Team did very well, winning both the Palma Match and the 1000-yard Team Match, and scoring 2558-102X overall. Team Berger (2550-97X) finished second in the Team Aggs, with Team Berger member Larry Bartholome posting a 645-24X, the best individual performance in the Team comps. In the photo below (left to right), are Spindle Shooters team members Jeff Cochran, Bret Solomon, Shawn Ahrens and Jeff Traylor. Jeff reports: “The medals are for winning the F-Open Team Agg. In the last few years we’ve won the F-Class Nationals with Nancy Tompkins or Emil Praslick coaching. At this match both of them had other obligations so Bret and Shawn co-coached. They did a great job working together beating out several teams with world class coaches. We hold both the 600 and 1K F-Open team records with and had a good shot at the Palma record in this match but came up a bit short. I think if Nancy wasn’t tied up with the U.S. Palma team we might have beat the record. She’ll be with us again soon at the Nationals this fall in Lodi, Wisconsin.”

Sierra Spindle Shooters
Photo courtesy Jeff Cochran.

F-Open Rifle

Three Shots under 1″ at 1000 yards
As a demonstration of the potential accuracy of these long-range rifles, Dennis Selfridge fired a three shot group under an inch at 1K yards with his 6.5X47 in conditions! Check it out:

Dennis Selfridge 6.5x47

Complete Match Results
Sling Class Individual Aggregate
Sling Class Team Aggregate
F-Open Class Individual Aggregate
F-TR Class Individual Aggregate
F-Open Team Aggregate

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November 5th, 2010

Berger Introduces NEW 87gr 6mm VLD for 1:10″ Twist Barrels

Berger 87 hunting VLDBerger Bullets has released a brand new bullet designed to work in 6mm rifles with a 1:10″ or faster twist. This new bullet borrows its basic design from the very accurate 95gr VLD, but it is shorter so it can fully stabilize in a 10-twist barrel.

This thin-jacket hunting bullet has been confirmed in testing to work in a 1:10” twist or faster barrel, and was specifically designed for those who want to hunt with factory rifles. Berger Ballistician Bryan Litz field-tested the new 87gr bullet. Here is his report:

For the new 87gr VLD, the G1 BC is .412, and the G7 BC is .211. Prior to this bullet, our lightest Hunting VLD was the 95 grainer, which requires a 1:9″ twist. This left many shooters with no option from Berger for a 6mm hunting bullet because the fastest common twist for many 6mm factory barrels is 1:10″. The 87 grain VLD was designed specifically to fill the gap, and it squeezes the most performance possible out of the common 1:10″ twist barrel. As with all Berger Hunting VLDs, this is the standard J4 (thin) jacket. There is not a Target (thick-jacket) version planned for this design.

Berger 87 hunting VLD

Berger 87 hunting VLD
L to R – Berger 6mm 87 gr, 95 gr, 105 gr, and 115 gr Match Grade Hunting VLD.

87gr VLDs are In Stock and Ready to Ship
Eric Stecker tells us: “We are excited to announce that our 6mm 87gr Hunting VLD bullets are now available. They are on the shelves now and ready to ship. We have made several shipments to dealers and have more bullets in stock at our shop now. We also have enough jackets ready to make more if we run out quickly. Currently the 87gr VLD is only available in 100-ct boxes.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting, New Product 4 Comments »
October 23rd, 2010

Report from OZ: Yanks Do Well in Australian Championships

The United States Palma Team and USA Veterans Team recently ventured downunder to Queensland, Australia to compete in the Australian National Championships, held October 11-16 at the Belmont Shooting Complex outside Brisbane. The US Rifle Team travels well. Overall the Yanks performed great, with outstanding team and individual performances. Complete Match Results are posted at www.nraa.com.au. Team USA shooter Bryan Litz provides this Match Report…

U.S. Teams at Australian National Championships by Bryan Litz
The first match was the President’s Match, a two-day individual Aggregate with 10-shot strings fired at 600, 600, 900, and 1000 yards. Between the US Rifle Team and the US Veterans Team, we had five shooters in the top 20 (out of 128 shooters). That was a promising start.

Day 3 was the Chairman’s Team Challenge, a 4-man team match in which U.S. Teams Blue and Red captured first and second place. Conditions were challenging — during the first three or four days of shooting it rained constantly. There were several cease-fires called each day because of rain. We all learned how to cover our equipment and sights to stay dry while shooting.

Litz Tops Field in Queen’s Prize Match
Then began the 3-day Queen’s Prize match which is fired at 300, 500, 600, 800, 900, and 1000 yards. I managed to win this match, with a true come-from-behind performance. I went into the last day of shooting in 60th place. The extremely volatile conditions that last day (15-20 mph crosswind when shooting at 900 and 1000 yards) allowed me to make up so much ground on the leaders. For those who wonder, yes I shot “off the shelf” Applied Ballistics FULLBORE ammo to win the Queen’s Prize — the most prestigious match of the tournament. The winner is carried aloft in a ceremonial chair, proceeded by bagpipers and drums. You can see (photo right) that I enjoyed the pageantry.

The final individual event was the Royal Kaltenberg Challenge Cup, which is a shoot-off for an individual winner. The Cup was won by USA Shooter Noma Zinsmaster-Mayo. Congrats to Noma for a huge victory.

The President’s Challenge 4-man team match was swept by the Australian home team. The final event was an 8-man mini-Palma match which was won by Team USA.

Preparation Paid Off for Team USA
It goes without saying that the recent adjustments made to the U.S. Rifle Teams program under Captain Dennis Flaharty are moving the team in a positive direction. Each of the U.S. Team wins in Australia were ‘come-from-behind’ victories where we made up ground at the longer ranges. That’s a testament to the coaching staffs’ skills and organization. The Sierra 2156 Palma MK bullet was used exclusively by the Americans in all Team events. Sierra’s 2156 MK continues to prove itself to be an outstanding bullet.

The 20 or so shooters on the US Veterans Team Captained by Eddie Newman also traveled
and performed very well in the tournament.

Belmont Shooting Complex — World-Class!
The Belmont Range near Brisbane, Queensland is a beautiful facility. Firing mounds are maintained like golf greens and there are over 25 flags. With great facilities (and no pit duty!), it’s truly the lap of luxury for Fullbore shooting. Belmont is the largest shooting complex in the southern hemisphere and most target shooting sports are conducted there. Coordinates: 27°30 ’40″S 153°7’50″E. It is the home of the Queensland Rifle Association (QRA). (Editor’s Note: Click the tab below the photo to see larger image — it’s even more impressive.)


The Top 10 Grand Aggregate Results (President’s Match, Queen’s Prize, Kaltenberg Cup combined) are listed below. Australian George Edser of the Central Club had the best Aggregate score with 646-050. The top American was Noma Mayo, two points behind, with 644-059.

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September 6th, 2010

New Match-Grade .308 Win FULLBORE Ammo From Bryan Litz

Litz Applied Ballistics .308 Fullbore AmmoApplied Ballistics, run by top Palma shooter Bryan Litz, now offers extremely high-quality loaded match ammunition for .308 Fullbore (Palma) shooters. The new Applied Ballistics “FULLBORE” ammo, priced at $38.00/box, is unlike anything on the market. It features the best available components, with individually-weighed charges. Independent testing shows this ammo offers extremely low ES and SD with accuracy comparable to precision hand-loaded cartridges.

Bryan Litz tells us: “Applied Ballistics’ FULLBORE ammunition is not just another ‘factory ammo’ option. This ammo is loaded specifically for the rifles and chambers commonly used in international-style Palma and Fullbore shooting.” Bryan cited the important qualities which make his FULLBORE ammo unique:

  • AB FULLBORE is the only .308 Win Ammo with Individually-Weighed Charges.
  • AB FULLBORE is the only .308 Win Ammo with Berger Bullets AND Lapua Brass.
  • AB FULLBORE is the only .308 Win Ammo Optimized for Int’l Fullbore Competition.
  • AB FULLBORE is the only .308 Win Ammo with Independently-Verified Single-Digit SD.

Litz Applied Ballistics .308 Fullbore Ammo

What Makes Applied Ballistics’ FULLBORE Ammo Special
Unlike most factory ammo, AB FULLBORE powder charges are carefully weighed, not metered, which helps to minimize muzzle velocity variation. Velocity averages over 3000 fps from 30″ barrels with Standard Deviation (SD) typically under 10 fps. Components are the best available, according to Bryan: “The ammo is loaded with Berger 155.5 grain bullets and Lapua brass. These are the same components I’ve had success with for years. The brass preparation, loading techniques, and QC steps that I’ve implemented for larger-scale production insure this ammo is good enough to win at the highest levels.”

Litz Applied Ballistics .308 Fullbore Ammo

Applied Ballistics FULLBORE Ammo Already Proven in Competition
Can this pre-loaded FULLBORE ammo really rival handloads in competition? Yes it can, according to Bryan: “I’ve been prototyping and testing ammo this past year and have had very good results. One notable achievement was a 150-15X fired at 900 yards during a coached team match in Lodi, WI during the Midwest Palma Tournament.”

Brian adds: “This ammo is the perfect option for someone who doesn’t enjoy handloading but still wants the accuracy, consistency and performance of handloaded ammunition. It’s also a good option for beginners who haven’t learned how to reload and/or don’t yet have the equipment but want to train and compete with quality ammunition.”

Tierney Tests New FULLBORE Ammo and Rates It Highly
Jerry Tierney, past NBRSA 600-yard and 1000-yard Champion and skilled Palma shooter, has tested the new ammo extensively. In comparison tests with Jerry’s own .308 Win handloads, the Applied Ballistics FULLBORE ammo shot great. Jerry concluded: “The Applied Ballistics 155.5 grain FULLBORE loads matched the best I can do hand loading. They fit the new 2011 fullbore chamber very well. I would not hesitate to use this FULLBORE ammo in any match anywhere.”

Notably, the Applied Ballistics ammo had a lower ES and SD than Jerry’s handloads. One five-shot group of the FULLBORE ammo had an ES of 7 fps and SD of 2 fps — that’s remarkably low. Four groups shot with Tierney’s handloads at 300 yards averaged 0.449 MOA, vs. 0.498 MOA for two groups of the Applied Ballistics ammo, so the accuracy is very close to the best precision handloads.

Click Here for complete Jerry Tierney Applied Ballistics Ammo Test Results (PDF file).

Coming Next — Applied Ballistics Tactical .308 Win and .338 Lapua Magnum Ammo
Applied Ballistics plans to release more types of high-quality loaded ammo in the months ahead. Bryan reports: “Future plans include a .308 load optimized for tactical applications. This will be a magazine-length round probably with a 175 grain bullet with favorable transonic stability. Eventually I’d like to offer a .338 Lapua Magnum tactical/hunting round loaded with Berger’s 300 grain Hybrid bullet.”

Bryan explains that he is developing .308 Win tactical ammo, because the FULLBORE product is made specifically for Palma work: “The fact that the FULLBORE ammo is optimized for the target application means it’s not necessarily ideal for other uses. For example, the rounds are too long to feed through standard-length magazines so they’re not of much use for tactical shooters. Also the seating depth is optimized for the chambers typically used in custom target rifles so it’s not the best option for factory (SAAMI) chambers.”

To order Applied Ballistics’ .308 Win FULLBORE ammo, visit Bryan’s AppliedBallisticsLLC.com website, which features secure online ordering. Currently, .308 Win FULLBORE ammo is priced at $38.00 per 20-round box (shipping extra).

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, New Product 8 Comments »
September 3rd, 2010

Great Article on Wind Reading in Shooting Sports USA

The September digital edition of Shooting Sports USA magazine (SSUSA) features an Expert Forum on Wind Shooting. This outstanding article on wind reading starts off with a section by Bryan Litz, ace Palma shooter, and author of Applied Ballistics for Long-Range Shooting. Then five of the greatest American shooters in history share their personal wind wisdom. Lanny Basham (Olympic Gold Medalist, author, Winning in the Wind), Nancy Tompkins (Past National HP Champion, author, Prone and Long-Range Rifle Shooting), David Tubb (11-Time Camp Perry National Champion), and Lones Wigger (Olympic Hall of Fame) all offer practical wind-reading lessons learned during their shooting careers.

Shooting Sports USA

Whether you shoot paper at Perry or prairie dogs in the Dakotas, this is a certified “must-read” resource on reading the wind. Here is a sample selection from the article:

Shooting Sports USA



You can sign up online to receive FREE digital editions of Shooting Sports USA every month. In addition to feature stories such as the wind-reading article, each monthly edition provides a comprehensive schedule of shooting events nationwide. CLICK HERE to SUBSCRIBE.

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August 24th, 2010

California’s Bob Gustin sets Palma Records at Camp Perry

Bob Gustin NRA Palma Recordby Lars Dalseide, NRA Blog
Bob Gustin of Cameron Park, California, didn’t set out to establish a new record at the 2010 NRA National Rifle and Pistol Championships in Camp Perry, Ohio — so he set two. One as part of a team and one all on his own. “Guess it was my time,” Gustin mused. “After 46 years of shooting here at Camp Perry, I should have set a record at something.”

First on the agenda was the Palma Individual title. That’s fifteen shots from 800, 900, and 1000 yards. And how many times did Bob drop out of the ten ring? Not once. “I cleaned it,” said Gustin. “I’ve shot a perfect round before, but never with this many Xs.”

Bob’s 450-33X score beat the old Camp Perry National Championship mark by six Xs. The previous record of 450-27X was held by Bob’s Palma teammate Nancy Tompkins-Gallagher. Just to show there were no hard feelings, Nancy and her daughter Michelle Gallagher joined Bob along with Bryan Litz to set a new Palma Team Match record of 1796-119x.

Gustin Sets Camp Perry Record After Decades in the Sport
Bob started shooting on the smallbore range. Then, in 1980, he switched to reserve shooting with the service rifle section until ultimately moving to High Power in 1990. Now, twenty years later, he’s perfected the shot and found more time for the range. After retiring from a 31-year stint on the California Highway Patrol, Bob now gets to do what he really loves.

“I shoot,” Gustin laughed. “Well, I also drive my wife around in our motor home. Last place we saw was Shipshewana, Indiana. There’s a nice Amish community there that she likes to visit for the quilting, the food and the people.” But Bob always finds a time for practice: “I just like shooting. It’s fun and you meet a lot of interesting people. Especially here at Perry.”

Historical Note: Bob’s 450-35x is a record for the Palma match at the Camp Perry National Championships. However, the absolute National Record for any American Palma Match still belongs to John Corning. John fired a 450-39x at Forbes Range, Colonie, NY in 2007.

Bob Gustin Palma Team

Permalink Competition, News 3 Comments »
May 6th, 2010

Berger Bullets Releases New .338 Hybrid (Dual-Ogive) Bullet

Berger .338 BulletBerger Bullets has just released its new .338-caliber “hybrid” bullet, Berger’s first-ever projectile larger than .30 caliber. The new bullet has a very high ballistic coefficient (BC): 0.891 under the G1 model, and 0.455 under the newer G7 standard for boat-tail bullets. That high BC should translate into exceptional long-range performance. According to Berger, the BC of the new Berger .338 bullet BC is roughly 14% better than the BCs of other .338-caliber 300gr offerings from Sierra and Lapua. This claim is supported by testing done on all three bullets and published in a detailed Bullet Comparison Report (PDF). The new .338 Hybrid bullets will be sold in 50-count and 250-count boxes. To order, call Berger’s Tech-Line, (714) 447-5458.

The key design feature of the new .338 bullet is its hybrid ogive, i.e. a shape that combines both tangent and secant geometry. A tangent ogive meets the bearing surface very smoothly, whereas a secant ogive has an abrupt juncture with the bearing surface. The figure below shows the geometric differences between a tangent and a secant ogive, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Berger .338 hybrid bullet

Practical Considerations — Load Length and Twist Rate
The superior ballistic performance of the 300gr Hybrid .338 is primarily due to the very long ogive and boat tail. However, that super-long bullet length can create some issues. Berger’s new .338 Hybrid bullets are so long that loaded rounds may not fit some magazines comfortably, unless you deep-seat the bullets, which cuts down on usable case capacity. If your loaded rounds with the new .338s are too long for your magazine, single-feeding is recommended. In addition, and this is IMPORTANT, to get optimal performance with the new bullets, you may want to extend the throat in your chamber. This can be done relatively easily by a competent gunsmith using a throating reamer. We caution, however, once the throat is pushed out, you can’t go back to a shorter throat without setting back the entire barrel.

The new .338 Hybrid bullets should stabilize well with a 1:10″ twist at the velocities achievable with popular .338 magnum cartridges. However, according to Bryan Litz, Berger’s Ballistician, at extreme long ranges (beyond one mile), as the .388 bullet goes trans-sonic, it may need more spin. As the bullet slows down into the trans-sonic range, extra stability is required — something you get by spinning the bullet faster. So, for those guys planning to shoot at one mile or beyond, Berger recommends a faster twist-rate. The faster twist provides more spin-stabilization at very long ranges. But for 1000-yard shooting, you don’t need to be concerned about trans-sonic stability. As Bryan explains: “So as long as you keep your shots under 1 mile, the 1:10″ twist is plenty adequate.”

Berger Bullets Video Update (Eric Stecker talks about the new .338 Hybrid and other matters.)
YouTube Preview Image

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March 25th, 2010

New Ballistics App for Android OS Smart-Phones

SHOOTER Android Ballistics programBryan Litz, author of Applied Ballistics for Long Range Shooting, informed us that sophisticated new ballistics software is now available for Android OS phones. While there are ballistics programs that run on iPhones, as well as programs for Palm or Windows PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants), Bryan believes that the new Ballistics App, called SHOOTER, is the first such program for Android operating system (OS) products — such as Motorola’s Droid phone and Google’s new Nexus phone.

Bryan explained: “The SHOOTER App can be found in the Google marketplace by searching for ‘Ballistics’. I became interested in this program when I got my Android phone. There are several good programs out there for iPhones and PDAs. But SHOOTER is the first program I know of for Android. In my opinion, it won’t be topped by anything else. If you have an Android smartphone, I highly recommend checking out this application. The program is easy to install and run. Outputs are available as a single-shot solution or as a table. There is a ‘Lite’ version of SHOOTER that you can download for free, and the ‘full’ version is $9.99.”

CLICK HERE for SHOOTER Android OS Ballistics Program.
CLICK HERE for SHOOTER LITE Android OS Ballistics Program.

The new “Shooter” Program for Android OS has an impressive list of features:

  • G1 and G7 BC capability, with the option to input ‘velocity banded’ BCs.
  • Angle Compensation (Up or Down Angle can be measured using the built-in inclinometer).
  • Bullet Library which includes Litz-measured “true” BCs.
  • Rifle and ammo profiles (for storing load info for all your guns).
  • Atmosphere effects (pressure, temp, and humidity).
  • Spin drift (requires bullet length and twist rate inputs).
  • Coriolis effect (works best with GPS-equipped Android phones).

Bryan revealed: “I was heavily involved in the development of this program and can vouch for the accuracy of the solution. The actual solver is very similar to the one used in my programs and in the JBM online Ballistics Program. SHOOTER’s calculations normally match my numbers and JBM’s numbers within round-off error (0.1″ at 1000 yards).”

Single-Distance Ballistics Solution Multi-Distance Ballistics Table

Permalink New Product, News 10 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 »
August 30th, 2008

Bryan Litz — Marksman, Rocket Scientist, Ballistics Guru

One of the great things about our Shooters’ Forum is that many uniquely talented shooters share their knowledge and test findings. One of those experts is “bsl135″ aka Bryan Litz. Bryan is no ordinary “weekend warrior”. He graduated from Penn State with a degree in Aerospace Engineering. He then began a career as a missile design engineer at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. He has written many ballistics programs and technical papers dealing with long-range flight dynamics of projectiles. Bryan is also a superb long-range shooter, holding an NRA High Master Classification. At this year’s NRA National Championships at Camp Perry, Bryan beat 258 other competitors to win the Palma Individual Trophy Match. Bryan shot a remarkable 450/26x, not dropping a single point.

Breaking News: Just today, Bryan won the Ohio State Midrange Championship, an iron sights event with 15 shots each at 300, 500, and 600 yards. Bryan shot a spectacular 450/39X. Again, Bryan didn’t drop a point and his X-count would make this a new National Record, pending certification. Congrats Bryan!

Bryan also has his own website with a number of authoritative articles. Topics include: Bullet Design, Meplat Trimming, Gyroscopic and Coreolis Drift, Palma Bullet Analysis, How Ballistics Programs Work, and Ballistic Coefficient Testing. CLICK HERE to visit BRYAN LITZ Website.

7mm Bullet BC Testing — Evaluating the Numbers
Bryan does a lot of testing for bullet-makers, evaluating the performance of various bullet types. One thing he has observed is that manufacturers’ published BCs may vary considerably even for two bullet designs that appear to be nearly identical. In our Forum, Bryan offered this interesting analysis of the 7mm Berger 180gr VLD and the similar 7mm JLK 180gr VLD:

“I’ve developed a repeatable procedure for test firing bullets to determine ballistic coefficient. If you get Precision Shooting Magazine, the March issue has one of my articles about test firing the Berger .30 cal 155gr VLD. Long story short, my test procedure uses acoustic sensors in 200-yard increments to measure time of flight out to 600 or 1000 yards. My BC measurements are repeatable to within +/- 2%, usually within +/- 1%.

I have tested several 7mm bullets. Of particular interest are the Berger 180gr and JLK 180gr bullets. If you look at these bullets side by side, it’s hard to tell a difference between them. I believe the JLK bullet dies were made from the same set of prints as the Berger VLD (Design by Bill Davis of Tioga Engineering). So … why would these bullets have different [published] BCs? They’re the same weight and the same basic shape [with very minor differences in OAL and bearing surface length]. This is just the kind of smoke and mirrors that makes shooters think there is something mysterious about BCs and exterior ballistics that’s beyond the realm of human understanding. I was pleased with the results of my testing of these two bullets: the BC is virtually the same, as expected. All is right with the world.”

Drag Models — G7 is better than G1 for long-range Bullets
Most ballistics programs use the default G1 drag model. Bryan believes the G7 standard is preferrable for long-range, low-drag bullets: “Part of the reason there is so much ‘slop’ in advertised BCs is because they’re referenced to the G1 standard which is very speed sensitive. The G7 standard is more appropriate for long range bullets. Here are the results of my testing for these two bullets:

G1 BCs, averaged between 1500 fps and 3000 fps:
Berger 180 VLD: 0.659 lb/in²
JLK 180: 0.645 lb/in²

The reason the BC for the JLK is less is mostly because the meplat was significantly larger on the particular lot that I tested (0.075″ vs 0.059″; see attached drawings).

For bullets like these, it’s much better to use the G7 standard. The following BCs are referenced to the G7 standard, and are constant for all speeds.

G7 BCs:
Berger 180 VLD: 0.337 lb/in²
JLK 180: 0.330 lb/in²

Many modern ballistics programs, including the free online JBM ballistics program, are able to use BCs referenced to G7 standards. When available, these BCs are more appropriate for long range bullets.”

[Editor’s NOTE: BCs are normally reported simply as an 0.XXX number. The lb/in² tag applies to all BCs, but is commonly left off for simplicity.]

Effect of Bullet Pointing
Bryan has also tested the effect of pointing bullets. He’s determined that this does have a positive (if small) effect on ballistics. Bryan writes: “I have measured the Berger 180 VLD in both nominal and pointed meplat configurations. Pointing the meplat from 0.059″ to 0.039″ increases the G7 BC from 0.337 lb/in² to 0.344 lb/in². This results in less than 2″ difference in 1000-yard wind drift (10 mph 90°). The improvement is small, perhaps negligible for standard decimal prone targets with large scoring rings. The improvement is more significant for F-Class targets with smaller scoring rings. That being said, I do point my own Berger 180 VLDs that I shoot in prone competition. It’s fast, easy, doesn’t hurt anything, and every little bit helps.”

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo 6 Comments »