April 19th, 2019

Wind Wizardry for Varminters — Keep the Wind at Your Back

Varmint Hunting varmint safari wind war wagon trailer longmeadow game resort
This impressive war wagon hauls varmint hunters around the Longmeadow Game Resort in Colorado.

When you’re on a varmint expedition in the Western states you can bet, sooner or later, you’ll encounter serious winds. Here’s some advice on how to minimize the effects of cross-winds on your shooting, and easily improve your percentage of hits. In essence, you want to use your ability to change shooting positions and angles to put the wind behind you.

A benchrest or High Power shooter must operate from a designated shooting position. He must stay put and deal with the wind as it moves across the course, from whatever direction it blows. By contrast, a varmint hunter can move around and choose the spot that provides the most favorable wind direction. In most cases you’ll get the best results by moving your shooting position so the wind is at your back. This will minimize horizontal wind drift. Once you’re in position, use wind flags to direct your fire in line with the prevailing winds. A varminter who calls himself “Catshooter” explains:

The String of Death
I remember the first time I was on a dog town in the Conata Basin, in the Badlands area of southwestern South Dakota. Along with two other guys, I drove out for 21 days of shooting, and I never saw wind like that before. If all four tires of our vehicle were on the ground, the weather man said these were “mild wind conditions”.

After the first four or five days, we got smart. We would park the truck on the up-wind side of the town so the wind was at our back. Then we took a piece of string on a 3-foot stick, and set it in front of the shooters, and let the string point at the mounds that we were going to shoot.

For the rest of the trip, we didn’t have to deal with wind drift at all. We just shot the dogs that the string pointed to. We started calling our simple wind pointer the “String of Death”.

We were hitting dogs at distances that I would not repeat here (with benchrest grade rifles). After the first time out, I always took a wind rig like that.

Photos by Chris Long, taken during Chris’s Wyoming Varmint Hunt with Trophy Ridge Outfitters.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Shooting Skills 3 Comments »
February 16th, 2019

If You’re Not Using Wind Flags You’re Throwing Away Accuracy


Forest of Windflags at World Benchrest Championships in France in 2011

There’s a simple, inexpensive “miracle device” that can cut your groups in half. If you’re not using this device, you’re giving away accuracy. The “miracle device” to which we refer is a simple wind indicator aka “windflag”. Using windflags may actually improve your accuracy on target much more than weighing charges to the kernel, or spending your life savings on the “latest and greatest” hardware.

Remarkably, many shooters who spend $3000.00 or more on a precision rifle never bother to set up windflags, or even simple wood stakes with some ribbon to show the wind. Whether you’re a competitive shooter, a varminter, or someone who just likes to punch small groups, you should always take a set of windflags (or some kind of wind indicators) when you head to the range or the prairie dog fields. And yes, if you pay attention to your windflags, you can easily cut your group sizes in half. Here’s proof…

Miss a 5 mph Shift and You Could DOUBLE Your Group Size

The table below records the effect of a 5 mph crosswind at 100, 200, and 300 yards. You may be thinking, “well, I’d never miss a 5 mph let-off.” Consider this — if a gentle 2.5 mph breeze switches from 3 o’clock (R to L) to 9 o’clock (L to R), you’ve just missed a 5 mph net change. What will that do to your group? Look at the table to find out.

shooting wind flags
Values from Point Blank Ballistics software for 500′ elevation and 70° temperature.

Imagine you have a 6mm rifle that shoots half-MOA consistently in no-wind conditions. What happens if you miss a 5 mph shift (the equivalent of a full reversal of a 2.5 mph crosswind)? Well, if you’re shooting a 68gr flatbase bullet, your shot is going to move about 0.49″ at 100 yards, nearly doubling your group size. With a 105gr VLD, the bullet moves 0.28″ … not as much to be sure, but still enough to ruin a nice small group. What about an AR15, shooting 55-grainers at 3300 fps? Well, if you miss that same 5 mph shift, your low-BC bullet moves 0.68″. That pushes a half-inch group well past an inch. If you had a half-MOA capable AR, now it’s shooting worse than 1 MOA. And, as you might expect, the wind effects at 200 and 300 yards are even more dramatic. If you miss a 5 mph, full-value wind change, your 300-yard group could easily expand by 2.5″ or more.

If you’ve already invested in an accurate rifle with a good barrel, you are “throwing away” accuracy if you shoot without wind flags. You can spend a ton of money on fancy shooting accessories (such as expensive front rests and spotting scopes) but, dollar for dollar, nothing will potentially improve your shooting as much as a good set of windflags, used religiously.

Which Windflag to buy? Click Here for a list of Vendors selling windflags of various types.

Aussie Windflag photo courtesy BenchRestTraining.com (Stuart and Annie Elliot).

Permalink Shooting Skills, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
May 4th, 2017

Get Most Popular Ballistics App for iOS at Half Price

Ballistic AE Moble App Ballistics Program solver JBM iphone, iPod, iPad

Ballistic AE Moble App Ballistics Program solver JBM iphone, iPod, iPadNeed a top-notch Ballistics App for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod? Start with Ballistic AE, the number 1 (i.e. most installed) App for iOS systems. Ballistics AE (Advanced Edition) is the most popular iOS ballistics program for many good reasons. Full-featured and easy to use, Ballistics AE has been refined over many years, and it supplies rock-solid solutions derived from JBM Ballistics solver (created by James B. Millard). Unlike some other Apps, Ballistics AE is STABLE on iPhones (with various OS levels). What’s cool is that Ballistics AE is now on sale for $12.99.

We’ve used the Ballistic AE program on an iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, and iPad, and it performed well. Here are some of the features we liked:

  • 1. Mirrors output from online version of JBM Ballistics we often use for initial calculations.
  • 2. Controls are simple to use and (mostly) intuitive.
  • 3. Handy comparison feature lets you compare ballistics for different projectiles side by side.
  • 4. Advanced Wind Kit allows you to account for complex wind situations.
  • 5. Projectile and BC Database is very comprehensive.
  • 6. Software is regularly updated to match Apple OS changes.

Ballistic-AE for iPhone, iPad, iPod, $14.99 (Sale) | Ballistic for iPad, $14.99 (Sale)

Ballistic AE Moble App Ballistics Program solver JBM iphone, iPod, iPad

Comprehensive Projectile Info and BCs
Ballistics AE has very complete data libraries. The program includes 5,000 projectiles, factory loads, military loads, and performance data points from leading manufacturers, military testing, and performance testing.

Ballistic Coefficient libraries include the latest commercial BC data, plus Applied Ballistics’ (Bryan Litz) custom G7 BCs, plus G7 military coefficients from Aberdeen Proving Grounds.

Ballistic AE Moble App Ballistics Program solver JBM iphone, iPod, iPad

These Videos Explain How to Set Up and Use Ballistic AE:

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Hot Deals 1 Comment »
October 19th, 2016

Lapua Releases FREE Advanced 6DOF Ballistics Mobile APP

Lapua Ballistics App 6DOF degrees of Freedom solver doppler radar bullet BC Apple iOS Android OS mobile smartphone iphone

Lapua, maker of premium brass, bullets, and loaded ammo, has released a new, state-of-the-art Ballistics program that runs on smartphones and mobile devices. The all-new Lapua Ballistics Mobile App is the first mobile ballistics app utilizing the 6DOF calculation model. 6DOF refers to “Six Degrees of Freedom”, referring to the multiple variables the software calculates. As explained below, a 6DOF solver can account for 3 components of movement PLUS 3 components of rotation. Of course, as with other ballistics software, the Lapua Mobile App looks at Bullet BC, velocity, and cross-wind effects. This software can also account for subtle, extreme long range factors such as the Coriolis Effect.

Lapua Ballistics App 6DOF degrees of Freedom solver doppler radar bullet BC Apple iOS Android OS mobile smartphone iphone


CLICK HERE for FREE 28-page Ballistics App USER GUIDE

Notably, the new Lapua Ballistics App includes a library of up-to-date bullet profiles based on extensive field tests with Doppler Radar. Having an ultra-sophisticated 6DOF solver combined with Doppler Radar data makes the Lapua Mobile App one of the most accurate ballistics Apps on the market. Lapua Ballistics offers the latest, Doppler-proven Lapua cartridge and bullet data for you to combine with your firearm and local weather information. The App also includes the option to define custom bullets.

Lapua Ballistics App 6DOF degrees of Freedom solver doppler radar bullet BC Apple iOS Android OS mobile smartphone iphone

The Lapua Ballistics App is available for Android and iOS smart phones and mobile devices free of charge. For more info, visit www.lapua.com/lapuaballisticsapp.

Lapua Ballistics App 6DOF degrees of Freedom solver doppler radar bullet BC Apple iOS Android OS mobile smartphone iphone

6DOF, the most accurate calculation method. Lapua cartridge / bullet information. Distance, wind speed and angle. outputs numerical, reticle, table and graph views, metric and imperial values. Set Point Blank-range to different sight-in distances and impact windows. Define custom bullets ( BC G1 or G7 and Siacci method), Pre-set max 4 powder temperature.Sight-in-POI, Coriolis calculation

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, Tech Tip No Comments »
July 15th, 2011

Litz Tests Android OS Ballistics App at Ultra-Long Ranges

Shooter Android AppBryan Litz, Ballistician for Berger Bullets and author of Applied Ballistics for Long Range Shooting, has tested the latest version of the Shooter Ballistics Calculator for Androidâ„¢ OS Smartphones and portable devices. This is a very sophisticated, full featured App that incorporates the latest bullet databases with Litz G7 BCs as well as a wealth of other information. It provides extremely reliable ballistics solutions at all ranges, and in all atmospheric conditions.

Shooter App Wyoming 2400Bryan tells us: “The Shooter App has been improving steadily since it was first released and there are many new capabilities now. One of the cool new features is a wireless Bluetooth link to Kestrel Weather Trackers. This can automatically provide the exact atmospherics at your location.”

Bryan used the Shooter App on a trip to Wyoming: “I shot a Sako TRG42 in .338 Lapua Mag to 2400 yards with Berger’s new 300gr hybrids. The dope from the Shooter App was spot on up to 103 MOA of drop using the G7 BC of .419 for that bullet! At 2400 yards, even at 6,000 ft+ elevation, the bullet is subsonic but remained stable and tracked perfectly with the predicted trajectory from Shooter. I don’t know if the same bullet would be stable at sea level when fired at that range or not but it worked well at 6,500 feet.”

Shooter App Wyoming 2400

Litz Says Shooter App Offers Very Sophisticated Ballistics Solutions
Bryan thinks the Shooter App is extremely accurate: “I consulted on the solver development for Shooter so I can personally vouch for the accuracy of this program. You can set up profiles for rifles and ammo types including calibration factors for scope adjustments, temperature affects on powder burn rate / muzzle velocity, and of course G1 and G7 referenced BCs (you can define a ‘stepped’ BC for both as well). You can set preferences for units, atmospherics, station pressure or altitude, and more. It can calculate spin drift and Coriolis effect, or those features can be disabled. If your smartphone has GPS, the program can automatically populate the latitude for Coriolis calculations.”

Shooter App Bryan Litz

Shooter App is just $9.99 — A Bargain Given Its Capabilities
The full-featured Shooter App sells for $9.99 in the Android Apps Marketplace. Visit the Shooter App Website to preview the program’s functions and see how the entry screens work. The App is easy to install and run. There is a also a ‘Lite’ version of SHOOTER that you can download for free.

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

Permalink New Product, Optics 11 Comments »