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April 2nd, 2022

Saturday at the Movies: Litz on Long Range Shooting + Ballistics

Bryan Litz Elements Long Range Shooting NSSF Ballistics Coeffecient Atmospherics

Want to learn more about Long Range Shooting? Check out the NSFF “Elements of Long Range Shooting” videos hosted by ballistics guru Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics. In this multi-part series, Bryan covers a variety of topics of interest to precision shooters. For today’s Saturday at the Movies special, we feature seven of Bryan’s videos. Watch other informative Long Range Shooting and Ballistics videos with Bryan Litz on the NSSF YouTube Channel.

Litz NSSF Video Elements long range shooting Raton NM ELR

Atmospherics and Density Altitude

Bryan Litz explains: “An important element in calculating an accurate firing solution for long-range shooting is understanding the effects of atmospherics on a projectile.” Atmospherics include air pressure, air temperature, and humidity. Bryan notes: “Temperature, pressure, and humidity all affect the air density… that the bullet is flying through. You can combine all those factors into one variable called ‘Density Altitude’.” Density Altitude is used by the ballistic solver to account for variables that affect bullet flight.

Bullet Ballistic Coefficients

A bullet’s ballistic coefficient (BC) basically expresses how well the bullet flies through the air. Higher BC bullets have less aerodynamic drag than lower BC projectiles. You will see BCs listed as either G1 and G7 numbers. These correspond to different bullet shape models. Generally speaking, the G7 model works better for the long, boat-tail bullets used for long-range shooting. Notably, a bullet’s drag is NOT constant in flight. The true BC can vary over the course of the trajectory as the bullet velocity degrades. In other words, “BC is dynamic”. That said, you can make very accurate drop charts using the BCs provided by major bullet-makers, as plugged into solvers. However, long-range competitors may want to record “real world” drop numbers at various distances. For example, we’ve seen trajectories be higher than predicted at 500 yards, yet lower than predicted at 1000.

Transonic Range

When considering your rifle’s long-range performance, you need to understand the limit of your bullet’s supersonic range. As the bullet slows below the speed of sound, it enters the transonic zone. This can be accompanied by variations in stability as well as BC changes. Bryan explains “once your bullet slows done below supersonic and you get into transonic effects, there are a lot more considerations that come into play. The drag of the bullet becomes less certain, the stability of the bullet can be challenged, and things related to long times of flight, such as Coriolis and Spin Drift, come into play. So whenever you are shooting long range you need to where your bullet slows down to about 1340 fps.”

Ballistics Solvers — Many Options

Bryan Litz observes: “When we talk about the elements of long range shooting, obviously a very important element is a getting a fire solution, using a ballistic solver. There are a lot of ballistic solvers out there… Applied Ballistics has smartphone Apps. Applied Ballistics has integrated the ballistic solver directly into a Kestral, and the same solver runs (manually) on the Accuracy Solutions Wiz-Wheel. The point is, if it is an Applied Ballistics device it is running the same solutions across the board.”

Bullet Stability and Twist Rates

In this video, Bryan Litz talks about bullet in-flight stability and how to calculate barrel twist-rate requirements for long-range bullets. Bryan explains that bullet stability (for conventional projectiles) is basically provided by the spinning of the bullet. But this spin rate is a function of BOTH the nominal twist rate of the barrel AND the velocity of the projectile. Thus, when shooting the same bullet, a very high-speed cartridge may work with a slower barrel twist rate than is required for a lower-speed (less powerful) cartridge. For match bullets, shot at ranges to 1000 yards and beyond, Bryan recommends a twist rate that offers good stability.

Scope Tracking — Tall Target Test

Scope Click Verify Elevation Tall Target Bryan Litz NSSF test turret MOA MIL

Have you recently purchased a new scope? Then you should verify the actual click value of the turrets before you use the optic in competition. While a scope may have listed click values of 1/4-MOA, 1/8-MOA or 0.1 Mils, the reality may be slightly different. Many scopes have actual click values that are slightly higher or lower than the value claimed by the manufacturer. The small variance adds up when you click through a wide range of elevation. In this video, Bryan Litz shows how to verify your true click values using a “Tall Target Test”. The idea is to start at the bottom end of a vertical line, and then click up 30 MOA or so. Multiply the number of clicked MOA by 1.047 to get the claimed value in inches. For example, at 100 yards, 30 MOA is exactly 31.41 inches. Then measure the difference in your actual point of impact.

Coriolis Effect

The Coriolis Effect comes into play with extreme long-range shots. The rotation of the earth actually moves the target a small distance (in space) during the long duration of the bullet’s flight. Bryan Litz notes that, in most common shooting situations inside 1K, Coriolis is not significant. At 1000 yards, the Effect represents less than one click (for most cartridge types). Even well past 1000 yards, in windy conditions, the Coriolis Effect may well be “lost in the noise”. But in very calm conditions, when shooting at extreme ranges, Bryan says you can benefit from adjusting your ballistics solution for Coriolis: “The Coriolis Effect… has to do with the spin of the earth. The consequence of that is that, if the flight time of the bullet gets significantly long, the bullet can have an apparent drift from its intended target. The amount [of apparent drift] is very small — it depends on your latitude and azimuth of fire on the planet.”

About Bryan Litz
Bryan began his career as a rocket scientist, quite literally. He then started Applied Ballistics, the leading company focusing on ballistics science for rifle shooting. A past F-TR Long-Range National Champion and Chief Ballistician for Berger Bullets, knows his stuff. His Applied Ballistics squad was the winning team at the 2017 King of 2 Miles event, and Applied Ballistics has earned major U.S. defense contracts.

Permalink - Videos, Competition, Shooting Skills, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
April 2nd, 2022

The Upscale Modern Market for Long Range Shooting

long range tactical scope rifle shooting industry april 2022

long range tactical scope rifle shooting industry april 2022Shooting Industry magazine just released its latest April 2022 edition. You can read the full digital version on the web for free. This April issue contains an interesting article about long-range and PRS/NRL shooting equipment, and the current market for high-end tactical-style rifles and optics.

Shooting Industry’s Equipping Today’s Long-Range Customer article explains that customers in the long-range tactical market are prepared to spend serious bucks, but they demand high-quality gear that will last: “Those shooters who get serious about the [long-range shooting] sport can spend $10,000 or more on a rifle/optic combo. This is before adding accessories like bipods, Kestrel meters and rangefinders. Even an ‘entry level’ setup can set a customer back $2,000 – $3,000. So, while your average shopper might balk at the idea of spending as much on an optic as they do the rifle, things are different with this crowd” because they have done their homework.

“When people decide to step into the sport, they know they’re going to spend money. They don’t want to buy cheap” said A.J. Hoffman of SoDak Sports in South Dakota. Those who try to succeed at long range with low-end components “are likely to end up regretting the decision” — after gaining a better understanding of what it takes to hit targets at 1,000 yards and beyond.

Here are some recommended products featured in the article:

ZEISS LRP S5 318-50 FFP Scope

long range tactical scope rifle shooting industry april 2022 ZEISS LRP S5 scope

This new ZEISS LRP S5 318-50 First Focal Plane (FFP) optic offers the widest vertical adjustment range on the market — a full 140 MOA or 40.7 Milrads. We recently reviewed the bigger brother of this 3-18X power optic, the new ZEISS LRP S5 525-56 scope. Our tester said the 5-25x56mm ZEISS S5 offered great, precise turrets and very sharp glass. And the 5X magnification range gives the scope great versatility, from close-range to one mile and beyond.

WOOX Cobra Thumbhole Stock

long range tactical scope rifle shooting industry april 2022 Woox thumbhole stock

Shooting Industry magazine states that “The unique ergonomics of the Cobra Thumbhole Precision stock from WOOX reduces felt recoil to help the shooter… while on the firing line.” We like the modern, adjustable design, with laminated wood on the grip and handguard. This provides the advantages of a contemporary tactical stock with the comfortable feel of wood. This WOOX stock features an adjustable comb, and rear underside Pic rail, and a forearm that can mount various accessories.

Vortex Razor HD Gen III 6-36x56mm FFP

long range tactical scope rifle shooting industry april 2022 Vortex Razor HD Gen III

Another popular optic for long range tactical shooters is the Vortex Razor HD Gen III 6-36x56mm FFP. This is a very durable optic with an impressive 6X zoom range. The upper 36X power is effective to see small targets at long distances.

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April 2nd, 2022

Tech Tip: Measuring Shoulder “Bump” with Harrell’s Bump Collar

Harrell’s Precision sells “semi-custom” full-length bushing dies for the PPC and 6BR chamberings. While the Harrell brothers do not cut the die to spec, they carry a large selection of dies made with slightly different internal dimensions. When you send in your fired brass, the Harrells choose a die from inventory with just the right amount of sizing (diameter reduction) at the top and bottom of the case. Given the quality, and precise fit, Harrell’s full-length dies cost $115.00 plus shipping. These are currently available for PPC family, 6mmBR, 6mm Dasher, and 6.5×47 Lapua. The folks at Harrells recommend checking if you have questions about die sizing: “Unless you know exactly which die you need, do not order online. We have 8 different sizes of each caliber. Please call (540)380-2683.”

Bump Measuring Collar
The Harrell brothers provide a nice bonus item with each full-length die — a neat, little shoulder bump measuring device as shown in the photo at right. Hornady sells a stand-alone tool that does the same job, but the Harrell’s bump collar is simpler and faster. To measure your shoulder bump, simply place the Harrell’s bump collar over the front of your deprimed case (before sizing) and measure the OAL with your calipers. Then size the case in your full-length die, replace the collar and repeat the measurement. You want to set your die so the shoulder moves back about .001″ to .0015″ for most applications. (With semi-auto guns you may want more shoulder bump, perhaps .003″.)

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