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February 21st, 2024

Applied Ballistics Offers Personal Drag Models with Mobile Lab

applied ballistics mobile lab Doppler radar personal drag models

The team from Applied Ballistics will offer ballistics services at major matches in 2024. The team will have its advanced Doppler Radar unit which can provide ultra-precise custom ballistic profiles.

Applied Ballistics (AB) has announced the initial deployment schedule for the Applied Ballistics Mobile Laboratory during the 2024 shooting season. The Applied Ballistics Crew will be driving the Mobile Lab Truck and Trailer to a number of important shooting events in 2024. At these events you can get a Personal Drag Model (PDM) for your rifle/load based on Doppler Radar testing. NOTE: You must be actually competing at one of the listed events in order to participate and get a PDM. The first listed deployment will be at the NRL Hunter match in Montana on May 17, 2024. Here is the initial 2024 schedule:

May 17, 2024: Belt, Montana – NRL Hunter

June 7, 2024: Casper, Wyoming – Nightforce ELR

September 11-12, 2024: Grand Junction, Colorado – IPRF World Championships

applied ballistics mobile lab Doppler radar personal drag models

The Applied Ballistics Mobile Lab trailer carries a vast array of equipment including computers, sensors, and advanced Doppler Radar equipment. The Doppler Radar is employed to create custom ballistic profiles (aka “Personal Drag Models”) for shooters at major matches.

applied ballistics mobile lab Doppler radar personal drag models

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tactical, Tech Tip No Comments »
February 18th, 2024

Crosswind Weighting Factor Explained by Bryan Litz

Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics CWF Crosswind Weighting Factor

Bryan Litz, founder of Applied Ballistics LLC, has a very informativeFacebook page where he regularly posts useful ballistics info and shooting tips. We recommend that Facebook users check out the Bryan Litz Ballistics Facebook page. Here is one interesting example from that page. Bryan analyzes the Crosswind Weighting Factor (CWF). The Crosswind Weighting Factor (CWF) shows where a bullet’s trajectory is most susceptible to wind. By understanding CWF, shooters can better predict how wind affects bullet flight, especially at extreme ranges, when the projectile has gone transonic.

Crosswind Weighting Factor (CWF) graphs show where bullet trajectories are most susceptible to wind.
Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics CWF Crosswind Weighting Factor

Where does the wind have the most effect?
At the shooter?
At the target?
Halfway?

Bryan Litz explains: “Out through the supersonic range, the CWF is maximum at the shooter. However as the trajectory extends into transonic, the max CWF gets pushed down range. That’s because the greatest segments of lag time in the bullets trajectory are at transonic where the drag coefficient is maximized around Mach 1.” [Editor: So if your bullet stays fully supersonic during its flight to your target, you can normally expect the CWF to be highest at your shooting station. But once the projectile drops into transonic speeds then the situation changes.]

Get More Tips on Bryan Litz Ballistics Facebook Page
This post is from the new Bryan Litz Ballistics Facebook page. You can bookmark that page at www.Facebook.com/BryanLitzBallitics. Facebook users will want to check that page regularly for other advice from Bryan, American’s leading Ballistics expert and founder of Applied Ballistics LLC.

Applied Ballistics also offers a noteworthy online training operation — The Science of Accuracy Academy. This will include podcasts, exclusive seminars, and access to the latest Applied Ballistics research.

Applied Ballistics Science of Accuracy Academey Bryan Litz

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January 30th, 2024

Confirm Your Scope Click Values with 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 (or on a long-range hunt). 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 of Applied Ballistics 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. If, for example, your point of impact is 33 inches, then you are getting more than the stated MOA with each click (assuming the target is positioned at exactly 100 yards).

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

How to Perform the Tall Target Test
The tall target test determines if your scope is giving you the proper amount of adjustment. For example, when you dial 30 MOA, are you really getting 30 MOA, or are you getting 28.5 or 31.2 MOA? The only way to be sure is to verify, don’t take it for granted! Knowing your scopes true click values insures that you can accurately apply a ballistic solution. In fact, many perceived inaccuracies of long range ballistics solutions are actually caused by the scopes not applying the intended adjustment. In order to verify your scope’s true movement and calculate a correction factor, follow the steps in the Tall Target Worksheet. This worksheet takes you thru the ‘calibration process’ including measuring true range to target and actual POI shift for a given scope adjustment.


CLICK HERE to DOWNLOAD Tall Target Worksheet (PDF) »

NOTE: When doing this test, don’t go for the maximum possible elevation. Do NOT max out the elevation knob, running it to the top stop. Bryan Litz explains: “It’s good to avoid the extremes of adjustment when doing the tall target test. I don’t know how much different the clicks would be at the edges, but they are not the same.”

Tall Target Test For Milrad Scopes with B2B Target

Box Bench precision sniper's hide Precision Rifle Tall Target milrad mils

This Precision Rifle Network video shows how to do a scope-tracking test using the pre-printed Sniper’s Hide Tall Target from Box to Bench Precision (B2B). With the primary line divisions in MILs, this printed target is perfect for Milliradian scopes. From bottom of the vertical line to the top there are 10 mils (36 inches) of travel. The markings are high contrast to make the testing easier.

In this video, there are some very helpful tips on setting up the target frame correctly and making sure the Tall Target is perfectly vertical. A plumb line can help. In this video the vertical tracking of a Burris XTR III 5.5-30x56mm scope is tested. Actual testing begins at 7:20 time-mark. The Precision Rifle Network has many other informative videos, with a new video released every week.

Should You Perform a WIDE Target Test Too?
What about testing your windage clicks the same way, with a WIDE target test? Bryan Litz says that’s not really necessary: “The wide target test isn’t as important for a couple reasons. First, you typically don’t dial nearly as much wind as you do elevation. Second, your dialed windage is a guess to begin with; a moving average that’s different for every shot. Whereas you stand to gain a lot by nailing vertical down to the click, the same is not true of windage. If there’s a 5% error in your scope’s windage tracking, you’d never know it.”

Scope Tall Test level calibrationVerifying Scope Level With Tall Target Test
Bryan says: “While setting up your Tall Target Test, you should also verify that your scope level is mounted and aligned properly. This is critical to insuring that you’ll have a long range horizontal zero when you dial on a bunch of elevation for long range shots. This is a requirement for all kinds of long range shooting. Without a properly-mounted scope level (verified on a Tall Target), you really can’t guarantee your horizontal zero at long range.”

NOTE: For ‘known-distance’ competition, this is the only mandatory part of the tall target test, since slight variations in elevation click-values are not that important once you’re centered “on target” at a known distance.

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January 15th, 2024

Wind Speed or Wind Direction — What Is Most Important?

Wind reading bryan litz speed direction

Wind-Reading Lesson from Bryan Litz

Q: What’s more important — wind speed, or direction?

A: Obviously they both matter, but they do trade dominance based on direction. For example, a 10 mph wind between 2:30 and 3:30 is only changing its value from 9.7 to 10 to 9.7 mph (bracket of 0.3 mph). However a 10 mph wind between 11:30 and 12:30 is changing its cross wind component value from 2.6 mph left to zero to 2.6 mph right (bracket of 5.2 mph). There is the same 30° change in direction, but this results in a massively different bracket.

Point being, in this case, a direction change is far more critical if it’s near 6 or 12 o’clock. A small direction change when it’s close to 3 or 9 o’clock is negligible.

On the contrary, a change in wind SPEED when it’s near 3 or 9 affects your crosswind component directly. But for a near head or tail wind, a fluctuation in wind speed only causes a small fraction of a change to the crosswind component.

SUMMARY: If you’re in a near full-value wind, pay more attention to wind SPEED. If you’re closer to a head- or tail-wind, nailing the exact DIRECTION will be more important.

Get More Tips on Bryan Litz Ballistics Facebook Page
This post is from the new Bryan Litz Ballistics Facebook Page. FB users should check that page regularly for more tips from Bryan, American’s leading ballistics expert and founder of Applied Ballistics LLC.

READ MORE TIPS HERE: www.Facebook.com/BryanLitzBallitics

Bryan Litz coaching Team USA in Canada using a WIND PLOT.

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December 18th, 2023

How to Use Kestrel Wind Meter with Applied Ballistics Software

Kestrel Wind Meter F-Class John Applied Ballistics

Kestrel wind and weather meters are often regarded as the best on the market — for good reason. Here are a series of three videos by F-Class John that show how the Kestrel 5700 with Elite Ballistics works. This article reviews the advanced Kestrel 5700 Elite Wind Meter with sophisticated ballistics capabilities. Our review features three videos by F-Class John that show how the Kestrel 5700 Elite functions with Applied Ballistics APP software and LiNK connection.

Kestrel Wind Meter F-Class John Applied Ballistics

This Part I Video starts with a basic Kestrel Anemometer (blue case, 00:00-00:40) wind meter. Then reviewer F-Class John looks at the “smart” Kestrel 5700 with Elite Ballistics. John explains the many features of the Kestrel 5700 and how it holds a powerful ballistics calculator in the convenient, easy-to-tote Kestrel package. With Elite Ballistics, once you enter data about your bullets, velocity, zero, and rifle, the Kestrel can calculate come-ups and wind corrections. If you don’t yet own a Kestrel, we highly recommend you watch this series of videos that explains advanced Kestrel features in detail.

This Part II Video shows the key features of the advanced software APP used by the Kestrel 5700 unit with Elite Ballistics. The Kestrel 5700 can “talk” to a mobile device that runs the Applied Ballistics software APP that contains bullet databases and allows you to enter key information such as muzzle velocity, bullet BC, zero distance, velocity, wind, and environmental factors (altitude, temperature etc.). There are also gun-specific factors such as scope height over bore and barrel twist rate. The video also explains how “range cards” are created and how to view them with your Elite Ballistics-enabled Kestrel. John notes: “The APP is great because you don’t have to fiddle with the Kestrel’s buttons. It’s much easier to enter data and change settings with the APP.”

This Part III video shows how to determine true wind direction by aligning the SIDE of the unit into the wind. You essentially want to set the unit 90 degrees to the wind direction so the impeller runs as slowly as possible. Then, after you set your target distance (See 3:03), the unit can give you precise come-ups for your intended target (10.28 MOA for 559 yards here). The Kestrel then calculates the cross-wind correction as well (See 3:12).

DISCLAIMER: This video and description contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, the video author may receive a small commission. This helps support F-Class John’s YouTube channel and allows him to continue to make videos like this.

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December 3rd, 2023

Holiday Book Buyers Guide — Ten Great Gun Books

Gun firearms books christmas gifts reader guide book resource paperback hardcover

Christmas is 22 days away. If you are looking for a great gift for a shooting buddy, books have always been popular holiday gifts. 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. Check out these ten titles — for yourself or your shooting buddies.

Here Are TEN Great BOOKS Recommended for Serious Shooters:

Modern Advancements in LR Shooting, Vol. II
by Bryan Litz, $27.99 (Kindle), $44.95 (Hardcover, from AB store)

If you’re a serious long-range shooter, consider adding this book to your library. Relying on extensive ballistics testing, Modern Advancements, Volume II is a great successor to Volume I that contains some fascinating research results. UK gun writer Laurie Holland notes: “Volume II of the Modern Advancements series is as fascinating as Volume I and if anything even more valuable given a series of ‘mythbusters’ tests including: case fill-ratio, primer flash-hole uniforming, neck tension, annealing, and much more. The work also addresses that perennial discussion of a bullet ‘going to sleep’ and shooting smaller groups (in MOA) at longer distances than 100 yards.” The amount of testing done for this Volume II work, with a staggering amount of rounds sent downrange, makes this book unique among shooting resources. There is a ton of “hard science” in this book — not just opinions.

Nancy Tompkins Long Range book Prone and Long Range Rifle Shooting
by Nancy Tompkins, $45.00, (Hardcover, 2d Edition).

Nancy Tompkins is one of the greatest long-range shooters in American history. She has won five National Long-range Championships. Tompkins’ treatise is a must-read for serious Palma, F-Class, and High Power shooters. The revised Second edition includes F-Class equipment and techniques, and newly updated information. Color pictures. 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).

Miller Cunningham Wind Book The Wind Book for Rifle Shooters
by Linda Miller & Keith Cunningham, $14.99 (Kindle), $22.99 (Hardcover).

The lastest edition of The Wind Book was released in 2020. The updates make this very helpful 144-page book even better. The Wind Book for Rifle Shooters by Linda Miller and Keith Cunningham, first published in 2007, is a very informative resource. But you don’t have to take our word for it. If you click this link, you can read book excerpts on Amazon.com. This lets you preview the first few chapters, and see some illustrations. Other books cover wind reading in a broader discussion of ballistics or long-range shooting. But the Miller & Cunningham book is ALL about wind reading from cover to cover, and that is its strength. The book focuses on real world skills that can help you accurately gauge wind angle, wind velocity, and wind cycles. Readers have praised the book, earning it 93% 4- and 5-star reviews on Amazon.

Tony Boyer Book rifle accuracy benchrest Long Range Shooting Handbook
by Ryan Cleckner, $9.99 (Kindle), $22.46 (Softcover),

Ryan Cleckner is noted for his ability to explain complex topics in an easy-to-comprehend manner. Now Cleckner has authored a book, the Long Range Shooting Handbook, which expands on the topics covered in Cleckner’s popular NSSF video series. The Long Range Shooting Handbook is divided into three main categories: What It Is/How It Works, Fundamentals, and How to Use It. “What It Is/How It Works” covers equipment, terminology, and basic principles. “Fundamentals” covers the theory of long range shooting. “How to Use It” gives practical advice on implementing what you’ve learned, so you can progress as a skilled, long range shooter. You can view Sample Chapters from Ryan’s Book on Amazon.com.

Winning in Mind Bassham book With Winning in Mind (3rd Edition)
by Lanny Bassham, $9.99 (Kindle), $16.95 (Softcover)

Visualization is a process of mental preparation that is done before you get to the range. Many of the greatest shooting champions have used this technique to get ready for big matches, and to optimize their performance during record fire. If you want to enhance your “mental game” through pre-match visualization, we strongly recommend Lanny Bassham’s book, With Winning in Mind. As a competitive smallbore 3P shooter, Bassham developed a mental management system. Using this system, Lanny Bassham won 22 world individual and team titles, set four world records, and captured an Olympic Gold Medal in Montreal in 1976. His techniques have been embraced by professional and Olympic athletes in many sports. With Winning in Mind covers a complete system of “mental management” techniques used by Olympians and elite champions.

Practical Shooter’s Guide
by Marcus Blanchard, $9.99 (Kindle), $19.99 (Softcover)

Thinking of getting started in the Practical/Tactical shooting game? Looking for ways to be more stable when shooting from unconventional positions? Then you may want to read Marcus Blanchard’s Practical Shooter’s Guide (A How-To Approach for Unconventional Firing Positions and Training). Unlike almost every “how to shoot” book on the market, Blanchard’s work focuses on the shooting skills and positions you need to succeed in PRS matches and similar tactical competitions. Blanchard provides clear advice on shooting from barricades, from roof-tops, from steep angles. Blanchard says you need to train for these types of challenges: “I believe the largest factor in the improvement of the average shooter isn’t necessarily the gear; it’s the way the shooter approaches obstacles and how they properly train for them.”

Tony Boyer Book rifle accuracy benchrest The Book of Rifle Accuracy
by Tony Boyer, $42.50 (Hardcover).

Tony Boyer, the most successful shooter in the history of short-range benchrest competition, shares match-winning tips in this 323-page book. The book covers all aspect of the benchrest discipline: loading, windflags, rest set-up, addressing the rifle, and match strategies. This is a high-quality publication, filled with valuable insights. Every serious benchrest shooter should read Tony’s book. Boyer has dominated registered benchrest in a fashion that will never be duplicated, having amassed 142 U.S. Benchrest Hall of Fame points. The next closest shooter, Allie Euber, has 47 Hall of Fame points. This handsome, full-color book is 323 pages long, with color photos or color illustrations on nearly every page.

David Tubb High Power Rifle The Rifle Shooter
by G. David Tubb, $34.95 (Softcover)

This book by 11-time National High Power Champion David Tubb focuses on position shooting and High Power disciplines. Section One covers fundamentals: position points, natural point of aim, breathing, triggering mechanics and follow-through, sling selection and use, getting started, getting better, avoiding obstacles. Section Two covers mechanics of offhand, sitting, and prone positions. Section Three covers shooting skills, including wind reading and mental preparation. Section Four covers the technical side of shooting, with extensive discussions of rifle design, load development, reloading barrel maintenance, and rifle fitting. We consider this book a “must-read” for any sling shooter, and there is plenty of good advice for F-Class shooters too.

Frank Galli rifle marksmanship PRS NRL precision rifle training book print manual gun instruction Precision Rifle Marksmanship
by Frank Galli, $15.99 (Kindle), $24.56 (Softcover)

Another fine book for PRS/NRL shooting is Precision Rifle Marksmanship: The Fundamentals by Frank Galli, founder of SnipersHide.com. Former USMC scout-sniper Frank Galli explains techniques will benefit any PRS/NRL competitor. Along with position shooting tips, Galli offers great wind-reading advice. Published in 2020, Galli’s treatise is four years newer than Blanchard’s book, so it includes more of the latest gear and equipment. Galli’s book covers the fundamentals of precision marksmanship with easy-to-understand methodology. The book follows the same instruction process Galli uses in his live marksmanship classes. Published in 2020, this well-illustrated, 272-page book covers the latest equipment (scopes, LRFs, chassis systems, magazines, bags, bipods, tripods) favored by tactical competitors in PRS/NRL type matches.

Cartridges of World 15th Edition Cartridges of the World (17th Edition)
by W. Todd Woddard, $19.44 (Kindle), $34.54 (Softcover)

Cartridges of the World (17th Edition, 2022), belongs in every serious gun guy’s library. This massive 704-page reference contains illustrations and basic load data for over 1500 cartridges. If you load for a wide variety of cartridges, or are a cartridge collector, this book is a “must-have” resource. The latest edition includes dozens of new cartridges and boasts 1500+ photos. The 17th Edition of Cartridges of the World includes cartridge specs, plus tech articles on Cartridge identification, SAAMI guidelines, wildcatting, and new cartridge design trends. In scope and level of detail, Cartridges of the World is the most complete cartridge reference guide in print. Cartridges of the World now includes a full-color section with feature articles.

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September 22nd, 2023

How Barrel Twist Rates Can Affect Muzzle Velocities

applied Ballistics Barrel Twist rate velocity testing test bryan Litz
Many barrel-makers mark the twist rate and bore dimensions on their barrel blanks.

Does muzzle velocity change with faster or slower barrel twist rates? Absolutely, but much less than you might think. Faster twist rates do slow down bullets somewhat, but the speed loss is NOT that significant. With Bartlein .308 Win barrels of identical length and contour, a 1:12″-twist barrel was only 8 fps faster than a 1:8″-twist barrel. That was the result of testing by Applied Ballistics.

The Applied Ballistics team tested six (6) same-length/same-contour Bartlein barrels to observe how twist rate might affect muzzle velocity. This unique, multi-barrel test is featured in the book Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting, Vol. 1. That book includes other fascinating field tests, including a comprehensive chronograph comparison.

applied Ballistics Barrel Twist rate velocity testing test bryan Litz

applied Ballistics Barrel Twist rate velocity testing test bryan Litz
Barrel Twist Rate vs. Velocity — What Tests Reveal
by Bryan Litz
When considering barrel twist rates, it’s a common belief that faster twist rates will reduce muzzle velocity. The thinking is that the faster twist rate will resist forward motion of the bullet and slow it down. There are anecdotal accounts of this, such as when someone replaces a barrel of one brand/twist with a different brand and twist and observes a different muzzle velocity. But how do you know the twist rate is what affected muzzle velocity and not the barrel finish, or bore/groove dimensions? Did you use the same chronograph to measure velocity from both barrels? Do you really trust your chronograph?

Summary of Test Results
After all the smoke cleared, we found that muzzle velocity correlates to twist rate at the average rate of approximately 1.33 FPS per inch of twist. In other words, your velocity is reduced by about 5 FPS if you go from a 1:12″ twist to a 1:8″ twist. — Bryan Litz

Savage Test Rifle with Six Bartlein Barrels
Barrel Twist Rate Velocity Modern Advancements Book Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics

Most shooters don’t have access to the equipment required to fully explore questions like this. These are exactly the kinds of things we examine in the book Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting, Vol. 1. In that book, we present experiments conducted in the Applied Ballistics lab. Some of those experiments took on a “Myth Buster” tone as we sought to confirm (or deny) popular pre-conceptions. For example, here’s how we approached the question of barrel twist and muzzle velocity.

Six .308 Win Barrels from Bartlein — All Shot from the Same Rifle
We acquired six (6) barrels from the same manufacturer (Bartlein), all the same length and contour, and all chambered with the same reamer (SAAMI spec .308 Winchester). All these barrels were fitted to the same Savage Precision Target action, and fired from the same stock, and bench set-up. Common ammo was fired from all six barrels having different twist rates and rifling configurations. In this way, we’re truly able to compare what effect the actual twist rate has on muzzle velocity with a reasonable degree of confidence.

Prior to live fire testing, we explored the theoretical basis of the project, doing the physics. In this case, an energy balance is presented which predicts how much velocity you should expect to lose for a bullet that’s got a little more rotational energy from the faster twist. In the case of the .30 caliber 175 grain bullets, the math predicts a loss of 1.25 fps per inch-unit of barrel twist (e.g. a 1:8″ twist is predicted to be 1.25 fps slower than a 1:9″ twist).

Barrel Twist Rate Velocity Modern Advancements Book Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics

Above, data shows relationship between Twist Rate and Muzzle Velocity (MV) for various barrel twist rates and rifling types. From fast to slow, the three 1:10″ twist barrels are: 5R (canted land), 5 Groove, 5 Groove left-hand twist.

We proceeded with testing all 6 barrels, with twist rates from 1:8″ to 1:12″. After all the smoke cleared, we found that muzzle velocity correlates to twist rate at the average rate of approximately 1.33 fps per inch of twist. In other words, your velocity is reduced by about 5 fps if you go from a 1:12″ twist to a 1:8″ twist. [Editor: That’s an average for all the lengths tested. The actual variance between 1:12″ and 1:8″ here was 8 FPS.] In this case the math prediction was pretty close, and we have to remember that there’s always uncertainty in the live fire results. Uncertainty is always considered in terms of what conclusions the results can actually support with confidence.

Barrel Twist Rate Velocity Modern Advancements Book Bryan Litz Applied BallisticsThis is just a brief synopsis of a single test case. The coverage of twist rates in Modern Advancements in Long-Range Shooting Vol. 1 is more detailed, with multiple live fire tests. Results are extrapolated for other calibers and bullet weights. Needless to say, the question of “how twist rate affects muzzle velocity” is fully answered.

Other chapters in the book’s twist rate section include:
· Stability and Drag — Supersonic
· Stability and Drag — Transonic
· Spin Rate Decay
· Effect of Twist rate on Precision

Other sections of the book include: Modern Rifles, Scopes, and Bullets as well as Advancements in Predictive Modeling. This book is sold through the Applied Ballistics online store. Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting is also available as an eBook in Amazon Kindle format.

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September 21st, 2023

Scratches on Bullet Jackets Affect BC and Long Range Accuracy

applied ballistics mobile lab schedule

Here’s a smart tip from Bryan Litz, explaining how damage to a bullet jacket can harm the projectile’s Ballistic Coefficient (BC). This tip is posted on Bryan’s new Bryan Litz Ballistics Facebook page. We recommend you subscribe to that page to access Bryan’s latest informative posts.

Bryan notes: “If the case mouth scratches the bullet when you seat it, the damage can cause the BC to be inconsistent, which shows up as vertical dispersion at long range.”

We see this sometimes when running Doppler Radar for competitors at Applied Ballistics Mobile Lab events. If someone is shooting a bullet that typically has a very consistent BC (1% or less) but they’re seeing a higher BC variation, it can be due to the bullets being damaged in the loading process.”

The lead photo above shows the badly-scratched jacket of a bullet seated in a rough-mouthed case. To prevent such jacket damage, one should chamfer, deburr, and smooth case mouths after trimming.

Below is a recorded Doppler radar result showing excessive BC variation. Such variation can increase vertical dispersion at long range. This can result in larger group sizes and lower scores.

applied ballistics mobile lab schedule

applied ballistics mobile lab schedule

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September 12th, 2023

Tangent, Secant, Hybrid — Bullet Geometry Explained by Litz

secant tangent hybrid ogive Bryan Litz Applied ballistics 200X Berger Hybrid bullet, .308 30 Caliber

In discussions of ballistics, you’ll see references to “tangent”, “secant”, and “hybrid” bullet shapes. We know that, for many readers, these terms can be confusing. To add to the confusion, bullet makers don’t always identify their projectiles as secant or tangent designs. This article provides a basic explanation of tangent, secant, and hybrid ogive bullet designs, to help you understand the characteristics of these three basic bullet shapes.

Tangent vs. Secant vs. Hybrid

Most match bullets produced today use a tangent ogive profile, but the modern VLD-style bullets employ a secant profile. To further complicate matters, the latest generation of “Hybrid” projectiles from Berger Bullets feature a blended secant + tangent profile to combine the best qualities of both nose shapes. The secant section provides reduced drag, while the tangent section makes the bullet easier to tune, i.e. less sensitive to bullet seating depth position.

hybrid bullet

Berger Bullets ballistician Bryan Litz explains tangent and secant bullet ogive designs in a glossary section of his Applied Ballistics website, which we reprint below. Bryan then explains how tangent and secant profiles can be combined in a “hybrid” design.

How Bullet Ogive Curves are Defined
While the term “ogive” is often used to describe the particular point on the bullet where the curve reaches full bullet diameter, in fact the “ogive” properly refers to the entire curve of the bullet from the tip to the full-diameter straight section — the shank.

Understanding then, that the ogive is a curve, how is that curve described?

LITZ: The ogive of a bullet is usually characterized by the length of its radius. This radius is often given in calibers instead of inches. For example, an 8 ogive 6mm bullet has an ogive that is a segment of a circular arc with a radius of 8*.243 = 1.952”. A .30-caliber bullet with an 8 ogive will be proportionally the same as the 8 ogive 6mm bullet, but the actual radius will be 2.464” for the .30 caliber bullet.

For a given nose length, if an ogive is perfectly tangent, it will have a very specific radius. Any radius longer than that will cause the ogive to be secant. Secant ogives can range from very mild (short radius) to very aggressive (long radius). The drag of a secant ogive is minimized when its radius is twice as long as a tangent ogive radius. In other words, if a tangent ogive has an 8 caliber radius, then the longest practical secant ogive radius is 16 calibers long for a given nose length.”

Bryan Litz Explains Hybrid Design and Optimal Hybrid Seating Depths

Ogive Metrics and Rt/R Ratio
LITZ: There is a number that’s used to quantify how secant an ogive is. The metric is known as the Rt/R ratio and it’s the ratio of the tangent ogive radius to the actual ogive radius for a given bullet. In the above example, the 16 caliber ogive would have an Rt/R ratio of 0.5. The number 0.5 is therefore the lowest practical value for the Rt/R ratio, and represents the minimum drag ogive for a given length. An ogive that’s perfectly tangent will have an Rt/R ratio of 1.0. Most ogives are in between an Rt/R of 1.0 and 0.5. The dimensioned drawings at the end of my Applied Ballistics book provide the bullets ogive radius in calibers, as well as the Rt/R ratio. In short, the Rt/R ratio is simply a measure of how secant an ogive is. 1.0 is not secant at all, 0.5 is as secant as it gets.

Berger Hybrid bullet, .308 30 CaliberHybrid Bullet Design — Best of Both Worlds?
Bryan Litz has developed a number of modern “Hybrid” design bullets for Berger. The objective of Bryan’s design work has been to achieve a very low drag design that is also “not finicky”. Normal (non-hybrid) secant designs, such as the Berger 105gr VLD, deliver very impressive BC values, but the bullets can be sensitive to seating depth. Montana’s Tom Mousel has set world records with the Berger 105gr VLD in his 6mm Dasher, but he tells us “seating depth is critical to the best accuracy”. Tom says a mere .003″ seating depth change “makes a difference”. In an effort to produce more forgiving high-BC bullets, Bryan Litz developed the hybrid tangent/secant bullet shape.

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August 20th, 2023

Are Your Bullets Spinning Fast Enough? Use Twist Rate Calculator

Berger twist rate calculator

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 cool tool tells you if your chosen bullet will really stabilize in your barrel.


CLICK HERE to Go to TWIST RATE CALCULATOR PAGE »

How to Use Berger’s Twist Rate Calculator
Using the Twist Rate Calculator 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 calculator

If 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, 3rd Ed., 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.

Story idea from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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July 8th, 2023

Ballistics and Bullet TECH — FREE Applied Ballistics Articles

Want to improve your understanding of Ballistics, Bullet Design, Bullet Pointing, and other shooting-related tech topics? Well here’s a treasure trove of gun expertise. Applied Ballistics offers dozens of FREE tech articles on its website. Curious about Coriolis? — You’ll find answers. Want to understand the difference between G1 and G7 BC? — There’s an article about that.

“Doc” Beech, technical support specialist at Applied Ballistics says these articles can help shooters working with ballistics programs: “One of the biggest issues I have seen is the misunderstanding… about a bullet’s ballistic coefficient (BC) and what it really means. Several papers on ballistic coefficient are available for shooters to review on the website.”

Litz applied ballistics PDF articles

Credit Shooting Sports USA Editor John Parker for finding this great resource. John writes: “Our friends at Applied Ballistics have a real gold mine of articles on the science of accurate shooting on their website. This is a fantastic source for precision shooting information[.] Topics presented are wide-ranging — from ballistic coefficients to bullet analysis.”

READ All Applied Ballistics Articles HERE »

Here are six (6) of our favorite Applied Ballistics articles, available for FREE to read online. There are dozens more, all available on the Applied Ballistics Education Webpage. After Clicking link, select Plus (+) Symbol for “White Papers”, then find the article(s) you want in the list. For each selection, then click “Download” in the right column. This will send a PDF version to your device.

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June 16th, 2023

Mitchell Fitzpatrick Wins Nightforce ELR Steel Challenge in WY

Nightforce extreme long range elr steel challenge PRS match glenrock wyoming wy

Talented shooter Mitchell Fitzpatrick of Applied Ballistics topped a field of over 280 competitors to win the 2023 Nightforce Extreme Long Range (ELR) Steel Challenge in Wyoming last week. The prestigious Nightforce ELR match was held June 9-11 in Glenrock, Wyoming, at the Tillard 55 Ranch. During the three-day match competitors shot 20 different stages with targets placed from 725 yards to 2125 yards. Awards were given for both individuals and teams.

Nightforce extreme long range elr steel challenge PRS match glenrock wyoming wy
Nightforce extreme long range elr steel challenge PRS match glenrock wyoming wy

Finishing third overall was Team Vihtavuori member Francis Colon who stated: “Not all challenges are created equal — in this case it was a last minute need for some extra help to run the Applied Ballistics LLC Mobile Lab at the Nightforce ELR Steel Challenge in Wyoming. Normally, I have months of advance notice to prep a rifle, barrels, and ammo for matches. However, in this case, I had less than a week and half to get a new rifle built, broken in, and begin learning to shoot a Barrett MRAD in .300 Norma Magnum[.] ”

Nightforce extreme long range elr steel challenge PRS match glenrock wyoming wy

Colon explained: “With an average target distance of 1200+ yards and 10-25 mph winds, I was definitely out of my element. But the AB solver on my Kestrel 5700 continued to help me make solid solutions at all ranges. The resulting success — finishing 3rd of more than 280 shooters — [with] my friend Mitchell Fitzpatrick (below) taking first place overall, is truly incredible and humbling.”

Nightforce extreme long range elr steel challenge PRS match glenrock wyoming wy

Nightforce extreme long range elr steel challenge PRS match glenrock wyoming wyColon observed: “The nerve-racking uncertainty of maintaining first round impacts on 1.5-2MOA targets at distances from 800 to 2200+ yards cannot be captured in words. It was exhilarating and gratifying. Thank you to Nightforce Optics, Barrett… and thank you to SIG SAUER for the Sig Kilo 10K with Applied Ballistics Rangefinding Binos!”

Following the match, Colon commented, “I had less than a week and half to get a new rifle, break it in, and learn to shoot the heavy-recoiling .300 Norma Magnum. I used Lapua .300 NM brass and Berger .30 Cal 215gr Hybrids powered byVihtavuori N565 to create a consistent, high-performance load and it worked exactly as expected. With an average target distance of 1200+ yards and 10-25 mph winds, it was imperative that my powder and projectile be as consistent as possible to make wind calls more successful.”

Nightforce extreme long range elr steel challenge PRS match glenrock wyoming wy

“This was my first ELR match and the first time shooting this rifle beyond 100 yards. To achieve that level of performance with those hurdles to overcome is testament to the quality of the Vihtavuori, Lapua, and Berger products working together to create an incredible system,” stated Colon, who is a top ranked Precision Rifle Series (PRS) shooter.

Nightforce extreme long range elr steel challenge PRS match glenrock wyoming wy
Nightforce extreme long range elr steel challenge PRS match glenrock wyoming wy

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