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March 12th, 2013

Tuesday Trivia Challenge from Bryan Litz, Ballistics Guru

Here’s a Ballistics Trivia challenge, put together by Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics LLC. Bryan is Berger Bullets’ Ballistician and the author of Applied Ballistics for Long Range Shooting. Bryan posed the following Ballistics Question about Kinetic Energy and Aerodynamic Drag:

Bryan Litz Ballistics TriviaConsider a .30 caliber 175 grain bullet with a G7 BC of .259 (Berger 175 OTM) fired level at a muzzle velocity of 2650 fps in standard (ICAO) sea level conditions.

As this bullet flies downrange, it loses velocity due to aerodynamic drag. As the velocity of the bullet decays, so does its Kinetic Energy (in ft-lbs). The Kinetic Energy lost by the bullet in a given amount of time can be defined in terms of power.

Another way to think about this is that the aerodynamic drag on the bullet can be expressed in terms of power, calculated from the projectile’s change in Kinetic Energy over flight time.

Question: How much power (expressed in Watts) is applied to the bullet by aerodynamic drag on average over:

A) 500 yards?
B) 1000 yards?
C) 1500 yards?

Guesses are welcome, but this one can be calculated exactly.

Bryan Litz Ballistics Trivia

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January 2nd, 2013

Berger Hybrid Bullets — What You Need to Know

2013 SHOT Show Las VegasSHOT Show 2013 kicks off in two weeks in Las Vegas. One of our top priorities is to talk with the bullet makers from Berger, Hornady, Lapua, and Nosler.

At SHOT Show 2012 we chatted with Berger Ballistician Bryan Litz about Berger’s popular line of Hybrid bullets. Berger now offers a wide range of Hybrids in multiple calibers and weights. In fact, for .30-Caliber shooters, Berger now offers six different Hybrid match bullets, with weights from 155 grains up to 230 grains. New .338 Cal Tactical Hybrids were released in 2012 and big .375 Cal, and .408 Cal Hybrids are in the works (read more below).

Bryan tells us: “The hybrid design is Berger’s solution to the age old problem of precision vs. ease of use. This design is making life easier for handloaders as well as providing opportunities for commercial ammo loaders who need to offer a high performance round that also shoots precisely in many rifles with various chamber/throat configurations.”

For those not familiar with Hybrid bullets, the Hybrid design blends two common bullet nose shapes on the front section of the bullet (from the tip to the start of the bearing surface). Most of the curved section of the bullet has a Secant (VLD-style) ogive for low drag. This then blends in a Tangent-style ogive curve further back, where the bullet first contacts the rifling. The Tangent section makes seating depth less critical to accuracy, so the Hybrid bullet can shoot well through a range of seating depths, even though it has a very high Ballistic Coefficient (BC).

In the video we asked Bryan for recommended seating depths for 7mm and .30-Caliber Hybrid bullets. Bryan advises that, as a starting point, Hybrid bullets be seated .015″ (fifteen thousandths) off the lands in most barrels. Watch the video for more tips how to optimize your loads with Hybrid bullets.

Berger Hybrid Bullet

Berger is Developing New Large-Caliber and Hunting Hybrids
In related news, Berger announced that it will be offering a series of .338-caliber Hybrids. First Berger is reintroducing the Gen 1 .338 Cal, 300gr Hybrid bullet in Berger’s Hunting line. Berger will also be making a 250gr Hybrid Hunting bullet using the same type of jacket as the original Gen 1 300gr Hybrid bullet. In addition, Berger has released a .338 Cal 250gr Match Hybrid OTM Tactical bullet, along with a 300gr Match Hybrid OTM Tactical projectile.

More big bullets are on the drawing board. Our source says “.375 Caliber and then .408 Caliber are the next new calibers to be made at Berger”. These are in the design phase, and Berger needs to build a new machine, so the .375s and .408s will not be available until 2013 at the earliest.

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 4 Comments »
July 16th, 2009

Book Review: A New Ballistics Resource from Bryan Litz

Bryan Litz Ballistics BookBryan Litz, chief Ballistician for Berger Bullets, has just released an impressive new, hard-cover treatise on external ballistics. While Bryan’s 536-page Applied Ballistics for Long-Range Shooting will surely take its place among the “classic” reference books on precision shooting, it does much more than explain theories of bullet flight. Using advanced equipment, Litz measured the actual drag of over 175 popular bullet types in the field. Armed with this new experimentally-derived data, shooters can now calculate their loads’ true trajectories with greater precision than ever before.

If you’re serious about long-range shooting, or just have an interest in bullet design and performance, you should buy this book. It is offered for $39.95 directly from Bryan’s website,

YouTube Preview Image

In the video above, Litz explains some of the key features of his new book. (Watch the video — Bryan explains what you’ll get for your $39.95!) Don’t be fooled by Bryan’s youthful appearance. This guy is the Einstein of external ballistics. He holds a degree in Aerospace Engineering, and he was an honest-to-goodness rocket scientist who worked with the U.S. Air Force on air-to-air missile design for six years before joning Berger Bullets. What’s more, Bryan is an extremely talented long-range shooter. Bryan was the 2008 National Palma Champion, and he holds the all-time NRA mid-range iron-sight record (450-39X).

Bryan Litz Ballistics Book

Even if you rely on a software program to calculate your come-ups, it is important to know how bullets are affected by wind and gravity, and how bullet ballistic coefficients are determined. If you’re looking to expand your knowledge of ballistics and the nuances of bullet design, you should find Bryan’s book informative and readable.

You don’t need an MIT degree to understand this book. It was Bryan’s goal to explain the important elements of exterior ballistics in a practical way that can be understood and applied by shooters. What you learn from Applied Ballistics for Long-Range Shooting can help you make better decisions about the bullet(s) and the caliber(s) you choose to shoot, and give you more confidence when taking those long shots in the field.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 7 Comments »
February 28th, 2009

Lapua Offers Radar-Tested Drag Data for Lapua Bullets

Lapua bullets BCThe Ballistic Coefficient (BC) of a bullet is an index number used to describe the bullet’s aerodynamic drag relative to a reference standard. While bullet manufacturers commonly include BCs in their product descriptions, often times those numbers are merely a mathematical calculation, rather than the result of actual testing. Also, since the true drag of a bullet changes over the course of its trajectory, using a single BC is a fairly primitive way to predict how that bullet will actually perform over a long distance.

Lapua is now using Doppler radar to provide a more sophisticated model of bullet flight. Lapua has issued drag coefficients for its bullets based on radar testing. Importantly, Lapua didn’t just calculate drag coefficients off bullet blueprints. Instead, Lapua used radar to measure bullet velocities at various points along the bullet flight path (trajectory). This provides Cd (Coefficient of Drag) values that can be used with advanced ballistic software such as QuickTARGET to calculate trajectories with great reliability and precision.

Lapua bullets BC

Lapua’s engineers explain: “With our Cd-data measured by continuous Doppler radar measurements you can calculate the trajectory of your bullet much more accurately than using the simplified one-number BC. Typically-used simple ballistic coefficient (BC) describes only ballistic performance of the bullet compared to old standard ‘G1′ bullet. Ballistic Coefficient is essentially a measure of drag force compared to G1 projectile. The higher the BC value, the less drag and better ballistic performance.

The BC changes during a projectile‘s flight and stated BCs are always averages for particular velocity ranges. Knowing how a BC was established is almost as important as knowing the stated BC value itself. For the precise establishment of bullet trajectory, Doppler radar-measurements are required. The normal shooter however, has no access to such expensive professional measurement devices.

The radar-measured Cd factor describes the aerodynamic drag at particular points of trajectory. A Cd table (see above) shows this factor as a function of velocity (Mach number). Special software is required (e.g. Quick Target Unlimited) to utilize this data to [generate a] ballistic table. During the Doppler radar measurements the complete location information versus time is recorded.”

Long-Range Tests Show Lapua’s Bullet Drag Models Work Well
One of our sources has been working with Lapua’s radar-derived ballistic data for over a year. His task was to see how calculated trajectories using Lapua’s stated Cd values for particular bullets compared to observed bullet flights at long range. Using the data for the Lapua 250gr Scenar, this tester found the predicted trajectory “dead on to 1600 meters (about a mile) and only a few click off [at] 2000 meter (1.25 mile) distances”.

Bullet Ballistic Info for Download

CLICK HERE for explanation of Doppler-derived Cd with sample charts.

CLICK HERE for Cd-data for Lapua bullets.

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