Who wouldn’t like to own a nice custom-made $3,000 rifle? Unfortunately, most people have a budget, but if you can’t afford one, don’t slit your wrist quite yet. If you already own a decent rifle, there are four things you can do that will improve its accuracy, and these are not going to be earth-shattering concepts or new revelations. I’m constantly surprised at how many people don’t do these simple steps. Just remember an old proverb: The simple things confound the wise.
Many people like using a Caldwell Lead Sled coupled with double-ear protection to sight in their rifles. This helps reduce flinching. I wear Walker’s Power Muff Quads and foam ear plugs.
Check your optic
Are your mounts tight? Is your scope mounted properly? Is your scope tight? If not, you’ll hit all over the board.
The next thing to think about in this category is whether or not the scope is actually functional. You tend to get what you pay for in optics; however, regardless of scope quality ensure that it is at least functioning within the parameters of the value. I’m careful with my scopes. I don’t throw them in the back of my pickup truck or strap them onto my four wheeler. This type of activity can be detrimental to the internal components of a scope. Any scope.
DEAD FOOT ARMS
These are all basic things you should check just on the optic, but before you take a sledge hammer to a seemingly dysfunctional scope, let’s check three more items.
Chris Reed with McRees Precision giving me some pointers on long-range shooting while using their McRees Precision BR10.300WIN. Among his many accomplishments, Reed won season two of History Channel’s Top Shot TV show.
You may not always have a good rifle rest while hunting, but it’s imperative that you are stable when sighting in your rifle. I sight in on a steady table while using a Caldwell Lead Sled, a shooting rest used to brace the rifle, and it assists in recoil reduction. You don’t want 20 different factors affecting your shot, so you need to weed out the variables. At this point, we are just trying to determine what your rifle is capable of, not the shooter. If you don’t have a CLS, then sand bags can work great as well, or if you’re on a really tight budget, use pillows or blankets.
Out in the field I prefer a Harris bipod. I like the bigger one with the three-adjustment extendable legs, which go from 13½ to 29 inches. Hunting out on the prairie laying down is difficult because the sagebrush and grasses will block your field of vision. In a pinch you can carry two dowel rods taped together 6 inches from the end to use as a bipod to see over these obstacles.
The Rifle’s Trigger
To prove the importance of a good trigger I want you to try this: Make sure your rifle is unloaded and lay it on some pads. Make sure the safety is on, and go through the motions of actually taking a shot. You will often notice that you start pulling off to one side. That’s what happens if you have a subpar trigger. An example would be an 8-pound trigger with a lot of creep and rough spots.
If you can really concentrate, you can overcome these pitfalls, but it takes total concentration on every shot. Why put yourself through that? If you’re so focused on pulling evenly, by the time it actually fires you’ll need to gasp for air. It just takes too much concentration, and even then you won’t be able to totally overcome it.
(Top) In real-life situations a Harris bipod is the ticket. I use them a lot when varmint hunting so I can shoot over the sagebrush, bitterroot and other vegetation. (Bottom) Chris Barger from Rise Armaments installed one of their RA-535 Advanced Performance triggers into my DPMS, making my accuracy considerable tighter.
The other day I went out to shoot my DPMS Bull 20. The trigger was horrible, and it was really windy outside. I focused really hard and got a 1½-inch group at 100 yards, and figured that was about all it was capable of. Then I ran down toRise Armament in Broken Arrow, Okla., toured their factory and headed out on a coyote hunt. While there, Chris Barger, president of Rise Armament, threw one of their RA-535 Advanced Performance triggers in my DPMS. The RA is a 3.5-pound trigger with no creep. As I alluded to before, my original trigger rated somewhere between horrible and the worst trigger ever. I have buddies who like light triggers, but a 3½-pound pull is about right for me in hunting conditions.
When I shot my DPMS again, from the same rest using the same Hornady match ammunition, I was able to obtain a three-shot, one-hole group. I was amazed! I can’t overstress the importance of a good trigger.
My hardcore reloading buddies will start wailing and gnashing their teeth, not to mention calling me a heretic, but reloading is not as critical as it was 50 years ago. Granted, you might have to test out four or five different manufacturers and different grains of bullets to find which one shoots best in your rifle, but you should be able to find something that will help maximize your accuracy. To shorten the learning process and save yourself from overshopping, call the manufacturer of your gun to see which bullet they say works best in your rifle. Usually, I just talk to my friends at Hornady and tell them what rifle, caliber, and twist rate I have. They are the professionals!
After determining what shoots best in your specific rifle, sight it in using your chosen ammuntion. Sure, you may switch around if you’re varmint hunting one day and big-game hunting the next, but sight it in every time you switch bullets.
Don’t assume that a 40-grain bullet will probably shoot 2 inches higher than a 55-grainer. That would make sense though, wouldn’t it? I thought so too. I not only shot 2 to 3 inches inches lower, but also 3 inches to the left. So don’t shoot multiple brands and grains of bullets and expect to have any degree of consistency.
I promise that if you employ these suggestions, you should start getting tighter groups. AmSJ
After installing a Rise Armament RA-535 Advanced Performance Trigger, I was able to shoot a one-hole, three-shot group at 100 yards with my AR.
Manufacturer are getting more resourceful, every year we get a new round that’s been declared the latest and greatest. The 6.8 SPC, the 6.5 Grendel, and we’ve seen the rise of the .224 Valkyrie. These rounds have a shelf life similar to the shelf life of freshly baked bread.
One round that have stood out is the 300 Blackout. In fact, it’s simply grown in popularity. The round introduction came at the best time!
If you’re not into the details, here are some top .300 Blackout Ammo for the many different purposes:
As the shooting industry was beginning to lean towards short rifles and suppressors – the 300 Blackout just so happened to be designed for short barreled rifles, and you can suppress it as well. Timing was right for the .300 Blackout round.
Initially designed for the military, the civilian market caught on real quick. The 300 Blackout functions perfectly in an AR-15 platform with hardly any changes, this makes it inexpensive to adopt and easy to test out.
So what about the ammo?
The fact that the 300 Blackout is a versatile round its best to look at its purpose. Here’s some 300 Blackout ammo on the market.
300 Blackout is slowly becoming a more affordable round. It may be nowhere near as cheap as 223 or 7.62×39, but the price has been dropping steadily. The price used to be near a dollar a round, that is like seriously throwing away your money every time you pull the trigger.
Good thing prices have dropped, you can now get it for under a dollar a round. Now for the non reloaders you can check out Magtech First Defense and Fiocchi 300 AAC Blk.
This 123-grain FMJ ammo is one out on the market thats affordable, reliable and easy to shoot.
Supersonic ammunition and flies forward at a blistering 2230 feet per second, the ammo uses premium brass cases and high-quality FMJ projectiles.
This is very basic ammunition designed to function reliably and accurately for all your training needs, perfect to be bought in bulk.
When it comes to purely plinking you can trust some lower quality rounds.
Magtech consistently makes quality ammunition.
When the times comes to put lead downrange regardless of the reasons you’ll be hearing bangs and not clicks. This ammo is a solid choice for general fun gunning, tactical training, three gun, and more.
One of the best things about the 300 Blackout round is the fact it’s superbly versatile. The rounds can range greatly in weight from light 90-grain supersonic loads to 220-grain subsonic baseball bats.
When it comes to a suppressor slower is better. A subsonic round lacks that supersonic crack. A suppressor only stops the blast at the muzzle end of the gun. It does nothing for the supersonic crack.
A subsonic load through a suppressor is nice and quiet. Nowhere near movie quiet, but quiet enough to be hearing safe.
One solid subsonic load for the suppressor enthusiast is the Sellier and Bellot 200 Grain FMJs and Hornady Subsonic 190 grain Flex Tip.
These are on the lighter side of subsonic loads, so they move a little faster than the 220 grains and this translates into a little extra energy.
The lighter loads are chugging along at only 1,060 feet per second.
With rounds like this, you are getting performance a little better than a 45 ACP round. Slow is smooth, and smooth is basically a handgun round. It’s one of the joys of the 300 Blackout platform. It’s effectively suppressed at the cost of the long-range ability.
Swap in a magazine full of supersonics and bam you got your long-range performance back at the sacrifice of getting a little louder.
I personally hunt with an AR-15 and don’t see an issue with it, but the 300 Blackout has found its way into guns like the Ruger American rifle. It’s a great hunting cartridge and can be used both in a suppressed platform and a loud platform.
Barnes VOR-TX Tipped Triple-Shock X Hollow Point 110gn 300 BLK – 20 Rounds
The only thing you need to consider when using 300 BLK to hunt with is that it offers a limited range, 200 yards for supersonic ammo and 150 yards or less for subsonic ammo.
When it comes to hunting I’d stick with a supersonic cartridge.
They fly further, hit harder, and are much more capable of quickly killing your game of choice. There are a number of different hunting cartridges out there for the 300 Blackout, but one that’s proven is from Barnes.
As it penetrates it’s also going to open up and expand. As it expands it leaves a wake of destruction which increases your chances of a one hit kill. This is a humane round that will put a deer down without issue.
Barnes is a premium ammo and it comes at a premium price, but the pay off is ethical hunting and that makes it worth the extra cents.
A suppressed, short barreled rifle is a mighty good home defense device. Even if you subtract the short-barreled part a semi-automatic rifle is a helluva way to deal with things that go bump in the night.
To do so you need the right ammo. A standard FMJ isn’t going to do it. They pass through walls, furniture, and everything else a little too easy. Plus, they aren’t the most efficient “man stopper”.
For this the Fiocchi 300 Blackout load is perfect. This is brass cased premium round loaded with one bad projectile. The projectile is from Hornady and weighs 125 grains.
The projectile is a Super Shock Tip projectile. It reaches 2,200 feet per second and is designed to deliver controlled expansion at high velocities.
A lot of times a company hypes their ammo a bit, what I like about the Fiocchi SST is that it actually has some solid reasons backing it up:
SST projectile expands on contact and penetrates with near recklessness
Hornady’s Interlock ring keeps the copper jacket and leads internals together, allowing for excellent weight retention and penetration without over-penetration
A magazine of two of these bad boys is going to be one helluva solution to whatever problems you may have.
Using a rifle for self-defense does require plenty of practice and if you make that decision you need practice.
Make sure you get both a good self-defense round and a lot of ammo to train with.
If you noticed my selection for training ammo was a 123-grain round and my choice for a self-defense round is 125 grains – I do this so that the recoil and operation will be as close as possible without having to spend the money on mass amounts of high-end ammo.
Rocking the 300 Blackout
The 300 Blackout is a modern little cartridge that absolutely rules the 0-300-yard range. It’s potent, powerful versatile, and popular enough to give you a wide selection of rifles to choose from.
You can do a lot with a 300 Blackout rifle, and the task you choose is going to determine the ammo you need. So its important to pair up the right ammo for the task.
You’ve probably heard that the US military isreplacing the M16/M4 and looking into new rifles and ammo. (US Army and Marine Corp) Wondering why they’re looking into 6.5 Creedmoor in particular? No, its not because the Russians are out gunning us. Here’s the scoop.
There are a couple things you should know about 6.5 Creedmoor and today, we’ll put this round into sharper focus for you. So let’s look at it in more detail so that you’ll see why it works for the military and why it could work for you.
Creedmoor Kicks Ass at Long Range
Right off the bat, the US Special Operations Command understood all the good things about this cartridge as an alternative to its existing ammo.
The cartridge was introduced in 2008 as one of the first and best cartridges for precision long range shooting.
At the time, there weren’t a lot of civilians shooting long range, but in recent years, the company has seen demand grow in the hunting industry, and grow as manufacturers continue to put out more affordable long range rifles.
Today, it is the go-to cartridge for many hunters and competitive shooters.
Precision long range shooting skill a learned trait which is an advantage to have in combat and the military seems to be catching onto Creedmoor’s awesome reputation and populatiry for shooting close and tight precision groups at 500 yards or more.
Having a bigger bullet means you’ll do bigger damage to your target, whether your target is a tango or a blood thirsty wild hog.
Our brothers in arms go through enough shit. The last thing they need is hellish recoil.
If there’s one thing you won’t get with 6.5 Creedmoor, is its crazy blowback.
6.5 Creedmoor is specially designed for low recoil rounds without compromising pinpoint accuracy.
Did you also know that it can go subsonic after 1,300 yards?
When it comes to tactical applications, this cartridge packs a serious wallop
There are some long range groups think that there aren’t any real differences between 6.5 Creedmoor and the long-established .308 Win.
But those people would be ill-informed.
The truth is, they are very similar, however there are some things in which they differ.
First there is the huge gap between the two when it comes to ballistics. 6.5 Creedmoor loads can reach a thousand yards with less than three hundred inches of drop with proper windage.
This is true of just about any ammo, particularly Hornady 178 grain HPBT, that is used with a 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge.
The .308 Win doesn’t compare to that kind of numbers.
Another area in which 6.5 Creedmoor often bests .308 Win is in its accessibility.
A lot of .308 ammo is out of stock when you visit the major online ammo dealers.
But if you run a search for Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor 140 gr AMAX, they’re everywhere.
And thats the other thing that is very good news for the military and all of us: there are plenty of dealers – large and small – from which they could order 6.5 ammo in bulk.
Another argument that comes up is about barrel longevity, claiming that the 6.5 Creedmoor only last for 2-3,000 rounds whereas the .308 Win will be good for as many as 10,000 rounds.
This is simply bogus since it all depends on whether you’re shooting 1 MOA.
Theres just no way that the .308 could be reaching that mark at 10,000.
If you’re using it with a precision rifle or for seasonal deer shooting, you’re going to go long ways with your 6.5 Creedmoor, no if, and, or buts..about it, except the butt you put a bullet in.
And thats another thing. Combat isn’t always what it looks like in movies and on TV. For those that have served can tell you that there are many days where you don’t see much action and, even when you do, its not necessarily a rapid fire situation.
But Murphy’s law does exist when the shit hits the fan.
If you’re an active duty sniper (Marksman Observer), you’re gonna get a whole lot more life outta your 6.5 Creedmoor than you would with the .308.
Solving the Problem
What’s really crazy about the 6.5 versus .308 argument is the simple fact that 6.5 Creedmoor was specifically conceived to be a cartridge that would be superior to the wildcat cartridges of the day.
As the story goes at the Civilian Marksmanship Program 2007 National Matches at Camp Perry, Hornady engineer Dave Emary decided to remedy what he saw as a problem among competitive shooters.
As Emary saw it, people were trying to push their cartridges to the limit, attempting to defy the laws of physics by brainstorming methods by which to get their cartridges to perform at levels that weren’t made to. Problems would then crop up as a result of these jeri-rigging formulas.
In Emary’s own words, “People were having a lot of problems with functioning the 6mms. They were running these things at very high pressures to try to get the performance they need to compete.”
“Our solution was to go to a 6.5, firing a lot higher BC bullet, and not have to push it as hard to get what they wanted.”
Emary and his team solved this problem by taking existing .264 cartridges and altering the specs, giving the cartridge the capacity for long-ogive, high-ballistic rounds.
Lo and behold the 6.5 was born, a short-action rifle cartridge capable of insane performance.
Make Your Hunting Experience a Good One
Like I said earlier, this cartridge isn’t just a slam dunk for the military should they end up choosing it over the others they’ve been testing.
Its also a damn good option for almost any civilian hunter or gun enthusiast.
If you didn’t hear the news: USSOCOM has adopted the 6.5 CM as their new Precision Rifle cartridge. It was a close call between the 260 Remington and the 6.5 Creedmoor, but the 6.5 CM won the day due to the military’s belief that the 6.5 CM has more room for innovation for the future.
Many target shooters have taken to the Ruger Precision Rifleand my targets gets shredded to pieces. The results are always incredible. At long range, many are saying the the CM leave 2.8 inches at five hundred yards.
But the advantages for game hunters is where this one really shines. Its got a sick muzzle velocity due to its extra powder space and its able to accommodate a wealth of different medium-burning rifle powders.
If you’re anything like me, you wouldn’t automatically think of long-range shooting when it comes to big game. After all, ethical hunting requires limiting your range to as short as possible to ensure a clean kill.
That being said, it should also stand to reason that if 6.5 Creedmoor can take out a target at 500 yards, its going to take care of business at 100 yards with no problem.
From personal experience, I’ve seen how this can perform in a close quarters situations and I was every bit as impressed as I was when I hunted with the .308.
The round went right where I wanted it to and I bagged a deer without a rechamber. Like I said: clean humane kill.
Why 6.5 Creedmoor is Awesome for Target Shooting
Better grouping and more affordable ammo makes the 6.5 Creedmoor a no-brainer for those who camp out a lot at the firing range.
When we take into account the rising cost of ammo in the last few years and the scrutiny that many firearm and ammo companies have faced, 6.5 ammo maintains a reasonable price point and remains readily available.
And when it comes to high-end ballistics, you can’t beat these suckers. The BC numbers on these bad boys are awe-inspiring (approximately .610 G1 at 140 grain). If you’re looking to impress, you really can’t go wrong with the 6.5’s remarkable 1,400 fps at 1,000 yards(!).
Best 6.5 CM Ammo
If you want the very best from this cartridge, you’ll have to get into reloading. You can start with our Beginner’s Guide To Reloading. But if you’re not into that, then you’ll need something you can pick up at the store.
If you’re on the range to have fun, you don’t want to spend a fortune. But this also isn’t the kind of caliber that you buy cheap, crappy ammo for – you’ll want something that shoots consistent and for a fair price.
Sellier & Bellot is what you’re looking for, from 9mm to 6.5CM they make a good product for a good price.
Of course, once you’re ready to really stretch your legs and see what this bad boy can do – it’s time to get out the good stuff!
Match grade ammo isn’t cheap, but it is amazing. Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor Extremely Low Drag match bullet is outstanding for factory ammo. Your mileage may vary, but I’ve been getting half-MOA with this ammo.
Hornady Match 6.5 Creedmoor 147gn ELD Match – 20 Rounds
A cool cartridge is only as good as the weapon that throws it, just like a weapon that throws it is only as good as what it throws.
For a budget hunting rifle, it’s hard to beat the Savage Arms 12 FV – not only is this a solid rifle out of the box, but it is at a price that is hard to beat. I commonly see this is the $370-$410 range.
I already said it, but when it comes to long-range target shooting the Ruger Precision Rifle is just too good to beat. For the price, the options, the aftermarket, and the out-of-the-box quality – you want this rifle.
A dedicated rifle for every role is the dream for many of us, but if you don’t have the room in your safe (or your budget) for that then you might want to consider a middle of the road do-it-all rifle.
The Tikka T3x is that rifle. Rugged, lightweight, smooth as butter action and outstanding trigger – a Tikka T3x is my go-to hunting rifle.
On the precision side, Tikka offers a 1 MOA from the factory guarantee and lives up to it!
Another important thing to keep in mind when purchasing any cartridge is maintenance. If you’re going to be participating in extended shooting sessions, you should always bring along the proper gear for cleaning your rifle and cartridge. Maintenance will help you to sustain that pinpoint precision you’re hoping for.
Long distance shooting is a bit like meteorology. You can go by feel, or you can make predictions to help you plan ahead.
No plan survives the first contact, but it gives you a fighting chance at least!
If you want to “call your shot” before you make them, a ballistics calculator is in order. Ballistic calculators are an all or nothing sort of thing, you need to know exactly what you’re doing, or it’ll send your rounds way off.
If you’re willing to learn how to use them they can be the key that opens doors that were previously closed!
Purpose of a Ballistic Calculator
The purpose a ballistic calculator is important and is sometimes essential. Basically speaking, a ballistics calculator makes several calculations of given a data set.
That set includes the humidity, elevation, specifications of the round, and the expected velocity of the bullet given the rifle it’s fired out of.
The calculations are so specific every shot you ever fire will be completely different.
You won’t have to waste ammunition trying to find out if your calculations are accurate because as soon as you calculate the shot, the variables have most likely changed, mother nature is a fickle woman.
The purpose of a ballistics calculator is to just get you close enough you can manually dial in your shot. Many people think a high-tech calculator will make the shots for you, and it won’t.
A calculator will save you money and time by getting you close but it won’t have you hitting the bullseye at 1,000 yards on the first shot.
Don’t Forget to….
Take Good Notes
Every single shot you make will be influenced by the internal and external ballistics of the round, this is one of many reasons why quality control of your ammunition is so important – consistency is everything!
But it’s not just the ammo that you’re trying to account for – you also have things that while you can measure and attempt to account for, you won’t be able to get it perfect every time.
Temperature, wind, humidity, atmospheric pressure, elevation difference between you and the target, the list goes on and gets exponentially more complex the longer the shot is.
If you enter in all of this information into a ballistics calculator can give you a good idea of how the shot will ring out, but it is just an educated guess.
You should be taking good notes on pen and paper to log each shot and shooting session to get a collection of good data to help you set up your calculator.
This is especially important for users who opt for low features applications on a smartphone. Many application won’t keep data over a long period of time, the best will, but you should always have a backup and keep the data somewhere safe, otherwise, you’ll waste a lot of ammunition and money when it comes time to shoot!
Phone Vs. Handheld Calculator
With the widespread use of smartphones coming into the scene just as more and more people are hitting targets at range, naturally, people looked to the ever-loved smartphone for help nailing targets.
While an application on your phone can provide basic data to help dial in dope for the shot you’re facing, almost every application on the market is not going to give as in-depth information as a dedicated ballistics computer.
They’ll be much easier to use but are slower to use and can eat up your phone battery quickly but can be excellent for shooting at targets within 1200-ish yards.
The benefits of a ballistics calculator are important for a competitive shooter, you don’t have to use your phone and it’s often faster with deeper features than any app on the market.
They have a very steep learning curve and they go very in depth with high degrees of precision if you know how to use it.
The other major downside to a dedicated handheld calculator is the price…they aren’t cheap!
Kestrel Sportsman Weather Meter with Applied Ballistics
Bottom line: If you have the extra cash and want the hobby of learning to use a ballistics calculator, go for it!
If you’re a recreational shooter who wants a down and dirty solution to save ammunition when you hit the range, get a phone based solution and take good notes!
Best Ballistics Calculator Apps
KAC Bullet Flight
Knights armament is an American institution for the firearms industry. They make some of the finest precision, military grade, rifles and weapons that can be had.
In fact, they were one of the first companies to perfect the AR-10 with their KAC M110 – a rifle that is still in service with the military today.
They made this ballistic calculator app to help you dial in dope and get first round hits. It’s got a stripped-down version but is available in a detailed version, the Bullet Flight M, that is simply an excellent tool.
They factor in a ton of different data points and make it very easy to use the information when the time comes.
This application has the distinction of being one of the most counter-intuitive I’ve used.
The hardest thing to nail down about this application is working through the menus. however, once you get used to it, you can use it quickly – but it isn’t as fast as the other apps and definitely has a learning curve.
The trick to using this calculator is knowing what you need to get out of it and make sure you know what you’re doing when using that data. Trying to use the more advanced ballistic calculators like this one is a recipe for wasting ammo if you’re not used to working with the data.
Nosler pretty much owns the long-distance hunting industry. They were the first company to produce purpose-driven bullets and continue to innovate designs that eventually get copied later on by other companies.
This is their basic ballistic calculator application that does a good idea of getting you on target and helping you sight in your rifle.
It’s available for all smartphones and was intended to work well for their reloading manual as a way to predict trajectory when reloading, it works well for any bullets though.
The nice thing about this calculator is that it gets you on target with the least amount of fuss and confusion. It does an excellent job of just using the data you’re likely to have, and producing data you’re likely to use. It’s excellent for your first time figuring out a rifle, scope, and bullet combination.
This calculator is best for people who want a basic set of features and have access to accurate data about the load they’re shooting.
You can account for any factors other than velocity and ballistic coefficient, but for the majority of shooters and hunter shooting below 700 yards, this is plenty accurate and do a great deal of the work of zeroing for you.
The Applied Ballistics mobile app is certainly my favorite ballistics calculator application for Android and iOS available.
Yes, it’s expensive, costing $30 but in my experience, no other ballistics calculator comes close to the functionality you get with this application.
By far the greatest feature of this calculator is the HUD display, meaning head-up display.
This is just a snapshot of all the information that the calculator displays in an Easy-to-Read format that cuts out everything you don’t need to read when it comes time to make the shot.
This makes it much faster to call Corrections with a spotter because you’re not bogged down with plucking out information from a table. It’s all multicolored and displayed for you in an easy-to-read format.
This feature alone makes it the best in the field, but this calculator is also by far the best designed to be used with a touchscreen. Most of the other calculator suffer from having too many buttons or forcing you to use a scrolling menu to input data into the calculator.
This calculator is much faster simply because it was designed around using a touch screen and not designed around traditional calculators where you press buttons.
It does however suffer and that you can’t use it well with gloves on, even with “touch compatible” gloves. If you need to shoot with gloves on getting convertible gloves that you can still use your trigger finger to work the calculator.
This is one of the original ballistic calculators that was put onto the market for turning your smartphone or iPod touch into a ballistic computer. You can count on this as being one of the most refined, and detailed applications for ballistic calculators out there.
iSnipe generates data for bullet trajectories, based on data calculated for pitch, yaw, the wind, Coriolis effect, spin drift and atmospheric condition.
This is a very advanced calculator and the one I’d recommend for serious shooters and competitors that need a complete data set they can get their hands on.
It has a learning curve and you need to have a requisite level of understanding behind the math before you can quickly use this calculator but you can certainly learn it in an afternoon or two of shooting and read the instructions.
If you’re a nerd, you’ll love this calculator. If all you want is put holes in targets, get one of the simpler options that aren’t as in depth.
Make sure if you plan on using your phone as your calculator you factor in battery life. Especially if you plan on using a cell phone in your car as a GPS, music, or emergency contact device, make sure using your calculator at the range won’t result in you getting lost. Have a charger or extra battery back up at the ready so you don’t get left up a creek.
Consider Going Larger
My favorite way to display ballistics readout is to put the apps onto a tablet and prop it up so I can see and make notes while in the prone position. This is by far the easiest and most comfortable way to log and calculate data on your shots.
Having full color can help you more easily read the screen. Especially is the resolution is low. On almost every application for iPhone and Android, you have full-color options, but most ballistic computers aren’t color.
Waterproof & Ruggedness
Make sure you know your equipment’s limitations. If it’s your phone, get a good case. If you bought a purpose made calculator, it’s probably decently rugged, but you’ll want to baby it a little bit and carry it in a case. As always, ziplock bags are your friends!
Where You Place your Calculator
A pro tip from someone who’s been there, if you have a muzzle brake on your rifle, don’t put your notebook and phone, and calculator up near the barrel of the rifle. You’re putting it in the blast zone!
When you head to the range with hard data about your file set up, good ammunition in your gun, and shiny new targets to lob rounds at, it’s a good day! Having a good dope is a perfect start and a ballistics calculator gives you a head start and ultimately saves time and money- as long as you know how to use them!
There’s a lot of good options on the market but here are the best on the market you can’t go wrong with if you trust them with your next competition.
Do you use a ballistic app? Record your dope on paper or on a tablet? Let us know in the comments!
[su_heading size=”30″]On any continent, the Barnes LRX offers hunters eye-opening accuracy potential and deep penetration at long distance.[/su_heading]
STORY AND PHOTOS BY PHIL MASSARO
[su_dropcap style=”flat”]“H[/su_dropcap]ow far?”
The two simple words said much more than they implied. First, both Poen van Zyl and I clearly understood we each knew which of the reedbuck rams were to be killed, and second, it was down to a matter of the mathematics involved in taking him cleanly. Based on my professional hunter’s momentary silence, I responded with a brief question of my own.
“Just hold on the point of the shoulder, and squeeze the trigger.” Poen van Zyl may have thought in Afrikaans, but knew how to guide a visiting sportsman in English. The Schmidt & Bender’s crosshairs quickly settled on the ram’s shoulder, and I broke the trigger of the Heym SR30 like you’d snap an icicle in two. Even through the recoil, I could see the lean reedbuck fold and collapse to its death; the .300 Winchester Magnum had once again done its job, as it had on so many other African species. Though the riﬂe and optic were new to me, the cartridge and bullet were not; I have come to love the .300 Winchester Magnum, and the Barnes LRX is among the best projectiles the company has ever produced.
The Barnes LRX bullet is available in 6.5mm, .270, 7mm, .30 and .338 calibers. (BARNES)
Barnes Bullets – the success story of Randy and Coni Brooks – has its roots in the brainchild of Fred Barnes, who saw the need for quality softpoints in a number of different calibers. Fred had a limited success, but his name surely carried on, deﬁning a trend in modern bullet construction that is equal parts revolutionary and genius.
I am on the young end of the gunwriter age spectrum, but at 45 years old I am also wise enough to know whom to contact for the story. Randy Brooks and I have had more than one conversation, albeit via telephone, regarding the roots of his company and the development of the Barnes X bullet. As the famous story goes – and as it was related to me directly – the good Mr. Brooks was glassing for Alaskan bears when the impetus for a genre of projectiles popped into his head. “If the lead core is an issue with bullet separation, why not take the lead out?” And thus the Barnes X monometal softpoint was born. And while that bullet gave me equal parts exhilaration and ﬁts of mania, I loved the design. Being an all-copper bullet, the Barnes X was designed to expand into four petals, giving a devastating balance of expansion and penetration. The original design had some issues with accuracy and copper fouling, but that was all rectiﬁed with the release of the Barnes TSX – or Triple Shock X – bullet, which has three large grooves on the bearing surface to reduce fouling and improve accuracy.
The Barnes LRX, original and after expansion.
The TSX, and its tipped counterpart, the TTSX, both serve most hunting scenarios perfectly, the LRX – or Long Range X bullet – has a sleeker profile and higher ballistic coefficient, to retain as much energy as possible downrange, and keep the trajectories flat. The LRX retains the royal blue polymer tip of the TTSX, but the ogive is engineered for the best downrange performance, and will indeed show the benefits over the flat base spitzers out past 250 or 275 yards.
The LRX, like all Barnes bullets, are praised and noted for their weight retention, as the monometal construction prevents any jacket separation – because there is no jacket – but it’s the accuracy potential of the LRX that truly opened my eyes. I’ve loaded this bullet in several different cartridges – with the best results coming from the .30-caliber magnums – and all of the accuracy has been more than acceptable. But it seems that the 175-grain .30-caliber LRX has garnered a special place in my heart.
The 175-grain Barnes LRX worked very well in the .300 Winchester Magnum and .30 Nosler.
While testing the new .30 Nosler, I utilized a number of bullets – bullets that have, in the past, produced fantastic results – but the best performer by far was the 175-grain LRX. Delivering ½ minute-of-angle accuracy and velocities on par with the .300 Weatherby, I know this combination could easily handle everything in North America, and 90 percent of the African species. In the Heym SR30 HPPR – the straight pull, High Performance Precision Riﬂe – it easily prints ½ to ¾ MOA ﬁve-shot groups using handloaded Barnes 175-grain LRX bullets.
The Heym SR30 HPPR and a reedbuck taken with the Barnes LRX. (Inset, below) With a steep boat tail, polymer tip and sleek ogive, the Barnes LRX makes a great long-range hunting bullet.
For the record, that reedbuck didn’t stand a chance; the shot went exactly where I intended it to, and the buck fell as if the very hand of God struck him. Two more of his kin did the same, at ranges from 125 to 250 yards, and I couldn’t recover any of the bullets; the LRX gave excellent penetration. The Barnes LRX and that Heym SR30 kept the Mozambican village of Peau well fed. If you appreciate the performance of the Barnes bullets – more than 90 percent weight retention and deep, deep penetration – combined with the best accuracy of the lot, try some LRXs and I’ll bet you’ll be happy. They’re available in 6.5mm, .270, 7mm, .30 and .338 calibers. ASJ
The first Mozambican reedbuck taken by the author with the .30-caliber Barnes LRX.
Texas Armament & Technology (TxAT) and Aguila Ammunition are pleased to announce the Lucky Shooter Sweepstakes. They have teamed up with FN Firearms, Aimpoint Inc., SureFire, SOG Knives, Otis Technology, Alien Gear Holsters, and Bigfoot Gun Belts to give one lucky shooter a free gun, a case of ammo and loads of gear from some of the best companies in the industry.
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About Aguila Ammunition
Aguila Ammunition, founded in 1961, is manufactured in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico by Industrias Tecnos, S.A. de C.V. As one of the largest rimfire manufacturers in the world, Aguila utilizes cutting-edge technology to manufacture quality rimfire, centerfire and shotshell ammunition. Aguila offers a complete range of products for the self-defense, sport shooting, hunting, law enforcement and military markets. Texas Armament & Technology is the exclusive North American distributor for Aguila Ammunition.
About Texas Armament & Technology
Texas Armament & Technology (TxAT) is the exclusive distributor of Aguila Ammunition in the U.S. and Canadian markets. TxAT specializes in distributing high-quality brands around the globe including distribution into the Mexican market. From marketing strategy, planning and implementation to operational optimization and logistics, TxAT has the experience to bring products to market both domestically and abroad, delivering solutions that deliver results.
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[su_heading size=”30″]Like the hot desert wind of the same name, Scirocco II bullets are powerful and unrelenting.[/su_heading]
STORY AND PHOTOS BY PHIL MASSARO
The .338 210-grain Scirocco II.
[su_dropcap style=”flat”]I[/su_dropcap] had been frustrated with the terminal performance of my .300 Winchester Magnum, as the cup-and-core bullets – which ﬂew very well when punching paper – were giving too much expansion when used in the New York deer woods. I needed a stiffer bullet, yet wanted to take full advantage of the ﬂat trajectories and wind deﬂection characteristics of the spitzer boat-tail bullets. I did a bit of research, and found an advertisement for the Swift Scirocco II. The ad copy touted a newly engineered jacket, which would improve the accuracy of the bullet. I ordered a box of 100 .308-caliber 180-grain Scirocco IIs, and headed to the bench. I had developed a load for this particular riﬂe that gave just under minute-of-angle accuracy, so decided to start there (it was well below maximum), and see what the new bullets would do.
I ﬁrmly believed the ﬁrst three-shot group was a ﬂuke – my wiggles must’ve accounted for my waggles – as it printed just under a half inch, but when the second and third did the same thing, I was a convert. They gave good velocities out of my 24-inch barrel – 2,965 feet per second, to be precise – but would they perform as advertised in the ﬁeld?
The .338 Winchester Magnum is well served by the 210-grain Scirocco, giving the cartridge a flat trajectory and good terminal ballistics.
You see, the Scirocco is a bonded-core boat-tail bullet, with a very thick jacket and a black polymer tip. It is designed to not only ﬂy accurately – which it proved to be true – but to give the consummate blend of expansion and penetration. Many cup-and-core boat tails have a tendency to have the copper jacket separate from the lead core upon impact at higher velocities, and that didn’t make me happy. The Scirocco’s thick jacket is chemically bonded to the lead core to hold things together should you strike bone, yet the jacket tapers down toward the nose, allowing for good expansion. That expansion creates a larger wound channel, which destroys more vital tissue and causes death sooner. MY FIRST FIELD TEST was in Wyoming, where I would be hunting pronghorn antelope. Anyone who has hunted the Great Plains of the American West knows that the wind is always blowing, and sometimes it blows good and hard. I found the antelope I wanted after a couple of hours glassing the prairie, and it required a stalk of just over a mile. I lay prone over a small mound, with cactus everywhere it shouldn’t have been, and settled the crosshairs of my Winchester 70 on the buck’s shoulder 215 yards away. Even through the recoil, I could see that the antelope’s feet drew up to his body as he fell earthward, stone dead, and in that moment, this bullet captured my undivided attention.
The Scirocco II offers good expansion at a wide variety of velocities, and works well in mild cartridges like the .308 Winchester right up to the magnums.
I used it the next spring on a black bear hunt in Quebec. While I knew the shots were going to be inside of 75 yards, as it was a baited hunt, I wanted to see how the bullet would handle the tough shoulder bones of a bear. Canada’s ever-changing weather kept the action slow for the ﬁrst few days, but a warm-up later in the week drew the bears out like moths to a ﬂame. A 200-plus-pound boar decided to pay a visit to my bait, and I decided to ruin his day. I had loaded the 180-grain Scirocco in my .308 Winchester, to a muzzle velocity of 2,450 fps, and the bullet took him without issue, despite punching through both shoulders. I couldn’t recover either bullet, which was no problem with me, but I was highly impressed with the performance.
Since then, I’ve loaded this bullet in many different cartridges, from the 6.5×55 Swede and 6.5-284 Norma, to the 7mm Remington Ultra Magnum, to many of the .30s including the .308 Winchester and .30-06 Springﬁeld, the .300 Holland and Holland Magnum, and the huge cases like the .300 Remington Ultra Magnum and .30-378 Weatherby Magnum. I’ve even loaded the 210-grain Scirocco in the .338 Winchester Magnum with great results.
The 180-grain .30-caliber polymer-tipped Swift Scirocco IIs make a fantastic all-around big game load.
THE OUTCOME IS USUALLY THE SAME:almost all of the riﬂes (with the exception of one particularly evil .264 Winchester Magnum) gave subMOA accuracy and excellent ﬁeld performance. The few bullets we’ve been able to recover from game animals have retained between 80 and 95 percent of their weight, with expansion running right around 2 times to 2.5 times caliber dimension. My wife loves the 150-grain Scirocco II in her .308 Winchester, as it offers less recoil yet great terminal ballistics; her Savage Lady Hunter prints ½-inch groups with this load.
This Wyoming pronghorn fell to the author (right) and his .300 Winchester Magnum and a 180-grain Swift Scirocco II.
The Scirocco is available in calibers from .224 up to and including .338, and I wouldn’t hesitate to go hunting with this bullet in any situation shy of the truly large and dangerous game that requires a larger bore and heavier bullet. With the Scirocco, between my own hunts and those of friends and colleagues, we have taken animals ranging in size from deer and antelope to caribou to African plains game to elk and moose. Swift only makes two softpoints – the Scirocco and the A-Frame – and that’s one of the best combinations on the market. ASJ
The .308 Winchester 180-grain Scirocco load that cleanly took this Quebec black bear.