September 29, 2014
For better or worse, the digital age has touched almost every aspect of our lives. Whether it's in the form of electronic hearing protection, laser rangefinders or the TrackingPoint Precision Guided Firearm (PGF), technology has undoubtedly left its mark on the firearm world.
A major area where technology is advancing our abilities to hit targets comes in the form of software development for smartphones and tablets. There are now a growing number of ballistics apps created specifically for shooters and hunters, and you don't have to be a computer whiz to use them effectively.
Ballistics apps are designed to help shooters make calculations to hit distant targets or take down game in the field. Determining bullet drop, wind drift, impact energy and flight time in a palm-sized package, ballistics apps are making the arithmetic easier than ever. The real benefit of using a ballistic app is the convenient ability to calculate data that's tailored to your specific firearm, cartridge and environmental conditions.
If you're not using ballistics apps, its time to consider pairing your hardware with the right software with our list of the best ballistics apps available now:
is an easy-to-use ballistic trajectory calculator that allows you to plug in factors such as rifle make and model, cartridge, weather conditions, wind direction and speed, slope angle and scope and reticle information. With 370 different reticles supported, and more being added all the time, chances are good that your reticle will be among those listed. The app illustrates the holdovers on your reticle and can also scale those holdovers to any magnification. iStrelok is one of the more affordable ballistic apps currently available for Apple
Knights Armament Bullet Flight
There are three different versions of the Knight's Armament Bullet Flight
app: BulletFlt L1, BulletFlt L2 and BulletFlight (level M). BulletFlt L1 is the most basic of the three and provides detailed ballistic solutions out to 3,000 meters. It outputs information dynamically instead of in a table format, and the app illustrates how many clicks you need to adjust given the provided range and wind speed. BulletFlt L2 adds a full calculation screen where the user can enter exact range and atmospheric details and gives the user the ability to generate a range-card and cosine-angle calculations as well as utilize GPS functionality to download local weather info. The BulletFlt L2 app also provides impact energy, velocity and flight time. BulletFlight (level M) is the military version of the app, and it allows the user to calculate an actual ballistic coefficient based on bullet drop, two velocities or flight time. Bullet spin drift is included in computations, and even the Coriolis effect can be factored into the equation. The Bullet Flight apps are available on Apple and Android platforms.
$3.99 for BulletFlt L1; $11.99 for BulletFlt L2; $29.99 for BulletFlight (level M)
The official ballistics solver created by Applied Ballistics
ballistician and champion shooter Bryan Litz, the Applied Ballistics app is a state of the art ballistics calculator for long-range rifle trajectories. The app allows the shooter to select from a large library of bullets. The user inputs the bullet and gun properties as well as atmospheric information, sight scale factors and zero shift offsets, and the Applied Ballistics calculator will provide the results. This app is compatible with both Android
Ballistic: Advanced Edition
The Ballistic: Advanced Edition
app operates using the JBM ballistics
engine and has a library of almost 5,000 different commercial and military projectiles and factory loads from leading manufacturers. The app can calculate for atmospheric conditions, Coriolis effect and gyroscopic spin and provides ballistic charts in which the user can compare the drop, energy and velocities of up to eight projectiles. The Advanced Edition incorporates Bryan Litz' custom G7 ballistic coefficients, 3D trajectory imaging for visualizing bullet path in a 3D layout and an advanced wind kit to adjust for complex wind scenarios. The app provides elevation and windage output units in inches, centimeters, arcminutes, milliradians and click values. Ballistic: Advanced Edition is available only on iOS platforms
(iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch).
Based on the GNU Exterior Ballistics Library, iSnipe
can generate military grade solutions to small arms trajectories. It offers corrections for pitch, yaw, atmospheric conditions, the Coriolis effect and Spin Drift. The iSnipe app visually displays MilDot Hold-over/Hold-under information and MilDot windage. The app has information for more than 150 pistol and rifle calibers, more than 1,400 projectile profiles and more than 2,400 factory ammo profiles. iSnipe
is available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
Nikon SpotOn Ballistic Match Technology
app provides precise points of aim for any Nikon BDC reticle riflescope. It also offers instant reference for sighting on other Nikon
riflescopes with plex, MilDot or standard crosshair reticles. The app includes a section for handloaders and allows the user to compare loads as well as create and email a field reference chart. It also includes a section for inputting atmospheric conditions. The SpotOn app is available on Apple
Available on both Apple
devices, the Nosler Ballistics
app calculates trajectory, windage, velocity, energy and bullet flight time for any valid range. The app is able to adjust for atmospheric conditions such as temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, altitude and density of air or density altitude.
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Shooter (Ballistics Calculator)
app uses the fast and proven ballistics solver created by Bryan Litz, Applied Ballistics' chief ballistician. Shooter (Ballistics Calculator) features a large library of bullets and is able to chart and compare bullet path, drift and velocity for up to six loads at a time. Of special interest is the app's ability to save and store firearm and ammo data that the user has entered, so that the user doesn't have to input the information each trip to the range or the field. Firearm and ammo data can also be entered and managed from an online portal and then synced to the user's device, which can be easier than inputting the information from a mobile device. The app can handle Coriolis and Spin Drift calculations, automatically obtains atmospheric info using the phone's built-in GPS and compass and offers zero-atmosphere support, which accounts for changes to your zero when shooting in a different atmosphere. This app is available for both iOS
Winchester Ballistics Calculator
Developed from the original web version of the Winchester Ballistics Calculator
, the mobile version
incorporates all of the same features found online. The user can choose a type of ammunition and easily compare up to three bullet types. With the Winchester Ballistics Calculator, users can adjust for wind speed and direction, outside air temperature, sight height, sight-in range and max range. The app also shows flight time, drop, wind drift and velocity. One thing to note is that this app only calculates ballistics information for Winchester
ammunition. The Winchester Ballistics Calculator is available for the iPhone
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Winchester Pattern Board
In addition to their Ballistics Calculator, Winchester is now also offering its Pattern Board
app in 2015. Available on a laptop, tablet or smartphone, Pattern Board is the first true pattern app offered for shotgunners. The app allows shooters to see how different turkey loads have patterned at varying distances without actually pattern testing each individual load. Users simply select the gauge, choke constriction, shell length and brand, pellet size and distance of the shot, and Pattern Board will generate a shot pattern based on the inputs. It will also produce comparisons showing how some of Winchester's other turkey loads will perform given those same input factors. Pattern Board illustrates shots at distances from 10 to 70 yards in 10-yard increments with 10-, 12- or 20-gauge shotguns. Results are available for size 4, 5 or 6 shot and up to six different choke tube constrictions, and shotshell brands detailed include Super X
, Longbeard XR
and Double X
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