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If you’re interested in calculating trajectories for your bullets, you can download this free ballistics program from the Berger website.
The program is basic enough to be easy to use, but flexible enough to allow you to calculate custom ballistics for your rifle and load. The program accounts for all the basic external ballistic parameters including bullet BC and muzzle velocity, atmospherics, uphill/downhill shooting, etc. The output tabulates velocity, energy and time of flight as a function of range. Bullet path and wind deflection are displayed in your choice of inches, centimeters, MOA or MILS.
Here are some instructions and tips for using the Berger Ballistics Program
The inputs to the program are separated into the following categories: Bullet, Atmosphere, Sights, and Output Options.
The bullet inputs are straightforward. The BC can be entered in reference to either the G1 or G7 standard. See this article on our web log to learn about the difference between G1 and G7. You can find the G1 or G7 BC for your bullet either printed on the bullet box label, or on our products page. For accurate results, you should measure the muzzle velocity with a good chronograph. If you don’t have access to a chronograph, you can estimate the muzzle velocity based on your load data.
The wind direction input has to be a whole number, from 1 thru 12. This is the clock direction which the wind is blowing from.
The Sights input block has only 3 inputs including sight height (distance of sight line above bore line), zero range, and look angle. Look angle applies if you’re shooting uphill or downhill.
You can choose English or Metric with the radio button below the sights input.
For the output options, you can select the max range, range increment, and output units for bullet drop and wind deflection. You can select to display these in Inches, Centimeters, MOA or MILS.
After you’ve entered all the inputs, clicking on calculate will populate the output window with the ballistic data that’s customized for your application.
Printing the output
In order to print the output, click on the ‘print’ menu in the upper left corner of the program window. Select: Save printable text file.
How Accurate is the Program?
The Berger Bullets ballistics program integrates the equations of projectile motion using a 4th order Runge-Kutta numerical solution. That means the program outputs will be as accurate as the inputs you give it. The ability to calculate ballistics based on the G7 standard is a significant improvement over programs that only use the conventional G1 standard, especially for long range calculations. See this article for an explanation of G7 BC’s.
Tips for best results
As stated above, the accuracy of the ballistic solution is only as accurate as the inputs you give it. The advertised BC’s for Berger bullets are established by actual field firing tests over long range and are very accurate. Using the properly referenced BC (G7 vs G1) for the bullet you’re modeling is important. For any bullet with a boat tail, we recommend using the G7 BC. Flat based bullets have a drag profile that matches the G1 standard better. The products page lists both values for each bullet, with the recommended value highlighted.
Knowing your true muzzle velocity is important when calculating external ballistics. It’s best to measure your muzzle velocity directly with a chronograph.
If you want a truly accurate long range trajectory prediction, you can’t ignore atmospheric effects. This is especially true the farther you get from standard conditions (sea level altitude, 59 degrees Fahrenheit, 0% humidity). If you want a valid trajectory for high above sea level, you need to enter an air pressure that corresponds to your altitude. You can see a table of air pressure by hovering the mouse on the word ‘Pressure’ in the ballistics program.
Last but not least, it’s important to verify the most important link between the calculated ballistics and your point of impact: your scope. If the ballistics program calculates 30.0 MOA of drop for a particular shot, and you dial your scope to 30.0 MOA, are your sure it’s applying exactly 30.0 MOA? In reality, many scopes have enough error in them to cause misses at long range. It’s important to verify the actual value of your scope clicks by firing groups at short range. Shoot a group at your rifle’s zero, adjust the scope a known amount and shoot another group. Measure the distance between the two groups to see if the scope actually moves your point of aim by the desired amount. If it doesn’t, you need to apply a correction factor to your scope in order for the output from the ballistics program to be accurate for your particular scope.
The page where you download this program from has instructions for getting it to work on your computer. If you experience any difficulty getting the program to install and run, or if you have any questions about how to use the program, please email Bryan Litz at: firstname.lastname@example.org