Shooting Referencesby Linden B. (Lindy) Sisk
Last Revision June 15, 2011
Here is a list of technical reference articles related to shooting which I have written. I hope you find some of this information useful. If you find errors in them, please do drop me a note so that I can correct them.
Optically Checking Rifle Scopes.
Because of manufacturing variations, specifications provided by scope makers are sometimes inadequate or simply incorrect. There may be variations in reticles, elevation and windage adjustments, and magnification adjustments which can cause problems for the user unless detected and compensated for.
Adjustments can be checked by shooting at short range. Other specifications cannot be checked easily or at all by shooting, and this article describes how to check them.
Ballistic Software and Barometric Pressure.
Ballistic programs calculate air density using the temperature, humidity, and atmospheric pressure. This article discusses the various ways the pressure input may be measured, and how it can be specified for some common ballistic programs.
Calculating Holdovers and Holdunders.
Shooters who must rapidly engage multiple targets at different distances may not have time to dial a scope adjustment for each distance. This article explains how to do the calculations for a specific rifle which will enable the shooter to use a graduated reticle to engage multiple targets without adjusting the scope.
Ranging Formulas for Various Reticles.
Among the common scope reticles in use are those graduated in milliradians, minutes of angle, and inches per hundred yards. The formulas for calculating the distance to the target in yards or meters when target sizes are specified in yards, meters, inches, or centimeters are listed for these reticle types.
Making Ballistic Cards Using Density Altitude.
Shooters who need to make accurate long-distance shots may carry electronic devices with ballistics programs to the field to make calculations which take local atmospheric conditions into account. Not everyone wishes to carry relatively fragile electronics for that purpose, and those who do may desire a backup method of calculating elevation settings. Density altitude is simply a method of calculating air density.
This article outlines a method for calculating a printed Density Altitude Ballistics Table for such shots which can be used with relatively simple weather instrumentation in the field.
Manual Calculation of Density Altitude.
This article explains how to calculate density altitude in the absence of weather instruments like the Kestrel which both measure the environmental parameters and perform the calculation.
Sources of Inaccuracies in Ballistic Programs.
Shooters sometimes find that ballistic program calculations do not agree with the shooting data they record in the field. This article explains the sources of some of these inaccuracies and how they may be reduced.
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