Getting Your Inputs Squared Away Part: 3
Text Fields. Text Fields. Text Fields.
All the stuff that’s greyed out in column B on Pocket PC inputs is greyed out to denote that the field to the left is meant for text. It’s meant to give you a way to help you discern one set of data from another. We’ll move from top to bottom.
Bullet ID: This is the name of the projectile you’re using coded for easy reading by you. I often use Hornady 154 grain SST 7mm projectiles in my 7mm Remington Magnum loads. It’s one of my favorite bullets. So I code it as H7SST154 and enter that in the box in column A. It’s nothing to do with the cartridge, just with the projectile. If you’re using retail ammunition then you’ll need to identify which bullet it’s using so that you can get the projectile specific ballistics data. It is critical that you select the correct bullet. Some makers make multiple projectiles with only subtle differences between them that dramatically affect the ballistic coefficient. Occasionally this requires a little research. If in doubt, call the ammunition manufacturer. If you ask for support the first thing I’m going to do is try and make sure you have the correct bullet data and it will help dramatically if you already have your projectile information correct. If you need help figuring it out, reach out to me and I’ll see what I can do.
Rifle Model: M70, M700, M10, M110, M70-5R, M91/30, etc… This is the model of rifle. If you’re like me you may have multiple rifles in the same chambering. Let me be clear here. YOU DO NOT USE THE SAME SET OF DATA FOR BOTH RIFLES. They each will have their own personality and they should have their own data. I have at least 3 7mm Remington Magnum rifles and none of them shoots the same as the others at extreme range so I treat them differently and develop data for each. I put M70 or M110 or whathaveyou in the Rifle Model box so when I pull out a set of data for a 7mag I’ll know I’m pulling the data for that rifle.
Barrel Length: This isn’t going to be super helpful to many folks. You might notice as you develop your data that long-ish barrels tend to pump velocities a little bit and shorter ones tend to pull it out. It’s here for you to use. I put the data in just because it’s there. I also have multiple firearms in the same calibre, sometimes in the same model rifle so anything I can use to distinguish between the two can be helpful.
Muzzle Device: Are you using a brake? 1-port, 2-port, etc…? Are you using a suppressor? Are you running a plain Jane muzzle? Is your crown special on this rifle? This is a way of identifying further the weapon system being used. It’s also a way of characterizing some performance aspects of the rifle. If you’re unfamiliar with muzzle brake pull-off you should check out TiborasaurusRex’s Sniper-101 Part 55 Muzzle Brake Pull-Off Effect video. If you have a brake or suppressor then you can also look differently at the data given by the recoil calculator depending on how effective your brake is.
Operator: Give yourself some credits. Do you have a nickname? This is where to put it. One of the few things we can do in long range shooting that involves a sense of humor is setting up our handle/nickname. You don’t always want to use your real name. Sometimes it’s about being in character but usually it’s to do with OpSec. I’m “MeccaStreisand” in most of my online activities but I have other nicknames that are relevant in other realms. My spotter is colloquially called “The Disco Tripper” and his sheets have TDT in the operator box. Mine usually have MS.
NOTE: The next several are meant for handloaders that may have multiple recipes in use. These fields are still totally optional.
Chambering: Well this part is kind of obvious. I shoot at least 4 chamberings at long range from .223 to 7mm RM. It’s interesting that they share similar trajectories up to a point but after that they diverge drastically from each other. This is also helpful if you shoot more than one rifle with the same projectile but in different chamberings. 7mm RM and 7mm-08 is a combination that springs unbidden to mind. Both could easily use the same bullet and they’re ballistically pretty far from each other so it’s a good idea to differentiate the data for one from the data for another. I would avoid long words like Remington being spelled out. For 7mm Remington Magnum I input “7RM”. For commercial spec .223 Remington I put “.223Rem” in the box. For military spec AR-15 .223 cal I put “5.56x45mm” which denotes it as being high-pressure military spec.
Gunpowder: To be clear, this is for handloaders only. You don’t need to pull apart retail FGMM ammo to try and identify the powder it’s got in it (it’s been done already anyway). This is just which powder you’re using. Not how much. When I use IMR 4350 I put in “IMR4350”. When I use Varget, I input “Varget”.
Gunpowder Charge: Your chosen ammo is a single spec which provides specific performance and accuracy and precision criteria. If you change your loads you need to re-characterize it and find out how it performs again. It’s like starting from scratch. Track your powder charge if you handload and make sure you stick to it. If I use 68.2 grains in the load then I input “68.2”. Notice there’s no letters in there. You can but the display fields are super narrow for this so keep it short.
Primer: I like CCI #41 and Federal 215 and Federal 210 primers which I code as “CCI41” or “F215” or “F210”. You want to keep this short. The text field isn’t big for this on the tabs.
Case: This is flexible. You can do this however you deal with it. If I’m using mixed brass then I’ll input “mixed” in there. If I’m using all carefully trimmed brass then I’ll put in the manufacturer head stamp and the length. So for my .45Cinderblock I put in “SL460R-888” which means: Starline, .460 Rowland, .888 TTL. You can code it how you like it but again, keep it short.
COAL: Cartridge Over-All Length. This is defining your seating depth and rifling engagement and is one of the most important bits to be consistent about. This should be a decimal value number. “1.720” or “2.755” or “3.850” or whatever. Don’t guess. Get a set of calipers and measure. You can use millimeters too. 44, 70, or 98 works just as well.
Now you’ve got all your text fields filled out and your printed data sheets will look pretty and complete.