I got 3rd place biatches! W00t! In a field of 30 shooters I came in with a solid 3rd place overall as well as for the prone class with the DodgerDog Hot Dog Gun in .243 Ackley Improved. Running 115gn DTAC projectiles with a super high .620 G1 BC at 3180FPS is almost cheating. The winner used a .308Win and 2nd place used a 6.5 Creedmoore but 3rd, 4th and 5th places in prone gun ran 6mm’s at 3,000fps or better with my Ackley being the fastest by at least 100fps.
Coach, JoeV and I started on stage 2 and after the first shot we were starting to get our wind call for the first part of the day nailed down. Coach goose-egged the first stage because of a turret being spun off zero. JoeV and I both crushed it missing 2 and 1 respectively which was pretty good given we were in the “guess the wind” part of the day instead of the bit that comes later… the “know the wind” bit.
Coach brought his wood stocked Savage 110 in 6XC running 115 DTAC’s at 2900. He’s getting consistently better and his scores are trending upward even though he and his rifle aren’t fully friends just yet. Coach’s rifle is shown below on the left. It’s got a Canjar single set trigger (amazing) and a US Optics 3.8-22×44 scope on a 35mm tube and looks pretty plain jane. It is not. Scoring a 21 at the end of the day is really good particularly as he’s still learning to dial DOPE instead of hold it. This is a different game than he’s got 40 years playing.
JoeV brought his 6.5CM chambered Weatherby Vanguard in a custom bedded tactical style stock wearing an SWFA 10×42 optic with Harris 6-9″ S-type bipod and AAC brake. The gun itself doesn’t stand out as anything other than how to spend money the most wisely if performance per dollar spent is the measure. Joe’s pretty humble about his rifle and I think he wishes it was flashier but it’s a friggen laser beam and he’s a ninja with it. One of these days I’m going to trade him guns for a match and see how we each do. Joe’s won the match before with my .243AI so I don’t doubt he could do it again. Damn! The Marines really train their riflemen don’t they!
So… Stage 3 we did well. Stage 4 we did exceedingly well. Stage 5 we did well. You see how this is going. It was a great day with great weather until the wind picked up in the back half of the day. We had a good time hanging out and shooting and when it was all said and done we’d done very well as a team.
Have some video fun! I guess we didn’t get stage 4. Sigh. We always miss one.
We’re launching something new and exceedingly powerful. A product the likes of which no long range precision rifleman has ever had at their disposal because we’ve never made something this badass before. This is a tool so otherworldly powerful that until now only governments and large multi-national corporations had the wherewithal to fund creating such a thing. Now, we’re about to release it to the masses. The most dangerous piece of work to be created since Wikileaks was launched. Do you like arguing on gun forums about minutae? Do you love researching your next cartridge recipe more than you like your kids? Are you a hard core dork like me and you just love numbers and math? Are you a data geek? Are you an accountant or statistician at heart and you just have to calculate a coefficient of variation because you’ve already calculated the standard deviation and you don’t want that data to go to waste? Man! Do I have something for you.
There’s so much in the new BallisticDLR spreadsheet that it would be impossible to list it all. In fact, I’m probably never going to list it all but we will have videos launching soon going in to excruciating detail on how to use and get the most out of this new and unique in the world tool.
This new version is meant to be used as not only a source of primary ballistics data but as an analytical tool for you to evaluate potential choices and analyze the effects they’ll have on your shooting before you spend the money on those choices. We spent literally years perfecting this latest addition to the BallisticXLR family of products, most of that work donated by a single person working in their own time. What has been created is the single most epic analytical engine for long range shooters ever created. If you like automation and whizbang cool features this is the version for you.
Don’t get it twisted though. This is not a replacement for BallisticXLR or BallisticPRS. It is its own thing:
BallisticXLR is meant for use in the field and is properly meant for people with lightly to moderately varying conditions in which they shoot and where speed isn’t the singular overriding consideration but precision is. This version is specificially engineered to print out nicely on 8.5×11″ US Letter pages or A4 pages or half-sheets with a little bit of manual work.
BallisticPRS is at home where speed is absolutely paramount and for those shooters who’s area of operations could literally be anywhere in any conditions. This version is specifically designed to be able to be used for US Letter or A4 size full sheet pages or 2.75″ x 4.75″ arm-board carrier cards or half-sheets with a very little bit of manual work.
BallisticDLR is an all encompassing analytical engine and ballistics package in one. It’s most powerful features allow direct comparisons between multiple gun/load combinations and deeply enlightening statistical analysis of past performance and future results. While not optimized for single or multi-page printing with perfected pagination it will print on A4 size or US Letter though margins and other settings may need to be adjusted. BallisticDLR is the first and only BallisticXLR product that is meant specifically to be used primarily on a computer rather than to use to print something that doesn’t require any electricity. Owners of BallisticDLR should probably own a copy of BallisticXLR or BallisticPRS as well.
Ready for some pictures? I am. Play that sad sad song you like while you look upon the place where I grow my ballistics, lay thine eyes upon the glory of the numbers and know in your soul that you are in possession of the ultimate power: The power of knowledge.
Long Range Cartridge Direct Comparison
Multi-Session Muzzle Velocity Variation Analytics
Calc Form Pro – Ultimate AutomationDynamic Calc Form – Simplify Your Data Inputs
New Simpler Calc Form Layout
100yrd Secondary Functions
The launch is official as of April 28, 2019. We’re still setting up some last minute details like instructional videos and other media to make this easy on you and us. Pricing will be similar to existing products and support pricing are also similar.
In a continuation of our re-launch from the close call earlier this year, we’re launching our new logo. This new logo will begin adorning the website and all new versions of BallisticXLR, BallisticPRS, BallisticRexLR and our latest product being announced separately. Big thanks to my ever present partner in crime Wouter for crafting this killer logo.
Joe from Australia sent me a question about Trom’s new plugs and I couldn’t help myself but to break out the calculator and start answering. I hope he’s a subscriber with a support agreement and if not, I hope he sees the light and buys himself a support entitlement so I can keep doing this kind of stuff. Suffice it to say that what we find is not what we expected.
Trom likes to bandy their bullets as some super special magical gold ninja sniper secret squirrel stuff but they’re very much not any of those things. Are they interesting? Yes, for sure on academic and martial planes. Evolutionary? Yep, to be sure, there’s some really cool technology being refined that someday may make a revolutionary change happen. Revolutionary? Nope, not at all. Wondrous and to be spoke of with awe? Certainly not. Not even remotely. Pedestrian? Nah, that’s a good bit too harsh.
They’re actually kind of pedestrian in a few ways but, NOT all ways. The BC numbers discussed below are super interesting and are for argument’s sake only because they’re based on backing into BC numbers from drops and velocities. Barring the BC data though (which is in some ways extraordinary), these are exactly what we’ve come to expect of mono-metal bullets. Light for their physical size because there’s no lead core. Figuring out what was going on in the BC numbers… that was easy as pie for someone with a ballistics calculator they really understand and about 20 minutes on their hands. What it revealed was really very surprising but less shocking than it might have been if the effect were more pronounced. What effect? Read on.
The bullets produce (and this is very roughly arrived at because nobody’s paying for this so I’m not being super precise) exactly the kind of low BC’s you’d expect from a lead-free monometal bullet of the 135gn weight class. That trash BC is being made up for partly with a really high launch velocity which is enabled only by driving bands limiting bearing surface. So, BC’s are unsurprisingly low and velocity of launch is VERY high and the resulting trajectory matches very closely with M118LR 175gn SMK loads as a result. I can smell an answer to an unasked question looming on the horizon.
Normally launching mono-metals super fast leads to pressure problems because those lead free bastards are so bloody long and long bullets generally means longer bearing surfaces which means friction which means pressures. These Trom bullets seem to be, if not inspired by, at least very similar to some other projectiles from DSG Technology that have made their way into testing with the US military. Those have a not very clearly evident wasp waist with some very interesting curves to it and some very deliberately and unconventionally shaped driving bands. Subtlety really makes those DSG pills interesting (see image below).
The secret sauce from my view and the truly academically interesting thing about Trom’s .308 135gn bullets is, their G1 BC actually increases a good bit as velocity decays and velocities for a monometal bullet of this mass are extremely high. This is likely due to their driving band shaping & shank and heel geometry leading to a much reduced drag coefficient at lower velocity regimes and also must have something to do with ogive shaping. My hunch is that they’ve leveraged something like a pointed Von Karman nose design with a custom designed live curve to it, a wasp waist, assymetric driving band geometry (think 5R rifling technology applied to a driving band) and optimized driving band layout (spacing, number, location, etc…) to create a turbulent flow area around the rear of the bullet shank from the center of gravity back to a very mildly tapered, if tapered at all, heel that’ll be close to a flat base if not an actual flat base. With the flow already turbulent, there’s a huge decrease in drag. How they’re getting turbulent flow to stick close to the bullet base itself I’m a little curious about. The curves near the base of the bullets in the pic below tell me a lot about how those are being meant to work but it seems like those would increase laminar flow which will increase drag if it’s allowed to contact the base of the bullet in laminar flow.
It is important to note that G1 is a form factor based drag model, which these Trom bullets are not represented well by. It’s also important to note that the head dude over there said in no uncertain terms that doing something like I do below is not only impossible but not useful. I would care to dispute the living shit out of that. Banding isn’t perfect, it says that the model has an error and we’re setting a limit because we’re trying to not approach that limit too closely, so we use bands as the limiter of the error magnitude. That’s why the banding is necessary at all. While I can (and did) derive G1 numbers in bands which seem to generate drop numbers that match the manufacturer’s numbers, I didn’t go to great lengths to be extra precise because I was making the point that he either didn’t know what he was talking about with respect to the existence of and possible methods of use for the Pejsa-Mayewski G1 model that forms the basis of BallisticXLR or that he was being deliberately dishonest. I wouldn’t believe the latter in this case. That said, there’s a lot of something in their product descriptions:
So, are you ready for some fact-heavy truthiness? Using the numbers below will get the shooter to within about 2 clicks of dead on at any range having a velocity of 1100fps or more (900yrds) and I was able to easily track it to match advertised values out to 800fps remaining velocity (1100yrds). After that I got lazy. Trom reports fantastic performance in the transonic zone which I’ve gotten only second-hand information about and I have not seen any direct evidence beyond some marketing oriented brochure style dreck. Here’s what I get for G1 numbers based on advertised drop and velocity data.
G1 BC’s Trom 135gn .308 @ 2885fps MV:
So that’s all the good stuff and the way I’m betting it works. I don’t have any to analyze and I betcha Trom will tell me to get fucked because my goal would be to shatter any marketing hype and present facts dispassionately.
The 135gn Trom .308Win loading is handily matched by the good old fashioned M118LR using 175gn SMK’s at 2600fps.
M118LR delivers more energy at all ranges and an almost identical trajectory while providing greater sectional density (meaning better penetrative capacity).
The Trom bullets suffer from a massive initial velocity decay rate due to the lack of mass affecting the real BC negatively.
The only benefits to the Trom stuff I can see is that on a 200 round combat load-out the carry-er saves just a hair over half a kilogram of load and there’s no lead in the bullets so they’re useful for hunting in the California Condor habitat zone in California (no lead allowed). They’re otherwise looking like a gimmick with some real, but unrealized, potential.
When you look at their advertisement materials you might notice the use of special definitions of “Maximum Effective Range” or MER. A rifle’s maximum effective range is the maximum distance where the weapon may be considered to be both accurate enough to engage the target at hand and powerful enough to be capable of entirely defeating that target. In military circles the accuracy requirement is for 50% of rounds fired to impact a particular standard target at the tested distance. For our purposes right now as civilians we’re using hoards of deer, overbearing government officers, and lawless British tea importers as the hypothetical targets.
One important factor is that many bullets destabilize in the transonic zone which destroys accuracy and shuts off the “effective” part of MER for them early on. I break things into 2 levels… Maximum Effective Range and Maximum Dangerous Range. One is about defeating a target utterly. The other is about trying to not defeat a non-target inadvertently. That means you have to compare apples to apples and not cherry pick an orange that is explicitly meant for 0-300m use. I use a .30Carbine at 300m VERY effectively and up to 500m I can still make a man sized target very concerned for its safety. A .300BLK is no real advantage to me there. They should otherwise be thought of as very much the same class of weapon. Short range, with just a little more poop than a pistol. What you get from the .30carbine that you don’t from a .300blk is the energy dump is in the core of the target body, not inefficiently burned mostly at the surface.
If you could literally navigate a specially designed bullet’s crossing from supersonic to subsonic you’d maintain accuracy by making sure the center of pressure is always moving true into the direction of flight without large departures in the angle of repose and then to have enough power to defeat a flesh & blood target at the end of the flight. Flesh and blood are fragile as hell and don’t respond well to bullets.
So the argument they make that .300BLK is commonly effective only to 400m is based on the bullets being used in those loads being SPECIFICALLY MEANT to be used really from 300m and in. If they use a bullet meant for longer times of flight and transonic stability (ok, like the Trom bullet) so they retain their original cone of fire dispersion without increased dispersion inside or after the transonic zone they’d be effective out to any distance they’re still capable of inflicting a lethal wound at, which would be easily up to 900m or substantially further against a meat target. It doesn’t take much for a bullet to be lethal but this kind of “well it’ll do this one thing marginally but it will do it” thinking is nothing short of me saying that because I’ve made a sequential pair of hits with a .22lr at 1500m, that my .22lr Ithaca X5 rifle is effective to a mile. No. It’s dangerous to a mile, I’m effective to a mile. Important difference.
What Trom has done is take the military rating of .300BLK of 400yrds; I guess because that’s where the supersonic 147gn loads go transonic and flip out, and simply decided that as their ammo is stably transonic traverse capable that it’s “effective” to 900 yards where it would have something very similar to the energy and velocity and bullet weight of a 9mm at the muzzle. Sorry, that’s just not going to cut it. Just because you might nearly reach some goal doesn’t make you effective at attaining it.
For my purposes I set a floor of 500lbs of energy for non-predator (a predator has teeth and claws and is not an omnivore) animals in the 100-300lbs class. I also don’t consider penetration of the transonic region to be characteristic of a modern high velocity rifle that is being used effectively. If the bullet starts at or near transonic like some .22LR, heavy 9mm’s, heavy .40S&W’s, most .45ACP and other low power arms then it’s meant to be used at distances where the bullet is more or less still transonic (.8mach – 1.2mach). If it starts out subsonic then it’s meant to be subsonic when it hits its target. If it starts out supersonic then to my mind you really want it to impact the target at supersonic velocities or at the very minimum just as it starts to tickle the high end of the transonic. When we stopped using black powder rifles as primary combat arms we stopped needing to penetrate the transonic region basically at all. Black powder can only get bullets moving just a bit over supersonic so we’d use HUGE projectiles in them because there was no limit to mass and we’d get them just into early supersonic and shoot them with the intention that they’d be transonic or even subsonic at impact but be able to defeat the target because of enormous momentum from the giant projectiles being used.
So what has Trom done in the marketplace? They’ve not been entirely clear with their potential customer base. They’re being businessmen first rather than members of the shooting community. Trying (obviously too) to hype the hell out of something that’s otherwise not much more than spitting distance from plain-jane to reap the maximum ignorance-sourced cash flow is unethical in my view. They’ve made claims which are simply spun talking points that ordinary folks can’t discern from unbiased truth. They’ve used some customized facts and careful phrasing and massaging of definitions and done their level best to obfuscate an otherwise pretty unexciting truth of the matter and completely ignored the ridiculously exciting part. Instead of trying to market a sow’s ear to Tiffany & Co purse customers, how about just noting what you actually get which is substantial: An increasing ballistic coeffiient. It’s in the shape so ditch the light monometals and get with the lead programme. Give us some flat base bullets that we can run stupid fast and that has an increasing BC.
Here’s a trick: When my .50cal black powder rifle doesn’t reach far enough with enough energy to defeat a tank, I don’t redefine the goal as defeating a jeep and then congratulate myself on having achieved it with a .50cal black powder rifle. I pick a different gun and defeat the tank.