AccuracyBallisticsFundamentals of MarksmanshipLong Range ShootingMarksmanship training

Truing your Ballistic Calculator with Weaponized Math

One of the downsides to using a ballistic calculator is the before vs. after effect. We read every day on Sniper’s Hide about shooters who have issues aligning their software to their real-world data. This is understandable because most are working the problem backward. Worse in this situation are shooters who feel they need the computer to get started. They have no reference points to use so they believe the computer is the only answer.

The easiest way to set up a ballistic calculator is after the rifle has been doped out to distance. Most new shooters are intimidated by this method. They want the computer to tell them where to start and what to use to hit the target, so doing the work prior makes little sense. In many cases, the software is purchased and installed on their smartphone before the rifle has been purchased. 

 Rifle set up is an essential part of the process. Many shooters look at a rifle set up in the context of the scope. They use extraordinary methods to plumb the rifle’s scope when they need to align the reticle to the fall of gravity. All the bullet cares about is gravity when it comes to our scopes. 

Rifle Set Up, 

Talking rifle set up with the students, more adjustment means more comfort

 Start with the rifle in position, no scope mounted. Check the stock; make sure you can correctly address the rifle by setting up the length of pull using a slightly different methodology.  

Set up the rifle stock before the scope is mounted

 For prone or F Class style shooters, the length of pull is determined by placing the butt of the stock in the crook of the arm. People use a knife-hand motion to measure from the tip of the middle finger to the crook of the elbow. While this method is perfectly acceptable for a dedicated prone setup, I have an issue with what I consider across the course shooters using it. Shorter is preferable for a setup that will be used dynamically. 

A bit shorter length of pull is preferred for dynamic shooters

Different positions have a slightly different length of pull. The easiest way to describe it, moving from a prone position to a sitting, kneeling, or standing; each one moves your head on the stock. Dedicated rifles for positional competition shooting have adjustments designed to be moved for each new position. Field shooters don’t always have this luxury, so we try to balance in the middle. The best way to accomplish this is to adjust how we measure our length of pull. 

 Instead of using a knife hand to the middle finger, take that same method, and create a 90-degree trigger finger. Now measure your length of pull to the trigger shoe using a 90-degree finger and not to the extended middle finger. For me, it creates a 2″ difference between the methods. I can now balance the various changes in head placement. Reduce the magnification on the scope, and I am good to go. This shorter stock set up gives me greater flexibility. 

Use the 90 degree trigger finger to measure the LOP vs just the tip of the middle finger.

 With the length of pull set up, you want to get into position behind the rifle and feel the stock. How does it feel in position? Find that sweet spot and set it up minus the scope. Tweak it; you won’t break anything. Because I shoot Accuracy International Rifles, I also raise the butt plate about 1″ from the neutral position. Raising the plate prevents the buttstock from trying to duck under my shoulder pocket during recoil. 

Set the stock up without the scope in position, use the adjustments to fit the shooter

 Now that this position is locked in add the scope to the equation. You want to bring the scope to you, so there is no movement with your head to “hunt” for the perfect sight picture. We are looking at two planes here, the up and down to align the eye directly behind the ocular and the left and right of the stock placement. Many of us tend to ride the rifle a bit more inboard, and it’s definitely on the collar bone. We ride it high inside, and you will feel it at first. Addressing the scope should be immediate; if you have to chase edge to edge clarity, look at the scope’s placement.  

With the rifle adjusted to me, the scope torqued in place, so you don’t have to hunt for the sight picture you are ready to hit the range. 

To put a fine point on the rifle set up question, think about your car. Seats and mirrors, the scope is your mirror, the stock is your seat, and the bolt is the steering wheel. Our cars are set up in a way we minimize the movement to drive. We can have our hand on the wheel, talking on the phone, and changing the radio station all together without missing a beat. If someone moved a seat or mirror on your car, you would instantly feel it; we want that type of intimacy with our rifles. I can feel it when it’s not right. 

Doping the rifle to distance without a calculator 

Enter Weaponized Math

Weaponized Math
weaponized math worksheet

I will refer you to Marc Taylor’s Weaponized Math. This is the absolute best method to dope any rifle, from .22 to .50 cal with minimal effort. The chart listed is an entire ballistic calculator on a single page; think that about that a minute—an entire calculator in one image. 

 There is no sight height, no bullet weight, and no muzzle velocity because Marc doped gravity, not a set of specific conditions. There is nothing to look at except for the last yard line. Gravity pulls a .22 the same as it does a 338, so having put a value to gravity gives us a more flexible and easier to manage tool. We deal with one factor, not several conflicting ones. We call the value assigned to the drop the X-Factor. 

 The simplicity of weaponized math is, there is nothing to get wrong. We start at 100 yards zeroing the scope; we want point of aim, point of impact. Get your groups aligned to the rifle, so you have a concrete 100 yard zero. Once that is established, we can shoot from 200 to 1000 yards using our charts.  

What is TRY DOPE 

Weaponized Math in MOA

Try dope is what we used before our data has been verified. Until a ballistic computer is verified with shots on target and trued, it’s all try dope. A starting point, expect this number to change slightly. 

 We cannot adjust the rifle to the computer; we have to adjust the computer to the rifle. To accomplish this feat of magic, we need to shoot and verify our data first. Gathering dope by actually shooting a target and recording the results can be a novel idea in 2020, but it still works the best. When you dope a value on a target, know, “everything is in there” you don’t have to add in flourishes; no additional values are needed; it’s all baked into the number. An impact using 4.2 Mils doesn’t need to include Spindrift, Coriolis, or Aerodynamic Jump, because 4.2 is the final answer; it’s not 4.2 plus, it’s just 4.2; that is what we true too. We are not predicting in a vacuum but truing to real-world results. 

 Mils vs. MOA does not matter, but a pretty simple rule of thumb in terms of mindset can help us make sense of it all. Meters vs. Yards is a non-issue also;, weaponized math doesn’t care. 

 Mils are base 10, so we have ten clicks between each full Mil. While our modern calibers have moved away from it, each .1 Mil translates to roughly one click every 10 yards. A 308 going about 2550fps is about 1 mil every 100 yards from 400 to 700 yards, give or take a tenth or two. With MOA, it’s 25 yards per 1 MOA, so you need shy of 4 MOA per 100 yards. To translate this to a modern rifle, an average 6.5CM is about .8 Mils every 100 yards to 800 after 300. 

Stick to the weaponized math to start; follow the chart.

 200 yards 

I tend the hack the software, Hornady 4DOF is an example of the different types of software

 Starting with .5 Mils or 2 MOA, you want to establish your drop at this distance, so you have point of aim, point of impact. For 200 yards, I like to use a 3″ Shoot N C target, and as long as I am centered upon that target, my data should work out great marching out to distance.  

We can multiply our 200-yard data by 1.95 or simply double it for your 300 yard; try dope. I generally find you’ll be between .3 and .5 Mils at 200 yards.  

300 Yards 

Warner Tool Flat Line Bullets
Better Record Keeping means Better Results

After we solve 200 and get our data for 300, we can turn our weaponized math charts to march out with as few shots as possible. You can seriously do it with ten rounds if one was so inclined, but I recommend you find your group center to measure. 

 Using our try dope at 300, we shoot, adjust, and center the group on paper or steel. Point of Aim, Point of Impact, write it down. I have a worksheet created for students that helps. 

Multiply our 300 yards verified data to determine our starting point at 400; it’s just basic multiplication. 

.9 Mils x 1.75 (X factor) = 1.575, I round to 1.6 as my try dope for 400. Rounding is no problem; our targets can handle its size-wise. 

Let’s look at our worksheet for our data. This creates a verified drop that can be used to set up and immediately true our software. 

 Marching to 1000 yards

weaponized math worksheet

 Make sure when you are shooting these targets, you have a reference point for aligning the impacts to the adjustments. We use watermarks on our steel targets to give us a defined point of aim, point of impact reference. Steel tends to be vertically larger. This means you have a lot of opportunity for corrupted data if the plate is too big. If your groups are 2 MOA or bigger at a distance, you cannot expect 1 MOA accuracy when engaging targets later. We have to focus on our fundamentals to ensure we have the best groups possible. Group size can and will matter, as does placement when truing. 

Once we have established our data from 100 to 1000 yards, we can now set up our software.  

Build your profile, measure the sight height or scope overbore. Track down your BC, your bullet length, and get ready for a nugget.  

Translating the weaponize math data to your ballistic calculator 

Garmin Ballistic Calculator with Applied Ballistics

 You don’t need a chronograph for your muzzle velocity, just back into it. The computer has to true by adjusting your muzzle velocity. We know this; we read it every day how a shooter will chronograph their rifle only to have the software change it in a significant manner. This is normal; it’s how these things work under the hood. 

 Just put in a place holder muzzle velocity. I use 2750 for a 6.5CM; I use 2600fps for a 308 shooting a 175. In this case, you can even put the number from the box of ammo into the computer. We can do this because it will change anyway. If I were doping my 300NM, I would just put 2900fps in there. 

 We’ll true our muzzle velocity at 600 yards in the software when we return home from the range. I am not going to adjust my software on the range; I am gonna do it when I get home. Or if I want to test it at the range, I will sit in my car and do it casually. 

adjust muzzle at 600

 I do not distract myself trying to fiddle with my phone when I am supposed to be shooting. I dope the rifle, then retrieve the phone and update the ballistic calculator. I am not going from phone to shot, shot to phone; that is a distraction. 

With our profile built, we have to adjust and true the software to our weaponized math real-world results. We achieve this at 600 yards.  

 Muzzle Velocity is adjusted at 600 yards.

Completed track in the TRASOL App G1 vs G7 doesn’t matter to me I use both

 Adjust the target range to read 600 yards. Take our 600-yard data we gathered earlier; let’s call it 3.6 Mils. Odds are with your placeholder muzzle velocity; it will not match, no worries. It’s.1 Mil every 25fps, we adjust up or down. If you need to move it .4 mils, you will change the muzzle velocity 100fps +/-. Pretty simple, just keep adjusting until the dope matches the real world. Whatever number you happen to land on, that is what it wants, so don’t fight it. 

If all the other data you added to the gun profile is correct, this should line everything 600 yards and closer. Take a quick look at the range card and verify it.  

 If you have data that reads .1 Mil here and there which does not line up, ignore it. Don’t get wrapped around the axle over a 1/3rd of an inch here or there. It could be a range issue, a watermark offset, or any number of reasons. Computers cannot account for shooters, and shooters make mistakes. Go with it, no second thoughts; the odds are that a single anomaly is closer to right than wrong. 

800 yards to 1000 yards adjust your BC 

 Once we know 600 and in has been appropriately lined up, we can look at 800 yards and out.  

You can pick either 800 or 1000 yards, compare the data. If they are not aligned correctly on the computer, we can adjust the BC here. (It is possible to need no BC adjustment) 1000 yards and in should line up very easily with this method. If not, something else is amiss. 

 We adjust the BC at 800 because it will not corrupt the data at 300, like changing the muzzle velocity will. BC input needs time to work on the bullet; the shorter ranges are too close to affecting when adjusting BC. 

 I like to change the middle number of the BC, and it’s usually a pretty small change. This part is a bit of trial and error, as I don’t have a rule of thumb. Mainly because not all software lets me change it the same, so I have to scroll, tune, and adjust, but it’s usually a minor, albeit meaningful adjustment. Moving the middle number usually is enough to see it change. 

Doping a new rifle should not be intimidating

 That should be it; your software should work to distance at that point. Understand drops follow a pattern; if your pattern is erratic, you might have shooter influence or corrupt data. It’s not uncommon for newer and less consistent shooters to create more than one track to reach extended distances.  

I sometimes make two tracks for students a long and shorter to split the curve

If you can shoot beyond 1000 yards, beyond 1250 yards, you may find the tracks don’t follow correctly. When this happens, I will often make a long and short set of profiles, so I am not breaking one to use the other. I split the ranges up if I find the computer is not tracking 100% beyond 1000. It happens. 

Software is a tool; as a tool, it has limitations. Don’t put all your faith in a digital god; instead, look at the results and note the patterns as they appear before you.  

 Back up the computer, store this data, so if the phone breaks or the data is lost, you can easily recreate it. I like to put a hard copy in my datebook.  

 Putting it all together 

All this allows the shooter to focus on what is important, executing the shot

Weaponized math can be downloaded in Mils, MOA, or specifically for .22 caliber rifles because their ranges are shorter. Sniper’s Hide stores all this information under the resources or use the search bar. 

I understand the want to jump right into a ballistic computer. I own all of the software someone can and find myself defaulting to our weaponized math over the computer for accuracy and ease. The computers work well under actual conditions to modify the data for environmental changes that move our impacts. On my home range, I can recite most of my dope or at least get me on the plate. When I travel, I use the ballistic computer to make sure I don’t miss a change in conditions. With the locations I travel to, it’s not uncommon to have a full Mil of variation between my 1000 yard data. Colorado runs around 7.5, and a location like Alaska will be 8.6 Mils for the same rifle. This is the beauty of software; I can access these changes from my wristwatch and know I will be spot on. But I have to put in the effort first. 

I hope this helps; head over to the Sniper’s Hide Forum for more. To follow up on this article be sure to order a copy of my book. A deeper dive into precision rifle shooting. Available at Amazon or in the Gun Digest Bookstore

Precision Rifle Marksmanship The Fundamentals
Owner of Sniper's Hide, Bigfoot, The Loch Ness Monster, Aliens, & UFOs

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After adjusting your MV to get your 600yd data to match up, and adjusting your BC to get your 1000 yd data to line up, do you find you need to slightly adjust your MV to re-alight the 600yd data? And then slightly adjust your BC to re-match the 1000yd data? Do you have to do this cycle a couple times? or does it work out the first time? Will doing this cycle refine your data better?
 

MTB doc

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No don’t use the DSF

works better this way
Even better yet, go to Alaska for the Precision Rifle Course. Besides learning critical fundamentals, Frank went thru this with me and trued my Kestrel to my exact dope based on multiple days of real world data out to 1000. Works perfect.
 

AFancyPenguin

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No don’t use the DSF

works better this way
Even for subsonic 22? I have not had success trying to get the kestrel lined up using MV.

Centerfire I agree with for sure. I use a similar method to get dope lined up.
 

AFancyPenguin

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Dude,

Really subsonic 22s now.... okay you got me, use the DSF

seriously I want to quit the Internet, like yesterday
My question was an honest one, just trying to clarify to make sure I was understanding correctly because the article stated .22 to .50. I'm always open to learning more and wanted to see if I was missing something on the method for 22LR is all. No intention of poking the bear or trying to be a smartass, just trying to learn.
 

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    Your reading comprehension sucks,

    The ARTICLE STATES WEAPONIZED MATH WORKS from .22 to .50

    I said nothing about TRUING A .22 and when I mention.22s I am always specific with those

    Seriously, less and less I want to entertain this type of poster...

    Here is what I wrote and it was specific to the Weaponized Math Charts,

    I will refer you to Marc Taylor’s Weaponized Math. This is the absolute best method to dope any rifle, from .22 to .50 cal with minimal effort. The chart listed is an entire ballistic calculator on a single page; think that about that a minute—an entire calculator in one image.

    There is no sight height, no bullet weight, and no muzzle velocity because Marc doped gravity, not a set of specific conditions. There is nothing to look at except for the last yard line. Gravity pulls a .22 the same as it does a 338, so having put a value to gravity gives us a more flexible and easier to manage tool. We deal with one factor, not several conflicting ones. We call the value assigned to the drop the X-Factor.
    This is everything wrong with the internet today ... I said nothing about using this to TRUE A BALLISTIC CALCULATOR with a .22 this way ... not once. .22s are not the same, except that weaponized math alone can still use it.
     

    lowlight

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    It's seriously getting to be too much work to think about writing this stuff,

    "How are they gonna misread this today" so an 800-word article is now 2400 to try and figure out where it will all get misunderstood.

    So clearly I cannot make a single reference to anything that is not explained in triplicate
     

    TacticalDillhole

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    My question was an honest one, just trying to clarify to make sure I was understanding correctly because the article stated .22 to .50. I'm always open to learning more and wanted to see if I was missing something on the method for 22LR is all. No intention of poking the bear or trying to be a smartass, just trying to learn.
    223 or 224 valk kind of 22.....not 22lr
     

    6.5 GUY

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    Sometimes the wheels just fall off Frank, and no matter how hard you try to teach, something falls from the sky...... K.I.S.S. Good read BTW, and hopefully this helps as I've given up on trusting what the App spits out over a year now, and why I just went back to gathering dope.

    Thanks for the update(s) buddy.
     

    Ruggedtouch

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    This truing tutorial is seriously good reading.
     

    lowlight

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    Weaponized Math alone will work for a .22, the issue is the ranges, you have to determine the 100% location, which would be closer to 200 yards. But it does work, people have done variations on it.


    A rimfire .22 is a different animal, that is clear, a centerfire is what I talk about unless I am specific, and with a .22 rimfire, I am specific because it is different when shooting them how we do.

    The point I am making is, everyone defaults to software because they need a starting point, they can't begin so they turn to the one tool they believe is supposed to guide them, software. But software is not that simple, so many screw it up or don't understand the process.

    My article and combining it with the weaponized math shows a new shooter a better process to get started. After the initial session if they want to stick to software, great, but you have to start somewhere.
     

    AKMarty

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    I have done that both ways, and both work. I think it happens when I dope a new custom barrel and it changes later.

    Really depends but I don't shy away from it if I have too
    Frank,
    I used the weaponized math for my paper copy of the DOPE. Worked great for my 6.5cm . I went back later and used that to setup my Kestrel. How close to the true dope do you call it good (ie +/- .1, .05)?

    Marty
     

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    If a majority of the numbers are good like right on, I will suffer from one or two ranges being .2 mils off

    Beyond 600 .2 should be fixed, but inside I don't sweat it as much. A .2 variation on one-yard line doesn't bother me,

    Our truing bars are .2 wide, which is .72" x _00 so less than 1 MOA, where .3 is 1 MOA so fix that for sure
     

    Leatherlunger

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    Learning the voodoo on here is like finding good music... it never ends. Frank thanks for looking at my dumb chart. Ill use this article’s lessons to set up my gun and true up my chart👍
     

    8pointer

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    Holy smokes what a fan-freakin-tastic article....so glad I ventured out of the Bear Pit!