Get Smart - Use A Ballistics Program

By Darrell Holland

Campfire stories abound during hunting season regarding hold-over, wind drift and elevation changes affecting the bullet's flight. Very few ballisticians attend these informal chat sessions, and most of the information shared is flawed. Most hunters are in the "fire for effect" club, and rarely take the time to educate themselves on ballistic information.

Classes are not offered at the local community college. Gun clubs seldom host individuals qualified to talk on the subject. What is the hunter who is thirsty for knowledge to do?

The simple solution is to purchase a ballistic program for your PC. They are simple to use and can provide the hunter/shooter with a wealth of accurate information based on scientific fact rather than barstool experience. The student will have a better understanding of gravity, wind deflection, elevation changes, point blank zeroes, MOA correction, time of flight and more!

Most importantly it can be done in the privacy of your own home without tuition fees and surprise exams. Problems solved and myths debunked are just a few keystrokes away. For less than $100.00, you can have a personal tutor and create your own data cards to perfection.

The buck that "Big Al" killed last year at 600 yards with a top of the back hold and a 100 yard zero is now classified as B.S. The wind drift at 400 yards in a 15 mph wind can be calculated exactly and the hold-off compensated for precisely. With the simple addition of a couple of programs, he has taken the guess work out of his shooting and can be looked upon by his peers as an encyclopedia of ballistic knowledge. No matter how you look at it, it's a win-win situation! Knowledge does have its benefits.

Sierra Infinity 5.1 and 6.0 are some of the best and easiest to use ballistic programs on the market. Installation is a snap, and with 30 minutes of practice, you are navigating smoothly thru the program. Range, velocity, energy foot pounds, drop, drift, time of flight are all at your finger tips. What's the best range to zero your rifle at? Simple enough -- adjust the zero and see. What effect will a 10,000 foot change in elevation have on my Colorado hunt? Punch in the numbers and you'll know exactly.

Another great program that is compatible with Sierra Infinity is Holland's Ultimate Data Card Software. This software program works with both versions 5.1 and 6.0 and allows the user to create The Ultimate Data Card. I'm a hard copy kinda guy. Data cards don't require batteries, are quicker than PDA's and easier to carry.


This data card provides the following information to the shooter. Starting with the far left column, we have mil-radian subtension -- great info. When the laser rangefinder fails and we must use the scope's reticle to determine range to the target, they are graduated to the nearest 1/100th mil. The next column is actual range in yards, followed by drop in MOA and drift in MOA.

Now, for the exciting part. The next four columns are uphill/downhill angles (your choice of any 4 angles) auto-calculated based on time of flight and gravity of YOUR specific round. These corrections are based in corrected MOA. That's right, no mental gymnastics. Read and shoot to the numbers -- it's that easy! All card formats are for ANY zero you desire and are in 25 yard increments from 25-1000 yards. You can print the card in 3 different sizes according to your needs and vision requirements. No other data card software provides you with the versatility and accuracy of our system. The shooter has all the information he or she needs at their fingertips in one handy laminated card.


Take the time to educate yourself and be a more knowledgeable hunter. Gain the respect of your peers as you out-shoot them on windy days at distant targets. You'll never regret your investment in ballistic knowledge.

Until next time...
Darrell Holland is a Custom Riflesmith and designer of Advanced Reticle Technology in Leupold, Schmidt & Bender and NIGHTFORCE rifle scopes. Darrell offers an intense 4 day shooting school that is ideal for long range hunters and tactical enthusiasts.

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