Nightforce Ballistic Targeting Software
By Ward W. Brien
You know, there are and have been a lot of “fads” or what many have thought are fads. But thank goodness people haven’t stopped trying to figure out a better way to do things. I remember back in the mid seventies when the “Mil-dot” reticle came out. I have heard “hunters” say… “What the heck do you need that for? I just aim at the deer and drop’em.” Or, “who has time to pull out a protractor and figure the angle you’re holding on?” “What the heck are you talking about?”
What “I’m” talking about is eliminating the variables and simplifying your hunting like you never dreamed was possible. Perhaps quotes from the hunters that I previously mentioned, look at Ballistic Targeting software as a fad. Well, for them, it just may be. But for Serious Marksmen, those trained by POST Certified and Department of Defense Certified Shooting Professionals, men and women who take their Shooting / hunting as seriously as a Heart Attack, it isn’t. In my opinion, Night Force Ballistic Targeting Software is here to stay.
Tripod data System’s Pocket PC
Nightforce Ballsitic Software
So, what is “NightForce Ballistics Targeting Software” and who makes it? NightForce Ballistic Targeting Software is authored by Mr. Gerald Perry of Perry Systems. Mr. Perry is a University of Michigan graduate, an active shooter, a proud member of the NRA for over forty years and has a long standing interest in ballistics, ranging from theoretical first principles to a practical desire to achieve the optimum.
His Ballistic Targeting Software (NightForce) started out based on an empirical data model that he developed to fit the different bullet manufacturer’s trajectory data thirty years ago. He has been improving upon it continuously. Because of computer advancements, his NightForce Ballistic Targeting Software model now uses “differential motion equations” that are based upon “first principles of physics.” It also enables the shooter to utilize the benefits of modified point mass calculations by inputting field tested data. Now, don’t let what I just said tighten you up. When I said that this software is Easy to Use, I meant it.
NightForce Ballistic Targeting Software utilizes architecture similar to what NASA utilizes to guide the Space Shuttle. Only, it is in a user friendly, easy to understand program that is designed to operate on either a hand held “Pocket PC” with the Windows Mobile operating platform, or on your Desktop PC.
The NightForce Ballistic Targeting Software package is amazing, and it’s a technology that I have a tremendous amount of gratitude and respect for. In the past, when I would work up my dope, I would set up and shoot at individual targets, in 50 yard increments out to 1000 yards. I would obtain my dope for each distance for that particular day. The downfall was that when the weather system changed, meaning that the barometric pressure dropped along with the temperature, the data that I obtained the day before would also change. Or if I zeroed my weapon at sea level (zero feet), on an 80 degree day at Camp Pendleton but now found myself at an elevation of 9000 ft., with a temperature of 30 degrees, without even taking in account the angle that I was holding on or Shadow Effect, I could easily be .75 moa or more off target. At 700 yards, that would equate to 5+ inches. (Kill box = 8 inches).
With NightForce Ballistic Targeting Software, you have the opportunity of redefining “precision shooting” by simply inputting your temperature, barometric (station) pressure and humidity. It will calculate your holds, for the, “right-now-in-the-field” conditions, wherever you happen to be, at whatever elevation you are at, anywhere in the world. Now, take a hunter, my buddy “J.J.A.” for an example who zeroed his firearm in New Mexico, and then went on a Marco Polo Sheep hunt in Tajikistan at 13,000 feet. One of the reasons that “JJ” had a successful hunt was because he owned “NightForce Ballistic Targeting Software.” This software package works for any rifle, any caliber, with a Mil-Dot or Minute of Angle reticle, and in any environment.
NightForce Ballistic Targeting Software is simple to use. It utilizes complex equations and three dimensional modeling of your specific cartridge based upon simple meteorological (met) data including (temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, wind speed and direction). It also uses your individual and unique ballistic data, (bullet weight, ballistic coefficient, scope height, muzzle velocity and zeroing distance).
With these ten items inputted into the Night Force Ballistic Targeting Software, it will tell you what your elevation, windage and lead holds are; and it will do this for any caliber and any firearm you own. You are NOT limited to one type of reticle, or one type of rifle, or one type of cartridge. I can testify to you, that Nightforce will deliver your dope with authority and amazing accuracy.
The advantages of the home PC or lap-top is that the software packages have the capability of printing out data cards, angle drop cards, and will even export the information to Excel.
In Pocket PC form, Nightforce Ballistic Targeting Software will display an electronic data card that includes your elevation, windage and lead holds, which you can then transfer onto write in the rain paper. This is an exercise that takes maybe five minutes to do, and what I would and should do before starting my hunt. Once the data is inputted and processed, and the data card displayed, I would copy the information to notebook paper or write in the rain paper, and place the new data card in my jersey pocket and the Pocket PC back in my pack.
Once you have set-up the software, inputted your ballistic data and backed it up, there is no need to re-input the Ballistic data again unless you are inputting a brand new load or cartridge. The data is stored as an independent file in the units’ memory. You will still need to input the met data, the distance to target, and the Cosine number or the Angle that you are holding on, however that’s it.
Kestrel 4500NV hand held Pocket Weather Station with compass.
The process of utilizing the software is as follows:
Obtain your meteorological data (MET Data) (I use a Kestrel 4000 hand held weather station).
Input the met data into the ballistic software’s data entry points i.e. temperature, barometric station pressure, and humidity and wind value.
Wind value = speed and direction
Acquire the distance to target.
Acquire the Cosine or Angle value of the sloped distance to target using an Angle Cosine Indicator.
Input the distance to target and Cosine / Angle number into the ballistic software.
Click on the calculate button.
You now have the options of either using the exact distance to target as you entered it, obtaining your hold, or viewing / making a data card.
You now have your holds
At this point, if you haven’t validated your dope, this is where you would do so. Night Force Ballistic Targeting Software also makes available a sub-routine that will calculate the bullets deceleration curve; meaning that if your hold is 25.0 moa for 1000 yards, and the hold that you actually used is 24.75, (with no wind present) you would input that data into the data entry point. Once the trajectory is validated, you are theoretically set-up to shoot, no matter where in the world you are, at any altitude, any temperature and whether you are at sea level or at 8,000 feet ASL in the Rockies. Night Force Ballistic Targeting Software greatly aids and enhances your accuracy and effectiveness.
World renowned and SCI Registered Rifle Maker “Ray Riganian” inputting the current met data.
Yours Truly hit this coyote in the nose at 421 yards
utilizing the Night Force Ballistic Targeting software.
Night Force Ballistic Targeting Software, TDS Recon Pocket PC, and the Kestrel Pocket Weather Station can be purchased at www.snipertools.com or other select dealers.