Dave King and the "THING"

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by *WyoWhisper*, Feb 7, 2002.

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  1. *WyoWhisper*

    *WyoWhisper* Guest

    Had a really great conversation with Dave today at the harrisburg show. I also got to see the "thing" in action... way to cool!!!
    This is definitly the slickest thing for a long range shooter. Basically if you don't have it you don't have all the toys and gadgets that go with this sport. I would say within 2 - 3 min ( time taken for data imput ) you have your clicks ( or mils ) as well as windage adjustments you need to aim and shoot

    Dave if ya get a min. shoot me an e-mail on how and where I can get one. Also gimme an e-mail address for your buddy that was along with ya.

    Great talking to ya.
  2. PrimeTime

    PrimeTime Well-Known Member

    May 9, 2001
    How about some more information on the "thing". It sounds interesting, what exactly is it, who makes it, what's the cost, and where can we find them?
  3. *WyoWhisper*

    *WyoWhisper* Guest

    Prime time,

    What I do know is that it is like a hand held mini computer that you can carry around with a ballistics program in it. I was kinda busy at the show so I don't know all the details. I hope Dave gets home soon so I too can get ALL the details
  4. Dave King

    Dave King Well-Known Member

    May 3, 2001

    Here's a link to a previous post about "The Thing". (Down the page a bit)

    I originally found Peter Cronhelm's website and downloaded an Excel spreadsheet for ballistics. Peter and I got hooked up we modified it into something it was not. (Peter and I e-mail "The Thing" back and forth many times during the development stage (a never ending process). I don't think Peter had any idea of what he was letting himself in for when he agreed to test the critter each time I changed it.) [​IMG]

    It's hard to visualize the layout from the little Cassiopea screen you saw at the show but once you've seen it on a proper computer you can easily understand where things are located.

    I does a lot of "magic" stuff.

    There's the basic data entry section:
    bullet weight
    zero range
    wind speed and direction
    slope/angle value
    range increments for the ballistics page
    mover speed
    MOA value
    MIL value

    (One thing we discovered at the show was that if you set the MOA value to the "click" value .262 for .25 MOA clicks the readout can be used directly as "clicks" rather than MOA. I think in MOA, some shooters think in "Clicks")

    It determines:
    Range based on GPS fixes
    Range based on MIL value and target size
    Windage and Elevation based on range, wind and slope, either hand entered distance or GPS. (Yes, the wind is calculated for the full wind distance while the elevation is based on "horizontal" distance.)
    Elevation and windage correction based on "miss" value(s).

    Lot's of little things.

    On the main Ballistic data page there is also a section for entering known distance values and an immediate return of the MOA elevation adjustment from the zero setting, wind adjustment and mover hold-off in MILs.

    This particular section also has a "Miss" section that allows the spotter to get a MOA correction by entering the vertical and/or horizontal distance in inches for the "miss"
    The program will calculate the extra adjustment needed for a second round hit.

    The other distance determination on the main Ballistic data page is to calculate distance based on MIL reading, supply the MIL value and the target size in inches and the program computes the distance and MOA adjustments for elevation and windage.

    There a page for the standard Ballistics Table, good for creating a "click chart" when used on a standard computer. The increments for the page are controlled from the main Ballistic data page.

    There's a Target Reference Point(s) (TRP) page the allows a shooter to input multiple target sites and one Firing Position. The computer will provide scope adjustments in elevation and windage for all the target sites. On the GPS determined position page, one TRP is designated the primary site and the computer "knowns" the wind values for all the other sites. I haven't worked a geographic elevation value nto this page yet and when I do the computer will calculate slope for all the sites also.


    The Ranging Ballistic Computer spreadsheet is free. It requires Microsoft's Excel to run on a home PC. The Cassiopea and other handheld computers that have "Pocket Excel" will run the software also.

    I'm going to develop a Visual Basic version that's stand-alone when I get a little more time.

    ONE SIGNIFICANT DRAWBACK for the little handheld computers is that in bright sunlight the screen is nearly impossible to read unless you get the "backlit" version.


    We can't guarantee first round hits.
    We can't guarantee your batteries won't fail.
    We can't guarantee your wife will be happy with you spending more money on another shooting thing. [​IMG]
    We can't guarantee the shed you'll be sleeping in will be big enough for comfort. [​IMG]

    This program is NOT as sophisticated as some others on the market or others that may be in development.

    [ 02-08-2002: Message edited by: Dave King ]
  5. *WyoWhisper*

    *WyoWhisper* Guest

    Dave King brought buy the thing for me to play with today... way to cool!!! I'm hooked now I gotta get one....

    Dave, let me first say thanks, Also my wife thinks your a great, nice guy and she actually thinks your quite funny... but now she hates you, [​IMG] You have found another way for me to spend money in this addicting disease, we call LRH.

    toys, toys and more toys.....
  6. cronhelm

    cronhelm Well-Known Member

    Jun 8, 2001
    The THING is available free on my web page
    Choose the Ballistics link. You can then download a zipped file called "Ranging Ballistic Computer" which includes the THING and a small instruction page. This file was saved as an Excel 97 file so any older excel versions may not be able to read this file.

    The THING works great at home or in the field. My first deer kill was done from Thing data and I have used the THING in the varmint fields.

    I tested the THING extensively in the field even though it was hard to keep up with all the changes Dave made to it. This thing works and it is really fun to use.

    Dave, if you ever make any substantial changes, send me a revised version and I'll put it on my website.

    I would argue that the THING is, in many ways, more sophistocated than many current ballistic computers.

    For best results in the field, make sure to get a handheld computer (capable of running pocket excel) with an LCD screen so it is visible in bright sunlight.

    Peter Cronhelm
  7. varminter

    varminter Member

    Feb 13, 2002
    That's a cool little hard working program you got there. I just used a few minutes ago and compared it to what I have been using. Looks great. I've been using Pejsa's program and that works great also.
    I like all the other feature you have on yours. Like gps and mil. And multiple target ranges. Cool, Way cool.
  8. Darryl Cassel

    Darryl Cassel Well-Known Member

    May 7, 2001

    Don't you have to know the known distance to the target and with the GPS system you must go to the area or spot you are wanting to know the distance too and take a reading for the GPS to plot it for you?

    If so, that would be a handicap to the longrange shooter if he was in an unknown area to hunt and that means you would still need a reliable rangefinder?

    Any GPS I have been around you had to take a reading at one spot, say the target and then go back and take another (where you want to shoot from) to determine the range.

    The handheld computer is a good idea but, the distance, I think, must still be ranged to put the info in the palm computer?

    I'm just wondering how or IF the "thing" or GPS can range for you without ever being at the bullet impact site?

    Darryl Cassel
  9. Dave King

    Dave King Well-Known Member

    May 3, 2001

    Yes, I need to get a position from both sites, the shooter and the target.

    It's a bit of a handicap for some types of shooting expecially in a area with a lot of unknowns.

    I use it mostly for local hunting where I have known landmarks and know the critters travel/arrival points.

    Another reason I began using it was that I don't have a LASER that can range beyond 1000 yards. The GPS can range to any distance I care to carry it.

    The handiest part is the storage of the positions. Once I have a position stored I can get the range to that position from anywhere and I can also then use the GPS to get to that spot from anywhere.

    Winds (single vector) can be calculated for many target positions from one main source. If a critter presents in a site that I have a GPS fix for I immediately know the distance and wind setting.

    If I had one of those Russian Lasers I'd probably never have developed the GPS portion of the thing.

    One thing I can do with it that I haven't tried yet (technically possible just unprogrammed). I can use the GPS to get the shooters position and then use the LASER to get the distance to the target THEN I use the compass bearing to the target and output the coordinates for the target site. These coordinates can then be keyed into the GPS and now the shooter knows when the critter is by using the GPS and the GOTO function.
  10. Brent

    Brent Well-Known Member

    Jun 12, 2001
    One thing I can do with it that I haven't tried yet (technically possible just unprogrammed). I can use the GPS to get the shooters position and then use the LASER to get the distance to the target THEN I use the compass bearing to the target and output the coordinates for the target site. These coordinates can then be keyed into the GPS and now the shooter knows when the critter is by using the GPS and the GOTO function.

    Now that is something I've never thought about. I'm going to try it and see how accurate "I" can get doing it.

    I have the old Garmin GPSIII not the GPSIII PLUS that is "TOPO" capable. What are you using Dave?

    Do you have to be moving to get a compass bearing, or is it one that has the electronic compass or something like that built in?

    Oh, how accurate are your altitude readings?

    One more thing. If you haven't tried the Duracell "ULTRA's", they last exactly twice as long in mine. They're twice the price but they don't run out while the GPS is tucked away supposed to be doing it's job.

    Also when it is cold the voltage stays high enough to keep it running until it gets warm again later. They last about 20 hours in mine non stop with Four "AA" ULTRA's
  11. Darryl Cassel

    Darryl Cassel Well-Known Member

    May 7, 2001
    Hello Dave

    Sounds like you have done some serious homework on this project.

    What you answered was exactly what I thought. A rangefinder would be a needed item if you were going to a new place you had NEVER been before.
    You Could just program a good ballistics program (say Oehler or there are others) into your palm computer and range it with a good laser and dial in the information on the trace report?
    You could have it set up to have just about everything in already except the range and angle you are shooting?
    If you knew the wind factor, you could put that in also right on the spot.

    A person could even have a laptop back at camp and make a drop chart EACH day for the temperture and altitude they intended to hunt and simply take a laser rangefinder? this is of course in an area they have not been before and don't have the GPS readings.
    As you know, your fine under 1000 yards with a Leica but. over that the military units come into play.

    The places we have gone in Colorado, you would NOT want to take a walk just to get your coordinents for the GPS. The only time I like to go to the other mountains is to retrieve game and that is normally on my two legs. Different ball game out there.

    Your way is a very inexpensive way of finding the bullet path to the target, especially in a known area that the GPS readings are already made and programed into the palm com.
    Thanks for the info.


    [ 02-22-2002: Message edited by: Darryl Cassel ]
  12. Dave King

    Dave King Well-Known Member

    May 3, 2001

    I have a Garmin 12, it's about the 6th or 7th one I've had. I generally give them away as gifts to friends or guides. They have a "GOTO" button on the panel, something I believe is very important. Once a person gets lost or hypothermic rational thought gets lost too. The new GPSs have the "GOTO" feature buried deep inside, sometimes several menus deep. Getting to this feature is a mentally challenging proposition even when one is in normal frame of mind, certainly of no value to a "lost" person.

    I don't leave my GPS on, I only turn it on to get a position fix. I don't use it as a compass and I don't use the compass feature on it even when it's working. I carry a standard lensatic (?) compass.

    I do use Duracel batteries, the cheaper batteries are a waste of money and time. The Ultra have been used a few times, they're very good.

    The elevation settings are not as good as the X,Y postions.