gadgetry dependent... :o

green 788

Well-Known Member
Feb 5, 2005
I've seen shooters become more and more dependent on gadgets--particularly, smart phone programs that do everything for you except spin the turret and pull the trigger. At our long range matches, it's kinda funny to see guys laboring over their "smart phones" when you change the range of the target at the last minute. :eek:

I think what the calculator has done to the math skills of our children over the years, these ballistic calculators on smart phones is doing to our riflemen: we're becoming too gadget dependent.

In my view, it's fine to use the gadgetry to help you learn certain skills (wind meters give us an idea of how to discern wind speed... rangefinders help us with estimating range... angle cosign indicators help us estimate angles...) but we need to learn to do this stuff "on the fly." Because we may find ourselves at times, and in certain days and ages without such electronic amenities.

I use a chronograph not for load development, but to get a *general* idea of the MV so I can get a *general* idea of the load's trajectory. Then you must actually shoot the ranges, and record the actual drops and wind drifts and such. And write that data down, and put it into a laminated card and fix it to your rifle in some way as you'll have it as a ready reference when you need it. You won't have to wait for a smart phone to load a program, and then end up perhaps making the wrong dial because you pulled up the wrong chart from Strelok. :eek: (c'mon, don't say you haven't done it)...

Learn to discern what is going to happen to your load's trajectory in the current conditions--if you don't, and your smart phone fails to get the weather conditions right away--you'll be at a distinct disadvantage.

As riflemen, we need to intuitively know what happens to our loads when temperatures change, or when humidity rises or falls... we need to get used to computing the angle of the shot well enough in our heads... we need to know what the wind speed likely is, to within a mile or two per hour, without the Kestral to tell us.

All that said... since we're often shooting at game at very long ranges, I think we should check things out with whatever equipment is available to us at the time. Just know that your smart phone app can be subject to operator error... and gadgets do fail. And when a gadget fails, and spits out some bogus information--you'll be better able to catch the mistake if you have some intuitive knowledge of what to expect.

I couldn't agree more. When I was first introduced to shooting beyond 300yrds, that guy was a scout/sniper in the marines.

He told me then "you know their coming out with all this neat stuff on computers that will do all this for you and in the next 10yrs your going to be able to hold in your hand, but here's the deal, batteries die, technology fails and when it does happen you %^&* if you don't learn how to do it the hard way first. The beauty of it though is you learn what I'm teaching you, then you can incorporate it in with the technology side and be so much the better for it, and you can still carry on when everything goes to #%^"

I took those words to heart and still to this day when I look through the scope I'm ranging things out of habit, still carry around dope cards, and many other lessons he taught me that have since become habit.

And hey gadgets are FUN!!!!
I've never owned a smart phone and don't want one. In fact, I have a regular cell phone but only because my employer pays for it and wants me to carry it so they can contact me if necessary.

If not for them, I'd not even have one.

I'd use an emulsion camera if it wasn't so difficult to get film developed.......:)
I agree that we all need to understand and learn more about the mechanics of it all. But I am thrilled with the progress in these areas over the last few years as far as technology and it being made available and affordable to the shooter that choose to use it.

I don't sweat it much about electronic failures in the field. The worst that could happen if all my equipment failed is I would resort back to hunting at 300 or 400 yards like I did for years. But it for sure would not ruin a trip for me. Practice is the Key, and lots of it. I know my rifles and equipment well enough that I have a pretty good ball park idea of what dope to expect to come out of it.

The one thing that has not changed over the years and never will, is that the shooters that do their homework and practice often, will become more successful in the field.

You either prepared for it, or you didn't.

You might change your batteries once in a while, they really don't cost much these days!
Just sayin..
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