To get the most from your loads you need to know performance all the way to the target. Years ago you had to search through ballistics tables and guess. Now your computer can quickly calculate the performance under your exact conditions.
The latest computer techniques and industry standard drag coefficient tables are combined to replace the old Ingalls tables and Siacci technique. No other program beats it for speed and accuracy, and Ballistic Explorer goes three steps farther. It's easy and fun to use; it pictures the results so that they are easy to interpret, and it includes a library of 2358 commercial loads and 1964 bullets with a drawing of each case and bullet.
You have many "What if . . . " questions and you want fast answers. You need not tolerate computer jargon and awkward programs. Many shooters have used Ballistic Explorer for months without reading past the first page of the instructions.
Download Ballistic Explorer 6.4.6 for Windows® XP/Vista/Windows® 7/Windows® 8
This is the full program, but it runs in "demo" mode until registered. In demo mode the values of the ballistic coefficient is restricted. Don't fuss when the program rounds your BC's to .10 or .50 in demo mode. The best introduction to Ballistic Explorer is to follow a typical computer session. The Windows F1 convention for help applies as you run the program. You can also follow this popup example to help get started.
Your first option is to select the "traces" with which you want to work. You will most often want to compare one bullet with another, one cartridge with another, high altitude with low altitude, high temperature with low temperature or one zero with another.
Other ballistic programs work with only one load or one set of conditions at a time. Ballistic Explorer can work with up to three loads or sets of conditions at one time, and we call each load or problem a trace. If you can see only one item at a time, its hard to compare; it's easy to compare if your can see two or three traces on the screen at once.
The three traces are independent except for the range scale. To choose how each trace is computed, input the velocity, BC, and other conditions. You can also pull down a menu at Find to select between computing Sight Setting (MOA to zero at a specified range), Zeroed Range (the zero range corresponding to a specified sight setting), Point Blank Range (the sight setting and zero point that provides maximum point blank range), or Muzzle Velocity to hit at a specified zero setting.
The easiest way to compare is to look at a picture or graph. Use the View menu to select Graph Traces. This graph quickly compares the bullet paths for the three different loads. The two big-game loads have somewhat similar bullet paths. The faster Accelerator® load shows a significantly higher bullet path and clearly indicates that you must expect to make significant sight adjustments when changing from a big-game load to this varmint load.
At the lower left corner of the graph screen are two buttons. One button is the print button that sends the displayed graph to your printer in either color or black and white. The second button brings up the graph control window where you can select the desired combination of graph options.
Pull down the Graph Type menu where you can select the variable to be graphed. You have your choice of Combined Distance From Center, Drop from bore axis, Energy, Momentum, Path with respect to line-of-sight, Time of Flight, Velocity, or Wind Drift. The Range menu lets you select if the graph is to cover full scale range, first half, middle half, or last half. The Magnify menu lets you zoom the vertical scale. You can customize the title of the graph, the legends and colors for each trace, and a host of other options in this window.
If you want to look at the downrange information in great precision, pull down the View menu and choose Examine Traces.
Examine Traces is an exceptionally informative and easy-to-use window. You can look at the bullet path with high accuracy; this complements the graph. Using the tabs at the bottom of the window, you can instantly jump to look at any of the other downrange parameters. You can examine energy or velocity on the table while you are still looking at bullet path on the graph. You can change the range increment, you can scroll along the range, and you can change the zeroed range. Print and file buttons at the lower left corner of the window invite you to instantly print the downrange results shown in the Examine window or save it as a PDF file. You can also save the data to either a tab delimited text file or an Excel file.
For the long-range shooters, we've included a concise zero adjustment chart. It is accessed through the pull-down menu under View. It gives the MOA adjustment required to change the zero to a new range. This chart can be printed to take hunting or to the range, and you can alter the included ranges and increments.
The Chart, Examine, and Report displays can export your data directly to Microsoft® Excel® files where you have nearly limitless options to analyze, print and graph your data.
For shooters who prefer other sight adjust units, six standard units or up to ten custom units can be selected from the Options menu.
Other features are included in each Trace window -
Under the File button, you can Save all the information for a trace, or you can Load previously saved information. Information is saved under the Name listed in the window.
Under the Options button you can --
Under the Data button you can record your own loading data for the load along with test results and notes.
Under the drag function button located adjacent to BC you can select from different drag tables. Seven standard drag tables are provided. You can convert the BC from one drag table (function) to another drag table just by selecting the drag table you want to convert to and then selecting the conversion method.
You can also convert a multiple velocity range BC to a single BC of either the same or a different drag table. If you are not intimately familiar with the use of drag tables, we suggest that you use only the standard G1 table.
What information is required for computing the exterior ballistics? Most important are the muzzle velocity and ballistic coefficient of the bullet. If you are charting the performance of your handload, you will have probably measured the muzzle velocity with a chronograph. The ballistic coefficient of your bullet can be entered directly to the trace window along with the velocity.
If you don't know the ballistic coefficient, Ballistic Explorer includes an Ammo/Bullet Data library showing the essential characteristics of over 1960 bullets from popular manufacturers including G7 ballistic coefficients if the manufacturer publishes those values. You can access the data library via the View menu.
The library also includes details of over 2350 different ammo loads from the major ammo manufacturers. You are often interested in comparing different factory loads, or you are interested in comparing your measured handload performance to factory performance. Use of the data library for ammo is similar to that for bullets. You pick the caliber, ammo manufacturer, and other characteristics from lists. Then you select the particular load from the list generated by the search. Here is the display resulting for a search on 257 Roberts. Note the dimensioned drawing of the case along with the sketch of the bullet. If the ammo manufacturer does not provide the ballistic coefficient, it is computed using the manufacturer's remaining velocity tables.
The cartridge drawing with the manufacturer's information will be shown and can be printed with a push of the print button.A unique feature of Ballistic Explorer is the Explore display. This display includes all of the categories of data such as path, velocity, and Energy, but adds the Target category where you can experiment with windage settings and see the results on a target. More impressive, however, is the ability to rapidly change vital parameters like velocity, BC, temperature and altitude with slider controls and see nearly instant results of those changes. This gives you a tool to find answers to unique problems by being able to quickly back into them.
The final function available under the View menu is the Report.
After you have arranged the trace report to your satisfaction on the screen, it can be printed. The printed report will include all the information from the trace window plus the downrange information. Rather than printing you can save the report to a PDF file from the print preview window. For those who want to work with the data on their own a click of the file button gives you the option to save to either a tab delimited text file or an Excel file.
With the Scale menu, you can select the maximum range to be included in the calculations and display. Ranges include 50, 100, 250,500, 1000, 1500, 2000 and 2500 yards or meters. Every scale can be viewed in increments of 1, 5, and 10 yards or meters. Larger increments depend on the scale as shown in the chart:
Under the Options menu you can select and control varied
program options. These include:
Ballistic Explorer gives you all the tools you need to find the answers to your shooting questions.
Ballistic Explorer costs $70. Upgrades from prior versions of Ballistic Explorer are $35; please provide the serial number and either access code or key code of your old program to receive the special upgrade price. Please phone Oehler for upgrade help.