FAQ

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Download our “BALLISTIC: UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS” Guide

 

Do you plan to make Ballistic available on Android / Blackberry / Windows / etc?
We don’t have any current plans to expand Ballistic beyond iOS. Sorry.

Will this run on my (Dell Axiom, Windows Phone, Newton Message Pad) non-iOS device?
Ballistic ONLY runs on iOS devices. This includes iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Ballistic will NOT run on PocketPC devices, Windows phones, Android phones, or anything that is not running Apple’s iOS operating system. Sorry.

Is there a manual?
This website contains a lot of instruction about how to use Ballistic and the various settings. For everything else, most of the technical questions we receive about Ballistic fall into one of two categories: questions about the user interface, and questions about ballistics in general. Regarding the former, Apple has developed a standard set of user interfaces and recommends you learn them, so that each piece of Apple software does not require its own manual. The goal is to make Ballistic as user friendly as possible, and to conform to Apple’s user interface standards, so that it can be used without reading a book first. The more familiar you become with your device, the more familiar you’ll become using Ballistic. With that said, we’ve documented all of the terms and settings on this website that are used in the application.

Regarding questions about ballistics in general, you might consider picking up a copy of Sierra’s reloading guide, which comes with a section on external ballistics, or pick up a copy of Bryan Litz’ “Applied Ballistics: 2nd Edition”. You can’t cover how ballistics works in a manual. Given that, we have provided a lot of basic information on the website here. If you can’t figure something out, please feel free to email us after you’ve read through the information on this website.

Does the ballistics library have my favorite brand?
Ballistic includes a library of over 4,800 projectiles, factory loads, military loads, and professional measurements. The library is always growing, but if you can’t find your favorite brand, you may input your load’s ballistic coefficient and muzzle velocity manually. This information can usually be found on the manufacturer’s website or by calling them. If your favorite manufacturer publishes their ballistic coefficients (and muzzle velocities, if they’re loads), send us link and we’ll try to add it to our database.

Does the ballistics engine work without cellular coverage?
Yes. The ballistics engine is compiled into the application so it does not need Internet access. You can even perform calculations on your iPod touch with no Internet. What you will need Internet access for, however, is if you want to download up-to-date weather station information from a weather service. Don’t worry, though, you can always enter it in manually if you’re shooting in an area with no coverage.

What is your relationship with the author of JBM Ballistics?
We licensed the JBM ballistics engine after using it extensively for years. We initially designed this app for ourselves (after wasting money on other ballistics calculators in the App Store, only to be disappointed), and wanted the most powerful and accurate ballistics engine powering it. Even though the app uses the JBM ballistics engine, please make sure to contact us directly for support as JBM won’t be able to help answer your questions. Thanks.

Are your calculations the same as everyone else’s?
Most ballistics computers (including Ballistic) use well established mathematical formulas used for over one hundred years. The mathematics were well documented by Sierra’s ballistics laboratory, based on calculations used by the US Army Ballistic Research Laboratories at Aberdeen Proving Grounds. These calculations are used in Ballistic as well. 3-DOF calculations for trajectory, atmospheric correction, etc., are typically very similar between software packages, and should provide similar results.

While all results are similar, precision is pretty important when it comes to a good ballistics calculator. That’s the main reason Ballistic now uses the acclaimed JBM ballistics engine and why we decided not to use one of the free but much less accurate and less feature rich open source libraries (like the one that the Direkon engine is based on). One area where Ballistic is more accurate than many is in its ability to account for a number of advanced factors, such as gyroscopic spin drift, Coriolis acceleration, atmospheric zero conditions, and in its ability to handle things like stepped ballistic coefficients (such as those published by Sierra) and complex wind configurations. Support for these is very important, as it allows Ballistic to fine-tune its physics to your environment, to give you results that work in the field, as opposed to in a lab. Ballistic is also capable of handling G1-G8 drag models, allowing for more accurate results when calculating bullets such as spire points, VLDs, and military bullets. Don’t settle for a ballistics program that handles only G1 – it was made for bullets that existed over a hundred years ago and doesn’t accurately calculate today’s more flat-base projectiles. The projectile library contains G7 and G8 data for all its military projectiles rated at Aberdeen Proving Grounds and can handle any G1-G8 coefficient you provide. It can also perform real-time conversions between drag models if you’d like to convert a commercial coefficient to a more suitable one. Finally, if you’re looking to squeeze every last bit of accuracy out of your rifle, Ballistic includes a library of Bryan Litz’ G7 BCs for many popular projectiles, which more closely reflect the actual accuracy of a bullet, rather than its advertised accuracy.

With that said, the JBM ballistics engine is far superior to its competitors in that, in addition to basic 3-DOF calculations, JBM’s sophisticated engine is capable of accounting for advanced calculations including linear wind calculations (and calculations from more than one wind zone), better atmospheric density equations, and incorporates more advanced physics in its computer. If Ballistic can get even a couple inches higher at 1,000 yards, then that’s significant in real-life application. Rather than trust some home grown ballistics engine to be written correctly, trust one that’s already used by top shooters. Nearly every application out there measures their accuracy based on how close it comes to JBM… so why not just use an application that runs the JBM engine?

How do I add a favorite?
First, calculate a trajectory. When the trajectory results appear, tap the plus sign on the upper-right of the screen to add it as a favorite.

Where can I find the settings?
You can access them by going to the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad:
Scroll to the bottom. If you didn’t know that, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that many of your other installed applications may also have a section at the bottom.

How can I get tenths or hundredths in the HUD?
Go into the Settings app on your phone, scroll down to select Ballistic, then change the “Output Precision” in the “Head-Up Display” section from “Whole Number” to either “Tenths” or “Hundredths”.
I change the settings, but the app still uses my old settings.
Most settings can be changed without restarting Ballistic, but some do require that you restart it. To force-quit Ballistic, go to the home screen. Double tap the home button, swipe left until you see Ballistic, then flick it upwards like you’re trying to flick it off the screen which will exit the app. You can also simply restart your phone. This can also occur if you’ve set application defaults. For example, if you’ve changed your default atmosphere type to use Density Altitude, but are still seeing meteorological fields, you likely saved the meteorological data with your defaults. Tap on the action icon and “Reset Defaults” after you’ve made such changes, and this should update your data input.

Can I Enter Density Altitude or Density of Air?
Yes! You can change your atmosphere format to either of these. Go into Settings, and then select the Atmosphere option.
NOTE: If you saved custom defaults, or are using ‘Save State’, you’ll need to ‘Reset Defaults’ after you change default atmospheres. Otherwise, the old atmosphere from the default will be loaded.

How can I set new application defaults?
Tap on the action icon in the upper-left hand corner of the Trajectory screen, and select “Save Defaults”. Whatever values you have plugged in will become your application defaults. To reset them to factory, select “Reset Defaults”. You can also turn on auto-save to save your last calculation.

How can I compare Ballistic with other programs?
When comparing Ballistic to something else, keep in mind that many packages use different defaults or even different atmospheric measurements, so you might need to do some tweaking to compare apples to apples. Make sure both packages are set to the same zero, sight height, and especially the same atmosphere. Ballistic uses the ICAO atmospheric model, while others (such as Perry-Systems’ ExBal) use the US Army standard. Be sure to enter one or the other pressure manually into both packages to compare apples to apples. The default atmosphere used by Ballistic is sea level with 29.92 Hg., 59 °F, 78% humidity. Be sure your comparison calculations match these (some packages use 0% humidity, or other default values). Finally, enter ballistic coefficients by hand rather than relying on each package’s library for your testing, as they might each use different values.

You should be able to successfully compare Ballistic to JBM and get identical results. Do this by starting with Ballistic’s factory defaults (use “Reset Defaults” if necessary). Now, set a muzzle velocity of 3000 fps, then create a constant, 10mph wind stretched from 0-1000 yards (or “muzzle”, if using simple wind), 90 degrees. These settings should perfectly match JBM’s defaults and give you 294.6″ of drop at 1000 yards, and 82.6″ of wind drift.

Should I mount my iPhone/iPod on my rifle?
If you want… but not without a military-approved recoil-proof mount. The iPhone is not recoil rated in and of itself, so unless your manufacturer is going to guarantee that the device will not be damaged, and is willing to back up that claim by buying you a new one, you could cause irreparable damage to the device. Unless you have such a guaranteed mount, we recommend that you remove your iPhone or iPod from the rifle before actually firing. We’ve busted “military grade” scopes, levels, lasers, and other equipment from the recoil on our rifles – don’t take the amount of force for granted; it can damage your iPhone without a properly designed case.

How can I calculate drop from barrel, rather than from a zero?
Set both your “Sight Height” and “Zero Range” to zero values.

Why did you write this?
As avid shooters, we got sick of printing and memorizing trajectory cards for every load we fired. The iPhone is the ideal device for calculating real-time ballistics given its GPS, accelerometer, and network connectivity. We wanted a tool that could immediately adjust our calculations for the current weather conditions, altitude we were shooting at, and convert between yards/meters depending on what range we were using. We gave a different iPhone application a try and decided that iPhone users deserved better. It works well and we take pride in making Ballistic the best mobile ballistics computer on the market, if anything for our own personal enjoyment.