What technology is available to help long-range shooting?

Ballistic AE

Ballistic AE - Credit: Archant

Can you suggest an app to help set up a rifle for longer distances?

Kestrel 4500 with Applied Ballistics

Kestrel 4500 with Applied Ballistics - Credit: Archant

Q: Do you have a preference for smartphone apps when setting up rifles to shoot at longer distances?

CHRIS PARKIN replies: At sporting ranges, most smartphone apps and computer resources (such as those supplied with riflescopes by Leica and Swarovski) do a good job. They help set up a rifle for point-blank zero ranges and data for practising on targets at longer ranges. When you stretch things way out, they start to fall short – sometimes literally.

The smartphone apps are good and I can recommend Ballistic AE, which, like anything you pay for, is generally better than a ‘freebie cheapie’.

When I really go long, I rely on my Kestrel 4500 with Applied Ballistics as it reliably incorporates far more atmospheric and critical ballistic variables that the others ignore. It is more reliable and focused in use in the field, the battery lasts longer and you are less likely to break it.

Beyond about 800m, regardless of how well set up my app is, the data the Kestrel (and specifically the Applied Ballistics program) supplies is superior. That is before we even begin to discuss windage.

It is a fascinating subject and, like most matters, the more research you do, the more you learn to consider and likewise, much of it at sporting ranges can be ignored. If you are pondering Spin Drift and Coriolis effect when hunting, try hunting instead. I am hoping to test the newest 5 series Kestrel soon which, although using the same algorithms, has had changes made to make inputting set-up information and controlling the unit a lot faster, something phone apps always used to be quicker at, especially with internet database access.