This is the time of the year when shooters start getting the itch. It is the best time to start brushing up on your wind calls and making sure that your rifle is shooting well! One common question that we get asked is how we true our data when we gather dope. This is a great question because there are 3 common ways to align your dope with your ballistic calculator!
Before we start shooting out to distance, there are a few inputs that are important to have correct. You must have a good zero (I prefer 100 yards), updated atmospherics, a provided BC, and a velocity. This is the starting point and sometimes it aligns very well. But if your ballistics calculator is not giving you the correct elevation adjustment then you will have to true your data.
The first method to truing data, and my preferred method is getting my velocity from my Magnestospeed Chronograph and then adjusting the BC to align my Kestrel 5700 output with what I am seeing on target. The reason this is my preferred method is the chronograph gives me a fixed number that is specifically for my rifle. Once I have ran 5 shots over the chronograph, I will put the average into my kestrel and use the BC that is provided on the box or in the Kestrel App. Once I have my rifles profile in the Kestrel and I have made sure my atmospherics have been updated to real time data, I will shoot the rifle at 1200 yards. Typically, this will get me within 1/2 a mil of the target for my elevation. I will then change the BC to match the elevation adjustment that was needed to hit the target.
The next method requires the same equipment but is a different way of truing the data. You will gather your velocity and use the BC off the box, but then shoot at 600-800 yards and adjust your velocity to your POI (point of impact). Then you can go out to 1200 and adjust your BC to match your calculator. This method is what I would recommend to guys using cheaper chronographs. The numbers will get you very close, but if your velocity is off by only 20 FPS it can cause problems once you reach out to further distances. While this method is not my preferred, guys have had great luck with it and it ties into the next process!
For the third method, all you will need is a ballistic calculator and a good spotter. You start with the velocity and BC that is provided on the box or a good guess if you are reloading. This is the starting point, and you will use the elevation that is given by your ballistics calculator to true your data. Once you have put rounds on target, you can then true your muzzle velocity to match your elevation. The Ballistics arc app, and a kestrel meter both have a built-in program to true your elevation. Once your data matches at around the 600-yard range, you can go out to 1200 and true your BC to match your POI at that distance.
These are the 3 most common methods that I have seen from guys, and they all get similar results. I do prefer using method 1 but it does require some equipment that is expensive. With that being said I can typically get data trued and good to go in around 15-20 rounds. No matter what method you use, confirm your dope at 3 different distances and shoot 2-3 shots per target. I prefer 500, 800, and 1200 but you could be limited by your range. I also prefer painting steel a dark color and then a small orange aiming point so I can see the impact after it is hit and not have to rely on watching the shot.
If you ever have any questions on trueing data, ballistics calculators, or anything else pertaining to long range shooting, feel free to give us a call at 970-241-1807 and we will help you out!
- Jaden Miller