It’s a shame teachers aren’t paid more. Sure, as a kid in school, you swore that you’d never use math in real life. Looking back, boy were you wrong. Those math teachers gave you the foundation you need for long range shooting. Thanks, Mr. Werner! Shooting at distance involves a lot of math and calculations. Sure, you can just look for puffs of dust and walk it in, but we’re talking about serious shooters who want their impacts to count. I’ve never been a math person (especially under pressure), so I could use some help. That help comes in the form of Trasol, Desert Tech’s ballistic calculator app.
Trasol: What Does It Do?
Trasol takes data from your specific rifle and cartridge combination to calculate where you should aim, or dial for elevation, to insure you make your hits. As I mentioned, there are a lot of considerations when shooting at long distance. At a minimum, you need to consider your range, caliber, muzzle velocity and wind. When shooting over extreme distances, you may also need to consider changes in the ballistic coefficient of your projectile and the density of the air at your altitude (density altitude). Trasol allows you to enter all of the known information for each combination of rifle/cartridge, and keep it organized. This includes the bullet weight, diameter, length, ballistic coefficient, twist rate, scope height, and much more. It also has a lock function to prevent accidental data changes.
The app also allows you to keep profiles for individual firearms. In mine, I have a profile for my frankenbuild Stag Arms/Aero Precision AR-15 and my Desert Tech SRS A2 Covert. This allows me to quickly switch between profiles depending on what I’m shooting that day, or even if shooting both in the same range day. For the most part, I’m a paper and pen guy. A DOPE book is more my style. However, I’m also a forgetful guy. The chances of me forgetting my DOPE books at home are high, but there’s no chance I’ll forget my phone. How else will I listen to my gun podcasts on my way to the range? It’s extremely convenient having all of this information in one place; not to mention the bulk and cost of several DOPE books.
Trasol: At The Range
So, how does a ballistic calculator help? One major help is its ability to automatically detect things like your density altitude. It does this using either your cell service, or it can be linked with a Kestrel. As I mentioned before, this degree of detailed information isn’t necessary if you’re working close up. However, I live in Colorado. The range I was shooting on is at an elevation of 6,131 feet. The changes in density altitude could cause large discrepancies in my impacts if I were to shoot at sea level without accounting for those changes.
In a practical sense this history of data that’s saved in my Trasol app allows me to put shots precisely where I want them with known distances out to 5,000 yards.
Adding the specifications of the cartridges I’m using is enough for my purposes, since we’re only shooting at 600 yards. If I needed, I could add movement speed of the target, any slope between me and the target, and Coriolis data. For Coriolis, you can point the phone at the target to automatically capture azimuth. If you don’t know what azimuth is, that could be a whole article on its own.
After confirming my 100 yard zero, collecting muzzle velocity information, and inputting that data into my Trasol app, I was able to ring a first-round impact at 600 yards. I then continued to make consistent hits across the entire range. Now, I feel like shooting my frankenbuild. I just need to swap over in the equipment tab and get rolling. Since the MODTAC Training Group range has targets at 100 through 600, as well as a pistol range, I tend to bring a lot of different guns with me. The ability to store profiles for multiple firearms is very convenient.
Trasol: So What?
Landing shots where you want them is incredibly fun and can buy you some cool-guy points. Those stakes get way higher when there’s something living on the other end of the gun. Hunters want to drop their game quickly. Not only is this an ethical issue, but do you really want to have to track that thing down? For our folks using a precision rifle in a military or law enforcement role, accurate first round hits can mean the difference between life and death. One miscalculation could allow a dangerous person to escape, or could even put bystanders at risk. Training with a ballistic calculator can remove a lot of the guesswork.
Remember that we are accountable for every round that leaves our barrel. I’m always looking for every advantage I can get. Without a doubt, a ballistic calculator will give you an edge regardless of the situation. Cheat to win!