So you want to shoot long range, but you’re not sure where to start. You know your buddies that are shooting distance aren’t just holding Kentucky windage and hoping for the best. What are they doing different? Three Words: BALLISTIC CALCULATOR APP.

A ballistics calculator is where you get all your data to get started. Ballistic calculators work really well for not only getting your “Dope” but also for selecting what load to shoot out of your gun for a given scenario. Whether it be selecting the proper bullet or proper delivered energy, a ballistic calculator app is like years, and books, of ballistic charts in one convenient place.

In the past few years these calculators have come a very long way. The shooter no longer has to go look up the BC of the bullet or make manual corrections for speed and BC to make the tested calculations come out correctly in the field. The apps now handle the majority of that stuff for you.  Of all the calculators available, I find myself using and recommending two specific ones most frequently:

Ballistic AE

Available only on iOS devices, Ballistic App offers a Standard Edition for $12.99. An Advanced Edition is available for $19.99 depending on the features you are looking for. It has functions that let you store groups and target data, as well as manually account for wind. The only thing that bothers me about this one is it is a little cumbersome about how you add you various gun configurations to “favorites” so you can pull them up later.

BallisticsARC

A free ballistic calculator app from GeoBallistics and is available on both iOS and Android platforms. The free version is pretty basic, so it’s worth upgrading to the premium version for $14.99. I have been using it for about the last year. They have a really cool patented geo rangefinder technology that allows you to select a target on a map and it will compute your drop data. It will also visually show you where your bullet goes subsonic. In my opinion the better thing about this app is the Geobalistics windmeter.

For an additional $75 to $85, you can purchase a wind meter or the Bluetooth windmeter combo unit. Once it connects to your phone, you can select a data sample for your load that day and it will compute wind speed. It will also calculate density altitudes which is a BIG deal when it comes to long-range shooting because the flight path of your bullet changes depending on how thick, or thin, the air is relative to your location. What’s nice about this is it does all that for FAR less than the cost of a Kestrel and does it all on your phone.

So get a ballistic calculator app and get comfortable with how it works. You will be surprised with a good shooting rifle, how simple distance shooting becomes if you are able to judge the wind.