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Terminal Ballistics Studies; Shooting Accuracy VS Precision, Bullet Trajectory Math Formulas & More

The dedicated gunner must deal with a lot of numbers and mathematics, algebraic and geometry. Just identifying a cartridge uses numeric nomenclature. Take the 9mm Luger, Parabellum or the 9 x 19mm (read as 9 by 19), all used to reference the 9mm NATO that is the most common semi-auto in existence. Th 30-06 is also known as the Aught six, 7.62 x 63mm and .30 caliber US. The metric designation is caliber by the case length. The 22-250 refers to 22 caliber and is derived from the 250 Savage case, 45-70 is the caliber and the black power charge in grains. However, shot gun shells are by gauge, and the loads in drams equivalent.

Precision & Accuracy By Spread & Distance

We calculate our precision and accuracy by spread and distance from the bullseye. We use mills and MOA (minutes of angle) to define potential accuracy. Bullet drop in US units is inches at range given in yards. 1 MOA is 1.04 inches at a hundred yards, while one mil is 3.6 inches at a hundred yards, or 1 yard at 1000 yards. But mils represent a special geometric relationship of 1 to a 1000. 1 yard at 1000 yards, 1 inch at a thousand inches and 1 meter at 1000 meters, aka: a kilometer. Kinetic energy is Mass times the Velocity squared (KE=MV2), momentum is Mass times the Velocity. Then we deal with esoteric mysteries of sectional densities and ballistic coefficients. Potential energy and twist rates. Recoil calculation for a cartridge-gun combination, scope height in relationship to the bore center. All of this are numbers related to mathematical formulas or concepts.

Terminal Ballistics Studies

To the avid shooter there are important formulas for the twist rate, the muzzle energy, velocities, bullet path, ballistic coefficient. We assign numbers to the bullet, bullets geometry, the type of ogive, the ogive’s radius, and the ballistic coefficient that are used in ballistics studies and related to the drag coefficient that plagues aircraft, missile and rocket designers.

Metric VS Imperial Shooting Measurements

We measure accuracy and precision with numbers. With the metric system catching on those of us who were educated under old imperial forms must be able to convert metric (actually SI) units to those imperial units we’re more comfortable with. Baby-boomers may never be able to wrap their heads around the SI units. Give us grains not grams. Instead of mm’s we need inches. There are many advantages to the metric system, but the more senior members of the shooting fraternity are imperialist when it comes to weight, length and twist rates.

Ballistics Math Formulas

To the ballistician math is an ally. Math is the universal language of science. Ballistics is a scientific inquiry and wedded to mathematics. Ballistics is the study of motion, we embrace Newtons laws of motion and inertia. Newton helped to invent and refine calculus to describe motion and inertia. Most of us amateurs rely on algebra for our needs and turn the calculus over to the ballistic computers and let them do the grunt work in giving us meaningful results. The American snipers in the Army and Marines use math for every shot. Some digital and some analog. Hunting or military shooters use analog movements and estimates to take the shot. Math is fully ingrained in the serious shooters fraternity. Embrace the numbers.

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