Ballistics applications on mobile devices are becoming more common day by day for competitions, hunting and even casual shooting sessions with family and friends. They provide accurate shooting solutions in less than a second to incredible distances calculated specifically for the rifle, load, environmental conditions and even location. Whether your skill and rest are up to the task of those long shots is another matter entirely, but there’s no denying that ballistics apps are on the rise.
Including the 2023 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show, they are offered and regularly updated by some of the best in the industry. So Federal Ammunition announced the addition of the latest ammunition to its updated Ballistic AE app (available for free on iOS devices). Federal Marketing Director Brian Anderson said: “By incorporating the latest loads into the app, led by the popular and proven Terminal Ascent, our customers will have more data to improve their shooting skills.” Calculates and provides trajectory, windage, velocity, energy, lead, and bullet flight time. Compensates for atmospheric conditions such as temperature, pressure, humidity and altitude.
Lapua also announced an all-new Lapua Hunt app available for download on Google Play and Apple’s App Store. This software uses the same ballistic calculator and product data as the popular Lapua Ballistics app. Enthusiasts can add their own rifles and reticles and choose the best ammo and game category. Lapua Hunt’s calculator view lets you see wind speed determination and direction, as well as shooting angle and distance. Additionally, you can enter weather information such as temperature, pressure and relative humidity to create a more accurate baking solution. Additional paid features of the app allow you to set up cartography, map display and hunting teams.
While not necessarily new, Winchester’s free app has been around for quite some time and has been very successful. However, the company isn’t exactly known for resting on its laurels, so it didn’t wait for SHOT Show 2023 to roll out an updated version, which was introduced in mid-2022.
Most, if not all, software started on websites, did the necessary programming, and then migrated to smartphones and other devices. For example, Hornady first offered his 4DOF-based calculator on her web page in August 2016. It was made available as an app on November 2nd, 2017. His web-based launch solution calculator for Federal launched his app in 2014 and the following year.
All of the above have proven to be very popular. Some are the best in the industry, and most are available for free or at affordable prices. Not all are pinned to a specific ammo brand. Applied Ballistics works with many companies in the gun industry and offers a highly rated app ($30 on Google Play). Strelok is very popular and claims to have released the first ballistic calculator in 2001. This list is long.
Ballistics apps that provide accurate firing solutions are just the tip of the iceberg. Today, some connect via Bluetooth to rangefinders to calculate holdovers, connect to Kestrels and other wind doping devices, and send information wirelessly to scopes for automatic reticle alignment.
The power of ballistics apps available today is staggering and I didn’t really believe it until I was in Montana on a mule deer hunt with Vergara. Being there was a wobbly affair. I laughed when my buddy told me to run the firing solution on the app and keep 3 feet to the left. Under my breath, anyway. .300 wins. mug. It doesn’t exactly take long to go downrange. Only 300 yards and it looked ridiculous.
I “schooled” and tagged that deer. Apps work, but when did we put so much computing power in the palm of our hands?
When did the app arrive?
In 1992, IBM invented the smartphone, but its early models were anything but genius. Two years later, it has launched several essential apps on the market, including Address Book, Calculator, Notepad, and more. The Nokia 6110 shipped with his 1997 “Snake,” which is considered the first smartphone game, but many of them must have been played on an airplane. In 2004, the Blackberry 5810 came out with some built-in apps, but the ability to send and receive email changed the game.
It wasn’t until the iPhone came out (2007) that its capabilities became apparent. Onboard software included weather forecasts, maps, photo galleries, and more. An overnight success, it became clear that people were hungry for handheld his processor and its power.
In 2008, the world was introduced to Apple’s first truly centralized app store with over 500 programs. The following year, the Android user opened his own shop, initially with only 50 of his programs to choose from. Today there are over 2 million he and over 2.4 million he respectively.
Among them is an overwhelming number of ballistic calculators that provide instant shooting solutions at your fingertips while in the firing line, even when exposed to gusts of 90 mph.