How To Compare The Effects Of Trace Parameters

As a hunter or target shooter, you probably know that many factors affect the flight of a bullet, but you might be surprised to find out just how much effect different factors have. For example, which has more effect on a bullet's trajectory, a 1,000 foot change in altitude or a 10F change in temperature? The answer is that a 1,000 foot change in altitude has about the same effect as a 10F change in temperature. When the temperature goes up 10F, it's just like going up 1,000 feet in altitude. Temperature has a big effect because to changes both air density and the speed of sound.

The reason Ballistic Explorer gives you three traces is so you can compare traces side by side. To compare the effects of altitude with those of temperature, set all of trace 1's, trace 2's, and trace 3's parameters to the same values. This is easily done by loading the same trace from disk into all three trace positions. Now add 10 to trace 1's Temperature parameter (69 = 59 + 10). Enter 1000 into trace 2's Altitude parameter.

Go to the Examine display and you can see that the velocity data for trace 1 and trace 2 is nearly the same all the way out to 500 yards. This shows that the effect of a 1,000 foot altitude increase is about equal to that of a 10F temperature increase. You can also compare trace 1 and 2 with trace 3 to see how much the bullet's velocity is affected relative to standard conditions.

The three trace capability of Ballistic Explorer lets you explore the influence of many factors and combinations. For example, you can find out how different sight heights, range slopes, and sight adjustments affect the bullet's path. You can find out how different ballistic coefficients, temperatures, and pressures affect the bullet's velocity, drop, and time of flight. You can find out how different muzzle velocities and bullet weights affect the bullet's energy and momentum. And the list goes on and on.

see other How To... Examples