The Main Tutorial links to tutorials that take you through the program's main components and major operations. These all new tutorials use the "show how" style rather than the tedious "follow these steps" style, so learning the program is now faster than ever.
Dexadine's web site has a "How To Examples" section that provides a number of illustrated examples to also help you get started quickly.
Ballistic Explorer (DOS version) has been on the market since 1988 and has evolved from the low resolution CGA and monochrome displays of that time to the sophisticated Windows® interface of today. Yet many of the fundamental features of that 1988 program are still evident in this newest version. These features have withstood the test of time because they are what users wanted then and still want today. The 1988 program introduced multiple trajectories, input range checking, free form entry and many other features to the ballistics program market. While competing products are still trying to get it right, this version of Ballistic Explorer builds on those fundamental features and goes further in fulfilling the wants and needs of users than any other ballistics program. If you are not familiar with the program's terminology see Program Terminology before going on.
There are three fundamental parts to Ballistic Explorer: input, output, and information. Input is done through the three Trace windows. Output is given in different ways by the Chart, Examine, Explore, Graph, and Report displays. Information is provided by the Ammo / Bullet Data display.
The Trace windows are a very sophisticated balance between complexity and ease of use. Each Trace window shows all the data that affects the exterior ballistics of the load and lets you change any of this data just by clicking on it. Ballistic Explorer provides three independent Trace windows so you can easily compare the effects of various parameters. Right from the trace window you can load and save trace data, calculate B.C. and muzzle velocity, select drag tables, and access other load data that don't effect exterior ballistics.
Ballistic Explorer gives you four ways to display the resulting ballistics data. The Chart display shows relative sight settings in a format that makes it easy to change the zeroed range of your gun for a given load. The Examine display lets you easily compare the ballistics data of two or three traces. The Graph display also lets you compare the ballistics data of two or three traces, but in a graphical format. The Report display lets you view all of the ballistics data for a given load. All of the displays let you print the data or graph, and the Chart, Examine, and Report displays also let you save the data to a text file.
Ballistic Explorer's Ammo and Bullet libraries give you easy access to one of the largest databases of commercial loads and bullets available, and it's not just data, you get to see the outlines of bullets and cases. What's more, you can easily transfer load and bullet data to the Trace windows.
Power and ease of use have been the hallmark of Ballistic Explorer from its early DOS days, and with Windows(R), we have made what was already the best ballistics program available even better.
This is not a detailed click by click example, but rather an overview that will help you understand the flow of the program. The first time you run the program the serial number and access code must be entered. Thereafter, the Welcome window appears when Ballistic Explorer has fully loaded and is ready to begin; just click the OK button to close the Welcome window.
Input: To do any ballistics problems you need to open at least one Trace window. Note that Trace windows start out with what was in them when the program was last run; there is no cleared state because every parameter must always be within proper limits. Once a Trace window is open it's easy to change parameters or load another trace from disk. Trace windows have lots of options and features that you will learn about as you work with the program, but most of the time you just need to enter the particular values for the problem you want to solve. Note that all entry or editing of text follows Windows(R) standards. That is, you are always in insert (rather than type over) mode and any selected text is deleted when the first character is entered.
Calculate: The program calculates automatically when you open or click on the Chart, Examine, Graph, or Report displays. However, there are two other ways to cause the program to calculate. First, you can click on the Trace window's Options button and then click Calc Trace Values. This option calculates and displays a summary window showing the LOS (line of sight) crossing, and also shows the Maximum Point Blank Range value if you have the Find parameter set to "Max Pnt Blk Rng". Second, you can move the mouse to an empty area of the main window (frame) and click the right mouse button to open a menu where you can force the program to calculate. This is used if for some reason the automatic calculate doesn't seem to be able to sense a change you've made, or if you just want to make sure the data being displayed is current.
Output: Click View on the main menu and then click Chart, Examine, Explore, Graph, or Report. Any or all of these displays can be open at the same time. The higher the resolution of your system, the more data you can see at one time. Standard VGA is 640 x 480 pixels, the next step up is usually 800 x 600 pixels, which gives you 1.56 times as much area on the screen. Many newer systems go to 1024 x 768 which gives you 2.56 times as much screen area, and lets you view all the Traces, the Examine display, and most of a graph at the same time. What's really fun are the systems that support 1280 x 1024 pixels. With over 4 times the screen area of VGA, you can view all the Traces, the Chart, Graph and Report displays and have some room left for the Examine display. With the 1600 x 1200 pixel displays you can have everything open including the Explore display.
Printing: At some point most people want a printed copy of their data or graph, and Windows® does a good job of supporting most printers. The DOS version of Ballistic Explorer produced the highest resolution graphs of any competing program, but they are nothing like the super high resolution graphs of the Windows® version.