Tutorial: Major components of the program
Initially the program opens in it's minimal 640 x 480 (VGA) size with no Trace or Displays open as shown below. One of the options you can select is to auto restore the program to the way it was when last closed.
The program's main menu is at the top of the main window (frame). Clicking on the main menu opens the following menus.
The Trace menu opens the individual Trace windows, All of them, accesses Projects, or Exits the program. A trace is a complete shooting situation. Being able to work with three independent shooting situations allows you to compare the effects of increasing or decreasing some value against a current value. For example, if a load's muzzle velocity is 2900 ± 50 f/s. Trace 1 can be set to 2850, trace 2 to 2900, and trace 3 to 2950 to see how this variation in muzzle velocities effects downrange values. It's easy to see the effect with all three traces calculated and plotted on graphs and charts.
The View menu opens the display windows. Ammo/Bullet Data opens the database of ammo and bullets. Chart Zero Adj, Examine Traces, Graph Traces, and Report Traces open displays of the calculated down range data. Explore Traces allows solutions to be found for problems no software is specifically programmed to solve. Users often come up with problems we never thought of, so we gave them the means of finding the answers.
The Scale menu lets you set the maximum distance you want downrange data for. You can also select between using meters or yards for downrange distance.
The Options menu lets you toggle options like Auto restore desktop and Helpful program hints. Color options and English/Metric system open submenus that allows you select various choices. Print options and Select printer open dialog windows for their respective purpose.
The Tools menu allows you to open dialog windows that perform various tasks.
The Window menu shows which windows are open and allows you to bring them to the front by clicking on them. The Display and Frame Defaults options allow you to restore the original size and position of the display windows or the main (frame) window.
The Help menu opens the Contents or Tutorial help pages. The Web Help and Web Update options open web pages on the Dexadine web site if you are on-line. The About option opens a window that displays the program's version and serial number.
The Trace window defines an entire shooting situation as a number of parameters such as Muzzle Vel, Bullet Wgt, Temperature, etc. Clicking on the value of a parameter highlights it and allows you to edit it. The Name parameter allows you to save traces to file and load them in again.
One question that comes up is how do you make a new trace? The answer is that you enter a new name and modify the other parameter as needed. You can then save it to file if you like or just work with it in the trace window. The program restores the trace values upon restart.
There no such thing as a "blank" trace because there's no such thing as a blank shooting situation. Other than Name and Category, every parameter has minimum and maximum values, which are checked whenever a parameter is changed.
There's lots more details about the Trace Window in the regular helps. However, this tutorial's goal is to show you the major parts of the program.
All three Trace windows were opened by clicking All traces in the Trace menu. Note that three different 22 Rimfire loads are in the three Trace windows, but other than Name, BC, Muzzle Vel., and Bullet Wgt. all of the other parameters are the same. So lets graph their downrange velocities.
The three loads' downrange velocity were graphed by clicking View on the main menu and then Graph Traces. Calculations are done automatically whenever a display receives focus (is opened or clicked on).
You'll also note that the main window was made a bit bigger. The program makes good use of today's larger displays with 1280 x 1024 being able to display all the program's windows at once. Well, except the Explore display, which you can expand as large as you like.
Graphs are great for spotting trends, but then you need the actual numbers. That's the job of Examine traces.
The three loads' downrange velocity values were displayed by clicking View on the menu and then Examine Traces. You can see from the tabs that other downrange data can be selected, such as Energy, Path, Wind Drift, etc.
The same data in the Examine display can be viewed in a printer friendly format by clicking View on the main menu and then Report Traces. You can select the range increments, what columns display as well as their order. It's a good way to make your own tables for your shooting conditions and loads.
Click View on the main menu and then Chart Zero Adj. to open this unique display that shows you the sight adjustment change needed to change the zeroed range from one distance to another.
Click View on the main menu and then Explore Traces to open a window designed to let you solve problems unique to your situation and interests. Yes, we programmed Ballistic Explorer to solve all the standard problems automatically, but over many years of talking with customers we've learned that we can't anticipate all the kinds of problems shooters and hunters want to solve. While no one can program software to calculate unknown problems, we figured out how to create software that gives you the means to easily back into solutions. As with many of our features when they were first introduced, there's nothing else like the Explore display on the market.
Even if you don't expect to have much need to solve undefined problems, the Explore display gives you a second independent means of graphing. You can display velocity in the graph display and energy in the Explore display. There's also a Target tab that shows where the bullets will strike a target in various winds and conditions. Accuracy rings around the bullet strike points lets you visualize the random variation from shot to shot.
Click View on the main menu and then Ammo/Bullet Data to open the graphical database of over 3310 factory loads and over 2615 factory bullets. This is a true database that lets you find loads and bullets based on over a dozen search parameters. Once you find a load or bullet it's just a matter of clicking a button to transfer that data to any of the Trace windows that are open. Once the data is in the Trace window you can view all the downrange data for whatever conditions you set up.
That's it for the major components of the program. There's a lot more tools and options in the program that give you the best view of your ballistics data.