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GUNS Magazine September 2012 Digital Edition - Page 24
STORY: Dave Anderson the hiGh-teCh rifLeMaN These few items can prove indispensable in the field and on the range as you learn about your rifle. he current interest in long-range shooting isn’t just because of the fine rifles, ammunition, and optics available. Accurate, reliable measuring and calculating devices are equally important. The Leica Rangemaster CRF1600 laser rangefinder is compact and lightweight. Just 4-1/2" long by 3" high, and weighing under 8 ounces it can be tucked away in a shirt pocket. The 7X optics are very good, as would be expected from Leica. The rangefinder uses a roof-prism design with phase correction coating on the prisms. External lens surfaces have a water-resistant hard coating. The eyepiece has a folding eyecup for use with or without glasses, and can be adjusted to suit individual eyesight. Pressing the main button illuminates a bright, sharp, red square used for aiming, a second press gives the reading. I set the Leica to read in yards (it can also read in meters). In testing I only counted a reading as valid if five consecutive readings were in close agreement. I was pleased to get readings of 1,660 yards (+/- a couple of yards) off a steep, grass-covered hill. This was around 2 p.m. on a day of heavy overcast. Very impressive. Press the main button to illuminate the square, then press the secondary button and the display shows three numbers in succession: target declination in degrees up or down, temperature and barometric pressure. Temperature readings in Fahrenheit appeared to be accurate, within .2 or .5 degrees F of my Kestrel 4000 pocket weather tracker. When US units are chosen, barometric pressure reads in psi. Generally in the US, barometric pressure is reported in inches of mercury (in Hg) for weather reports, while scientists prefer to use millibars. I set my Kestrel to read in psi and with elevation set at zero, pressure readings of the Leica and the Kestrel were very close. This is the ballistic calculation page of the outstanding JBM Ballistics for iPad app. More data is available by scrolling up the page. Despite its high-tech features the program is straightforward and simple to use. T The 1600 also has a ballistic function. Program in one of 12 possible trajectory curves and the unit calculates trajectory based on distance, temperature, barometric pressure, and target declination. The display shows first distance, then the number of inches to correct at either a 100- or 200yard zero. I tried the system with a .300 Win Mag (180-grain TSX at 2,950 fps). The “US 4” trajectory wasn’t an exact match but very close. At 505 yards the 1600 said I should be 10.1" high at 100 yards, while the JBM ballistic program indicated 9.87". At 480 yards the corresponding numbers were 9.2" and 9.05", and at 543 yards, 11.4" and 11.17". Recently Leica announced a 1600B version which should be available by the time you read this. Its ballistic program works at longer distances (880 yards vs. 500m) and can be programmed to show corrections in MOA (and fractions of MOA) and mils. Current retail is around $800. JBM Ballistics for iPad The JBM Ballistics for iPad is the best ballistic program Dave has used, being sophisticated yet simple to operate. The Kestrel 4000 pocket weather tracker provides complete weather data including wind speed, temperature, relative humidity and barometric pressure. Leica’s Rangemaster 1600 gave consistent readings past 1,600 yards and is light and compact. The JBM “Ballistics for iPad” app costs $19.99 and is a bargain, even though there are other programs available free. The JBM is the best, most useful ballistic program I’ve encountered. 24 W W W. G U N S M A G A Z I N E . C O M • S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 2