While ballistic calculators have largely removed much of the math skills that were required to shoot long range, they have become quite the handy tool making long-range shooting accessible (and enjoyable) for those not steeped in ballistic mysticisms. Stepping up to take more mystery out of long-range shooting is Hornady, with the latest update to their ballistic calculator program dubbed “4DOF” for “Four Degrees of Freedom.”
The new calculator takes a different mathematical approach than common calculators, using the drag coefficient rather than the ballistic coefficient. Further, as Hornady makes the bullets, the calculator includes “…the exact physical modelling of the projectile and its mass and aerodynamic properties.” Further, the program also takes into effect the vertical shirt as bullets encounter a crosswind, a phenomena referred to as “aerodynamic jump”.
The 4DOF ballistic calculator is available for select Hornady, Berger, and Sierra projectiles across the 6mm, 6.5mm, 7mm, .338, and .300 bullet diameters. No word on the expansion of the program, but I would say its highly likely that 5.56 and other projectiles will be added in the future.
Hornady breaks down the “Fourth Degree” of Freedom:
“Current ballistic calculators provide three degrees of freedom in their approach; windage, elevation and range, but treat the projectile as an inanimate lump flying through the air,” said Dave Emary, Hornady Chief Ballistician. “This program incorporates the projectile’s movement in the standard 3 degrees but also adds its movement about its center of gravity and subsequent angle relative to its line of flight, which is the fourth degree of freedom.”
The best part? The Hornady 4DOF is complete free for anyone to use. Check out the 4DOF website here.