The Precision Rifleman has a plethora of tools at his/her disposal in this modern era. What was once thought to be extremely hard or only in the realm of the most highly trained snipers is now common knowledge or skill for a lot of weekend warriors (when it comes to actually shooting; field craft is another skill entirely). Rifles and optics are built better than they were 20 years ago and most of us who are heavily into the sport/tactical side of precision shooting have access to an Applied Ballistics Kestrel or at the very least access to ballistic software on our smart phone or through various websites such as JBM.

So what is Speed Drop Shooting? In its simplest form you want to be able to have your DOPE match your range within 0.1 or 0.2mil of your range to target divided by 100. Eg. 250m = 2.5mil, 370m = 3.7mil & 420m = 4.2mil etc. Can you see the pattern?

Before we dive into how we come up with this data you might be asking yourself: “Why would I want to be able to do this” , “Who would use this?” , “Can I do this?”

To answer these questions:

  • Because as the name suggests it is for speed.
  • Hunters, Designated Marksman, Snipers and Sports Shooters.
  • Yes you can. I’ll walk you through the process of how to do it.

Please Note: Speed Drop Shooting has its limitations and will NOT work for all ranges. There is a bracket for each cartridge and rifle where it will work depending on your target size.

Method 1: How Do I Calculate Speed Drop?

Applied Ballistics Kestrel 5700 Elite

First of all lets give you some data for those of you playing along at home with your own Kestrel. In the Image Below is my data for my 175 SMK load fired through my Accuracy International AX308. If you feel so inclined you can input this information into your own Kestrel in order to follow along. You can also use your own data. Note: Make sure this data is verified or trued for your conditions in order to get the best results.

My data for the 308 Winchester 175 SMK load fired through my Accuracy International AX308

Next step is to go into your Kestrel’s System settings and make sure Accuracy 1st is turned ON.

Make sure in your System Settings Accuracy 1st is turned ON

Next update your environment and make sure it is LOCKED

Update your environment and then LOCK it

Next scroll down to Accuracy 1st and ENTER on it.

Scroll down to Accuracy 1st and ENTER on it

This will take you to the meat and potatoes of what we are doing. Scroll down to the SpdDrp and ENTER on that.

Scroll down to SpdDrp and ENTER on that. (Ignore the other numbers you see for now as I have already calculated the Speed drop on mine)

Once into the Speed Drop menu scroll down to Calculate and hit GO. From here it will calculate the SpdDrp#, Rng Min and Rng Max. Please note you can go into the SpdDrp# and adjust the Error to +/-0.1 or 0.2. If you leave it on 0.2 it will give you a greater range the speed drop is useful at.

Scroll down past Rng Max to Calculate and hit GO and it will produce something like seen here. If you go into SpdDrop# you can adjust the error to +/-0.1 or 0.2. This is left on 0.2 for a greater range of usability.

So, as you see above your SpdDrp# or Speed Drop Number is 1.6 mils with a minimum range of 164m and a max range of 584. Lets round them to 160m and 580m respectively. Now we can check our known range card data and see how it lines up adding the 1.6 mil Speed Drop Number. Keep in mind it should be within +/-0.2 mils.

Lets look at the table below to illustrate it for those visual learners among us.

Please Note: This speed drop is only correct between 164m – 584m however you may still get a vital shot between 100m and 600m depending on your target size

Looking at that information presented above any target/vital zone of say 12cm max should be an achievable shot all the way out to 600m just using the Speed Drop data. Considering the vital zone on a deer is about 30cm in size you are well within that for each range. Food for thought right there at how useful this can be for the average hunter. For any Snipers or Designated Marksman have a think about it too. Quick fleeting targets in built up urban areas using your range card this could be a time saver using holds.

To input this into you scope you would dial 1.6 mils below your zero and hold your elevation if you are using something like a Tremor3 reticle. Or you could dial the 1.6 mils below zero. Rezero your Turret then dial. Eg 3mil for 300m, 4.5 mil for 450m etc. Easy.

1mil = 100m, 2mil = 200m, 2.5mil = 250m, 3.6mil = 360m etc. You get the idea how fast this would be

This is Part 1 of 2. In the second part we will look at how to get the same result using just our old school known DOPE or a ballistic program without the kestrel. It is much easier than you might think.