Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default Long range shooting log book...

    Plenty of places on the net detail the importance of and what information should be in a log book. Some also separate the "tactical" instant needs and stuff that's just data collection for future use in choosing loads etc...

    Having an excel spreadsheet or something similar full of every bit of info worth keeping track of for shooting and having a separate "Tactical log", or quick reference log, that you keep with you everywhere you go shooting would be worth doing for long range target shooting.

    The data log for a given shooting session would include altitude, temperature, air density, date, time, wind speed and direction, the ammunition specs, number of rounds fired for the barrel used, point of aim, point of impact, range, group sizes, round count, scope elevation needed, windage adjustments, departure angle, light direction, etc... etc... etc...

    Of course, if you shoot at the same range most of the time you only have to record conditions different from usual. For example, altitude and departure angle won't change every time you go to the range.

    A quick reference log would only have the information you need to make particular shots.

    Am I over or under thinking this? Anything missing? Other comments?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Long range shooting log book...

    Last edited by Hawk; September 26th, 2008 at 03:18 PM.
    Toujours prÍt

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Long range shooting log book...

    Howdy Stormrider. Looks like you have a pretty good idea of what you need to do in terms of log book. I'm not sure that I would necessarily keep an excel spreadsheet right off the bat, although it wouldn't hurt. As you accumulate more data and log books that you don't carry, I think you wouldn't make use of that data unless it was all combined. I suppose it would be a preference on whether or not you want to do it as you start to accumulate data, or do it later after you have more to enter.

    You have a pretty good idea of the variables that you need to keep track of. If you are reloading I would keep track of your load data, and so you can see how it performs differently at different temperatures and pressures, etc. You mentioend keeping track of air density, but you might also want to keep track of barometric pressure, they are actually slightly different, but both do increase and decrease in a similar fashion. I would also keep track of my throat length in the chamber in the log book (just whenever you measure it, not every page), so you can adjust the seating depth of your loads, etc as you need to. I know alot of shooters like to keep track of how they "feel" as well; like if they're tired, nervous, stressed, had too much caffeine, need a cigarette, etc, cold, etc. If you shoot from different positions, you need to keep track of what the information is for which position, and what the zero is for that position (zeroes change from shooting kneeling, sitting, prone, etc). As you start your log book, I would also note the measurement of the scope height; if you change scopes or rings, etc, make sure that this is noted in the data from then on, because you will have a different scope height. Some shooters will also note if there's heavy mirage and if the target appears to "jump" sometimes, so that they can account for misses due to very heavy mirage, and also target color (especially if milling because lighting conditions can effect the appearance of the size).

    Obviously your dope is something that you'll be keeping track of, but the other conditions is what will help you make reliable adjustments on cold bore shots. Now this is something definately worth mentioning. The "goal" of almost every long distance shooter I know is the first round "cold bore" shot. In order to do this you will have to keep track of all the variable, but also how the "cold bore shot" will fall differently from others. Some shooters believe that the "cold bore" shot deviation is usually caused by "cold mind" and that some dry firing and getting ready to shoot can reduce or eliminate. Others swear up and down that there will always be a deviation in cold bore shot (some think it depends on the rifles, loads, etc); either way I can give you more webpages that discuss this issue if you're interested. You should be keeping track seperately (in a seperate spot on the page) of your cold bore shot, IF you want to be able to reliably make cold bore shots. You should tell how it deviates from the rifle's zero, etc. In this way, you can make the adjustments for the cold bore shot, or make preparations for it like dry firing, etc.

    You're definately not over thinking your logbook, they're very important. I heard of a long distance shooter that when he got divorces and seperations from his wives, he didn't even bother grabbing his rifles, he grabbed his log books. He knew the rifles were so expensive that he could always get them back and that they were locked in a big heavy safe, but the log books for that rifle were easily "lost" or "destroyed" and hard to prove the worth of, etc. Good logs books are that important to some people. Hope that helps.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Long range shooting log book...

    Keeping one log for shooting would be simpler as it looks like i'm going to have one for reloading too. Keeping all the data for shooting in one place and all the data for reloading in another would keep me more organized.

    Since I'll just be starting out i won't be reloading right away. I get a starting point point of sorts for the rifle with factory ammunition before i start working up my own loads and experimenting.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Long range shooting log book...

    I think you misunderstood, I'm not saying to keep your reloading data in your log book. I think that you should just keep track in your data of where you are. If you keep track of your throat length, you'll know exactly when you last measured the throat length, and how it affected that accuracy. I'm just saying on one page, when you measure it, put it on there, so that after that it's that same throat length until you get to the next page with a measurement. Just so you know where you're at in your reloading, in correlation to where it matches up with your log book.

    Just something for you to be aware of, you probably won't learn a whole lot from factory ammunition unless it's something like black hills or federal match (which will work for long distance). Up close you might learn a little bit with factory ammunition, but not so much out a distance. You also won't learn anything about your dope, because later when you do reload, you'll be using different dope. Most reloaders would agree that factory loadings are a "moderate" loading, and don't usually utlilize what your particular rilfe might be able to safely handle. There can be a fair amount of deviation in velocities from powder charges, etc. Also, when you start to reload your own, you may be using different bullet weights, with different ballistic coefficients, and different velocities. Anytime that you change loads, your dopes will change, but I'm just saying you will see a fairly drastic change going from factory ammunition to reloads taylored to your rifle. Just be aware that you'll have to "in a way" start over when you start reloading. Best of luck and it appears you have the right idea.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Long range shooting log book...

    I have one of the log books ready made on rite-in-rain paper that have all the data sheets you'll need plus a ton of other useful information for reference. I forget the company name that made mine since it's at home locked in the safe, but it includes summary tables, moving target lead data sheets, range cards, standard data sheets, round count log, CBS logs, etc. There's enough summary tables in there that you can track data for various ammo. I stuck it in a log book cover that has room for pens, small calculator, etc. I love it.

    I just started reloading and keep a seperate log book to track the ammo I load. brass, powder, lenghts, bullets, lot numbers, etc. I id the ammo by date loaded, then list that date in my log book so I can back reference what I loaded without cluttering up the log book. seems to be working so far.

    I think you're on the right track. Good luck!

    ETA: Mine was made by U.S. Tactical Supply.
    Last edited by arrrrgh15; April 17th, 2009 at 01:20 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Long range shooting log book...

    I use a TRGT Data Book for my long range weapons.

    Description:

    Mil-Spec materials and construction. Printed 20 lb. bond, tactical green "Rite-in-the-Rain" paper. Cover made of polydura plastic with black plastic spiral ring. 128 leaves, 256 pages of data book. 14 pages of formulas, conversion tables, and charts on range estimation, wind, moving targets, and angle fire. Data sheets for zero summaries, cold bore shots, zeroes, bullseye, stationary, unknown distance, and moving targets. Various mission sheets and a barrel log included. For 7.62 mm NATO/.308 and .300 Win. rifles.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Long range shooting log book...

    Hey -

    As far as logging your usage and tracking live and dry fire activities ( as well as drills activity, IPSC & IDPA too) I have found that the website http://www.rangelog.com is a very adaptable online application that makes it very easy to keep track of your useage, no matter what it is or what you may need. They have advanced fields for lighting, weather conditions, ammo types, etc. etc. It's a very advanced or simple online shotlog.

    And it's free, which is always good. Just my 2 cents.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Long range shooting log book...

    Also check out Impactdatabooks.

    you can pick and choose, mix and match data sheets. I just picked up a set of match specific sheets on rite in rain paper for a match I'm shooting in May. Ordered on Saturday and I had them on Monday. I've shot with the owner and he's a stand up guy and has a good product.

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