Snell's Notebook
Snell's Notebook

For those of you here only for the notebook, please click the link above.

Join National Rifle Association 
Shooting USA


"Accuracy, Power, Speed"

The phrase 'Accuracy, Power, Speed', first made popular by Col. Jeff Cooper, means that a proper defensive tool (eg. a handgun), must be used accurately enough to place shots where they will have the desired effect, with sufficient power to create that desired effect, and do so with sufficient speed to realize the desired effect before the attacker harms anyone.  Properly executed, this technique is very different from the target shooting techniques common to most training.  Its purpose it to train you to be accurate enough and fast enough, with enough gun.

Of late we have focused quite a lot of energy on rifles.  Extending the understanding of the science and the art behind long range accurate shooting.  Much of this has come about because, though  I've been a handloader since 1966, I never (until now) learned how to efficiently adjust a given choice of ammunition components to create the best load those components will deliver in a given rifle.  I am in the process of writing the notebook (linked above) on the subject, and have listed links to copies of the emails I sent during early development to those interested in following or contributing expertise to the project.  From now on, you can read all about it right here, so the only emails I will be sending will be notifications of new postings to this page.  If you wish to be included on the notification listing, please send me an email and mention you want to be included (or removed from) the "Shooting" list.

Family members have expressed interest in becoming trained in armed self defense, and accurate long range shooting, so ...
I recently became certified as an instructor by the US Conncealed Carry Association .  The training provided under their program is primarily directed at those who have recently made the decision to carry a concealed firearm, and is primarily focused on safety and covers the wide range of information that is essential to those new to firearms, such as "Which gun is right for me?", "How do I carry this gun?", "How do these guns work?", and many more topics.  I highly recommend this training to everyone, particularly those who recently made the decision to protect themselves, and as yet don't have any experience with firearms.

I teach the unmodified USCCA classroom course for $200.00 per student.  This world class multi-media course comes with your own copy of USCCA's "Concealed Carry" magazine.  Location and time to be determined upon registration.  Men, women, boys and girls welcome.  To begin registration, plese send me an email with your contact information and preferred classroom location and the number of students you will bring to class.  NOTE: If you bring me a large group of students and provide a television equipped classroom,  I will teach the entire class for a significant discount from the individual rate.  Please contact me to discuss.

I teach continuing education courses for my USCCA CCW course graduates, to include additional practical training in firearms manipulation, shooting technique, and tactical reasoning.  These courses are designed to instill the student with the instinctive reactions necessary to detect, avoid or previal in lethal force encounters.

I can develop and teach modified courses to include specific topics and scenarios which may be of importance to your group.  Please contact me to discuss your requirements.

For those of you interested, I am going to create a separate page just for training eventually.  In the meantime, here is a screen shot of the 'bio' I put on the USCCA Instructors page ... and you can review my professional resume above.

NOTES and COMMENTS about the notebook: Precision: The ability to place a large number of shots into a small area. Accuracy: The ability to place one or more shots into a specific small area.

"In shooting, we achieve precision through equipment choices, component choices, and personal skill. We achive accuracy by first achieving precision and then by gaining experience."
Snell's Notebook - Currently Under Sporatic Yet Continuous Development

Started May, 2015.

Updated: 23FEB2018 - Combined most outstanding items into the notebook and re-indexed
Updated: 05MAR2018 - Added comments in 'Introduction to Reloading'
Updated: 08MAR2018 - Added section and comments 'Reloading Measurements'
Updated: 08MAR2018 - Added section 'Reloading For Accuracy'
Updated: 09MAR2018 - Added lots of tools and tips for reloading, worked on clean up
Updated: 23MAR2018 - Added Marksmanship, cleaned up index, reorganized
Updated: 30APR2018 - Reconfigured Site Security.  Notebook is now in its own public directory
Updated: 18MAY2018 - Additional Security Reconfguration
Updated: 07JUL2018 - Added section "Additional Stuff You Need" with bench and target stand for starters.
Updated: 29JUL2018 - Added section "Eye Dominance" and "Dominant Eye Finger Drill" under FUNDAMENTALS OF MARKSMANSHIP

Current and Future Projects:

LabRadar 'TRK' folder files are not formatted for ASCII CSV.  How to reformat them for use in Unix based systems and OFIS Spreadsheet.
This is the script I am currently using to correct this problem.

echo "Input " $1
echo "Output" $2
tr -cd '\11\12\15\40-\176' < $1 > $2
JSnell Consulting pages for Storm Tactical (or A5) DOPE book.
  • In user testing.  Pages available upon request, without right to distribute
Start 'Exterior Ballistics' section in the notebook.  Insert current wind data.
Bushnell ConX & Kestrel Sportsman (Upgraded to 5700) Test and Evaluation.
Calibrating 36" Surveyors Tape to SLOW, MEDIUM, FAST wind - Is the Kestrel 5700 fast enough to synch with photo's?
Reading wind in the spotting scope (focus short of the target, read in bullet path, what causes mirage).
Lightweight, stable, portable shooting bench (bring info in from Mail Archives)
Lightweight, low cost, portable steel target frame.  Update for 'break-down' model.
Modifying Harbor Freight 120V wirefeed welder from AC operation to DCEN (Direct Current, Electrode Negative) operation.  Why and how.

About Snell's Notebook:

This is the work I started writing on the subject of reloading for accuracy. 

As it got bigger, and more detailed, I realized I wanted to add sections on other topics, and the scope of the book is now limited only to my interests and experience.

I started this project because I wanted to know how to quickly and accurately adjust rifle reloading recipes to achieve the best accuracy in a given rifle.  Being an engineer, I wanted to achieve the goal in a reasonable number of test shots, and that's where the fun started.

In due course, it became apparent that understanding how a rifle and its cartridge work (in excruciating detail) is critical to understanding why adjusting loading recipes provides the results it does.  Thus the section on Initial Physics

If you are only interested in how to quickly develop a loading recipe you can just go straight to the section titled Finding The Right Load

I was planning to condense Finding The Right Load into a step-by-step tutorial, but about that time Scott Satterlee came up with the '10 Round Load Development Ladder Test', and I went down the next rabbit hole trying to explain WHY his method works - with very little success so far.  However it is apparent the Satterlee method does work, and uses half the shots my method uses.  Scott's method is worth a try if you have a good chronograph, or are limited to a 100 yard range.

NOTE: One spot where Scott (and a lot of other people) seem to have a misconception is that rifle barrel 'harmonics' eg vibration, differs significantly for a small change in velocity.  This is not true.  For the same bullet, every time the gun is fired (within a 'reasonable velocity range') the barrel vibrates substantially the same.  What we all are looking for is how to get the bullet out of the barrel when the barrel is moving upward, but before it peaks.  As Scott notes, he finds the charge range which exhibits the lowest velocity variation, and then can load any 'reasonable' powder to achieve that velocity with consistent success.  My problem is in finding out why a low extreme spread or 'ES' occurs at that point.

ANOTHER NOTE: I started out thinking that small groups were the desired end state (thinking like a Bench Rest shooter) however, after a little analysis of the importance of consistent velocity, I have come to the conclusion that if you can get your groups under 0.5 MOA, then you should try to get your 5 shot standard deviation or 'SD' down to single digits.  Once this is accomplished, your time is better spent on the longer ranges learning to read wind, and anticipating wind's effect on your shot.

I apologize in advance to those who find my notes to be long winded and micro-detailed.  I am trying to document WHY and HOW things happen, and any failure to make it interesting and readable is my own.  I hope at least some members of the shooting community will appreciate a detailed description that might not be available elsewhere.

Exterior Ballistics - Wind Effects

Started January 16, 2017.
Updated at random.

Competitive shooters have been using this old wind rose for decades.
I got to wondering how accurate it is for modern high BC long range bullets.

The Hornady 4  DOF exterior ballistics program accounts for drop, aerodynamic jump, and wind drift.  It also outputs directly to a file that Office Spreadsheet can read. 

In 4DOF I created an accurate profile of my 6.5 Creedmoor firing 143 grain Hornady ELDx bullets and tested the results on targets to 1,000 yards on the range.

Next, using Hornady's 4DOF,  I entered 10 mph wind at 15 degree intervals all the way around the shooter, and stored the results in 100 yard increments to 1,000 yards in the spreadsheet.
I did a little simple number crunching to combine all of the data into bullet impact points in minutes of angle horizontally and verticall away from the point of aim. 

Finally, I took that spreadsheet data into AutoCAD and created a true to scale drawing of the results.
This represents what the wind will do to a bullet very accurately, and it's qute remarkable.

Next I changed the firing location to sea level, in standard atmosphere and ran the 143 ELDx  again and added a new test on my 308's 175 Sierra Match King bullets.  These charts are the result.


As I got more involved in these plots, I found that JMBALLISCTICS and Hornady's 4DOF ballistics programs have a big difference from Advanced Ballistics Mobile in the amount of wind drift this load experiences at 1,000 yards, particularly with respect to a wind from 9 O'Clock where it adds to spin-drift.

The data below is for Hornady 143 ELDx, 2652 fps, 2473 ft ASL, 71.5F, 1-8" twist.

Raw 4DOF output:
Wind 10MPH < 90,   1000 yds; Total Come Up:  +29.10, Total Wind Drift (MOA):  5.93
Wind 10MPH < 270, 1000 yds; Total Come Up:  +29.68, Total Wind Drift (MOA): -6.99

Raw JMBallistics output:
Wind 10 MPH <90,   1000 yds; Drop (MOA): -29.1, Windage (MOA): 5.2
Wind 10MPH < 270, 1000 yds; Drop (MOA): -29.1, Windage (MOA); -5.2

Raw Advanced Ballistics Mobile ouptput:
Wind 10MPH < 90,   1000 yds; Come Up moa*: U29.80, Windage moa*; R6.15
Wind 10MPH < 270, 1000 yds; Come Up moa*: U30.50, Windage moa*; L7.35

The plot below is my latest update replacing the Hornady 4DOF above with AB Mobile data below.  The AB Mobile app allows for selecting wind by the O'Clock method, and I found it easier to plot using the O'Clock value, so there are plots every hour (30) below vs. the 15 used above.

Here is an article by Bryan Litz about the Hornady 4DOF but I don't see where the differences he referrs to should be responsible for the difference I see in this discussion.
10 MPH AB  Mobile
To test for altitude sensitivity between my home range (2473 ft AGL) and Sea Level standard atmosphere I ran the following in AB Mobile:

If the target is at Mud Lake (DA: 2473), in Spring (Temp: 71.5F) then;
10 MPH < 3 O'Clock = U29.50, R6.00 | 10 MPH < 9 O'Clock = U30.20, L7.20

If the target environment is changed to sea level std. atmo. (DA: 0ft, Temp: 59F), then;
10MPH < 3 O'Clock = U29.40, R5.95 | 10 MPH < 9 O'Clock = U30.10, L7.15

The difference is negliglible for 1,000 yards.
The new wind plot shows an entirely different set of effects from Aerodynamic Jump and Spin Drift.
I trust Brian Litz to get ballistics right.  With that said, I went back through my DOPE and found the AB Mobile solutions matched real world conditions I had recorded over many days, firing locations, weather and range.  So I'm going to rely on AB Mobile solutions from here on.

Now back to the original discussion.


Future plans:

I'm going to try this with some other bullets with lower BC's to see if any part of the old chart was even nearly correct (I'm begining to doubt it was).

I'm going to try some MV variations to see how much wind effect is changed by X fps variation (this directly translates into TOF variations).

I'm going to try some MV variations to see how much the POI changes for X fps variation in zero wind.  I think this may be useful for establishing SD limits for useful long range loads.

And as always, I'm open to suggetions for additional research ... send me an email.

This is my resume ... just for the heck of it , in case anyone want's to get to know me better:

John's Resume