Making Long Range Ammo Testing Easier

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posted on July 3, 2018
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Competitive long range rifle shooters when not shooting in matches, spend a lot of their non-reloading time testing to devise the most accurate ammo they can for their rifles. Anything that can shorten the amount of time spent is always a big help. A few years ago I saw my first electronic target. I salivated over the thing! I wanted one to assist in my search for one-hole ammo at 1000 yards. I wanted to be able see my shots while firing a ladder test at long range; rather than color coding my bullets and hope I could see the color smear when I drove down to the target. However, I could not justify the $3,000 (or more) cost of even the cheapest system.

SOLO e-target unboxing
Unboxing the SOLO e-target system


Well we don’t have to spend that much anymore. I have been testing the new SOLO personal e-target ($980, by Silver Mountain Targets). I am more than very impressed with the system. I have done all my testing at 1000 yards and have had no problems. The amount of information you can learn or get from this system is immense. If you have shot on the higher cost Silver Mountain e-targets before, you will find the display and info is the same.

SOLO e-target receiver and sensors installed on target frame
One SOLO hemisphere WiFi station on the firing line, and the target frame with the four installed sensors


After building a target frame I could easily install at the range, I followed the instructions on mounting the sensor holders on the four corners, then measured and recorded the distances between them as directed. I made the frame 46 x 48 inches so it would fit in my mini-van. At the range I C-clamped my frame to the medal frame work already there and again following the directions installed four sensors (I’ll call them stacks). There are two sensors in each stack for a total of eight. I then clipped the black WiFi transmitting antenna near the bottom of the frame and connected four Cat5 network cables between the sensors and the one of the two SOLO hemispheres provided (they are different). This is where the magic occurs. The last step was to plug in the supplied rechargeable battery (battery life is about six hours).

SOLO e-target at 1000 yards
The 1000-yard test shot range


Then it was back in van to the firing line, setup my rest, rifle and my 8-inch tablet. Next step was to screw the 8-inch tall antenna to the second SOLO hemisphere and plug in its battery. Turned on my tablet and followed the simple steps in the Quick-Start guide WiFi to the SOLO system to set the width and height distance I had recorded, selected the target, the number of shots, and the number of sighters/type (convertible or not). It was time to shoot!

Calibrating the SOLO e-target
First SOLO shot prior to calibration


I will admit I chickened out and fired a few shots into the backstop to confirm my 1000-yard zero before risking putting a shot on the frame. Well, I took a deep breath and fired one at the system. I think what I said (screamed) when the first shot showed up on the screen was “Eureka”! And everyone on the line looked at me. The first round was an X at 6 o’clock at 1000 yards. I had not done any calibration yet, of course. So, we then drove back to the target, and using my finger on the tablet after selecting “Calibration,” I clicked and held to drag the target face to move the tablet hole to match the paper target I was aiming at. The calibration was off by no more than ⅛-inch. After that first shot—I was sold!

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