A good data book is a vital piece of equipment for users of the long-range precision rifle. It can tell you many things both about your particular rifle, its characteristics for either the Cold Bore Shot, or a series of shots, and your capabilities with it at any given moment during some shared time at the range, or in the field.
Real Important Stuff if it just happens that your life, or somebody else's, is on the line in the crosshairs. For those of us not involved with such critical decisions, it is basically a diary on the shooter/rifle/ammo triad's performance in the field.
Without a doubt the original TRGT data book is one of the finest non-custom versions available to the public. The original is written (for those who have just entered the Sniping field) for the US Military 7.62x51mm NATO M80, M852, M118SpB, and M118LR rounds, which was very thoroughly and carefully reviewed by S/C staffer Scott Powers in September of 1999.
Recently released in late June of 2000, was the version tailored for the .300 Winchester Magnum cartridge. (My copy arrived on July 8th, 2000 just a few short days after ordering.)
The 300 Win. Mag. book came complete with the optional Olive Drab coloured LBT Cordura Nylon Databook Cover for storage of the spiral bound book, and the related vital accoutrements like 2 pens, a pencil, a solar powered calculator, Mil-Dot Master, Slope Doper, compass, and thermometer.
The latest version has a thick black plastic spiral "wire" binding with bent ends that keeps all the 250+ pages neatly together. No need to worry about rust, rot, or losing data. Unless the pages are physically torn out, they are just not coming out!
It might just be the fact much of my "real work" entails that all duty notations are made in permanently bound logs, and loose leafs are strictly Verboten. This also carries over to my field notes, which are kept in one of those "mini" 80 sheet composition books with the sewn and taped binding, just in case it may have to be used as court evidence, or to refresh my Geezing memory as necessary.
Some competitors use a ring binder and sheet protector covers, my experiences with that system in the field showed it was frail, clumsy, and plain noisy with the rings "tink-tinking" off each other. Not a good thing!
The new data is specifically geared for the NSWC DODIC A-191 .300 Winchester Magnum round which propels a 190 gr. Sierra BTHP at a velocity of approximately 2900 fps. This round is currently in use with all of the "Sniping" branches of the US Armed Forces, and quite possibly some Federal Law Enforcement Agencies. For a brief history of this sniping round's historical evolution in a press release read here. (Images of a 5-page fax)
The A-191 gives the operational sniper a significant increase in range over the 7.62x51mm, enhanced hard target penetration, and reduced wind deflection, without the report signature and necessary bulk of the behemoth .50 BMG sniping rifles.
The comparative commercially available round is Federal Cartridge's superlative Gold Medal Match 190 gr. BTHP (stock #GM300WM) which is the true production version of the A-191. This statement is based on the fact that Federal has garnered the first large production contract for T&E, and then an NSN for issuance to USN Spec-Ops personnel and Navy shooting teams.
Another similar ballistics candidate is the Black Hills Ammunition 190 gr. load which has recently found favour with many Law Enforcement and Civilian Tactical Shooters.
One of the greatest virtues of the .300 Win. Mag. lies in the fact of ammunition being readily available throughout the continental USA, and with most of the world's ammunition manufacturers producing at least one variation or another, it should not be hard to acquire in the far corners of the civilized world...
The main differentiation between the two data books is the inclusion of trajectory data for the A-191 round (referred to as the A-121), a 13 mph Wind Drift Table, and lastly a Wind Constant Table. This material is presented in a side by side columnar format including both Yard and Meter versions and increments running in hundreds intervals from 100 to 1000.
I was however quite surprised to find that the full Wind Drift Chart for the .300 Win. Mag. was not present, and the one for the .308 Winchester was included instead.
Yes, you can use the provided .300 Win. Mag. Wind Constant Table to derive these figures, but a chart is far simpler to use in the field.
All of the normal technical references and vital data sheets mentioned in Scott's review are still there and just as handy as ever. Fortunately, you won't need a surveyor's theodolyte, engineering calculator, and multi purpose spy watch to use this Databook in the field.
The layout is VERY clear, easy to understand, and use, even for simple old me! Should you have any difficulty with utilizing the Databook to its full capacity, a downloadable instruction file/manual is available from the makers.
Field notations on the green Rite in the Rain paper can be made neatly and clearly even with a genuine US Government issue Skilcraft pen. I have separated the pertinent sections with some small metal 3/8" binder clips. This keeps the pages from flipping over during windy conditions, and works much better than tabbing the primary pages.
The book's subsections, which I have found to be the most valuable for my particular uses at this time, include the following:
Especially well done, and the character illustration vividly reminds me of a certain "imported" taxi cab driver who exchanged some rather unpleasant, and accent garbled words with me in Washington, DC. way back in 1980.
I began this section with the installation of a Leupold 3.5-10x40mm M-3 scope on the rifle #1, replacing the 3.5-10x50mm Leupold, and the resultant need to re-zero. The prior round count through the stick is noted on one of the pages for reference.
All of the pertinent data necessary is provided for and can be accurately recorded to assist with later events, or situations.
In addition to marker targets, notation points for target speed and Mil Dot leads are provided for quick reference. Target speeds can be recorded in either mph or fps simply by circling the pre-printed text. Very Nice Indeed.
The sheets are also provided for long term references on single sheets, another nice touch!
These pages allow the end user to fill in gaps for their particular requirements; a LEO sniper/sharpshooter might include cinder blocks, doors, street signs, tire rims and wheels, window frames, telephone/light/utility poles, underground power utility boxes, trash dumpsters, or whatever else is relevant to their operational environment.
The same considerations apply to military snipers, but the list probably would be greatly expanded to include various military aircraft, vehicles, portable installations, and heavy equipment.
I would like to see the General Information Target Dimensions page expanded by one side of a page with the addition of typical training targets and their measurements - such as the Military "E" and "F" series, B-27 Police, European figure 11 and 12 targets, Q type Federal targets, and the IPSC type target. My own book has this target data currently logged for tactical shooting events, but others may find it quite helpful to have it pre-printed with line drawings.
Keep all the particulars on ammunition types, and the number of rounds fired through a barrel in a clear and concise manner.
With some very minor revisions; Including the .300 Winchester Magnum Wind Drift chart, and a just a wee little bit more pertinent data for targets' dimensions, this information source (like its sibling tome) will be the standard to which all other range/data books will be judged for quite some time. (Note: These revisions are currently under serious consideration by TRGT Operational Partners Kent Gooch and Hugo Teufel and may appear either as inserts, or product upgrades on future editions.)