EBV4.2 - Exterior Ballistics Software 
for the PC

Author: Ruprecht Nennstiel, Hofheim, Germany

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This document discusses the various features of the Exterior Ballistics Software EB. This program is capable to calculate exterior ballistic trajectories of projectiles moving through the atmosphere using one out of three different physical models. The main application of the software are bullets, fired from small arms and exterior ballistic problems in the field of forensic ballistics. However, the software can also be applied to larger calibers (e.g. even artillery).
The document also contains a link to an order form for the software.

Shadowgraph of bullet at supersonic speed

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What is EB?

EBV4 (the letters stand for Exterior Ballistics Version 4) is the fourth version of a computer program, which runs on all IBM MS-DOS PCs or compatibles. It calculates trajectories of bullets or other objects (e.g. fragments) moving through the atmosphere. EBV4 can be applied to any of three physical trajectory models: The MPMM also takes into account the lift force, but assumes that the yaw angle (the angle enclosed between the tangent to the trajectory and the bullet's longitudinal axis) remains small over the whole trajectory. The application of the MPMM is restricted to conical and ogive nose shapes, for which the necessary aerodynamic coefficients can be estimated through semi-empirical formulas. EBV4 does not support the mostly advanced 6-Degrees-of-Freedom (6DOF) model, as in most practical cases, the whole set of aerodynamic coefficients applicable to this model is not available.

In most practical cases, the PMM will be adequate for bullets fired from small arms. When using the PMM, bullet side deviations are exclusively caused by cross wind.
Normally negligible influences of other forces - at least for "stable" bullets - (Coriolis force, Magnus force, Pitch damping force,...) remain unconsidered. However, when applying the MPMM, EB is capable to determine bullet stability (static and dynamic) from an estimate of the aerodynamic coefficients.

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How does EB calculate a trajectory?

The differential equations of exterior ballistics are numerically solved by a 4th order Runge - Kutta procedure with variable step size. The method (which is a standard in numerical mathematics) has been optimized for maximum speed without loss of accuracy.

The calculation of bullet drag - which is generally the major force - is based on drag functions, giving the drag coefficient cD as a function of the Mach number Ma. The software package already contains drag functions of numerous hand gun bullets, either determined and published by ballistic research institutes or resulting from measurements of the author. Of course, the user may add his own drag functions. When using the advanced MPMM, the other necessary aerodynamic coefficients are estimated by empirical formulas from projectile geometry and the instantaneous velocity.

Any parameter influencing a bullet's trajectory within the chosen physical model, can be adjusted freely by the user (weather conditions - even as a function of the altitude, terrain profile, initial conditions, firearm line of sight parameters,....). There is no limitation for the value of the departure angle (flat or high-angle shooting).

As an improvement with respect to previous versions, EBV4 is capable of running simulations, considering ballistic perturbations and errors of the shooter, resulting in bullet dispersion at the target, similar to the dispersion, which must be expected in a real shooting situation.

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Who uses EB?

EBV4 has been especially designed to handle exterior ballistic problems of bullets fired from small arms, although atmospheric conditions can be determined correctly up to altitudes of 90 km, which is sufficient even for artillery shells.

The software package contains multiple drag functions for small arms bullets and a library with more than 1800 ballistic coefficients.

Thus EBV4 may be used (and is used) by ammunition manufacturers, manufacturers of handguns and manufacturers of handgun accessories. EB is also well suited to satisfy the needs of interested hunters or sportsmen. However, it must be pointed out that EBV4 is a professional tool and requires some knowledge concerning exterior ballistics.

EBV4 has been especially designed for the necessities of forensic ballistics and indeed, almost 80% of EB users are members of forensic (police) laboratories in Germany, Europe, USA and all over the world. Forensic Ballistics is also the author's background. A bullet's trajectory can be reconstructed from a measurement of the impact angle at the crime scene. Calculations can be embedded into a real life situation and a ballistic reconstruction of a shooting incident can be created.

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Comparison with other ballistics software

EBV4 is a completely menu driven DOS software. This sounds old-fashioned in the world of modern WINDOWS software. EB as a very specialized program has been developed in the late 80's and early 90's. A great amount of features were added over the years so that almost all exterior ballistic problems can be solved with the software. On one hand a re-development of EB as a WINDOWS software cannot be done with the limited man-power of a single programmer, on the other hand the large necessary time - investment would only result in a "nicer looking" program, but not in additional program features.

Any person having a basic knowledge of ballistics and of working with PCs will be able to work successfully with EBV4. By means of very fast graphic presentations, the user has excellent control over the results of the computations.

EBV4 is fast, accurate and "state-of-the-art". Calculation times for trajectories are considerably smaller than the real flight time of the bullet under consideration. In many computations, experiments and comparisons with other sources, EBV4 has proven to yield accurate results.

EBV4 has mainly been developed for the professional user in the field of small arms ballistics and for the forensic ballistician. EBV4 is a professional tool for the professional user and goes far beyond the capabilities of exterior ballistics programs offered by various ammunition manufacturers.

As far as the author knows, EBV4 is the only exterior ballistics program on the market, which is capable of reconstructing a trajectory from findings at the impact point (backward calculations) and the only exterior ballistics program capable of running simulations.

The operator of EB can model specific complex conditions including:

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Hardware requirements

EBV4 still is a DOS application but runs on all IBM PC's or compatibles and is nearly independent of the available hardware.EB has been tested under DOS, Windows 3.x, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows Me, Windows 2000 and Windows XP. 

Graphics on paper (as a screen dump) is only possible, if the printer is compatible with one of the following printer types (most printers are at least compatible with one of the printers listed below).

Results of EB calculations can be exported via an ASCII text file, which can be imported by most graphics and word processing software.

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How can I get EB?

EBV4 is commercially available from the author and will be accompanied by an electronic English user's manual and a short German version. A single user's license, which allows EB to be run on a single PC, can be purchased for

150.- Euro,

special rates are available for multiple licenses or a network installation. For further information on pricing and payment regulations please refer to another chapter.
If you are interested in EBV4 or need further information, send an email to the author.
A test version of EB, containing only a few basic features of the software is now available. If you want to download this test version, please click here.
If you are convinced that EBV4 will be a valid working tool for your work, please visit the order page.

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Summary of EB main features


An example of an EB screen (main screen) is shown in the figure Go to figure

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Data Entry

An example of a data entry screen (entry of initial conditions) is show in the figure Got to figure.

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An example of a graphics screen (a simple trajectory) is shown in the figure  Go to figure.

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Ruprecht Nennstiel
Hofheim, Germany
For further questions and comments: send an eMail! 

Update: February 07, 2013