DO i really need a Kestrel?

dzander

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New to this Long range shooting.
Trying to understand all this weather related stuff, ballistics, etc.
Mr Lowlight is talking about Weaponized math.
Does a new shooter really need a Kestrel besides?
Thanks
 

JLP.Payette

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New to this Long range shooting.
Trying to understand all this weather related stuff, ballistics, etc.
Mr Lowlight is talking about Weaponized math.
Does a new shooter really need a Kestrel besides?
Thanks
You don't need a Kestrel but they are nice to have. I prefer using a Kestrel over using an app, and the data is very solid. There are plenty of shooters that get by without a Kestrel.
 

Steel head

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If you want ballistic solver you can use when it’s really nasty out they’re nice.
I’ve been at this for over 10 years now and I still don’t have one but am considering it if I find a good deal.
 

A&8's

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Need? No
Nice? Yes
IMO, spend the $3-500 on ammo and gather hard data.
 
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Steel head

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I thought I was going to need one. Learned the wind changes too much between me and the target for a kestrel to help. Better off leaning to read the wind instead. IMO of course.
Lol
Yep.
It’s a nice to to map the highs and lows though.
 

dzander

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So if I could Shoot from 100 yards out to 1000 yards in 100 yard increments, and record how many mills elevation i needed on my scope to be on at those yardages, then record the weather condition at that time. I would have Dope right?

Then I have to adjust for the weather conditions ,ie. Temperature, treasure, humidity etc the next time i would shoot those same ranges. The Kestal would give me the corrections for those new conditions in a nut shell type of question??

Talking Strictly talking elevation here , not wind .

Assuming I get that dope in near still wind conditions.

Am I thinking correctly basically?

I know I have to go to some classes that would really explain all this but for now just asking.

Sorry for the dumb questions just trying to understand this better.
 

morganlamprecht

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yes basically...with the kestrel ballistic models...youd shoot/confirm your data and get it match real world data one time

each time out, the kestrel will correct your dope for the environmental changes, if needed

without a kestrel, youd capture the same data from a local weather station and input it into your ballistic app of choice...some/most apps, have the ability to update/capture this data and import it as long as you have service
 

TxWelder35

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So if I could Shoot from 100 yards out to 1000 yards in 100 yard increments, and record how many mills elevation i needed on my scope to be on at those yardages, then record the weather condition at that time. I would have Dope right?

Then I have to adjust for the weather conditions ,ie. Temperature, treasure, humidity etc the next time i would shoot those same ranges. The Kestal would give me the corrections for those new conditions in a nut shell type of question??

Talking Strictly talking elevation here , not wind .

Assuming I get that dope in near still wind conditions.

Am I thinking correctly basically?

I know I have to go to some classes that would really explain all this but for now just asking.

Sorry for the dumb questions just trying to understand this better.
I shoot out to 800 regularly and haven’t noticed any real change in Dope in different weather. Maybe .1 +\-

I am shooting at the same location every time though.
 
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morganlamprecht

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I shoot out to 800 regularly and haven’t noticed any real change in Dope in different weather. Maybe .1 +\-

I am shooting at the same location every time though.
i always tell people, it takes a lot more change than most realize

where im at in south tx, our yearly spread is usually -1500 DA in winter to 2500 DA in summer...each 2000 DA change accounts for ~.1 mil @ 600 yds, and .2-.3 mils @ 1k yds will most calibers i shoot

its comes in really handy when going to the mountains in CO/NM tho, just pull it out and go
 

Steel head

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My 260 at two different spots and seasons

this weekend in eastern Oregon
1100ish elevation
40f 900DA
800 5.7
1125 10.1
1775 25.2

late summer in the mountains
2300 elevation
70f 3800 DA

800 5.4
1125 9.5
1775 22.6
 

dzander

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Does Kestral give you what the density altitude is ?

Whats the formula for Density altitude?

How does one know what this is?
 

dzander

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I appreciate all your responses by the way, I have a lot of questions and I appreciate you guys enlightening me.
 

Steel head

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Does Kestral give you what the density altitude is ?

Whats the formula for Density altitude?

How does one know what this is?
yes.

I get DA with a kestrel drop and a phone app.
When I’m at home the Drop keeps tabs on my precious cigars in the humidor.
 

Dthomas3523

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Does Kestral give you what the density altitude is ?

Whats the formula for Density altitude?

How does one know what this is?
Kestrel will show DA in weather mode.

If you’re running AB, they use all the individual weather inputs for calculations as they feel it’s more accurate.

But you can see DA if you want to.
 

davsco

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someone at a match will always share the current environmentals with you (wind, density altitude, etc). if you have a ballistics program on your phone (i use 'shooter,' cost me $10) you can just plug that in and get your (theoretical) drops and windage holds.

or you can spend a little and just buy the basic kestrel without ballistics and do like above. that's what i did. mine is bluetooth so i have it send the DA to the Shooter program on my phone.

or you can spend more and get the ballistics-integrated kestrel so no phone/program needed.
 

DaveM

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A Kestrel is not necessary, but they are nice to have.

I shot matches for two years with my phone and BalliticAE. It was a little cumbersome and my phone battery didn’t always want to last the whole day. I never really had full confidence in the dope it produced.

I bought a Kestrel 5700. Elite because I had a credit with a vendor. I wish I had done it sooner. It’s easier to use during a match, the battery lasts, and most importantly I feel the AB Elite software and custom drag models are much more accurate than anything in a phone app. Paired with a LRF, it’s even better.

My friends were amazed when I used it for a new Rimfire setup. First round hits at 200yds on a 5” plate. Giggles all around.
 
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Jefe's Dope

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Strelok Pro and a Wind meter. A WeatherFlow will bluetooth to the Strelok app. If you're trying to save money. Otherwise get the Kestral. It won't seem like much while you're using it. But you're blind without it.

Need? No. Want? Why wouldn't you?

or you can buy more ammo and walk in all your shots. :geek:
 

dzander

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ok
Thanks all.
If I'm shooting 1 to 2 different places in the same state wishin 1000 feet of elevation of each other it sounds like the adjustments would be fairly minimal. As a new shooter i'll probably have more issue with wind than Elevation as long as I get all my come ups using actual dialed in adjustments. Still would be fun to have and experiment with.
I just hate buying electronics, the day you buy them there is always something better out.
Appreciate all your inputs.
 

morganlamprecht

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There is a surprising number of people (both with/without a kestrel) who don’t understand any of the math and factors that go into a ballistic solution

lots of shooters who get rounds on target by lots of trial and error then just try to replicate that the next time out

I’d start off by getting an understanding of what’s actually going on in the solution, whether that’s from a kestrel or an app, and it will make the calculations, adjustments, and what’s happening down range a lot easier to get a handle on as you progress
 

Steel head

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Thanks all.
If I'm shooting 1 to 2 different places in the same state wishin 1000 feet of elevation of each other it sounds like the adjustments would be fairly minimal. As a new shooter i'll probably have more issue with wind than Elevation as long as I get all my come ups using actual dialed in adjustments. Still would be fun to have and experiment with.
I just hate buying electronics, the day you buy them there is always something better out.
Appreciate all your inputs.
Well the apps and kestrel have been around for a long time and are still relevant unlike most of the electronics like computers.

my advice, start taking notes or a log now and look into the free apps for now.
 

pewpewfever

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Are you competing?

When I started competing I used geoballistics and it downloads the weather app from a nearby weather station, or you can sync with a weather flow or enter the data manually.

Then I went with a weather flow instead of kestrel on advice from the local club. They said get the weather flow for now and upgrade to a kestrel when I feel like the weather flow is holding me back. I found the length of time it takes for the weather flow to sync with my phone and take a reading to be kind of frustrating.

For now, I’m going with analog instruments like these.




Not dependent on batteries, no delay in taking readings, and I think being able watch the wind speed fluctuate in real time is helping my wind reading skills. We’ll see.

I still want a kestrel so I can be one of the cool kids.
 

pewpewfever

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BTW, Leopold is offering a rebate right now for a free kestrel 5700 if you buy a mark 5HD.

83F4B4AD-32A4-474F-9E98-4741A5C9DE49.png
 

dzander

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I'm not competing yet. I will likely shoot just local long range matches and try to learn the sport / wind. If I really get into it maybe I will do more. Hitting steel at long range intrigues me.
Just bought a Kahles 6-24 mill with SMR3 reticle off a guy on here or I'd consider the Leupold Mark 5 and get the Kestrel.
I have two 6.5 creedmoor rifles, a Savage with a heavy barrel and a brake but the stock sucks.
Also won a Ruger American with a brake at a NRA banquet. I have reloading stuff for the 6.5cm and load now for my savage.
I mounted the Kahles on the Ruger just try it out. Just did a tall target test on the scope for tracking and it looked good going up 10 mills on elevation and 2 mills left right on windage, came right back to zero, tracking looked spot on.
I have a old Remington 22-250 with a Hart ss heavy barrel and a Shilen trigger. The action was trued up by a Benchrest smith when I had the Barrel installed. This is from the 90's. I bedded it in a cheap plastic molded stock and i was able to shoot 1/4"-1/2" 5 shot groups with it at 100 yards with 55g ballistic tip reloads . So I think the action is pretty decent Its been sitting since the late 90's. I took the action to a local Smith the guys around here use and he's fitting a Kreiger 6.5 cm x 24" barrel to it and adding a Picitany 20 moa rail scope mount to it. I have ARC rings for the scope.
It won't be done till end of February. I'm trying to decide on a chassis/stock to put the barreled action into. The Guys around here use Mccrees G10 chassis but guys on here said Mccrees tried to sue people over the level in there stock or whatever and don't use them, don't support the sport etc. Figured I'd see what's new after the 2020 Shot show for a stock/chassis.
 

pewpewfever

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Mea culpa I said I used geo ballistics above when I meant BallisticsARC. It’s the only ballistics app I’ve used so far, except chairgun, which is for air rifles.
 

alfmoonspace

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I fumble when I am out in the bush/planes to need a Kestrel. I have a 4500 and hardly use it unless I am in a match. I print my dope on a rite in rain paper and make annotations when I need to.

Rinse and repeat.
 

Smokin7s

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I appreciate all your responses by the way, I have a lot of questions and I appreciate you guys enlightening me.
My .2 if you want it. I’m pretty new to it as well (4 years-ish) a kestrel will save you lots of frustration and yeah it’s important to go get hard data and you’ll have to match your data to your kestrel output but it’s also nice to go shoot and not have to do a science experiment everytime flipping through your book. And every boomer is going to say “just go shoot” which is great and all but acting like shopping for gear isn’t just as fun and having nice things doesn’t make it more enjoyable is a real head in the clouds approach. I’d recommend getting a 5700 with 4dof, but watch people use them and explain them on YouTube and see if it’s kind of what you’re wanting. I like the 4dof because I love the Hornady app and you can link them. Buy what you want but also “go shoot” you don’t have to shoot a raggedy old .308 and a 10x mk 4 lol you can buy nice stuff before or during your “go shoot” period it’ll make you like it that much more. Whipping out the old weather channel app isn’t always very accurate.
 

Nicholi2789

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My 2 cents.
I did about two years of long range before I upgraded to a Kestrel. I kept and still keep extensive notes on conditions, dope, and everything else every time I shoot. I like having hard data to refer to.
I will say this, buying the Kestrel 5700 Elite is one of the best purchases I've made in long range shooting.
No more using multiple apps for weather and dope. Just spin it and it updates. The applied ballistics software and custom curves are more accurate than any other software I've found.
You will still need to learn to read wind using optics and understand humidity, pressure, elevation, DA, and how all those things factor into your firing solution. Especially if you want to be a well rounded shooter.
But man is it nice to be able to take a quick wind reading where you're standing then look through the glass and verify the conditions down range. Or just punch the range into your Kestrel and have it spit out a firing solution you can be confident in.
I shoot competitively a lot and the Kestrel is one of the more valuable tools in my toolbox.

Do you absolutely need it? No.

Is it worth the money and worth having? Hell yes.

Having nice gear is great. It won't make you a better shooter obviously. But it's your money and all these things add enjoyment to this great hobby.
Nothing wrong with spending your money on nice equipment.
 
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dzander

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I picked up the Sportsman. Used it last weekend, plugged in my bullet and velocity info. I was able to shoot paper at 300 and 400.
Elevations were right there. Shot steel from 235 to 900 and while I didn't hit them all I did get hits at every yardage using Kestrel elevations.
Spotter was giving me wind adjustments. The shooting line has trees around it then a big valley thats open , then steel at 715 yards has a tree line beside it. The 715 target took 1 mil windage to hit it. Bullet being pushed almost 26" by the wind. I'm all new to this but I am glad I got it. Lot to learn.
 

Fig

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I’m going to sort of disagree with everyone. Yes, your rifle and a milling scope are all you HAVE to have, (not including DOPE, because that’s a given) but the two things in my hand other than the rifle are a range finder and my Kestrel. In a match or otherwise it’s confirm range to the target and wind first. Yea, it’s “nice” to know the range to your target. It’s also “nice” to know the true wind and atmospherics...

Everything is always a guess. The range finder and the Kestrel give you solid data to make your guess far, far more accurate, and therefore your rounds far, far more accurate.

Yes, I can shoot without them, but I never do, because good data makes for a good guess, and getting impacts makes me happy. Misses piss me off. Every single time I hold my Kestrel in my hand I make a guess before I look at it. I can tell you for certain that my wind-calls without a Kestrel have gotten exponentially better because I use one every time I shoot. From using a Kestrel so much I NEED one less and less, because it makes my unaided guesses better and better. I hope that makes sense because it’s pretty straightforward.

You don’t have to get the 5700 with the solver and Bluetooth included. Any anemometer is better than nothing, but I would bet your shooting would seriously improve if you went full boat and learned how to use all the functions. Most of the time I’m just looking at wind direction and speed, and checking the density every hour or couple of hours. I really only use the full functionality when shooting by myself, and seeing what kind of solution it presents compared to my unaided one. I put it in the vane on a tripod, and send everything to my phone right next to me. It gives you everything right there; still amazes me.

In conclusion you don’t have to have one to shoot, but if you are a serious marksman who wants to improve you “need” one...just like you need a new rifle in an obscure caliber!
 
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Steel head

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Well @Fig,,,,,,I’d disagree with TRUE wind.
Maybe true wind at shooters position but that is often far from the total total wind situation of the bullets path to target.
 

Fig

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True, but unless your shooting ELR the wind at your position is usually the most relevant. Lots of times the wind does weird shit at range and you just have to know what it’s doing. I’ve shot against a hill that created a strong downdraft that moved your bullet almost a full mil down @800yds. The first shot I was thinking WTF, but it was fairly consistent, and you just had to know...

I guess I’m using “true wind” in the moboard/military sense of determining what the wind is actually doing when observed on a moving ship...;)
 

Nicholi2789

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I’m going to sort of disagree with everyone. Yes, your rifle and a milling scope are all you HAVE to have, (not including DOPE, because that’s a given) but the two things in my hand other than the rifle are a range finder and my Kestrel. In a match or otherwise it’s confirm range to the target and wind first. Yea, it’s “nice” to know the range to your target. It’s also “nice” to know the true wind and atmospherics...

Everything is always a guess. The range finder and the Kestrel give you solid data to make your guess far, far more accurate, and therefore your rounds far, far more accurate.

Yes, I can shoot without them, but I never do, because good data makes for a good guess, and getting impacts makes me happy. Misses piss me off. Every single time I hold my Kestrel in my hand I make a guess before I look at it. I can tell you for certain that my wind-calls without a Kestrel have gotten exponentially better because I use one every time I shoot. From using a Kestrel so much I NEED one less and less, because it makes my unaided guesses better and better. I hope that makes sense because it’s pretty straightforward.

You don’t have to get the 5700 with the solver and Bluetooth included. Any anemometer is better than nothing, but I would bet your shooting would seriously improve if you went full boat and learned how to use all the functions. Most of the time I’m just looking at wind direction and speed, and checking the density every hour or couple of hours. I really only use the full functionality when shooting by myself, and seeing what kind of solution it presents compared to my unaided one. I put it in the vane on a tripod, and send everything to my phone right next to me. It gives you everything right there; still amazes me.

In conclusion you don’t have to have one to shoot, but if you are a serious marksman who wants to improve you “need” one...just like you need a new rifle in an obscure caliber!
Agreed.

I like using my Kestrel to confirm educated guesses in wind speed too. I keep it with me in my bug out bag every day.
Often when I'm out and about and there is wind I will guess the wind speed based off visual cues and the feel of it, then pull out my Kestrel and get an actual reading and see how close I was.
This has gotten me alot better at judging wind speeds by feel.
I still feel like learning to read wind speed/direction by looking through binos/spotter is a much more valuable skill to get good at. But it all helps.
 

Steel head

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No.

But realize that if you are competing, you are leaving hits on the table.
Probably 70-85% of the time where I shoot going off of wind at shooters location is leaving hits on the table.
In eastern Oregon and Washington I’m pretty confident with a kestrels wind calls.
In the mountains and valleys of western Oregon and Washington?
F12078A2-6246-4D16-B015-7AE40A8698B9.gif
 
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dzander

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Ya that's the issue I think i had last weekend.
A flag is moving out near target and there was little to no wind at shooting position.
That separates the men from the boys! My second time I shot there so little to no experience, the spotter said put a 1 mil adjustment left and bingo a hit.
I bought the Kestrel but if it was just that easy everyone would.
 

morganlamprecht

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following the kestrel blindly is leaving hits on the table anywhere you shoot, if you shoot different locations

its just a gauge to use its value as a reference while observing mirage, down range wind, and terrain/obstacles
 

rth1800

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I like and use the "simple" Kestrel. It displays wind speed, DA temp, humidity. I had a fancier model that had Bluetooth etc. I prefer a range card. Sold that fancy one.
 

Steel head

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Do you even really need to shoot?
Not when it’s time for coffee or a good fart.

I sitting at home, state is in lockdown, sun is out and I’m not up in the hills bangin steel.
:(

Some day I’ll get a kestrel but at the moment my phone app, dope sheets and kestrel D3 are doing well for me.
 
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Tokay444

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Very few things in reality that people truly need. A Kestrel isn't on that short list.
The original question needs to be rephrased.
Also, 7.
 

Nicholi2789

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Probably 70-85% of the time where I shoot going off of wind at shooters location is leaving hits on the table.
In eastern Oregon and Washington I’m pretty confident with a kestrels wind calls.
In the mountains and valleys of western Oregon and Washington?
View attachment 7282212
Agreed. As anybody versed in long range will tell you.
I was shooting this spot in Western Oregon yesterday. Where I was shooting from it was dead calm, yet I was still holding about 1.2-1.5 mils to get impacts.
Shooting down across several canyons from high up makes it even harder to tell what the wind is actually doing.
That's when making an educated guess and spotting that first shot becomes really important.
 

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pmclaine

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Been asking the same question.

Used a loaner as part of a class at Sig Academy and understood the advantages of having one but didnt think it was absolutely necessary. That particular range though provides A) an instructor spotting your hits, and more importantly misses and B) has pretty good berms for spotting misses.

Last Friday I took advantage of Camera Lands sale on the discontinued Sportsman model.

$250 seemed like a good price to pay as the real value for me will be giving me some true weather/atmosphere data beyond my "feels like" estimates.

Ill find stuff like the "milling calculator" useful. and Ill now leave the calculator I bring with me at home and get weather and a brain in the just slightly bigger Kestrel.

Of course I couldnt just be happy spending $250 so I will be spending an extra $190 to upgrade the Sportsman to a 5700 Elite which will allow me to put the profiles of 3 more rifles into the on board data.

It will be a good buy but in my limited use I learned the information it gives is incomplete and what it does give is in addition to/confirming the properly referenced history recorded in your data book.
 
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Steel head

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Agreed. As anybody versed in long range will tell you.
I was shooting this spot in Western Oregon yesterday. Where I was shooting from it was dead calm, yet I was still holding about 1.2-1.5 mils to get impacts.
Shooting down across several canyons from high up makes it even harder to tell what the wind is actually doing.
That's when making an educated guess and spotting that first shot becomes really important.
Lol
You know the drill!
It gets pretty interesting at times doesn’t it?
I’ve actually watched trace zig zag to a target before.

And those mysterious vertical changes all of the sudden!

POW your 19 mils of elevation just went to 21+
 

Dthomas3523

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So, a few things I still have after trying most every toy and gadget possible, literally hundreds of thousands of dollars of gear. Much of it on a revolving door basis if I didn’t like it or was nuetral on it:

Kestrel 5700 elite
Swaro SLC 15x56 binos
AI-AT rifle

I have plenty of other stuff currently, but those are the three items that have consistently stayed with me.