Ballistics by the inch

So, I’ve been thinking…

…and I’d appreciate your feedback in comments here, or on our Facebook page.

As I mentioned last weekend, I’ve been considering doing some redesign on this blog. And as part of that, I’ve been pondering over the whole BBTI project a bit.

No, there’s nothing wrong with what we’ve got, or what we’ve done. The way the project has been received these last two years is proof that there is a great deal of interest in our research. I’m regularly seeing our data cited in discussions all over the web, and that is very rewarding.

But what about something . . . more? Look at the paragraph above, and one thing really stands out: “what we’ve done” “our research” “our data”. Now, I take pride in our accomplishments, no doubt. But BBTI was never really meant to serve as the definitive data resource – there’s just too much research that needs to be done. This is reflected in the frequent requests we get to do testing on .22s or this or that rifle cartridge – people want to know what their options are, what are the pros and cons of a given load or barrel length.

When I am surfing firearms forums, I frequently see people posting some of their own informal research. The availability of quality inexpensive chronographs means that almost any serious shooter can get their own and do some testing. But often this data is only cited in a given thread somewhere, and just a few people see it. Further, it serves as anecdotal information at best, since usually all you see is some very basic info along the lines of “I tested that Gold Dot load and got 947 fps out of my 5″ Kimber”. Good to have, but hard to find and difficult to compare to the results that others have come up with.

What if we had a central clearinghouse for people to pool their test results? Someplace where you could go and quickly find out what results others were getting from different guns and ammunition? Where you could add your own information about a particular cartridge in a standard format, so that everyone would understand what it meant and how to trust it?

I’m talking about crowdsourcing a ballistics Wiki. BBTI could serve as the backbone of such a resource – providing a template for additional testing and the posting of results. We could turn our project into a launching pad to really make use of all the energy and talent that so many firearms enthusiasts could contribute, and build a resource that would benefit all.

I’d love your thoughts on this – it’d be a big project to get started, to host, to manage. But if there is enough interest, it’d be worth doing.

Jim Downey

January 8, 2011 - Posted by | Anecdotes, Data, Discussion., General Procedures


  1. […] I came up with an audacious idea. This is something which happens to me now and again. Most of the time, I chuckle over it, consider […]

    Pingback by “If you build it . . . “ « Communion Of Dreams | January 10, 2011 | Reply

  2. […] am still thinking about changes to both this blog and the BBTI site, but decided to shelve that project until we got on the other […]

    Pingback by “We can make it bigger. Faster. With more data. We can make it… « Ballistics by the inch | April 26, 2011 | Reply

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