Sierra Bullets has played a major role in the development of modern exterior ballistics knowledge and calculations over the past half century. They were the company that originally discovered that bullets have different ballistic coefficients when traveling at different velocities, or “boundaries”, and then measured those differences with their own bullets. So when it comes to exterior ballistics software to compute your ultimate firing solutions, we figured theirs would be a good place to start our reviews. Their software is known as Infinity and they are currently on version 7 which is the version we purchased to review here.
We have used a few of their older versions of this software and V7, which came out in 2014, has a new user interface (UI) over the older versions. This interface is responsive and quick on our semi-modern computer. The UI is designed to operate in a “flow” method, meaning each screen of input parameters flows to the next one and unfortunately there is no way to skip between those steps…which to me may be fluid and intuitive, but is also poor UI as there is no reason to have to fill out, or select previous data for a rifle every time I want to use the software to just get actual ballistics. The details for the rifle has no impact on the ballistics data, which is what I am really after. Sure it may be nice to track the information for each specific rifle, but it should not be a required step when it just gets left blank. It is bad UI design and while not a huge deal, it is a bit annoying.
The bullet selection area is both intuitive and easy to use, and at the same time limiting. They have an extensive list of factory bullets from all the major bullet manufacturers, not just their own. To select a bullet you just select the manufacturer, then the caliber, and then the specific bullet and then “add it” to your screen. You can then provide the muzzle velocity and desired range information you want in your charts. It is easy and quick to use…but there are problems. First, we cannot find any way to specify whether you want to use G1 or G7 BCs and it appears everything is in G1 in their bullet data. Then, remember that the software came out in 2014, that is five years ago now, so some newer bullets are not there. That would be fine if we could add our own custom bullet data, which their web page says that you can. Unfortunately, the software itself in the help screen says that feature is only available in their “Suite” version, which is odd, because the Suite version is nowhere to be found on their web page where we purchased the software. So we double checked their web page and it specifically states this feature is a part of the software only version that we purchased. I have submitted a request for help from their web page, but have not heard anything back after almost a week.
If you are using factory bullets that came out before 2014 you will be fine and it is easy to use. The next screen in the “flow” is the Environment screen where you input your environmental conditions and the wind. For the wind, both profiles and field winds are accounted for and it is extensive. While you can never be exactly accurate with calculating wind effects, the Infinity software at least allows you to get closer. You can even specify vertical winds. For the environmental data, one big limitation we noticed was that there is no way to use density altitude. By specifying all of the other measured variables like altitude, temp, pressure and humidity you can get the same results as using density altitude (which is not easy to estimate or measure), density altitude is still a method that some shooters use and other software packages provided the capability of utilizing.
The computed range card tables is probably where the Infinity software shines the most. The displaying of the tables, while nice and green, is pleasant to look at and flexible. There are a lot of different columns and data rows that are available, though some of those columns are not explained for you and they might be overwhelming to some users. But you can always leave the charts in their default setting or use one of their provided pre-formatted templates for various potential shooters like “Rifle Silhouette” or “Tactical MoA”. You can adjust the zoom level, print the range card and adjust various other aspects of the chart as well. In order to actually adjust the variables that effect the ballistics, you have to go back in the flow to the bullet selection screen or environment screen by clicking the left side arrow.
The charts screen is nice and can show you a visual comparison between not only different loads and bullets, but variations in the same load, such as a different zero distances or velocities. The wind chart is also somewhat useful for giving you a visual representation of what a constant steady state wind does to the flight of your bullet. Visual charts are pretty and they provide some visual reference to what is happening, especially when comparing things side by side, but they are not that useful for the field beyond giving you some of that added knowledge. Infinity does a nice job here as well.
Beyond the ballistics data, the software also provides a couple of useful tools such as the point blank range calculator, twist rate calculator and recoil calculator. In terms of the ballistic calculations, each software vendor has their little twists that they add to enhance the accuracy of their data, at least according to them. Of course, they all use the same basic formulas, except for Pejsa, but that review will come at another time, so they are all close and similar. The one thing that we did not like in terms of calculating ballistics was the lack of the option for using G7 BCs, which tend to be a bit more accurate for smaller projectiles like rifle bullets. The presentation in Infinity is good and there are some things we really like such as not being limited on the ranges and increments of ranges to break the charts down into. But the lack of G7 and ability to create our own custom bullet information, is the biggest flaw and will be what keeps us from using this software the most. We will give Sierra a call since they do not want to respond to our online support request to see if they have a solution. There is not even the ability to update the software for a more recent database of bullets either. These little things are disappointing from such a major name in bullets and ballistics. We will keep you posted on any new developments.
Sniper Central Rating: