I recently was able to obtain and test a combination of tools for long-range shooting. A kestrel 5700 weather/wind meter, a Sig 2400 BDX laser rangefinder and Strelok Pro app (in addition to the Kestrel and Sig BDX app). @galenkp, this one is for you.
First off, let me say I have been wanting a Kestrel meter for at least 20-30 years, or whenever they came out for the general population. This was made popular back when folks really started shooting seriously at 2 mile competitions. At the time the Kestrel was paired in some videos with the Cheytac .408, a legendary long-range rifle of the time.
Any way, after all this time, I was finally able to realize my dream.
I have to say, I was very disappointed. Not that the device didn't function, it did. However, there were limitations, and the integration of these different tools together certainly did not live up to my expectations. In fact I'll say it again, very disappointing.
So let's talk Kestrel first. This is one of their more advanced models, and included "Link", to allow bluetooth. First hint of discrepancy, their documentation stated I had to buy a separate USB dongle to use the bluetooth Link, which was not the case. Nice that not needed hanging off of it, sad I had spent the extra 23 bucks to have it sent so I didn't have to wait.
Second disappointment, (and a big one) They limit to ONLY 3 weapon/load profiles UNLESS I want to upgrade to the "Elite" version for another 300 bucks. Really? That is also required to get the "range card" view. The good news, it is a downloadable firmware upgrade. After the other disappointments I'm very glad I did not pay for this up front. I will not be upgrading.
Third disappointment, the bluetooth communications capabilities were HORRIBLE. While it linked to the Kestrel app ok and I could load the profiles on the phone and upload them (well, 3 of them). Even though I carefully linked it and ensured it was working the day before the range visit, it did not work and connect when I got to the range the next day. I also could not get the Sig Kilo rangefinder to connect to it at the range, even though connected the night before. I gave up after 5 min. and went on to shooting. If it can't work in 2 min, it doesn't belong in my range bag or hunting bag.
Forth disappointment, I never did get it to connect to the Strelok Pro app, even though it appears to be a built in choice/option in the menu. I also could not get it to pair with my pixel phone in general, only within the kestrel app (and yes, I know how, very much computer geek). I also found there are limitations where it can pair with the Sig Kilo only when in ABE mode, and cannot pair to both the Sig and the app at the same time. Ugh.
On to the Sig Kilo rangefinder. While this worked well on it's own, I was again disappointed because of the overall lack of integration. Apparently it can pair with the Kestrel in ABE mode and send distance info. This was not reliable in pairing in-between uses. In order to pair with the Sig BDX app, it must be in ABU mode, which now of course does not include any info from the Kestrel. It only pulls distance info into the Sig BDX app. Wind information can be input manually into the app fairly quickly with just a touch up or down in the nice radar screen. If the Sig Kilo is in ABE mode, not in ABU mode, it will send distance, but not display range calculations. Took a while to figure that one out too.... So while the Sig good, it was not a significant upgrade from my previous Kilo 2000 except it increased my distance to just under 2 miles (reflective) and does have the bluetooth capability my other didn't. So, still like the Sig, but not sure the upgrade worth it yet.
The Sig Kilo does come with a nice carry pouch. There is a nice belt loop on the back, and it also comes with a decent lanyard for different choices. Both well done.
Here are some screen shots of the Sig BDX app. This was confusing to setup. I initially tried to connect using the Sig Kilo 2400 app, but after 30 minutes figured out that it wants the BDX app instead. Who knew that it wouldn't work with the app named after it? Bad move Sig. But once I installed the BDX app, it worked pretty smoothly. (After another 30 minutes to figure out ABU mode use only, instead of the ABE mode required for Kestrel).
Sig BDX app screens above and below.
Of course all three devices required me to enter the weapon/ammo information individually. While not showstopper, I doubt I will keep that up. I will likely just stay with the Strelok Pro app and enter the wind/distance info manually. I think I may play a bit more with connecting the Sig to the Strelok directly.
Strelok Pro app. I must say that I am impressed with this. I love this app. It works whether devices are connected or not. Best 12 dollars ever spent. It's easy to use, easy to learn, and I love the way it presents MOA, MRAD, and clicks for distance. I also love the reticle view that it provides with a visual of holdover/windage adjustment.
Strelok Reticle View. Can pick from a huge list of custom views. This mimics my Vortex Horus Tree reticle.
I only started converting my scopes to MRAD last year, so I still have a mix amongst weapons. I also love the Strelok capability to export the range card in various distance increments to excel that I can pull into my computer and print for later reference or comparisons.
Strelok Pro exported table (screen cap of excel view)
Strelok Pro Phone view of my calculated Lapua 500 yard info. (Verified on target).
All three seemed to give fairly similar reading for elevation and windage corrections, typically within 1-2 MRAD, however I'm curious as to why the difference. I will have to play a bit more, but at initial look, again the Strelok seems to be more accurate with testing on low velocity small 50 grain pellets going 850 fps and with the big higher velocity .338 Lapua Magnum 250 grain going at 2850 fps.
So bottom line is I will be staying with the Strelok Pro as my go-to tool. I may play a bit more with the BDX app as at least it didn't have the profile limits that I could tell after entering 6 profiles. The Strelok Pro is just so much more mature and easy to get to the info that I want to see that it will remain my favorite for now.
I think the Kestrel is useful as a training tool to learn how to read the wind and to measure more accurately, but in general the wind is never more than a good guess anyway since it is so fickle, quickly changing from 5-20 mph, changing direction, different at shooter point and target point and in-between. I'm not sure more than a good experienced guess is needed there vs. the range/distance being very critical.