Shellcalc© version 5.23

A new version of Shellcalc© is available (5.23)

The following changes have been made

  1. Taken out the backgrounds on the scaled plots to make copy/paste easier into Powerpoint (It comes in transparent now if you just select the Excel graph)
  2. Updated the copy/paste instructions
  3. Added a scaled plan plot
  4. Added a screengrab of superimposing Shellcalc© onto Google earth images
  5. Changed the algorithm for calculating long duration debris – this has increased the distances a bit, but is probably more accurate
  6. Changed the display of long burn fallout so it comes directly off the shell burst diameter at 4 points
  7. Updated the terrain category function
  8. Changed some of the term on the main screen to make it clearer

We have just run a course on getting the most from Shellcalc© – more details of upcoming courses at

A few questions resulted from the Workshop:-

  1.  The plots on the main screen of shell bursts may be elliptical because Excel automatically scales the x/y axes on the plots on that screen. 
  2. Shellcalc© IS NOT a simulation tool – it is a tool for predicting shell trajectories and debris distances
  3. There are now 2 new graph screens where you can change the axes to maximise the information on the plot (as a normal Excel operation – right click and try) – specifically there to facilitate copy/paste and superposition on to images such as from Google Earth
  4. The “long burn” fallout and “normal debris” fallout plots are not meant to show exactly how the debris falls, but the distance to ground level is accurate


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ShellCalc© V4.12

** NOTE – Version 5 is now available – click here

A new version of the Shellcalc© program is now available.  The original paper describing the program is available here.

** PLEASE NOTE **  We have occasional reports that downloading the file using IE 8 results in a file with a “.zip” extension rather than “.xlsm”.  Please rename the file and it should open correctly in Excel.  Do not try and extract the individual files within the zip file.

Revision History

4.1.2 – July 2010

Allowed devices to be fired above ground level – for modelling firing from structures
Revised the initial velocities for shells to give more accurate modelling
Changed design and added larger graphics
Changed to Excel Macro-enabled format

3.2 – June 2005

Incorporated shell burst diameters
Incorporated optional allowance for shell barrelling/tumbling

3.1 – June 2003

Original version

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A Prediction of Aerial Shell and Comet Trajectories Using SHELLCALC©

John Harradine and Tom Smith

Abstract: This paper describes a model for predicting the path of aerial shells and Roman candle comets. This model, incorporated in a Microsoft® Excel-based freeware program, SHELLCALC©, predicts the trajectoryof these fireworks using point mass equations for range and height. These equations are modifi ed to take into consideration mortar/candle angle, launch altitude above sea level, wind speed and direction, comet consumption, air density and terrain, and incorporate an approximation of shell drift through tumbling motion and mortar balloting. The graphical output from the model also incorporates typical shell burst diameters.

Keywords: Shells, comets, ballistics, trajectory, fall-out

NOTE – A new version of the Shellcalc© program is now available at a dedicated website – please click here



Ref: JPyro, Issue 22, 2005, pp9-15

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