Reading the wind

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    • #863
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Noticed on another topic that Milton made the comment ” You can’t win with a 1 MOA rifle when others are shooting 1/4 MOA rifles” also on that same topic wind was mentioned. So maybe that will bring out a little discussion on this wind deal.

      Milton, You can win with a 1 moa rifle even if there are a dozen or more 1/4 moa capable rifles there. It will always be something in anything we do. In precision rifle shooting we will always have the “WIND”. Learning to read the wind to your advantage is an absolute must.

      As an example lets take the .308 Winchester mainly because there are so many shot there in the Bottoms. The big trend today in F/TR, which by the way stands for F class Target Rifle, is many shooter’s going to the heavy bullets up to 230 grains as a way of trying to cheat the wind. Today it is not uncommon to see half the field in F/TR shooting heavy’s of at least 210 grains. So how does this work in the real world. In .308 Win there is “no” bullet of any weight that will hold the X ring at 1,000 yards in a 1 mph wind change. Think about that, just a 1 mph change.

      When I first heard that comment I had a hard time believing it, so I went and ran every .308 bullet I could find thru 6 or 7 ballistic tables. Results: it is true even a 1 mph wind change can be deadly to your record score. Now there is not a person alive I believe that can actually see a 1 mph change, but learning to teach yourself when to shoot and when to hold will make anyone a winner.

      Thoughts???

      Roland

    • #864
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      I agree 100% that doping the elements are crucial and that the shooter who can do that best will become more of a factor than the accuracy of the gun I still would say that at closer ranges 200-300 yd where the wind is less punishing the more accurate rifle is goin to win the majority but at extended ranges the shooter with the ability to dope will compensate for accuracy

      Please understand that I am in no way arguing just enjoying the debate

      • #865
        Wynne Echols
        Keymaster

        On these forums, a persons opinion is respected as debate, not argument. Keep it clean and keep it coming. WWE

    • #871
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Milton, Not argument that I can see, and as a matter of fact I was hoping to get a lively debate going that’s good for everyone. Milton I disagree a lot with your statement about 100 and 200 yd shooting and the wind having a lessor effect. If you ever ( and maybe you already have) attended a point blank Benchrest Match, they are shot mostly at 100 yds but it is a 100 and 200 yd game. You would have seen “every” shooter putting out there own personal windflags. It is almost comical to watch them doing this, some will even use a laser mounted to there rest to be sure they are perfectly aligned rifle to target. All of these shooters will put out a minimum of 4 per 100 yds and many of them will use 6 or 8. I am going to try and find a picture of this, if I do I will add it to this post. There are so many damn flags that sometimes you can’t even see the grass. They are not doing this for there health, and I have found that the most important wind is the wind at the muzzle of the rifle. Now don’t misunderstand me here I am “NOT” saying that it is the only important wind, just that it is very important.

      If you take a moment and reflect on that I think common logic will lead any shooter to the same conclusion. Were on the course does the wind have the most time to effect the bullet? If you are judging your shots on the farthest wind flag, and that would be at the target line you are way behind the curve. By the time the bullet gets there it is at the target and it is all over for that shot. The wind effects the bullet the most when it is at the firing line as it has more time on the bullet to make an effect. It also only has to move the bullet a very, very small amount as this is were the bullet is the farthest from the target any amount of movement here no matter how small will be dramatically bigger after the bullet has traveled the 600 yds to the target, and was blown off course even a tiny bit. That lets say .001 deflextion at the muzzle can turn into inch’s after 600 yds.

      Now granted this is were the bullet is moving it’s fastest and is the point were it is “LESS” susceptible to the wind, but any movement here in the flight of the bullet is magnified many times because the bullet at that point still has so far to travel.

      Got a few more thoughts and want to address Wynne so I will do that in another post.

      Roland

    • #874
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Wynne, Thank you Wynne those thoughts a greatly appreciated.

      Wynne, there is no quick fix to reading the wind, and even the best wind reader in the world blows it at one time or another. If that didn’t happen then we all would be shooting X’s. I have spent hundreds of hours studying the wind and in shooting in the wind. That is really the only way to really learn is to shoot on those days when the wind is blowing.

      Right after I retired from the Corps, I started shooting a game called BPCRS ( Black Powder Cartridge Rifle Silhouette ) this is a team sport as it is shot with Iron Sights only and each shooter is allowed a spotter. In this sport any shooter is only as good as his spotter. I became dedicated to being the best spotter I could as another mans score was dependent on my spotting, If I wasn’t shooting good one day or another I was still going to do the best job I could for “MY” shooter. One year at the Nationals held in Raton, NM a friend was spotting for me. At the Nationals you shoot for two days either Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday. The National is a 60 animal shoot with 15 each of each target each day. Targets are a steel cutout of four animals Chickens shot at 200 meters, Pigs shot at 300 meters, Turkeys shot at 385 meters and Rams shot at 500 meters. My second day of shooting was Wednesday when I got up that morning the wind was blowing steady at 45 mph with gust’s of 55 mph. When we got to the range it had actually gotten worse. It was so bad that they had to take vice grip pliers and clamp the animals to the rail as they would not stand there alone, and those Rams weigh 75 lbs.

      A big shoot like this is luck of the draw and it was what it was. This year the overall winner was not going to be anyone who shot on Wednesday. There were two former national Champions shooting those same relays. I started on the Turkeys, which is by design a windage target as it is narrow but tall. I was using a Soule sight that had 44 moa wind right and left for a total of 88 minutes. When I layed down my spotter Bob Grider told me to put in 10 minutes of right wind before I shot my first shot on the sighter. I missed that sighter by feet, Bob says put in 10 more minutes, this shot only missed by a couple of feet. I finally got on target and go for number 1 animal I fire fast and its a hit, same on number two and three then we have a wind change that Bob see’s and he says put in 5 more minutes, bang number 4 is a hit but barely on the butte, I dial in another 3 minutes and take down number 5. After your first 5 animals of record there is a range break for one minute before you start shooting again. During that 1 minute break that actually turned into a 10 minute break because so many folks were screaming about the conditions. There were 15 shooters on the line shooting at the turkeys, the total turkey count for that first 5 was indeed 6 hits. That is 6 hits for the 75 shots fired and 5 of those hits were mine. When you can do something like that on a day like that it is the “SPOTTER” not the shooter, all I did was pull the trigger. We now still had the next 10 to shoot however, during that 10 minute break we had a complete wind reversal. Bob say take the sight to zero ( I look at my sight and I see that I have 36 minutes of right wind dialed in, at the turkey line which is 385 meters or 421 yds equals 4.2 inches per moa. I had a total of 151.2 inches a little over 12 feet. Now men that is a feller who knows how to read the wind.

      Well guys these post are turning into books, it’s late but My damn arm is hurting so sleep is hours away for me so hows about I end this one and type Vol number three after I gather my thoughts a might.

      I like this picture deal, so I’a going to poast a picture of the present my wife got me for Marine Corps birthday. Thanks Babe!!

      Roland

    • #877
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Looks like these post kinda get mixed up as to the order they were posted in. Wynne I will try and see if I can get you an answer or two on this wind reading thing. Please bear in mind that I am also a “Student” of this wind reading thing, I know just enough to get myself into trouble some of the time but it is a start.

      So the question is when to wait and when to shoot. This can be a long journey around the barn but here are some basic’s. Once again please take into account this is after all just my opinion, ask another guy and you just may get another answer. Sometimes both opinions may be wrong. One of the first things you need to do is start from the beginning. You must have a “TRUE WIND ZERO” on your scope. Without that you have no place to start. This can be a trying thing to do by the way. Best bet is get to the range just as early one day as you can, right as the sun is coming up is when the wind is at it stillest. It doesn’t matter which yardage you shoot at but I like 200 or 300 yards for this. I also use a large target backer and no target. Just mark a aiming point somewhere close to center, the size of a quarter is about right. Now if there is truly “NO WIND” get set up and fire your first two shots into the berm, this is to foul the bore and put a little heat into the barrel. Then shoot at your aiming point and adjust the scope to dead center. Once you have this sight setting set your scope turrets to ZERO, and this will be your true wind zero. All corrections in windage from now on will be based from this True Zero.

      While you are there and set up you also should be sure that your scope is tracking correctly. This is a good time to do this as there is NO WIND–Right? To check how the scope is tracking you will need to “Shoot The Box” Adjust your windage knob and put in 5 minutes of left wind. Now while using the exact same “AIMING POINT” that is your quarter sized spot, Fire one shot, now leave the windage alone and come up in elevation 5 minutes, once again fire one shot. Now dial in 5 minutes of “RIGHT” windage, fire one shot this should also return the turret to Zero. Now come down in elevation 5 minutes and fire one more shot, this last shot should be on the aiming dot. When you go down range to check this target it should be one neat little box with every shot spaced 5 minutes apart. If this is the way it is then you know you have a true wind zero and also a straight tracking scope.

      Now to your question about that day in the bottoms with all of that stuff going on. There is no one thing to read to get your indicators for what the wind is doing. One great tool we have is the “Mirage” it is such a good indicator because it has no mass. Think about it this way, the wind flags on any range weigh something. As the wind is changing or in a change the Mass of the flag has to be put into movement by the wind itself, this takes a little bit of time to show us the shooters that the change is happening or has happened. Mirage on the other hand has no MASS and it weighs nothing thus it shows a change almost in an instant with no lag time. The flags once they show a change will lie to you, the change could be done by the time they show the first indication of that change. That is why you never ever want to shoot a limp flag that is just hanging there. A change may have already happened and the flag just has not caught up yet. Now mirage can lie to you as well it’s just harder for it to do that as it is not a very good liar. The time you really have to worry about the Mirage is when it is in a boil and looks like it is just setting there. Also Mirage is only good up until 12 mph after that it is still there but it has flat lined so bad that no one can see it, no matter who they are.

      I use the flags for the sole purpose of determining WIND DIRECTION, and do not rely on them for velocity I try and judge the wind speed off of the mirage. OK so which mirage you ask? Do you mean there is more than one? As you are looking down range there is mirage at each yardage and unless the wind is steady all up and down the range they all will be different. So here is my take on this. I want to judge my shot by the most important Mirage, that is not what you see “AT” the target remember the bullet is at the end of its flight by the time it gets there. I chose a distance for the mirage about two thirds of the way down range, and try my best to let it call my corrections for me.

      So when to hold? I personally will never shoot a boil in the mirage if at all possible sometimes time may force you to shoot however. I also will never shoot a slack or limp flag especially if the flags have been active for the day. if the flag is hanging then you are in a wind change in all probability. There is much more to this than I have tried to explain but for this time this will have to do.

      The most important thing you can do is shoot as much as possible and in the wind and with wind flags, and they should be the same ones as will be there in a match. Different flags react in difference ways, that’s another reason to be leery of those critters.

      A very enlightening day can be had on the range with this little trick I learned in the Corps at Recon School. Get you a couple of 5 lb coffee cans, also buy you some smoke bombs when you can find fireworks for sale. I am sure you guys know the kind I am talking about it is a little black pellet looking thing. Set one in that coffee can and light her up. Scatter a few of these in difference places on the range. That black smoke will give you one of the best lessons on the wind you could ever imagine.

      Roland

      • #878
        Wynne Echols
        Keymaster

        Gunny, Thanks, this is good stuff and I sure hope that others will offer up debate. “when to pull the trigger”? Looking back, I have put very little effort into becoming a knowledgeable shooter. You mentioned 100’s of hours…I am ashamed to offer up a number, but it would be a single digit I am for sure. If I have an observation of what takes place at Reese Bottom it is, myself included, that we are simply shooters and maybe not knowledgeable, good marksmen. In other words, I show up, participate, but have no real understanding of why I did what I did, or why what I did did what it did. I think what I am trying to say is that a shooter cannot continually aim at the X ring and always hit in the X ring and our ultimate goal should be to learn what adjustments are needed to shoot all X’s. There is a huge difference between trying to get 20 on the target as to having 20 X’s. Thanks again Gunny for sharing your experiences and I hope others will step forward with comments and questions. WWE

    • #886
      Mike Reekie
      Participant

      My rifle is zeroed at 100 yds under perfect conditions. It is a 6 BR custom job by Britt. I set my scope at 6 MOA for 400 yds, 9 for 500 yds. My hits on the plates were close to center. My point of aim was dead center for the record fire. The wind was rather brisk from our right, but most of my hits were right of center. That does not seem reasonable to me, but at least I had good groups that were close to center. Any ideas about why the bullets seemed to move against rather than with the wind?

    • #1007
      Al Barr
      Participant

      Roland and Wynne, this info about the wind is well received and very helpful.

      Please keep it coming.

    • #1136
      Mike Reekie
      Participant

      I never changed the windage setting that day. My hits on the plates were nearly perfect center, holding dead on, so I aimed dead center (no Kentucky windage) for record fire, and, like I said, hits were slightly to the right…not far off…I won both high score and tightest group in the bipod class; but, the hits were to the right…against the wind. Strange. I tried to shoot rapidly while the wind conditions were consistent.

    • #1170
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      A lady by the name of Nancy Thompkins has written the best book on wind reading with the clearest explanations I’ve heard. I met Nancy at the Berger Southwest Nationals in Phoenix this year. I learned then that she is married to a gentleman by the name of Mid Thompkins, who I also met.
      Mid is the wind coach for the United STates F-CLass Team. I recommend that you get a copy of Nancy’s book and drink it in. There is also an experiencial component to wind reading. One day in 2010 I lay down to shoot the first string of the day and I just knew. I looked at the wind flags and murmured to myself, “Ok I know what that means.” I shot my first clean string that day. The next month I made High Master. But lemme tell ya guys. The fun is just in getting there. But whether the wind is 0 or blowing the flags straight up, it’s always accuracy before speed. Always. Always.

    • #1190
      Ron Lewis
      Participant

      My shooting library is divided into sections on shooting, gunsmithing, reloading, ballistics, history, rifles and miscellaneous topics. I’ve gone through the shooting section and put together a list of some useful books, many are out of print but can be found through http://www.abebooks.com others are available through the usual shooting suppliers like http://www.precisionshooting.com or http://www.championshooters.com or http://www.champchoice.com some you’ll really have to dig for.

      Highpower Shooting Primer (Precision Shooting), good all around book, lots of varied articles on the topic.
      Benchrest Shooting Primer (Precision Shooting) excellent reference on many accuracy topics, reloading, rifles, etc.
      Precision Shooting at 1000 Yards (Precision Shooting), another collection of articles from the magazine and well worthwhile.
      Highpower Rifle (David Tubb) All the basics of Highpower from Tubb, good book.
      The Rifle Shooter (David Tubb) not as good as the first, but still useful.
      Position Rifle Shooting (Pullum and Hanenkrat) the book I’d pull out of a fire.
      The New Position Rifle Shooting (Pullum and Hanenkrat) not a rehash of the first book, a totally new book and very good also. Easier to find these days than the first book.
      Shooting for Gold (Bill Krilling) The book from the long-time USAMU International Rifle Coach. I wish it were more in-depth, but it’s a good beginner/intermediate guide.
      With Winning in Mind (Lanny Bassham) Best introduction to the mental side of shooting that I know of. He’ll get you started, the rest is up to you.
      Free Rifle Guide (USAMU) out of print AMU manual, nice to have, not essential.
      Service Rifle Guide (USAMU) out of print AMU manual, nice to have, not essential.
      International Rifle Guide (CMP/AMU) In print, cheap from CMP, must have.
      Service Rifle Guide (CMP/AMU) In print, cheap from CMP, nice to have, not essential.
      Target Rifle Shooting (Reynolds and Fulton) English book, useful if you find a copy, don’t move mountains for it.
      Ways of the Rifle (various authors) overrated but very useful for a coach. When you are your own coach it’s useful too. Expensive, wouldn’t be high on my list of books to begin with but eventually worthwhile.

      I have several books that purport to be about wind reading from various authors. Mostly they are excellent cures for insomnia. I consider myself an above average wind-reader at 1000 yards and I have yet to find a written description that I consider useful. There’s more than one way to skin the wind cat, of course, but I can’t recommend those that I’ve seen in print.

      I’ve avoided the real old and obscure books as well as the ones that cover the same ground or are rifle specific like a lot of the AR15 books out there. I’m not sure everyone grasped this, but the links I put in the previous post allow you to download those entire books for free. I hope this is useful to you, for me it’s a lifelong passion and the books are a great part of it.

    • #867
      Wynne Echols
      Keymaster

      Gunny, I read your post a couple of hours ago and have decided to respond. First of all, a fairy told me that you had a mishap on your way to Reese Bottom last Saturday. Sorry that your were sidetracked and I wish you a full, speedy recovery. One would expect a Marine to come to the aid of another. Thanks for who you are. Okay, this is good stuff and I want more. A poster earlier stated that everyone needs a mentor so here is your chance. For approx. three years now I have been secretly listening to most everything you have been saying during the matches and have come to respect your knowledge of what we are trying to do. You made reference above of “know when to pull the trigger”. I will be the first to admit that I do not know the answer so I have a question. Situation: Reese Bottom, 1:00 pm, 500 yard target, winds gusting from north, mirage right to left, not severe but steady, windsock at benches is limp, 3X5 flag at 260 yards barely moving from the north, and the bottom of the 3X5 flag at 440 yards is constantly changing from 45* to 80* from the north. Question: what tells me when to pull the trigger? This is inside of a Gunny post but I would like to hear from many of you.
      ps. Also, that fellow from Backwater Custom Rifles that pulled all of the targets last Saturday mentioned to me later that the wind was blowing so hard at the 500 yard targets that he had to put extra staples on the right side of all of the targets to keep them from ripping off of the backer. Being on the firing line all day, I never heard a shooter mention concern for how hard the wind was blowing. Do we just not notice or do we not understand the importance of knowing what to look for. Sorry for the length. WWE

      • This reply was modified 6 years, 6 months ago by Wynne Echols.
    • #890
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Mike, That is a tough one and doesn’t look like it has a logical answer. So maybe think about it and ask your self a question or two. Was the wind constant all during your shots of record? You say wind was from the right, look at a compass the right side of the compass totals 180 degrees. So were from the right? Are you sure of that? What was your windage setting? You do know were zero wind is on your scope?

      Also Mike I am going to post a picture of a target that has become kinda of the standard for long range shooting. This one is a copy of a target that is used by the Marine Corps since WW2. Sorry it is blurred but I had to enlarge it some. Take a look and see if there might be something on that target that might help you figure this out.

      Beatiful new rifle by the way…

      Roland

    • #896
      Wynne Echols
      Keymaster

      Here’s my take. I do not believe that a ‘shooter rifle’ would ever drift a bullet ‘into’ the wind. 100% of the time the cause would have to be shooter’s responsibility. A proper wind zero, if you dope the wind, a proper wind read and shooting all record bullets within that same condition, rifle cant, consistent point of aim are factors that could come into play. It has been mentioned in my presence that if a shooter looks at their record target, if the group is up and down, probably a load issue, but if the group is left to right, it is related to something the shooter did or did not do. Something else to think about. The method of shooting sight in shots used at Reese Bottom, plates, is a relatively slow process as compared to some other places that I have shot(probably need to work of this one) That being said, the condition that you sight in on could easily change before a shooter completes or even begins their record fire.

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