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vapor trail

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Unread 04-16-2008, 11:48 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 184
What did I see????

I did see "something" on the last three of the 500 yard shots.

My limited experience won't allow me to say if what I saw was a vapor trail or the disturbance from the compression caused by the supersonic bullet.

I don't mean to argue---just don't know enough about this stuff to be sure of what I am seeing.

I bow to those with more experience than I have........

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Unread 04-16-2008, 02:48 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,190
I guarantee that you will be able to see something when the distances get out there. The videos posted here are terrible quality, although the tomcat videos were way cool!! Set up behind the shooter, put the target at the bottom 1/4 of the sight picture of the spotting scope, focus at about 70-80% of the distance being shot, and do not look at the target....look above the target. You will be able fallow the bullet to the target, (or the MISS :eek I can't say for sure that I ever saw a "vapor trail" , but I can see something that shows me where the bullet is!! I get a kick out of people who have never seen it or have never even heard of such "nonsense" as to be able to see the bullet. The response is always..."DO THAT AGAIN!!!"
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Unread 04-16-2008, 05:44 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Wilmington NC
Posts: 4,690
Ideal position is right behind the shooter about 4-6 ft with wide angle optics. I like right over the right shoulder.

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Unread 04-27-2008, 01:01 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Kalifornicated
Posts: 383
The Berger bullet video has quite a few shots where you can see the vapor trial, like everyone else has said look above the target and look for a "disturbance" in the air. The disturbance looks a little like when you look down a black top road on a hot day, now imagine that mirage in a small circular pattern, just for an instant. One other poster mentioned being able to see the color of the bullets when the light is just right. When I was an instructor at Sniper School I saw a .308 bullet (the copper color anyway) very distinctly almost from the muzzle for about 70-80 yards before it hit the target at 100 yards. I was standing off to the side of the shooter about 30 yards away. I have been around at least 100,000 .308 rounds and never saw it again. I have been around a heck of a lot of .50 cal rounds and never saw any color off them either.
USMC Scout Sniper 88-94
Instructor 1st. Mar. Div. SS school 91-94
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Unread 05-01-2008, 10:29 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 24
I first came across the vapor trial at DM School at Damn Neck, Va. The high humidity and cooler morning temps made it really really easy to see the trial. It also made for some really easy shot calling as the spotter could tell the shooter where he hit almost immediatly.

It is a pretty cool effect.
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Unread 05-02-2008, 07:47 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Danville, PA
Posts: 1,094
If you go to this link or look under the long range video page, my video "Long Range Varmint Hunting". On the pigeon I shot at just over 500 yards and especially on the next woodchuck at 525 yards you can't help but see the vapor trail.

Long Range Varmint Hunting Video Clip
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