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vapor trails

 
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  #1  
Old 08-24-2009, 07:10 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 56
vapor trails

Me and my bud were out shooting at 400yds this weekend and for the first time I was behind him with the Spotting scope (a P.O.S.). I thought the quality of the scope would not let me see the vapor trails, but that day I tried it anyway. To my surprise, I could not only see the trails very well, the trails at first light looked like white, just like you see behind the jets at high altitude. It was pretty darn cool. The temp was 58*F and 90% humidity in the air at first light.

Now, as morning went on the air temp rose and the vapor trails went from white to just mirage disruptions that you could track to the target. My question is, was the atmospheric conditions at first light what caused the white colored vapor trails?

At any rate, the trails were neat to see, and I was happy with the performance of my gun too (2.25" groups at 400yds)
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  #2  
Old 08-24-2009, 08:42 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Afognak Island, Alaska
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Re: vapor trails

I've never seen the white vapor trails with my regular guns, but I have driven my 22 CHeetah with fragile bullets so fast that it spun the jackets off as they left the barrel, ( think that's what was happening). But it was a blue/grey streak not white.
I usually see a blurry disruption similar to mirage streaking to the target. You can watch the vapor trail buffet back and forth in the crosswinds on it's way to the target if you watch closely. Pretty cool.
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  #3  
Old 08-24-2009, 08:53 AM
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Location: Central AZ
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Re: vapor trails

I have yet to develop a load that consistently produces vapor trails in all types of shooting conditions. So in my experience, atmospheric conditions tied with higher altitudes are the entire reason for the visibility of vapor trails. When I have seen them, it is usually when there is a combination of cold air and high humidity at higher altitudes (4,000 feet +). The colder the air, the less humidity required to produce the trail and vice versa. I live in AZ, so humidity is not an every day event here. Perhaps someone from the south could chime in as well regarding both temp & humidity at lower elevations?
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  #4  
Old 08-24-2009, 01:02 PM
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Casper Wy
Posts: 1,318
Re: vapor trails

I had a RugerVT 12 twist 223 that likes 55 grain SXSPs in front of 2200 and a 450 primer. It will trail just about every round in any condition. Sold it to a rookie prairie dogger who gets a kick out of showing people the trail.
It is usualy best sean by standing right behind the shooter as close to the line of flight as possible.
For some reason the trail this gun leaves is easy to see with your eye but the camera doesnt pick it up?
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  #5  
Old 08-24-2009, 03:44 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2008
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Re: vapor trails

We finally got to see it for the first time this year hunting groundhogs. The humidity at the time wasn't bad, but about 20yrds before the target we lost the trail. It is pretty cool. A couple of times I saw a quick flash of yellow, from the bullet when the sun was to our backs. I mean it was quick, you had to be really paying attention. That is how I knew what I was looking at when I first started spotting the bullets.

Tank
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  #6  
Old 08-24-2009, 05:18 PM
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Re: vapor trails

I normally notice it when there is direct sunlight on the bullet. If the bullet path is shaded (clouds etc) then I find it difficult to see the trace.

If I am directly behind the shoter I tend to see a fuzzy black circle moving towards the target, I have seen this at targets as close as 380 yds. Back in June I was off to the side and behind the shooter and saw a yellow trail head straight into the animal, I did have the spotting scope reasonably zoomed in on the animal though.

I have captured on video the mirage type trace.

as to your white trace; contrails form behind jets when the water vapour from the engine condenses back to small droplets of liquid water.
I would imagine in your case the temperature played a big part, like breathing out on a cold morning.
I think the bullet was causing the water vapour in the air to condense to water droplets and the cold air was making it visible.

But then again I could be completly wrong.

Stu.
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  #7  
Old 08-24-2009, 06:31 PM
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Location: Central Pennsylvania
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Re: vapor trails

Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwi3006 View Post
I normally notice it when there is direct sunlight on the bullet. If the bullet path is shaded (clouds etc) then I find it difficult to see the trace.

If I am directly behind the shoter I tend to see a fuzzy black circle moving towards the target, I have seen this at targets as close as 380 yds. Back in June I was off to the side and behind the shooter and saw a yellow trail head straight into the animal, I did have the spotting scope reasonably zoomed in on the animal though.

I have captured on video the mirage type trace.

as to your white trace; contrails form behind jets when the water vapour from the engine condenses back to small droplets of liquid water.
I would imagine in your case the temperature played a big part, like breathing out on a cold morning.
I think the bullet was causing the water vapour in the air to condense to water droplets and the cold air was making it visible.

But then again I could be completly wrong.

Stu.
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Matthew 7:13-14
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. [14] But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

If you find your self in a fair fight, your tactics suck!- Marine 1st Sergeant Jim Ryfinger

Friends don't let friends develop canonitis!-chucknbach

arguing over the internet is like the special Olympics....even if you win, you are still...special!
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