Originally Posted by goattman
As I sit here contemplating this question it seems ridiculous, obvious, and silly. Yet at the same time, a really excellent question. That fine line between genius and insanity? Here goes:
How useful is a wind meter? For context, let's assume we are shooting 300 yards and further.
Obviously, they must be of some value as I am adding data or removing a variable from the equation. Yet, at the same time common sense tells me that the data is of limited use because it is only telling me the data at my shooting position. Now, if this is the only place the wind is blowing or it is consistent all the way to the target the value is quite high. However, the chances of this are not very good.
If there is value, is a basic $100 Kestrel or Windmate with speed and temperature enough? If I am willing to spend $300-400 for a top of the line (which I am not) is it worth the upgrade or would I get more benefit from practical experience of sending $400 worth handloads down range and paying attention to the environment around me?
In the front of my mind during all this is also the old dead battery, smashed meter thing. I still don't have a GPS and rely on map and compass and my ability to use them correctly!
Please support your reply with examples or empirical data to support your claim.
Wind is the toughest variable of all we have to deal with in long range shooting and as such anything we can do to reduce it's impact is worth while.
No the wind usually will not be consistent throughout the flight of the bullet but if you can meter the wind at your shooting position, then read the downrange cues to help determine changes in speed and direction being able to meter the wind to start with gives you a solid foundation to base your total wind effect on your final target solution.
For example if you know you have a 6:00 wind to start with and it's blowing steady at 12mph you can figure much more accurately what the speed and direction changes down rage are going to be.
You compare the cues over the first, second, and final 3rds or quarters of the flight.
Take those and base them off of your initial wind reading with +/- and you will have a much more accurate final shooting solution vs just using the old WAG.
It takes a tremendous amount of skill to read wind accurately to begin with and without a solid starting point most people will fail to even get close.
Technology won't replace practice and skill but it will certainly enable a person with limited experience to be successful.