Re: Holding off or dialing windage
For me it depends on the situation. Time and circumstances permitted, I will dial it every time. No time or have to shoot from the hip for other reasons, I will hold off.
I will cite one example. In 2007 on kodiak island on the last moring of our deer hunt the wind was pretty harsh. We were on a knob glassing accross a fairly large gorge It was very steep and deep. I spotted a couple of bucks and had plenty of time to dial the knobs for elevation and windage. The range was between 500 and 510 yards (I dont remember exactly). After getting a reading on my wind guage, I dialed accordingly. My gut told me that the wind was going to be twice the speed in the middle of the valley versus where I was, but I dialed for the speed where we were and let her fly. It was obviously a miss. My buddies couldnt see the bullet's trail nor where it impacted. I fired once more. Same results. My gut told me that I was most likely shooting behind the buck from the wind and not enough windage. I wasnt sure how much more to dial it so I let instincts do the work. I set the windage back to zero, held off to where it looked right, about 10-12" behind his rump and let her fly again. The bullet went perfectly into the boiler.
After he dropped and matching the math to the actual event my gut was right. It was twice as fast accross the middle of the gorge. It was nearly 20 MPH. This marked one of my best shots to date, not because of the range but the wind in conjunction with the range made it special to me, even if it wasnt a first round hit.
Long range shooting is a process that ends with a result. Once you start to focus on the result (how bad your last shot was, how big the group is going to be, what your buck will score, what your match score is, what place you are in...) then you loose the capacity to focus on the process.