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How to see vapor trails??

 
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  #1  
Old 04-26-2010, 05:54 PM
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How to see vapor trails??

A little back ground, for the first time this weekend I was able to see consistant traces while my friend was shooting my 270 WSM and being able to see the trace was very helpfull in seeing how the air was moving.
We were shooting across a draw that had a slow slope on one end and was steep on the target end and we had a 5 MPH wind shoot a 110v max at 3200 FPS for fire forming, range was 756 yrds.
I cranked on a couple moa for wind and it was way of so I threw on 3.5 more for 5.5 moa and we started spanking the target, I suspected a stronger wind coming down the deeper part of the far draw. But after a few shots I was able to see the traces and I could see the bullet tracking out to the left with only a slight curve till about 2/3 rds out then it curved in hard right over the deepest part of the draw confiming that there was a faster air flow out around 4-500 yrds.

I would really like to shoot a couple spots to check wind dope for hunting but it would be really like to see the traces because I suspect that they have a heavier spot of air flow.
What seems to be the trick to first making traces or vapor trails and then seeing them consistantly?
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Old 04-26-2010, 06:02 PM
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Re: How to see vapor trails??

I've seen them on occassion but, don't have a clue as to what conditions create them. I'm thinking maybe atmospheric conditons maybe. Hopefully others may know and chime in.
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Old 04-26-2010, 06:43 PM
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Re: How to see vapor trails??

Big, we see them on occassion but I'm not exactly sure what causes them. My guess is that it is atmospheric conditions, and my guess is the more humidity the better. Seems like most times the RH has been up pretty high.
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Old 04-26-2010, 06:48 PM
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Re: How to see vapor trails??

ive been watching them for more years than i am happy about.
i would assume they are caused by air turbulance or possibly heat and turbulance. we have no problem seeing them and they are an aid in getting on target.
we always use very good tripod mounted binnoculars for hunting. also a spotter for calling shots when we shoot, using the same type binnocs.
usually these are made up of twin spotting scopes.
while the trace, or wash, or vapor trail is helpful, dont rely on that alone. but rather use that as an aid to help see the actual bullet impact.
at the longer distances you will often lose the trail at its high point and miss the impact unless your watching for both.
also its common for inexperienced spotters to think your shooting high based on where they last saw the trail.
of all the tools required for long range hunting, our optics and especially binoculers are hands down the most important.
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Old 04-26-2010, 07:19 PM
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Re: How to see vapor trails??

the key to consistently seeing the 'vapor trail' is for the spotter to be positioned directly behind the shooter. Shooting f-class competition at 800, 900 and 1k it's a regular occurence to set up next to the shooter - can't see the trail. Move directly behind the shooter and instantly you're picking up the trail.

Previous comment is correct that you will typically be able to see the trail up until it's highest point. Once it begins to drop, you need to move quickly to the potential point of impact and watch for that.
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Old 04-26-2010, 07:34 PM
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Re: How to see vapor trails??

so will you more often that not see them if your directly behind the shooter or does atmospheric conditions play a part also?
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Old 04-26-2010, 08:07 PM
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Re: How to see vapor trails??

I've seen them in BPCR matches and shooting and you can call the shots by the vapor trail if they are good.
I've been thinking that humidity and possibly sun angle helps.
I have noticed that if you see them while spotting from the side that if you move directly behind the shooter they do stand out more and you can track better with more accurate reads relative to the shooters position.
I would really like to predict good days or times to shoot so that my odds are good to have them.
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