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How to see vapor trails??

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Old 04-26-2010, 08:12 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Redmond Or.
Posts: 2,527
Re: How to see vapor trails??

I see them most often while spotting from behind the shooter with a spotting scope 1/4 turn out of focus. Realy cool for seeing wind effect on bullets, but like stated multiple times already, the spotter tends to ''call the shot high'' at poi because its very hard to train yourself to take your eyes off of what they were focused on seeing, and swich to the target in time to see and focus on impact.
"Its not Rocket Surgery.....'

"I have No idea why that cop made me ride in the back seat, when I Clearly called Shotgun!"
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Old 04-26-2010, 08:18 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: east central fl. /n.c. pa.
Posts: 634
Re: How to see vapor trails??

directly behind or slightly off is best. especially if you want to watch it all the way. other than that you might catch a glimpse of it if you know what and where to look. a single spotting scope will work but binoculars are better. conditions dont matter much, except for very windy days.
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Old 04-26-2010, 08:39 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Falls Church, VA
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Re: How to see vapor trails??

Originally Posted by Chas1 View Post
so will you more often that not see them if your directly behind the shooter or does atmospheric conditions play a part also?

while i'm sure atmospheric conditions have something to do with it, I've never really noticed. I pretty much get in-line behind the shooter and watch the bullets fly.

Best atmosphere for spotting trails....rain!
I'm not gonna shoot here. I'm gonna shoot waaaaaaaay over there!
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Old 04-26-2010, 08:55 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: SW Montana
Posts: 4,457
Re: How to see vapor trails??

So you think a cool humid morning or after the sun has gotten up and we start to get mirage, say mid morning. Or do you go for a later evening after it cools down?

One cool thing that I figured out, is with Loadbase 3.0 I used the multiple wind zones and set the first zone out to 400yrds for a 5 mph wind and then I set from 400 to 800 for 12 mph and it was within a 10th of an inch for windage and elevation. I really think if I can figure out how to get an accurate wind dope I can predict more accurately what is happening in the draws and canyons I shoot.
High Fence, Low Fence, Stuck in the Fence, if I can Tag it and Eat it, it's Hunting!

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Old 04-26-2010, 09:09 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 3,538
Re: How to see vapor trails??

I'm kinda thinking humidity has something to do with it. My guess is it's like the vapor you see sometimes produced by fighter jets taking a hard g-force turn...I think the air get compressed and the humidity starts to get squeezed into vapor...maybe bullets cause the same thing sort of. I don't know just speculating. Maybe someone will chime in with the scientific answer.
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Old 04-27-2010, 12:09 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Blackfoot, Idaho
Posts: 8,093
Re: How to see vapor trails??

Atmospheric conditions are key to how well the bullet trail is observed.

It takes a bit of practice to recognize what one is seeing. My first observation was a ripple effect that affected the entire field of view of my scope. I was beside the shooter who had commented on the trail from my shots.

Once I learned what/how to watch I could call the shot well before impact. It seemed like everything went into slow motion. He was shooting a 270 Win a long ways in a decent wind. The drift of the bullet was significant. It was easy to observe from about 1/3 rd of bullet travel all the way to the target.

I let him shoot my rifle, 270 AM, so I could observe the differences in cartridge performance. The difference was significant to say the least.

Observing large caliber lead cast bullets traveling away from the sun is impressive. The shiny base is clearly observable all the way to the 200 meter rams.
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Old 04-27-2010, 03:48 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2009
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Re: How to see vapor trails??

Roy, tell us the what and how.
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