Do You Find Variable 3-5mph Wind Difficult?

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by ToKeepAndBear, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. ToKeepAndBear

    ToKeepAndBear Well-Known Member

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    I sure do...

    I shoot in mountainous terrain over a valley at 550-1000 yards at my regular spot. I have found that some of the more challenging days for shooting are when the winds are actually calmer. Winds in the 3-5mph range often tend to be variable at this location and full value, vacillating between 90 and 270 degrees. I believe it is a combination of wind and updrafts that plague this spot. This gets to be very challenging beyond 600 yards. The wind is not strong but will cause you to miss a 15in wide target if you are not very carefully paying attention to the mirage (the only reliable indicator I have found as you are shooting over a valley).

    Shot this last weekend and there were a number of times that the winds were going different directions at the same time at different distances.

    When we pulled up my buddy thought we were going to "tear it up" as the last time we shot the winds were gusting to 30mph. I told him that it is going to be harder than he thinks because I could feel the wind shifting direction 180 degrees while we were setting up targets. He then proceeded to miss the first four shots at 680 yards. These misses were only a few inches off target but misses all the same. I had a little better luck, but it wasn't my first time shooting in these seemingly "easy" conditions. Give me a 10-15mph wind any day!

    Anyone else had a similar experience?
     
  2. liltank

    liltank Well-Known Member

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    I shoot a place just like what your explaining. On the hill where we set it is usually about a 3-5 from 90* L>R or R>L. Then there may be a slight up draft at the same time. On the other side the wind can be going the same direction, straight up the field, or opposite direction with in minutes of each shot. It's so hard. Even when I was on the far side trying to do some 300yd shooting, the wind started left to right, within 20 minutes had gone to my 6, then shifted right to left within 10-20 minutes. It is ridiculous!!! I know when we hunted some flat fields to 800-850yds it was a whole lot easier to adjust for wind change.
     

  3. Michael Eichele

    Michael Eichele Well-Known Member

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    The wind is hands down the biggest challenge in this sport. I shoot in some areas that I would swear I could judge the wind and it embarasses me over and over.

    One of the things I use often to judge wind (like many other shooters) is mirrage. A few months ago I was in northern Arizona (where I shot my 3rd best personal 1000 3 shot group) the mirage was telling me to hold 0.9 MILS left and I could see the dust behind the target right through the crosshairs. I held right on the bull's eye (even though the mirrage was strongly to the right) and fired 3 quick shots. Sure enough, the group was spot on target. Later, a zero check was performed and was spot on. Obviously, somewhere along the bullet's path there was wind from another direction. Maybe the wind near the ground was one way and 20' off the ground it was another.

    Yes. It can be difficult!!
     
  4. liltank

    liltank Well-Known Member

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    I have a terrible time reading mirage. I can see it, but it's hard for me to decipher which direction it is going.
     
  5. Michael Eichele

    Michael Eichele Well-Known Member

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    Most of the time, I do pretty well with it. Sometimes not so much. It is just one of the many clues that often present themselves. If it is all I have to guage wind, it is a worthwhile clue much of the time. Otherwise I hope I can recover from the recoil fast enough to spot my shots!
     
  6. elkaholic

    elkaholic Well-Known Member

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    This describes the situation where I often shoot and is very difficult to read. Shooting accross a canyon which is roughly 1500 vertical feet deep causes a whole host of problems. Not only variable winds but up and down drafts to boot. Sometimes you think things are fairly calm, but when the low clouds roll through, it really shows up!. Quite often you can have opposite air movement on either side of the canyon........Rich
     
  7. grit

    grit Well-Known Member

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    Times like that a body can learn a lot especially with a spotter and both of you watching closely. Takes a team effort to break shots when it counts.

    The ones I find challenging are when it's shifting from one o clock to elleven o clock with nothing underneath to clue you in.
     
  8. ToKeepAndBear

    ToKeepAndBear Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the comments. It is good to know that my buddy and I are not the only ones that struggle in this situation. It has taught me a lot about being a better observer of the conditions. It also makes it seem easy when I go home to Oklahoma and shoot with the family!
     
  9. cwinner

    cwinner Well-Known Member

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    I feel your pain......we hang strings of ribbons on our target stands and this past weekend we had the 600 yd ribbon to the 3 oclock position and the 800 yd at the 9....go figure complete 180 of the slight wind in only 200 yds. Give me a steady breeze any day of the week :)
     
  10. FEENIX

    FEENIX Well-Known Member

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    Montanans will gladly take 3-5 MPH winds anytime ...

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Subnormal

    Subnormal Member

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    No kidding. The only chance I had available to hunt last year was the Thanksgiving week. Two teen hunters linked up with me for a few days SE of Ulm. The slowest wind speed I recorded was 18 MPH with the average around 30 going up close to 60. Miserable, purely miserable. Must have passed on 50 deer before finding the right conditions, or more to say favorable conditions, for them to make a shot. Two shots with two deer right around the 600 mark. I ended up shooting mine well under 200 yards due to the winds.

    Welcome to Central Montana. After last season, I went looking for the baddest ballistics wind bucker out there hoping to increase my ranges if needed in terrible wind conditions, or even in great conditions, and found APS. Should have a couple of my best performing guns complete by the 13 hunting season.

    Did I say I hate the Central Montana winds, but what great practice if not unproductive.
     
  12. ToKeepAndBear

    ToKeepAndBear Well-Known Member

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    You might be surprised at the difficulty of these "easy/calm" conditions. My 260 shooting 142 SMKs is a fairly efficient round at bucking the wind. At a measly 680 yards, wind drift for a full value 5mph wind is 14 inches. This means you have to hold 6.5 inches off the 15 inch wide target to get a center hit. What happens when the wind changes direction 180 degrees and of similar 5mph speed? You just missed the target by 20 inches. Of course it gets much worse as you move out further.

    My buddy is a good shooter and he has even better ballistics with his gun. He shoots a 7mm Rem Mag pushing Berger 168 VLDs at 2950fps. He shot better in the gusting 30+ mph winds than he did in the, "simple for a Montanan", 3-5mph winds.

    I will gladly invite you to educate us anytime on these variable, 3-5mph winds in mountainous terrain.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2012
  13. elkaholic

    elkaholic Well-Known Member

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    Agree!......Rich
     
  14. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    There is a large difference between shooting targets and shooting animals. You don't seem to know the difference. A 3-5MPH wind is an easy shot on a animal at beyond 1000 yards whereas a 30 mph wind is only a fool's choice to even shoot beyond 500 yards.