vapor trail

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by leatherman92, Apr 11, 2008.

  1. leatherman92

    leatherman92 Well-Known Member

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    what is a vapor trail?
     

  2. Tyler Kemp

    Tyler Kemp SPONSOR

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    It's the turbulence behind a bullet in flight. If you are directly behind the shooter and know where to look you can see where the bullet flies. Easiest way is to go to somewhere with a light background and shoot 22's. It looks like a tracer, but not near as bright.
     

  3. Jim Oliver

    Jim Oliver Well-Known Member

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    Caused by condensation of moisture in the atmosphere, due to the drop of pressure immediately behind the bullet. Similiar to the streaks which seem to be attached to the wing tips and some control surfaces of jets during some maneuvers. Not to be confused with the engine exhaust contrails, which is a completely different situation.

    It is also possible to actually see some bullets in flight, when the light is exactly right.
    Personally, I have seen bullets from the 45 ACP (big and slow) when sunlight was from over my shoulder as I was shooting.

    I can't remember ever seeing the vapor trail from bullets----just haven't done enough rifle shooting under the right conditions, I guess.

    Cheers,
    Jim
     
  4. JeffVN

    JeffVN Well-Known Member

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    I have heard that under some condititons you can see a vapor trail, but I have never been able to do so. I generally consider it a discription of seeing the vortex od disturbed air behind the bullet as it proceeds downrange.

    JeffVN
     
  5. Willys46

    Willys46 Well-Known Member

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    30-30

    I could never see it tell I was at the range and a guy was shooting a 30-30 at 300 yrds. it was the first time i could see it, now I know what to look for. It dose get easier with longer distances.

    Another trick is to shoot a longer ranges and look through a spotter that is out of foucus just a little. Focused around 100 yrds in front of the target.
     
  6. huntinco

    huntinco User

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    Last edited: Apr 11, 2008
  7. yote bomber

    yote bomber Well-Known Member

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    I've found it tough to see vapor trails untill the range is over 300 yards or so... once you learn to watch for the vaper trail, you'll see them most of the time. Watching videos is the best way to learn what a vapor trail looks like... Shawn Carlocks new video has a bunch of shots where you can very clearly see the vapor trail, plus it's a very neccessary addition to any long range hunter's collection.
     
  8. WildcatB

    WildcatB Well-Known Member

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    Do you see the animal running around behind him?

    Huntinco,
    I see the vapor trail in your video. But what caught my attention is at the beginning of the video, after he shoots, some animal that I can't identify starts running around behind him after he turns and starts talking.... can anyone tell what it is?
     
  9. old_heli_logger

    old_heli_logger Well-Known Member

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    Good eye!! The instant that he shoots, you can see the critter right above his rifle; it kind of looks like his dog :D
     
  10. huntinco

    huntinco User

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    Yes it was my darn dog!
     
  11. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    What your seeing is the shockwave produced by the bullet.

    This shock wave destorts the light waves making it visible
    to the eye when looking through a spoting scope.

    When looking through a spoting scope or a camera zoomened
    up if you dont blink (Some times hard to do) you will see this
    very often at longer distance.

    This method is used by many long range target shooters who
    are spoting for the shooter to call the shot on paper when shooting
    rapid fire (10 to 20 rounds with out pulling and marking the target).

    The best place to be to see the shock wave is directly behind and
    just above the shooter with a good spoting scope on 15 power or
    higher (I like 20 to 30 power) with the bottom of the field of view
    on the center of the target. This prevents the bullet path from passing
    above the field of view of the spoting scope.

    In high humidity this schock wave will be even easer to see .

    J E CUSTOM
     
  12. JeffVN

    JeffVN Well-Known Member

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    well said. That was the point that I was trying to make. Here is a picture of that wave moving from the nose of a .308 bullet.

    [​IMG]

    JeffVN
     
  13. Jim Oliver

    Jim Oliver Well-Known Member

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    Try as I might, I couldn't see what I would identify as a vapor trail in the video.

    I did see what I would describe as the effect of the gas and bullet exiting the muzzle.

    I have seen video of jets flying at high speed at very low altitudes, over water, and there is a very visable formation of an area of compressed air/moisture as the aircraft passes the camera; also a very visable disturbed area on the surface of the water.

    YouTube - Supersonic F14 flyby
    YouTube - Supersonic F14 Flyby
    Cheers,
    Jim
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2008
  14. yote bomber

    yote bomber Well-Known Member

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    The vapor trail is pretty evident in the video on the 500 yard clays... but, you need to look for it. The trail comes in from the left of the screen just above the clays, and follows the bullet down to the targets. If you watch the grass on the left side of the road, just above the clays... you'll see a disturbance in the air just after the shot is fired and just before impact. There's no way that could be from gas/bullet effect from exiting the muzzle, as it occurs a quarter-mile down range. Once you start to notice vaper trails, you'll see them a lot... I notice them almost everytime I see something get shot on TV now.