Effect of Headwinds?

Rum River

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I have done some longer range shooting, but nothing out to the distances like many on this site. Longest confirmed prairie dog is 550 yards. No big game at super long range (whitetail at 225, elk at 170).

Question: When shooting directly into a headwind, what experiences have shooters encountered?

The reason I ask is that a friend's son used our range to zero his factory, wood-stocked Tikka .30-06 at 200 for a Wyoming mule deer hunt. All of us present agreed the wind was directly in our faces. No wind meter, but judging from my old farm windmill figure a steady 20 mph with gusts on top of that.

In a rare lull windage was proven to be correct at 200. When NOT in a lull all bullets consistently drifted right 2"-3" @ 200 and 5"-6" @ 300. Ammunition was factory Federal Classic 150gr. Drop @ 300 with the 200 zero was about 6".

Is this a deal where the bullet is slowed so maybe a right hand twist drifts that direction?

Just curious.....thanks.
 

Bravo 4

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If the wind were actually hitting you from closer to 11 oclock than 12 then there is your problem. You need to know as close to the actual direct as possible.
Just a little info: One of the worst winds to train guys in (for me) is a fishtailing head or tail wind. If it comes varying from say the 1 to the 11 and it is not picked up instantly then guys wonder why they miss left and then miss right. They usually think there is something wrong with their equipment.
 

Rum River

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Thanks for the replies.
Time to start using flags so in the future can dope out what is actually occuring.
 

OG10

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Cheap woden stakes anf flaging tape are your friends, set them up at varying distances to get a cost effective means of measuring the direction of the wind.
 
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Greyfox

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I agree with comments that unless the shot was taken at a very steep up or down angle, at 500 yards, I would hold dead on with a true head or tailwind. I agree with Bravo 4 that headwinds and tail winds can be deceiving, and can often be at an angle, particularly as the range increases where wind direction may be influenced. Just last week I had a 521 yard shot at an antelope. The wind was directly in my face, but the down range mirage indicated a 9 o’clock 5-7 mph wind. Corrected for 5 mph and hit POA.
 

vancewalker007

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It's easy to miss a cross wind and a 30 cal 150gr bullet is not going to be super wind resistant. Of course we are all guessing since we were not there and we don't have all the data involved, alt temp bullet specs, muzzle velocity etc. We also didn't see how you were holding the rifle. A canted rifle can add to left or right bullet paths but usually at longer ranges.
 

entoptics

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Head/Tail winds can actually be much harder to deal with than crosswinds. See this post in the MERC - Maximum Effective Range Calculator thread.


The gist is, that any small variation in a head/tail wind will have a larger relative affect on drift than the same variation in a side wind.

I highly recommend downloading a copy of MERC (you need Microsoft Excel). You can play around with all sorts of uncertainties, and you might find some really surprising results.
 

DavidleeCole

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If the wind were actually hitting you from closer to 11 oclock than 12 then there is your problem. You need to know as close to the actual direct as possible.
Just a little info: One of the worst winds to train guys in (for me) is a fishtailing head or tail wind. If it comes varying from say the 1 to the 11 and it is not picked up instantly then guys wonder why they miss left and then miss right. They usually think there is something wrong with their equipment.
I love reading your replies so informative you really have a handle on things.
 

Bravo 4

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Thanks for the compliment. This is a pretty good site to learn from others and I just try to help. I find it humbling reading the knowledge of others on here.
 

Wyo32

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Here is a picture of a Rose Wheel, which shows the effects of wind on a bullet from a right hand twist barrel. We really pay attention to the wind when shooting benchrest. A head wind (11 vs. 1 o'clock) can have completely different effects on the bullet. Just like 5 vs. 7 o'clock. The outside arrows represent wind direction, the inside dots are for the effect on bullets from center.
 

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Rum River

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Mar 31, 2009
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Started pulling together components for a basic starting level flag arrangement today.
Right on cue - low 30's, rain & sleet - but the light wind was consistent!
Tomorrow's another day.....
 

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