Mirage Shields–Don't Leave Home Without One
Summer’s here, and that means hot weather and lots of mirage. A quality mirage shield reduces the amount of optical distortion caused by heat waves rising from the barrel directly in front of the scope. On a hot day, after many rounds through the barrel, the benefit of a mirage shield can be quite dramatic. Benchrest shooters have used mirage shields for many years. Mirage shields can be just as beneficial for the serious varmint shooter. But, curiously, most varminters we know don’t employ mirage shields. We think they should. A mirage shield is a low-cost accessory that helps you get more hits and fewer misses.
As our friend Boyd Allen observed: “Varminters should use mirage shields. Think about it. You’ve invested thousands of dollars in a fancy varmint rifle and quality scope. You may have spent hundreds of dollars traveling to the varmint fields and spent dozens of hours loading up your ammo. Without a mirage shield on your barrel, once that barrel gets hot, you WILL get mirage effects that can make you miss a shot. A mirage shield costs just a few dollars. It really doesn’t make sense to go out to the varmint fields without one, if you plan on shooting lots of rounds. Barrel heat mirage can cause you to miss that critter, even if you have the most accurate rifle in the world.”
Dan Lilja offers a nice, wide mirage shield for $10. Dan notes: “Our benchrest mirage shield also works very well for field varmint rifles if there is a lot of action and the barrel is getting hot. The shield deflects image-distorting heat waves that come off of a hot barrel. The heat flows out past the edge of the shield and out of the line-of-sight of the rifle scope. These shields are 18” long, made of thin painted steel (like window blind material) and can be easily trimmed to length.”
Sinclair International also offers a 2″-wide venetian-blind style Mirage Shade, that costs just $4.25. It is available in two lengths, 18″ for BR barrels (item 06-7200), and 24″ for longer varmint barrels (item 06-7300). The Sinclair Shade is made of aluminum and can easily be trimmed to a shorter length. Like the Lilja shield, the Sinclair Mirage Shade attaches with adhesive-backed Velcro fasteners.