May 18th, 2009

USAMU Teaches Wind-Reading on ShootingUSA May 20th

Mark your calendars for Wednesday, May 20th, when a “must-watch” episode of ShootingUSA television is broadcast. On the 20th, Sergeant Grant Singley and other members of the USAMU Service Rifle Team explain wind-reading for long range competition. This should be a very informative segment, enhanced with on-screen graphics illustrating key points.

Sgt. Singley notes: “A 5-mph crosswind at 600 yards will move an 80gr .223 bullet about 15 inches. You can see that being able to accurately read the wind will greatly enhance your success on the rifle range.” The USAMU uses a clock method to estimate wind value based on the direction. Then you add in the measured (or estimated) velocity for the vector value (wind strength and angle).

Sgt. Singley recommends the use of a wind meter, such as a Kestrel, to gauge wind speed. But observed conditions will also indicate wind velocity. Sgt. Singley explains: “Zero-to-three mph, is hardly felt on the shooters face, but smoke will drift. Three-to-five mph is felt lightly on the shooter’s face. Five-to-eight mph keeps leaves in constant movement. Eight-to-12 mph will blow dust and loose paper, and 12-to-15 mph winds cause small trees to sway.”

Using Mirage to Estimate Wind Speed and Direction
Long-range shooters also need to learn how to read mirage. Mirage is the reflection of light through layers of air that have a different temperature than the ground. These layers are blown through by the wind, and can be monitored through a spotting scope, to detect direction and speed. You can see what appear to be waves running across the screen. This is the mirage. The waves appear to be running right to left, which indicates a wind coming out of the right. To clearly see the mirage through a spotting scope, you bring the target into focus, then adjust the focus about a quarter turn counter-clockwise.”

Graphics copyright 2009 ShootingUSA, used with permission.

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