August 30th, 2012

Mirage Shields Tame Barrel Heat for More Accurate Shooting

Even if you don’t shoot competitively, you can benefit from having a mirage shield on your barrel. The shield helps prevent barrel heat from “cooking” the air in front of your scope, which can distort the view you see through the optic. Barrel heat creates a mirage effect that can blur the target image and actually shift your apparent aiming point up and down. Competitors know that a mirage shield helps them shoot smaller groups and better scores. Mirage shields can likewise benefit Varmint shooters on those hot summer groundhog and prairie dog expeditions.

Make a Mirage Shield from Discarded X-Ray Film
Forum member Fabian from Germany, whose Sako 6BR was featured as a Gun of the Week, has devised a clever and inexpensive mirage band option. Fabian is a radiologist by trade. He notes that many X-ray machines require a daily test film for calibration. These are normally just discarded in the trash, so you can get them for free.

mirage shield

Fabian explains: “I’m a radiologist, so I handle medical x-ray films every day. Modern X-ray machines use laser-based printers and they need to print a test-film every day. One x-ray film is about 43×35 cm (16.9″ x 13.7″). Made from polyester, the films are very stable and only 0.007″ inches thick. They are light-weight, semi-transparent, and very stable. Using normal scissors, you can easily cut four mirage shields from a single sheet of film. Then glue on some velcro to attach to your barrel. Try it, you will not be disappointed.”

mirage shield

More Do-It-Yourself Ideas
Other forum members have made mirage shields out of common, inexpensive materials such as old venetian blinds, thin plastic edging strips, and even cardboard reinforced with strapping tape. There’s no “magic material”. However many shooters have found that wider shields (extending well past the barrel sides) work better than narrow shields, particularly in hot weather.

Mirage Shields with Printed Designs
If you prefer to purchase a mirage shield, Shotmaster 10X offers a wide variety of shields starting at just $5.00 for a plain white 18″ shield. Patterned shields (including camo designs) are priced by length: $8.50 (18″), $9.50 (20″), $11.00 (24″). All Shotmaster shields come with two (2) velcro patches with self-stick adhesive.

Shotmaster 10X Mirage Shield

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