Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - 19

ND
MANAGING WIND DEFLECTION— BALLISTICS Now that we understand the mechanism of wind deflection, what can we do to minimize its effect? There are some misconceptions about the best ballistic solution for minimizing wind deflection. The most common misconception is that a flatter shooting round will have less wind deflection. That’s not necessarily true. Consider the .308 Winchester, for example, with light versus heavy bullets. A light bullet of 155 grains and a muzzle velocity of 3000 fps will require about 12 MOA of elevation to be zeroed at 600 yards,

with about 28 inches of wind deflection in a 10 mph crosswind. Compare that to a heavier 210-grain bullet at 2577 fps, which requires 15.5 MOA of elevation and 24.3 inches of wind deflection under the same conditions. The lighter, faster 155-grain bullet is 3.5 MOA flatter, but has 3.7 inches (15 percent) more wind deflection than the slower, heavier bullet. This comparison favors the heavier bullet for wind management. In known distance target shooting contests, the flatness of the trajectory is a non-issue. It’s way more important to minimize wind deflection since that’s the variable that has the most uncertainty. So what are some ways to minimize wind deflection? Well, we already established that heavier (higher BC) bullets are better, even if it means a reduction in muzzle velocity. If you can fire heavier bullets at high muzzle velocities, that will minimize wind deflection even further. Firing the heaviest, highest BC bullets at maximum velocity is the way to minimize wind deflection. It’s important to keep things in perspective. There are other important factors to consider in addition to just wind deflection—like recoil and accuracy. You might be able to minimize wind deflection by firing a 300 grain .338 caliber bullet at 3000 fps, but this would not maximize your score because of the extreme recoil that’s generated. The optimal solution from an overall point of view is something that minimizes wind deflection while also maintaining accuracy and being comfortable to shoot. MANAGING THE WIND WHILE SHOOTING Wind shooting requires the shooter to process a pile of information about the wind speed and direction from a myriad of indicators including flags, mirage, grass, trees, feel and the location of yours and other competitors’ previous shots. Go to any long-range shooting match and you’ll hear this

topic discussed at length, with as many unique opinions as there are shooters discussing it. Some swear that the wind closest to the shooter is the only wind to worry about, while some claim the wind at the target is most important. Others will say that the bullet is most affected in the middle of its flight, at its highest point where the wind is fastest. There are also discussions about the relative importance of wind speed changes versus direction changes. Of all these strategies, the one I personally use and advise is flexibility. Don’t make any assumptions—treat each range as though it were completely different each time you shoot a shot. Look everywhere for indicators (causes) that correlate to the deflection of your bullet (effects). If you can identify the indicators that correlate to what you’re seeing on the target, then you’ve identified the cause-effect relationship. Don’t ignore any indicators just because you expect them to be useless. Only dismiss an indicator after it proves to be inconsistent with where your shots are going. When you have found an indicator that seems to be good, use it, but don’t completely lose track of the others. If the condition changes enough, you may need to look for other indicators that are more valuable in the new condition. Successfully steering your bullets thru a difficult wind condition can be one of the most difficult and rewarding experiences in long range shooting. Doing well requires experience and sometimes a little luck. Let’s see what a few of America’s most successful shooters have to say about their strategies for shooting in the wind.

WIND STORIES
Lones Wigger: This is one time that stands out in my mind where reading the wind properly allowed me to tie the world record and win the Pan American Gold medal in the smallbore rifle 60-shot prone match.

SHOOTINGSPORTSUSA.COM 19


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Shooting Sports USA - September 2010

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Shooting Sports USA - September 2010

Shooting Sports USA - September 2010
Meet Your NRA Competitive Shooting Division
Contents
Shooter’s News
Range Bag
Score Sheet
National High Power Silhouette Championship
Sight Adjustment Savvy
Expert Forum: Wind Shooting
2010 National Pistol Matches
A Page From History
Coming Events
Member Info./Classified Ads
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - Shooting Sports USA - September 2010
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - Meet Your NRA Competitive Shooting Division
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - 3
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - Contents
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - 5
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - 6
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - Shooter’s News
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - Range Bag
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - 9
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - 10
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - Score Sheet
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - 12
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - 13
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - National High Power Silhouette Championship
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - 15
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - Sight Adjustment Savvy
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - 17
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - Expert Forum: Wind Shooting
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - 19
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - 20
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - 21
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - 2010 National Pistol Matches
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - 23
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - 24
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - 25
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - A Page From History
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - Coming Events
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - 28
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - 29
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - 30
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - 31
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - 32
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - 33
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - 34
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - 35
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - 36
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - 37
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - 38
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - Member Info./Classified Ads
Shooting Sports USA - September 2010 - Cover4
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