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A Point to Ponder
According to Stump
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Compiled & Edited from a post Ray Price put on BenchrestCentral 3/4/05

Harry's post/thread should bring some good comments on wind shooting.
As an old fossil who's still learning, I can't resist offering some observations to folks who are new to the sport...

Wind does get your attention when you're sitting at the bench in a match. One sure thing is: We can't stop it from blowing! So, we've got to learn something about coping with it, not so easy, but it's possible. In BR shooting at ranges I've seen the wind is full of small unpredictability’s that are hard to read. You may have a general wind direction from NW or wherever, but most ranges are in a rat's nest of obstacles (trees, structures, berms etc.) and most are aerodynamically in a "hole," that is they are surrounded on three or four sides by forests or banks or???. Air moving over these areas is a boiling mass, especially as it pours into this "hole." You look over the range and flags are pointing everywhere. This may cause you to cuss under your breath. Our problem is to learn to make some sense out of this situation and shoot it with some degree of success. We can look to the Deneens, Holbruners, Arnolds, and others who are good at this for their advice and wisdom.

When I started shooting BR some years ago it took Bob H, Harry W, Milt C and other shooters around here two or three years to convince me that you had to practice shooting when the wind was blowing, not wait for calm days. I liked calm days because it was easier shoot better scores. An attitude change had to be made - had to bite the bullet and practice in all conditions. Rarely is a match shot on a calm day.

Good practice requires several things: a rifle and ammo capable of shooting good scores, a reliable setup - rests, stool bench etc. - and good flags. You can't tell how well you are reading and shooting wind unless your have these variables under some control. Flags are another whole ball of wax. There are many opinions about flags, just look the variety at a match. But mainly, flags need to tell you the direction and approximate velocity of the wind. Good flags can be bought or made if you are somewhat handy. I enjoy making mine and have some hints if anyone wants them. One main thing about flags is to practice with your own and become familiar with them. There are several good velocity gauging devices available, but being a lazy old guy I just use the propellers and surveyor’s tape tails on my flags to judge wind speed. If you look at them over enough time, you begin to get the hang of it. I think you can ignore complex physics here and just consider practicalities. The complexity of the short trip a .22 bullet makes from gun to target can be argued far into the night, but since the goal is simply to shoot a good target I'd concentrate on mainly two things: that the wind will definitely move the bullet either left or right and to some degree up or down, and gravity will pull it down. You can even pretty much ignore gravity since decent ammo will have enough velocity consistency to eliminate unexpected significant rises or drops. So it boils down to just watching flags and from their behavior estimating what the wind is doing and how it will effect the bullet's flight. Here's where hours of practice can help. First zero your rifle, better do this when it's calm (guys in the Plains and Prairie Provinces will have to do this at one A.M. I spent 5 years in Nebraska and N and S Dakota and the wind never dropped below 20 MPH). Pick a straightforward repeating condition and velocity - say right to left - shoot it enough times, maybe hundreds, so that you know where to hold to land in the 10 ring. And so on, and so on, and so on etc. for other directions and velocities. Shooting straightforward conditions will soon become fairly possible if not easy. As conditions get worse and worse it will get harder and harder but you will make progress and one day you'll think how in the dickens I beat those guys.

I'm ready for a nap.
Ray Price
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