Shooting in the wind is never fun, well it can be fun once you know how to do it. I can’t recall how many times I’ve been on the rifle range on a bad day and still decide, “Hey, let’s shoot anyway.” Poor weather conditions can make for poor marksmanship, and it does take real skill to score shot after shot when the wind is blowing. Here are a few steps you can take to conquer the wind and hit the bullseye, the buck, or the tin can.
The wind is an evil beast, to beat it you must first have a good grasp on two wind factors, direction, and speed. The first step is to determine the direction and speed of wind before we can do anything else.
Direction can be determined by how the environment is moving around you. If your range has wind flags it’s immediately apparent the direction, but if you’re in the field you’ll need to use nature to your advantage.
Watch how the trees are moving, or grass, leave or dust. From here you can determine the direction the wind is blowing and prepare to compensate for it. So if the wind is coming from the east to west, and you are facing North, you’ll need to aim east, so the wind will blow the bullet straight ahead. Simply explained is winds from the right will blow the bullet left, and vice versa.
Speed can be determined by flags or nature as well. If you can feel a light breeze on your face is between 3-5 miles per hour, if the leaves on trees are blowing and moving it’s 5-8 miles per hour, if the dust is kicking up it’s 8-12 miles per hour, and if small trees are bending and swaying the wind is between 12-15 miles per hour.
After you determine the direction and a wind estimation you need to place a value on your wind. Values work of what’s essentially a clock. Designed by the military the value clock is an easy method to remember wind values. Wherever your muzzle is pointing is considered twelve o’clock. If the wind is blowing from directly your twelve o’clock, and from your six o’clock to your twelve you have no value, and a wind correction is not needed (0).
If the wind is between 10 and 11, 1 and 2, 4 and 5, and finally 7 to 8 on your value clock you have what’s considered a half value and will require a correction (0.5). If the wind is coming from your 9 o’clock, or from your 3 o’clock this is a full value (1), and will require the most correction. It’s important to know what these values are to make an accurate holdover, and, therefore, an accurate shot.
A list of all the holdovers for all the calibers and barrel lengths would be impossible to list. I simply cannot do so, the list would so extensive, with simple fractions of an inch difference. However, you are in luck. Most ammunition manufacturers will publish this information online, and manufacturers like Hornady feature an easy to use a ballistic calculator to give you a the appropriate amount of holdover for a specific round.
Personally, I keep my wind dope for particular rounds written down and ready for the range. It’s a simple and easy method to guarantee I have the information necessary to make my shots. It’s a very easy method to ensure I’m always on target.
So, now pair your know-how with a quality rifle scope for long distance shooting and you can not be bothered by wind anymore!