If you are one of the 11.5 million Americans who hunt and go shooting, understanding the environment that you shoot in is essential for success. Whether you are in an outdoor shooting range or participating in long-range shooting, wind direction will be the most significant factor that decides whether or not you will hit your target. Even with the most powerful shooting accuracy weapons, bullets will not travel in a straight line when fired.
They will always follow the path of the wind, forming an arc according to the wind direction and wind resistance. That is why all of the top military marksmen undergo extensive wind direction training, to help them better understand how bullets travel so that they can always hit their target. If you want to get better at shooting, you need to understand wind direction. Here’s how.
1. Use a Wind Direction Monitor
To get a crystal-clear picture of wind speed and wind direction when long-range shooting, you should invest in the right tech. A simple monitoring device such as Caldwell Wind Wizard or a Kestrel 5700 will do the trick. These measure the wind in the atmosphere and tell you precisely how fast the wind is and where it is coming from. This will help you quickly calculate the adjustments you need to make when shooting.
2. Determine Wind Speed
Of course, you can determine the speed of the wind with a few observational techniques. To determine the speed of the wind, you can simply study the surrounding environment. Look out for grass, trees, branches, and debris to determine how hard the wind is blowing. If these are not present, you can use smoke from a cigarette or lighter to get a picture of wind speed. At 3-5mph wind speed, you will notice a light breeze and lateral mirage lines. If dust begins moving on the ground, the wind is likely to be at 8-12mph. At around 12-15mph, branches, small trees, and shrubs will begin to sway. You get the picture.
3. Steady Your Rifle
Whether you are on an alpine shooting range or your own backyard, a steady rifle is essential for overcoming wind direction problems. You can hit up nationwide retailers such as Tier One to invest in rifle bipods that will steady your weapon and prevent wind direction from throwing you off-balance. You can also purchase scope mounts to give yourself a more detailed idea of where you are aiming and help you make the precise adjustment needed in order to counter wind direction on the shooting range.
4. Old Fashioned Wind Direction Detection
While we have covered the old-fashioned way to determine wind speed, we have not yet covered how you can determine wind direction simply by using your senses. This, too, is surprisingly easy. Since the slightest change in wind direction can have a significant impact on where your bullet travels, it is important to pay close attention. Looking at the direction of blades of grass is the most reliable indicator. You can also do the old trick of throwing so blades of grass or ground debris in the air and seeing where it lands. Following the direction of smoke is also a time-honored way of determining wind direction.
More Sport and Hobby Hacks at Your Fingertips
Understanding wind direction will help you get better results from your shooting hobbies in 2021. For more essential hacks to get more out of the hobbies you care about, make sure to consult our dedicated Sport & Hobby section for expert tips and tricks.