View Full Version : Shooting Service Rifle in the Wind

Michael Carlin
March 8, 1999, 10:33 AM
The past weekend, March 6 and 7, 1999, the Virginia Shooting Sports Association held the second weekend session of its service rifle competition training program for Basic and Advanced High Power Rifle.

Saturdays’ session enjoyed some very pleasant weather. Sunday, a day on which my personal goal was to break my PR (personal record) for the National Match Course was a horse of a different color (mostly blue!). The temperature was well below 40 Fahrenheit and the wind was gusting from 25 to 45 mph with the direction swinging from straight up range to from the left.

Shooting into a bitterly cold, gusty wind was a previously experience phenomenon, but I did not handle it any better than I have in the past. Even my sitting rapid score was strung out down wind. The session was called after about 2 hours, because of the weather.

What I should like to hear from the high power/service rifle community is comments/guidance on adverse conditions:

Do you adjust your goals for weather conditions, and if so how do you determine the adjustment?

What do you physically do to “windproof your standing, sitting and prone positions.

How do you deal with widely varying wind directions and velocities?

Before you respond consider this information:

On Saturday my coaches told me to be more discerning of the sight picture and sight alignment after I shot a 95 sitting. I then shot a 97 and a 98, the 98 had two shots that were merely millimeters from being 10s. I was able to call each shot in each of the three strings clearly, and the shots were on call!

On Sunday, after having shot the poorest offhand I have had in some considerable time, I determined to significantly improve my sitting. As the string commenced the wind seemed to be coming from 10:30 gusting from 25-35 mph. After I reloaded the eight rounder, the wind picked up to something significantly greater, and shifted from 10:30 to 9:00 for about three shots, it then swung back into my face over the course of 2 shots and finished about where it was when we started. I worked through this, holding center throughout and being very meticulous on both trigger control and sight alignment/picture. I called the string clean, and suffered great disappointment.

The score was an 82-1 the whole group was strung out to the right and almost appeared to be a right (firing) elbow sliding out kind of situation. Could the wind have moved me or the bullets that far?

Masters, give me your take on this, please.

Ni ellegimit carborundum esse!

Yours In Marksmanship


Ken Cook
March 16, 1999, 04:20 AM
I don't compete anymore as the Marine Corps no longer provides free ammo, and I am not what I would call a "Master" but I do shoot very well. Teach even better.
To answer your last Q first, of course the wind can blow you OR the bullet that far off. Further too!
On the matter of changes to your standing pos. Consider the following, you have a 25 mph wind gusting from 10 to 4. If you are shooting texbook this places your feet at a possition relevant to the wind similar to the following two symbols. I\ Ibeing the alignment of your feet \being wind direction. Try shifting your weak side foot back just 5 or 6 inches more. This will bring you closer to bracing directly against the wind. Unfortunately, there ain't no such thing as a free lunch, and this also blows your natural point of aim all to Hell! The position places a bit more strain on your back muscles so you lose a bit of skeletal support, but with a bit of practice, you can use the modified position to your advantage. BTW You mentioned the term 8 rounder, so I think it's safe to assume you're shooting an M1. At 200 yards, the 10 to 4 wind you describe will push your bullet to the right anywhere from 4 to 8 inches depending on your load and bullet. This is not counting the sway of your body in the wind!
For sitting pos, unfortunately, the only advise I can offer is this. GET LOWER!!!
I may be preaching to the choir here, but try sitting on the living room floor instead of the Lazyboy. You know the pos, right over left. I remember in USMC bootcamp, we were forced to sit like this whenever we sat! We were all VERY used to the pos by the time we got to "Range week" and VERY flexible. After several weeks, several of us could sit cross legged and place our elbows on the deck! That's the best fix I can think of for sitting in high wind. Of course, the ROs probably wouldn't let you actually place your elbows on the deck, but if you can get close, that's good enough!
For prone pos, you're as low as you're gonna get.
Remember, you said you called all your "out" shots? If you called them, then you knew that your sight alignment/sight picture was off when you squeezed the shot off, so why did you sqeeze it off?
This was always a very annoying thing to hear when my coaches asked me this question, so I apologise, but it IS a valid Q. Some food for thought.

Your mind is your primary weapon.

Michael Carlin
March 16, 1999, 08:35 PM
I really appreciate your thoughts!

I called the disappointing sitting string clean! Now that I have actually looked at a ballistic program, the string looked about like I would expect had the "hold" been as good as it looked! The wind about doubled in velocity and swung around to 9:00 so it went from "half value" to "full value" and doubled or a little better in velocity. I had eight 1/4 minute clicks into it (left) and was centered on the beginning of the string. As the wind picked up and swung to 9:00 the effect would quadruple, so now that I think about it, the would push them right out to where they strung to.

By the way, Jim Morgan said the same thing on Saturday. Call your string, so I did. He looks at the 95 and says they are right where you called them. So don't pull the trigger if they aren't going to be tens. DUH! Why didn't I think of that? You know pistol shooters shoot rapid fire by keeping the trigger moving, we NEVER stop the trigger, as it will really REALLY screw up a string to do so!

So much to learn and so little time!

Thanks for your help!

Ni ellegimit carborundum esse!

Yours In Marksmanship


Ken Cook
March 19, 1999, 03:22 AM
Oh CRAP!!!!!
I had a nasty suspicion and I just re read my previous post. The directions above are for a LEFT HANDED SHOOTER! Sorry, but due to the loss of vision in my right eye, I shoot southpaw and sometimes forget to transpose instructions to Rightys.
Here's the transposition.
Down range = top of page.
wind= \
Shooter =|
|\ mover your right foot FORWARD a little bit.
if |/ then move your right foot BACK.
As I said before, this WILL screw with your natural point of aim, so it takes practice. Preferably practice during the wind conditions you're correcting for, but you can't always arrange for that.
(You have to submit your Request, wind, adverse conditions frmDA1847/2f a month in advance of target training day.) :D
Give'em Hell Top!

Your mind is your primary weapon.

[This message has been edited by Ken Cook (edited March 21, 1999).]

April 6, 1999, 05:32 PM
I've shot SF 600 yd in gusts so strong they would blow the rifle (tight sling and all) all the way off of the bull.

Offhand-style shooting technique comes into play. Fast squeeze when the sight settles under the bull. Dry fire to not learn/unlearn flinch.

But you also have to pay attention to the wind during an RF string. I've gone from 3 MOA one side, to two after the reload, and to two the other way at about shot #7, because of changing winds.

IIRC, the wind at the line has more effect than at the last 100 yards in front of the pits.

Ken Cook
April 7, 1999, 01:47 AM
First, what's IIRC mean, seen it before, but still can't figure it out.
Second, I'd be interested in hearing your reasoning on why the wind is more detrimental at the firing line than at the pits.
I have always believed that the downrange wind has more effect on the bullet because the bullet is moving much slower then, than in the first hundred yards.
Of course, if the wind is coming from different directions at those ranges, it's all "hope dope" anyway! BTDT! :D

Your mind is your primary weapon.