Please school me on QUICK wind reading (match skillz)

Grog11

Sergeant of the Hide
Feb 1, 2018
124
21
18
Anthem, Arizona
#1
Ok, so, I just had a match today and got my lunch eaten by the wind. I’m a pretty good wind reader, but I’m used to high power matches where I can lay there on a scope and get a good read and then fire a shot. Now, in PRS style matches, I have no time to do that, it’s just “you have 90 seconds. Shoot.” I’m curious to hear how everyone approaches wind reading in a match setting..... not a setting where you have time.
 
Sep 30, 2010
222
112
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Phoenix
#2
I was out there today also. I too am curious as I got humbled a lot today. I couldn't read mirage very well with low humidity, all the gullies and draws were causing lots of weird wind changes and swirls and the brush wasn't moving very much. I had a hell of a time attempting to read the wind out there. Best I can say is if I feel it on my face its 4mph and if it is strong enough to knock ashes off my cigarette its 8mph. but nailing down direction was a bitch today. I didn't dial wind because it was 9, 6 o clock, 3, back to 9 and just tried to rely on feeling the wind today at the firing position and hope a spotter could pick up trace or I could spot my impacts for corrections. With the rolling desert hills spotting my own impacts wasn't easy.
 

Skookum

Flattus Domini
May 6, 2017
839
732
93
Your mom's
#3
Figure out what wind moves your bullet 1 MIL at 1000 yards. A 6.5 Creed shooting 140's is usually somewhere around 6 mph. Every yard line will add 0.1 MILs.

Example for MILS: 6mph wind full value, multiply yard line by 0.1....543 yards....0.1 x 5 = 0.5, Hold 0.5 MILS into the wind and let fly. If you have a doubt, then hold the edge so your error is spread over the target.

Example for MOA: Same wind, Multiply yard line by 0.3 ....543 yards....0.3 x 5 = 1.5, Hold 1.5 MOA into the wind and let fly.

If wind is double then double the call, if half then half etc.
45 degrees to you, use 3/4 of the Full value. Less than 45 degrees, use 1/2.
These aren't perfect, but they are fast and can be fudged one way or another as needed very quickly.
 
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goosed

Sergeant of the Hide
May 11, 2014
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MN
#4
The above post highlights the gist of what I do pretty well, but due to transitioning from high power I was in the habit of picking a primary and secondary condition. Thus, I still have the need to decide on 2 conditions, so I look for the highest value and lowest likely value. Thus using the target to bracket these high and low values.

If the difference between high and low is larger than the target I favor towards the side of the predominate condition.
 

Skookum

Flattus Domini
May 6, 2017
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732
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Your mom's
#5
The above post highlights the gist of what I do pretty well, but due to transitioning from high power I was in the habit of picking a primary and secondary condition. Thus, I still have the need to decide on 2 conditions, so I look for the highest value and lowest likely value. Thus using the target to bracket these high and low values.

If the difference between high and low is larger than the target I favor towards the side of the predominate condition.
What I call this is " bracketing" the wind. It is definitely desirable to do this if there is enough time to observe multiple wind cycles. Determining the low wind speed and the gusty wind speeds gives you the upper and lower limits as well as your average. Frank has talked about this a few times also.

There are a few tweaks I use to the BC method, which is what this is, that can make it more accurate and flexible. I haven't seen anyone else do this part, but it has worked extremely well for me. The BC method assumes a projectile with a muzzle velocity of 2,800 fps, and an altitude of 2,000 ft ASL (28.0 Hg).

+/- 200 fps = 1 mph adjustment of your basic wind (MIL wind) for your bullet. (Ex: 3,000 fps = +1 mph, 2,600 fps = -1 mph)
+/- 2,000 ft elevation change = 0.5 mph change in basic wind. (Ex: Sea Level = -0.5 mph, 4,000ft elev. = +0.5 mph)

So, some 6.5 guy shooting his Creed at 2,000 ft with a G1 BC of 600+ @ 2750 fps - 2850 fps will have a basic wind of 6 mph. Same guy at sea level figures 5.5 mph. Same guy goes and shoots in Colorado with Frank at 6,000 ft figures it at 7 mph.

6.5 Grendel guy at 2,600 fps can subtract 1 mph from all conditions above. 6.5x284 guy shooting 3,000 fps can add 1 mph to all conditions above.
 
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Grog11

Sergeant of the Hide
Feb 1, 2018
124
21
18
Anthem, Arizona
#6
Thank you for the great responses! I really do appreciate it. This is going to help a lot getting up there getting ready to shoot, especially when I’m first out of the gate. It’s enlightening to see how others approach this sort of thing. I’ve read countless articles on wind reading and I can’t remember any of them addressing it in this way, specifically (if you know of any, please feel free to share!).
 

Skookum

Flattus Domini
May 6, 2017
839
732
93
Your mom's
#7
I keep my eyes open for new stuff as well. I haven't seen the method I described in print. The BC method is old, but I haven't seen anyone use the same tweaks I use. I have never seen the MOA adaption I described in print.

I doubt I'm the only one doing it, but no none seems to be writing about it.
 
Likes: TRAC

Sheldon N

Blind Squirrel Finds a Nut
Sep 24, 2014
2,746
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Pacific Northwest
#9
Now, in PRS style matches, I have no time to do that, it’s just “you have 90 seconds. Shoot.” I’m curious to hear how everyone approaches wind reading in a match setting..... not a setting where you have time.
You have time during stage prep for a lot of things.

I write out a wind bracket for each yardage on my arm board. Low, middle and high wind for each target yardage, like a grid so I can easily switch columns for wind holds if the wind picks up or lets off.

I spend time on binos watching other shooters, watching trace.

Listen to what the shooters who have already shot are talking about for wind.

Incorporate what the wind has been doing on average in prior stages.

Have a super clear stage plan, be able to execute without mentally being wrapped up in the act of shooting so that you can allow more of your attention to be on what's happening around you with the wind. Tough not to get tunnel vision.

Recoil management, be able to both call where the shot broke and spot your hits and your misses, watch your own trace if possible. Use that to refine your wind call paying attention to whether the wind is picking up or letting off so you don't get "behind" on a change by just chasing the spotter.

I think probably the two biggest things are having a clear head and having clear downrange vision for what your last shot just did.
 

Skookum

Flattus Domini
May 6, 2017
839
732
93
Your mom's
#10
Thank you for the great responses! I really do appreciate it. This is going to help a lot getting up there getting ready to shoot, especially when I’m first out of the gate. It’s enlightening to see how others approach this sort of thing. I’ve read countless articles on wind reading and I can’t remember any of them addressing it in this way, specifically (if you know of any, please feel free to share!).
One more MOA method, I used this one for quite a while, but I like the method above better, but here goes.

Find the wind that moves your bullet 5 MOA at 1,000 yards and figure 1/2 MOA added per yard line. It can be just as accurate, but the numbers used to do the math in your head quickly are more awkward. For the same bullet from the 6.5 Creed mentioned above, your basic wind would be somewhere around a 9 mph wind. It is just easier for my mind to do fractions of 6 mph rather than 9 mph.

Don't know if this helps or not, just something else for you to play around with.
 
Likes: Grog11

MinnesotaMulisha

Head MF Door Keeper
Jul 30, 2013
830
262
63
Lincoln, NE
#11
What I call this is " bracketing" the wind. It is definitely desirable to do this if there is enough time to observe multiple wind cycles. Determining the low wind speed and the gusty wind speeds gives you the upper and lower limits as well as your average. Frank has talked about this a few times also.

There are a few tweaks I use to the BC method, which is what this is, that can make it more accurate and flexible. I haven't seen anyone else do this part, but it has worked extremely well for me. The BC method assumes a projectile with a muzzle velocity of 2,800 fps, and an altitude of 2,000 ft ASL (28.0 Hg).

+/- 200 fps = 1 mph adjustment of your basic wind (MIL wind) for your bullet. (Ex: 3,000 fps = +1 mph, 2,600 fps = -1 mph)
+/- 2,000 ft elevation change = 0.5 mph change in basic wind. (Ex: Sea Level = -0.5 mph, 4,000ft elev. = +0.5 mph)

So, some 6.5 guy shooting his Creed at 2,000 ft with a G1 BC of 600+ @ 2750 fps - 2850 fps will have a basic wind of 6 mph. Same guy at sea level figures 5.5 mph. Same guy goes and shoots in Colorado with Frank at 6,000 ft figures it at 7 mph.

6.5 Grendel guy at 2,600 fps can subtract 1 mph from all conditions above. 6.5x284 guy shooting 3,000 fps can add 1 mph to all conditions above.
Wouldn't a bullet traveling faster use less of a hold than a slower traveling bullet?
 

Greg Langelius *

Resident Elder Fart
Aug 10, 2001
5,495
765
113
Arizona, good place for me...
#12
I cheat.

In N/M or F class; first, I get my sighters, and make a final estimated adjustment as to the zero in the prevailing wind.

Then I quickly glass the other adjacent two targets and get a quick take on where their shot markers are in relation to the X on average.

This tells me about the most common wind call mistakes my fellow shooters are making.

I adjust my hold accordingly. More often than not, it's the quickest way to getting a better wind call.

It's a lot like 'chasing the spotter', which is often a mistake. Where it may be an improvement is that it builds on the most common wind calls and may permit a quick, intuitive second guess.

But it's all just a crapshoot in a fast changing wind condition.

Remember, the other guy has the same problems as you do, but he may also be a better wind caller, too. In my case, that's usually true.

When he's wrong, knowing that can be valuable info. His spotter tells you when he is. More data can add insight to the problem at hand.

Greg
 
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Skookum

Flattus Domini
May 6, 2017
839
732
93
Your mom's
#13
Wouldn't a bullet traveling faster use less of a hold than a slower traveling bullet?
Yes, but I don't see where it was indicated otherwise. Are you just confirming?

***UPDATE*** I see what you are asking now. In the part you quoted above, I wasn't talking about adjustments to the wind hold itself, but adjustments to the basic wind (MIL wind) used to calculate the hold. That is why you add 1 mph for 200 fps faster. It takes 1 mph MORE wind to push the bullet 1 MIL at 1000 yards.
 
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Nov 5, 2013
791
413
63
#14
You have time during stage prep for a lot of things.

I write out a wind bracket for each yardage on my arm board. Low, middle and high wind for each target yardage, like a grid so I can easily switch columns for wind holds if the wind picks up or lets off.

I spend time on binos watching other shooters, watching trace.

Listen to what the shooters who have already shot are talking about for wind.

Incorporate what the wind has been doing on average in prior stages.

Have a super clear stage plan, be able to execute without mentally being wrapped up in the act of shooting so that you can allow more of your attention to be on what's happening around you with the wind. Tough not to get tunnel vision.

Recoil management, be able to both call where the shot broke and spot your hits and your misses, watch your own trace if possible. Use that to refine your wind call paying attention to whether the wind is picking up or letting off so you don't get "behind" on a change by just chasing the spotter.

I think probably the two biggest things are having a clear head and having clear downrange vision for what your last shot just did.
good info here from sheldon, its how i approach match stages as well
 
Likes: Sheldon N

TOP PREDATOR

Gunny Sergeant
Jul 19, 2008
4,602
16
38
48
SCRANTON AREA PENNSYLVANIA
#15
http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/beaufort.html

https://healthfully.com/calculate-speed-angle-using-flag-5856494.html

http://southtexasshooting.org/multimedia/text/mirage.html

i like using the angle with mirage method, as trees, grass, falling leaves, etc. will fall at "X" angle vs a vertical plane depending on how much wind is blowing, and give you a direction.

then take into account the "value" of the wind you are reading, aiming lower if there is mirage.

figure out on your reticle for holding for it and send it.
 
May 15, 2011
345
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#16
Figure out what wind moves your bullet 1 MIL at 1000 yards. A 6.5 Creed shooting 140's is usually somewhere around 6 mph. Every yard line will add 0.1 MILs.

Example for MILS: 6mph wind full value, multiply yard line by 0.1....543 yards....0.1 x 5 = 0.5, Hold 0.5 MILS into the wind and let fly. If you have a doubt, then hold the edge so your error is spread over the target.

Example for MOA: Same wind, Multiply yard line by 0.3 ....543 yards....0.3 x 5 = 1.5, Hold 1.5 MOA into the wind and let fly.

If wind is double then double the call, if half then half etc.
45 degrees to you, use 3/4 of the Full value. Less than 45 degrees, use 1/2.
These aren't perfect, but they are fast and can be fudged one way or another as needed very quickly.
Same method I've used a few years. This works for all my rounds and the only thing you need to remember is the wind speed per 0.1mil; 5mph for my 223 and mph for 6.5x47.
 

goosed

Sergeant of the Hide
May 11, 2014
270
71
28
MN
#17
I write out a wind bracket for each yardage on my arm board. Low, middle and high wind for each target yardage, like a grid so I can easily switch columns for wind holds if the wind picks up or lets off.
good info here from sheldon, its how i approach match stages as well
When you do the 3 wind brackets; are you using the "high gust", "lowest let off" and average wind speed?
 

BangBangBlatBlat

Gunny Sergeant
Jun 7, 2012
748
236
63
#20
Sorry this took longer than expected. I decided to load a bunch of ammo last night so I haven't gotten back to this comment until this morning.

Like yourself, I have made the transition from mediocre Highpower shooter to mediocre PRS shooter. One of the things that I learned in Highpower, but haven't really applied to PRS is keeping track of thoughts and information. I really need to start keeping a databook for PRS matches because of how invaluable it can be; especially as a learning tool.

Strong Wind (15mph)

I stole the idea from a data-sheet for the "British Wind" table which was for 7.62 which basically was a strong wind will move a bullet 1 MOA per 100 yards. So it was 100=1 200=2 300=3 etc. It's something I learned when I shot M14s for fun. I converted the idea to apply for Mils and 6.5mm bullets. Basically, I count by 2s from 100-300, and then by 3s out to 1000, and by .4s after that. I am also fairly certain that a couple of different professional instructors teach similar methods.

The whole purpose of the exercise isn't necessarily to give you a direct output, but more to directly visualize how much your bullet is going to be moved. The idea is to take your strong wind as your benchmark and then reduce those values to 1/2 and 1/4 for a Medium, and Light wind.

A 15 mph wind is going to be a nice day at the beach, or just fast enough to make the Georgia heat actually pleasant. Also according to the Beaufort scale, it will raise dust and paper, so it's probably also going to be the point where you start putting an ammo box on your match-book to keep things from blowing away.

A 7 mph wind is right about where leaves of trees and grass should be in constant motion. It's also the point where the gnats have gone away 20 minutes ago but you haven't noticed.

A 3 mph wind is where you can feel it, and you are wondering why the gnats are still there, and why are there even gnats in the first place. It will also move grass and smoke, but it might be difficult to determine direction.

Sorry, I was just remembering all the gnats at the last match I shot.

Wind Bitch Method

Working with other shooters is a huge advantage. Good shooters tend to group together because they know it gives them an edge. Having the equivalent of a Highmaster shooter come off the firing line and tell you what he just used for wind is a huge advantage. When I am actually trying to be good at a match, I will try to squad with good shooters because the information I get from watching good shooters shoot is immediately valuable.

If the match allows for it, I will try to watch someone shoot through a spotting scope, and then ask them what they used for wind. It helps confirm or deny the wind plan that I would have came up with if I was shooting all alone, or didn't have someone to use as a wind dummy.

Databook

I've moved away from keeping meticulous data at matches due to laziness. However, it is something that I am going to start doing again because I think that it gives you a huge edge in collecting your thoughts, preparation, and self-reflection. Writing things down on paper in a format that is easy to come back to can pay off huge dividends when it comes to breaking the learning curve. Attached is a picture of a generic UKD datasheet that we used to use. It's basically an adaptation of Highpower. It doesn't have to always be filled all the way out.

All of the stuff on top is basic information that should be familiar. This is part of our planning phase for a stage. In our target box, I wrote IPSC, but I also sometimes draw the shape of the target.

In the remarks section, I put basic info about the course of fire, and that the previous shooter used 2 mils of wind at 1200 and that it was off to the right.

There is an elevation and windage box. I write in all the data I intend to use for the stage, and then any corrections I made. In this case, my data past 900 wasn't correct for elevation, so I put in that I basically had to hold .3 to .5 low to be on targets past 900.

I also had one of my friends watch my trace through his spotting scope so I could have some information on where my shots were going. If I don't have friends, I try to ask the spotter things like "Was I hitting high or low?" "Where were my misses?" Usually most will give you their best assessment and that gives you information to go off of.

At the very bottom is final notes. It says that the wind changed to half it's value, and that I need to make sure to true data past 1000. It's basically a final recap of my thoughts immediately coming off the line.

So what other advantages does the databook give me? It allows me to mentally prepare for the next match by re-shooting this one. Chances are if you shoot a decent bit, you are going to shoot at the same venue more than once, and the stages are going to be similar. I can look at my notes on Alabama Precision or Core and have an idea of what would make my next match better. I know that in Alabama, I would prefer to shoot the longest range stages first because the wind can get really bad in the afternoon. I know that at Core I will probably bust time on the shoot house stage, and that focusing on getting good shots is the best course of action for me. I also know that at Core, I have done pretty well on the rocks stage by just putting the Gamechanger bag on everything, and held slightly low the last time I shot, and it worked pretty well.
 

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Likes: echo6tango
Nov 6, 2013
472
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Southern, IN
#21
Don't be afraid to put a round in the dirt!

If you are struggling because the conditions are crazy and you can't read them, there is no mirage or trace to read, you’re having trouble reading the natural indicators or they don't exist, or you are not seeing the impact of your misses, put a shot in the dirt.

If I send my first round and I have absolutely no idea where it went, I am looking for the closest area where I know that I can see an impact (a larger area of dirt, close cut grass, etc.). I zoom back out on magnification to ensure that I can see the shot and send it. Then when I see the impact in my reticle I can measure the impact the wind is having on the round. No different than firing a spotter shot in High Power or F-Class (other than it counts!).

I have watched countless shooters send round after round “into oblivion” and never figure out what is going on with the wind because they can’t get a hit or see the impact of a miss. IMHO it is way better to intentionally miss a shot to get a positive indicator of what is going on than to just keep chucking rounds.

Obviously just make sure that if you do this that you are firing your round into an acceptable safe area.
 

Grog11

Sergeant of the Hide
Feb 1, 2018
124
21
18
Anthem, Arizona
#23
Wow, thanks for all the info, everybody! I really appreciate the time you’re taking to detail how you’re approaching your wind reading/ stage preparation.

I shot a match yesterday, but the wind wasn’t a huge factor. I did memorize some wind estimates like described above and mentally practiced it at every stage, and it DID pay off when I had to use it.

Also, thanks bangbangblatblat for the tips on your data book and THANK you for posting a pic as well!

I’ll check back in when I get to use these techniques!
 
Oct 26, 2017
123
9
18
24
Hollis Oklahoma
#25
A ton of great info. I’ve always bracketed the wind and if I’m not the first shooter I will sit there and watch what the wind is doing until it’s my turn to shoot. As everyone else said if you can spot your hits and misses. It will help you tremendously
 

TXSGFmrCWO3

Sergeant of the Hide
Jun 30, 2018
123
27
28
Fort Bend County, Texas
#26
One thing I might add is something I got from the "Wind book for Rifle Shooters". Wind speed is different depending on height above the ground. Someone mentioned gullies and draws. I seem to remember the wind is going to be faster going across them since the height of the bullet trajectory is actually higher above the ground when traversing the gully. If anyone is interested, I'll try to dig it out of my library and paraphrase the data.
 

TXSGFmrCWO3

Sergeant of the Hide
Jun 30, 2018
123
27
28
Fort Bend County, Texas
#27
My apologies to Bryan Litz. The passage regarding the effect on gullies, valleys, etc. on bullet trajectory wasn't from the Wind Book. It's from a Palma match description starting on page 67 of "Applied Ballistics for Long-Range Shooting" by Bryan Litz.

Terrain does some weird things to wind direction and speed for sure.
 
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