Shooting in the Wind (Short Range)


September 13, 2008, 10:35 AM
Hey guys, I think I'm going to an outdoor range tomorrow here in Franklin, TN (Owl Hollow Gun Club - nice place to shoot :)) and was wondering about the wind. I've never shot in too much wind - always either avoided it or got lucky or whatever. But tomorrow promises to be windy - 15 - 20mph or so, per So my question: how much effect will a full-value 20mph wind have on:

.223 Rem @ 100m
.223 Rem @ 50m
.223 Rem @ 25m

.22LR (rifle) @ 50m
.22LR (rifle) @ 25m

.22LR (pistol) @ 25m

What do you think? Thanks!

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Old Grump
September 13, 2008, 11:45 AM
Wind effect on your bullets at those ranges is negligible, the effect on you is much more pronounced. Its actually more of a psychological effect than it is physical. Shooting at matches on ranges with a lot of side wind made some new shooters and occasional shooters more bothered than the more experienced shooters who learn to ignore everything but sight picture and trigger squeeze. The only wind that ever bothered me is full on wind in my face because it makes my eyes tear up. Shooting off hand into wind like that added with sleet makes it even more fun shooting the slow fire stage at 200 yards. They wouldn't call the match until the targets started falling off. What was amazing is that our groups weren't affected all that much but it sure was miserable. I actually learned to like the wind because it made the less disciplined shooters more rattled and made my scores look even better. Was good training for deer hunting in the north woods because you can't always pick and choose the weather and direction you will be shooting so its good to be used to it.

September 13, 2008, 12:02 PM
.223 Rem @ 100m An inch, or more, depending on switches
.223 Rem @ 50m Why?
.223 Rem @ 25m Why bother?

September 13, 2008, 12:21 PM
Wind effect on your bullets at those ranges is negligible, the effect on you is much more pronounced.
With a .223, yes. .22, No...very very wrong. 20 mph I would expect as much as 2" drift at 50m. If it's gusting, and switching directions, then yes, it will push the barrel a little, especially in standing. The longer the barrel, the more push. The bullets will go from 10 to 4, not 9 to 3, as well.

September 13, 2008, 01:30 PM
Bogie -

I do a good bit of shooting with my AR at reduced, scaled silhouettes at 25 and 50m. My range only goes to 100m, but if I post targets closer, I spend less time walking back and forth and can see my hits easier.

If I had a 200-500m range, I'd definitely go to the effort of posting targets at the full ranges... but I don't, so I like the convenience of practicing on scaled targets, and the difference in 25m and 100m is negligable if you're shooting at a scaled 500m target at both ranges.

Plus, at 25m I can print 4 silhouettes on one 8.5x11 piece of paper, which is also very convenient... here are the targets ill be shooting:

So if I'm gathering correctly, I shouldn't expect any real shift in POI from the AR at any range... but .22lr might be affected more, even at the very short ranges?

Thanks again!

September 13, 2008, 01:31 PM
Wind effect on your bullets at those ranges is negligible, the effect on you is much more pronounced.

With a .223, yes. .22, No...very very wrong. 20 mph I would expect as much as 2" drift at 50m. If it's gusting, and switching directions, then yes, it will push the barrel a little, especially in standing. The longer the barrel, the more push. The bullets will go from 10 to 4, not 9 to 3, as well.

+1, but depends on the meaning of the word "negligible."

Rule of thumb for almost any centerfire is a half inch at 100 yards per 10mph direct crosswind. More or less. Sorta. Kinda.

If you need any more precision that that, you'd better buy two anememometers, set up one at thirty yards, and one at 70 yards, and take an average of the wind velocities. And bring a protractor to determine the wind angle from your bullet's path. :) ;) :rolleyes:

^ Joke. See the wry joke icons? ^

With .22s, don't bother shooting at more than about 20 yards, depending on whether you're plinking at cans or trying to test/practice accuracy.

^ Not a joke. ^

Although, I wonder about that 60 grain subsonic .22 from Aguila.

Seems like that ought to be a real wind bucker. High mass, low loss of velocity per time of flight. If you absolutely, positively must, have to, shoot a .22 in the wind.

September 13, 2008, 01:35 PM
230RN -

That's good to know about the half-inch rule - I've not yet had the opportunity to learn to "read the wind" and make any sort of windage adjustments yet - don't have the facilities, although I'm looking forward to the opportunity some day when my fundamentals are stronger (sight picture / sight alignment, bone support, trigger control, breath contril, natural point of aim, all that good stuff).

So if I do go out tomorrow, I might just bring the AR and leave the .22s at home... they're really just supplemental anyways, but if I can't shoot them, that's a good excuse to bring more .223 Rem ammo ;)

September 13, 2008, 01:50 PM
I've shot .22s at 50m in high winds, I've been to Perry 3 times. You can do it, you just have to learn how to shoot in the wind, and you aren't going to learn to do it by leaving the rifles at home.

September 13, 2008, 02:04 PM
VARifleman: I agree with you, but the last time I said something like that I got all kinds of nonsense based on the precision of plain old wind-doping. Practice, practice, practice. My antagonist did not seem to get the point that after a while it becomes almost instinctive --you just "know" how much Kentucky Windage and Kentucky Elevationage you need for any shot, even at guessed-at distances.

The party I had the conflict with seemed to be stuck on talking about bench-resting, and I was talking about unsupported target shooting and at varmints and the like afield.

Now, to me, speaking only in terms of the wind's effects on the weapon and shooter, and not the bullet's drift, it's a question of timing your letoff through a larger "wobble" than merely normal sight drift --as with when one is getting ready to let off with little or no wind blowing you and the rifle around.

I've shot more-or-less succesfully at ranges like 50 yards with a .22, but I didn't have to, like one would in a match. So I just quit practicing at longer ranges with a .22. I have no doubt that if I had to, practice would have yeilded much better results.

I still wonder about that .22 60-grain Aguilar round in the wind, though. Hmmmm....

September 13, 2008, 02:12 PM
I don't do kentucky windage, I sight for a condition and shoot in that condition. There is a lot of mental effort to shoot in the wind as I remember one of the times, after the line's tarp was blown down, it was gusting 20-30 miles an hour, but always in the same direction. Sighted for lower wind speeds on the left side of the 10 ring, so that in higher speeds it would hit the right side if we didn't catch the shift in time.

September 13, 2008, 02:29 PM
There's the old saying.

The match goes to the shooter who solves his problems best.

I preferred to hold off appropriately for each shot.

:confused: Hmm. Maybe that's why I was always in the middle of the scoring list at matches. Hmm. :confused:

You suppose? :)

September 13, 2008, 02:53 PM
My uncle was in the 82nd air borne back in the 70s. he learned how to shoot cross wind and taught me how. One thing i can say if you can find one. they make these cheap wind guages that will give you an idea of how strong the wind is blowing. they make them digital and guage type. Now that will only tell you how hard the wind is blowing where you are sitting. You have to get used to look at the plains. The trees bushes, wind socks, windmills. What ever you have at different distances to know how hard the wind is blowing at a givin distance. Now you do not have control of the wind. However you do have control of your stance or postion. if you try to take a standing shot in the wind your going to miss. you have to be able to take the shot without having the wind effecting you at all. (no movement). Sitting kneeling, lying down. (no movment). After that it depends on the wind how hard and which direction. The further out the more you adjust. a good rule maybe 1" in either direction at 100 yards but that all depends on how hard the winds is. i will post a wind game you should try out. it will help you get the concept down.

September 13, 2008, 04:38 PM
Yeah... based on what everybody's saying, I don't think this is the weekend for me to shoot the .22s in the wind. I know I'll never learn until I get out there and do it, but my .22s are just not set up for it. I've got a Savage MkIIf with a Williams peep rear sight on it that I use to supplement shooting my AR at low cost at short range - with the aperture rear sight and a plain black front blade, it's very similar (though not the same) to my AR's sight picture.

The thing is that it's only adjustable with a screwdriver, and it took me a good bit to zero it properly, so I don't want to start screwing (heh what a pun :p) with it for windage purposes - I would HAVE to use holdovers and kentucky windage and whatnot, but honestly I'm still in the beginning phases of really strengthening my rifle shooting, as I mentioned earlier, working on fundamentals like NPOA, proper sling usage, breathing, etc. So if I went out today, trying to learn to use the sling properly (which I've just begun working on) and then had to throw in various holdovers etc., I think I would just frustrate myself. Also, since I'm working on shooting from the 4 positions (standing, kneeling, sitting and prone), it sounds like the wind would REALLY throw me for a loop - and, when I do start playing with wind, I think I'd rather start off a bench to isolate my human error and focus more on learning the sight / scope adjustments to develop some confidence rather than throwing it in the mix with everything else I need to improve on.

AND even then, it won't be with this .22 rifle with the (essentially) fixed rear sight.

So again thanks for the advice but this weekend, it'll just be the AR I think :)

September 13, 2008, 09:45 PM

I believe I have already used the tactically and technically correct term for "holdover":

Kentucky Elevationage


September 13, 2008, 11:23 PM
230RN -

My apologies, you're quite right - I should have used the proper nomenclature. Please forgive my ignorance ;)

Old Grump
September 14, 2008, 01:23 PM
Sigh! I knew this was going to happen. Negligible means still keeping all of your shots in the black at 50 yards with a 22 pistol while your standing on your hind legs shooting unsupported. You can never learn to do that if you only shoot from the bench in fair weather. We call those guys fair weather shooters and they always think they are better than they actually are because all of their shots are taken under prime conditions. Roof over their head, no wind and range set up so the sun is never a factor. You might as well be shooting at 50' targets indoors. At 100 yards with the 22 I correct for wind and sun, at 200 or 300 yards with a centerfire I correct for wind, (and sun if I am using iron sights).

Thats what the range flag is for, it gives you the direction and speed of the wind up at flag level and is a rough indicator at what its like at ground level. Like I said the whole thing about wind at close up belly button range like 25 meters is mostly psychological. It will blow you around, especially if your not particularly strong or have a bad shooting stance. You get your sight picture and squeeze when its right. Takes practice and I repeat, you won't learn the technique shooting from the bench in optimal conditions.

I have had to use 2 and 3 flags on a range but we were shooting 500, 600 and 1000 yards. Out to 300 yards one flag is plenty. Learn to read the wind and assuming you are using iron sights learn to read the sun. Its not rocket science. At your proposed close range shooting just take a gut check, plant your feet and shoot. Just one question though, why are you shooting that close with the .223?

September 14, 2008, 03:11 PM
Probably too late since you might be gone shooting by now but here it is right from Sierra's Infinity 6.1 Ballistic Program.

20MPH 90 degree crosswind :

.223 Rem @ 100m = 3"
.223 Rem @ 50m = 3/4"
.223 Rem @ 25m = 1/8"

.22LR (rifle) @ 50m = 3.1"
.22LR (rifle) @ 25m = 0.75"

.22LR 32gr. 'Stinger'
.22LR (rifle) @ 50m = 4.5"
.22LR (rifle) @ 25m = 1.14"

I'd say it makes quite a difference!! Unless you're shooting for shotgun effect.

Old Grump
September 14, 2008, 03:49 PM
Shotgun is shooting a pretty tight pattern if it stays inside a 4.5" circle at 50 meters. Unless the wind is gusting badly or swirling and changing directions a lot there is no reason you can't adjust. Only time I worried about 1" groups was shooting matches in an indoor 50' range. Minute of 10 ring gives you a little leeway, minute of rabbit gives you even more leeway.

Sighting in my hunting rifle I expect 1 1/2" groups at 200 yards shooting from a bench off a sandbag rest. Hunting shots I am happy if it lands within 2" or 3" + or - from my point of aim. Unlike shooting at a stationary target I'm moving, the deer is moving, the range isn't an exact measured range and the wind may have sleet in it or the sun might be in my eyes. If I only shoot from the bench on nice days I wouldn't be able to do that and I have been shooting since the late 50's. I like playing with ballistics and looking at charts and formulas as much as the next guy but the question pertained to shooting in the wind and my answer stands for the ranges and calibers mentioned. The only way to learn to shoot in the wind is to shoot in the wind. The wind has more effect on the shooter than the bullet and resisting the effects of wind has to be learned.

September 14, 2008, 04:24 PM
Old Grump -

See post 5 to answer your questions about why I'm shooting .223 at 25m and post 13 to see why I'm not interested at this point in shooting with .22lr in strong winds. I'll get there when I'm ready, but I'm not ready yet. Also, please note that the only time I ever put any of my guns on a bench is to zero them or for load development - I see no point in owning rifles I can't shoot well from realistic positions.

Either event, it was gusting 30mph winds when I woke up this morning and started raining shortly thereafter, so I didn't end up going at all.

Maybe next weekend.

ETA also note that the prone scaled 500m target @ 25m linked to in post 5 is slightly less than 1" across, so winds that would screw with my trajectory from a .22lr even at 25m are, at this point, unacceptable. I'm just beginning to get to the point with the fundamentals that I can consistently hit that little 1" guy, and want to strengthen my NPOA, breath control and sling usage before I start trying to adjust for the wind. I've only been shooting rifles for about a year now, and I've only been serious about REALLY improving my skill for 6 months or so, so I've still got a long way to go and don't want to handicap myself by introducing too many variables at once. Sling first, wind next.

Old Grump
September 15, 2008, 10:51 AM
elChupacabra! I'm on your side. I answered your original question and again my answer stands. I was responding to the posters who want to turn your shooting into rocket science and guys like VARifleman and 230RN were spot on with what I was saying. Shot enjoy, adjust and enjoy some more. My long distance comments were related to the guys who missed your reduced targets at 50 meters comment. I do a lot of that too and its a wonderful exercise. In fact I find it more challenging than shooting at the full size target at 300 meters. When you start worrying about all your shots not being bullseyes because you are shooting in the wind and it was 0FF 1 1/2" it stops being fun. Look at your group. Thats the important thing, are you still shooting a group? If so than you can adjust your point of aim. Anathema to some purists but sometimes you don't have time to adjust your sights in the real world and Kentucky windage has been applied by a lot of people to make good shots for a lot of years. The time to worry about rocket science is at your bench if you are deciding exactly what bullet and what twist and what propellant do you need for this specialized gopher gun you are building. Do I use a spitzer? HP? HC? What radius Ogive do I want, what burn rate for my powder do I want considering a 1-'X' twist in a X" long barrel for a 'X' grain bullet. I'm past all that now and I just shoot for fun. You aren't there yet unless you are an engineering student and you read calculus texts for breakfast.

September 15, 2008, 03:23 PM
.223 Rem @ 25m Why bother?

Bogie, the AQT from is designed to be shot at 25m range, using iron-sighted rifles of pretty much any caliber. The idea is that you can learn MOST of the shooting skills you need to be a rifleman by shooting scaled silhouettes at 25m. Fred vocally prefers .30-cal military-style semi-auto rifles for the AQT, but considers the 5.56mm NATO AR and even a Ruger 10/22 or other .22LR to be a worthy self-training tool on the 25m range.

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