Reading Mirage

Discussion in 'ELR, Ballistics & Bullets Board' started by Jalen, Sep 27, 2017.

  1. Jalen

    Jalen

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    I'm pretty new to long range shooting and I've been wondering: If you have no flags or other indicators to go off of, how do you tell which direction Mirage (wind) is coming from at the target? I see the "waves" but can't tell which direction it's coming from.
     
  2. Terry

    Terry Gold $$ Contributor

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    Get a white foam board from Walmart and put black duck tape stripes on it. You will see the changes.
     
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  3. sfldiver

    sfldiver Silver $$ Contributor

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    At high powered ranges when the sun is shinning, I'm able to point my spotting scope at the numbered signs (black and white colored), below my target that identify my target, and read the wind direction from the mirage "waves" on the sign.
     
  4. Jalen

    Jalen

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    Is it obvious which direction the wind is coming from while doing that?
     
  5. Terry

    Terry Gold $$ Contributor

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    Not completely. You will see right, left and up. You will not see the angles.
     
  6. swadiver

    swadiver Silver $$ Contributor

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    Like anything else. It takes practice looking at the mirage and then relating it to the effect on the shot. Spend as much time as you can looking at it through spotting scope. Look for the changes and then relate that to what the flags and other wind indicators are doing.

    Practice, practice, practice
     
  7. sfldiver

    sfldiver Silver $$ Contributor

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    Yes, for me it can be very obvious. However, depending on many factors (i.e., the time of the day, the cloud cover, the moment to moment variations in the direction and intensity of the wind, etc.), it can be challenging. But if your asking if, UNDER IDEAL CONDITIONS, you can clearly determine the direction and intensity of the wind via the mirage, the answer is yes.

    Just bear in mind - ideal conditions, either don't always exist or don't always last as long as you'd like.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  8. johara1

    johara1

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    Thats fine except where you reading it at is too late......... Jim
     
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  9. Erud

    Erud

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    I don't know how much you already know about this topic, so just starting from the beginning. Focus your scope on the target so that it is a clear as possible, then back off (turn focus knob counter-clockwise as you are looking through the scope) to focus at a point closer to you than the target. I am usually focused about halfway down range (for example, 300 yards when shooting at a 600-yard target). This will take the target out of focus, but will give you a much better view of the mirage. If you adjust so the target is in clear focus, you may see some hints of mirage, but it will be faint and hard to decipher.

    Reading mirage is one of those things that sort of just starts to "click" after a while, you just need to keep looking at it.

    Good luck,
    Erik
     
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  10. mgunderson

    mgunderson sling shooter Silver $$ Contributor

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    What Erud said plus. I find it easier to watch the mirage when the wind is slower. Some ranges that doesn't happen much. Fish tail winds are good mirage practice. Bigger winds I watch the flags and keep an eye on the mirage for coming changes.
     
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  11. steve_podleski

    steve_podleski

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    Find straight edge...top or bottom of the target or number board or roof line of a firing point or top edge of berm or forward firing line. You should see mirage waves moving along this edge. When the mirage is strong, you don't need an edge, the mirage is similar to flowing water.
     
  12. ninehorses

    ninehorses

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  13. Jalen

    Jalen

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    So essentially what I'm gathering is the if the wind is coming from the left it will cause the "top" of the mirage to lean right. Is that correct?
     
  14. sfldiver

    sfldiver Silver $$ Contributor

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    Yes, you got it!
     
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  15. OldManTA

    OldManTA

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    The atmosphere we live in is a fluid and when you are looking at a target what you are seeing is light reflected off the object transmitted through that fluid. When the fluid is heated by the sun it changes density and you then can see waves which are the light varying as it goes through varying densities of the atmosphere. The direction the air(wind) is flowing affects the image you are seeing. As the speed of the air flow increases the heat waves (mirage) appears to flatten and move more quickly in the direction the air is flowing. The trick is to figure out how much the value of the mirage is with respect to the change in impact of the bullet on the target. That is where time and experience come in. I'm still working on the last part.
    Tom Alves
     
  16. XTR

    XTR

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    Looking at mirage is like looking at water, as noted in some of the posts above, both are fluids. Uneven temperatures will cause it to refract light differently so when the wind moves the air you see what looks like ripples.

    I believe that mirage is usually your most reliable indicator because as the wind angle changes the mirage will appear to slow or speed up with the wind angle as viewed by the shooter, but it's fickle. I cloud over the sun can make it vanish. (ask anyone who shot, or coached the last 900m team match in the F class worlds) But then I've been able to pick it out when there was almost full cloud cover too. I always take my spotter to the line with me, there have been too many times I didn't bother and half way through a match I realized I could see it in my rifle scope, so the spotter would have been useful.

    Mirage also blows flat at about 8mph. The faster the wind blows the more the mirage "lays down". At around 8 its right over the ground and you may be able to see it, at 12 it's gone.

    There are two books I suggest you read:

    The Wind Book for Rifle Shooters

    and

    Prone and Long-Range Rifle Shooting by Nancy Tompkins. Look around and you can probably find a copy.

    Great books, both are written from the perspective of sling shooters so you have to refine a little for shooting F class (specifically trying to make ΒΌ MOA corrections at 1000 yards) but the concepts and strategy for match shooting are valuable.

    Reading about it is usesful, but to get good at it you have to shoot on targets at range, in the wind, and try to figure out why the hell that spotter came up over into the 8 ring.
     
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  17. jsthntn247

    jsthntn247 Silver $$ Contributor

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    Go to a couple matches and find a new shooter with a very good shooting gun(someone shooting with good vertical). Set your spotting scope up behind them and watch the mirage while they shoot. You will be able to see how changes in mirage effect their bullet. When they start dropping shots also look at the flags and see if you can tell what changed because some days you won't have mirage and will rely solely on flags. Hopefully you will also have a experienced shooter somewhere down the line and when the new shooter starts dropping shots, glance over at the experienced one and chances are they will have their head down waiting the condition out. Took me about 2 years and allot of matches to not be the guy everybody wants to stand behind and watch.
     
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  18. watercam

    watercam Silver $$ Contributor

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  19. milanuk

    milanuk Team Savage Gold $$ Contributor

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    Just wish they'd make the dang thing into a PDF... the way its embedded into that site absolutely sucks. It's begging for the original images to actually be incorporated into the document, not scanned copies.
     
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  20. johara1

    johara1

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    Here again you are reading the wind at the target. It is all over then
     
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