Shooting in Wind

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Today’s article is going to be a breakdown of shooting in wind. Most hunters understand that it can impact a hunt and shot placement to different degrees and long range shooters definitely are accustomed to this concept. We will go over the following aspects of windage and their impact on your shot:

Define Windage

Define Crosswinds

Define Tailwinds

Define Headwinds

Finding Wind Patterns​


    First off the definition of windage is essentially the resistance that air affects an object as it moves, in our case a bullet. Air impacts all things in motion through them and you’ve felt these effects in most activities whether it be driving or playing sports. Luckily for us ammunition manufacturers have developed a bullet shape to help cut through this air resistance and help to mitigate it’s effects on the bullet cutting through the air.

    Now we come to the definition of crosswinds. As the name implies these are winds that will blow perpendicular to where you are facing and can greatly affect where a bullet impacts if not considered into the shot. In my own experience shooting within two hundred yards wind does not really play a very crucial role. Even in higher winds (over 30 mph) a bullet is not pushed far off course with even a smaller .223 caliber round. Once you engage a target outside these ranges your shooting holdover may be affected. Crosswinds are commonly thought of as causing a bullet to just push a bullet off course in a linear way but this is not true. Crosswinds guide a bullet in a curved trajectory and once you understand how this curve works it is easier to understand where you’re bullet will hit. Even strong winds are not moving fast enough to cause a bullet with all of its rotating speed to tumble in a jerking fashion through the air. Of the three types of winds addressed crosswinds are the most difficult to read and can greatly impact a bullet at range.

    Next we come to the definition of tailwinds. Tailwinds are winds that will blow from directly behind you and towards your target. Tailwinds are often overlooked and can actually benefit in long range scenarios if you have a good understanding of your bullets capabilities without wind and can calculate the winds speed. The main impact tailwinds have on your bullets is causing your shot to hit high on a target because the bullet will reach the target faster thus translating into less bullet drop towards its target.

    Now comes the definition of headwinds. Headwinds are winds that are blowing directly towards you and are tailwinds to your target. This is a very common wind to deal with for hunters as we are always trying to stay downwind of targets which means we will be shooting into the wind at our target. If you have ever done any predator hunting you realize how important headwinds are in nature and how it can be a critical advantage for the hunter as their scent is masked from their prey. So essentially if you want to become an effective hunter get accustomed to shooting in headwinds. Headwinds cause your bullet to hit lower than you are aiming because they slow the time the bullet takes to get there causing more bullet drop. The longer a bullet takes to get to target the more gravity wins.

    Then there is finding wind patterns. If you have ever sat outside or been shooting and focused on the wind around you then you have probably noticed how wind is not sporadic and generally not non-stop but instead undulate in a pattern. The difference is how long it takes the wind to actually complete a cycle. Sometimes the wind is in short gusts with longer periods of calmer moments other times the wind seems relentless with little space between its blowing.

    Take some of these into consideration and practice scope holdover and sight holdover if you use iron sights in wind to help adjust to windage. It takes practice so the key is to get out and shoot in all conditions now just perfect ones because in a real world scenario there will be environmental factors, such as wind, battling you for that good shot. Winds tend to be more calm early in the morning and late in the evening. Thanks for reading and check back for more content.

    Garrett W.