PRO TIPS with USAMU - Reading the Wind

USAMU Website

SGT Sherri Gallagher from USAMU.
National High Power Rifle Champion and
The Army Soldier of the Year for 2010.

Reading the Wind


I’m going to talk to you about reading the wind and mirage.  Being able to accurately read the wind and mirage will greatly enhance your performance on the rifle range.  Apart from gravity, wind has the most pull on the bullet as it travels down range.   There are two factors you need to consider when reading the wind. You need to know the velocity and direction.



Here are some guidelines for how wind affects different things on the range.

Wind from:

  • Zero to three miles an hour is hardly felt but smoke drifts.
  • Three to five mile per hour is felt lightly on the face.
  • Five to eight miles per hour keeps leaves in constant motion. 
  • Eight to 12 miles per hour raises dust and loose paper.
  • 12 to 15 miles per hour causes small trees to sway.



Now that we’ve determined the winds speed we have to determine the direction.  This is because wind blowing across the range has much greater effect on the bullet than wind coming from behind you, or in front of you. When we talk about wind direction on a range we use a clock system.

  • Winds from the front or the rear have zero value because they don’t shift the bullet’s flight.



Winds from one, five, seven and 11 o’clock are half-value.



Winds from the two to four o’clock on the right and from the eight to ten o’clock from the left are full value and they have the greatest effect on the bullet.




To better estimate your wind speed what you want to try is wind bracketing. Wind bracketing is when you take your highest possible wind and your lowest possible wind condition, and you take the average of the two and you put that in your scope.  This will ensure that your first shot will hit every time.  Today I’m shooting at 600 hundred yards and I have averaged that the wind speed is about 5 miles per hour.  So my hold off is going to be about 9 inches.



In conclusion what you need to do is take everything we’ve done today and apply it to your given condition on your home range.  Have a good time and until then stay Army Strong.




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