During timed and rapid fire, the shooter has to fire when the commands are given, wind or no wind. The means of overcoming this disturbing handicap are found in strenuous application of the fundamentals. Usually these efforts attain less positive results because the shooter cannot maintain his normal, minimum arc of movement in the wind. Concentration on sight alignment regardless of movement caused by wind will result in groups only slightly larger than those fired under ideal conditions.
1. During Wind Shooting: As the arc of movement increases during wind shooting, the shooter develops a tendency to relax his trigger pressure. He is waiting for a more stable sight picture. His concentration on sight alignment will diminish and he will make an effort to fire as the sights pass the vicinity of the target center. The obvious answer is to concentrate on sight alignment and maintain as small an arc of movement as possible and to start a constantly increasing pressure on the trigger until all shots are fired. Each attempt to fire a string of shots should be made with a firm resolve to align the sights for each shot and to apply increasing trigger pressure in spite of the increased arc of movement due to the wind. Your shot group will be larger, as a result of the increased arc of movement, but the wild shots resulting from faulty sight alignment, flinching, jerking and overcorrection will be minimized.
a. Rhythm must be maintained, with the uncompromising determination not to hesitate in applying positive trigger pressure despite the abnormal movement of the shooting arm.
b. Extensive practice under windy conditions is not recommended but enough firing should be conducted under windy conditions to prevent a stampede to the nearest wind shelter when a wisp of air movement stirs the pine tops.
c. The shooter should not place too much reliance on indications of flags high above the line of targets and the firing line. In addition, do not accept the indications of flags flying at the edge of a forest, steep precipice, ravine, or depressions, since the wind speed, at various levels of the atmosphere and terrain are different. It is necessary to be guided by the indications of high grass, tall weeds, strips of paper, etc. in the vicinity, which are nearer the level of the weapon-target line.
d. It should also be kept in mind that wind can blow around terrain irregularities and create all kinds of turbulence. If flags were set up along the entire length of the range, they often would indicate a different, even opposite, wind direction. For this reason, the shooter should not always rely on one indication at the line of targets. Determine wind direction and intensity for the entire length of the range, by carefully observing the motion of grass and bushes located between the firing line and the target.
e. With time, the shooter will develop a subconscious feeling and acquire experience that enables him to become rapidly oriented to wind conditions and to make the necessary corrections for carrying out accurate fire under adverse conditions.
2. Adverse weather conditions such as cold, hot or rainy weather or extreme light conditions pose problems that can be solved in the same manner as in wind shooting. Be determined to adhere the fundamentals and ignore the distraction of adverse weather.
a. It is advisable to carry a raincoat with you at all times and a plastic cover for your gun box to keep your equipment dry. Most ranges have covered firing points that help to keep the competitors dry during rainy weather.
b. During cold weather the shooter must obviously wear warm clothing to include insulated underwear. When the shooter becomes shivering cold it is difficult to hold the sights in perfect alignment, or retain sensitive trigger control. Hand warmers are very good and are small enough to keep in the gun box or pocket. Light weight lubricating oil must be used in cold weather to prevent malfunction of weapons.
c. During hot weather perspiration becomes a problem. A sweat band on the forehead keeps sweat out of the eyes and it is recommended that powdered rosin be used to dry the hands. When not on the firing line the shooter should relax in the shade. Here again covered firing points provide protection from the sun while shooting. Salt tablets prevent heat prostration. Eat lightly.
d. Effect of temperature on the shot dispersion:
(1) The lower the air temperature, the greater the air density. A bullet traveling in denser air encounters a larger number of air particles, with the result that it loses its initial velocity rapidly. Therefore, when shooting in cold weather, the bullet velocity decreases somewhat and the center of impact moves downward slightly.
(2) In firing a large number of rounds for an extensive period of time, when the pistol barrel becomes hot, the shooter should not permit a round to remain in the chamber too long. The relatively high temperature of the barrel is transferred to the propellant by means of the cartridge case, and can lead to a change in center of impact and to high shots, depending upon the length of time the round remains in the hot chamber.
3. Light varies from extremely bright to very dim and the shooter must keep a record of light conditions on every range fired on in his score book. Some competitors are affected more by changes in light than others. A note should be made as to how much his zero changes in the different light conditions. Sights should be blackened with care on bright days. As a part of the shooting accessories, you should have both amber and green shooting glasses not only for light conditions but for protection against oil, wind and empty brass. Firing from an uncovered firing line usually requires different sight settings than the firing from under a shed. Ammunition should be kept out of the sun as its accuracy is affected if it is exposed to the direct rays of the sun.
4. The major portion of our accomplishments on the firing line stems from our mental capacity to face up to the out of the ordinary and parlay these conditions into a winning margin. Poor conditions must never become an excuse for expending less effort and consequently a poor performance. Good scores are produced by hard work in the application of the fundamentals regardless of the conditions. Proper application of the fundamentals is the most important factor in shooting winning scores under adverse conditions.
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