PDA

View Full Version : wind flags



macv
04-15-2011, 09:38 AM
Hi, this question is about the use and placement of wind flags. The distance that I shoot is from 100 to 300 yards. I have never used flags before but this is going to be the year that I'm going to give it a try. The shooting that I do is for my own enjoyment only and not in competition. What I would like to know is at what distance would one place their flags on the 100 yard range. ( 200 and 300 as well ). Is just a stake in the ground with eng. tape attached going to be ok? Or would the purchase of commercial flags be more suitable.

MColeman
04-15-2011, 10:18 AM
Any flags are better than no flags. You can get by with 3 at 100 yards but you'll need more at longer ranges. I tried making flags for years but never made any as good as those Rick Graham sells.

Where you put them depends a lot on the terrain at your range. Is there a break in the trees around you? Do you even have any trees around you? Look for places where the wind could be funneled across the range or any thing that could interrupt wind flow and put a flag at those spots.

In my less that stellar career as a benchrest shooter I never grasped what I have come to believe is one of the most important things you can learn. Learn how to tune your load! If your load is not correct it doesn't matter how much you practice or if you can read the wind so well you can detect a butterfly's fart downrange you will not make reliable progress with your shooting.

I shot for 12-13 years without learning to tune my load. I got lucky once in a while but I was never consistently good. Now, my eyesight (macular degeneration) has forced me out of shooting. Learn how to tune!

macv
04-15-2011, 10:28 AM
What is your definition of TUNE. If you have worked up a load, starting with a ladder test, and it shoots the smallest group of all that you have tried, what more can you do.

Harley Baker
04-15-2011, 11:44 AM
The tune of a benchrest rifle has very little to do with the smallest group in a ladder test. What more can I do?
1) How much does this tune give you in the wind. You could have shot the smallest group in very good conditions and it looks great. What you have to do with this load is to shoot it in a major pickup,a full letup and a reverse and see how far your POI moves.This will tell you is the tune and the rifle giving me anything.
2) Very important with the difference between a great tune and a good tune is the repeatability of the tune and the consistency of the tune. How does it react during the course of 4-5 hours ( time to shoot an agg.) and how does it shoot on a different day.
3) The "tune" is a combination of many things including bullet,powder, barrell and rifle but the great tune will work over the full course of an agg. and will repeat the next time you shoot the rifle with only minor tweeking to get the rifle at a competitive level.
4) One of the hardest things to do in this sport is to shoot by yourself at your home range and to say a rifle is tuned. You have nothing to gauge it by because the conditions might be that any good tuned rifle could shoot with quality results.
5) When you find what you believe to be the best tune, develop a test firing sequence by calling your shots and be honest with yourself.
6) I know I cannot explain all the exact details over the internet but these are some of the practices that I use to help me.
Harley Baker

Boyd Allen
04-15-2011, 12:25 PM
I think that simple stakes and surveyor's tape should get you started. You will have little to invest, and you can always upgrade. As the above poster indicated, Rick Graham makes excellent flags. There are others that do as well. To a certain extent local range conditions dictate variations in flag placement. For a right handed shooter, your closest flag should be slightly to the left of your bench, and those that follow it can be on a line that ends to the left of the target, until you get to a distance that allows you to have your last couple of flags in the scope. If you want to be able to see any of your flags in the scope, they will have to be on a line from your muzzle to the center of the target, and high enough to be seen. This may be difficult if you are working alone, setting them, but it can be an advantage, when there is a change in the wind, just before you are about to pull the trigger. I like to have my closest flag at about 20'. From there I go to around 35 yd., and my last flag for 100 yd will be at around 70 yd. This one is placed because there is a step down in a steep side berm on the range that I practice at that creates a difference in the wind, when it comes from that side, that I want to be able to "see". This brings me to another aspect of flag placement. You should take range topography and landscaping into account when planning flag placement, placing flags so as to best be able to gauge their influence. Start with a small number of flags, a couple, until you get comfortable, and then add more, to a total of three at 100 and 5 at 200. If you try to set too many flags at first, you may find that you have more information than you can process, and be tempted to discard the whole idea as being too much trouble. One mistake that I see informal bench shooters occasionally make is putting a ribbon on their target frame. The most important flags are the closest ones. This is not to say that you can ignore any of them. One more thing, I make no claim of expertise in this area. I am just trying to help you get started. There are several good books on the subject of bench shooting, the earliest by Warren Page, and the latest by Glenn Newick, Mike Ratigan and Tony Boyer. If you like to read about your hobbies, I recommend them to you.

MColeman
04-15-2011, 01:12 PM
The tune of a benchrest rifle has very little to do with the smallest group in a ladder test. What more can I do?
1) How much does this tune give you in the wind. You could have shot the smallest group in very good conditions and it looks great. What you have to do with this load is to shoot it in a major pickup,a full letup and a reverse and see how far your POI moves.This will tell you is the tune and the rifle giving me anything.
2) Very important with the difference between a great tune and a good tune is the repeatability of the tune and the consistency of the tune. How does it react during the course of 4-5 hours ( time to shoot an agg.) and how does it shoot on a different day.
3) The "tune" is a combination of many things including bullet,powder, barrell and rifle but the great tune will work over the full course of an agg. and will repeat the next time you shoot the rifle with only minor tweeking to get the rifle at a competitive level.
4) One of the hardest things to do in this sport is to shoot by yourself at your home range and to say a rifle is tuned. You have nothing to gauge it by because the conditions might be that any good tuned rifle could shoot with quality results.
5) When you find what you believe to be the best tune, develop a test firing sequence by calling your shots and be honest with yourself.
6) I know I cannot explain all the exact details over the internet but these are some of the practices that I use to help me.
Harley Baker

This was a great post and explained things far above what I could.

macv
04-15-2011, 04:27 PM
The tune of a benchrest rifle has very little to do with the smallest group in a ladder test. What more can I do?
1) How much does this tune give you in the wind. You could have shot the smallest group in very good conditions and it looks great. What you have to do with this load is to shoot it in a major pickup,a full letup and a reverse and see how far your POI moves.This will tell you is the tune and the rifle giving me anything.
2) Very important with the difference between a great tune and a good tune is the repeatability of the tune and the consistency of the tune. How does it react during the course of 4-5 hours ( time to shoot an agg.) and how does it shoot on a different day.
3) The "tune" is a combination of many things including bullet,powder, barrell and rifle but the great tune will work over the full course of an agg. and will repeat the next time you shoot the rifle with only minor tweeking to get the rifle at a competitive level.
4) One of the hardest things to do in this sport is to shoot by yourself at your home range and to say a rifle is tuned. You have nothing to gauge it by because the conditions might be that any good tuned rifle could shoot with quality results.
5) When you find what you believe to be the best tune, develop a test firing sequence by calling your shots and be honest with yourself.
6) I know I cannot explain all the exact details over the internet but these are some of the practices that I use to help me.
Harley Baker

I think I am a little cofused. OK, you say to try shooting in different conditions of wind. And then start to tune. Now if one changes his load a bit here and there, and the next time he shoots and the conditions are not like anything that was experienced the first time, how do you know that what you changed is going to be any better. I'm finding this a little hard to explain and I hope that you can read between the lines and try to understand just what I mean. To me this sounds like one would have many trips to the range so that he might shoot in all conditions that might be thrown at him. And I would agree that that is a good thing. This is a little different from the high power game that I used to participate in.
And I did check out the Rick Graham wind flags. They do look nice and well made as well. I will however search further for comparision. I really thank you for the comments and help that you have applied to my quest for becomeing a better brenchrest shooter.

Vern
04-15-2011, 04:35 PM
Macy Ill give you this example.
I recently went to the range and tuned the barrel I had.
Winds were relatively light
Found a load that worked great.
Came match day and that same load had HORRRRRRIBLE horizontal. The wind was really really bad.
I went from what was a sub .225 groups to .750++++.
Finally I looked at my tuning targets and picked one that had a bit too much verticle. Took me from last place in the 200 to around 4-5 place.
Its not always what we think it is.
I did this because I remembered reading in a book recently that NO vertical is not always a good thing in heavy wine.

Mickey's words are very true.
Jerry Hensler told me the same thing that Mickey just said.
Jerry Hensler was with me on tuning day and taught me a lot that also helped that match day.
Though for the match after that I seem to have had some senility set in. HEHEEHE

Mickey I was sad when I heard you were not shooting anymore and saw you selling off your things. But I didnt want to cause any grief by asking why. At least now I know its not as bad as I thought.
Toooo bad Paul Harvey is no longer around. He used to sell something that cured that or so he said.......:rolleyes:

Andy Cross
04-15-2011, 07:57 PM
I have tried a number of different wind flags over the years and found that I was able to read the BRT flags better than any of them. Not that there is anything wrong with smiley flags or graham flags or any of the others that people use it's just I can interpret the BRT flags better than some others.

As far as tune is concerned. That's a more difficult thing to define. First of all you need a barrel, scope, stock combination that has the potential to shoot one hole groups. Then you develop a load that exploits that potential. If there was an easy way to achieve this then everyone would be using that technique.

Andy.

Bill Scheider
04-15-2011, 10:49 PM
I think I am a little cofused. OK, you say to try shooting in different conditions of wind. And then start to tune. Now if one changes his load a bit here and there, and the next time he shoots and the conditions are not like anything that was experienced the first time, how do you know that what you changed is going to be any better. I'm finding this a little hard to explain and I hope that you can read between the lines and try to understand just what I mean. To me this sounds like one would have many trips to the range so that he might shoot in all conditions that might be thrown at him. And I would agree that that is a good thing. This is a little different from the high power game that I used to participate in.
And I did check out the Rick Graham wind flags. They do look nice and well made as well. I will however search further for comparision. I really thank you for the comments and help that you have applied to my quest for becomeing a better brenchrest shooter.

Get a copy of Tony Boyer's book from Bruno Shooters Supply. Read and study his chapter on Tuning _ clearest explanation IMHO.

MColeman
04-16-2011, 02:13 PM
Mickey I was sad when I heard you were not shooting anymore and saw you selling off your things. But I didnt want to cause any grief by asking why. At least now I know its not as bad as I thought.
Toooo bad Paul Harvey is no longer around. He used to sell something that cured that or so he said.......

Thanks, Vern. Oddly enough I really don't miss shooting all that much. I had gotten tired of all the travel involved as well.

What really made me realize how much macular degeneration affected my shooting was when I had an ULA 22 rimfire. At 50 yards the best I could get from it was about 1 inch groups. I told Melvin Forbes that the rifle was not very accurate and he suggested cleaning it well to see if that helped. When he owned the rifle he said that it was really accurate.

The next time I shot it I tried shooting it left handed just to see if that made any difference. It shot little bitty bugholes at 50 yards. When looking through the scope with my right eye the vertical wire had severe distortion in it below the horizontal wire. While I thought I was aiming at the same place it was obvious that I wasn't. That's been a couple of years and now I can see some distortion in my left eye. Sometimes life deals you a straight flush and other times you get dealt a low pair.

Oddly enough, it does not affect my ability to chamber barrels since I can still read a depth mike as well as I ever could. I take two Preservision capsules each day and that seems to have slowed the disease down. It has affected my depth perception as best I can tell, though.

Pete Wass
04-16-2011, 02:38 PM
This is an area I use to think I knew something about but have come to realize I have a lot to learn about it. Rimfire Benchrest has shown me about tune. Now, being able to get a grip on it is anither matter. I'm not sure I will live long enough to learn it. :( :o