Written by Sierra Bullets New Product Development Manager Mark Walker
When I began shooting F-class several years ago, everyone told me that my gun must hold “waterline” elevation to be competitive. Using a load with very little vertical will give you the full width of the scoring rings to help with wind changes. This is great advice and this is still the way I set my rifles up when possible. However having shot benchrest before switching to F-class, sometimes I wonder if maybe there is a different way.
I have read many articles and books about short range benchrest and how they tune rifles and most of them recommend leaving some vertical in the tune because it makes it less sensitive to wind changes. Up until now I have loaded to make sure that elevation is flat without regard for how much the wind moves the bullet around in flight. While this maximizes the width of the scoring rings, you must still be very diligent in your wind calls or you will lose points. If adding some vertical to the tune (maybe holding ½ MOA vertical instead of ¼ MOA) makes the load less wind sensitive, maybe that is a better way to go. Possibly give up some scoring ring width to make the load less wind sensitive and therefore easier to make wind calls with.
I know a lot of people will say that what works for short range benchrest shooters usually doesn’t apply to long range. However if these guys are noticing less wind drift at 100 yards, why wouldn’t that carry over to 1000 yards? I’m sure there is a ton of data to the contrary to prove this theory wrong but I can’t help but wonder. For my next blog, I plan on testing this theory if I have the range time. If anyone has any thoughts on this idea or how to test it, I would certainly love to hear it. Until next time.