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Rimfire and Air Rifle Benchrest - Mirage


By Carl Boswell


Above - a scene from one of the videos mentioned in this article. Mirage distorts sight picture through a natural process of light refraction - your bullet will not go where you think it will!!


I wonder how many shooters reading this have had some form of coaching during their shooting career? This may have been at club level or even at a more advanced level.


One of the great things about producing this magazine is that I get to read all of the articles first - in advance. A great one from last month’s (May) issue was by Chris White about wind- plotting – a form of self-coaching - in written form if you like. For me, we can often learn something from each other, irrespective of the shooting discipline.


I’m part of the world-wide community currently preparing for the Rimfire and Air Rifle Benchrest World Championship in America. I find it very interesting reading emails from colleagues about their preparation...... and dare I say it - training. The amount of preparation that takes place with some teams is quite astounding. This could be time on the range spent training and testing, or preparing rifles, equipment, ammunition etc. Accumulatively, between the 120 odd competitors taking part in the World Championships, this stacks up into thousands and thousands of man hours.


So, the question is - How do we prepare for a major shoot? There are so many ways and


on-range training inevitably involves mirage – not so much in the UK but certainly in warmer climates overseas. Mirage is a popular subject on the internet forums but one thing I have learned about this particular issue, through a number of conversations over the years, is it is very personal to the individual shooter, depending on the optics they are using, their own equipment and their eyesight.


Why is having a basic understanding of the affect of mirage important? Well, mirage can affect the impact point of any bullet, be it a 22 rimfire bullet at a shooting distance of 50 metres or a centrefire bullet at 1000 yards. Even at 50 yards, the ‘shift’ due to mirage can be as much as one inch away from where you hoped the shot was going. At 1000 yards? I dread to think! This devastating effect, in competition at any level, can have a huge impact. Been there, got the t-shirt!


In many countries, including the UK, mirage shooting is difficult to practise as, thank goodness, it is a rarity with our cooler weather. However, we are now in the spring months, the sun has come out briefly and someone has turned up the thermostat. We may have the chance to put our mirage-shooting theories to the test!


Target Shooter 41


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