Hello shooters, my name is Rick Reeves. I shoot a few Precision Rile Series matches and a few Oklahoma Practical Precision Shooter matches each year. I’veshot a few matches with the Texas guys and hope to shoot a few with the Kansas and Missouri guys this year as well.
Until people get involved in our sport they really don’t know what their missing, the thing I enjoy most is traveling to new ranges meeting new people and seeing old friends I’ve shot with for years. From new shooters to the most experienced, I have never been involved in a sport where people are so willing to help each other.
One of the great things about our sport especially this time of year after SHOT is all the new stuff, receivers, stocks, scopes, cans, bags, slings, apps, computers man it seems to be overwhelming at times, which brings meto the point of this post. I’m truly fortunate that I get to make contact with lots of shooters both new and experienced some guys shy away from that but man for some reason I really feel lucky to get to visit with any shooter especially guys that seem to be having trouble.
What I want to talk about is the technology we use every time we go hunting or go to the range. Now there was a day when we just went out shot some targets and wrote down some dope and that was it. What we couldn’t figure out was our long dope would change from time to time, fast forward a dozen years or so and we discovered atmospherics, man what an eye opener, our hit percentages went up 50% on long targets in the first month ! Now you go to the range and every single guy has some sort of data gathering device either an app on the phone a Trimble Nomad or a kestrel that seemingly does everything for you. Now here’s from my experience where I see guys run into trouble. Newer shooters have came out and observedguys using kestrels you just sight in at 100 get a bullet speed and dial what the thing tells ya to dial and smoke some steel. Damn if it was that easy !!! For the kestrel guys that run into trouble here are the excuses I hear the most, I used the data for the wrong rifle, I entered the wrong distance, my kestrel shut off and came back on with a DA of 0. Now don’t think I’m knocking the kestrel specifically, I’ve got one use it every trip to the range…………to get the DA. No device no computer no gizmo will give you the exact wind call, that’s gonna be up to you to gain that ability with time, rounds down range, practice and some professional instruction wouldn’t help.
Now here’s my suggestion, instead of depending on your kestrel try data cards instead, all you need is a app on your phone enter the correct data (this is likely THE most critical part, get some help here if needed)then simply print cards from this source. Get a DA reading and pick the appropriate card scroll down to the correct distance, you’ve already selected a wind speed either 5 or 10 mph, now use your kestrel to get the wind where you at physically note the direction and convert that to a 3:00 or 9:00 and an estimated speed from that direction, Especially at the beginning your going to want to keep accurate records, ie day, time, date, all atmospherics, specifically wind direction and speed.
Example you’re at the range, you started your practice with a dot drill or some barricade work and want to shoot some distance, the target you want to engage is a 2.5 moa target at 825 yards. Wind is steady from 2:00 at 8-9 mph but gusts to 12-15 from time to time, If there’s no terrain feature to increase (a funneling canyon) or decrease (large hill or out cropping of trees) give it your best guess engage the target and note the results, my cards are printed for 5 mph, it says at 825 my wind at 3:00 is .76 mils I’d start with about .9-1 mil and see how close your estimate was, the good thing about using cards is you can write down the estimated wind for multiple targets and as long as your shooting from the same location you can usually use that wind speed estimation on the rest of the targets by simply adding or taking away a few tenths, as with anything else you get better with practice. It’s also much faster using cards opposed to virtually any other device, the card is attached to your rifle, range the target dial the dope, estimate the wind speed and send it. Doesn’t take much longer to do it than it does to read it.
Now admittedly cards aren’t for everyone, it’s far easier for me because that’s all I’ve ever used, but these are the facts. If you select the correct DA card, scroll down to the correct distance and dial that distance on your scope all that’s left is a correct wind call and hold. Period. Now some will say just use your phone and you can however its difficult at best to use your phone when hunting, its neither as fast or weather/water proof as cards, also I don’t want to depend on anything that takes batteries unless I have to, if I’m hunting that’s a kestrel to get my DA and my range finder, if I’m at a match then there are only 100 other guys with a kestrel to get the DA from and usually distances are provided.
Undoubtedly there are probably more active shooters today using a kestrel than any other device to gather data, that may well be, Justin Shireman said stand alone it’s the most innovative device to hit our sport ever and it may well be butthere’salways more than one way to skin a cat.
For anyone that’s interested in using DA cards let me know if there’s enough interest I’ll ty to get a video out on exactly the process to make em and a little more in depth how to use em.
Gimme a holler I’m easy to find.
Shoot straight guys