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COLD WEATHER SHOOTING=LOWER SCORES?

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by senior smoke, Jan 3, 2010.

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  1. senior smoke

    senior smoke Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Messages:
    7,576
    Location:
    Wauwatosa Wisconsin
    HELLO:
    here in wisconsin we shoot all year round. in the dead of winter we even have tough man leagues at area gun clubs. when i was a kid in the 50's the milwaukee area seemed to get alot more snow than we do today. i always thought that shooting when it is snowing was fun, as long as the temperature was above 25 degrees and the wind was calm. the closer to 32 degrees you get snow flakes that are larger and it can be beautiful. when the temperature is 25 degrees to 32 degrees scores don't seem to really take a dip, especially if there is little to know wind. obviously if the wind picks up regardless in any temperature, scores on a whole drop. this past week we have had a cold snap in our area. we have had below zero weather and it has stayed under 20 degrees, most of the time, as the high was in the teens or single digits for somedays. in summer when it is hot and muggy take a look at the hits most shooters get and the ink balls just hang up in the sky especially if there is little to know wind. as soon as the temperature drops below 20 degrees, even without a wind, scores seem to drop anywhere from 3 to 5 targets in our 30 bird events. at the time i left my area gun club this afternoon, there were know 30 out of 30's shot in this weather today. we shoot 15 targets from 16 yds, 15 from the 24 yard line. shooters who scores seem to drop are ham n eggers like myself, as well as former all americans that shoot at our club. why do scores drop below 20 dregrees even without a wind? after thinking about this here are some of my thoughts why this happens. most gun clubs keep targets stacked outside, targets might be harder to break due to the cold. the colder it gets most shooters add more clothing and their lop may be longer than normal. the colder it gets, you see less smoke balls on the line, is this due to the colder air spreading out our pattern? alot of us shoot with gloves in these temperatures, maybe we just don't feel the trigger and forearm like we normally do? the cold weather seems to really affect shooting from the 24 yard line, compared to the 16 yard line, but it seems to affect both of them to a degree. if any of you have shot in the winter, especially in weather under 20 degrees, what is your take on why scores drop even when shooting in a calm a wind?
    steve balistreri
     
  2. slipping into darkness

    slipping into darkness TS Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Messages:
    403
    Lets see if I have this right, people go shoot when temps go below 20 degree's an let's throw in a chill factor of minus -15 degrees wow! sounds like the next best thing would be to find alake with at least a foot of Ice, drive out there, cut a hole in it, sit on a bucket with my back to the 30 mile ahr north wind, waiting to catch a fish? naw I'll just splash around in my 80 degree pool & get some more Global warming tan. hey Jim - you going to shoot in shorts today??? Happy New Year!!! Hope & Change is here...slid
     
  3. shrek

    shrek Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2006
    Messages:
    897
    Mr. Smoke,

    I shoot in Wisconsin too, over in the western part.

    I have observed scores going down the colder it gets.

    A few things that have been mentioned are that when it gets much below 20 degrees as you indicated, that the thickness of the clothes goes up quite a bit.

    I also have heard more than one score keeper say to a squad after a particularly dismal station by everyone "Guys I know its cold out here today, but you aren't going to break too many if you don't keep you head on the stock" which suggests that when it's that cold it might be more painful on the face and folks back out of the gun so to speak.

    I also know when the temp drops down that far and I get chilled I ain't as limber as I am when warmer and I suspect I don't swing the gun as good as I should.
     
  4. SevenMaryThree

    SevenMaryThree Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    Messages:
    538
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    I shot five lines of skeet yesterday when the windchill here in Michigan was about -8 degrees. Frozen targets and altered external ballistics have nothing to do with low scores in cold weather.

    Cold deteriorates muscle response and makes us stiff. Bulky clothes change the body to gun interface. Cold stocks provide negative reinforcement for otherwise proper cheek welds. And it's just harder to concentrate on the targets when all you can think about is getting out of the cold and wind.

    The psychological game is more important in the cold. You have to believe that this is fun and you want to be here. Then you can decide on things like what coat and vest will still allow you a reasonably consistent mount while preventing you from freezing to death.

    Then, once you have decided that this is fun, you want to be here, and you are properly prepared for the elements you can concentrate on the basics - mount focus, swing, follow through.

    My scores yesterday? No...I didn't shoot any clean lines. But I did shoot 23s and 24s. I wanted to be there, it was fun, I was prepared, and I could focus. And yes...it was cold!!!!
     
  5. Unknown1

    Unknown1 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    Messages:
    3,402
    Sure the scores go down. I don't notice targets are any harder to break ubless they have been wet or unless I shot where they're not but:
    <ul>
    <li>Body parts go numb; fingers can't feel triggers
    <li>Gloves don't help
    <li>Layers of clothes change gun fit; it's like gaining 40 pounds
    <LI>Eyes water like mad in the wind; I get ice on my eyelashes
    <LI>Faces hurt
    <li>Toes hurt
    <li>Ears go numb
    <li>Attention wanders to warm places and concentration fails
    </ul>

    Beside that, it's no different than summer shooting.

    MK
     
  6. headsupdesign

    headsupdesign TS Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    Messages:
    39
    Steve,

    Shotguns don't perform the same way a 20 degrees as they do at 80 degrees. Ken Eyester did a long term study on it, and as a rule of thumb patterns get 10% bigger for every 30 degrees colder it gets. So if you have a good killing pattern at 80 degrees, you will be 20 % more open at 20 degrees. Cold shells don't help either. Cold wads don't react as quickly to seal the bore and develop normal pressure leading to punky ignition and low velocity. As a rule of thumb go to larger shot sizes and tigher chokes in cold weather, and keep your shells warm untill you are ready to shoot.
     
  7. phirel

    phirel TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    9,556
    Steve- Cold air is denser than dry air and produces more resistance to the shot in flight. This will tend to disperse patterns. Powder burns slower at cold temperatures and reduces the velocity of the shot.

    Our bodies do not work as efficiently when we are cold. Blood is moved from our skin and muscles to the deeper parts of our body to conserve heat. Heavy clothing inhibits smooth movement to the targets. It is difficult to make our brains concentrate on breaking targets when it is very cold.

    I don't like to shoot when it is cold and I leave for Florida in two more days.

    Pat Ireland
     
  8. rhymeswithorange

    rhymeswithorange Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    Messages:
    745
    Location:
    Northern Illinois
    I shot in the Northern Illinois Winter Jack Rabbit yesterday at Sycamore, it was 0. I shot terrible, had a hard time seeing the birds. I think i was lifting my head often to catch a "better view." Seemed like a lot of other shooters were having a hard time as well but also sure that some good scores were shot.

    Dave Eberhart
     
  9. senior smoke

    senior smoke Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Messages:
    7,576
    Location:
    Wauwatosa Wisconsin
    some very good responses so far. what always amazes me is we have a big super bowl money shoot at one of the area gun clubs. conditions can be brutal at times. but no matter how cold or windy it gets, a few shooters will shoot like gangbusters. maybe old Vic Reinders was correct when he once told me that shooting was 95% above the neck.
    steve
     
  10. shot410ga

    shot410ga Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    7,778
    My eyes seem to water a lot in cold wind. That's my biggest problem other than the additional clothing, which makes me feel like a waddeling duck.
     
  11. short shucker

    short shucker TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    3,939
    My biggest problem shooting in the cold weather is my eyes watering profusely if the wind is blowing in my face. This happens with or without glasses on. I've even used eyedrops to help eliminate this problem without much success.

    It's hard to focus on the target when everything is so blury!

    ss
     
  12. BigDave1200

    BigDave1200 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    233
    I shot yesterday in the cold and it was snowing. Difficult to see the birds and my scores were down. Our last relay out, the trap boy loaded different color birds because we were having a discussion in the club house as too what would be the best color bird in these conditions. It was snowing so hard that one round we were shooting at green birds and when we hit them, they completely disappeared. I don't think that we were smoking them, just that the visibility was poor. Now the round with the different birds included, green,solid orange,domed orange,black and yellow birds. The easiest one's were the green birds and the hardest ones to see were the yellow birds. This was my best round. I think it was because I had to concentrate so hard on the bird because I didn't know what I was going to get. I think that I was focusing too much energy on how much it was snowing or how cold it was rather than focusing on the target on the previous rounds.
    Dave
     
  13. dolphin62

    dolphin62 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Messages:
    395
    Location:
    oswego, new york
    the main thing is to out and shooting...we shot our first of the year winter skeet this sun.....5 degrees.

    winter skeet is to have fun.
     
  14. Danny B

    Danny B TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    122
    Pat.............bring some "global warming"; its not toooooo warm here in Fla. The 5 to 10 day forcast looks like 6l by wednesday the l3th!!!!! mid 50's otherwise........RUN'EM......OH!!!! forgot..crisp North wind in your face.
     
  15. SevenMaryThree

    SevenMaryThree Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    Messages:
    538
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    I shot five lines of skeet yesterday when the windchill here in Michigan was about -8 degrees. Frozen targets and altered external ballistics have nothing to do with low scores in cold weather.

    Cold deteriorates muscle response and makes us stiff. Bulky clothes change the body to gun interface. Cold stocks provide negative reinforcement for otherwise proper cheek welds. And it's just harder to concentrate on the targets when all you can think about is getting out of the cold and wind.

    The psychological game is more important in the cold. You have to believe that this is fun and you want to be here. Then you can decide on things like what coat and vest will still allow you a reasonably consistent mount while preventing you from freezing to death.

    Then, once you have decided that this is fun, you want to be here, and you are properly prepared for the elements you can concentrate on the basics - mount focus, swing, follow through.

    My scores yesterday? No...I didn't shoot any clean lines. But I did shoot 23s and 24s. I wanted to be there, it was fun, I was prepared, and I could focus. And yes...it was cold!!!!
     
  16. Unknown1

    Unknown1 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    Messages:
    3,402
    Sure the scores go down. I don't notice targets are any harder to break ubless they have been wet or unless I shot where they're not but:
    <ul>
    <li>Body parts go numb; fingers can't feel triggers
    <li>Gloves don't help
    <li>Layers of clothes change gun fit; it's like gaining 40 pounds
    <LI>Eyes water like mad in the wind; I get ice on my eyelashes
    <LI>Faces hurt
    <li>Toes hurt
    <li>Ears go numb
    <li>Attention wanders to warm places and concentration fails
    </ul>

    Beside that, it's no different than summer shooting.

    MK
     
  17. headsupdesign

    headsupdesign TS Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    Messages:
    39
    Steve,

    Shotguns don't perform the same way a 20 degrees as they do at 80 degrees. Ken Eyester did a long term study on it, and as a rule of thumb patterns get 10% bigger for every 30 degrees colder it gets. So if you have a good killing pattern at 80 degrees, you will be 20 % more open at 20 degrees. Cold shells don't help either. Cold wads don't react as quickly to seal the bore and develop normal pressure leading to punky ignition and low velocity. As a rule of thumb go to larger shot sizes and tigher chokes in cold weather, and keep your shells warm untill you are ready to shoot.
     
  18. phirel

    phirel TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    9,556
    Steve- Cold air is denser than dry air and produces more resistance to the shot in flight. This will tend to disperse patterns. Powder burns slower at cold temperatures and reduces the velocity of the shot.

    Our bodies do not work as efficiently when we are cold. Blood is moved from our skin and muscles to the deeper parts of our body to conserve heat. Heavy clothing inhibits smooth movement to the targets. It is difficult to make our brains concentrate on breaking targets when it is very cold.

    I don't like to shoot when it is cold and I leave for Florida in two more days.

    Pat Ireland
     
  19. rhymeswithorange

    rhymeswithorange Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    Messages:
    745
    Location:
    Northern Illinois
    I shot in the Northern Illinois Winter Jack Rabbit yesterday at Sycamore, it was 0. I shot terrible, had a hard time seeing the birds. I think i was lifting my head often to catch a "better view." Seemed like a lot of other shooters were having a hard time as well but also sure that some good scores were shot.

    Dave Eberhart
     
  20. senior smoke

    senior smoke Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Messages:
    7,576
    Location:
    Wauwatosa Wisconsin
    some very good responses so far. what always amazes me is we have a big super bowl money shoot at one of the area gun clubs. conditions can be brutal at times. but no matter how cold or windy it gets, a few shooters will shoot like gangbusters. maybe old Vic Reinders was correct when he once told me that shooting was 95% above the neck.
    steve
     
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