When is a wind not a wind? The Guru knows ...
What is ‘phantom windage’, and should you be aware? Our guru will tell you what it means, and how to deal with it
Dear Guru, I overheard my club mates talking about something they called ‘phantom windage’ and I was too embarrassed to ask what it is. I’m a new member and fairly new to the sport, so I didn’t like to ask, but I’m wondering if this phantom windage is something I need to know about. Any advice would be appreciated! TONY
Hello, Tony, and thanks for contacting me. Before I explain what ‘phantom windage’ is all about,
I’d like to give you a bit of advice. Never be afraid to ask questions of more experienced shooters. Most airgunners are only too happy to help newcomers, and doing just that is a large part of what the club system is about. A polite question shows interest and the desire to learn, and these are always positive things. So ask away, OK?
THE PHANTOM REVEALED
In basic terms, phantom windage occurs when the rifle is canted as the shot is taken. If the rifle is held vertically, the pellets should land on the scope’s vertical cross- hair, provided there is no ‘real’ wind, of course. When the shooter leans the rifle to the left or right, the cross- hair moves away from the vertical and the pellets appear to strike to the side of it. This looks like the wind has blown the pellets to the side, but that’s not what has happened, hence ‘phantom’ windage.
There’s a quick, easy fix for phantom windage, and that’s to make sure your scope is fitted with its vertical cross- hair perfectly vertical, and to keep it that way each time you shoot. Many shooters, me included, set up their scopes using a plumb line. A length of cord with a weight on the end, hanging from a tree, is perfect for this.
Once your scope is correctly fitted, get yourself a scope leveller and attach it to your scope so you can see it during your shooting sequence. Matching the scope leveller to the plumb line as you set up your scope is the ideal fix for phantom windage.
With everything set up and perfectly level, get some training in and teach yourself to be aware of the bubble in your scope leveller, without needing to concentrate on it. The bubble should be in your peripheral vision, and shooting with both eyes open is the best way to achieve this.
Both eyes open? Well, that’s a ‘Guru’ in itself and I’ve already been asked about it, so I’ll deal with that next month. Meanwhile, happy shooting, Tony, and I’m sure you’ll soon be performing at your level best!
There are all sorts of scope- levelling options around these days