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How to compensate for heat mirage when rifle shooting

How should stalkers deal with the visual effects of high temperatures?

We’re in the throes of a heatwave at the moment so it’s timely to offer some advice on dealing with the heat mirage that occurs when rifle shooting.

Heat mirage – what causes it?

When rifle shooting, heat mirage caused by heat rising from the ground or coming off a hot barrel or sound moderator. It can cause serious problems when you look through a rifle scope. (Read our list of the best rifle scopes.)

It can obscure the target or result in a false point of aim.

Here’s what to consider to rectify the situation.

Though it can cause problems, the shimmer that appears through a scope at high magnification on a hot day can help to gauge wind speed.

heat mirage rifle shooting

At the highest magnification the mirage appears as lines, the angle of which indicates wind speed. Turn down the magnification to get rid of the mirage.

If the mirage is coming off the moderator, use an A3 sheet of paper or a gun sock to cover both the barrel and the moderator.

You can use a sunshade fitted to your scope to counteract mirage but on a hot day the sunshade itself can cause a shimmer.

This article was originally published in 2010 and has been updated.