Finding Peace in Adversity: A Meditative Journey of Pinging Steel at 200 Yards

Weather permitting, every 2 weeks I plan on hitting the range to woodshed my precision shooting skills.

This Saturday was no different, but I was on the fence about going. It was cold (high of 45 degrees with a feels-like in the low 30s). It was windy (17 MPH cross winds with 27 MPH gusts). There was periodic sleet.

You know what? I didn’t care.

One advantage of going to an outdoor range when the weather in inhospitable is that you’re pretty much guaranteed to have the space to yourself, which is always a nice thing when you’re like me and want to have as few distractions as possible.

Given the weather this time I opted to not worry about shooting 50 yard groups; there was no point in confirming my zero on a day where the wind is worse than what it was when I did my initial zeroing.

Instead, I decided to just work on pinging steel out at 200 and 300 yards.

300 yards didn’t happen; the wind was so wild I wasted about 20 rounds trying to find some level of consistency. I was shooting Eley Target almost exclusively for this trip (I did get rid of a single mag’s worth of SK Match ammo to start the trip out), which didn’t have as much oomph as the high velocity junk I was plinking with last trip.

200 yards, though? Once I was able to get comfortable reading the wind I was pinging an 8″ steel plate with relative consistency, as seen in the video below.

At first I thought I was only getting about 7-8 out of 10 shots on steel, but I actually realized that the wind was making the pings that much harder to hear.. I only saw a handful of misses hitting the dirt, helping to solidify the idea that the wind was messing with me more than my actual shot placement 🙂

Using electronic ear protection is great because it lets you hear, but gusty wind can really mess with what you hear in general (at least with cheaper audio sensors).

Anyway, after dropping about 120 rounds I felt nice and relaxed.

The entire reason I got back into precision shooting is because it’s a method of meditation for someone like me; it combines a mechanical process with variability and a need to clear your head and focus on what you’re doing and what needs to be done.

There was a single weed out a 200 yards that I used as my wind meter; once I was able to read the wind using it nailing that 8″ steel circle became a lot easier. I also kept an eye closer up, too, but that weed? Let’s just say it may not be a Kestrel (which will be the next piece of gear I acquire), but it was good enough for this trip.

Once I got my 200 yard zero with the base wind I was able to hold over for the 1 to 2 MIL required with sustained wind gusts and still nail the plate. I did have to readjust for when the wind shifted direction, but otherwise I felt good.

I also became much more comfortable behind the rifle. I didn’t need to shift myself around to ensure I had a good cheek weld behind the scope, and was able to keep my eyes on target while cycling the bolt, meaning I was putting more rounds down range in a quicker, sustained rhythm. Maintaining stability on my aim was also a lot easier this trip.

Here’s hoping we get a good low-wind day soon to actually confirm my scope zero properly.