Winter in the northern regions brings with it a new set of
problems and difficulties you have to surpass. I have shot
in -25°C (-13 ° Fahrenheit) temperatures, during
snow storms and high winds and it is a lot more difficult
than during the summer.
Effects on ballistics
- Lower powder temperature will cause a drop in pressure,
affecting bullet speed and point of impact.
- Colder air is denser than hot air, again varying the point of impact.
- Storing ammunition inside your coat is not a good idea.
Mixing hot and cold equipment will affect your consistency.
Condensation will create humidity in your bore which can freeze.
Effects on you
- Some references suggest cutting your gloves to expose
your index finger. This allows for better trigger control.
DO NOT do that in freezing temperatures! You will freeze
your index, which can be dangerous. Practice with different
gloves until you find one you can use with that frozen trigger.
- Trigger control will be a lot more difficult, practice, practice, practice!
- Stay warm, shivering is not recommended for long range precision.
- Your hot breath can fog up your scope lenses. This will usually
happen at the worst possible time. Practice different methods of
deflecting your breath away from the scope. Remember that certain
wind directions will push your breath right back at the scope even
if you modify your shooting position.
- In winter everything is white and reflects a lot of light into
your scope. I use sun glasses. But again these will fog up, so
be careful how you breathe! You can tape the scope front lens
to reduce the amount of light that reaches your eye.
- Cold wind will make your eyes watery, impacting your ability
to observe and aim at targets.
- Stay dry! Wet = freezing!
- Beware of hypothermia, frozen limbs, dehydration.
Effects on the equipment
- Do not move your rifle inside / outside when on an operation.
Your scope will fog up and will not be usable for long minutes!
- This fogging up will also impact your rifle. That small amount
of condensation will freeze if you move back outside before it is dry.
- Cold causes metal contraction. I have notice that my bolt is harder
to operate when it is very cold.
- After shooting, your barrel will be hot which can melt nearby snow
or cause hazing in the cold air. This will affect your visibility.
- Resist the urge to blow away snow off your scope lenses.
- Make sure your barrel is unobstructed and free of snow and ice.
Shooting a blocked barrel can have deadly consequences!