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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been looking at some pretty high magnification variable scopes and I know at certain out side temperatures you get that dreaded mirage . Does anyone out there know at what temperature and when the mirage starts. or is it about relitive humidity. Or all of the above . Can anyone help me any input is helpfull.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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All the above, including the scope power. As an aside, you don't need a scope at all to see mirage - on a hot day, look just over the roof of a car in the sun. You'll see it with the naked eye.

Hate to be vague but you're going to find it varies a lot, even on a given day. Wind affects it, too. The terrain you're shooting over, how hot the barrel is, and probably 3 or 4 other things I did not mention.

With hunting rifles, I don't have over a 10 power scope and it doesn't bother me, generally.
 

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All you have to do is look down a black road in the summer
and you can see mirage with your naked eye. Magnification
helps you to see it.

Zeke
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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Probably most seen mirage when shooting is coming from the barrel heat. The warmer the ambient temp and rapid shooting, the greater the heat waves.
 

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I've seen mirage even without a scope, and on frigid sunny days even when I haven't fired a round. The sun warms the barrel just slighly after a time in relation to the sir temp, and even though the barrel feels cold it may be warm enough to make mirage. Granted, it's very slight, but it's there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Can taller rings help with the barrel heat. I pretty much bench shoot and sand bag my long range rifles. Will getting the scope up above the barrel with taller rings possably help or am I grasping at straws.
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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Best thing would be to get extended sun shades for the scope. You could also lay a dampened cloth on the barrel to hold down the heat waves.
 

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Some people get bothered with it at 12x, It doesn't bother me till I get to 20 or 22X so my 36x scope sits at 16 or 18 for target shooting most of the time and 8x when hunting. Old eyes and cataracts may make me less sensitive than some because I just don't see it unless its really hot and I am using a really good scope.
 

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To try to be practical, a little, anyway, I find that 16X is about the highest power I can use for varmint or target shooting, without being bothered by excessive mirage.
Lots of variables, though- some days are more 'miragy' than others.
And, as others have mentioned, mirage can come from a hot barrel. A lens shade won't help a lot unless it's as long as the barrel.
And, reading mirage can help judging wind, too.
 

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Agree with using mirage, there isn't a better indicator of those very light breezes that twitch left, then twitch right.

Scopes don't cause it, so even if you can't see it at a lower power, it's still there. Can back down scope power until it no longer is as visible, but it's still playing games with you.

Can be so bad that it bothers iron sight shooters (or even just standing on the fire line bare-eyed, can sometimes watch the target waver or even "hop" when in a mirage boil).

Eliminate rifle-barrel heat mirage. Can be as simple as several targets rolled up and attached to the scope to form a long tube. Mirage hugs the ground, so elevation can help (not a lot of use to us flat-landers). IF the wind is likely to pick up, past about 5MPH it usually removes visible mirage.
 
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