Depending on your level of shooting achievement, many consider any hit out of the X ring as a miss, some people consider anything out of the ten ring as a miss. I can remember when I was happy just to keep them all in the black. It is very important to know the capability of your rifle so find a calm day and sit down at a solid shooting bench with your national match rifle and your best match ammunition and shoot some groups so that you will know exactly what you are working with as far as the equipment goes.
The first thing new high power shooters need to learn is their position which includes the anchor point to the rifle. Cheek weld or anchor point guarantees the eye is the same distance from the Rear sight every time you start to make a shot. The AR 15 has helped many new high power shooters to get started in high power shooting but the AR 15 is one of the hardest rifles to find a consistent anchor point . For most experienced AR 15 shooters touching the hair on the tip of the nose to the charging handle guarantees the shooting eye is in the same position and distance from the rear sight every time.
By analyzing your targets and your groups and what you consider a miss, you can determine what your problem is in shooting long-range. If your miss is down wind from the bull’s-eye you may not be reading enough into the wind value and not putting enough correction on the knobs also the wind flags may be too stiff and not giving you a true wind value reading.
If the misses are upwind of the bull’s-eye you might have misread the wind and overcorrected. Having confidence in your abilities to read the wind and adjust the knobs on the rifle is very important, one’s self-confidence is an important factor in shooting small groups.
Quartering headwinds and quartering tailwinds are the hardest to read. the effect those winds have on your point of impact is best found out by shooting sighting shots and comparing where you thought the hit would be and where the shot actually landed and evaluate your adjustment.
The wind that is happening around you and the muzzle of your rifle is the most important wind you will have to figure. You need to pay attention to the wind around your face and the back of your neck. What your feeling on your cheeks or what you see in the wind flag on the stand of your spotting scope is most important. That wind at the muzzle of your rifle at the moment the bullet comes out has the most influence on the flight of the bullet. That influence is felt by the bullet and starts the bullet down range in the direction the wind was blowing.
The next most important wind is that wind that is halfway to the targets. When I move from the 300 yard line to the 600 yard line I always focus my spotting scope back on the 300 yard line so that I can tell what is happening halfway to targets. By focusing the spotting scope on the 300 yard line from the 600 yard line you can see the targets thru the mirage at the 300 yd line. Compare this with what you see in the wind flags and make your correction. When I shoot from 600 on back to 1000 yards, I compare what I saw in the mirage halfway to the targets with what I see on the wind flags and where the impact was. Then I make my correction for the sights. The wind at the targets has NO effect on the impact of the bullet and should not be considered in your adjustments.
When shooting from 600 yards and beyond out to 1000 yards you should start your shot by knowing what the wind and the mirage are doing halfway to targets and what the wind is doing where you are shooting from. As soon as the shot has been made go back and look through the spotting scope and see what the wind and the mirage is doing. This will help you compare the adjustment you made on your sights and where the bullet fell on the target. As soon as the target comes up compare what you shot and what actually hit the paper.
If your shots are mostly up and down then it’s possible you’re having a position problem but be sure you have a solid rifle and good ammo first. If you’re having a problem keeping your elbows anchored in the same spot during a rapid fire string you may want to buy some of the sprays stik’em and apply it to your elbows of your jacket. If the up and down misses seem to be later in the match it could be your eyes are fatiguing and the top of the front sight post may be fading away. An easy correction to this problem is to have a second set of shooting glasses with a different tint on the lens. The different color will shake your eyes up and cause them to start focusing again and bring back the clarity of the front sight.
And remember it is better to shoot as the wind is reaching its full value. If you have to make a shot while the wind is coming up and you have the correct windage correction on the sights the worst thing that will happen usually is you have a 10 on the upwind side of the bull.
The only Good way to learn to read the wind is to lay out on the ground and shoot the rounds downrange, paying attention to the wind, mirage and your sights settings and making good notes of the wind and light conditions in which you are shooting, that‘s where the score book comes in! These things helped me they might help you.
Shooting long range is a very self-satisfying sport. Learning to do it accurately is the hard part. I hope i have been of help here.