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This may be no big deal but I went to the range early Labor Day morning, no one else there. The morning air was still and humid.

I was trying to get consistant with my muzzle loader. I benched up and touched off a 300 gr Hornady Red Tip. After the smoke cleared (only a few seconds) from the 777 I thought I noticed a very faint "trail" in the last 30 - 40 yards or so of the 100 yard range.

It didn't really regiseter to me so I scrubbed the bore loaded up again and unleased. This time same thing, it again, quickly vanished.

The third time I stood and moved away from the smoke and from about half way of the range was a visible trail of steam(?) that went all the way to the target.

Again I tried it, same thing but much more faint and that was the last time I saw the trail. I suppose the humidity formed a mist that formed the trail from the heat of the bullet. When the sun had time to burn off any excess dampness in the air the "trailing" effects went away.

Have you ever seen such??

SS
 

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Sometimes you can what looks like a vaper trail, when shooting long range you actually watch the bullet strike the target. You see the bullet with what seem like a mirage trail and follow it all the way to the target. Often times you can see the sun glare off the bullet jacket in flight. When I was in Sniper School many moons back in 83 I was amazed at how you could spot over someones shoulder and call the bullet strike from watching it. Those days were my first taste at real long range shooting and I still love it.
 

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I vividly remember the first time I ever fired a black powder gun. My wife had bought me one on the little derringer kits for Christmas. After I put it together, I borrowed a little powder and a couble balls and caps, and went out into the woods. I had no idea how much powder to use, and being overly cautious, I didn't use very much. When I touched the first one off, I watched the ball come out the end of the barrel, and could see it's entire flight. It landed about twenty yards out in front of me.

That was 23 years ago, and there has been a few launched since.
 

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When I was on the Wisconsin in the late 80's we could watch the 16 inch projectiles for about 10 miles :). You picked them up about 200 yards from the muzzle. Of course my eyes were better then.
 

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That has to be pretty cool watching something the size of a car go through the air. :shock: :lol: I wanted so badly to get on one of the battle wagons, but being a corpsman I spent 5 out of 7 years with the Grunts. I did enjoy though, I got to hike and camp and shoot a lot. :wink:
 

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Yes on the vapor trail and a couple times, when the sun is behind you and just right, you can watch the bullet go down range.
 

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Given certain atmospheric and light conditions, a vapor trail, yes.

Given a deer, a blood trail, yes. :wink:
 

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When I used to shoot the National High Power course, I'd spot for my buddy ( and he for me ), watching thru a spotting scope you can see the shockwave created by the bullet, and follow it right into the target! It always amazed me.
Now shooting a benchrest 22Rf w/a 24X scope, at 50 yards I can see the actual bullets hit the target. Can't see them at 25 yds or 100yds! I think at 25 yds I'm too close and at 100 yds the bullet is above my line of sight for too long! :D
 

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I had been told you could see a bullet in flight from behind it, but I never believed it. Then one day I was shooting a scoped 22 after it rained, and the dirt backstop was a really dark brown. I not only saw the bullets, I saw them all the way out to the 100 yard mark!

A year or so later, shooting with the sun behind me, I realized I could see the shiny base of the bullet as it streaked away from me. The really high-velocity stuff obviously is hard to see, but a big lumbering cast bullet with a flat base is pretty easy to pick up if you watch for it.

As for vapor trails, I've only seen them in very high humidity, and if you blink, they're already gone. But they're still pretty cool looking!

PJ
 

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You're all imagining everything,none of you saw anything.You MUST tell yourself this until you really,truly believe it and don't tell anybody anything else...even when they come and ask...and they will. 8) someday.Shootrj2003
 

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Sidespin said:
This may be no big deal but I went to the range early Labor Day morning, no one else there. The morning air was still and humid.

I was trying to get consistant with my muzzle loader. I benched up and touched off a 300 gr Hornady Red Tip. After the smoke cleared (only a few seconds) from the 777 I thought I noticed a very faint "trail" in the last 30 - 40 yards or so of the 100 yard range.

It didn't really regiseter to me so I scrubbed the bore loaded up again and unleased. This time same thing, it again, quickly vanished.

The third time I stood and moved away from the smoke and from about half way of the range was a visible trail of steam(?) that went all the way to the target.

Again I tried it, same thing but much more faint and that was the last time I saw the trail. I suppose the humidity formed a mist that formed the trail from the heat of the bullet. When the sun had time to burn off any excess dampness in the air the "trailing" effects went away.

Have you ever seen such??

SS
Are you shooting hollow base bullets? If the hollow base is filled with lube, you will see a smoke trail as the bullet flies to the target. I watched a Civil War group shoot a match and almost everone left a smoke trail. They explained to me about filling the base with 'crisco' to produce this effect.
Of course they were shooting 58 cal muskets with "just enough powder to reach the target". It was a neat show!
 

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Sounds like that bullet trail you were seeing must be similar to the one that forms along the trailing edge of a jet's wing in certain conditions which turns perfectly clear air into "steam." Compression and/or decompression of moist air seems to do it. (You can do the same sort of a thing in a plastic pop bottle if you fill it 2/3 full with water, cap it, and then squeeze it hard a few times. You should see a "cloud" develop during the course of squeezing and releasing pressure.) I think the bullet is likely doing the same sort of thing and much more fun than playing with water-filled bottles.
 

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I have never seen a "contrail" with a nekkid eye, but have many times with a good spotting scope at distances starting at 400 yards. The contrail becomes even more noticable when you set your spotting scope a little out of focus. If it has an adjustable optical lens, this is a perfect way to amplify this trail.

As been said already, the more humidity, the more visual the contrail will be. Also, the faster the bullet the more visiable the contrail will become. What you see is the bullet actually squeezing the water out of the air. If you have ever watched Indy cars that race when the humidity is above 90%, and speeds reach 195mph+, you can see contrails come off the right and left sides of the rear spoiler. (now that's downforce!) A 300WIN mag leaves a heck of a trail when shooting at 500 yards.

This is different than what some of you have witnessed in seeing light reflect of the tail of the bullet. I have never seen that personally but have heard many others tell the same story.

Great topic , Brad. It sure is good to see all the ole timers around along with the new timers. Larry you have done a great job of keeping all of us Marlin lovers in the same space.
 
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