All distance shooters are familiar with mirage. An illusion based upon variation in air temperature, mirage has played a role in countless inconsistent groups over the years. Savvy shooters will use mirage as a valuable tool when gauging wind speed and direction. Natural mirage is unavoidable, but there are many techniques designed to limit its influence in long range marksmanship.
One variation that receives little attention is the creation of manmade mirage, particularly mirage produced by the barrel itself. An inexpensive barrel may perform poorly if its temperature exceeds a certain point. Criterion barrels are heat treated and double stress relieved to prevent this from occurring.
While your Criterion barrel may be impervious to high operating temperatures, our eyes are not. Heat rising from the barrel may distort sight picture through your optics, leading to erratic shooting at distance. This phenomenon is easily remedied by a simple contraption known as a “mirage shield.”
Many firearms-related accessories can break the bank, but a mirage shield is an extremely cost-effective way to eliminate a commonly encountered problem. By using old blind strips and common household materials over the course of 7 simple steps, you can construct your own mirage shield. Here’s what you will need:
- Vertical PVC blind vane
- 3 1”x1” pieces adhesive backed Velcro
- Scissors or box cutter
1. Measure the distance from the end of the receiver or rail to the crown of the barrel.
2. Using a pencil and ruler, measure the same distance and mark an even line across the width of the blind.
3. Cut across the line using a scissors or box cutter, shortening the blind to the required length.
4. Expose the adhesive backing on the loop side of the Velcro. Center and apply the Velcro strips on the barrel at regular intervals.
5. Expose the adhesive backing of the fuzzy side of the Velcro.
6. Place the blind atop the barrel. Apply downward pressure. Once the Velcro has secured itself to the barrel, separate the two sides. Proceed to mold both sides of the Velcro to fit the contour of their respective surfaces.
7. Reaffix the blind. Barrel related mirage is now a thing of the past!
Removal of your mirage shield is accomplished by simply removing the blind. Uninstallation can be carried out in seconds by tearing off the velcro strips and wiping the barrel down with any gun cleaner, effectively removing any adhesive residue left behind by the strips.
If you have any homemade remedies for your precision rifle feel free to share them in the comments section below!