Rain Stops Play - or does it?


Hi folks,

Facing the first rain here for nearly six weeks, it seems the appropriate time to ask for your help. I have trawled the Internet but have not found any conclusive answers.

Some of us are "fair weather" Stalkers whilst others are out on the hill in all weathers.

My question is how does rain - drizzle, light rain and heavy rain - affect bullet flight for the calibres I use - .17HMR, .243 and .308.

I only use factory ammo - 17gr Hornady VMax, 100gr and 150gr Federal Power Shok.

The thought of going to a range on a rainy day to find out does not sound very exciting and I don't want to experiment on live quarry for obvious reasons so I am appealing to your knowledge and experience.

Many thanks,

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Well-Known Member
I'm sure more experienced hill stalkers North of the wall will give definitive answers, but I have not had any trouble from rain versus bullet flight, more usually optics trouble with rain!:cool:


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doesn't affect bullet flight to the degree whereby a stalker or recreational target shooter should need to worry about it. affects deer behaviour though, much more important to learn about, esp. their feeding patterns between showers, etc.


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As stated rain will not effect bullet flight, apparently the air created in front of the bullet move the rain;)

Eric the Red

Well-Known Member

As has been discussed, the effect of the wet on you, your equipment and your quarry are far greater than the effect on trajectory, which will be negligible on normal hunting distances.

Hope all is well

E t R


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when raining it gives a Spectacler effect when a Projectile from my .25-06 or .300 W-M enters the ribs of a Fallow or Red :D


Well-Known Member
As already said by others, I find it more a question of optics than effect on bullet.

There is an effect through water of refraction, and this can show up on longer range shots if using higher magnification in any kind of rain, but good optics will overcome this in most cases.


Thank you Gentlemen!

There seems to be unanimous opinion amongst you that there is no effect for Stalking as far as ballistics go. That covers the .243 and .308.

How about the little .17 HMR?

Many thanks for all you answers,



Well-Known Member
we have had some unbeleivable claims for the hmr .17 in the past,
copied from an April fools post on another site

"The 17HMR is widely considered to be the finest cartridge ever developed. Many of us have used this outstanding round for plinking, target shooting and small game hunting. Perhaps there are some of you who don't know how rich the history of the 17HMR is. Due to the devastating long range accuracy and terminal effects it was for a long time kept a secret however the 100 year seal has been lifted today and here are a few highlights...

Archaeologists had always been puzzled by the presence of a small hole in the skull of sabre-toothed tiger skeletons. It was Professor Indiana Jones who made the connection between small rimfire cases found near the tiger, and the hole in the skull. Although the cases were apparently made from animal bones one thing was clear...the 17HMR had been developed earlier than first thought. Perhaps even before the invention of the wheel.

The first recorded use of the 17HMR was in 48 BC, when Caesar defeated Pompey at Pharsalus in Greece. Caesar had the insight to equip his army with Marlin bolt action rifles. Although these were single shot rifles, they allowed Caesars army to swiftly defeat Pompeys troops. Alas, in 44 BC poor Caesar was shot dead from an assassins heavy-barrel sniper rifle, also in 17HMR.

One of the great adventures in the early days of the US was the Lewis & Clark expedition, from St Louis to the Pacific Ocean and back. William Clark always had his 17HMR at his side, as there were hostile indian tribes along the way. Rumor has it he used a Ramline 25 round magazine, but this has never been confirmed. Meriwether Lewis prefered a 17HMR pistol and even took a grizzly bear with it. Upon their return to St Louis Clark exclaimed, "The journey was a bit tough but the 17HMR pulled us through."

General George Armstrong Custer, a name we know well from the early American West. In June of 1876 the General made his last stand, against 5,000 Sioux Indians at Little Big Horn. The Sioux had a mix of Savage repeating rifles and Ruger Single-Six pistols, all in 17HMR. Unfortunately the US Army had not yet adopted the 17HMR for it's troops and the Sioux won.

Around this same time period, the American Buffalo was being heavily hunted. One favorite buffalo rifle was the Sharps, being chambered for the powerful 17HMR cartridge. There were so many buffalo that a hunter with good eyes could easily expend a brick of 17HMR during a weekend hunt. The superior ballistics and knockdown power of the 17HMR made it a natural for buffalo hunts. The bullet would cut straight through the blowing winds of the Great Plains. When a buff got hit it went down for the count.

Many a skilled rifleman held the 17HMR in high esteem. One of these men was Billy Dixon. In 1874 at the second Battle of Adobe Walls, Billy made his famed 'long shot' at a mounted Indian, 1,538 yards away. That Indian simply fell off his horse. The rifle used was a Sharps, in 17HMR of course, that he borrowed from saloon owner James Hanrahan. Both men were convinced the 17HMR was the cat's meow.

Theodore Roosevelt was not only the 26th President of the US, he was also a big game hunter. In 1909 Teddy went on a safari to Africa and shot hundreds of game. One rifle he used was new to him, a Holland double-barrel in 17HMR. After killing a charging rhinoceros, and only having to fire one shot, Teddy was impressed to say the least. He immediately had his three Winchester 1895's re-chambered for the 17HMR. As Teddy said, "Speak softly, and carry a big stick."

Elmer Keith was a proponent of the 17HMR cartridge. He especially enjoyed the large S&W revolvers, and became quite good at shooting them. It had taken S&W quite a while to come up with a revolver they felt was strong enough to handle the 17HMR, and Elmer had been the main driving force. In both 1960 and 1961 Elmer used his 4" S&W 17HMR to harvest deer at over 200 yards. On other hunts he used the same gun on elk and grizzly bear. With the fabled knockdown power of the 17HMR there should be no doubt in anyones mind that Elmer used enough gun.

Early in the 20th century the military had finally adopted the 17HMR and by WWI much development had occured. One of the doughboys favorite close-up weapons was the Winchester Model 12 'Trench Gun'. A shotgun, using the 17HMR shotshell, that could blow down half a squad of advancing Germans. Aircraft had finally come into play during warfare, and British pilots were glad to have the Twin Vickers 17HMR machine guns aboard their Sopwith Camels. (Many Vickers jammed up due to the use of non-coated lead bullets being fired at such a high cyclic rate. By WWII the US and Britain had made copper coated bullets standard for all 17HMR machine guns.)

The B-17 bomber was one of the most heavily armed aircraft the US produced during WWII. With thirteen 17HMR machine guns aboard it's no wonder it was called the "Flying Fortress". Enemy aircraft had better watch out. During daylight bombing runs over Germanys industrial centers, B-17's dropped load after load of 17HMR, pulverizing the German factories. Even though the B-17's were heavily armed, the daylight missions were extremely dangerous because there was no fighter escort. With the arrival of the new P-51 Mustang the bombers finally had a chance. The P-51 was fast, nimble, and carried six 17HMR machine guns in her wings. Enemy fighters started to fall from the sky left and right.

Advances in technology have again brought the 17HMR to the forefront of US military weaponry. The Abrams M1A2 tank will soon be replaced by the M1A3. The A2, with it's depleted uranium projectile was found to be lacking long range tank-killing power. The A3 solves that problem by using the 32gr Stinger Hyper-Velocity 17HMR round. The Air Force's new F-22A Raptor Stealthfighter will use Sub-Sonic 17HMR so it can remain undetected while firing at enemy targets. Naval Command is conducting tests on fleet armament at this time. So far the Mini-Mag HP 17HMR is showing greater range and accuracy than the Tomahawk missile, and delivers much more energy to the target.

NASA has long been a proponent of the 17HMR for space flight. Project Mercury put Alan Shepard into space and then John Glenn orbited the Earth. Project Gemini followed, and more was learned about what was needed for space travel. Finally on the Apollo missions NASA used the 17HMR as the propulsion device and we made it to the moon.

*** The SDI 'Star Wars' program might also use the 17HMR, but the information is still classified and cannot be published. ***

Hollywood movies have long glamorized the 17HMR cartridge. A few were... 'Quigley Down Under', where Tom Selleck ably uses his 1874 Sharps 17HMR to hit distant targets. "The Guns of Navarone", in which Gregory Peck and others are sent to blow up the Germans big 17HMR shore guns. And of course the most famous for his usage of the 17HMR, Inspector Harry Callahan. Like he told the bad guy, "This is a 17HMR, the most powerful handgun in the world, and it can blow your head clean off. Do you feel lucky?"

Lucky? You bet. I'll take a 17HMR gun anyday, for any chore. From the Stone Age to the Space Age, whether it's hunting big game or 1,000 yard target shooting, the 17HMR can do it all. "