Not too long ago I did a review on one of the starter anemometers (pocket wind meters) designed for hunting and shooting, but for those who need a comprehensive weather monitor for much more than wind speed and direction, then you should take a look at the WindMate WM-350 by Weather Hawk.
The WindMate WM-350 truly is a comprehensive weather monitor; in fact it has enough features to put a smile on any storm chasers face, with it only missing a built in GPS, but it does have a built in compass. I tested the WM-350 all summer and I found it to have all the features that sportsmen need, especially long range shooters.
All the environmental data from the WM-350 is specific to your location and includes a 48-hr history for every function (and you can even turn functions off), hour-by-hour and in a bar graph (which I found handy for tracking weather conditions). If you are a Hunter itís nice to know not only the Temp and/or wind-chill, but to know that the weather is about to change and warning you that itís time to leave the field or get trapped outdoors during a storm. This unit actually has icons for the weather that not only show you the current conditions, but it can actually sound an alert if you wish to set it for specific conditions (itís not hard to set).
The WM-350 comes with a very well written Manual with instructions in English, German, French, and Spanish (as well as two others) and the feature list takes around 21 pages in the manual.
The WM-350 proves that you donít need a Kestrel unit for comprehensive weather information, and WeatherHawk carryís several WindMate models starting at the basic WM-100 being the entry level unit, all the way up to the current WM-350 (100, 200, 300, and 350) with Military Models which will include GPS and other sniper specific features, and Iím sure the Military Models will be incredible.
The WM-350 is not a cheap unit with an MSRP of $300, or cheap in manufacture. Too many times these days you purchase something only to find the unit felt cheap or didnít perform as expected, but thatís not the case of the WM-350, in fact it far exceeded my expectations to the point I had to look up some weather terms I was not familiar with (thatís how incredible this unit is, it really does include so much information that even someone who is used to the terms has to look up and learn even more to become a power user with the unit. But I really loved the flexibility with the menuís that allow you to ďhideĒ features you donít want or need, so you can find the information quickly.
This allows you to set the unit up for just the data you want, so it ends up being a custom unit just for you and your needs. I was not expecting that kind of flexibility.
The WM-350 not only tells you the Altitude but it will tell you the Density Altitude, which is basically the corrected altitude needed for shooters, and the fluxgate compass not only tells you your direction, itís provides you with the wind direction in degrees and compass points and it will calculate any crosswind as well as head/tail wind. And as an added bonus the compass can be calibrated for variation/declination and deviation.
The WM-350 includes wind speed/direction, temperature, barometric pressure, altitude, and humidity like other high end units, but it also includes wind chill, Wet Bulb, Dew Point, Delta T & Density Altitude. And donít forget the audio storm alarm that alerts you to weather changes, even if the unit is off.
The WeatherHawk WM-350 has it all, and I really liked the ability of the unit to be tripod-mounted and thatís how I typically used it. I used one of my Micro table top tripods, so I can set the unit up on my shooting bench so I could glance over to monitor the readings while shooting without moving from my prone shooting position which I found very good for tracking the wind speeds so I knew when to shoot based on my scope settings.
All WindMates meet NIST calibration standards and wind speed accuracy tested better than +/- 3% so when you buy a WindMate you are purchasing quality that will last (They come with a 2-Year Warranty).
Itís a proven fact that people who use weather data shoot more accurately and all the US Snipers use weather data units (normally with GPS included, as well as ballistic functions) so if you are interested in shooting long distances you need to know the weather data these units provide, otherwise you are just guessing where the bullet will hit rather than knowing that the only variable left is your skill.
As for my review of the WM-350 I really liked the way it was setup, and the build in protective cover serves more than to just protect the unit from damage in the field (great idea), but it makes the unit more accurate by isolating the temperature sensor from false reading due to heat from your hand warming up the case surrounding the tempture sensor. And it extended to height of the unit so you can hold the wind meter higher to avoid dirty air on the ground that can cause fluctuations in the readings.
This WM-350ís battery also lasts a very long time (I have yet to drain the battery after a summer of use, and much of that is due to the auto shutdown feature.) and the body of the unit feels solid and not cheap like many products these days. The old saying that you get what you pay for is not true with the WM-350, you are getting MORE than you paid for. The WM-350 is perfect for sportsmen and precision rifle shooters of all ages and skill levels, and frankly I donít see how I went without for so many years, but not anymore. I now have a rifle that shoots Sub MOA groups in poor conditions, and while the rifle is incredible, itís also very expensive ammo even for factory (around $60 for 20) so this unit makes each round count, and if you are traveling out west (or other directions depending on your current location) and you are spending money on travel, supplies, License, and maybe even a guide, if you miss your shot because you guessed where you thought that bullet would go be at that distance then you blew
all that money for nothing. Knowing the weather is as important as knowing the distance, and people spend so much money on laser range finders but they donít know that they need to convert the Altitude due to air density and to skip that little data means you will miss not by a little bit, but potentially by a lot depending on your altitude and distance.
Your rifle will perform better and shoot farther if you empower yourself with the information to make those shots at will, and the WM-350 will do just that.
I REALLY like my WM-350 after shooting all summer and frankly I donít have a negative thing to say about it. Itís worth the money for the 350 rather than getting cheap and only buying the basic models and youíre not going to be disappointed with the accuracy.
Another point to remember is that some ammunition is very temperature sensitive and you need to keep track of the temp when you shoot your rifle. The rifles zero can change a lot based just on temp with some gun powder, so use the WM-350 to chart your ammunition and rifle performance using a precision rifle data book.
If you are going to spend hundreds of dollars on a rifle, and hundreds on a scope, spend a little more to make them work better for you by getting a WindMate such as the WM-350.
The WindMate WM-350 is highly recommended by myself so you can say itís weaponeer approved, but itís also recommended by everyone that purchases them.
Check out the WindMate Models here: http://www.weatherhawk.com/store/parts.cfm?parts=5
All the photos were taken by me of my personal WM-350, and while I took screen shots of many of the screens, I didn't even come close to taking pictures of all of them.
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