Sheesh! First my five-shot groups aren't good enough indicators of my (or my weapon's) performance; now I have to actually hit what I am aiming at?! What a bunch of over-achievers on this forum! I kid. This thread was born out of my appreciation for the ten-shot group, that y'all turned me onto. I guess my primary goal in sharing my experiences was to motivate others who, like me, had never used a high shot-count group to measure their performance. But, it turns out that a lot of the thread participants are the same dudes that are on a much higher level of performance than I am, who originally recommended the use of the ten-shot group. I always appreciate your feedback, and I am improving because of it. That's where I am at right now: grouping to better understand my system's performance potential. When am confident I understand the potential (or limitations) of me and my gun, I'll then go on to apply that knowledge in more practical settings.
I do like this approach a lot, and I intend to employ it.
I am temporarily enamored by the ten-shot; it will pass, when I feel like I've learned what I need to know about me and my guns. It really has been an eye-opener, realizing how little is expressed by a five-shot group; while three-shots are borderline useless indicators of a weapon and shooter's performance.
I re-engaged with the 901 from my 530m shooting position today. Results were better than my trial run, but I did not achieve my 1.5 MOA goal. The group measured 12.25". One noticeable detractor was the height of my shooting mat, relative to the weapon and ground. The mat wasn't big enough for me and the gun, and the bipod wasn't tall enough to make up the difference. So, my position and cheek weld were not ideal. The terrain at the firing position isn't flat either, which sucks to begin with, and was magnified by the mat height.
Back to the subject of the thread.
Winchester model 52, Lapua Center X 22 Long Rifle ammunition, bench rest, 50 yards.
Groups 1 through 3 are five shots; group four was 10 shots.
The first group was the smallest, about 0.246" center to center (using 0.2" as the bullet holes diameter as fritz cautioned us to do). Somewhat surprisingly to me, the fourth, 10-shot group was the second smallest at 0.307".
I considered continuing the discussion about precision versus accuracy, but will start another thread for that.
I was reminded of that just yesterday, but how commonly people ignore the fact, or more probably, don’t even understand it.
As I was shooting my .22, a guy at another bench was checking the performance of ammunition in his Christensen Arms in 7mm Remington Magnum at 200 yards. He was shooting from an improvised front bag rest with no rear support. After shooting a few rounds he announced that a Federal load he was using was just no good. After pulling his targets he showed me the two he had been shooting at.
The Nosler load that he was satisfied with was closer to a pattern than a group, and I estimate it was about 7 inches across with about half a dozen holes scattered around the center of his big black bull’s-eye target. He was satisfied that that would be adequate accuracy and precision for hunting elk. The Federal group, however, consisted of three shots, two of which hit about 2 inches apart, but the third was far to the left, perhaps 8 inches from the other two. All those results were why he concluded that the Nosler load was good, and the Federal load was bad.
Although I pointed out to him that inconsistent pressure on the stock could contribute to vertical stringing (the Nosler load had some), I avoid offering anything more to experienced shooters unless asked.
The greater the number of shots, the more likely an errant shot will occur. If the rifle/ammo/shooter system is repeatable, the errant shots will occur less frequently, and the errant dispersion will be smaller. I've shot with some really talented shooters who griped "man, I really threw that shot away", and thought to myself that I'd take that one in heartbeat....
A 3- or 5-shot group is not inherently bad for the repeatable shooting "system". The groups just need to be the equivalent of bugholes for the given distance, and the shooter must be confident that the small round count group isn't an anomaly. Two rounds printed on top of each other, with a third round POI way off in one direction means little to nothing. It's really challenging to tell which shots were luck, pretty good, or exceptional.
Personal case in point for low round count to confirm zero.
The Steel Safari match in New Mexico is one of the most challenging comps a rifle shooter can enter. Accuracy is important, but not gnat's ass precision critical. The targets are generous in calm conditions, but suck canal water during the commonly windy days. The Safari's challenges come from finding & ranging targets under the clock, then remaining calm with only a few seconds remaining to hit 6 targets from 1 or 2 less-than-optimal positions. 23-ish stages over 3 days, carry all your gear over a few miles of variable terrain, and deal with temps of up to 105. I've shot well for 1 or 2 days, but never for all 3 days.
During a COVID year, the Steel Safari advance registration was done on-line, and we just needed to show up at the Blue Steel Ranch the day before the match to pick up scoring sheets. We could confirm zero at the range, but must limit our time there. Normally the zero range had a bunch of paper targets at 100 yards, will all sorts of dots and diamonds to aim at for confirming zero. For that year, there was only a couple of blank white pages. One RO stated "shoot at a blank portion of the paper, then use that hole as your your POA". Great.
I arrived late in the afternoon, no wind, high humidity from the morning's rain, and temps well over 100. I had no desire to hang out and sweat like a pig. One target paper had a 3-hole bugeye with 5-6 inches of blank paper up-down-right of the bugeye. I used that as my POA, but used the reticle to aim 2 MOA right of the bugeye. Carefully fired one shot, which landed exactly 2 MOA right of the bugeye. Bingo, my rifle was still zeroed.
The old & grouchy RO stated one clean cold bore shot didn't prove anything. The younger RO (whom I've known for years) stated with a grin that one shot works for this guy. Mr. Old & Grouchy replied "I bet he can't do that again". Hold my beer, game on, I'm back on the gun. Same method, aiming 2 MOA right of 3-hole bugeye with my reticle. Now there's a 2-hole bugeye that's 2 MOA right of the 3-hole bugeye. The younger RO just grinned again, and said "see you tomorrow".
10 shots from a Wilson Combat 8" barrel AR9G at 200 yards. Prone, bipod, 1-4x Vortex scope, 115 grain S&B FMJ 9mm. February 2021. 12" plate
Initially shot the SBR at 50 yards, then 100 yards. Things were going well, so late in the day I backed off to 200 yards, with 12 rounds left. Never shot a 9mm at 200 yards, so I had no idea on elevation dope. Had a blustery cold wind from my 9 o'clock.
Dialed a SWAG 8 MOA, one shot. I believe the shot landed low & right in the grass & snow, but couldn't be certain.
Dialed 11 MOA, one shot. Saw the impact, low and right. Need more elevation, need more wind hold. Now I'm down to 10 rounds.
Dialed 14 MOA, held a little left of the 9 o'clock point on the plate. Impact, but a little high and right of center. So be it, no time to reduce elevation by 1/2 or 1 MOA, then repaint the steel. I'm going with the 10 rounds I have left. I admit that judging wind holds with 9mm is interesting.
2.5 inches vertical dispersion, 3.75 inches horizontal dispersion -- I like this SBR
Although it somewhat contradicts my usual rants about small groups, if I’m just confirming zero/POI for some reason and an initial shot lands exactly where it’s expected, I’m usually willing to accept it as good. I believe that in essence it’s just another shot into the group I already fired some time before. There may be some faulty reasoning there, but ….
And nice with the 9mm SBR.
That's damn right. That's badass.
|Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best|
I'll play. CZ 457 Scout at 50 yards today, off a wobbly portable bench at the gun club (I've been meaning to build something better and take it out there, just haven't gotten around to it). Front rest, rear bag, shooting bulk-pack Federal Automatch. Grid lines on target are 1".
What this target demonstrates is my unfailing ability to screw things up...would have been right at 0.5" except for that one down low that opened things up to 0.870". All me.
Also shot this one at 0.625". I threw more rounds on this one, but not as badly.
The one low impact might be due to environmental factors. Could be a rogue gravity wave. Consider contacting the folks who run the LIGO system -- there might have been an astronomical event at the time of that shot.
|Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best|
^ that damn rotation of the Earth will get you every time !
Did a quick POI check at 150m this morning, for an upcoming event. Further distance, with no rear bag, and with worse ammo than my critical shooting with he same rifle. That three-shot group was tighter than any of the 10rd groups I've shot with that rifle. 3rd groups are a liiiiieeeeeee.
There are variations to the 1 MOA dot drills. Steel/precision/PRS matches & practice use this frequently. It's the concept that every shot is its own group, and every shot's POI should be as close as possible to POA.
The following goes back to 2014. I was well into competing in both sporting clays and precision rifles. It was tough doing both -- substantial time commitment and different shooting techniques. I purchased a 6.5 Creedmoor rifle, as I found that a 308 Win rifle just couldn't compete with the 6mm and 6.5mm bores. I bought steel targets and began setting up a range on our ranch property. I met Jake Vibbert of JC Steel targets at a PRS-type match, where we discussed targets & layouts. Jake received a lot of my business.
A multi-day sporting clays tournament was scheduled near our property. On one day I was scheduled for morning & early afternoon events, so I took my 6.5CM rifle to practice in the late afternoon. That day my clays shooting didn't go all that well, so I really needed a few rounds of rifle practice. I set a pair of 12" plates at 570 yards. Breezes were 6-7 mph from my left, producing 9-10 inches of wind drift with Hornady 140 grain Amax ammo. Cold clean bore, first 2 shots of the day, from prone. Trying to hit the orange spray paint dots, holding off of the left edge of each target.
The rifle/ammo/shooter system was working. Windage & elevation -- 2 shots or 20 -- didn't matter.
I later sent this picture to Jake and we further discussed steel targets. This picture has been used on JC Steel's website since then. It's now in a stylized version, as the 2-arm target holder has changed in form slightly.
Our club's Ordnance rifle match, 200 yards, two ten shot strings (shooters voted to shoot both on same target), twenty minutes each, after ten sighters on separate target.
Sunny morning, 90+F, very humid, intermittent 5-10mph breeze left to right, not many skeeters.
CMP M1 Garand, original barrel w/ CMP stock, 30-06 Federal M1 Garand 150 Grain FMJ, benchrest front, soft bag rear, same astigmatism I always whine about like a little bitch.
Edited to add: I trotted out and back to hang/paste targets. The other shooters (in the golf cart) just kind of smiled and waved, like you would toward a special child boarding the short bus.This message has been edited. Last edited by: RichardC,
This isn’t a traditional 10-shot group, but it was 10 shots under the (mostly) same conditions: Ruger 77/22 with Lilja barrel, SK Standard Plus ammunition, 50 yards, standing with support by a tripod and shooting sticks. Two shots were fired at each 3/4" dot without breaking position for the two shots and with minimal pause. (And yes, it was the best 10-shot string of the day.)
What I find interesting about these drills in which I fire two shots at each dot followed by getting off the scope for a short break is what forum member offgrid has mentioned here. Although it’s common for the two shots on each target to be close together, very frequently there is a more noticeable displacement of the positions of the two-shot “groups” from one dot to the next.
That’s evidently mostly due to variations in how the groups are fired: position and pressure of the cheek on the stock, how the stock it gripped and the trigger pulled, pressure of the butt against the shooter’s shoulder, and how the artificial supports are used. Despite being aware of all that and making a concerted effort to eliminate variations in techniques, I still struggle to get it right and be consistent from group to group.
I intend to do the 10-shot variations, as soon as I get my trajectory fine-tuned. I want to do both the one shot per target for ten targets, and the pair per target for five targets.
The linked image is from this morning. I overshot by about 1 MOA, but I should have it pretty-well figured now. That group was completed on 8MOA of elevation dialed; next time I'll do 7MOA. It seems 2MOA is the accuracy performance I can expect out of my system (me included). Now I need to get one of those big ol' chunks of pig from the grocery store, to see what kind of terminal performance the 73gr FTX is delivering, at that range.
*I also intend to perform the "MOA all day" challenge. It doesn't have anything to do with the number ten, but it's certainly a high round-count accuracy test (five five-shot groups). I am curious if the average of those five groups will come in over, under, or right at my known 2MOA performance level.
I will be curious to learn what you discover.
This is the gist of the accuracy discussion. An amazing amount of modern rifles are capable of 1 MOA or smaller accuracy, given the right ammo for the barrel & chamber. The fundamentals of marksmanship sound easy, but they are hard to implement on a consistent basis. Breaking position between shots is the most advanced way of practicing dot drills, and the best teacher. It's hard on the ego.
The most challenging dot drill I've done was on the last day of a Rifles Only Advanced course. One inch dots at 100 yards, up to 20 rounds, shooter's choice of position, either 10 or 15 minutes max -- I don't recall. I chose prone, 6.5CM, with all my ammo 40-ish yards behind my position. I ran back to the ammo stash and returned with 1 round. Shoot that round, run back and retrieve another. Chest heaving for each shot and sweating like a pig in the 90 degree heat. I'm more pleased with that drill's results -- 17 for 17 (barely) before time ran out -- than any teeny-weeny group I've ever shot.
Well, great; now there's another drill to try.
I performed a variation of fritz's drill; we'll call it the 100M Dash Drill.
The original target:
The redneck overlay:
I started at the 100M firing position. On the beep, I ran to the 50M position and back; I then assumed a prone position, supported by a bipod and rear bag, and fired a shot. I did that nine more times, with the timer running for the duration. The bag stayed at the 100M position; the gun came with me, with it's bipod remaining in the deployed position.
Total time ended up being ~7.3 minutes (~45 seconds per run/shot cycle), with a maximum dispersion of 2.630". The only shot I identified as being a goof was target #7; I knew the shot broke when my POA was low.
I am pleased with the result, as it's only a bit more than a .5MOA increase from my system's known accuracy performance average. My precision is another matter; I didn't hit what I was aiming at!
I updated my terminal performance thread, in the ammo forum.This message has been edited. Last edited by: KSGM,
The first question is whether your zero is set for 100 meters. If so, the high POI is an issue.
In my limited experience with the bullet, 73 grain FTX loads are fairly accurate. Not up to the standards of Hornady's 73 ELDM and 75 HPBT, but still capable of accuracy well below 1 MOA.
Noveske barrels won't set bench rest world records, but they are quite accurate. Short barrels of 10-12 inches can be very accurate at shorter distances of 100-200 yards, because the barrel is so stiff for its length. There's no need for a 24" barrel to punch holes in paper at 100 yards.
Bottom line -- unless something is really amiss with the rifle or ammo, the dot drill results should be better. Closer to the POA and tighter dispersion.
The following is an older video from Jacob Bynum, owner of Rifles Only, when he did training videos for Snipers Hide. Frank Galli, owner of Snipers Hide website, was an instructor at Rifles Only. Jacob is one of the most accomplished shooters out there. He has probably trained more snipers, alphabet agency marksmen, LEOs, SWAT team members, contractors, and civilian competitors on the practices of precision rifle shooting than just about anyone. The video shows that rifle POI and accuracy can be the same from different shooting positions. The video shows how accuracy and POI can go south when we aren't using our optics properly.
Jacob mentions the fundamentals of marksmanship in the video. Natural point of aim, breathing, sight picture, trigger control, follow through. Proper execution of each of these concepts is necessary to place rounds accurately on the POA.
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