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Shooters capability vs variation in rifle/load

 
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  #1  
Old 09-12-2009, 12:28 PM
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Shooters capability vs variation in rifle/load

I posted this in a different forum but thought it would be more visible here, sorry for the double post....

I have a question that has arisen out of my quest for ultimate accuracy and tighter and tighter groups by tweeking my handloads. At what point do I stop looking at variation in the load process and/or components and start to consider that perhaps I have reached the limit of my personal ability?

I'm in my 50's and have worn glasses all of my adult life. At the urging of my children I had Lasik surgery performed on my eyes and noticed an immediate 20% (or better) reduction in group size, across the board on three rifles that have had no change in load or components. The improvement can only be explained by the change in my eyes. So this observation has got me thinking on other aspects of my personal abilities.
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Old 09-12-2009, 03:00 PM
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Re: Shooters capability vs variation in rifle/load

Practice, practice, practice. Not sure how much bench time you get, but that is the ultimate factor in your ability to keep groups shrinking and staying that way. You'll probably find your groups will level out. At that point you make the decision to leave well enough alone or play with the loads to make it tighter.

Another thing I thought of, is what type of modifications have you made to your rifle? Trigger work, bedding, free floating the barrel??? All these things will also add to your ability to add repeatability to your accuracy.
Tank
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If you find your self in a fair fight, your tactics suck!- Marine 1st Sergeant Jim Ryfinger

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Last edited by liltank; 09-12-2009 at 03:24 PM. Reason: Add Comments.
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Old 09-12-2009, 04:33 PM
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Re: Shooters capability vs variation in rifle/load

Quote:
Originally Posted by liltank View Post
Practice, practice, practice. Not sure how much bench time you get, but that is the ultimate factor in your ability to keep groups shrinking and staying that way. You'll probably find your groups will level out. At that point you make the decision to leave well enough alone or play with the loads to make it tighter.

Another thing I thought of, is what type of modifications have you made to your rifle? Trigger work, bedding, free floating the barrel??? All these things will also add to your ability to add repeatability to your accuracy.
Tank
I started shooting pellet guns with my dad as my mentor when I was about 6 and have been shooting and hunting all my life. As a kid I earned the nickname "Dead Eye" because I could out shoot all my friends and family by being able to pop the can or bottle in the water on the first shot. Normally everyone else would go first and all would miss; they always made me go last because they new what the result would be.

Over the years I have kept the hunting tradition going and only shooting for accuracy when it was time to sight in for the season. Family things usually got in the way with serious bench time. Well now the kids are all moved out and I finally have time to return to being a kid and do some serious shooting again. I acquired a custom Remington 700 in 7mm STW that was put together by John Van Dyke with a Shilen barrel, trued action, sleeved bolt and bedded in an Accurate Innovation stock. I have owned it for almost 3 years and my best groups were around an inch at 100 yards. I would call it barely an MOA gun. Considering the combined weight of the gunsmith and the quality brand names used in the components, I felt certain that the gun could do a whole lot better if I could just find the right load. I have experimented with bullets, powder, cases and primers; bullet seating depth and even check concentricity of cases and loaded rounds. Still not much beter than 1 MOA.

It wasn't until I got the Lasik done and I went to range this weekend and everything I shot with the same rifle and ammo ranged between .60" and .80". It was such a revelation that just fixing my vision (no more glasses) made that much difference in the results, that I was wondering what other physical attributes that I had as a kid and are now lost and possibly gone forever at 56, are contributing to the lack of accuracy. I guess it was the realization that it was time to stop dinking with the loads and start working on technique that prompted me to write this post.

Thanks for your input liltank, bottom line is I guess I need to spend alot more time at the range.
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Old 09-12-2009, 05:51 PM
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Re: Shooters capability vs variation in rifle/load

From the sounds of it, you have a nice set up. I would scrub the barrel good and make sure you have all the copper out of it. I never believed in cleaning until I started LRH. A clean barrel is a happy barrel for the most part. Mine likes to be dirty to promote the best accuracy and speeds. I have to shoot a fouler to get my best groups.

How many rounds do you have down the tube? Do you notice if you flinch when pulling the trigger? Try sitting in the living room watching a hunting video and dry fire your rifle (That's the only trophies i'll ever shoot!). Concentrate on your breathing using the same technique every time. For best results for load development, make sure you use sand bags (suggestion from my gunsmith).

Just thought I would drop some reminders.

Tank
__________________
Matthew 7:13-14
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. [14] But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

If you find your self in a fair fight, your tactics suck!- Marine 1st Sergeant Jim Ryfinger

Friends don't let friends develop canonitis!-chucknbach

arguing over the internet is like the special Olympics....even if you win, you are still...special!
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  #5  
Old 09-12-2009, 07:15 PM
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Location: Lancaster, PA
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Re: Shooters capability vs variation in rifle/load

Never under estimate the need for good glass and rings/mounts.

Ask someone you that you know that has shot some very small groups to shoot the rifle and see if they get the same results.

Otherwise it sounds like you are on the right track.

Good luck!
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  #6  
Old 09-14-2009, 09:00 PM
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Re: Shooters capability vs variation in rifle/load

I know that my guns are far more accurate than I am. Using a lead slead and shooting my STW as free hand as possible it can cut cloverleafs at 200 yards. Now when I get on the gun my hands get in the way, my breathing gets in the way, my cheekweld and pulse get in the way and open my groups up to 1 to 1..5 inches at 200. When Im hunting I have the confidence my gun shoots better than me and that it is up to me to get my body and mind under control to be able to shoot minute of game (insert whatever animal I'm hunting).

When I am getting range time I shoot the 22-250 or the 257 Roberts to work on technique. The big kickers are used to make sure they are accurate and the STW is just fun to see those groups from such a powerful cartridge. Don't doubt the guns and loads so much as you have proven that you are getting in your own way.
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  #7  
Old 09-15-2009, 04:27 PM
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Re: Shooters capability vs variation in rifle/load

Another variable to consider is your trigger. Almost all of my rifles have factory triggers that I have tuned as low and crisp as I can while still maintaining sufficient sear engagement. This usually results in +/- 3 lbs and fairly crisp. Much better than factory but still no where near as good as an aftermarket trigger at a crisp 1 lb or less. I know some of my group sizes are due to minor movement involved in the trigger squeeze. Darrel Holland wrote a nice little article that brought up some interesting thoughts, here is the link:Dwell Time And Your Trigger
Parallax is another enemy of precise shooting. For that reason, most of my rigs wear scopes with adjustable objectives. Just my 2 cents, probably worth about that!
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