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Group size...how many shots fired?

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Old 06-14-2004, 07:36 PM
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 5,834
Re: Group size...how many shots fired?

All right! Glad to hear that. From now on my group size goes down as I will shoot 3 shots like most of you. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

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Old 06-14-2004, 07:41 PM
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Re: Group size...how many shots fired?

For me it depends on the caliber and barrel weight my 300 Win mag that has a heavy barrel gets 5 down it mostly but anything bigger gets 3 or anything short of a heavy barrel gets three.
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Old 06-14-2004, 07:44 PM
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Urich, MO
Posts: 838
Re: Group size...how many shots fired?

Number of shots really doesn't matter as long as you can do it again. What I mean is three shot groups are as good as five shots if you shoot a bunch of groups and get the statistical average. An even better way is to fire a bunch of "one shot groups" at different targets (with the same bullseye) and then overlap the one shot groups and measure the overall group. That will really tell you how consistent things are.

Honestly the only true way to evaluate a rifle/load is to remove the biggest variable of all- US. Shooting a rifle in a mechanical, return to zero is the "labratory" way to do it. A bunch of guys can put three in a tight cloverleaf or even four, but then get excited about the awesome group and choke on the 5th shot. Hell, I do. And if you don't get excited about it, then it's time to take up golf or basketweaving.
I guess my point is three is fine or five or ten as long as you can do it again. A one time .2 group doesn't make your rifle a 1/4 MOA rifle no matter how many shots are in it.
I'm kinda like Dave and JR, animals generally ain't dumb enough to stick around for 5 shots so I concentrate on the cold bore shot more than anything.
One last point- most people's field accuracy doesn't reflect their bench accuracy. Try plotting your shots on prairie dogs that you killed last summer at a particular distance. I'll lay odds that you didn't hold a 1/2 MOA group if the shots were plotted on a prairie dog target.

[ 06-14-2004: Message edited by: chris matthews ]
Chris Matthews
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Old 06-14-2004, 09:39 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Hermiston, Oregon
Posts: 2,005
Re: Group size...how many shots fired?

I have always used 3 shot groups for load testing. I think the same way some others do, if you didn't hit the animal on shot 1-3, then 4-5 aint doing you any good either. Then again, heavy barrel varmint rifle or BR then 5 shots might not be a bad thing.
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Old 06-14-2004, 11:56 PM
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 5,834
Group size...how many shots fired?

Ok, here's a can of worms for you.

We all mention our group sizes from time to time in our postings here at LRH.com. It is a common way to describe and benchmark the accuracy of a rifle or of a particular load.

When you read about John Smith's 1/2 moa group with his new .368 Whizzenboomer rifle...how many shots do you assume he is shooting in that group? John usually doesn't mention this number, by the way, and there is a significant statistical difference in accuracy or precision depending on the number of shots use.

So...how many shots do you assume?

[ 06-14-2004: Message edited by: Len Backus ]

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Old 06-15-2004, 05:50 AM
Posts: n/a
Re: Group size...how many shots fired?

I'm gonna go with three for load work up... if I find somthing that works I shoot 5 to make sure.. but that 5th shot is always a beast!!

on rifles I plan to hunt with.. I do what Chris mentioned... I go to a local office supply store and get a tablet of easle ( however you spell it ) paper it is about 2.5'X3' and I place 15-20 small dots on it..

then thoughout the day I will shoot at each of the dots... I can hold .75 moa guarenteed.. but I am working on .5 moa.. but I am the problem... I know the rifles I shoot are honest .25 moa rifles..

The other things I have begun doing is setting up a video camera at 500 and 1000 yard targets to video tape 5 and 10 shot groups...

I set the camera at an off angle about 15 yards away and zoom in on the target area... I shoot my shots slowly and record the way it felt, where I think the shot went etc. on a notebook right after the shot ...then I review the tape to see which shot went where on the target... this takes a bunch of time but really gives you a good idea what your load is doing and what you are doing...

next time you're at a dog town take a video camera... and zoom in on a long shot/target and tape the number of shots and location of them on that target.. I bet you're lucky to hold 1 moa .... it may be 500-1000 yards and you'll hit all around the mound and then possilbly your target.. and you think you're are doing good.. until you go measure how large the mound is... I usually hold about 1-1.75moa... and I know I shoot .25 moa rifles.. believe me it is a real eye opener!!!

but any way 3 shots for a hunting rifle and 5 for a varmint rifle to give you ideas on how accurate it is...

the real test is/are the numerous dots and the video tape....
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Old 06-16-2004, 09:03 AM
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Oregon
Posts: 41
Re: Group size...how many shots fired?

Generally I shoot either 3 or 5. I prefer 5 but some barrels heat up faster than others, some guns kick more than others, and so on. Sorta depends on how much time and abuse I want to put in.

I generally time my shots at a fixed interval which I tailor to each gun depending on how fast it seems to heat up. Some guns don't really heat up for the first 20-25 shots so I'm inclined to shoot 5 shot groups with those. Others, like a 7mm STW I had, run up to 7-8 minutes between shots, so I lean towards 3 shot groups so I don't die of old age sitting at the shooting bench. (One afternoon I had the range to myself and I fell asleep between shots. Oops.)

The key thing, which probably explains not caring much about 3 shot vs 5 shot groups, is I'm not trying to find a load I guarantee works during initial development, what I'm mostly doing is eliminating loads. A single half inch 200 yard group probably isn't enough to count a load as a winner, but unless I yank the shot, a 6" 200 yard group is a pretty good sign that one is not worth pursuing.

What I really look for is a region of powder charges for a given powder and bullet that give about the same accuracy and group center location. That suggests not only accuracy but a certain stability of accuracy. I don't want something that's real good but goes all to h*ll, either by groups opening up badly or change impact point, if I'm off by a couple tenths of a grain. I want something that's stable plus or minus a grain or more if possible.

Before I put the stamp of approval on a load, it has to pass muster not only at 100 or 200 yards where I'm doing load development, but out at whatever max distance I've decided I might use it at.
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