Just sitting here with my coffee thinking. There has been many threads about factory rifles and their accuracy, as well a full customs and their accuracy. Many times we say " it is a 1/2 moa rifle" or " it is a 1/2" gun" It seems to most that the standard is what the rifle does at 100 yards. And I am afraid that some reports are what it did on its best day at 100 yards and not the average of several groups.
But what bothers me more is why we here on LRH talk about a 100 yard group at all. I have seen some factory rifles shoot 1/2 inch at 100, but with the loads, bullets and other criteria that are required to shoot to 1000 they are more times than not 1 moa at best and most times a larger. There are things about a factory rifle that may not show up until 800 or 1000. But yet a good custom will consistantly shoot 5" groups at 1000. Maybe it would be best when saying " it will shoot 1/2 moa" to add to what distances it has done this on a regular basis. ??
If it was that easy to find a rifle from the shelf that would pound all rounds into a 5" circle at 1000 I doubt the BR crowd would be shooting the heavy, and high priced customs they do.
I guess what I am saying is , the smiths that build 1/2 moa rifles deserve the credit that is due for their craftmanship and skill. Just because you have a very accurate rifle at 100 yards that will tear a ragged hole once in a while does not (in my book) make it a 1/2 moa rifle. Take it to 800 plus and see what you got. Sure.... I am aware there are exceptions and a few rifles will. But certainly not the norm in my experience.
This post is not intended to ruffle feathers. Not at all. I am sure I have at some point stated something along these lines. But from here on out I will try to be more accurate in my discriptions of a rifles accuracy.
I have owned many factory rifles and took them to 1000 yards. I have also owned many customs. I know which ones will pound them all into 5" at 1000 yards in good conditions.
I agree with your notions here.
Personally, I define my gun's performance at 300. That is; "3/8moa to 300yds".
Not because this is better or worse, but because that's where I did my cold bore development, and I actually KNOW what the gun is capable of there, without the static of wind drift/my skills.
So far, 300yds performance is an easy measure of the best from my guns. Beyond that becomes more a matter of ballistics, and skill with wind holdoff.
I set up targets at a couple of corners of a farm that I hunt groundhogs regularly at. Now & then I shoot on them, as far out as 500-800yds. ONE SHOT, off a bipod, just the way I shoot GHs.
But this is just a confidence check, to be sure of my capabilities, and not the highest/preconditioned potential of my guns.
Since distance shooting potential is heavily tied to the system itself(BC, cartridge, scope, etc), I limit distance to my actual system capability with single cold bore shots in hunting trim.
It don't take a lot of distant shooting to define this practical limit, it takes a lot of distance shooting to extend the limits.
Coming from a guy who does not own a custom rifle, and a proponent of factory rifles to some degree. I completely agree with you. I have one factory rifle that will do what I believe is necessary to consistently shoot beyond 600 yards, with a bullet capable of killing out to 1000. I worked up my load at 200 yards because that was the range I had available. I have not shot at a target beyond that because it isn't readily available to me and my maximum range would be a little over 500. BUT, at 200 yards it will shoot a 1/2 inch group on whatever given day you choose. I have another that I believe is capable but have not shot it enough to know yet.
That said, If I did not have a safe full of rifles and wanted one gun to shoot at long range and wanted to know it would be capable of doing so before I spent the money, I would go with a custom and be done with it. Most of mine were bought for 400 yard or less shots and they will all do that well. The one I worked up to shoot fields is a Savage LRH and I believe it is the exception to the rule in the world of factory sporter rifles. It is all black, many say it is ugly, and it is a savage which turns some people's stomach. So it is not a great fit for everyone's tastes. With a custom rifle you can have it built for the specific purpose of doing what you want it to do.
My rifles that shoot X-moa at 100yds, tend to shoot that same X-moa at 200, 300,,,,800 etc (when the conditions allow and the cartridge is appropriate to that range). I haven't personally experienced a rifle that would shoot tighter moa at long distance than it does at close distances.
One thing that limits my ability to get better moa readings at long distance is the optics that I choose to have on my rifles. My rifles are built for hunting big-game and have a maximum of 15x magnification. With my eyes, I feel the 15x magnification limits me for fine target work beyond around 800yds, as the crosshair covers more and more of the target at long distances. I'm sure I could get more creative with the targets to limit this effect, but I have not done that.
I have 3 rifles that are what I consider 'accurate'.
1) 7mm Rem Mag, upgraded trigger, upgraded stock bedded with Devcon. 4.5x14 Leupy.
I've shot groups below 1/2 moa with it at 100, 200, 500 and 800 yards. Anytime I miss my aimpoint by more than 1moa with this rifle, I know it's my fault.
2) Savage 338Edge. Shoots around 3/4 moa out to 1000yds most of the time, some groups are better, but typical group is 1/2-3/4 moa. Laminated A-5, devcon bedded, 3.5x15 NF
3) 338 Allen Mag. I don't know how to describe this rifles accuracy, as I don't shoot groups with it. But I would suspect it is in the 1/4-1/2 moa range. It basically puts its bullet exactly where I want it. I don't really know any better way to describe this rifles accuracy. It is my first and only custom. 3.5x15 NF
It would be great if off the shelf, un-touched rifles would shoot as well as these 3. I should note, that these 3 rifles shoot that well with VERY carefully prepared reloads, not just any thrown together ammo.
There is a huge difference between a 1moa and 1/2 or 1/4 moa rifle. That difference is a combination of form, fit, ammo, rifle etc etc.
I have a couple "off the shelf" rifles, no trigger work, no bedding job etc. I don't expect these rifles to shoot sub 1moa. They're typical group is a touch over 1moa and probably what can be expected by a typica off the shelf rifle with very little load development work.
If some is good and more is better, then too much is just right.
My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives
I work at a sporting goods store and You wouldn't believe the amount of guys I know that have factory rifles that shoot factory ammo and they all shoot in the exact same hole. Or the guys with there grand dads 22-250 or 223 and they shoot a dime at 1000! I think that I am just unlucky as I haven't found these guns myself, but I am sure they all tell the truth.
I have one factory Model 700 300 win mag that would shoot one hole groups at 100 yards consistently with one lot of factory ammo. It was older hornady heavy mag 180 grain interlock advertised at 3120 chrono'd at 3119 average, 13 fps SD 22fps ES when I got ammo from another lot, my groups went down the tubes, not even one inch. I got lucky for a little while with 3 boxes of ammo. It has never done anything like that since that ammo was gone. I do have 6 left. But it is possible, just not common at all. I cannot get a sako to shoot under 1.25 with factory ammo.
A dime at 1000???? 22-250??? WOW!!!! I need some of that kool aid!!!
Good topic. I think most people just use 100 because it is the most available range. Even though this is a long range site. I tend to describe my rifles as X-MOA because they tend to follow X-moa out to about 600 which is the furthest that I have shot to date. I know 1,000 is a whole different animal.
I build my own rifles, and have not owned a factory rifle in 5 years. I usually try and include a group photo with mine. If I claim a 1/2 MOA rifle, it is an average repeatable group measurement out to 600 or so, beyond that I don't know yet, but i'm fairly confident my rifles will shoot better than most factory rifles further out.