Degree of accuracy of a rifle..
For hunting purposes, I agree with the post above, the first shot from a cold barrel HAS
to hit where I'm aiming! If that first shot is a flyer and I can't get the barrel to shoot at
POA on the first shot from a cold barrel and the second shot next to it, I'll replace it.
Fortunately, so far, I haven't experienced a situation where this has really been an issue,
I'm usually able to place three shots within an inch of where I'm aiming (first shot cold barrel, second & third shot after). Only speaking for myself, a one-inch group @ 100 yds
(3-shots), is normally all the accuracy I need for a hunting rifle. To get this level of accuracy from a factory rifle normally involves bedding the action and floating the barrel. If the trigger is terrible I call up Timney and order a replacement. If the barrel can't get the job done, the barreled action is sent off to get a new barrel. I bought a M700 SPS, chambered for 308 Win I'm currently working with. So far I've replaced the factory stock with one from H-S Precision, and the trigger with one from Timney. I haven't given up on the barrel just yet, but decision time isn't far away. The good news is that the rifle only cost me the same as if I'd bought just the M700 short action.
From my perspective hunting only requires one accurate shot with good shot placement
to fill my tag. Over the last ten yrs or so, I've rarely needed to shoot more than once.
I attribute this to good shot placement, excellent terminal performance of the bullets I
use, and the good judgement not to take a shot that I'm uncomfortable with, as much
as I do to the accuracy of my rifle.
Target accuracy is a bit more precise though. Several shots are fired in a string and the
barrel (and shooter) have to be able to hit the 'mark' repeatedly regardless of a hot or
fouled the barrel becomes, or position required. Consistency becomes as important of a
factor as barrel accuracy. From the first shot fired to the last, regardless how many
rounds fired, over whatever time limits imposed. Consistency won't necessarily produce
the smallest groups, but should limit 'flyers' to shooter error.
Then there is the question of distance. One load might produce sub-MOA groups at
100-yds, but open up quite a bit out to 300 or 400-yds. OTOH, another load might
produce 1.25" group at 100-yds and at 300-yds or further, tighten up to MOA or sub-
MOA. Between the two loads, I'd prefer the latter.
The shooter with the sub-MOA at 100-yds might think his load is very accurate. And
it is out to 100-yds. But it is important that the load is tested over all the distances
required at a target match, or hunting situation before assuming the load is accurate.
I'm a firm believer in practice, practice, practice. Both at a range as well as at home
dry-firing with snap caps.
Last edited by travelr47; 05-10-2008 at 09:13 AM.