# 5 or 3 shot group when determining ES/SD???

1. ### shortpantsWell-Known Member

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How many shots are appropriate for determining the ES/SD for a particular load? I would guess 5 but know that many don't like to shoot 5 shot strings down their custom barrels. If you are one of these people do you make an exception in this case or do you stick with 3 shots? Is that enough?

2. ### tayhotWell-Known Member

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From a mathematical standpoint, I believe 10 or more is appropriate for determining SD

3. ### sp6x6Well-Known Member

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The more you shoot the better your info will be. The program is trying to give you numbers based on 100 without shooting 100 rounds. Dont heat up barrel and shoot all you want.

4. ### shortpantsWell-Known Member

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I realize that 10 would be more feedback as would 100 but for a fair comparison I'm wondering when everyone on here is posting their ES is there a standard so that as we compare it is apples to apples? I heard once that keeping track of ES in 5 shot increments is the "right way". So even if you shoot 20rds of the same load you would have 4 ES readings that should all be close. I guess the reason for this as opposed to 1 ES of 20 is that things like temp could change over the course of a day of shooting which could show inconsistent results. 20 was a bad example but 100 would be a better example. I typically clean after 20 so it would take all day for me to get to 100.

5. ### J E CustomWell-Known Member

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I like to shoot a minimum of 3 shots to see if I'm wasting my time, and if SDs are below
12, I will continue for 8 to 10 rounds to verify that it is a good load.

If I start and get more than 15 SDs I discontinue testing that load and pull the bullets to reload them.

As you said there is no reason to shoot a lot of poor loads in a custom barrel so I look for the
best SDs and then make slight changes to see if I can improve it.

J E CUSTOM

6. ### green 788Well-Known Member

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unless you don't have access to a range that's at least 600 yards, I wouldn't worry with chronograph numbers.

the target is, and always will be, the final arbiter.

chronographs are not perfect, and they'll throw the occasional lulu at you... and even loads with very tight numbers will not always group well, as most of us know.

as to groups... if you're dealing with an overbore cartridge that's hard on barrels, shoot 3 shots. if they land tight, call that group good. then move out farther, for successive groups until you've reached the longest distance you plan to shoot. perhaps you've heard the old mantra--to which there is a lot of truth--3 shots tests the rifle and load, 5 shots test the shooter. obviously there can be exceptions to this...

...but you don't want to be one of these guys that burns the throat out of their barrel shooting aggregates to impress the BR glitterati and then when you finally find a useful, real world purpose for the rifle its barrel is near shot out. bad juju death by hum-foo-foo...

Dan

7. ### jsthntn247Well-Known Member

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I agree with green. Your main objective is getting the load with the least amount of vertical. Ladder test and ocw can tell you this without a chrono because of other factors like harmonics. Let the target show you what it likes, chronos are unreliable at best unless you get an oehler.

8. ### GreyfoxWell-Known Member

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Once I get a load that proves accurate, i like to use 10 shots for ES for basic performance of the load Having said that, I pay a lot of attention to the first cold bore shot's velocity and then like to test cold bore performance at extended ranges for actual POI. I don't like putting any more rounds through my 6.5x284 (used for hunting) then I have to, but I would rather use 50% of the barrel life to develop a solid load that I can have absolute first shot confidence in then worry about wearing out my barrel.

9. ### lloydsmaleWell-Known Member

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I shoot 5 shot groups for accuracy but for es/sd i shoot 3 shots. It gets you a ball park idea of what the loads doing. I hate wasting barrel life to get info that doesnt really need to be exact. Id say 5 shots are fine if your chrono is set up while your shooting accuracy groups but im funny that way. I allways seem to shoot better without the distraction of my chrono in front of me so i do sd/es as a seperate step.

10. ### MNbogboyWell-Known Member

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Sometimes a person feels great with an ES of 9 and an SD of 3 or 4, but the next trip to the bench with the same load has an ES of 35 and an SD of 12 or 15 or more....Then the next time back to SD 7.....I keep a log of all these numbers on every trip to my bench especially while working up loads....Take an average over all the trips on different days and each time on that trip that you shoot that load. Run the numbers any sequence you like, throw out that ones from that real "hot" day or average it in.....In the end you will get a real good idea whats going to happen at the longer ranges....

My home range is 100 and 150 yards..That's where I chrono all my loads and do the majority of my load development......It is very true that a good ES and SD don't necessarily mean an accurate shooting load.....But it is false if you think you can have good groups without vertical stringing at 400, 500, 600 and beyond without good numbers over the chrono.....My "cheap" Shooting Chrony has it quirks (especially with extreme low sun angle at dusk [I shoot west]), but most light conditions can be controlled by shading the chrono...Cloudy days are best.....I see a small variation with different light conditions but end results are all relative to my numbers in the first place....In the end it must not be too far off because my drops out to 600 yards and beyond match almost perfect to my ballistics program [Berger's]....If you can work up a nice grouping load with a low ES/SD at 100 yards my bet says it will perform just as well at the longer ranges....I feel for my 600 yard stuff I like to keep the ES 30 or less for my 260s...This equates to around 2" verticals at 600 add this in to a 1/2 or 3/4 minute rifle at a 100 and you end up with 5 to 7 inch groups at 600..That is all the better my hunting rigs and I can shoot anyway with an occasional surprise with a three or four incher.......

The cold "fouled barrel" number is the most important to me and the SD based on that first shot over as many times I see this over the chrono is probably the best one to base what it will do at longer ranges...I have to drive 20 miles one way to the Rifle Club range where I can test at ranges up to 600 yards...When I get there I want to be able to dial up and shoot and not embarrass myself with a load that may or may not shoot...

My .02 for what its worth,
Randy

11. ### Bart BWell-Known Member

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The more shots fired to test anything, the more confidence there is it's what happens all the time. Note the chart showing number of shots per group vs. size. The percentages will apply to standard deviation as well as accuracy, or anything else.

Group Size Analysis

12. ### rscott5028Well-Known Member

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If your aim is to use statistics as a method for predicting future performance based on past experience, then the more samples you have, the better your forecasting is going to be.

That said, you can still use many samples of small sample sets.

e.g. Shoot 30 three shot groups. And, calculate the average for each 3 shot group. Then, take the ES/SD of the 30 averages and you'll begin to have a pretty good idea of future performance.

-- richard

13. ### green 788Well-Known Member

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another thing we have to consider is that barrels don't stay the same across hundreds of rounds of shooting--especially for barrel burning cartridges. so you might burn half the barrel life off getting that load *just* right, only to find that you're on the downside of barrel life and changes to the load, or at least the OAL as a minimum, have to be made... and tests begin again (?)

just sayin'... there is such a thing as too much testing, if you ask me.

Dan

14. ### shortpantsWell-Known Member

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I appreciate all the replies guys lots of good info. It sounds like the answer to my question is no there is no standard # of shots used by everyone to determine an accurate ES/SD. So when Joe or Bob say they have an ES of 10 nobody knows how they came to that conclusion. Joe might shoot 30 shots in 3 shot groups and average out the 10 groups while Bob might shoot 3 and call it good. Makes me wonder how useful it is to hear the results of Joe or Bob's tests without a detailed description of how they came to such results?