Just Conversation about Rifle Accuracy

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by Broz, Dec 13, 2011.

  1. Broz

    Broz Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,636
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2007
    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.

    Jeff gun)--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
  2. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,248
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2003
    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.
     

  3. cfvickers

    cfvickers Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    372
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    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.
     
  4. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,229
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2005
    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.

    AJ
     
  5. dragman

    dragman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,448
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2011
    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. :rolleyes:
     
  6. cfvickers

    cfvickers Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    372
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    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!!!
     
  7. spitfire_er

    spitfire_er Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    130
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2009
    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.
     
  8. brentc

    brentc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,599
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    Lol!! I hear the same sidebar conversations through my electronic earmuffs at the range, but it's usually young soldiers fresh out of basic training with a new out of the box remington .308 with a Bushnell 3-9 and a box of core-lokts. It is the same rifle that the sniper's use ya know. :rolleyes:
     
  9. Wile E Coyote

    Wile E Coyote Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    418
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2010
    A discussion on accuracy could get divided into two camps; those who have the space to safely shoot out to 1000 or more and those who do not. Here in the Socialist Republik of NY, those long ranges are few and very far between. Most shooting ranges that allow rifles are 100y. The club I am a member of has one target board at 150. I am aware of a couple others within an hour or two that are 200y.

    In my own case, the farm I've been hunting and could shoot out to about 800 was just sold. We were informed in September by the new owner that the property was no longer available for our use. Several of us had been hunting and shooting here since the 70's. Unfortunately, I didn't shoot much past 500Y until a couple of years ago when this LR bug got me.

    Anyhow, we have located another farm within 1/2 hr drive where we will be able to hunt chucks and predators but not big game. Target shooting is yet to be determined. If it becomes possible, it'll only be 300 to 400y - maybe to 500y. We'll continue to search.

    My point is for some, a good group at 100 or 200 is what we get to shoot. And after seeing some of the targets in pics in various posts, if I see two or more holes in the paper I'm disappointed.

    I didn't intend to ruffle any feathers with my rant which this post may have sounded as. wasn't my intention at all. Just a bit annoyed with knowing the places I used to hunt and shoot are shrinking and disappearing.

    One of these days I'm going to take some time off and go out west and find a place where one can look from horizon to horizon and not see a roof!
     
  10. Gene

    Gene Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,326
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2007
    The usual criteria for testing loads is 100 yards. A load grouping 5 or 10 shots well at that distance should then be tested at 300 or whatever you choose. All of us shoot better at short range. Most will find that groups under 1 MOA at 100 will be somewhat smaller further out. Then, there is wind and mirage to consider at those extreme ranges. Shooter errors are less at shorter distance. Just my 2 cts.
     
  11. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,689
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    I shoot both custom and factory rifles at extended ranges and tend to disagree. I don't disagree that how you establish the actual accuracy rifle by testing it at extended ranges and getting results over time, cold bore, etc. is not taken into account when you hear about results. I own and have seen many factory rigs that will keep up with the customs at 500-1000 yards. Don't get me wrong. It's not all factory rifles and they many times need bedding, trigger, and load optimization. I have two factory rifles, Savage LRH and a Cooper 52, both in 6.5x284 that for hunting purposes and compared to the same configuration in custom rigs will deliver consistent results that are the same or sometimes better. Both have no problem putting a bullet in the boiler room of a whitetail at 1000 yards, the furthest I have shot game. Maybe not good enough for Benchrest, but more than sufficient for the hunting I do. Shooters can be just as successful using a factory rifle as someone using a custom rig. Don't want to ruffle any feathers, but that's my experience.
     
  12. cfvickers

    cfvickers Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    372
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    Brent, I bet you cut that young soldier some slack though. He has to start somewhere. My first 308 was the short action remington heavy fluted 26" barrel with that black kevlar stock, I still miss that gun. I think I was 14 when I saved up and oredered it. I bought the gun and my dad provided me with a scope. had some big bausch and lomb 6x24 x something on it which was good stuff at the time. 500.00 was a lot for glass at the time unless you were going german optics. all I ever fired was factory ammo but man that thing would shoot an inch with anything I put in it, again good for a 14 year old and factory ammo. I swore then I could shoot 1/4 inch groups with it, but I was full of it. But that started my love of rifles and shooting stuff way off (200 yards was long at the time to me)
     
  13. cfvickers

    cfvickers Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    372
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    Thats funny Greyfox, My LRH is also a 6.5-284 and that rifle is seriously more accurate than I am. and while I am not a great shot at long range or even at 200 it will shoot as tight as I can hold. I just have a 4-16x42 Sightron on it, which is plenty for what I need it to do. Does barrel heat effect your groups? Mine just keeps going I stopped at 10 but it would not throw one other than the one I threw myself.
     
  14. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,229
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2005
    I think we have a terminology issue.

    Here are the definitions I'd propose

    'Off The Shelf' -- NO customization's, no upgrades, no bedding. Original stock, trigger etc.

    'Factory chambered' -- Un-trued action, original barrel (or factory takeoff rebarrel). Upgraded trigger, stock etc. But not accurized by a smith/lathe etc.

    Accurized factory rifle -- Trued action, upgraded barrel etc.

    Custom - Rifle based on non-factory action. (BAT, Stiller, Borden ... )


    In my experience, very few 'Off the Shelf' rifles will hold sub 1/2moa. And very few Custom rifles will shoot worse than 3/4moa.

    Thoughts,
    AJ