“My rifle shoots .2s and .3s” ... huh?

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74 Ropers Landing Road, Golconda, IL
Curious here...

Since it is common for folks to speak of their barrel/rifle’s accuracy in terms of group size, I’m curious whether most folks are speaking of groups shot off a solid rest (and reporting mechanical, repeatable accuracy), or off a bipod/bag and reporting the effective accuracy of the “system”, which includes shooter.

I don’t have access to a sled to lock down my rifle. So when I do load development I’m shooting off a bipod, thereby inducing some shooter error.

When you report your barrel’s accuracy on this forum, which method did you use to get that group—solid rest or bipod/bag?
I had photos of my 1" grouping (fairly consistant) with my Ruger Hawkeye .375 from a Caldwell lead sled. A few weeks back I decided to try with the bipod. I think you know how this ends. It's all I could do to shoot a 4" group at 100 yds. I never knew that thing kicks like a Missouri mule. After 10 rounds my shoulder had all it wanted. Yeah, I here what your saying. I use the lead sled to take out that shooter error when sighting in a scope. Then I know it is not the rifle or the scope! Have fun at the range.
 

Ol' Red

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I use to use a strip of electrical tape on my forend that i would set on the stock at the back of the front bag. It would do a good job at keeping me consistent with forarm placement and was easy enough to move to another spot to tune forearm/bag placement
Good idea. That's why I joined this sight - information.
 

Cuz

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Magnolia, texas
I shoot 3shot groups, but will verify good loads with several groups. In a rifle used primarily for hunting I feel like that will tell you what you need to know. After I find the load I want I don’t worry about groups at all. I’m more interested in whether I can hit a golf ball at 2-300 yards with 1shot, or a coke bottle full of water at 500. At long range on steel I pay attention to my vertical spread, not so much on the horizontal spread.
 

J E Custom

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JE—what have you observed in terms of accuracy difference between using the lead sled vs bipod or bag? I’m just curious how much increase in group size is introduced by even an experienced shooter such as yourself.
With the lead sled or something like it, (I have tried several other devices like the lead sled And settled on the DF-2 because of the adjustable front support allows me to change the length for better support with different rifles.
https://www.midwayusa.com/product/101827114?pid=452933

It may not be the best, but it works for me and any rifle I shoot/test on it.

As I said, I like to shoot off sand bags, but that's when I get a flier or mess up a good group with a shot that I didn't have the same location on the forend or pressure on the rifle each time with the by pod, the inconsistency was worse but I know the fault is mine. If I just shot a bypod only I know I could master it, but many of the rifles don't have the forend strength and shoot much better of a good rest placed back on the stock near the front action screw.

So what I have found using the lead sled, the groups are in a neat cluster instead of being strung out vertically or horizontally or both. This type of group normally shows more consistency and measures better giving me a better idea of the rifles potential.
I also measure each group 4 times and average or use the largest measurement so there is no question that the rifle is doing it. (This is no time to kid your self and use the smallest number). If the measurements are very close I sometimes average to because I know the rifle will do well consistently under these conditions.

Even with a good rest there is still a lot of concentration needed to eliminate even more shooter error, and being consistent with each shot which is my goal for testing a rifle.

It also assist in better load development because I can measure slight differences from one group to another with confidence. One example of this was when I had a rifle that would shoot an average of .076 and decided to changed to a different primer and it dropped to .055 on average. That doesn't sound like much in terms of thousandths (Only .021 thousandths) but the percentage of improvement was over 1/3 rd. and since then the rifle has averaged .051 to .057. when I have a good day using the lead sled.

I think it depends on what the person likes and uses the most how well his system works for him, the lead sled does the best for me, so that is what I use for testing. Results are only as good as the equipment and the procedure consistency and that is probably why there are different ways for people to get the best results for them.

PS: I am happy that so many people are interested in improving there shooting especially for this sport, and even those that don't believe that groups smaller that 1/4 MOA ( .250 thousandths) are possible get to hear from those that know they are and maybe convince them try.

J E CUSTOM
 
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Mram10us

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With the lead sled or something like it, (I have tried several other devices like the lead sled And settled on the DF-2 because of the adjustable front support allows me to change the length for better support with different rifles.
https://www.midwayusa.com/product/101827114?pid=452933

It may not be the best, but it works for me and any rifle I shoot/test on it.

As I said, I like to shoot off sand bags, but that when I get a flier or mess up a good group with a shot that I didn't have the same location on the forend or pressure on the rifle each time with the by pod, the inconsistency was worse but I know the fault is mine. If I just shot a bypod only I know I could master it, but many of the rifles don't have the forend strength and shoot much better of a good rest placed back on the stock near the front action screw.

So what I have found using the lead sled, the groups are in a neat cluster instead of being strung out vertically or horizontally or both. This type of group normally shows more consistency and measures better giving me a better idea of the rifles potential.
I also measure each group 4 times and average or use the largest measurement so there is no question that the rifle is doing it. (This is no time to kid your self and use the smallest number). If the measurements are very close I sometimes average to because I know the rifle will do well consistently under these conditions.

Even with a good rest there is still a lot of concentration needed to eliminate even more shooter error, and being consistent with each shot which is my goal for testing a rifle.

It also assist in better load development because I can measure slight differences from one group to another with confidence. One example of this was when I had a rifle that would shoot an average of .076 and decided to changed to a different primer and it dropped to .055 on average. That doesn't sound like much in terms of thousandths (Only .021 thousandths) but the percentage of improvement was over 1/3 rd. and since then the rifle has averaged .051 to .057. when I have a good day using the lead sled.

I think it depends on what the person likes and uses the most how well his system works for him, the lead sled does the best for me, so that is what I use for testing. Results are only as good as the equipment and the procedure consistency and that is probably why there are different ways for people to get the best results for them.

PS: I am happy that so many people are interested in improving there shooting especially for this sport, and even those that don't believe that groups smaller that 1/4 MOA ( .250 thousandths) are possible get to hear from those that know they are and maybe convince them try.

J E CUSTOM
Wow! What are the specs on the .055” rifle?
 

tim_w

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Mar 25, 2008
Messages
498
What I like too do is shoot a bunch of 3 shot strings each in separate targets or areas. As 3 shot keeps heat down. I get 10 groups. Then overlay the groups using the POA. Then measure the entire overlay group. The POA is only to align the groups to the same reference point. It's amazing how those .1 and .2 end up around .5 real quick. LOL. To me that's more indicative of what I can expect when POA to POI really matters. I need to get out and shoot more especially at distance. I know I could tighten up if I had better more consistent form.

Just look up some of the test groups Sierra gets in their mechanical machine barreled action to see what is possible when the human is taken out of the equation.
 
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KY_Windage

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Dec 5, 2018
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Alaska
When someone brags that they have a one holer rifle I always ask them to shoot one 5 shot group under a half inch right there and then and I've only seen 3 people besides myself that were able to produce it even with several tries.
My .204 can do it pretty regularly on a calm day, but that is with a custom-chambered barrel and blue-printed action. Also, I am suppressed, which helps. Here are ten 5-shot groups at 100 yds shot one afternoon not long ago. (Note: I aimed at different parts of the circle for some groups -- and/or dialed a click or two.)

To shoot below .3 requires a lot of concentration for me, more than I have, really. It is hard to squeeze off 5 perfect shots in a row, much less 20, as in F-Class. It is usually impossible for me to get below .2 because I cannot eliminate the "pulse wobble." I miss the timing on at least one of the five shots and it blows the "ones-ees" group I had going. I will get one sooner or later but it will be mostly luck. :)

 
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[email protected]

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Alberta
A heavy front rest with "ears" on the bag where you can pinch in on the sides of the forearm are a tremendous help in eliminating flyers. Rabbit ear rear bag filled with "Heavy Sand" is also a great aid.

I also played with Bi Pods vs 1-2x10 plus two 2x6's as a base, with sand bags on top of the filled with "heavy sand" vs Bi Pod using a 22 PPC custom that shot very tiny groups. I got flyers with the Bi pod, never could figure it out. Since I was hiking around lava flows shooting rock chucks and then later on going to p. dog towns in SD, I wanted to see my error created by Bi Pods. I learned to accept the flyers, and did not think my barrel was going south in it's accuracy.

Today, Bi pods are much different, especially the one built by Tubb.

On another note, I did play with a lead sled for a while, I cracked a 460 Weatherby and 340 Weatherby stock in a few range sessions. Groups opened on very accurate rifles with the Lead Sled and I attributed this to the fact that mounting the rifle was not the same from shot to shot. I then shot a very accurate 22/250 with a lead sled, flyers could not be explained.

Wind is a tremendous factor in group size. For some reason, shooters resist getting simple, inexpensive wind flags. The same can be said for using a Tunner to tune in loads that are dumb butt simple to adjust(Harrells Precision, RAS, and Mike Ezel from Gunsandgunsmithing).

High power scopes are another thing that aid in shooting small groups, I use one scope to develop loads with, and another to hunt with often. I am attempting to remove all error in load development.

Recoil is an accuracy killer, how you grip the gun from shot to shot, steering the rifle with cheek weld, how you pull the gun into your shoulder from shot to shot. I started shooting much smaller groups when I started using Muzzle breaks on my rifles, and this is an understatement. Not thinking about the recoil that is about to come, is a great aid in being consistent from shot to shot. Side discharge muzzle breaks are VERY loud, I like the Gentry Muzzle break that throws the sound and concussion forward.

There is a learning curve in shooting off the ground vs shooting off a table vs standing and shooting. A guy that shoots off the ground with a bi pod all the time, will have one heck of a time shooting off a bench, and vise a versa. I am too old and broke down to shoot laying off the ground for more than a few shots, I will leave that to the youngsters.

If you are having trouble shooting very small groups consistently, then re-visit your cleaning techniques, reloading, and bench techniques. Of course, a rifle that is "stress free" bedded, barrel floated is a prerequisite to all pursuits in accuracy. Few factory rifles will shoot constant small groups in the .375 area because the action is in a bind due to bedding, and most stocks with a V block will benefit from a skim coat. Guys do not realize that actions warp a little during heat treat, and the bedding will help relieving the stress on the action. I have seen exceptions where untouched factory rifles will shoot small groups, but they are rare when a guy is wanting to shoot group after group where the bullets open up a single bullet hole.

I don't call 1/2" shooting small groups for a hunting rifle for long range.

This is a hobby, take it to the depths that you want to pursue. In the very least, get two wind flags, at least you will know if the wind is blowing left or right when you start shooting, pick the left or the right, pull the trigger when you see the condition you picked....you will simply be amazed in how much smaller the groups are that you shoot.

Start at the start when you are wanting to shoot tiny groups, Stress free bed the rifle, free float the barrel, tune or replace the trigger, scope. Buy or build simple wind flags, a piece of surveyors tape, taped on the top of a 1/4" steel rod that is 48" long , 15-25 yards in front of your target is a WHOLE LOT BETTER THAN NOTHING!

Reloading is a prerequisite for a guy that is wanting to shoot groups in the 1's, 2's, and 3's at 100 yards. Tuning the harmonics with the powder charge and especially the seating depth, establishing the concentricity of the loaded round is basic stuff along with stock quality, and benchrest set up.

These guns that shoot tiny groups usually start off with a gunsmith that has indicated in a high quality barrel to the 0.0001, with a properly designed reamer, and that gunsmith is a tremendous part of the equation.
I have been playing with guns for over 55 years and never stopped learning, this article being one of them.
Well done thank you
 

J E Custom

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Really? Did you really think that benchrest was the context of these statements?:confused:

Keep In mine the purpose of bench rest is to see what accuracy is possible with a very complicated system designed to remove anything that could/will detract from the goal of one hole (.000 group). It also is designed to take the human error out of the equation.

The purpose of "ANY" kind of rest it to minimize the human factor. If you shot only Offhand (With no rest what so ever) you would probably not be able to consistently shoot 1 MOA groups. You also wouldn't be able to work up accuracy loads with and amount of success.

Referring to the bench rest groups is just a way to show what 'can' be done considering the small differences in the total system that we have very little control over. We can try to eliminate these differences but normally we can only minimize them.

The biggest factor is normally the human factor and try as we may, it will always be there and always has.

The bench rest is the ultimate support for a rifle system and is a precision mounting for the barreled action that "Will return to the exact same location every time it is fired" if it a good system.

The rest we use are much more portable and can some can be used in the field. The lead sled is a crude form of a bench rest and is not piratical so it is used at the range, Al tho I have heard of people taking it to there shooting/hunting house for making extra long shots.

The point is that the post is about accuracy, and the method used to get the best accuracy. I don't shoot bench rest but i have learned many valuable things from bench rest shooters and bench rest gunsmiths that have greatly helped me but I am still not where I would like to be. :):):)

J E CUSTOM
 

Dog Rocket

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Mar 17, 2018
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Washington State
The bench rest is the ultimate support for a rifle system and is a precision mounting for the barreled action that "Will return to the exact same location every time it is fired" if it a good system.
The ultimate would be a machine rest of the type used in ballistic labs. My 7 year old daughter could shoot .2's all day everyday from these set ups. So what would be the point?

If I had a 2" diameter barrel on a 40lb heavy gun, in 221 fireball, I could probably shoot .2's on demand. So what?

This stuff is comedy at this point. We started out talking about actual practical field rifles. The peanut gallery has devolved yet another thread into a rambling 12 page diatribe about stuff that has no relevance to the OP.
 

J E Custom

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The ultimate would be a machine rest of the type used in ballistic labs. My 7 year old daughter could shoot .2's all day everyday from these set ups. So what would be the point?

If I had a 2" diameter barrel on a 40lb heavy gun, in 221 fireball, I could probably shoot .2's on demand. So what?

This stuff is comedy at this point. We started out talking about actual practical field rifles. The peanut gallery has devolved yet another thread into a rambling 12 page diatribe about stuff that has no relevance to the OP.

It is a discussion about accuracy and if/how to get it. we all know that field differences will always be there and accuracy will be less that at the range. My point was that I want the "Rifle"to be it's best so My range test are centered around that goal so that when it goes to the field it will shoot it's best under those conditions.

If i built my rifles with the goal to just make them as good as the shooter, he would never get any better. I always want the rifle to challenge the shooter to improve.

The best shooter can't make a lousy rifle shoot but an average shooter can benefit
from a good shooting rifle. If you believe that something is un doable or even funny
so be it. I believe that to achieve excellence, you have to try harder and think out side of the box, also leave no stone unturned.

Don't get upset, it's just my opinion.

J E CUSTOM
 

Bart B

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Dec 25, 2005
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2,673
Compare the benchrest single 5-shot group records at any range to the largest group in aggregate records of several 10-shot groups at the same range. There's a big (huge?) spread.

All of our rifles can shoot our ammo into one hole groups with a few thousandths extreme spread if we do the right stuff to make that happen.
 
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rockytop65

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Sep 1, 2019
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Ms
If I set up on bags on a bench this doesn't happen. However, I shoot prone and from a bench most often depending on the rules of the club I'm at. My heart beat shows about 3 inches at this yard line which is 300yds. First 4 I can cover with a nickel then I had a brain fart on the last shot and didn't follow basic fundamentals. I broke the shot before my breathing slowed and my heart beated as I broke the shot Prone I hard hold as that is how I learned and it serves me well when I do my part.
I am a 1/2-3/4 minute shooter as a rule now. By the time I put the guns up for the summer I'm closer to a 1/4minute shooter. This rifle now has 4408 rounds through it as of today. It was a .1-.2 rifle and will still shoot .2 or better with a disiplined shooter which I no longer am.
I added the 300yd cold bore from Saturday. If I do dot drills I don't have the issues I get shooting groups with fliers. Call it adult add or whatever.
May I ask what caliber an what barrel your using. I’m looking to getting a new gun an want long barrel life with accuracy.
 

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