What scope magnification for "sub-MOA" groups?


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Caimlas
May 2, 2007, 03:47 AM
What scope magnification do you guys use for "sub-MOA" groups? Or, for that matter, any sized group at range, not necessarily one under an inch. I ask this question because I see people saying (and posting) things like, "yeah, I can get a such-and-such MOA group with my uberboomersmack at 100 yards", but no mention of what their sighting mechanism is, or the position they shot from.

Basically, I'm trying to figure out if I'm a good shot.

I went out shooting the other day with a buddy, and we plinked with a variety of stuff, but then walked a box out to 100 yards with some stickers on it. My rifle is a RRA AR15 16" and has a 4x30 Leapers cheap-o scope on it with a built in BDC I've never bothered to use. I just have the rifle sighted to 100 yards, and that's as far as I've ever shot it. I shot it prone, 5 shots per target. There was about a 10 mph wind coming from 10:30, gusting up around 20mph, and all of these shots were taken prone at 100 yards w/ Fiocchi 55gr FMJ.

The first, larger target was actually my sighting in group because I'd not sighted in the scope before on this rifle, aside from the last time I was out when I just made a rough group (I adjusted the scope between visits, and it my first adjustment was spot on). Each target had 5 shots taken at it. But, aside from the 1st target, which I shot at fairly quickly, the smaller dots were impossible to see and posed a real problem, being so close together they were difficult to distinguish at all as much more than "there are some orange specks thataway". They were just too darn small, and the crosshairs in the scope itself obscured the target dots, requiring me to aim above and to the left to try and find the target (and I believe its evident that I did so if you look at the photo).

So what is everyone using while shooting at 100 yards and claiming such-and-such groups? Is this 'reasonable' performance on my part? I can't see how someone might group like this using (say) a red dot or iron sights at this range (or beyond) for anything short of "general cover fire" because it's unfathomable to me that someone could actually see their target at such range with enough clarity in relation to their sights to make such a shot. Again, especially with iron sights.

If I'm right, and tight groups can't be expected with irons, what kind of groups might a good marksman be able to expect out of a rifle like mine (16" RRA AR) using standard aperture sights?

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Afy
May 2, 2007, 03:57 AM
I am no expert but I am currently at a holiday inn... so here goes...

More than the scope it is the rifle and shooter. I would generally be skeptical about people shooting a Mosin or a 98K etc with Wolf ammo caliming sub MoA.

However with a rifle like a SHR970 or TRG 42 if you're not Sub MOA at 100 yards you as a shooter would suck.

People generally achieve their best groups by consistently holding the PoA at the same spot between shots.

Having a more powerful scope like a 4-24/40 or even a 4-14 should allow you to see the groups pretty easily.

airmonkey
May 2, 2007, 04:20 AM
I have a 4-16x40 on one and a 4-24x40 on the other, usually shoot benched or prone and do pretty good at 100 yrds.

sacp81170a
May 2, 2007, 05:30 AM
It's been my experience that using cheapo ammo has far more effect on your group size than your scope. What's enough scope? If you can see and identify your target clearly, especially at 100 yards, then you've got enough scope. I wouldn't be surprised to see groups like yours out of my H-Bar 20" with Wolf or Fiocci ammo, but I would be surprised to see groups that size with Remington or Federal Match. Consistency, consistency. You also mentioned a 10-20 mph crosswind with gusts, and normally at 100 yds. you wouldn't have to "dope" a wind of that velocity, but it could sure have an effect on group size.

Plink
May 2, 2007, 06:00 AM
If you're not able to see your targets clearly enough to put the crosshairs in exactly the same spot for each shot, it doesn't really matter how good of a shot you are or how accurate your gun/ammo combo is. I'd suggest a little more scope.

Heck, I use a 6-18x50 on my rimfires! I normally only shoot for groups at 50 and 100 yards with it, but with that much magnification, I can see exactly where my crosshairs are in relation to the target. My eyes are pretty bad though, so maybe I benefit from a bit more power than folks with better sight.

You might want to try a premium load for accuracy. Then comes work on marksmanship skills like breath control, trigger control, etc.

Few shooters can do MOA with iron sights. You can get quite accurate with them, but optics will always give you an advantage.

USSR
May 2, 2007, 07:59 AM
Caimlas,

It's more a factor of a good rifle with a good scope in solid mounts firing good loads from a solid benchrest, than it is the amount of magnification.

Don

ronin223
May 2, 2007, 09:05 AM
1/4 MOA at 100 yards, Accuracy international, sierra 168 moly BTHP, federal case, federal match primer, varget powder, Schmidt and bender 10x scope.

I agree with everyone, rifle and scope does matter to a point, but ammo selection is more critical. I had a remington 700 which could shoot less than 1/4 if you used fire formed brass.

VARifleman
May 2, 2007, 09:09 AM
I use a BSA Platinum Target 6-24X-44mm scope on top of my Anschutz. I do not know how it would hold up for centerfire use, but it has served me very well.

Edit...forgot to add...I usually keep it around 16-20 power, depending on lighting. The more light you have, the higher power you can get away with, but your ability to judge mirage is degraded when you increase the power.

RavenVT100
May 2, 2007, 09:48 AM
Military ammunition is not even rated for 2 MOA, let alone under 1 MOA. In order to test your rifle you are going to require match grade ammunition, such as Federal Gold Medal. It costs around $20 a box so each shot is going to run you a dollar or more. That's match ammo.

Or you could load your own, your choice.

If you don't care and want to plink, but still are curious about what your rifle can do, buy a couple of boxes of match ammo and test it off a bench. Sights aren't going to matter.

taliv
May 2, 2007, 09:50 AM
I had a remington 700 which could shoot less than 1/4 if you used fire formed brass.

uhh

fire formed from what to what?

Mannlicher
May 2, 2007, 10:28 AM
on a good day, I can shoot sub MOA with several of my iron sighted rifles. Among them are an amazingly accurate 1954 Marlin 336 in 30-30 Ackley, using a Lyman apperature sight, and a M1A Loaded, with issue sights.

Shadowangel
May 2, 2007, 10:41 AM
uhh

fire formed from what to what?

Means fired once from that rifle, then neck sized instead of resizing the entire casing.

SamTuckerMTNMAN
May 2, 2007, 10:43 AM
scope magnification has less to do with goup size than trigger squeeze, breath control, sight picture, and fundamental marksmanship skills. SEEING the bullseye BIGGer doesnt hold your rifle steady.:scrutiny:

DogBonz
May 2, 2007, 10:58 AM
scope magnification has less to do with goup size than trigger squeeze, breath control, sight picture, and fundamental marksmanship skills. SEEING the bullseye BIGGer doesnt hold your rifle steady.

While I do agree that the other factors are more important, more magnification helps me repeat the same point of aim better, which is important to shooting small groups, so I understand where this question is coming from. I have a Nightforce 3.5-15 X 50 on my Grendel and it is awesome. It was a big improvement over the Leupold 3-9X40 that I was using. That said, too much magnification can be bad. The higher the magnification, the more likely that mirage will affect your view. I think that it also has an effect on light transmition.

bogie
May 2, 2007, 11:16 AM
Guys, I shoot benchrest. I get irritated when things are larger than 0.25MOA, so I'm going to claim to be The Expert here...

IMHO, in equal parts, you have to worry about the shooter, the rifle (action, trigger and bedding), the barrel, the scope, the handload, the bench setup, and the wind. If any of them are off, you blow up all over the paper.

The 6PPC is probably the most intrinsically accurate cartridge out there. But to get it shooting dots, you have to handload at the range, to tailor the load to the day's conditions.

If you're not using wind flags/indicators (at least 3-5 at 100 yards), you may as well be shooting a full choke. A switch in one flag can open a group a half-inch at 100 yards.

Consistent rest behavior and shooter followthrough also affect things.

If your scope is affected by recoil, and point of impact changes slightly because of it, send it back to the factory. I shoot 36x scopes, but some guys go as high as 45x. Charlie Hood makes a dual-mount "scope checker" which will, over the course of several shots, let you know which one is the culprit.

glockman19
May 2, 2007, 11:19 AM
Remington 700 CDL 3-9x40 @ 100 yards >1" prone from bag rest. M1A 6-24x40 >1" @ 100 yards bipod. All slow fire. Rapid Fire the heated barrel opens up the Remington to 1.5" and the M1A opens up to 1.75"-2".

Ruger 10/22 9X40 @ 100 yards 1". Prone fron bag rest

Essex County
May 2, 2007, 11:22 AM
Doesn't make a lot of diffrence. Some shooters can do it with good iron sights. I have shot MOA groups with as little 1.5X but, six to ten power is my prefrence. Essex

Halffast
May 2, 2007, 12:10 PM
I need at least 10x at 100 yards to make sure the crosshairs are in exactly the same point every time. My favorite all-around scopes are the Leupold 4 to 12 and their 4.5 to 14.

David

Zak Smith
May 2, 2007, 12:27 PM
One of the keys to small groups is a repeatable sight picture. Many NRA High-Power shooters are able to shoot sub-moa using iron sights including aperture sights. (The X-ring is 1 MOA, if I am not mistaken.)

With an optic, the magnification, reticle design, and target design need to be set up in such a way in that the sight-picture combination can be replicated.

I have shot sub-MOA groups at 100 yards with a 3.5x ACOG, however, it is easier to do so with a good scope with fine crosshairs, with a little more magnification than 3.5x.

-z

akodo
May 2, 2007, 07:21 PM
More than the scope it is the rifle and shooter. I would generally be skeptical about people shooting a Mosin or a 98K etc with Wolf ammo caliming sub MoA.

However with a rifle like a SHR970 or TRG 42 if you're not Sub MOA at 100 yards you as a shooter would suck.

I tell you what, right out, you give me a TGR 42, I would shoot about 2-3 MOA with it, and I am not ashamed to admit it.

Shooter matters most of all.

Thing is, 2 MOA is actually pretty damned good, and aside from guys who really know their stuff, 2 MOA is a lot tighter than your average shooter can shoot. It is also about what you can expect from your average off the shelf rifle shooting off the shelf ammo (although as time progresses, it seems that an off the shelf rifle can normally churn out 1 moa or maybe a bit better with the right ammo)

bogie
May 2, 2007, 08:16 PM
I just looked at the posted groups.

Those are called "weather reports."

Also, were you using a bipod? Don't expect to get consistent grouping with one, or any time you set a rifle "hard surface to hard surface." They bounce, and that sends stuff all over the place.

Best upgrades for a "stock" AR... (assuming not swapping barrel/upper)

Decent scope - A used Weaver K4 costs about the same as the Leapers, and may be older than you are, but it'll also outshoot the Leapers.

Decent trigger - Arnold Jewell makes some nice ones.

Tighten the upper/lower fit with any of several gizmos available.

Get a Sinclair cleaning rod guide, and a good cleaning rod. Do not use the alumnium crap they sell at wal-mart.

Consistent rest/technique... Pick something, and stay with it.

browningguy
May 2, 2007, 09:23 PM
Lots of people shoot sub moa groups using aperture sights, mostly on dedicated target guns, but there are sporters that will certainly do it.

I think a decent RRA would get close to that with the right ammo, you need to find the bullet weight it likes first though. A dedicated target scope of high power and thin reticles is also preferred, but not necessary. The good use of a sling, bipods ok if mounted on a free float tube, a little trigger practice and you're there.

Damien45
May 2, 2007, 09:54 PM
I have shot a quarter at 200yrds with my M98, iron sights and surplus ammo. I got so used to how that rifle shot that I could call shots out to 100yrds 99% of the time.

With my Savage 10FP .223 that had a Simmons 44 Mag 6.5-20x44mm, I could sub MOA at 200yrds. I used Seller & Bellot (sp?) 69gr as ammo.

Until recently I had not shot a rifle in 5 yrs. In Feb I shot the M16 Qualification. It is 25yrds, with 200yrd similated target, iron sights. Basically take a normal target out to 200yrds and one of the similated targets out to 25yrds and look at them through the sights. They look pretty much the same. I shot expert. Can I do that at actual 200yrds? Not sure, been a while. I would love to get back into shooting long range (which includes learning to shoot out to 1,000yrds).

So yes it is possible to shoot MOA at 100yrds with iron sights.

bogie
May 3, 2007, 12:58 AM
A quarter with a 98 Mauser? At 200 yards? You have GOT to be kidding.

Damien, I'll shoot with you for money. I might even travel to California to do it. Hope you don't mind me shooting a rifle made by this fellow...

http://www.stevensaccuracy.com/

It's single shot, weighs under 10.5 pounds, including scope, and discounting the shooter, it's capable of 1/10 MOA accuracy, assuming that the shooter hasn't bleeped up the barrel. Add in shooter error, and you can figure 0.17 to a quarter MOA.

Lucky
May 3, 2007, 06:42 AM
Shadowangel
New Member


Join Date: 04-04-07
Posts: 8

Quote:
uhh

fire formed from what to what?
Means fired once from that rifle, then neck sized instead of resizing the entire casing.

I don't understand this either. I thought fireforming was to change one cartridge into a completely different caliber.

I bought some Norma brass that is set up for fireforming, but I just don't understand what it will do.

If firing a cartridge makes it not need resizing, why do they make resizing dies?

Damien45
May 3, 2007, 06:53 AM
A quarter with a 98 Mauser? At 200 yards? You have GOT to be kidding.

Damien, I'll shoot with you for money. I might even travel to California to do it. Hope you don't mind me shooting a rifle made by this fellow...

http://www.stevensaccuracy.com/

It's single shot, weighs under 10.5 pounds, including scope, and discounting the shooter, it's capable of 1/10 MOA accuracy, assuming that the shooter hasn't bleeped up the barrel. Add in shooter error, and you can figure 0.17 to a quarter MOA.


I shot that rifle a LOT. Before I even TRIED to do the quarter I had put near 3K rounds down the barrel. I knew that rifle well. I don't have it anymore. The stock kinda blew up on me while shooting. A couple big chunks of wood went flying by my face and a HUGE crack was in the stock. I never did fix it and since sold it. Wish I hadn't, but I joined the Navy and had no safe place to store any of my firearms.

When I shot the quarter we taped it to a target, and put a VERY bright sticker directly over the quarter. The color contrast is what I went for. No way I could have seen the quarter at 100yrds without the sticker.

VARifleman
May 3, 2007, 07:02 AM
so I'm going to claim to be The Expert here...
Yeah...I've had match targets scored by benchrest guys. They couldn't believe the groups we were putting up not using a two point rest, in the wind with 3 sets of flags between the line and 100 yrds. We were just using .22s with slings and coats laying down on the ground...surely that couldn't be accurate to them. You all have high accuracy, but can get away with ridiculously high power scopes because the gun doesn't move around from your pulse, muscle vibrations, etc. When it comes to shooting from a sling, you can't effectively use a 45 power scope as it's just too much confusion from reticle movement.

bogie
May 3, 2007, 12:17 PM
Oh.

You shot a quarter-dollar. Once.

I can do that All Day Long.

I can consistently cut playing cards in half edgewise at 100 yards.

Overall, the key thing is CONSISTENCY. If you are position shooting, you want to always pull the trigger at the same spot in your heartbeat cycle. You want to have the rifle bedded consistently (those big gloves...). You want a bone-solid hold (those jackets, slings, etc.). Add in modified sight glasses, etc., etc., and you've got a cool system.

Personally, for an AR, I'd just go with a 4x for general use, and a 14x or so for varminting.

DogBonz
May 4, 2007, 10:58 AM
Not that hard... At 200 it gets a bit more interesting:

See:
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=246361&highlight=grendel

akodo
May 5, 2007, 01:47 PM
I have shot a quarter at 200yrds with my M98, iron sights and surplus ammo. I got so used to how that rifle shot that I could call shots out to 100yrds 99% of the time.

I shot that rifle a LOT. Before I even TRIED to do the quarter I had put near 3K rounds down the barrel. I knew that rifle well. I don't have it anymore. The stock kinda blew up on me while shooting. A couple big chunks of wood went flying by my face and a HUGE crack was in the stock. I never did fix it and since sold it. Wish I hadn't, but I joined the Navy and had no safe place to store any of my firearms.

When I shot the quarter we taped it to a target, and put a VERY bright sticker directly over the quarter. The color contrast is what I went for. No way I could have seen the quarter at 100yrds without the sticker.

waaaaiiiiittttt a second

this sounds so many different types of fishy I don't know where to start.

Now, i totally believe, you tape a quarter to a target at 200 yards, shoot at it enough you will hit it eventually, but that is rather meaningless, a broken watch is right twice a day.

I cannot even SEE a quarter at 200 yards, even with an orange quarter sized sticker I don't think I could see it. If it was a 2 inch diameter sticker over the quarter, then I could probably see it, but then hitting the quarter under the sticker is kind of luck, as you are realyl shooting at the 2 inch sticker.

Also, what explosives do you keep in your stock that would cause the stock to explode?

Also, what do you mean you could 'call out shots'?

VARifleman
May 5, 2007, 05:49 PM
Oh.

You shot a quarter-dollar. Once.

I can do that All Day Long.

I wasn't the one that used that as an example. I compete collegiately and have competed in national competitions and done well as well as having been on an international postal team. That match I was talking about was a regional metric prone match with two folks from the Canadian national team team. I won scope day by several points. What I was saying is that optics choice between benchrest and position is quite different as you have movement from the nervous system and heartbeats to deal with as well. If the reticle appears to move too much, you can't shoot well which is why the number of people using 45x scopes for prone is almost none. Most of the people use somewhere between 16 and 24 power, with some going up to 30.

rangerruck
May 5, 2007, 06:03 PM
assuming the range is 100 yards, you need a varmint of duplex type reticle, or maybe a mildot. I have done it with a 3.9, but I consider that lucky, and a way accurate weapon, more than my skill. At 100 yds, I dont see how you can consistently shoot moa or better , with anything smaller than a 12 x.

taliv
May 5, 2007, 06:14 PM
did you misstype that ,rangerruck?

Caimlas
May 5, 2007, 06:34 PM
Thanks, Bogie - your post was more along the lines of what I was looking for than what others have posted (that is, what they're capable of).


Those are called "weather reports."


I'm sorry - I don't follow. What does that mean?

Also, were you using a bipod? Don't expect to get consistent grouping with one, or any time you set a rifle "hard surface to hard surface." They bounce, and that sends stuff all over the place.

No, no bipod. I don't believe in shooting like that. Just 'military' prone with a sling.


Decent scope - A used Weaver K4 costs about the same as the Leapers, and may be older than you are, but it'll also outshoot the Leapers.


I'll keep that in mind, but for that price I'll just stick with what I've got and get something better when funds allow.

Decent trigger - Arnold Jewell makes some nice ones.

I like two-stage triggers, like the one RRA ships. For whatever reason, I like a little pre-shot 'creep' so I can more easily anticipate the shot and make sure I'm putting it where I want it.

Tighten the upper/lower fit with any of several gizmos available.

No need, with this rifle - at least yet. It's still under the 2k round mark (just barel), and has no noticeable give whatsoever. First half a dozen times when I took the lower off during cleaning required a brass punch to get the damn pins out, it was so tight.

Consistent rest/technique... Pick something, and stay with it.

That's what it's all about, isn't it? :P I'm working on doing that.

Geno
May 5, 2007, 07:06 PM
Great question!!! There is such a misconception that scope power equals ability to achieve sub-MOA. False.

I have achieved consistent MOA groups with a 4X, 3.5-10X, 12X, 4.5-14X and 36X scopes. The critical factor is consistency...not power. All movements must be precisely consistent. Without the consistency factor, scope power means nothing. Of course if the rifle is not capable of MOA, all else is for naught. When I bought my 36X scope, I did not dump $1,000.00 into it. I bought a nice, inexpensive BSA for $59.00ish. It works just fine. However, it isn't needed at 100 yards. The reason that I bought a 36X BSA scope was to be able to count and score shots out to 200, 300 yards and beyond without having to walk out to the target each time. Most of the time I use my Leupold 4.5-14 scope and use the BSA 36X scope as a spotting scope. :)

Note, I am eagerly anticipating my next trip to the family farm to test out my 4X ACOG at various distances, for precision in terms of trajectory 100, 200, 300 .. 800 yards (Max. trajectory built in).

On a closing note, if I were able to afford a single scope, I would purchase either a 4X Tasco or a 6X Tasco (or equivalent) scope. It is all that is needed. Yes, I said Tasco! Consistency is king.

JohnKSa
May 5, 2007, 07:15 PM
Best group I ever shot with a rifle was using a fairly inexpensive 3x9 scope set to 9x.

But you don't need that for sub-moa. All you need is good ammo, good technique and a good rifle. I've done it more than once with iron sights.

Caimlas
May 5, 2007, 07:17 PM
Doc2005, then how are people able to achieve sub-MOA groups with standard (non-match) iron sights?

At least for me, one of the large advantages of a scope is that I am more able to detect my body's motion visually, through the movement in the reticle. With irons, I'm not as readily capable of observing the quirks - breathing, twitching, etc. - which can throw off my shot. I imagine this can, to no small degree, be marginalized through practice/experience, but surely not in entirety.

Additionally, how the hell can you even see the target well enough, no matter what your eye sight is, at 100 yards in conjunction to the relatively massive front sight post? Are the people making sub-MOA irons groups using match grade aperature/crosshair front posts in conjunction to itsy bitsy rear aperatures? When the visual difference of 5" on target is a 10th of the width of the front sight post (or less), how is it even possible to make those minute adjustments?

bogie
May 5, 2007, 07:26 PM
weather report: Wind blew it thissa way, wind blew it thatta way...

JohnKSa
May 5, 2007, 07:34 PM
Additionally, how the hell can you even see the target well enough, no matter what your eye sight is, at 100 yards in conjunction to the relatively massive front sight post? Are the people making sub-MOA irons groups using match grade aperature/crosshair front posts in conjunction to itsy bitsy rear aperatures? When the visual difference of 5" on target is a 10th of the width of the front sight post (or less), how is it even possible to make those minute adjustments?It's about alignment. The aiming point has to be big enough to be easily visible, but if you have that going for you then the rest is just about getting the sights (front and rear) and the target into the same alignment consistently.

Windage has always been easy to me with decent sights. For elevation, I push the front post up against the bottom of the bullseye until the bullseye begins to "deform". It's not really deforming, obviously, it's some kind of optical illusion. Sort of weird to describe, but it works. When it's just right, you can still see white between the top of the front sight and the bottom of the bull, but the bottom of the bull appears to be slightly flattened.

No, they don't have to be fancy match aperture sights, they just have to be good sights. Good vision helps. Back when I was doing that sort of shooting, I had 20-15 vision after correction.

theCZ
May 5, 2007, 08:07 PM
For me, the ammo and rifle dictace the accuracy more than the optics. Taking the time to find loads that shoot well in a good rifle means it's easy to shoot sub-moa with a fixed 4x scope on up to my 4.5-14x Nikon. Having a solid rest is very important too.

Geno
May 6, 2007, 12:43 AM
Actually, I have achieved MOA with my M1A "Loaded" out to 200 yards. It is a challenge, but doable. Practice, practice and practice. You have to have good equipment and practice your consistency.

The world record for pistol, is 3.5" by 1" at 500 yards..iron sights on a T/C Contender. :evil:

Makes me turn 98 shades of envy-green just thinking about it.

Doc2005

Caimlas
May 7, 2007, 06:48 PM
weather report: Wind blew it thissa way, wind blew it thatta way...

You'll see +/- 1" variance from light wind at 100 yards?

I need a reference for this kind of thing... grr. Some sort of mathematical equation I can compute as needbe, maybe?

Zak Smith
May 7, 2007, 06:57 PM
A 10mph cross-wind will deflect many .223 loads 0.8 - 1.2" at 100 yards.

Cosmoline
May 7, 2007, 07:19 PM
You don't need optics at all to get MOA or better groups. Optics have no relationship with the accuracy of the firearm. They help the eye see the target and aim, but they're less critical than modern rifle shooters seem to believe.

brickeyee
May 7, 2007, 07:43 PM
Purchase a copy of "Precision Shooting" and look at the winners equipment.
These are the guys who would throw a gun away if it only shot MOA.

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