Pistol Accuracy


July 8, 2010, 07:29 PM
I regularly read 3 reloading forums and I'm not sure where I have read these terms about accuracy, so go easy on me.

Anyway I have heard the term "mechanical accuracy" of a pistol, but without any examples to help me understand what I should strive for in accuracy. I have also read that pistol loads cannot be dialed in as rifle loads can because of this mechanical accuracy/inaccuracy. Again, I haven't read any hard numbers such as 3" groups at 25 yards off a sandbag rest is about the best one can expect out of a Glock 34. I have also read from some posters that they have achieved 5 shot groups at 25 yards that form 1 ragged hole.

I have tried six different powders, loaded with trickled charges in .1 grain increments from minimum to maximum, and quite frankly don't know how to judge whether I've attained the best accuracy possible or not. I'm 65 and have rather poor eyesight so I've had younger guys with better eyesight and better shooting skills shoot a number of these test loads, and I can tell you I'm nowhere near 1 ragged hole at 25 yards. The best I have attained is maybe a 3" five shot group at 25 yards.

I have only tried one bullet, a 115 grain CMJ Round Nose from Montana Gold. I have tried the following powders: AA#2, AA#5, Bullseye, Titegroup, Universal and Win 231.

Can you all give me some sort of consensus at what kind of accuracy can be expected from a Glock 34 and the 115 MGs?

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July 8, 2010, 07:41 PM
Can't answer your question, however, if I wanted to know (and weren't so poor) I'd try this.


July 8, 2010, 07:51 PM
You know, I've asked the same question before and never really got a good answer. What I do know is that exhibition shooters demonstrating shots on flying targets, playing cards, quick draw, etc. do their shooting from 7 to 12 yards. I think many would consider a 3 inch 5 shot group at 25 yards just fine.

To know whether you or the gun is the deciding factor in accuracy, you probably have to try another handgun and see if you can do better. I know that with a scoped handgun I'm capable of well under 1 inch groups at 100 yards and have been striving for 1.5 inch groups at 50 yards with an open sighted handgun without much success at consistency. I know I'm capable of such a feat, at least with better eyes (or a scope) and/or gun.

July 8, 2010, 08:13 PM
Using a S & W Mod. 14 with a 6" barrel with a load of 3.7 grains of W231 and 148 gr. DEWC in 38 Spl. cases I can get a 1.5" group at 25 yards shooting off sandbags. I know the gun is proably capable of doing a litte better if you take out the "human element". This a a 1961 gun with no telling how many rounds down the tube. Wilson Combat advertises all of their 1911"s will shoot a 1.5" group @25 yards. Pistols can be very accurate. PPC shooters can easily get sub 2" groups at 50 yards. Techneque is as important as well load..

July 8, 2010, 08:13 PM
3" five shot group at 25 yards

That's not terrible. Have you tried any premium commercial ammo to baseline your gun? for .45 the standard is Federal Gold Medal Match, but there is not a GMM loading in 9mm.

The gold standard to a .45 target pistol is under 2" at 50 yards, from a ransom rest. We are talking about a $1500-$2000 gun here.

As far as the ransom rest goes, I think that device is the #1 cause for unreliable 1911's. To get a gun to shoot well in a Ransom Rest, a tight slide to frame fit is required, because the rest holds on to the frame. What matters for the mechanical accuracy of the pistol while shooting with the sights, is how repeatably does the barrel index to the slide (where the sights are located). If an enterprising soul were to build a device that held the slide while testing for accuracy, I think they'd find that slide to frame fit just isn't that important. Its not uncommon for people to be able to outshoot the ransom rest while firing from sandbags. so, because of the prevalence of ransom rest testing, g'smiths tend to build guns tighter than they need to be, both for the ransom rest accuracy, and because that's what the customer is expecting to see on his blaster.

It does feel nice to rack a well fit gun tho.

Anyhow, Glocks, and many other poly pistols get punished by ransom rest testing. First, the slide to frame fit is not very tight on these guns. Second, the poly frame crushes in the rest, and distorts some of the internal dimensions, and the flexyness of the plastic allows the gun to move more than a steel framed gun would.

By shooting the pistol with premium ammo, you are verifying both the gun and your own accuracy. If you can only shoot 3" groups at 25 yards with the premium ammo, then I would say your hand loads are right where you want them.

Another secret: internet group sizes are infected terribly with liars, knowing and unknowing. The motivation of the knowing liars is obvious.

There are two types of unknowing liars.

The first group knows their gun can do it, because some other guy on the internet said his gun could do it.

If you shoot enough groups, even a piece of garbage gun with crap ammo will shoot a beautiful group. Many many people will take this as evidence that their gun is that accurate, even though it happened once, that time 12 years ago, and hasn't shot another group like it since.

Good luck with your search, and I certainly wouldn't be ashamed of 3" groups at 25 yards with any pistol.

July 8, 2010, 08:55 PM
A mans heart is bigger than 3". A Glock is a carry weapon. You dont see many at competitions. There is a reason for it. Your 65 with poor eyesight. Shoot those 3" groups all day long. You're doing fine.

Volume never makes up for accuracy.

July 8, 2010, 09:09 PM
+1 on Owen's post ... Bullseye 9mm guns, which are mucho $$, get 1 - 1.1" at 50 yards from a Ransom Rest. These are highly tuned Berettas (Kidd, Sams, Mountain Competition) or 1911's (a number of known 'smiths).

Suggested loads from BE forum postings ...
"Hornady XTP 9-115 gr JHP bullet, sitting on top of 4.8 grs of VihtaVuori N330, a Winchester WSP primer, and a new case. The OAL is 1.08.

With a Sierra 9-115 FMJ RN or Winchester 9-115 FMJ HB bullet (buy them from Midway USA), for those of you that are looking for the ball load, the same formula as above, except the OAL is 1.130-1.140" (depending on your barrel throat and reamer), will hold under 1" at 50 yards."

I've never seen a Glock at a Bullseye match - it's a combat gun and built relatively loose for that purpose - at least compared to BE guns. Anyway, there's a couple of loads to try.

July 9, 2010, 01:15 AM
These 1" @ 50 yards Berettas use 1-30" twist barrels. A standard 1-10" twist barrel will not give you that level of accuracy with 115gr FMJ's. I have a pair of P210's that cannot shoot 1" at 25 yards with 115gr anything. They both like 147's.

With that said, there is alot of BS floating around the net. Just because you get a 1" group today does not men you'll get a similar group tommorrow. A pistol and a load that group 1" under a variety of weather conditions are a gem. A Glock 34 is a 3" gun just like a Glock 17. An extra inch of barrel does not magically improve accuracy. Glock 34's are not fitted any tighter.

I would try 147's with HS-6. This combo seems more consistent for me than 115's.

July 9, 2010, 02:20 AM
I think they're 1:32 twist, altho several have had good luck with 1:24 - both KKM.

Those loads are repeatable from a Ransom so, no, it's not a one day thing.

July 9, 2010, 02:28 AM
I agree, shooting 3" groups at 25 yards is not bad at all. That's clearly within "minute-of-chest" so I wouldn't worry...

Steve C
July 9, 2010, 05:56 AM
If you pay attention to the accuracy tests run on pistols in the gun magazines both commercial and NRA you will see that at 25 yds a 3" group is pretty typical depending upon ammo and that's often from a ransom rest which eliminates about as much shooter variability as possible. This is from a typical center fire service pistol or revolver and not a specialized or customized target grade handgun using match ammo.

As others have mentioned you need to run a base line using factory ammo so you have a comparison between it and your hand loads. FWIW Federal is producing 9mm match grade ammo as well as the more common .38 and .45. Haven't ever seen any .40 match grade yet.

July 9, 2010, 10:54 AM
I think they're 1:32 twist, altho several have had good luck with 1:24 - both KKM.

Those loads are repeatable from a Ransom so, no, it's not a one day thing.

I seriously doubt it. No firearm, even a benchrest rifle, shoots the same every day.

July 9, 2010, 02:00 PM
I'm in my 60's with similar physical problems.

My guns prefers 124/125 gr 9mm bullets. I've loaded 124 CMJ , FMJ and JHP using MG, Win, PD and Zero bullets.

With my CZ (4.72" bbl), I've found 124/125gr JHPs loaded to about 1050+ fps to be most accurate/consistent for me. I'm using Vit n320. I have used Win231 with good results but 'sooty' residue.

On a good day, I might beat 3" groups at 25yds, but usually I'll have a flyer.

Just as a fun test: Set up three 12ga hulls on the 25yd range berm. Two hand -off hand carefully sight and shoot at each one. Tell me how far off your bullets were. I'll be willing to bet that they were within one inch. What does this prove? You tell me.

edited to add: After shooting together, my son and I usually end our shooting day with the 25yd shotgun hull shoot two hand off hand. We've both experienced that we often shoot better at this target than at paper or steel. Maybe it's back to "aim small to miss small", but it's interesting experience.

July 9, 2010, 02:46 PM
Tells me that if you were hunting you would kill what you shoot at. Dead eye is great, but realistically I have come to accept that I do not shoot 10000 rounds per 6 months, I am not sponsored by a major firearms manufacturer or bullet manufacturer. Although I do strive to shoot my best, and if I shoot a lot I get better, but practical hunting accuracy is good shooting. Put 5 rounds in a 4" to 6" circle at 25 to 50 yards with a pistol or revolver. You will get your game.
Figure this. Unless you are in a war zone, or a police officer dealing with people like the LA bank robbers years back. Your SD situation will have you shooting the length of your longest hallway of your house. A 6" group at 7 yards will still save your life.

July 9, 2010, 03:18 PM
Thanks guys. I have already compared my reloads with factory ammo, and the reloads are definitely more accurate. My purpose was to see if I should continue to search for the "magic load", or is my Glock going to be a limiting factor in improving the accuracy. I think I'm hearing that the Glock is the wrong pistol if one wants "1 ragged hole" accuracy and that 3" groups are probably as good as can be expected, and even 4 and 5 inch groups are adequate. I'm just punching paper and not competing with anybody but myself, but I do want to get the most out of the weapon and reloads that I possibly can. The 3" groups are off sandbags and at my age repeating that offhand will most likely be next to impossible. I can barely see the holes in the target from 30 feet, let alone 25 yards.

July 9, 2010, 04:09 PM
IMHO 'very good' SD shootin' is being able to keep all your rounds on a standard paper plate at 25 feet. Most SD events happen at even closer range based on some of the stats I've seen posted here and there.

25 yards is great for bullseye target shooting, but again IMHO too far for civilian justified self defense claims. "just how was the alleged attacker a threat when they were 75 feet away from you?"

July 9, 2010, 04:13 PM
why are we talking about self defense all the sudden?

Accuracy is an end unto itself.

July 9, 2010, 04:47 PM
I sent my M25-7 45LC back to the factory, 1989, and it came back with this factory target. The shooter shot offhand.

The circle must have been the acceptable factory accuracy level.

Few people I know can shoot an iron sighted revolver, offhand, this well.



July 9, 2010, 04:52 PM
Add four more holes, raise the group up 3 inches and shoot with one hand and not two, and then we can start to talk. At least that's what we like to see in Bullseye land. :)

July 9, 2010, 05:34 PM
There are two types of bullseye. Target shooting bullseye and a tactical bullseye. When in a SD situation you want a tactical bullseye. Which is all shots in COM. Makes sense? Why shoot through the same hole? You want to stop the threat. So many holes in COM is better than one hole with many rounds going through it. To me that is what a Glock is about. Service gun for tactical bullseye shooting, or steel plate shooting.

For target "bullseye" shooting. A match 1911 or a revolver comes to mind. I have never shot bullseye competition, but I would think you could get some aftermarket parts and tweak you Glock to give you really decent groups. No doubt about it.

I will not go into the perception of what accuracy is. Because it is different for everyone. I had this conversation with another member, and it started to turn sour.

In the ABCs of Reloading there is a great write up of loading for hunting, and I have to go back to read that sometimes because I stress over accuracy that may or may not come, but the gun shoots good enough to do its job reliably. As I load more and more, and shoot more and more I have attempted to accept that the gun will just do what it does, or what I can do with it.
If I shoot that target above with open sights with my Ruger SBH consistently every time I go to the range. I would be happy. I could take that revolver, and carry it with confidence that I could hunt pigs with it out to 50 yards. I would shoot and practice at 50 to attempt to get that grouping at 50 yards consistently. That is a 6" bull, and putting a cylinder full of 44 Magnum in a 6" bull consistently off hand at 50 yards is plenty good for broadside shots on deer, pigs, elk, etc.

if you want better accuracy from your Glock. Try some heavier bullets. You might want to look into a match barrel, trigger work, and practice at shorter ranges to get your breath grip and trigger control consistent. When you get your breath and trigger control down, and shoot some heavier bullets your groups will come together. When you are shooting for score, speed does you no good. It is just paper. You want consistent powder burn, consistent trigger control, and shoot some heavier bullets. Yes, they are slower, but I feel you will beat the wind, and you will have better success.

July 10, 2010, 01:18 PM
In hunting the first shot is usually your best opportunity. Make it good and you wont have to worry where the other five go. Especially with a .44.

July 10, 2010, 01:29 PM

there's nothing keeping you from continuing to try. As I said earlier, accuracy is a pursuit unto itself. If you want to pursue more accuracy, try other bullets, play with the velocity, consider an aftermarket barrel, etc. For a lot of people this IS the shooting hobby.

And once again, I have no idea why people are talking about hunting and self-defense here.

July 10, 2010, 07:26 PM
I haven't read any hard numbers such as 3" groups at 25 yards off a sandbag rest is about the best one can expect out of a Glock 34.

The best I have attained is maybe a 3" five shot group at 25 yards.

Can you all give me some sort of consensus at what kind of accuracy can be expected from a Glock 34 and the 115 MGs?
jbrown13, based on the accuracy test quoted below, I think your 3" groups at 25 yards come close. Their testing averaged 2.5" groups at 25 yards. FWIW, I qualify my match loads out to 10-15 yards and if I average 2"-3", I call it good (I am getting to the point where I can't even see bullet holes out to 25 yards anymore). :D BTW, Montana Gold jacketed bullets and W231/HP38 have been my designated match bullet and powder for many years.

I have also read from some posters that they have achieved 5 shot groups at 25 yards that form 1 ragged hole.
Maybe on rare "lucky" occasion, but not on a consistent basis.

From the 03-01-2009 Issue of Gun Tests - High-Capacity Full-Size 9mms (Glock 34 9mm Practical Shooting USPSA Production Division)

... we chose to record accuracy data from a distance of 25 yards. For support we used a Caldwell Rock Jr. shooting rest beneath the dust cover of each pistol and a pre-filled Caldwell Elbow Bag to support our hands ... Results from our accuracy tests showed an average size group of about 2.5 inches across firing full-metal-jacket rounds. http://www.gunreports.com/gow/handguns/Glock-34-9mm-Practical-Shooting-USPSA-Production-Division_1574-1.html

July 10, 2010, 09:43 PM
The glocks I have seen are usually as accurate or more accurate than the average carry weapon. That being said, they are not as accurate as a tuned BE gun. My little Glock 23 will shoot 2" at 25 yards all day long while my BE guns are all inside of 1.5". I have also not seen any 9mm ammo that was as intrinsically accurate as some other calibers and I believe it has to do with velocity. Most high speed rounds don't seem to take as well to the rifling as a slower bullet, IMO. I think you are more likely to find a different bullet will do more for your gun's accuracy that .1gr powder adjustments will. Good Shooting.

July 10, 2010, 10:46 PM
I shot this group the last range trip;


It's not a 9mm, but is an auto pistol. A 45 acp SA 1911. I just re-barreled it, so this barrel shows promise. Those are my own cast bullets made with a Lee 6 cavity 200 R-F,(round-flat), nose bullet. They've always shot okay in the old barrel, but this is quite nice. That's @ 25 yds, from a sandbag rest with 2 hand hold. 5.5 grains of WW-231 WW-LP is a nice soft shooting load.

One thing I did do is select all the same headstamp from mixed brass that I loaded on the dillon 650. These happened to be all PMC. I'm going to duplicate that load with match weighed bullets in some new Hornady brass I just got. Just to prove it wasn't a fluke. I did shoot another group right after that one, using mixed brass, a couple of win, one federal, and a couple of rem. The group opened up to over 3 inches.

I copied and pasted my post over on TFL. I'm NOT saying I could do that every time, what I AM saying is this WAS at 25 yards.

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