do you claim "flyers" when shooting for accuracy?


January 18, 2011, 11:27 PM
in my opinion there are no such things as "flyers".

if i started calling flyers i would have several more legit m.o.a. rifles, but i never have.

in my opinion a flyer is nothing more than a miss

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January 18, 2011, 11:30 PM
I have flyers, but they are part of my group, so I think that puts me in the 'no' category

January 18, 2011, 11:31 PM
I can shoot sub-MOA 1-shot groups all day long.

No, calling flyers to calculate groups doesn't fly with me.

January 18, 2011, 11:36 PM
i can usually tell if its me that blows a decent group (which for me is between 1/2" and 3/4" @100yds), but i measure it, and if it blows my group out to 1 1/2", then thats what it is, and i'm mad at myself for blowing it.

i also never shoot groups of less than 5 shots. its a nice round number
actually, all m1 groups are 8 rds

so no, i dont call flyers. ive never measured a group, and left a hole out of the equation.

January 18, 2011, 11:51 PM
That's a negative. If I blow a shot, I'm going to kick myself for it until I don't do it anymore. Calling a flyer is like a mulligan (golf), and as much as I need them, I would prefer to just get better.

January 19, 2011, 12:11 AM
I didnt think anyone on the internet ever shot more than 1" groups at a hundred yards.

January 19, 2011, 12:25 AM
Add em all up and that's what you get - just like the critter down range.

January 19, 2011, 12:27 AM
Flyers are for girls. :p

January 19, 2011, 12:39 AM
i just want to clarify here that my user name in no way implies that i condone flyers, but is more directed towards aircraft with rotors. (fixed wings are for girls too) :neener:

January 19, 2011, 01:21 AM
It depends on whether I'm trying to rate the gun or my shooting. If I'm shooting groups to get an idea of how accurate the gun is, and I know I flubbed the shot, then I call it. If I'm shooting groups to get an idea of how accurate I am, then that flubbed shot counts.

The problem with calling fliers, is that so many people just call any outlying shot a flier. IMO, if you're calling fliers, you should know it the instant you pulled the trigger.

January 19, 2011, 01:40 AM
Just the ones marked in black sharpie.

January 19, 2011, 03:23 AM
The group you shoot is what it is. If you don't mention the flyers, then you are only kidding yourself. And if someone sees you doing that and not claiming a flyer, then your credibility among the shooting community is ruined. What I do when I get a flyer is try to diagnose why I got it and try to correct it. If you don't do that and just try to cover it up, then there's a good chance you're going to keep shooting flyer groups. That sucks. Go for the gold and get it right.

January 19, 2011, 05:42 AM
I guess my definition of a flyer is when I know the rifle is shooting perfect and my reload is perfect and the conditions are perfect...and I gack the shot to ruin a great group...then I call it a flyer...induced by me making a poor shot.

January 19, 2011, 05:53 AM
if judging what the gun can do, yes
if judging what I can do, no

knowing a gun well enough to call your shot, and knowing when you "pulled" your shot is necessary to the first
counting ALL holes in the paper is necessary to the second
and a group ought be at least 5 consecutive, preferably ten consecutive

never yet met a gun that couldn't shoot better than I could
well.. ok, one or two, but rare exceptions to the rule

January 19, 2011, 05:54 AM
All my bullets fly baby!!

January 19, 2011, 06:57 AM
if judging what the gun can do, yes
if judging what I can do, no

+1. Dropping any and all rounds I slung to then brag on how tight a group I can shoot (not counting my misses or slung rounds) is serious mall ninja silliness. But by the same token, if I know I screwed up my trigger manipulation, sight picture, or whatever, then a round whose poor placement I can attribute to error on my part does not tell me anything helpful about what a weapon and ammunition combination is mechanically capable of.

January 19, 2011, 07:51 AM
For Handload shooting, No.
But when I pay 25 bucks for a box of ammo I want all my groups to be as good as they can be, and if that means calling my goof that's fine with me..

January 19, 2011, 07:56 AM
I didnt think anyone on the internet ever shot more than 1" groups at a hundred yards.
So true, Usually they are closer to 1/2"

January 19, 2011, 07:58 AM
I posted some groups over an inch on my range report for load testing, why don' you two take a look ;)

January 19, 2011, 09:21 AM
You dont call "flyers", flyers just happen, for any reason other than you causing it.

If you called the shot, you knew you did something wrong, and caused it to happen.

Other than messing up your group for bragging rights, a called shot doesnt count towards that group. The fact you called it shows you know what youre doing and know the reason for the errant round.

If youre getting flyers, and youre not calling them, and the gun and load is known to be accurate and not normally throw them, then you are likely the problem.

January 19, 2011, 09:25 AM
Flyers are part of my groups...:o As a general rule a flyers speaks to my inaccuracy:rolleyes:....... not the rifles accuracy.

Most of my rifles are sub MOA all day;).... Their owner however is NOT:uhoh:

The more patient I am and the more methodical I am in my approach to the shot The less flyers ,or even no flyers I have.

So If your measuring one rifles accuracy and you have one flyer in say a ten shot group maybe you give less credence to that flyers effect on the group...

However if your measuring my accuracy then you would always count the full effect of the flyer, because 999 times out of a 1000 that flyer is out there all by itself because of something that I as the shooter either did wrong or did not compensate for.:rolleyes:


January 19, 2011, 09:53 AM
A miss is a Miss. You can call it a flyer if you want but it is still you missing the point of aim.

Jon Coppenbarger
January 19, 2011, 10:16 AM
If my rifle has been shot and used before and I know what it is suppossed to do with this nut behind the wheel then the answer is maybe?

When I pull the trigger I will call the shot and if it is not where I call it then I look for a answer, me, the load, the conditions?

January 19, 2011, 10:53 AM
When you're load testing from the bench, a called flyer is never counted. A called flyer is exactly that, you know you screwed up. Bench testing is all about removing as much human error as possible to find out how accurate a firearm/load combination is. A flyer is human error in its truest form. When bench testing, a called flyer is not relevant. It's not about bragging, it's about usable data. If the shot just went askew for no discernable reason, that's different.

When shooting from field positions, i.e. "practice", they all count. Although it does help greatly to know which ones were your own fault for whatever reason. Whether you anticipated the shot, jerked the trigger or simply let it break at the wrong time. What you did wrong and why is more important than what you did right.

I never post groups shot from anywhere but the bench during testing. Because who cares how well "I" can shoot?

January 19, 2011, 11:01 AM
You can call it a flyer if you want but it is still you missing the point of aim.
Yea, but the difference is in the "knowing".

January 19, 2011, 11:35 AM
This a perfect example of a question with correct and incorrect answers. Correctly a called shot is one that you know you pulled, or jerked, or for some reason you know when the shot broke that it was not a clean steady shot. Call it! If it flies or drops or goes to the side doesn't matter, just Call it!

Now if you shoot a string of shots and one is noticeably higher or lower than the others and is not called, then "Houston we have a problem." The thing to do is shoot enough groups to know what is happening. Are you getting dropped shots or flyers that are uncalled in every group? Are the groups uniform with only one aberration? These are all important questions to ask because many variables are involved including rifle bedding, barrel construction, scope mounting, ammunition consistency, and finally how are you doing as a shooter? Are you healthy? Have you had your eyes checked? Are you exhibiting proper shooting technique? If everything is as it should be you should be getting representative groups with no "flyers" That way you can tell where your rifle is going to hit on a given shot. Work through the variables to eliminate them, practice shooting a lot, and you will get there. I know of a person with a certain rifle who has practiced and worked out the kinks to the point that if he has a "flyer" its one thing and one thing only: shooter error. And that don't happen very often.

January 19, 2011, 01:03 PM
If your checking the rifle accuracy and you know you just buggered up that last shot, then yes, I would omit the flyer. After all, your checking the guns accuracy, not yours.

January 19, 2011, 01:20 PM
I call them part of the group if they constantly appear in the group, here's something I'm got recently out of my new rifle where manufacture claims to shoot sub moa... thing is 3 shot is sub moa, but 4 and 5 is a flier which is constantly occurs, group on the right was shot using 175 gr SMK and on the left 175 Berger Match both using Lapua brass looks like Berger's grouped nicely then SMK bu still fliers....

January 19, 2011, 01:23 PM
Well it depends.

If I'm shooting to determine if I'M accurate, fliers count.

If I'm shooting to determine if the GUN is accurate, they don't count if I know I screwed something up. They are a maddening PITA if they are in the gray area where it is hard to tell.

January 19, 2011, 01:37 PM
Here's another good example. These are not called flyers. This is the same sixgun, shooting two different loads four years apart and the propensity to print two distinct clusters is clear. Usually three in one cluster and two in another. Obviously an inconsistency in the gun, not the loads and not the shooter.

BTB 355gr@1200fps, right target has three shots in the same tiny hole:

Generic 240gr@1100fps, 1st and 2nd targets have three shots in the same hole:

Claude Clay
January 19, 2011, 01:51 PM
CraigC--do you keep track or which chambers are making which holes?

it is not unusual that all 6 are not drilled 99.999 identically.

good shooting at 25 yards non the less.

January 19, 2011, 04:57 PM
i use the term "Flyer" for any shot that is outside the collective grouping.......

whether its the guns fault, ammos fault, or my needs to be fixed....because in competition, you cant debate a score on the grounds of a "flyer"...

January 19, 2011, 05:21 PM
I think I answered wrong
I count flyers, thats what I shot so be it
good or bad

Always my fault.

January 19, 2011, 05:37 PM
A flyer to me is nothing more than an error made by me, and when it happens I usually know it at the time of firing. Whether or no it still is my error and my fault and no fault of my equipment.

Be nice if I could blame it on someone or something else as many folks seem to do today whenever something goes wrong with whatever they're doing.

January 19, 2011, 05:37 PM
CraigC--do you keep track or which chambers are making which holes?
Not in a scientific enough manner to know what's really going on. I need to though.

January 19, 2011, 08:34 PM
If I fire it, I claim it!

January 19, 2011, 09:41 PM
Depends on the practical use of the rifle. A deer, squirrel, or man is gonna call the flyer. Your target might as well too.

January 19, 2011, 10:00 PM
depends if I'm testing the gun or testing my skills

January 19, 2011, 10:07 PM
Again I have to ask, why is a flyer always the round(s) away from the group?Hasnt anyone ever fired off a round at a target and at that moment you realized you did something wrong? Examples might be not having proper NPA, bad trigger control, cheek pressure etc. and magically the round goes into the group. Shouldnt that be called a flyer too after all you did just admitted to a fault in your mind.

All rounds count, no such thing as a "flyer"

January 19, 2011, 10:09 PM
I do. If I'm trying to sight in my rifle I'm not going to adjust the reticle to a pullet shot. I also do when evaluating hand loads. I'm not going to write off a good load just because I goofed.

January 19, 2011, 11:31 PM
DubbleA that's what I see. It has happened to me, and it has thrown me off when I was sighting in a few times. Even if I know I messed up a shot, and it might be a "flyer" from the group, it was shot with the group and will therefore be calculated as such. No, I won't adjust my sights to a round that I know I messed up, but a rifle is only as accurate as the trigger puller behind it.

Calling flyers only makes me feel like I can afford a bad shot now and then.

^not the mindset I want

January 20, 2011, 12:21 AM
If you firearm is accurate, there are no "flyers." That said, I've seen some rifles shoot some random holes with a good shooter behind them. Incorrect reloading can also cause flyers. That said, if I shoot one wide, it's my fault, not the gun or load.

January 20, 2011, 12:57 AM
Not meaning to be disagreeable, but you guys with perfect guns and perfect loads always seem to shoot in the same hole all the time except when I'm at the range... then you get "flyers" and still claim the groups you've got that actually clustered. That's why I shoot 10 shot groups and higher... because I'm looking to see where the gun actually shoots.

My Mosin Olympic will shoot about 1.25" groups at 100 yards using Silver Bear 203 grain bullets all day, if I hold on the same centerlines... if I get one that's off by 6" or so, I can tell if I pulled the shot or whether it was ammo related. Whether it's a "flyer" or a bad shot is a simple matter of being honest with yourself.

If the gun is shooting 1 MOA and you get a load anomolie that throws one out to 6 MOA, the target still shows the 6 MOA shot, but the group you've shot is still inside the 1 MOA range of accuracy. If you pulled the shot, and threw it out to 6 MOA, then it's a 6 MOA group. You have to be honest enough to call which it is... and we know that every shooter is totally honest about their shooting... yeah, just like golfers.


January 20, 2011, 06:10 AM
different folks attribute different meanings to words, how it is
my notions on "flyers" match up w/ Craig C's notions

knowing your gun well enough to know the difference - trivial example
I don't shoot a lot of BR, the one rifle I most often BR is a 17HMR
I know where the 1st shot out of cold clean barrel will go, about 1 1/4" high right of X
the 2nd shot will go half that distance, the 3rd will be pert near dead on, though not quite
this I know from experience with that gun with the rounds I feed it
for all those, I can say that I can call the shot
but all those I could call "flyers", the guns "flyers" and I do sort of think of them as such, and I don't count 'em as a "group", I just move to next clean target

next 47 shots after ought be ~3/8" group outside-to-outside of holes
(always did prefer defining target groups as "inside the ring" myself, no calipers required)
but not all are, and I pretty much know those that are not were "me", because they tend to hit where I "knew" they were going to be (up/down/left/right), my fault, "my flyers", not the gun's, and they all count my 5-10 shot groups

I cannot call it thataway with my favorite 22LR boltie, because it only falls in love with a brick lot every now and then
but I pretty much still know whether it's going to be a day to love or not within the 1st 10 rounds
either way, all shots count in "my" groups, after the first half dozen, love fest or not

Jon Coppenbarger
January 20, 2011, 09:06 AM
whats really fun is when you are in a match and shooting prone for 20 shots and all of a sudden a shot goes off call. you have to decide what it was, a bad round, light change, wind or ?
Now a bad round is usually not the case but it happens. I can list hundreds of cases but most every match it comes up. Now I remember a match about 4 years ago as it was a reduced course 200 yard match on the 600 yard target reduced to 200 yards. about shot 15 or 16 I get a 9 out at 8 o'clock.
Now I called it a clean X with no indications it would of not been anything else. what do I do just click the sights to center since it was off call or shoot again.
With no reason for it to end up out there I decided to shoot again and the next shot was on call and ended up with a score of 199-16x.

I make that one a example because a reduced course match to me is like a sight in period but just longer and a larger group. Its hard to do it at a 600 yard or longer stage as you have so many more things that happen.

January 20, 2011, 09:18 AM
When you're load testing from the bench, a called flyer is never counted. A called flyer is exactly that, you know you screwed up. Bench testing is all about removing as much human error as possible to find out how accurate a firearm/load combination is. A flyer is human error in its truest form. When bench testing, a called flyer is not relevant. It's not about bragging, it's about usable data. If the shot just went askew for no discernable reason, that's different.

When shooting from field positions, i.e. "practice", they all count. Although it does help greatly to know which ones were your own fault for whatever reason. Whether you anticipated the shot, jerked the trigger or simply let it break at the wrong time. What you did wrong and why is more important than what you did right.

+1 This is how I look at it. Me shooting from the bench is only for testing the weapon or ammunition for accuracy. Not for fun or for practice. I need to know how accurate my weapon is, how accurate the weapon is in a specific configuration, or how accurate a specific ammo shoots in an already-proven weapon (ie. if I have a consistent 2 MOA AK does Silver Bear SPs shoot worse or better than 2MOA?). There is no reason for me to include a shot (data point) that I know, and called, as a flubbed shot.

After knowing the accuracy of a weapon, a config, or an ammo brand/type, I shoot for practice to see how good I am. Now I'm testing a separate piece of the system (the shooter) and so the flyer is relevant as a data point.

January 20, 2011, 01:04 PM
I call flyers only if they are proven to be such. For example my H&R 20ga slugger will ALWAYS throw it's first shot slightly low and left (about 1") at 100yds out of a clean barrel. No biggie I fire one off before I hunt and I am good.

If on the other hand I have never gotten a "flier" that I couldn't explain and suddenly there is one, I start looking into why. I can almost always call "I pulled it" or something when benching a gun before looking at the hit. If it wasn't that, could it have been a bad powder charge? If I weighed every charge (like when I am load testing), then could it be.....

Many people will go out shoot five shots with two of them out of the "group" and not realize that if they had shot 10 their "fliers" would be a part of a larger group.

January 20, 2011, 01:06 PM
Every round counts :)

Art Eatman
January 20, 2011, 05:57 PM
Yeah, lots of differences here about the dictionary.

To me, a flyer that just shows up on the target is just a flyer, due to some cause. Shooter, ammo, rifle, something. Maybe the clean or cold deal for the barrel. No one cause for it. To me, it generally means some thinking or tweaking with loads or bedding or something.

A called flyer, OTOH, is when you know at the instant of shooting that you, the shooter, goofed. That's a whole different deal. All I do is resolve to not goof again.

Daniel Boone
January 20, 2011, 06:13 PM
I didn't even understand what this topic was about until I read a couple of posts.

When I shot - I usually hit what I aim at.
If I miss - I usually know that I did not hit where I aimed because if a shot doesn't feel quite right - then I know about it before I even look in the scope to confirm where I hit in the first place.

After a while - you can get to the point of where you can actually see where you hit as soon as you pull the trigger and you can tell the person spotting where it hit.
It's kind of hard at 100 yards with a 9X scope - but is not a problem with a 15X scope.

So I believe that unless you use good optics that all you are doing - once you sight in your rifle and accept that where it is sighted in to is where it will hit when you pull the trigger.
If for some reason the rifle hits in a different place - other then where I aim - then it is time to look at either the rifle or the scope or the scope mounts.

If the problem can't be rectified - then it is time to send it down the road.
Some people just likes to shoot or practice - but unless you are on some type of competitive shooting team - there is no reason to waste valuable rounds on target practice on a regular basis.

The sight in process before the season starts is a good time for a person to learn the idiosyncrasies of their firearms and to verify that there is nothing wrong with their rifles before the season begins.

I have seen hundreds of rifles that are rushed into gun shops - a day / week before the season starts - needing immediate attention.
I kind of feel bad when I take my shotgun in during small game season - because if I need something done - my firearms always seems to go to the back of the repair rack - until after rifle deer season - because the gunsmith gets backed up and always puts my work second. which in my opinion is not fair to me - because I am probably one of their better customers.

Once a gun gets 10 years old - the problems usually diminish and unless something gets dropped or broke - their trips to the gun shop are almost non existent.

So will I write off an occasional flier when I shoot but either the rifle does not do what I want it to do or I do not do my job and hold the rifle steady or pull on the trigger the same each time I fire my weapon - then it is my fault and it has to be counted against my average score and it just teaches me to be a better shot in the long run - because everything that you do in life has to be a learning experience and as long as you learn by your mistakes - you won't keep making the same mistakes year after year.

January 20, 2011, 07:07 PM

I suck! :banghead:

5@100yards, 6mmbr, 24" Mcgowen barrel, Savage action, home built.

January 21, 2011, 05:55 AM
Flyers are a part of the group. But I do call them as I shoot, so that I am aware that I made a mistake. I do measure them into the group though.

Carl N. Brown
January 21, 2011, 07:07 AM
Flyers are the result of my crappy handloads or my failure to read the wind properly. Either way they are part of the measure of my accuracy (or lackuracy* to steal a term) at the range and presumably in the field. So they count when shooting for accuracy.

If I can call a flyer due to an obvious mistake on my part, it definitely won't count toward sight adjustment. But they always count in a match (no Mulligans during a match)

*found this term back in the 1960s, forget where

January 21, 2011, 07:22 AM
If you're shooting for score, flyers count. If you're shooting to see what your gun is doing, they don't. That's not really very hard to understand.

Not every cartridge is loaded true, and not every shot is made true... so when you jerk one out of the group, it's a shooter issue. When the crosshairs are sitting in the same place, and one flies out to the side, it's a cartridge issue. If you're a true shooter, and honest with yourself, you'll be able to tell the difference.

It's a real disservice to novices to flash the target you've been carrying for 10 years where you shot into one hole, and had one good day at the range and try to put it up as your "normal shooting". I shoot against bench rest shooters all the time, and they have the same problems as everybody else... and every one of them has their "best target" saved "for their story". Shooting is zen... what am I doing NOW... and it isn't really hard to tell if its you or your ammo that's accounting for flyers.

The best group with my Mosin was shot after shooting over 100 rounds in an hour at the range near home. It was the last three shots allowed by the range officer... and it was .375". I had shot 1" and 1.25" groups of 10 all that day, and had flyers on occasion, but it was easy to tell when it was ammo and when it was me.


January 21, 2011, 01:51 PM
I burn through between 700 and 1000 rounds of .308 a month, just practicing. If you don't need to practice, you must have a God given talent. If I don't practice, I loose my skill.

When I shoot for groups, I always count the "fliers" for a couple of reasons. The first is that if I threw the shot out, I need to take note of why and try not to do it again. The second is that if it is due to the ammuntion, I need to find out what's causing it. Since I roll my own, a flier caused by an ammunition issue drives me crazier than when I throw the shot. Load develpment is a PITA and it ticks me off when I think I've found my magic formula only to find that I haven't.

As for claims of accuracy, I try to be fair, although I do like to give myself a pat on the back every once in a while. Personally, if I say that a rifle/ammo combo is a solid MOA shooter, it's because that combo will shoot MOA or better ALL of the time, with larger groups being the exception rather than the norm.

January 21, 2011, 05:38 PM
I shot this a couple of weeks ago just before dark 30 after installing a brake on a rifle.

5 shots in 40 seconds (shot in real time). I flubbed the 2nd shot but the other 4 went into less than 1/4".

January 21, 2011, 07:00 PM
I call flyers 4 letter words. That's where it ends. When you get a really nice 4 shot group and the 5th one goes somewhere out toward the South 40 and you know you did not do one thing different than you did on the other 4 it makes you coin a few words.

January 22, 2011, 03:41 AM
I use called flyers to determine that the miss is not the fault of the rifle or the load.

January 22, 2011, 06:39 AM
My answer to this question depends a bit on the context. With my precision rifles I usually measure my groups accurately with a caliper at the end of each range session, and then record this data in a log book. So, when I'm shooting for accuracy I usually record the absolute group size (flyers included), as well as the size of the group after I've accounted for any legitimate flyers.

Accounting for known flyers can become quite important when doing handload development, at least in my opinion, since I don't want to include a bad shot that I KNOW was my fault.

For example: I was at the range a couple of weeks ago, and was testing some loads for my .308 Win. I was expecting a high degree of accuracy out of 43.8 grains of Varget powder, given some previous loads I had developed at that charge weight. Anyway, I was shooting at 100 yards for five-shot groups on a 1-inch aiming circle. My first shot was dead center. On the second shot I accidentally touched the round off before I was in my final firing position; I actually did so early enough that I gave myself a scope related bruise on the nose... it was clearly a flyer caused entirely by operator error. The next three shots were all dead center.

If I counted the flyer in that particular group, my "accuracy" load would have only produced a 5-shot group of 1.156", which is an unacceptably inaccurate load for this gun. On the other hand, if I removed the shot that I KNOW I shanked, I was then looking at a very decent group that measured 0.442". Incidentally, I'd probably call this gun a solid .75 inch gun, and it would probably do closer to 1/2" groups under most circumstances. I am (by far) the weakest link in that system!

Obviously making such a "flyer adjustment" wouldn't count in a competition, or for bragging rights, but for the sake of load development I believe it was important to look past this flyer. Doing so gave me a chance to actually see what this load might be capable of doing. Anyway, I didn't brag about that group too much, since I shanked one of the shots. But, a few minutes later I was able to feel better about an honest-to-goodness 0.426" 5-shot group that I produced with a 44.4 grain charge of Varget (no flyers).

As you can see from the pictures below, the group looks pretty decent without the flyer, but it looks a bit ugly once you look at my mistake!

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