100 yd struggles


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plodder
April 4, 2013, 09:46 PM
.223/5.56 Stag Arms 24" 1 x 8" twist upper, Aero Precision lower with Timney trigger. Shooting 52 g. and 77 g. Match King bullets. Vortex Viper 4-16 scope, bipod front.

Shooting from solid bench with bipod front, bag at rear.

At 100 yds I am throwing wild 5 shot groups of 1.75" up to 2.5". Rarely can I shoot a 1.5" group or less.

Yet, when I take it out to 200 yds I can shoot sub 2.5" groups. From this I would expect to be able to shoot much better at 100 yds.

I know it is me, not the rifle. I typically keep the scope set to max. magnification for both 100 and 200 yds.

Other than seeking professional help or giving up & taking up golf, what suggestions or advice can I obtain from you wise ones?

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Warp
April 4, 2013, 09:50 PM
How many rounds in each group?

Do you count every round in each group?

Is there any trend or pattern to the groups you feel are too large? Stringing a certain way, being off on windage, off on elevation, just plain bigger groups in a shotgun pattern...?

MutinousDoug
April 4, 2013, 10:09 PM
Have you considered the effect of parallax on your sight picture? Its effect is much less evident at longer range and much more evident at higher magnification.

Andrew Leigh
April 5, 2013, 12:50 AM
Group patterns are often diagnostic and correct diagnosis can get one to the truth somewhat quicker. Could you post pictures of your groups please.

Have you shot better groups before with this rifle or is this a recent thing? Have you shot 1" groups or better with other rifles? Please I am not being rude but just trying to also understand your level of skill and experience.

Would love to see the group patterns.

Orkan
April 5, 2013, 01:06 AM
You could try to get off the bench with that bipod. If you are going to be on a bench, you'll get your best results shooting off a pack or some sandbags.

Your position needs to be double good when shooting a semi-auto. You have several recoil impulses to deal with, that don't exist when firing a bolt gun. You have the first recoil to the rear which is when the charge is ignited and the bullet starts its journey down the barrel, then another to the rear when the buffer hits the rear of the buffer tube, then one impulse forward when the BCG and buffer slap back into battery.

If your crosshair is leaving the POA during recoil, then you need to address your natural point of aim (NPA) to ensure you aren't muscling the rifle. Break the shot on your natural respiratory pause, maintain enough pressure on the trigger to keep it to the rear until the recoil impulse is over. At that point, release the trigger enough to allow the disconnector to let go of the hammer. You'll hear a distinctive "click" inside your lower. Then you can start your cycle for the next shot.

Let the shot happen. It wants to happen, so there's no need to force it. Just relax, and get out of its way. :)

Edarnold
April 5, 2013, 01:17 AM
Really sounds like parallax effect at the shorter range. Next time out set the rifle up at 100yds. and with no contact, move your head back and forth and see if the crosshairs stay steady.

Orkan
April 5, 2013, 01:42 AM
Tell me more about this ammo. Reloads? Factory?

If reloads, how did you go about your load development?
If factory, have you tried a few different brands?

TBH
April 5, 2013, 06:44 AM
For me to get groups with three of my ARs (sold one) they all needed to be held firm and consistently. Try pulling the stock in a little tighter and use your off hand to put a little downward pressure on the hand guard to keep the bipod from jumping too much. I assume the barrel is free floating.
Last, I will align the redicule on the target, then adjust my body to fit the rifle. That prevents torquing the rifle to the target.

Pete D.
April 5, 2013, 07:06 AM
What happens.....what kind of groups do you get shooting without the scope, shooting iron sights? (Do you have irons for that upper?)
Pete.

plodder
April 5, 2013, 07:55 AM
Warp:
Attached are a couple of photos to give the idea.

I'd say my spreads are "shotgunning" but in reflecting upon some groups, it appears I am more errantly high than low. Although I can usually call my "fliers" I am not happy with the groups I think I have shot in a consistent manner.

I use handloads and although I use a Dillon 650, I have individually weighed powder, seated bullets and measured C.O.A.L. so that I am sure I am using as absolutely consistent rounds as possible.

All ideas appreciated!

ironworkerwill
April 5, 2013, 09:00 AM
looks like a parallax issue. If you put that rifle on a steady rest and look through the scope while moving your head around you'll likely see the crosshairs moving slightly. 1.5 moa should = 3'' at 200 yds. Most scopes should be parallax free at 100yds. Try shooting 120yds and see if the groups make more sense.

plodder
April 5, 2013, 09:21 AM
Have you shot better groups before with this rifle or is this a recent thing? Have you shot 1" groups or better with other rifles?
I would not claim to be a sharpshooter or even a marksman, but with bolt action rifles I am more accurate and consistent.
I do have another AR 15 (Bushmaster, 20" 1 x 9" with Nikon BDC) and results with it are similar to the Stag (reasonable accuracy at 200 yds, unacceptable at 100 yds). The trigger is like a bear trap on the Bushy, so I always just blamed it on that. But there is no excuse on the Stag.

The_Armed_Therapist
April 5, 2013, 09:33 AM
The good news is that 2.5" groups at 100 yards doesn't matter. That'll be fatal to anything you try to make dead. If accuracy improves beyond that, that's what's important--that's where stricter accuracy counts.

ironworkerwill
April 5, 2013, 09:56 AM
Stag makes a great AR. I used mixed factory ammo and got groups under 1.5 moa with each brand.
If you say you shoot 1.25 moa at 200yds then I do not suspect markmanship. And I'm thinking the Stag is good to go as well.

loose noose
April 5, 2013, 10:29 AM
Plodder, It's parralax, You're taking shots at a much higher magnification at 100 yards whereas you think you have a good sight picture, so when you squeeze the trigger you think you were dead on. Now at 200 yards the magnification is much less therefore you must concentrate more before you squeeze off that next round and you have a much better group. Remember the old Marine adage "BRASS" or Breathe, Relax, Aim, Slack, Squeeze. At 100 yards I would not go beyond 4X, out to 200 yards 6-7X. Does that make sense?

plodder
April 5, 2013, 10:39 AM
At 100 yards I would not go beyond 4X, out to 200 yards 6-7X. Does that make sense?
It's sure worth a try. I like the high magnification in order to accomodate my aging eyesight. I thought a higher end piece of glass like the Vortex might reduce or eliminate the effects of parralax (although I admit to not being as educated on the finer points of optics as I should be). Next range session I will dial down the magnification and try to relax.

Thanks again all for the advice. It's worth every penny I have paid for it:)

X-Rap
April 5, 2013, 10:43 AM
Turn the scope down to 4x and loose the bipod. I bet you see an improvement.

MtnCreek
April 5, 2013, 10:47 AM
might reduce or eliminate the effects of parralax

Is you scope fixed or adjustable parallax? If adjustable, it gives you the means to correct parallax.

plodder
April 5, 2013, 10:53 AM
Is you scope fixed or adjustable parallax? If adjustable, it gives you the means to correct parallax.

Geez!, now I'm going to have to actually read the manual that came with the Vortex:eek:

MtnCreek
April 5, 2013, 11:00 AM
read the manual

Scopes and Reloading are the only two times you can read the manual and still keep your man-card. :)

Skylerbone
April 5, 2013, 11:30 AM
Could be parallax or the bullet itself. Given that you've chosen the heavy for caliber 77gr., it may require a bit more distance to stabilize.

I'd suggest checking your Vortex for a side focus adjustment knob as I believe all their 4-16X Vipers include one and load some 69gr. SMKs as a lighter alternative for midrange distances.

Joshua M. Smith
April 5, 2013, 06:49 PM
Hello,

I am seeing shooter error in NPOA.

Are you shooting with your breath all the way out? At natural respiratory pause?

Close your eyes, aim with your eyes closed. Now open them. Are you aiming where you thought you were? Looks like you're muscling the rifle over onto target.

I have a nice target/varmint style .22LR that I was trying to shoot sub-MOA at 100 yards with. I had the same problems I states above, and my groups looked exactly the same as yours. I consulted some shooters, a former sniper or two among them, and all gave the same basic advice I just passed along. It helped me get sub-MOA with a .22LR at that range. I hope it helps you, too!

Regards,

Josh

TheCracker
April 5, 2013, 10:42 PM
Have you considered the effect of parallax on your sight picture? Its effect is much less evident at longer range and much more evident at higher magnification.

That's exactly what I was thinking when I was reading the post!

I think thinks a big possibility esp with the situation described

wingman
April 6, 2013, 05:45 PM
My guess the issue is the bipod, I'm certain the vortex has an AO. i use my Stag with a Weaver 5-20x44, set on 20 power,normal groups are .650-.800 with reloads. I use a steel adjustable front rest never did well with a bipod.

esheato
April 6, 2013, 06:03 PM
For me, I'm seeing a lack of attention to the fundamentals in addition to a possible problem with parallax. Sincerely, no offense intended on my part. The shot one misses is always the easiest because you quit trying.

Like that last bird on a perfect round of skeet...or the fifth shot on a perfect group that is a blatant shank. You feel like it's a "gimme" and don't apply the same amount of focus and concentration that you did on the other "more difficult" shots. The only shot that matters is the one that you're currently firing. IMHO, magnification is not the issue here. BR shooters routinely shoot on 40x+ magnification at 100 yards. It doesn't seem to hinder their performance in the least.

If you reduce the magnification, all you are doing is lowering your standards. Instead of saying, "that's a crap group for 20x scope" you will say, "that's not bad for 4x at 100 yards."

Remove all those variables to start with and get a good baseline. Then add in parallax, varying bullet weights, etc, etc. You'll learn about you and the rifle at the same time. Change one thing at a time, whittling down the issues until you work them all out.

Obviously set the parallax, get a solid rest (front and rear), relax, and fire at the same point in your breathing. Rifle is all about consistency.

Lastly, ensure that you shoot an appropriate bullet weight for your barrel, of which you are currently doing. You should be able to shoot up to around an 80 grain bullet.

Robert101
April 6, 2013, 09:02 PM
I trust you have more group sets than the two you posted. I like a minimum of 5 shoot groups and then multiple group shot sets to giive me a better understanding. From the limited sets you posted, I'm not sure you can conclude your shooting is better at 200 yards. Yes for the two pictures posted it is.

HKGuns
April 7, 2013, 12:48 AM
That looks like shooter to me. I shoot groups like that all the time.

Andrew Leigh
April 7, 2013, 01:43 AM
Warp:
Attached are a couple of photos to give the idea.

I'd say my spreads are "shotgunning" but in reflecting upon some groups, it appears I am more errantly high than low. Although I can usually call my "fliers" I am not happy with the groups I think I have shot in a consistent manner.

I use handloads and although I use a Dillon 650, I have individually weighed powder, seated bullets and measured C.O.A.L. so that I am sure I am using as absolutely consistent rounds as possible.

All ideas appreciated!
Could I offer a couple of thoughts?

Target one.
If that was shot on a clean barrel and shot 1 was the top, shot 2 beneath that and the three other together being shots 3/4 and 5 then the two uppermost shots were flyers from a clean barrel then the barrel settled down.

If the rifle was already fouled with other bullets then cast your mind back. Was the sequence of shots as I mentioned above? If so, and if you walked to the 100yd mark to set up your target and you shot immediately on return to the bench then then it could have been breathing issues.

Target two
Here the group pattern is considerably better and if you pulled those three shots closer you would have a clover leaf. Looks like about 1.4" group. I battle shooting at a round bull for some strange reason but more on then in the next point.

Target three
That is a great group at 200yds. May I suggest that the reason for this good grouping is the nature of the target. Those 1/8" horizontal and vertical lines are great for shooting. Sometimes the bull is obscured by the cross hairs but with the cross (if set up vertically) it stops canting of the rifle and helps enormously with vertical displacement.


If I could offer some advice then it would be;

Make sure your targets are consistent, attached is what I shoot at when doing load development at 100m. Unfortunately it is made for an A3 page (i'm in metricville) but if you set your margins at the max it should fit on your paper sizes. On A3 the grid is 0.5". You will note the horizontal and vertical lines as well as the diamond rather than a square bull. The bull is also smaller than an inch (aim small, miss small). I roughly plumbline my targets to avoid canting.

The second matter would be to make sure that the barrel is suitably fouled before settling in to shoot groups.

The third would be to agree with a previous poster in that while developing loads I would fold the bipod in and shoot over a bag, front and rear. Once you have that then revert to the bipod, the POI will print differently though.

I find it useful to make a note of the sequence of the shots, it helps at a later stage to establish if there is a pattern,

Finally often poor groups are a consequence not so much of the shooter but of the load being well out of the sweet spot. I would encourage you to read Dan Newberry's OCW (Optimum Charge Weight) page. I use it and find it invaluable for load development. http://optimalchargeweight.embarqspace.com/ The target attached was developed for the OCW method.

Good luck, if you want, I have converted Dan's writeup into a spreadsheet for ease of use. PM me with an email address and I will send it.

plodder
April 7, 2013, 02:24 PM
Thanks Andrew Leigh & all who posted advice. I am getting ready to head to the range now and will be trying to incorporate some (Not All!) of the suggestions posted. A lot of them make sense.

I will return with a post on results unless they are too embarrassing to report.

Andrew Leigh
April 7, 2013, 03:20 PM
Post them either way, had a couple of shockers on the range myself.

plodder
April 7, 2013, 09:00 PM
Well, I'm not bragging and obviously not quite ready for Camp Perry honors but there is a glimmer of hope.

I dropped the bipod and rested on bags front & rear. Dialed down the magnification of the scope a bit and concentrated on breathing and rigid contact points with the bench.

Groups are still about twice at large as I want, but the misses aren't quite as wild and random.

You'll hear from me next when I can display a photo of my 5 petalled cloverleaf group.

Andrew Leigh
April 8, 2013, 12:57 AM
Progress.

You appear to have two subgroups within a group. If that was a bolt rifle I would tell you that your action screws were loose / bedding was not correct, but it is not. In any event, is there any possibility of anything being loose on the rifle?

Group 1
If there was no wind then your forearm may have been slipping laterally on the front bag.

Group 2
Practice will bring that in, assuming the load is OK. There is also lateral movement yet another indicator that the forearm may be slipping on the front back. You lateral POI however seems to be the same on average on both targets, about 0.5" right of centre.

On both groups. Did you complete each group without standing up and moving away from the bench. Often a return to the bench will result in a different posture and therefore a different POI. Did you also allow adequate cooling? Did you shoot fouling shots if the barrel was not already fouled that is.

Did you by any chance take note of the sequence of the shots?

plodder
April 8, 2013, 10:40 AM
Andrew:
Your diagnosis of the forearm on the front bag slipping was spot on. I caught myself doing that several times yesterday and I will have to work on posture and techniques to eliminate.

The barrel was sufficiently fouled before I started the sequence.
Wind was virtually no factor.
Time between shots was approximately 20-30 seconds.
I did stand between some shots to look through spotting scope.
I did not diligently log the sequence of shots, but memory is that first 2-3 shots were the tighter, last 2 shots opened up.

Andrew Leigh
April 8, 2013, 04:18 PM
Hi Plodder,

we are making huge progress. The barrel needs to cool for a little longer between shots.

The first shots being tighter would indicate a concentration problem, three close together and we think we are on the money and then we loose the plot.

Well done so far.

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