Just a little pet peeve at the range


August 24, 2004, 05:54 PM
I’ve been shooting guns of all types for about 50 years, but never belonged to a gun club till recently. One of the big things that I see is people raving about their groups and even posting their targets. I think it’s great that you get a dime sized or whatever group, but when it’s 4”s from the bull what good is it. To me the job isn’t done till the group is in the bull and 4” away means you have an accurate weapon and all your fundamentals are working, but there is more work to do cause you missed. Am I off base here and just don’t understand range etiquette, or what?

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Zak Smith
August 24, 2004, 06:06 PM
All that's missing is the adjustment of the sights to move the POI = POA at that distance.

Some shooters leave them offset so that subsequent shots to not physically destroy their point of aim. Look at a Benchrest target sometime.


August 24, 2004, 10:29 PM
I hit black = I'm happy.

You can do the dime store thing but that doesn't make you wyatt earp. Let the folks be happy with what they get, they'll get better.

There are car snobs and there are target snobs. How many of these folks have the same years that you have?

I hit X's and 9's for number of shots per mag but now matter the cap of the mag I always have a flyer. A 6 or even worst. But I have fun and joke about the flyer. I have fun and am proud that I even hit the target.

It would actually be boring if I did nothing but single hole multi round shots. Sure, I could be in a mag but that's only 15 min. of fame :D.


Not a dig at you, just chill and let the folks enjoy what they've done. They will get better and if you talk badly about their shooting, they may just quit and we lose another shooter. Just let them have fun. If I was told that I was bad at golf in the beginning (and bragged about being overpar but "close"), I wouldn't have gotten as good as I am ;).

August 24, 2004, 11:07 PM
The purpose of shooting a group, is usually just that, to shoot a group. You are testing the inherrent accuracy of your rifle and your load. As was mentioned, if you wanted to hit the center of the target, all you have to do is adjust your sights. Another purpose for shooting a group is to zero your rifle. Quite often people zero their rifle from a bench at 100 yards, but they are zeroing for another distance, usually a greater distance. So, they shoot with a point of aim at 100 yards that places their group and inch high or whatever. This places their sights dead on at some range father than 100 yards.
Another reason for what you describe has already been mentioned. In order to shoot a tight group, you need to have a clear and consistant point of aim. If you shoot your point of aim, then it isn't clear and consistant, so, you purposely adjust your sights so the point on impact is in a different spot than your point of aim so you can consistantly aim at the same point.

I am not real big on group shooting from a bench. It does take skill to shoot tight groups from a bench. No question about that. But it has very little practical application. I am much more concerned with my groups fired from the standard shooting positions.

August 24, 2004, 11:09 PM
Yeah, I get irritated at those itty bitty groups too - regardless of where they are on the paper. Hitting the same place over and over? BORING! Personally, I like to shoot "scatter groups".

For those unfamiliar, that's when you first make one shot. Then you shoot the next shot a little higher and to the left. Then you shoot one a little lower. Maybe just for kicks you shoot one close to a previous hole. Vary the spread of the holes for fun. If you ever see my targets at the range please understand that that's what I'm shooting. I like to mix it up so no two are ever the same. Then I end up with a target that's interesting to look at instead of a whole bunch of holes all on top of each other.


August 24, 2004, 11:55 PM
I really don't care, and in fact, don't pay attention to, what other people are doing unless it endangers me. I have my own business to attend to and have better things to concentrat on besides how someone else chooses to practice.

- 0 -

August 25, 2004, 12:00 AM
I was working up 19 223 loads last week, IIRC only one group was centered on the X and it wasn't a very good group. My best group was right at 0.35'', but it was almost 3 inches high. Now of course I'll load up a few hundred of that load and set the POI to X, but it's kinda hard when shooting groups from a new load to adjust the scope to where you think it maybe might hit.

August 25, 2004, 12:33 AM
Personally, I like to shoot "scatter groups".

For those unfamiliar, that's when you first make one shot. Then you shoot the next shot a little higher and to the left. Then you shoot one a little lower. Maybe just for kicks you shoot one close to a previous hole. Vary the spread of the holes for fun. If you ever see my targets at the range please understand that that's what I'm shooting. I like to mix it up so no two are ever the same. Then I end up with a target that's interesting to look at instead of a whole bunch of holes all on top of each other.Hey, that's EXACTLY what I do! I rarely like to hit the center anymore because, well, that's just played out these days.

August 25, 2004, 12:54 AM
Depending on what your doing I'l agree with ZaK.

August 25, 2004, 01:08 AM
Hey, you paid for the whole target. Why not use it all, not just that little bit in the center.

August 25, 2004, 11:49 AM
When I shoot groups for testing my loads for highpower matches, I never care about where the group is - there is no point in me burning up more ammo just to find a 100 yd zero that will not be useful in a highpower match.

When I am working up a load for hunting, same thing.

When I have settled on a load for hunting and then need to zero it in, then where the group is becomes important.

If someone's hobby is just working up dime sized groups and don't care about zeroing their rifle to that group, than all the more power to them.

Different strokes....

August 25, 2004, 11:53 AM
All right, who fixed the spelling?


August 25, 2004, 01:52 PM
I almost never shoot in such a manner as to get my groups to form right in the center of the bull. My point of Aim using a rifle is right in the center of the bull and many times I will even put a small sticker in there or use a target I have made like the one shown below. I will then throw a couple of clicks onto the elevation knob and let the impacts hit wherever.

Shooting for groups tends to save your point of aim from obliteration if you and your rifle are doing the job correctly and in harmony.

Also when I have an iron sighted rifle set for a particular distance or cartridge or if I am borrowing a friends or family members weapon, I will not change the sights just so I print in the center of the target. I'd rather 'keep what I know in place' while I am experimenting with other loads etc.

That dime sized group you speak of can easily be turned inward to the bullseye with a couple of scope clicks. They have not messed up, in fact missing the target was their whole objective. :)


August 25, 2004, 03:00 PM
I rarely shoot bullseye targets. I annoy deer hunter types and targetwhackers by shooting silhouettes at 100-200 yards. They ask why i shoot silhouette, and I tell them quite truthfully I've never been attacked by a black dot, and I have been attacked by people....

One day I shot a custom high power rifle in .30 Gibb, helping a guy zero. I ended up shooting sixty rounds and most of the five shot groups were under 1", most were 3/4" and two were 1/2" at 100 yards off sandbags with a 14X scope. Probably some of the best groups I've shot in a long time. But the rifle's owner shot groups like that all the time (with that rifle, fairly easy) and he was more impressed by the fact I'd hit a truck sized target at 950 yards with iron sights from a sitting position 20 times in a row. As he said, "That's much harder than 100 yards!" (Not really, just proper sight adjustment).

August 25, 2004, 03:11 PM
One of my favorite things to do is hang up 3x5 index cards and then shoot the things full of holes.... It's better at an outdoor range though cause you can staple them all over the taget fence which lets you mix up your shots more. I find I shoot much better with a smaller target than with a larger bullseye target........mack

August 25, 2004, 03:37 PM
i hit what i aim at. end of story.

sometimes i aim at random spots on the target, but golldurnit i hit what i aim at!


it isnt a pet peeve but it is amusing to watch as a shooter unintentionally peppers the target and calls it 'good'.

its days like that i enjoy my groups the best.

August 25, 2004, 04:06 PM
I want to see real heat-of-the-moment match targets, not those I'm-an-expert-marksman-when-I-hold-really-still-and-I'm-not-under-pressure plinker boards.


August 25, 2004, 07:28 PM
When I'm looking for good ammo, I shoot groups--that's when I'm doing my best to keep everything PERFECT.

I pick the ammo that groups the best and then adjust the sights to move the group to the desired POI. Moving the sights means shoot 3 shots and adjust. Repeat until things are right. That makes for a lousy group. ;)

Then I shoot a few shots to see if things are centered up. Usually on one of the less hole-crowded bulls I used for something else during that shooting session.

All of that to say that I usually get my best groups during the ammo testing process before the sights are fine tuned...

August 25, 2004, 09:06 PM
I just hope if I ever have to shoot in self-defense, I'm being attacked by a Reuben Studdard look-alike.


August 25, 2004, 09:21 PM
For me, if I'm grouping pretty tightly, then I know that the gun is running consistently, and I need to work on:
A. Technique
B. Mechanics (i.e.sight adjustment)
C. choice of ammo
not necessarily in that order. I do enjoy the research, and I always seem to need the practice:D

Shooting is kinda like sailing - you can master the fundamentals in a fairly short amount of time, but getting really good at it can be the quest of a lifetime. I'm a fair sailor and a fair shot, but the trend is up, overall.

August 25, 2004, 09:59 PM
Use a blank piece of paper and shoot a round through it. That hole is now the target. Sometimes I'll also use the smaller Post-IT(tm) notes.

The only times I shoot on paper is to make a group. For real training is done on steel.

August 26, 2004, 04:22 PM
One other related point: If you are paying attention, you should know pretty close to exactly how to move your sights from your point of impact to your desired point of impact. It shouldn't be a guess and try type thing. You should know how many minutes each click of your sight or scope moves the bullet at the range you are shooting at.

August 26, 2004, 04:46 PM
The tightness of your groups is its precision

The distance your group (the mean) is from the bullseye is its accuracy

Systematic errors are typically an accuracy issue, non-systematic errors are a precision issue.

Most guns are better shooters than their operators. Poor precision demonstrates a lack of systematic process; you're a poor shooter, with poor form. Poor accuracy is in 90% of cases an issue of your scope being off. A couple clicks here and there; there's no problem with your form. Systematic error can be systematically corrected. There is no easy solution to non-systematic error.

August 26, 2004, 06:09 PM
Group size is a measure of accuracy.

Closeness of group to point of aim is a measure of sight regulation

August 26, 2004, 07:23 PM
Making a tiny group, but off POA, is poor accuracy but good PRECISION.
Having all shots clustered around POA but not in a tiny group is acceptable ACCURACY but without precision.
Gunrag scribes almost never use these terms correctly, I notice, and the difference IS important (if words mean anything at all), and the terms DO mean quite different things.

I want BOTH accuracy AND precision, that is, I want to know that my sidearm will reliably put ALL shots at POA.

That said, there are different kinds of recreational and practice shooting, obviously.
When I wish to practice to demonstrate accuracy and precision, I go slow and use the best hold, sight alignment and trigger control I can.
When I practice for "when the SHTF", I go as fast as I can while still doing an acceptable job of clustering shots in the approximate vicinity of POA while also using movement on the draw and every 3-4 shots.

It seems to me that ones' practice should include both types from time to time, and I distrust those who say things like "I don't shoot for group with a pistol". If you don't, how will you know what kind of accuracy and precision the pistol (in your particular hands) is capable of?


August 26, 2004, 08:09 PM
I realize some people shut off their minds when they see words over 3 syllables. Here's pictures:


August 26, 2004, 10:04 PM
Yes but we are not talking about physics. We are talking about shooting sports. Every field adopts it's own meanings for terms and they often are different from the scientific definitions.

I am familiar with the the terms in their scientific sense. I spent 12 years in an engineering lab.

August 27, 2004, 01:07 AM
Likewise there's no need to reinvent terminology for sake of doing so. Especially when it doesn't presently exist in our field in a consistent non-verbose form. Precision and accuracy are succinct, established terms with indisputable meanings. God knows, our sport is too filled with crap and superstition; we'd damn well better start incorporating scientific principles.

I've spent my life persuing science and engineering. I also brush my teeth three times a day.

August 27, 2004, 10:25 AM
Are you sure your not a Llama?;)

August 27, 2004, 06:48 PM
Not_A_Llama -

From The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute :



In firearms using single projectiles at a given distance, is the measure of the dispersion of the group of projectiles fired. The optimum would be one hole no larger in diameter than a single projectile. "

From this sight, Handguns Magazine :

"Sight regulation was excellent, with the pistol placing all of my groups exactly at my point of aim."

And another review from this site :
"Sight regulation was very good at all ranges with the mean point of impact and the point of aim coinciding nicely. "

These terms are and have been in use by the shooting community and industry. It's unfortunate that terms with existing and related meanings get redefined, but nonetheless that is the case.
They are in wide use in my experience. I have always without exception seen them defined as stated.

And your original post was out of line.

August 28, 2004, 05:25 AM
Ever toy with the idea of getting a sense of humor?:D

August 28, 2004, 05:45 AM
Surprised I have not seen it yet:

Aim small, miss small.

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