1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

What scope magnification for "sub-MOA" groups?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Caimlas, May 2, 2007.

  1. Caimlas

    Caimlas Participating Member

    Nov 16, 2006
    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?

    Attached Files:

  2. Afy

    Afy Senior Member

    Dec 31, 2006
    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.
  3. airmonkey

    airmonkey New Member

    Mar 10, 2005
    Milford Center, OH
    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.
  4. sacp81170a

    sacp81170a Senior Member

    Oct 8, 2004
    Farmington, AR
    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.
  5. Plink

    Plink Participating Member

    Apr 5, 2006
    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.
  6. USSR

    USSR Mentor

    Jul 7, 2005

    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.

  7. ronin223

    ronin223 New Member

    Apr 28, 2007
    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.
  8. VARifleman

    VARifleman Participating Member

    Feb 6, 2005
    Northern VA
    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.
  9. RavenVT100

    RavenVT100 Participating Member

    Aug 18, 2004
    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.
  10. taliv

    taliv Moderator

    Oct 23, 2004

    fire formed from what to what?
  11. Mannlicher

    Mannlicher Senior Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    North Central Florida and Miami Florida
    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.
  12. Shadowangel

    Shadowangel Member

    Apr 4, 2007
    Oklahoma City
    Means fired once from that rifle, then neck sized instead of resizing the entire casing.
  13. SamTuckerMTNMAN

    SamTuckerMTNMAN Active Member

    Oct 4, 2006
    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:
  14. DogBonz

    DogBonz Senior Member

    Sep 23, 2006

    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.
  15. bogie

    bogie Mentor

    Jan 2, 2003
    St. Louis, in the Don't Show Me state
    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.
    Last edited: May 2, 2007
  16. glockman19

    glockman19 Senior Member

    Mar 16, 2007
    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
  17. Essex County

    Essex County Participating Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    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
  18. Halffast

    Halffast Member

    Jul 29, 2003
    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.

  19. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Fort Collins, CO, USA.
    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.

  20. akodo

    akodo Senior Member

    Aug 31, 2005
    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)

Share This Page