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At what distance do you test accuracy?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by MovedWest, Dec 8, 2010.

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  1. MovedWest

    MovedWest Member

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    I want to develop a new load for the 44 magnum. I've worked up many loads in the past, but I've never wondered about what distance to test their accuracy at.

    I was thumbing through the my Lyman manual and was looking at the testing specs, noting the most accurate loads. I wondered when I saw the barrel length of their test "gun" was 4" what distance they test at. Then I wondered what distances YOU guys test at?

    I'm most interested in 44 magnum loads for the lower end of the magnum velocities. Accuracy and lower velocity with a 210gr JHP are my focus. Not LOW velocity, just the lower end of the magnum range. TIA.

    -MW
     
  2. Remo-99

    Remo-99 Member

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    For handguns, 25yds is a standard, but if you really wanna put a weapon to the test 50yds will sort out a true shooter, silluoette shooters go for +100yds though.
    For SD, odds are it will be within 7yds where practice and training become more effective than 50yd accuracy.
     
  3. RandyP

    RandyP Member

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    As others have posted, sight it in at the range you most often plan on using it.

    'My' needs are mostly range plinking (indoor) and self defense so 25 feet and closer is where my paper zombies most often hang.
     
  4. ChefJeff1

    ChefJeff1 Member

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    I was wondering the exact thing while working on some new loads for 357 and 30-30. I test fired a bunch of loads at really close range to try to eliminate shooter error. I figure my errors are amplified the further away I shoot. I wanted to test the load, not my skills. I'm talking 15 yards or so. For rifle, especially scoped, it might be a little too close. 25 yards might be better. Once I get a really group up close, I'll shoot further and see how it goes. Then I"ll start practicing with it.
     
  5. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Eliminate Shooter Error

    50 yards. A scoped firearm helps fine tune loads off the bench. A Ransom Rest would be nice. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2010
  6. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I shoot handguns offhand. I can tell if a load is accurate enough at 25 yards. If I get a group like this at 25 yards I am very happy and everything is good to go.

    I will move my gong out to 50 yards and see how well I can hit. I cannot recall a load that shot well at 25 yard not shooting well at 50. However I have been told by Bullseye shooters that you can get good groups at 25 but not so good at 50. I cannot hold as hard as those guys, so if I get 50% or better offhand hits on a 12 inch target at 50 yards with irons, that is good enough for me.



    BauerWadcutter.gif
     
  7. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Accuracy testing loads.

    Off a benchrest.
    25 or 50 yards for handgun.
    100 or 200 for rifle.

    I would not be able to tell anything at all with handgun loads at 7 yards or less, except that the rounds all went off.

    With an accurate rifle, if I get 3/4" groups at 100 yards, what would I get at 25 yards that would tell me anything?
    Even a 100% increase in group size is still gonna be one ragged hole at 25 yards.

    rc
     
  8. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Ok, I'm the kook - I usually do load testing at 10 yards, standing, no sand bags or Ransom Rest for me.
     
  9. YellowCake

    YellowCake Member

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    Its like you read my mind

    I tested a 7.5" SBH .44 magnum at 15 yards standing. I can tell a good amount of difference, but since I'm new this SA I couldn't tell it poor groupings were cause by how I used the gun or really bad loads. The benches at my range are only 6 inches long so hopefully i can fit a sandbag or two to make a good rest 2 25 yards.
     
  10. bds
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    bds Member

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    Most of my match targets are staged at 7-15 yards and some at 20 yards+.

    I usually start off hand at 7 yards to do sights/POA/POI verification and do accuracy tests at 10-15 yards.

    If I get nice tight consistent 5-round shot groups, I will do accuracy testing at 20 yards.

    I need to use sand bag/pistol rest for 25 yards+ as there's too much variation from off-hand shooting off hand for me.

    I also do double-tap testing at 7-15 yards as I take more time with 20 yard targets.
     
  11. sig220mw

    sig220mw Member

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    I always start at 7 yards (we are talking handguns right?). I will find my load at this range then I stretch it out to 15 yards and shoot at that range for several sessions to get myself familiar with the load and build up my confidence in it and my ability to use it. Then I start stretching it out to 25 and then to 50 and then longer shots in the woods.

    I do it off hand only. I've tried shooting off of rests with my handguns and I just don't shoot well that way. I can shoot rifles off of rests but not handguns. Go figure.
     
  12. snuffy

    snuffy Member

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    Auto pistol, 25 yards.
    revolvers, 25 yds. then @ 50 yds.
    Scoped revolvers, or single shot contenders, 50 yds., then out to 100.
    Rifles with irons, 50 yards, closer will tell you only that the shells all fired.
    Rifles with scopes, 100-200 yds.

    All of these are with at LEAST a sandbag rest on a solid bench. I don't care who you are, off hand is no way to test accuracy OR group size. (Accuracy means hitting the center of the bull. Group size means how small the group is not how close it is to the bullseye).

    If I were half my 64 years, and no arthritis, AND I had all the stuff that goes with a proper prone shooting, I would consider prone shooting as a test of rifle accuracy. Oh and good vision also!:scrutiny::uhoh: I did a LOT of prone shooting @ 600 yds, did quite well too. But that was 38 years ago. I'd need a wench to get me off the ground now!:what:
     
  13. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Maybe that is why I consider handguns and accuracy to be mutually exclusive. :D

    Still, God gave us feet to stand on, and therefore it must be God’s will for us to shoot standing.


    What kind of wench? Crescent Wench?, Blond or Brunette? :D:D
     
  14. bds
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    bds Member

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    Well, they don't allow pistol rests or sand bags at USPSA/IDPA matches. :D

    For me to effectively test my loads for match shooting, I must shoot them off hand. I believe shooting from rest/sand bags will test "absolute technical" accuracy, but not actual practical/tactical shooting accuracy. The pure empirical accuracy attained from rest/sand bag shooting is nice to show to your friends, but it's shot groups off hand (my hands) that will impress me.

    If you must fire in SD/HD at realistic distances of 7-10 yards under pressure from quick draw, how do you KNOW that you'll hit your intended target? Only tactical quick draw and off hand shot groups will give you that confirmation.

    OK, for OP - for me, 7-15 yards is good distance to test tactical off hand accuracy. :D 25 yards+ for testing pistol rest/sand bag accuracy.
     
  15. 1SOW

    1SOW Member

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    With 9mm--light loads: I shoot two-hand offhand usually at 20yds or less (like bds).

    I test for POI at 25yds, resting my wrist-arms on sandbags with a small but visible target {and a 3" 8X scope :)}. I shoot very slow with the best trigger control I can manage that day. For me, If I get good consistent hits (within 1"), it's good-to-go at 5-20yds offhand.

    I don't have a 50yd pistol range easily available, but I would expect little drop.

    I've never tested the pistol itself-no ransom rest
     
  16. snuffy

    snuffy Member

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    Okay, lets look at this from a different perspective, consistency. How could you know your rounds are consistent if shooting off hand? Was that one out of the group caused by a twitch or bad grip, or was it an indication of bad ammo?

    Of course there's no rests in the various combat-like scenarios. But you have to know your ammo will consistently shoot to point of aim EVERY time. Rest testing will prove that, especially if using a chronograph in conjunction to verify consistent velocity.

    Once, I was at a IPSC match, where the target was at 50 yards. Nobody knew the bullets would drop 14 inches from the 7 yards most of the targets were at. Because nobody had bothered to try them at 50 yards.

    You have to have that "absolute technical" accuracy FIRST. Otherwise you'll just say I'm in bad form for awful hand shooting today, when it was actually bad ammo. Do you try a new gun or new load off-hand?

    Another aspect is confidence. Knowing in the back of your mind that both the weapon and it's fodder both shoot nice tight groups. That will show up in the final score as far as hits go.

    Once a load is found, load up a bunch THEN it's time to shoot offhand, and rig up with a timer for draw and shoot at several targets in sequence, including mag changes. Don't forget weak hand supported and no support weak hand shooting.

    As always, this is my opinion, do whatever makes you feel good.
     
  17. bds
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    bds Member

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    snuffy, I agree with you on using rest/sand bags to obtain accuracy first. 15 years ago, that's what I did. Once I determined the accuracy off rest/sand bags, then I shot off hand. Now days, I skip right to determining accuracy off hand.

    All the time. When shooting other shooters' pistols I have never shot, I place the target at 5 yards and 3 round shot groups usually tell me how the pistol shoots and I move the target to 7 yards.

    I shot a 3" Kimber I never shot at 5 yards using my reference W231/HP38 load (5.0 gr with 200 gr LSWC) and all the rounds were clustered together into one hole. I moved the target to 7 yards and all the holes were touching. I didn't need to use a rest/sand bags to know that pistol was accurate.

    Of course, when I am testing new loads, I reduce the variables by using a proven pistol that I know the accuracy of so I am only testing the unknown load, not both. In the same way, I always test new pistol with "accurate" reference loads.
     
  18. Hondo 60
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    Hondo 60 Member

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    I usually set my targets up at 10 yards. From a standing or sitting position, I don't use sandbags or rests of any kind.

    I want to see how I shoot in conjunction with the loads & the guns.
     
  19. 1SOW

    1SOW Member

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    I mostly agree with bds & slamfire1, but I add testing at 25yds with some arm support (I'm old) for groups. Can the gun shoot tighter groups well anchored? Probably so, but if they are tight 'enough' I'm good to go.

    It may be my mistake/error, but my experience shows that the pistol does not shoot the same anchored in a rest as it does off hand. I first SAW that shooting 22 Bullseye in the 70's. If I remember right, it shot low when anchored.
    .
    Yes, I want consistency and confidence in the load; and yes, I want POI at POA when 'I'm' shooting it. Offhand does both. "for my uses".

    This may be the wrong way, but it works for me.

    As to OP's original question: My first shot out of his 44 would be very nicely placed at 25yds, but the second would kill a cow 1/2 mile away--really; but your guns ballistics are likely very different than mine. I still expect 25yd testing would give you pretty good load data. If your shooting much at 50yds or more, the ballistics will come into play for POA.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2010
  20. MrOldLude

    MrOldLude Member

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    None of my pistols are intended for longer range shooting. So I practice at defensive range almost exclusively. For my rifles, I get on the paper at 25, and take it out to 100. I don't know of any local places that that I can shoot beyond 100. But 100 is difficult enough.

    I do use a benchrest to see what the rifle is capable of when testing new loads, or for pure accuracy.
     
  21. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    That is also my experience. Handgun point of impact is extremely sensitive to recoil dynamics. If you notice, sight height is not parallel with the axis of the barrel. The front sight pushes down the barrel. Recoil is what straightens everything out.

    I believe sighting in should be done standing. Because that is the way I shoot the things.

    Snuffy is correct about "absolute" accuracy. Shooting a handgun from a Ransom rest or a sandbag rest is going to reduce group size. But it does not make much of a difference when all my handguns shoot inside my hold.

    Take my 25 yard off hand target. Les Baer Wadcutters are supposed to shoot inside that at 50 yards, (I assume from a Ranson Rest). Well I can't hold that hard. At some point the increased accuracy is wasted on me.

    What improves my accuracy is practice. Practice, practice, practice. When you are up to your butt in brass, you are just starting to get the hang of it.
     
  22. snuffy

    snuffy Member

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    I'll have to say that is not my experience. I can sit down @ 25 yds., shoot off sandbags, then stand up and the point of aim and point of impact are the same. That's with both my SA 45 1911, and my glock M-22 in 40 S&W and then when it's converted to 357 sig.

    I don't muscle it into the sandbags, it's just resting on them with my hands free to recoil. I'm simply eliminating the little movements that always happen to anybody when standing. Wind has an effect on the human body. So unless you're leaning against a bench or post, that will make groups bigger.

    I do agree that a solid rest or machine rest would influence how and where the bullet impacts. The two handed hold I use when shooting IPSC and IDPA is pretty darn solid. It has to be. You're trying to control muzzle flip to get back on target for the double tap. Your score is accuracy against time. A perfect score in the smallest time always wins.
     
  23. 918v

    918v Member

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    Colt used to test their handguns at 15 yards back in the day when you got a test target. Wilsons are tested at 15, Sig P220-226 were tested at 15, I believe Walthers and HK's were as well.

    Sig X-series guns are tested at 25. Sig P210 was tested at 55.

    I dunno where that 25-yard standard came from as none of the US manufacturers at the time tested at 25.
     
  24. snuffy

    snuffy Member

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    15 yards is 45 feet,,,duh! I have a 50 foot indoor range where I can shoot anything I own as for handguns. I frequently dodge the Wisconsin winters, shoot indoors. We MUST have the target all-the-way-back to 50 feet. So there's no option to shoot closer. There's no benches, just a board to lay the shell boxes on. So to sandbag is hard to do inside

    I just can't see why you'd want to shoot a 7 yds./21 feet. You just can't see much difference in group size at that distance. You also can't see if the bullet is actually stabilized.
     
  25. Offfhand

    Offfhand Member

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    Quite a few years ago when I was a young shavetail assigned to what was then known as ATMU (Advanced Marksmanship Training Unit) at Ft. Benning, our Pistol Team did their testing at 50 yards. Their reasoning being that matches are won or lost at the 50 yard slow fire stage and for a pistol to be competitive it had to group ten shots inside three inches. (the 10-ring being 3.36") Which is why our armorers had to virtually hand build every centerfire pistol.
    We on the rifle squads mainly tested our service rifles at 300 yards, 10 shots, rapid fire, prone. Those of us who were also on the International teams tested our rifles ("free" rifles) at 300M, slow fire prone of course. Usually with iron sights, but as our 300M free rifles came equipped with scope bases we did a good bit of testing rifles and ammo with target scopes mounted, usually prone, but our armorers understandably preferred to test from a bench. It was a wonderful life for a shooter but promotions came slowly.
     
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