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Group size vs. placement

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by RomanKnight, Mar 19, 2005.

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  1. RomanKnight

    RomanKnight Member

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    OK, here's my question: why does everyone, I mean
    every manufacturer, every gun rag&website, every
    armchair Rambo, brags about how tight the groups are,
    and NOT about how CLOSE they are to the bullseye? I
    assume they zero the rifles and handguns beforehand.
    When they show the targets, more often than not, the
    groups are a few inches away from the center of the
    target (I also assume that's what they aim at). Two
    inches at 100yards is a guaranteed miss at 300-400
    yards, so, what good is it to send all the bullets in
    the same hole, if I miss the target?
     
  2. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Because anyone can adjust sights to bring a group on target, if you HAVE a group.

    The theme of articles like those you mention is not, "See how I can zero a rifle," but "see how accurate this rifle is."

    In addition, of course, for most purpose the rifle is NOT zeroed to hit the bull in the center. Groups are usually shot at 100 yards, and the rifle for hunting purposes is zeroed at a greater range (usually 200 to 250 yards), so it will naturally shoot a few inches high at 100 yards.
     
  3. bogie

    bogie Member

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    I'm a benchrest shooter. My rifles actually DO shoot like the bragging gunsmith commands claim theirs do.

    I _really_ hate having my group form in the mothball (the center of the target). Why?

    It is covered by crosshairs/dot/whatever, and that messes with me.
     
  4. itgoesboom

    itgoesboom member

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    As vern said, if you have a group, you can adjust the sights to make the shots hit the bullseye, but if you don't have a group, how do you know where to adjust to?

    Accuracy isn't hitting the bullseye. Accuracy is consistancy, putting all the shots right next to each other every time. Adjusting the sights will take care of the rest.

    It also depends on how the rifle is sighted. For example, my rifle has 4 sight settings, a V sight for 100 yards, and a peep sight for 200, 300, and 400 yards.

    Its hard to be real accurate with the V sight, so I usually prefer to use the 200 meter peep sight when I am shooting at 100 yards (the longest range I have access to), but I still want the 200 yard sight sighted in for 200 yards. So when I am shooting at 100 yards, I actually want the shots to hit between 2-4" high at 100 yards.

    Here is an example.
    [​IMG]

    The target I was aiming at was the red dot at the very bottom (its the bottom left target on a sheet of 5 targets). If that target was at 200 yards, the shots would be in the orange, but at 100 yards (actually, that was at about 80 yards), they are 3.5" high. So the rifle is hitting right where it is supposed to, even though it looks like I missed the bullseye.

    Make sense?

    I.G.B.
     
  5. Chipperman

    Chipperman Member

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    Consistency is much more important than the initial placement.

    A lot of bench rest tournaments don't even care where the group is on the paper. They just care about the size of the group.
     
  6. Bear Gulch

    Bear Gulch Member

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    "Consistency is much more important than the initial placement"

    Maybe in BR shooting. This would not be really great advice for a gunfight however. Whoever hits their target fataally and first, usually wins. However a moratlly wounded chap is quite capable of killing you!
     
  7. M67

    M67 Member

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    I don't agree a hundred per cent with that. Knowing how to adjust your sights is part of the game.

    There is only one reason to fire a gun, and that is to hit something. (Except maybe in bench rest shooting :p ) If the objective was to make noise, firecrackers would be a better, cheaper alternative. A small group indicates that the gun is capable of that level of precision and that the shooter is capable of holding the gun steady. If you shoot competition or hunt elephants, a small group is useless unless you can put it on target.

    It is possible to shoot small groups and still be inconsistent. A small group indicates that you hold the gun in the same way from shot to shot within a string. To place each group in the same place, you need to have a consistent grip, stance and sight picture from string to string as well as from shot to shot.

    Adjusting your sights is an important part of your shooting skills. In competition, such as high power rifle shooting, you have to do so with a limited number of sighter shots. In the field you may not even have that, you may have to judge the wind or the postition of the sun and adjust accordingly (or use Kentucky windage) without the benefit of a sighter shot. Being able to shoot a small group is only half the game. Knowing how to adjust your sights to hit the target, requires practice. It's not something anyone can do, at least not equally well.
     
  8. Chipperman

    Chipperman Member

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    "This would not be really great advice for a gunfight however. Whoever hits their target fataally and first, usually wins."

    We're talking about rifles here, not handguns.
     
  9. Bear Gulch

    Bear Gulch Member

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    I don't mean to be a trouble maker. I just really think that some shooting applications are, "games" . Many of these activities have become so specialized as to bear little relation to the real world skill that initially spawned them.

    This applies to the rifle as well as the handgun. I just think that people should be clear as to what the OBJECTIVE of their exerciseis. If you want to shoot small groups, fine. If you want to stay alive in combat, a different skill set may pertain.
     
  10. RyanM

    RyanM Member

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    Nope. You're talking about precision. Accuracy is putting bullets close to where you want them. Precision is putting them close to each other. The ideal is a combination of both precision and accuracy.
     
  11. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Quote:
    ----------------------------
    I don't agree a hundred per cent with that. Knowing how to adjust your sights is part of the game.
    ----------------------------

    Without a group, adjusting the sights is pointless -- and impossible.

    But writers generally write about the potential of the gun or load -- and that's simply a matter of grouping. If you read an article about HUNTING or some other USE of a gun, THEN you see them write about sighting in.
     
  12. HSMITH

    HSMITH Member

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    When shooting groups I usually dial off the center of the target purposely. That way I can shoot multiple groups around the same aiming point, not shoot up my aiming point, and have a consistent aiming point throughout the evolution.

    The only reason I will shoot a group dead on the aiming point is for bragging to the less knowledgable gunnies I sometimes shoot with, or the last couple shots before the gun gets put away to make sure it is right where I want it.

    Shooting groups and shooting to hit the exact spot you want are two WAY different excercises.
     
  13. Wildalaska

    Wildalaska member

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    I shoot groups for fun and to test accuracy.

    However, in every rilfe I own, theres only one test of paracticality. Where that first shot form a cold, lean barrel is gonna hit. Since I usually shoot 100 yards, with my swede sniper that means a bit higher than bullseye (scope as a cam for range)....same with the ssg...with my 338 that means 2 inches high at 100....

    Thats the test, the shot goes there I am ready..

    Now with the ww2 rifles, its just center of mass... :)

    WildneedsalongrangeAlaska
     
  14. bogie

    bogie Member

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    Guys, if I just hit the bullseye on a benchrest target, I could shoot a group up to an inch in size. I'm sure that would impress some of you.

    I can consistently cut a playing card in half at 100 yards. I can consistently hit a dime at 200 yards.

    Consistently.

    The top shooters in this "game" can fire five shots into a quarter inch group using a non-magazine-fed single shot centerfire rifle, usually without an ejector, inside 30 seconds.

    Welcome to accuracy. Bring money.
     
  15. DelayedReaction

    DelayedReaction Member

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    Just a clarification. Accuracy is the ability to hit the intended target (how far off from the bullseye, if you're aiming for the bullseye), while precision is the consistency or grouping. So a weapon that makes 1/4" groups that are always 3" to the left of the bullseye is precise but not accurate, and a weapon that makes 2" groups around the bullseye is accurate but not precise.

    It's the engineering definition of the words, but I figured it might be interesting to know.
     
  16. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    Just my thoughts...

    In pistol shooting, getting good groups is the hard part. Once you have good groups you tweak the sights and then you have good groups on the bullseye.

    In rifle shooting, hitting the bullseye is the hard part. With a good rifle/ammo combo and good technique, any nitwit can shoot a good group at decent ranges by holding consistently from a bench and waiting for no wind or consistent wind. BUT, until he learns about wind doping, trajectory and range estimation, he won't be able to get his groups on the bullseye.

    What it really comes down to is that group size is a measure of consistency (gun/ammo/shooter/conditions). Hitting the bullseye is a matter of knowledge (trajectory/range estimation/wind estimation/sight adjustment/etc.)
     
  17. sm

    sm member

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    I admire and respect the talents of folks like bogie .

    I tend to shoot a different game, sport and have different requirments. While I do shoot rifles, I most often grab a shotgun when a long gun is used.

    When I shoot a playing card in half - it ain't really cheating if it works is it? ;)
     
  18. spacemanspiff

    spacemanspiff Senior Member

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    well i dont have the experience a lot of youse guys do, but for me, when i want to take a target and show it off, i'll shoot from the bench and with my ar cut nice groups out (thanks to the tripower, with iron sights i suck).

    thats just to boost my own ego. when i step into the fantasy world of being an Urban Fat Smelly Ninja, i tack up the torso silhouette target and just hammer away. i dont bother much with getting good groups, as long as i keep the shots in COM anywhere from 7 yards to 100.

    the goal of todays UFSN is to put hot lead into the target. multiple times.


    as far as handguns are concerned, i'll shoot for giggles at 50 yards. but then i'm only interested in hitting the target, not groups. i can hear the rounds hit and thats good enough for me. bring the target in to 7 yards and for defensive purposes, one should be able to keep shots within a 6-8 inch circle, under duress. thats either a COM or head shot. put shoot-n-sees on your torso silhouette at that distance and see how good you are at hosing the target. fire the first mag at COM, reload and fire at the head. if there are any hits outside the shoot-n-see, you know you need to practice a bit more.

    then, for more giggles, turn the target sideways a bit, give yourself a smaller COM and head to shoot at.
     
  19. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    BTW, I want to make it clear that I'm talking in general terms when I say anyone can get a good group from a bench. Not a good "benchrest competition group", a "good group" as defined by mere mortals... ;)
     
  20. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    I normally shoot groups when I'm developing a new load or evaluating ammo. Groups will be measured and annotated, calculations made, and then typically I'll make a decision which load to proceed with. From then, I just dial the correction, reset the set screws in the knobs, verify one final time, and then verify the new long range data by shooting at small reactive targets.

    You should absolutely not assume anything about one's ability to make hits at any range from the relative positions of the POI and POA in a published "group".

    The thesis of the thread-starting post is poorly thought out, and that's why this thread sucks.

    -z
     
  21. bogie

    bogie Member

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    Excuse me...

    Saying that a rifle is not accurate because a group is not centered on the bullseye is just...

    (the high road...the high road...)

    Moronic.

    (oh, the heck with it...)

    A saying in benchrest competition is that your first shot is free... You've got a 0.000" group. It's when you drop the second, third, fourth, and fifth on top of it that you enlarge the group.

    When you screw up on the first shot, you haven't ruined the group. You get to "chase" your group. That involves altering your aiming point such that your following rounds will hit the errant shot.

    If that ain't accuracy, I don't know what is.

    I routinely shoot 0.4" groups at 200 yards. Occasionally 0.3", and I'm still hoping to break into the twos.

    Another thing - this isn't some sort of cute widdle rimfire thing that we're pulling the trigger on... 10.5 pounds for the rifle and scope, a Jewell trigger, and a .220 Russian (same parent case as the 7.62x39) necked up to 6mm... Cram as much V133 or surplus 8208 as possible in it (I use an 8" drop tube), cap it off with a 68 grain match bullet, and when you pull the trigger, it moves out at about 3450fps.

    These are not wimpy loads... The brass wears out after a weekend's use... A weekend in which each piece may be used to fire 10-20 times... The head expands, it gets real easy to prime, and it work hardens... Since we pay CAREFUL attention to how we size it, we're not so worried about "gernading" (grin) with a case head sep -the brass doesn't get a chance to stretch lengthwise. We just spank it so hard that it quits.

    You can always adjust your scope/mounts to move your point of impact. Now, if you have your point of impact centered on the bullseye, and all you can manage is a 2" group, that ain't accuracy. Yeah, it'll work on Bambi, but it ain't accuracy. Or precision. Maybe you need to screw a full choke into that puppy.
     
  22. pax

    pax Member

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    RomanKnight ~

    Gun writers do it that way because they are reviewing the gun's potential.

    The writers aren't in a competition to see who shoots the best. They are simply assessing whether the gun they're reviewing is capable of decent accuracy. To that end, all that really matters is whether the group is big or small. Sure, it's nice if it ends up centered on the bullseye, but it's irrelevant to the point of what they're doing.

    pax
     
  23. RyanM

    RyanM Member

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    You just said it yourself.

    Would you really say that a string of fire aimed at a deer, goblin, whatever, is "accurate" if you miss 5 times, albeit the misses are so close together that the bullets are stacked end-to-end in the dirt?

    Nope. That's precision.

    Precision might be the same as accuracy when the goal isn't to get all your shots on the bullseye, but when scoring on where you hit, a 5 shot group centered in the 1 ring is 5 points, no matter how tight it is.
     
  24. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    Rhetorical question: What if my intended POI is not at the bullseye, does that still count?
     
  25. bogie

    bogie Member

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    Wrongo, tacticaldude...

    That's incompetence.

    ANYONE can take an accurate rifle, and shoot horribly.

    The reason that scopes and sights are adjustable is so that one can move the point of impact around. If one CHOOSES to have the point of impact out of the bullseye, and the shots go where intended, that's great. If the shots look like Bubba left his Improved Cylinder choke in, that's not so great.

    I can have all the shots hit at 6 o'clock, 9 o'clock, one or two rings out, whatever. You want, I can drop 'em all in the mothball, but that messes with me, because I don't like my group behind my crosshairs. In fact, if it's a day with little mirage, rather than centering the crosshairs on the mothball, I'll aim at the edge of it. Aim small, miss small, and all that.

    Tell ya what... Let's shoot some ten-ring targets, for score. Bring money.

    A while back I was at the range, chatting with a fellow accuracy buff. He'd been playing at 200 yards, getting ready to go on a varmint hunting trip. Some Bubba walked up, looked through the spotting scope, and informed him, with great know it all about boomsticks attitude (if I recall correctly, it was just before deer season, and the Bubba in question had hisself a .30-30... and had punched a few holes at 50 yards...), that he was shooting high, and that he needed to aim lower.

    He was zeroed for 300 yards, shooting at a 200 yard target. OF COURSE the groups printed high. Doh!

    Anyone here remember a fellow named Warren Page?
     
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