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Practical Accuracy for the common man..

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by ssyoumans, Jan 13, 2011.

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  1. ssyoumans

    ssyoumans Member

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    Ok, so I read on here all the time, “my rifle shoots ¼” group at 100 yards, or ¾” group at 200 yards” and I’ve got to ask, what your setup is?

    I recently purchased a Marlin XS7 in 243 Win and have a Nikon 3-9x40mm Prostaff scope for it. I haven’t even taken it out to the range yet, but I would like to know what a common shooter should expect for a 3 shot and 5 shot grouping? I don’t shoot off of a lead sled, I shoot off of sand bags on a table. I have a quality 3-9x scope on it. Assuming I find the right ammo for the gun (I do reload), how accurate can you be with a 3-9x scope shooting from sandbags at 100 yards, 200 yards, 300 yards? 3 shot group, 5 shot group?

    Not to call BS on some of the stuff I read on here, but I often wonder what power scope or setup some of these guys have that are shooting ½ MOA out to 300+ yards (that’s around 1.5”). I wonder is that what they consistently shooting, or “best ever”, never to be repeated. I wonder what power scope they are using, and what their setup is, because I don’t really know what to expect, but I think I’d be happy with 1.5” at 100 yards. Any thoughts?
     
  2. brandon_mcg

    brandon_mcg Member

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    i use 4-12 on my .308 rem 700. i dont really measure my groups for MOA or sub moa and i currently down do any bench rest shooting. i shoot from my deer stand at targets placed at 50, 100, 200, and 250 yards out. if i can hit those targets i can kill a deer. thats practical accuracy for me.

    i do shoot for fun every now and then but nothing serious.
     
  3. WNTFW

    WNTFW Member

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    SS,
    I have shot a 3 shot 1/4" group at 100yds. That statement is a fact. What some people read into is I am claiming:
    I always shoot 3 shot groups that are 1/4"
    My rifle always shoots 1/4" groups.
    I could shoot 2.5" at a 1000

    Then they go off on a rant explaining the way everything rifle related works. We have all see the guys here saying 3 or 5 shot don't mean jack. I think it means what it means. To a guy just reaching that plateu it is a milestone to shoot a s shot 1/4" shot group. Now he can go for the 5 shot 1/4" group.

    I have seen some claim I think are ludicrous. But there is room for error including maybe I misunderstood what the claim was or it lost (or gained)something in the delivery.

    The flip side is I have heard guys say a stock rifle won't shoot under so many MOA and they are flat wrong IMHO.

    You are right about best ever vs ongoing average accuracy. An outstanding group that I shoot just tell me 90+% of my shooting is sub par.

    My best shooting has been prone/bipod/rear bag. I think the reason is that my bench technique is not so good. Also some benches at some ranges are shaky. Even if you have a concrete bench that stool you sit on can detract if it is not good.

    I shoot offhand, prone and sitting. Recently I shot a killer group sitting in practice. I also another decent group or two on that same piece of paper. Plus some I am not proud of. Some of focusing on the better to best groups and forgetting the bad is positive reinforcement. We learn our lesson from the bad & move on.

    Scope power is not as big a factor as some other things. I would worry about parallax & cheek weld over power. Natural Point of Aim (NPA), trigger control and breathing. NPA and position can be huge in terms of repeatable accuracy. Good ammo or handloads can make giant difference. You can make a bad bullet shoot right. I have even had to look at reduce the target from moving at outdoor/indoor ranges. The target itself can make a difference. Even with a scope you need to concentrate/focus on the crosshairs just as you would the front sight.

    16X is adequate to 600 and you can get by with less or you can use more.
    As MOA drecreases all the nitpicking details plague you more.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2011
  4. radshooter

    radshooter Member

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    I have a Rem 788 .308 with a Leupold Vari-X III 6.5-20 scope. I bought it third hand from a guy my wife worked with at the time. I don't shoot near as much now as I used to, but "back in the day" the rifle would put 3 rounds in a ragged hole at 100 yards if I did my part. On a bad day, my groups were still around 1 to 1.5 inches.

    I shot from a bench, but nothing fancy. I usually used a bag or two of potting soil for the front rest. For the rear, I just held it to my shoulder and used my off hand for support. I found out early that my breathing technique was critical to success.

    I had the best success with my reloads, but it took a lot of shooting and experimenting with the reloading press to get a recipe that the rifle really liked.
     
  5. Durty

    Durty Member

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    300 winchester ultra magnum

    Hey guys-- I am brand new to hunting and shooting sports in general. I went to the gun range last weekend with a buddy who has a 243 rifle and a 9mm pistol. It was so fun. I am going to get into deer hunting next year and I am really considering buying my first rifle soon. I would like something that I can shoot a deer up to 800 yards away with. I talked to a guy at a gun store where I live and he recommended a 300 ultra magnum for long range deer hunting. What do you think? My step dad has about 4 acres in Oklahoma and he said he sees deer that he says are about 800 yards away from his cabin. I would like to shoot those deer from the porch. If those deer are not on his property, am I allowed to shoot them since the animals are owned by the state? Since I will buy a state hunting license I assume I am allowed to shoot deer in that state. How far can a 300 winchester ultra kill a deer? What types of scopes do you recommend? I think the BSA scopes look cool. Any advice you guys have I would be really happy to listen! Thanks!!!
     
  6. JDMorris

    JDMorris Member

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    I shoot a Howa M-1500 that has shot some .5"-.75" groups at 100, apples at 200, and a 2.25"x2.50" group at 300, I had a Nikko Stirling Gameking 3.5-10x44 IR.
    Now it wears a Nikon Prostaff 3-9x40 with BDC reticle, which I haven't had a chance to shoot groups with yet, but will saturday.

    Durty, a .338 Lapua magnum would suit you better, and you should create your own thread, not try to change this guy's threads subject.
     
  7. 788Ham

    788Ham Member

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    My .223 is a Rem. 788, Simmons 6.5 X 20 x 50 mm scope. I know some folks laugh at a Simmons, but for $109.00, I can put 3 rounds into a spot I can easily cover with a dime @ 100 yds. I've never known how to measure for MOA, but I'm satisfied with the shooting. Some days I've shot better, some days worse. Reloading has helped my shooting more than anything, and I stick with one brand of bullet, one brand of powder and the same grains of powder for each cartridge.
     
  8. Freedom_fighter_in_IL

    Freedom_fighter_in_IL Member

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    Pretty much all my rifles are capable of sub moa at 100 yards. But that does not in ANY way mean that I am capable of it on every single outing at the range. Everyone has their off days. Just not everyone on the internet are willing to admit it. On any given day, I can and have shot sub moa 5 and 10 shot strings and on others I couldn't hit a barn wall while shooting from INSIDE the barn. 9 out of 10 firearms can outperform the shooter attempting to operate them. Some, like my custom .308, are so finicky about bullets that a non handloader would end up wrapping it around a tree. But once I found the "magic load" the thing will one hole at 100 yards at any given time. Try any other load with it and you are lucky to hit paper. Some firearms just have to have that extra little something to make them shine. Others, like most every savage I have ever bought, will shine right out of the box. Some may not be so pretty, but last time I checked, I was taking them out to hunt not taking them on a date.

    From what I have read and seen, that new Marlin XS7 model seems to be a pretty darn good firearm. The setup you have should perform very well. Some Marlins, don't know about this model, can be very picky on loads so if it doesn't like the first thing you feed it, don't get all down on it. It may just take a little attention to detail like a different load, or maybe a tiny little bit of relief of some stock in the barrel or receiver bed. Maybe just a hair bit of shine on the trigger. Sometimes it can be a VERY minor little thing that is easily over looked and can wreak havoc on your groups. Then other times (and this is more likely) you just can't shoot that particular weapon worth a darn. Some people and rifles just don't mesh well.

    Good luck with your new weapon. Hopefully you and it will mesh like 2 peas in a pod!
     
  9. WNTFW

    WNTFW Member

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    Durty,
    If you are new to hunting & rifles:
    Don't shoot on deer @ 800. yds.
    You need to be able to make a good hit and have a bullet perform in regards to terminal ballistic. Most guys I now that I have seen shoot extremely well in matches will cut their comfy range by 1/3 or 1/2 of what they do in matches. Basic shooting is one thing. shooting in the wind is a life long exercise.
    Buy a caliber you can afford to shoot. Even if money is not an issue recoil will have a price. I takes more practice than even I like to admit. If money is not an object get a .22lr, a smallish caliber centerfire preferrably with common caliber and good bullet ammo selection and shoot often. Then get the big dream caliber. You will make a better decision and a better rifleman/hunter.
     
  10. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    Me and a couple of my kin had an AK-47 contest.

    Wallowed-out bore.

    Folding metal stock.

    Iron sights.

    Offhand.

    50 yards.

    Rapid fire.

    Full magazine fired at each target.

    8.5 x 11 targets.

    I won (my target on left).

    This is why "high capacity" magazines are absolutely necessary.

    [​IMG]

    (shots marked with black pen were already on the backer)
     
  11. Tedzilla

    Tedzilla Member

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    Durty,
    Welcome to the sport of hunting. As a practical matter deer hunting from the porch is often impractical because of extreme temperatures and the risk of carnivorous insects. I usual do my long distance deer hunting from the kitchen window for the aforementioned reasons and because it’s closer to the refrigerator.
     
  12. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    You already have it, your keyboard.

    Before you try 800 yard shooting, try 50 or 100 yard shooting. As for cartridges, consider the 308 or the 30-06. Plenty accurate for hunting out to any practical range. You will have to define practical range. To me it is 150 yards or less, and I will try to stalk to half that or even closer. Other hunters will shoot fartrher, that is their choice.

    I would bet the Ultra Mag the guy tried to sell you is one he has not been able to sell to anyone else. A lot of recomendations are based on what is gathering dust and needs to be sold.
     
  13. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    For hunting accuracy, I use a paper dinner plate and try to keep my shots centered in it and away from the edges. I am content with 2MOA fired offhand or sitting. As for how many shots in the group, I don't care, usually 5 or less because non of my rifles hold more than 5 shells.

    When I competed with a rifle, I wanted every .001" I could get.
     
  14. Dave B

    Dave B Member

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    Durty, shooting across a fence or property line can get you some jail time. Your 30 cal mega blaster probably won't pawn for enough to make bail money.
     
  15. Tirod

    Tirod Member

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    Practical accuracy is relative.

    The military standard is 2MOA, about a two inch group at a hundred yards. That will still hit a 8" circle at 400, which is still about half the size of a human torso. Lake City and the DOD test accuracy with a ten shot group, and measure the average deviation in inches from the calculated center of it.

    If you are testing accuracy and insist on milspec, then that means ten shot groups. Anything else is suspect as advertising hype.

    Rifles that can shoot 1/2MOA or less are certainly out there, what's amazing is that so few understand what it actually takes to get it. Most accessories don't make the rifle more accurate, they just prevent the shooter being inaccurate. Pile them all on a gun with a 2MOA barrel, it'll still shoot 2MOA. You can't shoot the wings off a fly if it's not capable of 1/2 Minute of Fly Wing. It's just a spray and pray gun for flies.

    At 2 MOA it's still combat rated and a decent hunting rifle, tho. Bragging rights about accuracy beyond that have plagued the American shooter since before the War of Independence. They're testosterone based, and we should just ignore the chest thumping for what it is. Save it for the range, already.
     
  16. Sheepdog1968

    Sheepdog1968 Member

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    AT 100 and 200 yards distance with 10 shot groups, I typically shoot 3 to 4 MOA. I'm sure I've had some better groups than this but it's the norm. My ethical hunting distance is 200 yards and I'd prefer to be within 150 yards.
     
  17. Picher

    Picher Member

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    Practically speaking, a deer hunter needs to place ALL shots in a 6" circle from any position and at any distance he/she intends to shoot at a deer. Confine your shots to shooting positions or distances where you can do it. Learn where that 6" circle is located on a deer observed at different angles.

    If you practice enough to know what distances and from which positions you can shoot that 6" circle, you'll be way ahead of many hunters in the field. Ability to hit a 6" diameter circle varies with conditions, including weather, light, and physical condition at the time.

    I like a rifle that when shot from a solid benchrest, will group my hunting ammo inside 1" at 100 yards. I LOVE rifles that will do 1/2" or better, but really don't need that level of accuracy for deer hunting.
     
  18. BrocLuno

    BrocLuno Member

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    Who puts 10 shots into a deer or a hog? Lordy, I'm worried.

    First shot cold barrel sitting with a sling if you have one - better be close to middle of the dinner plate? Next one better be too? After that, it's whatever you want :)

    Hunting accuracy and bench time are two different things. Yeah, it's nice to know that your pet rifle will shoot 1" at 100. It's nice to know what it will do with a hot barrel. But it ain't necessary. Knowing what it will do with a stone cold barrel is necessary :what: More so than all the other data you can find out :banghead:

    Sight that new one in and let it rest in the shade for a 1/2 hour. Pick it up and put one on target. Make up your mind if that's where it was supposed to be? If so, you are good. If not, adjust and do all over again.

    Shooting SPBT hand loads is one thing, Shooting Wally-World Remington Cor-Loks is another. Which are you going to use in the field - on game?

    What did you buy the gun for - deer & hogs, or paper? Sight-in and test for that scenario. If you are going to shot groups of bowling pins, maybe a hot barrel counts? If you are going to shoot a tree full of hanging long line and swinging water balloons, I'm sure it counts (good way to learn lead on moving targets).

    I like a repeatable rifle as much as the next guy, but I really want to know where that first one is going :cool:
     
  19. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    The quality of machine tools is such that almost any modern bolt-action rifle should be capable of around one MOA. That's the rifle itself. After that, it's shooter skill and knowledge. A scope helps, of course, but magnification of above 4X for 100 yard tight groups isn't really necessary.

    As far as the distance in deer hunting, I'm pretty much a believer that one's limit in the field is whatever disance one can reliably hit the end of a beer can. That's field position, whether offhand or from some sort of hasty rest.

    I've been at this game for a helluva long time. The idea of shooting a deer out at 800 yards means a really, really long learning curve and a ferocious amount of money in rigging up and in practicing. From what I've seen for most truly skilled shooters, around 400 yards is a practical limit.
     
  20. BrocLuno

    BrocLuno Member

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    Heck Art, at my age I wouldn't even try 3/4 of that :(
     
  21. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    So wanting to shoot better than what the military deems "adequate" makes me a macho man chest thumper??? That's a very interesting generalization. I would think it to be quite egotistical and arrogant to presume to tell every other American shooter what level of accuracy should be acceptable....to them.
     
  22. Hangingrock

    Hangingrock Member

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    Center fire hunting rifles I only have two remaining from a one time large collection. One is a Winchester M70-LH in 30-06 with a Leupold 1.75-6X scope and the other is a Winchester M-94 in 30-30. At 100yds the M70 shoots just under a minute of angle and at 200yds ¾ minute of angle. The M94 isn’t as precise.

    That said I operate under the 8-inch circle rule. That’s to say stand up and shoot if all your rounds stay with an 8-inch circle no matter the distance that’s your maximum effective range from standing.

    That’s bringing the rifle to shoulder and shooting in a compressed period of time to let the shot off.

    Of course if you shoot at the end diameter of a beer can your maximum effective range is going to be some what different.;):)
     
  23. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer member

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    You should not begin hunting until you are mature enough to understand that you owe the animal a clean kill. Anyone shooting at a deer at 800 yards is a cretin.
     
  24. merlinfire

    merlinfire Member

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    I tend to agree, however, would we make exceptions for those crazy long-range .50BMG hunters?

    Still, 800 yards seems like I would have a hard time hitting anything at all.
     
  25. brandon_mcg

    brandon_mcg Member

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    800 yards for deer??? you may want to reevaluate your stand placement and/or stalking skills.
     
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