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What's Standard Distance for Handgun Testing?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by nippon, Apr 13, 2010.

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  1. nippon

    nippon Member

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    Just curious to know what the generally accepted distance is for testing a handgun for accuracy.

    Also, do you prefer to group with 3 or 5 shots? Or Neither?

    What about shooting from a rest? Do you use a handgun rest? If so, which one?

    I'm thinking about doing some accuracy tests of the handguns I own.

    Thanks for any thoughts!
     
  2. lions

    lions Member

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    For the accuracy of just the handgun it is usually rested from 25 yards.
     
  3. cavman

    cavman Member

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    with the 1911 for Bullseye it is 50 yards, 10 shots.

    (Since 50 yards is the longest distance shot and also the hardest, it needs to have the tightest groups at that distance.)

    (Also,I have never seen any targets come back from Bullseye smiths with less than 10 shots.)

    And the group better be smaller than 2 inches! :)
     
  4. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    for guns i carry as opposed to target pistols:
    25 yards standing 2 hands unsupported
    50 yards prone or from a rest (sand bags)

    any closer than 25 yards and you're really not seeing measurable differences. acceptable accuracy at 50 yards is 4"
     
  5. nippon

    nippon Member

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    Thanks! So a group of 4" at 50 is acceptable...does that mean 2" at 25 yards?
     
  6. David E

    David E Member

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    Are you testing the GUNS or testing YOU ?

    They are not the same.

    Maybe start at 7yds and keep increasing the distance until the group exceeds 3"

    That way you'll know what YOU can do with a given gun/load at a specific distance.
     
  7. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    Most gun scribblers, when testing handguns strictly for mechanical accuracy, use five shots at 25 yards for full size service pistols and revolvers, 15 yards for compact and pocket size handguns, typically by hand from a bench rest. Mas Ayoob also likes to list the "best three" in a five-shot group, feeling this is a truer test of the handgun's accuracy potential, or what it would do from a machine rest. With some tiny handguns (e.g., sightless Seecamps, mini-revolvers) they don't bother with formal accuracy testing; if they get a sufficient number of hits where they want them the gun is deemed "sufficiently accurate for its intended purpose."
     
  8. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

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    I consider 4" groups at 50 yds pretty good shooting. It is not great shooting, but it's not bad. Most have trouble doing that at 25 yds.

    When you "test" a gun or gun and ammo combination, you do it from a rest since you are trying to get a handle of the inherent accuracy of the gun or gun & ammo combinaton. Five shot groups work for me although with a 6-shot revolver, I would use 6 shots as my reference point.

    After you get a feel for a gun, then you test "you" shooting the gun unsupported. You compare your groups to the bench groups.
     
  9. nippon

    nippon Member

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    I'm testing the accuracy of the firearms. I'm a decent shot. I just have several handguns that I want to test in as much of a controlled environment as I can so I have a solid benchmark.

    Great recommendations here. Much appreciated!
     
  10. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine Member

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    I'd say bench resting at 25 yards is best but shooting closer will tell you a lot.

    At least 5 shots or more.
    This is an example of the advantage of using more shots to test the gun's accuracy.
    One day I was going to fire five shots from my five Kimbers to compare their accuracy (standing, two hands).
    This was the first five shots from the cheapest gun, the Ultra carry.
    [​IMG]

    I thought that's OK but to be dead certain I'll try the last two rounds.
    So, the next two shots removed any doubt about the accuracy of the gun.
    [​IMG]

    Sitting and using a sandbag or some rest to remove much of the shooter induced inaccuracy.
    Mostly I just use whatever's handy for a rest.:)
     
  11. NotSoFast

    NotSoFast Member

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    For me it depends on which gun I'm shooting. If I'm shooting a snubbie, 7 yards is my distance. But if I'm shooting with a 6" barrel, I'll move out to 25 yards. And I usually shoot 5 shot groups.
     
  12. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    ...and this is a perfect example of why you should be shooting out at least 25 yards.

    when you're testing for accuracy, you should not be looking for the tightest group. you should be looking to see how consistent the gun/ammo will shoot...you need distance o see that as it magnifies differences.

    to really test the difference between ammo in a gun, or the differences between guns, you really need to remove the human factor by shooting off a Ransom rest
     
  13. jonboynumba1

    jonboynumba1 Member

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    The Ransom rest makes us all humble shooters fast...most decent HG's will group 2 to 2 1/2" @ 25 with the human factor removed many better still when you find the ammo they prefer...very few hand gunners can reliably shoot 2" groups offhand @ 25 yards anywhere but on the internet! ;)

    That said I shoot 2" groups at 100 yards blindfolded every day after breakfast...and that's just LEFT handed! :neener: -just kiddin

    I think most people would say a tight even reliable fist sized group POA with the sights at 15 yards offhand would make any gun "combat accurate" which is a macho way of saying plenty good enough for any likely defensive needs. If you can cover your groups at 15 yards with a half-dollar and it's reliable you gotta fine weapon...hang onto it! I've had a few...I should have kept all of them I guess. Most guns will do that in theory...in reality finding one that fits you and has a trigger and sights that help YOU perform at your best is the real difference between a fine 1911 and an out of the box plastic gun!

    That said I'm going to the range now to shoot my XD45 and just put my XD9 back in the safe...so I guess I don't consider the difference between a one hole gun and a couple inches to be worth the extra pound or $500 in a CCW Though if you want an accurate gun on the range...the 1911 is still my favorite at heart...but they are a somewhat finicky beast in nature for the most part IMHO. I reserve the right to reverse that position when I build my next one and want to carry it for a year or so like the last one I built!-LOL

    PS- M2carbine...I just sold one of those I got in trade a while back...I was kinda sad I never got to go shoot it first!...I was kind of afraid I'd want it if I did anyway....45's have that effect on me...I think I want them all! Looks like you got a shooter there...I was probably right! LOL
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2010
  14. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine Member

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    I've wanted to get one for years and probably set it up at 50 yards, but I'd spend a fortune for grip inserts.:)
     
  15. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    When bench testing a handgun, make sure no part of the gun touches the bench or the rest. Hold the gun in a two-hand hold, with the wrists touching the sandbag or other rest. If the gun barrel or butt rests on any part of the bench or sandbag, the shooting will be erratic. (Remember, recoil starts when the bullet starts to move, so the bullet is still in the barrel when the gun recoils; anything affecting recoil will affect accuracy.)

    Jim
     
  16. nippon

    nippon Member

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    Wow! That Ransom Rest is pricey! I want to know accuracy but not for the cost a new handgun.
     
  17. gbw

    gbw Member

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    I think the NRA normally uses 5 consecutive 5-shot groups at 25 yards for all handguns regardless of size or barrel. Machine rests if they have it, handheld if not.

    This makes by far the most sense to me. It keeps the testing protocol and results standard.

    Only change I'd suggest is to test with a full cylinder for revolvers, i.e. test all chambers. With 5 shots from 7 or 8-shot revolver it would be fairly easy to not test a defective chamber. It would also be better I think to use all one type of rest (machine or hand-held).

    BTW, my results using a mechanical rest v. handheld resting consistently give about 20% group size advantage to the mechanical rest. Not nearly as large a difference as I had expected initially.

    If you are careful adn do your testing with a handheld rest there is no need for, nor any particular advantage to a machine rest.
     
  18. Ragnar Danneskjold

    Ragnar Danneskjold Member

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    When I got my Walther P99, it came with a factory target they used in testing. 50 yds, machine fired. I don't have the target anymore, but I believe it was 3 shots in a less than 1" group. I know for a fact that Walther is way more accurate than me.
     
  19. nippon

    nippon Member

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    I've heard that about the Walther p99. That's a sweet feature that they do.
     
  20. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    that's the logic behind Massad Ayoob's best "best 3 out of 5" shot groups

    if you're not going to use a rest, you really have to have good trigger control and understand how to remove variables when shooting...like throwing away the hand chambered shot
     
  21. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I agree and I'll add you should average the results of 5 sets of 5 rounds for a more accurate assessment.
     
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