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shooting groups, am I cheating?

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by bugeye, Mar 19, 2010.

  1. bugeye

    bugeye Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I've become obsessed with bench rest rifle shooting for tight groups.

    Last week I managed to shoot a .41" 4 shot group at 100 yards shrinking my previous best for this rifle by .1". However, I cheated by aiming the 2nd shot at the first bullet hole and then aiming for the mid point of the existing shots, rather than just aiming for the bullseye. I figure this is a common practice how many of you do this? Anyone think it is cheating, or is all fair in love, war, and group shooting?
     
  2. cbzdel

    cbzdel Tacoma, WA Member

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    I would say that is cheating.. I pick a single point on the target as a bulls eye then aim for that and only that..
     
  3. wou42

    wou42 Portland Active Member

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    I'm am definitely no expert, but I say if you can put 4 shots at 100 yards in that group, then "cheat" away. The whole idea is to get the shots as close together as possible. Mission accomplished. I don't care how you do it.
     
  4. MountainBear

    MountainBear Sweet Home, OR Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you need to adjust the zero on your scope. Get that first shot where you want it. If you were aiming at the bullseye and the shot pulled, one of three things happened. The scope is not zeroed, you pulled the shot, or the atmospheric conditions pushed the shot. Considering you said you changed your point of aim and put the shots in .41 (nice group by the way), just adjust your zero and then you should be golden. But more to the question, there's nothing wrong with giving the rifle a bit of kentucky windage to shoot a nice group...
     
  5. NK777

    NK777 West of Portland Member

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    I think thats just smart and not cheating.
     
  6. the4thshake

    the4thshake Portland Active Member

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    How big does the group get when you fire a fifth shot? You can get lucky for 3 or maybe 4 shots....but 5 starts getting tricky. A 5 shot group is a more realistic representation.
     
  7. torpedoman

    torpedoman land of corrupt politicians Member

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    usually if you chase the group the group gets a lot bigger ,ie first shot hit 1/2in from point of aim if the gun and the scope are good and you shift aim to that hole your next shot should be 1/2 from the point of aim
     
  8. bugeye

    bugeye Oregon Well-Known Member

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    To try and answer everyone at once.

    My best group with this rifle is .52 inch shooting at the bull with this same factory ammo, so it got better by .1" using this approach, however that was on a different day.

    Yes, I'm surprised it worked too, my hypothesis is that the first shot was on a fairly cold barrel and the follow up shots were with a warmer and more constant barrel temp.

    I shoot 4 shot groups with this rifle because that is the capacity of the internal mag and it takes me some time to load up a new set as it has a tight internal magazine and the scope is large and low without much loading clearance, so the temp changes a fair amount before I'm ready to go again. I tried this trick after a far more serious target shooter (his average shots are like my best ones) mentioned that it helped him.

    The rifle is zeroed with the ammo I was using but with a warm barrel shot not the first colder shot, as I stop when I get two in a row close to where I was aiming, so zeroing is by its very nature favoring the latter shots, right?
    The first shot in this group was about half an inch low but right under the bull.

    This rifle has a light barrel and is not any kind of a target rifle (stevens 200 in 223). I'm thinking of putting a thermocouple on the barrel (my multimeter has one) and shooting groups at the same temp. Maybe that will confirm that this is a temperature related issue. It heats up pretty quick and I've never been a patient fellow.

    The ammo I'm using is factory reloads, in 223, ultramax 223 with 69 gr. match bullets, and are working really well.
     
  9. the4thshake

    the4thshake Portland Active Member

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    Those stevens can be darn near amazingly accurate for the money. I had a 30-06 stevens that would shoot tiny little groups. The light barrel will heat up quickly and start to affect the point of impact. Try waiting a min or two between shots. You may also try loading the rounds one at a time straight into the chamber.
    I have never seen 69 grain ultramax but I have shot plenty of their 68 grain. You can't beat the accuracy for the price once again. It runs a bit slow over the chronograph compared to black hills or federal. The black hills is my favorite factory load for a 69 grain bullet in .223. You may even get your rifle to shoot the heavier 75 and 77 grain bullets. The 1-9 twist might just be fast enough with the velocity you get out of a 22" barrel. On the other hand it may not be. It is worth a try just to see.
     
  10. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Ardenwald, OR Well-Known Member

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    If you want to really test your skills as a marksman, shoot five, five shot groups on the same piece of paper. The eliminates the cherry picking. If you can but together five good groups on one piece of paper my hats off to you.
     
  11. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    A group is a group, no matter how you obtain it. To insist that a "valid" group is obtained by only holding on the original sight picture is to negate the shooter's skill in allowing for wind during the process, etc.

    Now, having said that, the criteria of 5 five shot groups on one piece of paper is on the money in determining just exactly how accurate a gun really is. The mention of "cherry picking" groups is a common mistake, of which I have been guilty on occasion. The guy who carries in his wallet a phenomenal group clustered near a bullseye, showing it off to all interested is likely a "cherry picker". If I'm the one interested, I'd like to see the other four groups he shot with it.

    As to "validity" of a 3-shot group, versus 5-shot, my technique is to shoot groups that the particular gun could be expected to deliver in the field. A standard-weight barreled big game gun's criteria would be 3-shot groups. A heavy-barreled prairie dog gun would be held to the higher standard of 5-shot groups, or even 10-shot groups. ( It is highly unlikely that a big game rifle would be called upon in the field to deliver five shots in succession.)

    And, actually, the 3-shot group demanded from the big game gun is not really an effort to show how 3 shots in succession would land, but rather how 3 carefully delivered "first shots" on an animal would land. Thus, always "foul the bore" with 3 shots (from a clean bore) before shooting your actual test group, and always hunt with a fouled bore. Each shot in the test group should be seperated by at least 3 minutes of cooling time. Groups should be seperated by at least five minutes. This is my procedure: such procedures are probably just as varied as the number of shooters.

    This is not to discount the value of firing a "hot-bore" group from your deer/elk rifle (shots in rapid succession). This will illustrate the gun's propensity to "string" the shots as the bore warms up, and will give you an idea of what happens when that big muley gives you three shots before he is out of range. On a varmint gun, it will show what happens in dogtown when the action is hot and heavy.

    Heavy guns with light triggers can be held on the sandbags minimally, with just the fingertip on the trigger. Light guns most often need to be "held hard" on the bags to do their best. If your big-game rifle has a trigger in the 4-6lb range, wrap your trigger finger completely around the trigger, with the contact point being the second "pad" of your finger, and slowly increase pressure until detonation. The tip of your finger may serve as a "pivot point" against the trigger guard.

    Cooling times need to be adjusted for each gun: I collect (amongst other things) Savage M24 over-under combo guns. Invariably, the ones that have the rifle barrel "separated" from the shotgun barrel simply will not group at all unless the rifle barrel is completely cold for each shot. Thus, when grouping these guns, I'll shoot one shot, allow at least 10 minutes before shooting the second. This also fits nicely with the technique described above: These guns will be normally expected in the field to only deliver one shot from a stone cold barrel.

    Your .41 group is amazing. Do it four more times, it'll be phenomenal, and illustrate for many that accurate guns don't have to be expensive ones.
     
  12. bugeye

    bugeye Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the good advice!

    Oops, I just checked the Ultramax ammo and it is 68 gr. hollow point.

    One shot at a time sounds like a good idea, I've done that with other rifles but I've yet to try it with this one. I've been trying to get the internal mag to loosen up and accept the cartridges easier, and use along with a little bending has worked.

    I tried lots of 55gr bullet cartridges and they all shoot poorly compared to the heavier bullets, the rifle especially hates the faster XM193 mil loads. Even the Wolf 62 gr. shoots better than any of the 55's and that makes sense regarding the fast twist barrel. I'll try the black hills 69's if I can find some.
     
  13. SSG

    SSG Lane County New Member

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    Spitpatch got it right and I will add this...

    It's usualy the guys at the gun stores that talk of .25 MOA groups, not at the range where we can glass thier targets...that said...I tend to focus on the improving reliability, consistancy and accuracy...bringing up my mean worst performance to a level where I feel I know what I can count on when the chips are down...

    Always nice to make good shots, but consistancy is the key...getting lucky, is just that.. getting lucky...you can't count on luck.
     
  14. Mookie

    Mookie Eastern Washington Active Member

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    You shot the group. In any competition in the world it would be a clean group. Remember, it is not just the rifle, it is the shooter. Together you get the groups.
     
  15. bugeye

    bugeye Oregon Well-Known Member

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    My average groups with the Ultramax are in 1.25 moa territory I never meant to imply this was anything like average performance for my Stevens and minimal skills!

    Next time out I'll try for 4 in a row!

    You have thought out the subject of groups really well and after reading what you have to say I don't think I can help but adopt your take on it!

    Thanks
     
  16. Wenis

    Wenis Tri-Cities, WA Member

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    There is a difference between precision and accuracy. Getting a tight group is precision, while accuracy is hitting where you're aiming. Strive for both.