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Old June 20, 2013, 06:00 PM   #51
csmsss
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I weigh rifle cases and sort on weight. i don't bother so much with pistol brass. But everything gets looked at after cleaning for splits, bulges, primer pocket issues, etc.
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Old June 21, 2013, 07:22 AM   #52
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There are several reasons to sort handgun brass, and only one not to...lazyness.

Making handloads with mixed headstamps is as logical as making loads with mixed brands bullets or a mix of different brands of primers. Missed the beer can again...I'm not shoot'en so good today, but at least I'm not shoot'en in competition, where it would make a difference.
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Old June 21, 2013, 03:20 PM   #53
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Quote:
There are several reasons to sort handgun brass, and only one not to...lazyness.
I completely disagree.

Simply because you personally have decided that sorting brass for range loads is necessary, does not mean that it is in fact necessary.

We all have various quirks we adhere to - simply because one goes a step or 20 further than another does not make either or the right way or the wrong way. They are just different ways.
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Old June 21, 2013, 03:40 PM   #54
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Quote:
I completely disagree.

Simply because you personally have decided that sorting brass for range loads is necessary, does not mean that it is in fact necessary.

We all have various quirks we adhere to - simply because one goes a step or 20 further than another does not make either or the right way or the wrong way. They are just different ways.
I agree. Further, though I can't speak for anyone else, I have a limited amount of time available to me for my hobby/recreational activities. The time I spend sorting hundreds/thousands of pistol cases by headstamp is time I could be spending loading, shooting, or just enjoying time with my family. Since there's no way on earth anyone could possibly convince me that I will see any noticeable difference in performance or accuracy given the range at which I shoot and the target(s) I shoot at, I am quite happy not sorting pickup pistol brass by headstamp. I clean, inspect, and load, and that's just the way it's going to be, whether someone characterizes me as lazy or not.
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Old June 21, 2013, 04:35 PM   #55
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You guys have convinced me. From now on its mixed head stamps, mixed primers and mixed bullets. Just don't have the time to do all that sort'en and deal'en with details. All this work'en up loads stuff is just nonsense.

When I was a kid in the '50's and '60's, it was common to hear, "...re-loads are not good!". The reason that non-hand loaders considered the act of re-loading a brass casing output with suspicion is that there were many bad results of such practices. I can assure you, my handloads are as good as, or better than factory ammunition. If you cannot make that statement, there may be room for introspection.
As for sorting head stamps taking too much time, that is complete non-sense...you only have to sort them once. After than shoot them in lots containing only one head stamp. If you have "thousands" of cases, that should not be a problem.
If you are a handloader that does not practice consistency, you are part of the reason that there are people who still think that, "Reloads are no good!"
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Old June 21, 2013, 06:00 PM   #56
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Quote:
Making handloads with mixed headstamps is as logical as making loads with mixed brands bullets or a mix of different brands of primers. Missed the beer can again...I'm not shoot'en so good today, but at least I'm not shoot'en in competition, where it would make a difference.
Like so many things in life, it depends.

For benchrest you would be a fool if you stopped sorting brass at just the head stamp.

On the other hand I have a wheelbarrow size pile of "wood" won at USPSA and IDPA matches and almost all of them have been shot with mixed head stamp brass.
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Old June 21, 2013, 10:35 PM   #57
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I have some Speer 9mm brass that is about half brass and half nickel. I did separate them...is this going too far? I just do plinking and target shooting.
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Old June 22, 2013, 08:49 AM   #58
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I have some Speer 9mm brass that is about half brass and half nickel. I did separate them...is this going too far? I just do plinking and target shooting.
Nickeled brass in .38 Spl. and .357 Magnum will have significantly shorter case life. As a matter of fact, if you handload those two cartridges with mixed, they will self-sort in that you will find, after many cycles of shooting/handloading, the nicked brass is tossed into the brass salvage bin while the plain brass cases are still good. However, I have little experience with nickeled cases in auto cartridges (save for .38 Super), so it may be of less/no concern in 9MM. In your situation of both are Speer manufacture, let us know after many cycles how they held up.
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Old June 22, 2013, 03:17 PM   #59
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I find that plated cases split first also, as a general rule.
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Old June 23, 2013, 07:20 AM   #60
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so much phooey, so little rebuttal time, ay?

1)
Quote:
brass should have very little effect on the outcome of your loads, especially in a pistol round like 9mm
IME the .355" bores are the most affected by varied headstamp. However, I completely agree that many barrels don't care.
I have one 9x19 barrel that DOES NOT CARE. It gets fed mixed cases (back to that "lazy" thing).

I also note that subsequent firing of new brass cannot duplicate the performance of new brass.


2)
Quote:
Nickeled brass in .38 Spl. and .357 Magnum will have significantly shorter case life
First, case life is mostly determined by the chamber it's fired from, and the load in the case.
Process is another significant factor for case life. I'm still reloading used nickeled 357 Magnum I bought used in 1976.


Lastly)
Quote:
three kinds of cases:
-New
-Once fired
-More than once fired
This. Truth.
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Old June 23, 2013, 07:26 AM   #61
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ps

I been wrong before, but not this time


There is no right answer to sorting, as the answer is based on an individual's goal for their ammo, and their experience from their guns.
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Old June 23, 2013, 01:29 PM   #62
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I have started using my calipers to measure cases. Finding most of them so far are at .744-.746. This is close to the minimum already. Will this limit how many times I can reload them?
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Old June 23, 2013, 03:07 PM   #63
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Depends on how you use them. When they get too short, they'll start to headspace on the extractor hook before the case mouth gets all the way to the end of its part of the chamber. At that point it can't headspace on the mouth anymore. But don't worry too much. I've see estimates that as many as 70% of new 1911's do that anyway. It's the main reason beefed up after-market extractors are available for them. Lots of pistols have excess headspace due to their tolerances.

For shooting, I've never seen headspacing on the extractor hook have adverse impact on the precision of jacketed loads. With lead bullets, it's another story, as the shoulder in the chamber that the case mouth is supposed to rest on will swage a little distortion into soft lead that's pushing past it. The cure in that instance is to seat lead bullets out until they headspace on the bullet (assuming they will still feed in your gun at that length).

Bottom line, just load and shoot them. I've shot .45 Auto up to 0.020" shorter than SAAMI standard minimum with no issues, as long as I headspaced on the bullet. Just seat the lead bullets long until a finished round dropped into the chamber looks like the third from left, below.

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Old June 25, 2013, 02:43 PM   #64
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Quote:
You guys have convinced me. From now on its mixed head stamps, mixed primers and mixed bullets. Just don't have the time to do all that sort'en and deal'en with details. All this work'en up loads stuff is just nonsense.
Way to take something and blow it completely out of context. Who here has said that mixing bullets was an acceptable practice?

Is it really that difficult to believe that if you are shooting holes in paper at modest ranges with modest loads "just for fun" (some of us actually shoot just for fun), that spending umpteen hours sorting headstamps is going to be beneficial?

I can assure you that it is not beneficial to everybody.

Quote:
When I was a kid in the '50's and '60's, it was common to hear, "...re-loads are not good!". The reason that non-hand loaders considered the act of re-loading a brass casing output with suspicion is that there were many bad results of such practices.
Bad practices and not sorting headstamps on brass for pistol cases are not necessarily one and the same. It really is a rather simple concept.

Quote:
I can assure you, my handloads are as good as, or better than factory ammunition. If you cannot make that statement, there may be room for introspection.
I don't sort my plinking loads by head stamp, and I can assure you that they are as good or better than factory as well. They seem to make holes in paper where and when I want them to. And you are also making great assumptions that even the same lot of factory brass is somewhat uniform. I can assure you that in many cases, it is far from it outside of the stamp on the head of the case.

Quote:
As for sorting head stamps taking too much time, that is complete non-sense...you only have to sort them once. After than shoot them in lots containing only one head stamp. If you have "thousands" of cases, that should not be a problem.
Time is money and money is time. And it's not always as easy as sorting them once, then shooting them in lots.

Quote:
If you are a handloader that does not practice consistency, you are part of the reason that there are people who still think that, "Reloads are no good!"
If you hang out with folks that think reloads are no good, you hang out with some close minded folks.

It all goes back to what you consider necessary. For you, obviously, hand sorting and fine inspecting everything is for whatever reason a necessary aspect to your personal style of reloading. More power to you. Maybe when I have ample free time I'll change my tune and have the same mentality.

But for now, dispensing with things like sorting by headstamp for rounds that are relegated to shooting cans or punching holes in paper at the range is not something I'll justify my time for. Especially when those holes end up in the same place whether or not that headstamp says Winchester or Remington or Speer or Nosler or what have you.

Your way is not wrong; your way is not right. Your way is your way. Just like mine and everybody else on here that does things just a smidge different.
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Old June 26, 2013, 02:46 PM   #65
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Let us put this sorting thing into prospective. There are several things you can do to handgun brass when handloading that will not have a large effect on the accuracy. For instance, if you did not trim all the cases to exactly the same length, used small variations in powder (scoops or a powder that does not meter well),used mixed primers, used mixed brands of bullets or used different head stamps. It is not a matter of a single or even two of the elements of good handloading practice that will show a large difference in accuracy. It is a matter of the cumulative effect and its detriment to accuracy. Consistency has always been the key word in handloading.
We do what we find worth while to do. Nevertheless, I cannot understand the mind-set that seems to go with using mixed head stamps. Too much trouble to sort every time one shoots? Not likely, all the handloader would need do, is the very first and only time they examine a fired case, if it says R-P, throw it into a coffee can marked: R-P. If the case says W-W, throw it into a coffee can marked: W-W, and so on. Then when one goes out shooting, take the loads based on a single head stamp. Now if those guys who say it is too much trouble because they have too many cases, it begs the question: If you have that many cases that you claim (some claim close to or more than a thousand), is a factor in being "too much trouble", how could you be shooting so many that you could would have to dip into another brand (head stamp) and get them mixed-up again. I shoot almost every day, but only 200-300 hundred and maybe 500 in one day and I have not had to dip into a different head stamp.
In short, sorting by head stamp is one of the easiest things one can do in the handloading process that can help consistency. Unless of course it is just too much trouble when inspecting those new, once-fired range cases for damage (you do, do that don't you?), to toss a R-P to the left and an W-W to the Right.
Wow! Tires me out just thinking about it.
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Old June 26, 2013, 06:19 PM   #66
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Re: Sorting Brass

I agree with above with one.exception...there are never just a left and a right.

I seperate the most common for me (3-4 headstamps) and make an "other" pile.
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Old June 26, 2013, 07:23 PM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dahermit
Let us put this sorting thing into prospective.
Ok - I'll do that for you:

Some people think that it matters, other people have proven that it doesn't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dahermit
Nevertheless, I cannot understand the mind-set that seems to go with using mixed head stamps.
I can't understand the mindset that needs to do something totally unnecessary. I don't sort pistol brass by head stamp, I don't trim pistol brass, I don't sort pistol bullets by weight, I don't weigh each charge for my pistol loads, I don't neck-turn pistol brass, and I don't worry about the jump to the rifling in my pistol bullets. All of the above actions have proven to be of ZERO consequence to the accuracy of my pistol loads, so why should I waste time performing them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dahermit
Too much trouble to sort every time one shoots?
Yep.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dahermit
Not likely, all the handloader would need do, is the very first and only time they examine a fired case, if it says R-P, throw it into a coffee can marked: R-P. If the case says W-W, throw it into a coffee can marked: W-W, and so on. Then when one goes out shooting, take the loads based on a single head stamp.
How do you get the other 5 guys in your squad shooting the scenario before you pick up brass to use the same headstamp as you? Can you really persuade them to miss the next stage so they can stand around sorting brass with you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dahermit
If you have that many cases that you claim (some claim close to or more than a thousand)
LMAO. There's probably twice that many rolling around under the seat of my car. You strike me as someone who doesn't shoot competitions and probably doesn't go through pistol brass in 5 gallon buckets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dahermit
In short, sorting by head stamp is one of the easiest things one can do in the handloading process that can help consistency.
In reality, sorting pistol brass by headstamp is one of the most useless things you can do in the pistol handloading process, and has ABSOLUTELY no effect on accuracy. The only "consistency" that it helps with is the consistency of the name on the brass and the amount of time you waste.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dahermit
Wow! Tires me out just thinking about it.
Me too!

I'll shoot a few groups with my mixed brass 9mm handloads at 25 yards next time I go to the range, you shoot a few with yours. Post some pics and we'll compare how much difference sorting makes.

Last edited by 45_auto; June 26, 2013 at 07:32 PM.
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Old June 26, 2013, 08:00 PM   #68
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I don't sort my brass by head stamp before reloading. Sometimes I sort it when going to the range because most ranges here do not allow reloaded ammunition. So I sort it by head stamp and place it in the appropriate box and everything is good at the range.
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Old June 26, 2013, 08:02 PM   #69
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Whoops! I never considered that competition thing where there is more than one shooter. I shoot only on my home range and shot revolver at bowling pin matches where lost brass is not a problem. I shot M1 Garand in service rifle matches, but painted my brass with machinist's red layout dye to I.D. them (keep others from claiming them).
You will not hear another word from me on the subject...not one word...two can play that game...not one word...
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Old June 27, 2013, 11:18 AM   #70
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45 Auto nailed it.

If you just want to do it, more power to you - but claiming it must be done to achieve any level of accuracy is misleading at best.

I sort my rifle brass like it's going out of style - and in my bolt actions I use only one brand of brass that is trimmed to my specs with neck turned, sized to a specific dimension, cleaned and uniformed primer pocket inside and out. Why? Because it does make a difference when you are shooting at range. Is it all necessary? For me it is. For the next guy over, it may not be.

No way am I doing all of that for pistol brass, much less pistol brass that I'm going to shoot primarily at 7-15 yards, with the occasional shoot at 25 yards, none of which I'm shooting for X-ring accuracy. I want "minute of center of mass in rapid fire at that range" accuracy. And what brand is on the head stamp isn't going to make a hill of beans of difference on that level of accuracy.

So it goes right back to what your personal preference is. But rest assured, none of it is really all that necessary. Most would be surprised at factory ammo tolerances if they really paid that much attention.
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Old June 27, 2013, 04:28 PM   #71
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Not one word out of me...nope.
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Old June 27, 2013, 06:01 PM   #72
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sort brass

I'm Old school, If its worth doing, Its worth doing right. Reloading Is a hobby

The target challenge should tell the tell.. Lets see some comparisons


Quote:
I'll shoot a few groups with my mixed brass 9mm handloads at 25 yards next time I go to the range, you shoot a few with yours. Post some pics and we'll compare how much difference sorting makes.
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Old June 28, 2013, 10:57 AM   #73
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Quote:
Not one word out of me...nope.
Question - since apparently this is something that is important, in your mind, to achieving consistency and any level of accuracy:

After you sort by head stamp, do you weigh each piece of brass from the same manufacturer and further sort by weight? Do you measure the volume of each case and sort by volume?

Because honestly, if you don't, the only level of consistency you are really getting by sorting by manufacture head stamp is, well, manufacture head stamp.
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Old June 28, 2013, 04:43 PM   #74
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Schmellba99,

That's not quite the case (so to speak.) Eyeball this article, and even though it's not on topic for pistol shooting, it does show how different brass alloys can be from different makers. Not only can brass have different alloys, it can have different work hardening due to how often it has been reloaded. Both of these are factors in bullet pull, which affects start pressure which affects ignition time and velocity consistency and accuracy.

Some years ago, competitors at the National Matches observed that military match pistol ammo shot a little better than its commercial counterparts. This was tracked down to the pitch seal in the military cartridge increasing start pressure for more uniform ignition and muzzle velocity than commercial cartridges exhibited. Obviously, sorting by brand and by load history is not going to get you something the commercial match loads didn't already have, but not doing so can get you something less.

But most people aren't shooting conventional pistol matches these days. So, whether you get anything from doing it or not just depends what it is you are doing with the ammo and how.

All group size precision, whether in rifle or pistol, is part of a complex system, all the elements of which interact with one another. The late Michael Creighton pointed out that complex systems are not easily predictable. His example was the stock market. If someone claims they know what a stock is going to do three days from now, you are immediately aware that he is either a crook or a charlatan. Creighton's point was the same applies to how the environment, another complex system, will react to something we do to it, but for some reason we haven't learned to recognize those who claim to be able to say what it will do in the same light as we do stock market predictors. I'll add that same warning to elements of reloading, as interior ballistics is another complex system. We've all had our own personal experiences with it, but here's the bottom line: if you want an objective assessment of whether a particular reloading step matters to you or not, you have to test it in your own equipment to see what difference, if any, you can see it making.

Here's the reason the answer is not universal: each source of error adds some amount of random distribution or spread to the overall distribution of bullet holes on a target. They don't add linearly. That is, if you have a source of error that produces an average of a 1" group spread and another that produces an average of 2" group spread and put them together so the shooting system has both sources of error at once, you don't get a 3" group. You get just under a 2¼" average group size. This is because independent sources of error rarely both have their two worst case oppositely influenced shots (the two that wind up defining the group size) on the same two shots, and when they do, it's rarely the case that they just happen to have the same directions of influence away from the center for each of the two bullets. And those two coincidences are what it would take to get a 3" group result in my example. On average, they randomly assert their most extreme influence on randomly different shots in the string and in randomly different directions away from the group center.

In statistics you solve for the final group average by combining the standard deviations of the two, and standard deviations combine as the square root of the sum of their squares. In my example I gave a 1" average group error and a 2" average group error. So they will combine as:

Combined Average Group = √(1²+2²) = √5 = 2.24

Here's the thing: If you have a 2" source of random group error, then introduce the 1" source of error, you might not notice it made any difference, as a quarter inch one way or the other is well within normal group variance for pistol shooting. You might have to fire and measure twenty groups before you were certain you had accomplished anything at all (though there is a statistical test called a T test that will let you tell sooner). But if you have only the 1" source of error and introduced the 2" source of error on top of it, you'd notice right away, as the average group would slightly more than double.

The same thing works in reverse. If you have 2¼" groups and you do something that remedies the 1" source of error, you would have a hard time telling that you'd done anything to better your situation, even though your average score on targets would go up a little, scratching the next higher scoring ring a little more often. But if you removed the 2" source of error, you'd know right away, as group size would drop by just over half.

What happens to your 2¼" groups if you remove a ¼" source of error? Well you have:

Corrected Average Group = √5²-¼² = 2.22"

Not much, going from 2.24" to 2.22". Now you really have to shoot a lot to tell if you made any improvement. But if you had a gun shooting ¼" groups to start with, you'd instantly notice you had turned it into a one-holer. So, whether or not you see the effect of something you do to improve group size clearly depends on the cumulative effect of all the other error sources in your shooting system. In general, the more accurate the shooting system is to start with, the more easily you see the effect of an improvement.

So, this is going to come down to how accurate you and the system are. You can painstakingly go through all sorts of group shooting and measuring and statistical analysis after each attempted improvement to see if you've achieved a visible group reduction, as many people do. Or, you can do what I do, and take just one set of cases and sort them and treat them like a benchrest shooter would, load up maybe 25 to 50 and shoot just one big group. Then repeat with ammo loaded without all the special effort. If you see a clear difference between the performance of the two ammo sets, some thing or things you did with the careful loading mattered and it's probably worth taking time to find out which ones it was. If you don't see a clear difference, then other factors, like your gun, your sights, or yourself are dominating the group size, and the difference made by your careful loading work is not going to bear fruit until you address these other factors.
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Old June 29, 2013, 07:19 AM   #75
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Unclenick, that is the best "layman" description of the statistical effects of given ammo variables on accuracy that I have ever read. No one I know that understands it as well as you has the patience to explain it anywhere near that concisely!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unclenick
If you don't see a clear difference, then other factors, like your gun, your sights, or yourself are dominating the group size, and the difference made by your careful loading work is not going to bear fruit until you address these other factors.
Excellent summary. If you're shooting something like IDPA against the clock, with a flash sight picture on iron sights out to about 25 yards on an 8" diameter A zone, then the absolute accuracy of each round (given reasonably consistent loads) is insignificant compared to the other variables.
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