The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Art of the Rifle: General

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old July 8, 2013, 05:37 AM   #1
Picher
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 14, 2004
Location: Maine
Posts: 2,781
Higher Velocity Can Mean Greater Field Accuracy

It's recognized by many shooters that lower velocity rounds require greater follow-through than higher ones. Shooting .22LR target and benchrest rifles, the rifle tends to move more in recoil prior to the bullet leaving the barrel.

Perhaps it's most evident in handgun and black powder shooting where there is considerable recoil effect, but lower velocity. For instance, with handguns, hotter loads with greater recoil, but higher velocity, tend to shoot lower on paper than lower-velocity target loads.

Therefore, I contend that high-velocity, but lower-recoil rifle cartridges such as .223 Rem, .22-250 Rem and .243 Win, .270 Win, etc.; will tend to shoot closer to point of aim from different positions, both field and benchrest than slower/heavier-recoiling ones because they tend to move the rifle less prior to the bullet leaving the bore than larger, lower velocity cartridges.

Although I've noticed the effect, I don't have extensive testing results to prove it, but you may want to consider velocity verses bullet weight for smaller, through medium-sized game, especially if you shoot at longer ranges from various positions/rests.

Last edited by Picher; July 8, 2013 at 01:53 PM.
Picher is offline  
Old July 8, 2013, 08:07 AM   #2
MrBorland
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 31, 2007
Location: NC
Posts: 1,815
Quote:
It's recognized by many shooters that lower velocity rounds require greater follow-through than higher ones. Shooting .22LR target and benchrest rifles, the rifle tends to move more in recoil prior to the bullet leaving the barrel...

Therefore, I contend that high-velocity, but lower-recoil rifle cartridges...will tend to shoot closer to point of aim...than slower/heavier-recoiling ones because they tend to move the rifle less prior to the bullet leaving the bore...
I get the feeling you're referring to 2 different phenomena - dwell time vs the amount the muzzle moves while the bullet's still in the barrel.

As far as dwell time, I think it's understood that a slower velocity increases it, and demands good followthrough from the shooter.

As the amount the muzzle moves while the bullet's still in the barrel, though, I've always maintained that physics says it's dependent on the mass of the ejecta, the mass of the gun, and the length of the barrel, but not on velocity. Faster bullets tend to hit lower because they tend to be lighter.

Keep in mind that the higher the bullet velocity, the faster the muzzle moves while the bullet's still in the barrel as well, so time (and therefore velocity) cancels out. It's like 2 guys running - one may run slower for a longer period of time, so he covers the same amount of ground as his speedier counterpart who runs for a shorter period of time.
MrBorland is offline  
Old July 8, 2013, 02:05 PM   #3
Picher
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 14, 2004
Location: Maine
Posts: 2,781
I wasn't considering barrel vibration which is pretty much a constant for a particular load, regardless of hold. Any irregularities in movement of the rifle from ignition to the time the bullet leaves the barrel will cause deviation. Such movements, that include shooter movement or recoil-induced variations, due to hold, rest, etc. will affect POI.

The shorter the barrel time, and recoil-induced motion, the less any inconsistencies in hold and movement will affect a shot.
Picher is offline  
Old July 8, 2013, 02:56 PM   #4
Erno86
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 22, 2012
Location: Marriottsville, Maryland
Posts: 532
At short ranges for handguns...a heavier bullet will shoot higher than a lighter bullet, due to the upward vertical recoil impulse.
__________________
That rifle hanging on the wall of the working class flat or labourer's cottage is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there."

--- George Orwell
Erno86 is offline  
Old July 8, 2013, 03:03 PM   #5
Double Naught Spy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 8, 2001
Location: Forestburg, Montague County, Texas
Posts: 10,426
Interesting, but I have seen where the same bullet weight, make, and model fired from the same barrel can group differently and different velocities and that higher velocities do not always produce the best results.

Of course, maybe you aren't actually even speaking of accuracy as much as you are bullet drop. Drop and accuracy are not mutually exclusive.
__________________
"If you look through your scope and see your shoe, aim higher."
-- said to me by my 11 year old daughter before going out for hogs 8/13/2011
Double Naught Spy is offline  
Old July 8, 2013, 10:03 PM   #6
GJSchulze
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 3, 2013
Location: Western New York
Posts: 295
I've seen slow motion video of the bullet exiting the barrel of a semi-auto. There is no gun movement of any kind until the bullet leaves the muzzle. This is consistent with physics because it's a closed system until the bullet exits.
GJSchulze is offline  
Old July 8, 2013, 11:17 PM   #7
Double Naught Spy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 8, 2001
Location: Forestburg, Montague County, Texas
Posts: 10,426
Quote:
I've seen slow motion video of the bullet exiting the barrel of a semi-auto. There is no gun movement of any kind until the bullet leaves the muzzle. This is consistent with physics because it's a closed system until the bullet exits.
Negative. It is not a closed system. If the barrel isn't moving, it is because it is being held in place or compensated for otherwise.

The amount of movement is often quite small given the amount of time involved and the relative masses between the bullet and the firearm.

Somebody can check my math, but assuming a 36" rifle pivoting at the buttstock during recoil (as opposed to barrel flex), a change of 1/3600" in position of the muzzle before the bullet leaves the barrel will result in the shot being off by an inch at 100 yards. So unless the slow motion footage involves showing a micrometer or a microscope view, then most imagery will be insufficient to show movement that could throw off accuracy.
__________________
"If you look through your scope and see your shoe, aim higher."
-- said to me by my 11 year old daughter before going out for hogs 8/13/2011
Double Naught Spy is offline  
Old July 8, 2013, 11:19 PM   #8
Jimro
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 18, 2006
Posts: 5,475
Picher,

Do you mean "accuracy" as in the shooter can hit where intended?

Or do you mean "precision" as in the rifle/ammo combination is repeatable (making smaller groups than a less precise combo).

Because if you say that higher velocity can increase accuracy "in the field" then you are right to the extent that a higher velocity cartridge will have a longer "point blank zero" than a slower one. However, even the sedate 30-30 Win has a point blank zero over two and a half football fields down range, and going to a barrel burning 7mm Rem Mag or 243 Win can only extend that PBR by another football field. So taking range estimation out of the equation does make a faster round easier to be "accurate" with in that limited scope of performance.

In terms of making smaller groups on paper though, I call utter BS. I've seen accurate black powder rifles (black powder benchrest is a sport I have no interest in, but find fascinating the level of precision achieved is impressive). Also the old black powder cartridge silhouette game achieves very impressive precision. Yes they have much more holdover at the rams than the modern centerfires, but it is the shooter that dictates accuracy.

Jimro
__________________
"Gorsh" said Goofy as secondary explosions racked the beaten zone, "Did I do that?"

http://randomthoughtsandguns.blogspot.com/
Jimro is offline  
Old July 9, 2013, 03:37 AM   #9
GJSchulze
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 3, 2013
Location: Western New York
Posts: 295
Double Naught, I should have said that I was talking about a pistol and that with the bullet just exiting the barrel there was no sign of muzzle flip or of the slide moving.
GJSchulze is offline  
Old July 9, 2013, 07:23 AM   #10
Double Naught Spy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 8, 2001
Location: Forestburg, Montague County, Texas
Posts: 10,426
Then you are still wrong.

See 1:22 in video here...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaVhfQcqfGY
__________________
"If you look through your scope and see your shoe, aim higher."
-- said to me by my 11 year old daughter before going out for hogs 8/13/2011

Last edited by Double Naught Spy; July 9, 2013 at 07:35 AM.
Double Naught Spy is offline  
Old July 9, 2013, 08:09 AM   #11
Picher
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 14, 2004
Location: Maine
Posts: 2,781
I was mostly talking about field shots being able to hit where a person, with a sighted-in rifle is trying to hit a relatively small area on game (or whatever) from various field positions and looser or tighter holds than used to sight-in the rifle. Shooter movement, including heartbeat, shake, or whatever, during the dwell (barrel-time) could be a factor, especially when using very low velocity projectiles.

Shooting .22 LR benchrest rifles, most shooters use the "free-recoil" system to minimize extraneous pressures on the rifle that can affect the shot, due to the slight movement of the rifle between ignition and bullet exit. Such bullets are exiting 26-28 inch barrels at around 1,000 fps. A rifle will move about an inch under free-recoil on bags (lubed with baby powder for consistency). Only a small portion of the movement occurs prior to bullet exit, but due to the stock slope on the rear bag, shots will print about 1/4" higher then when held against the shoulder. I believe that proves there is rifle motion prior to bullet exit, especially for lower-velocity rifle bullets.

(Earlier, I used the example of handguns reacting to various loads depending on velocity and recoil and it may have clouded the issue, even though it may apply.)
Picher is offline  
Old July 9, 2013, 08:55 AM   #12
Bart B.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 2009
Posts: 4,826
Food for thought; i.e. facts for reasoning in these issues.....

All firearms move a bit such that their bore axis points to a different place when the bullet exits compared to where it pointed when the primer fired the round. Some examples:

* Double rifles' barrels toe in at the muzzle. Typically, the bore axis crosses at 10 to 25 yards depending on the recoil. The distance between the muzzle axes is less than the distance between the breech axes. They're "regulated" by moving a wedge between the barrels to zero at 50 or 100 yards. The front sight height on a .500 NE Rigby double I measured was higher above the bore than the rear sight's leaves; proof to me the bore axes rise a bit while the bullets go down the barrel. After all, the recoil axis is above the shooter's shoulder where the stock's butt plate is.

* Handgun front sights' top is higher than their rear sight's tops; go measure them yourself. The bore axis points below the aiming point when the firing pin smacks the primer.

* .22 rimfire free pistols were designed decades ago such that their bore axis aligned with the shooter's arm axis minimizing muzzle axis jump during the time bullets went down the barrel.

* Several people shooting the same rifle with a given load will each have their own zeros on the sights for a given range. This is because each person holds the rifle slightly different and its recoil amout and direction varies a bit while the bullet's going down the barrel. I have observed this with both bolt guns and semiautos with scope and aperture sights "hot gunning" the same rifle and ammo in long range team matches. There's easily a 1 MOA difference. It ain't because they each look through the sights differently; an other decades-old myth.

Regarding high velocity, if a 22 caliber bullet at high velocity is so much better than a 30 caliber one at a medium velocity as far as accuracy is concerned, then why did the US Army get the NRA to allow AR10's in .308 Win. to be classified as a service rifle and finally equip them to shoot scores equal to what 7.62 NATO chambered service rifles, (M1, M1A) did out scoring those using 5.56 NATO rounds? The best 5.56 NATO rifles could not out shoot the best 7.62 NATO ones as far as hitting the target's highest-scoring rings at ranges greater than 600 yards.

It's too darned hard to get low muzzle velocity spreads with higher muzzle velocities in any caliber. Which is why such cartridges are not popular, successful nor desired by folks knowing what's best to score and group well.
__________________
US Navy Distinguished Marksman Badge 153
Former US Navy & Palma Rifle Team Member
NRA High Power Master & Long Range High Master
NRA Smallbore Prone Master

Last edited by Bart B.; July 9, 2013 at 10:51 AM.
Bart B. is offline  
Old July 9, 2013, 11:09 AM   #13
Picher
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 14, 2004
Location: Maine
Posts: 2,781
Bart's comment:
Quote:
Regarding high velocity, if a 22 caliber bullet at high velocity is so much better than a 30 caliber one at a medium velocity as far as accuracy is concerned, then why did the US Army get the NRA to allow AR10's in .308 Win. to be classified as a service rifle and finally equip them to shoot scores equal to what 7.62 NATO chambered service rifles, (M1, M1A) did out scoring those using 5.56 NATO rounds? The best 5.56 NATO rifles could not out shoot the best 7.62 NATO ones as far as hitting the target's highest-scoring rings at ranges greater than 600 yards.

It's too darned hard to get low muzzle velocity spreads with higher muzzle velocities in any caliber. Which is why such cartridges are not popular, successful nor desired by folks knowing what's best to score and group well.
With the exception of the partial quote above, most of what Bart wrote in his post corroborates my theory. However, I wasn't talking about ultimate target accuracy of various cartridges at 600 yards, but rather, variations in hold and shooter movement as it relates to faster bullets from relatively lower-recoiling rifles compared with heavier-recoiling, slower bullets.
Picher is offline  
Old July 9, 2013, 12:06 PM   #14
eldermike
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 24, 2013
Location: NC
Posts: 545
Just as an example: With sufficent magnification you can see gun movement watching through a scope, from a bench rest on a dry fire. Even if it returns to zero as it should on a solid rest the firing pin impact moves the gun.
eldermike is offline  
Old July 9, 2013, 01:42 PM   #15
Bart B.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 2009
Posts: 4,826
Most of the "reticule movement" one sees through a scope when dry firing a rifle is caused by the bouncing of the erector tube off of the two adjustment screw flats. That tube's weight is tiny compared to that of the rifle. And it's got the reticule in it. Sometimes the reticule wires themselves will vibrate a bit themselves.
__________________
US Navy Distinguished Marksman Badge 153
Former US Navy & Palma Rifle Team Member
NRA High Power Master & Long Range High Master
NRA Smallbore Prone Master

Last edited by Bart B.; July 9, 2013 at 04:33 PM.
Bart B. is offline  
Old July 9, 2013, 05:06 PM   #16
Picher
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 14, 2004
Location: Maine
Posts: 2,781
Most reticles today are etched on glass. The older ones, especially on surveyors transits were made of black widow spider web. I had to replace the one on my old transit, after ruining the original.

I've had some cheap scopes that had crappy internals, but some good scope reticles don't seem to move much on dry firing. Some old military guns had very heavy firing pin mechanisms with slow lock time and they would really shake the reticles.
Picher is offline  
Old July 10, 2013, 04:44 AM   #17
Jimro
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 18, 2006
Posts: 5,475
Quote:
With the exception of the partial quote above, most of what Bart wrote in his post corroborates my theory. However, I wasn't talking about ultimate target accuracy of various cartridges at 600 yards, but rather, variations in hold and shooter movement as it relates to faster bullets from relatively lower-recoiling rifles compared with heavier-recoiling, slower bullets.
If that were the case, then the 7mm Rem Mag should shoot circles around the 308 Win with same mass bullets. For example the 175gr 284 caliber SGK and the 175gr 308 caliber SMK. Shoot the SGK from the big seven, and the SMK from a 308, and the higher velocity of the big seven does what exactly?

We could drop it down to 150gr bullets, and the 7mm Mag would still always have a higher velocity. But would it translate into better field accuracy? Heck we can even compare a 140gr 7mm bullet screaming out at 3200 fps and a sedate 2550 fps 175 smk 308 load and come to the logical conclusion that field accuracy isn't dependent at all on bullet velocity.

So in my experience velocity is not a useful tool in enhancing or predicting accuracy, not at "hunting" ranges with field positions. Even from the bench the accuracy difference between tuned loads is miniscule, and saying that the higher velocity of the 7mm bullet makes up for user error sounds silly. A faster bullet just means you can miss faster.

Jimro
__________________
"Gorsh" said Goofy as secondary explosions racked the beaten zone, "Did I do that?"

http://randomthoughtsandguns.blogspot.com/
Jimro is offline  
Old July 10, 2013, 07:52 AM   #18
Picher
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 14, 2004
Location: Maine
Posts: 2,781
Jimro: The 7mm Mag does NOT qualify as a relatively low-recoiling cartridge, given as examples in my posts.

Last edited by Picher; July 10, 2013 at 08:56 AM.
Picher is offline  
Old July 10, 2013, 11:37 AM   #19
Metal god
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 10, 2012
Location: San Diego CA
Posts: 1,989
I think I understand what your point is Pitcher and the way I read your post you are correct . When comparing a low velocity round to a high velocity round you will need to hold the rifle more still for a longer period of time . The part that I think some are confused about is what are your velocity's that determine low and high . A 22lr with a velocity of 1200fps will need much more of your concentration then a 223 with a velocity of 3100fps to keep the rifle from moving before the bullet leaves the barrel . I don't think you have the same issue when comparing the 308 @ 2700fps and the 300 WM at 3200fps . I dont think the 308 to 300wm 500fps difference is no where close to the same as the 1900fps difference between the 22lr and the 223 .
Metal god is offline  
Old July 10, 2013, 12:20 PM   #20
Picher
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 14, 2004
Location: Maine
Posts: 2,781
Metal God: There were several items mentioned; velocity, recoil, and variations in holding the rifle in the field. Sometimes we shoot sitting, standing, or leaning against something like a tree. Provided the cartridge is adequate for the game being shot, the more quickly a bullet leaves the barrel, and the less recoil to move the rifle, the better the shot.

The more comparable the rest, hold and lack of movement of the shooter, compared with the sighting-in conditions; the less velocity and recoil matter for an accurate shot.

(Higher velocity does play a role in hitting running game at fairly long range, because the amount of lead necessary to hit a vital spot, is reduced, but that's not directly related to this discussion.)
Picher is offline  
Old July 11, 2013, 10:17 AM   #21
Jimro
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 18, 2006
Posts: 5,475
Quote:
Jimro: The 7mm Mag does NOT qualify as a relatively low-recoiling cartridge, given as examples in my posts
Relatively to what? It is plenty mild compared to a 338 Win Mag.

But that is fine, lets go the other route.

Lets compare the 30-30 to the 308 Win. Same argument as between the 7mm Rem Mag and 308. Lets use 150 gr bullets, the 308 has 300 fps over the 30-30 Win. Which is more accurate?

Heck, we can even go to extremes, the 223 Rem pushing a 40gr VMax and a 22 Hornet pushing a 40 gr bullet. Which is more accurate?

Obviously you cannot tell which is more accurate based on velocity. And within the point blank zero for each cartridge, I wouldn't care to bet on which proved more accurate from field positions.

Jimro
__________________
"Gorsh" said Goofy as secondary explosions racked the beaten zone, "Did I do that?"

http://randomthoughtsandguns.blogspot.com/
Jimro is offline  
Old July 11, 2013, 10:41 AM   #22
eldermike
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 24, 2013
Location: NC
Posts: 545
I think time of flight comes into play and if so this leans to higher velocity = better accuracy potential.

As far as recoil or time in the barrel I think those are so far behind simple ability of the shooter that it's impossible to know the actual impact of these factors.
eldermike is offline  
Old July 11, 2013, 12:05 PM   #23
Bart B.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 2009
Posts: 4,826
Shortest time of flight ain't part of any super precise shooting system. Cartridges shooting bullets the fastest are never popular in accuracy nor score based competition.

Regarding recoil during barrel time, it's easy to see the 1 to 2 MOA error caused by changes in ones shooting postion or how the rifle is positioned onto their body. It happens with both rimfire 22's and centerfire rifles. When slung up in prone, that's how much you'll miss your point of aim by moving your front elbow sideways a few inches under the fore end. Or change the vertical position of the butt plate against your shoulder an inch or two.
__________________
US Navy Distinguished Marksman Badge 153
Former US Navy & Palma Rifle Team Member
NRA High Power Master & Long Range High Master
NRA Smallbore Prone Master

Last edited by Bart B.; July 11, 2013 at 12:26 PM.
Bart B. is offline  
Old July 11, 2013, 10:02 PM   #24
reynolds357
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 10, 2012
Posts: 2,264
Bart is definitely right about what he said. In the earlier days of 1000 yd benchrest, everyone was going hyper velocity. Now the pendulum has swung the other way and you see mostly cartridges winning that are non magnum cartridges.
reynolds357 is offline  
Old July 12, 2013, 08:05 AM   #25
Picher
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 14, 2004
Location: Maine
Posts: 2,781
This was NOT intended as a discussion of precision shooting accuracy, nor comparison of cartridges that had the same diameter and were within as little as 300 fps.

Please don't extrapolate and try to debunk my relatively simple field-accuracy conditions theory based on target and benchrest shooting nuances. The intent was to indicate that a hunter, shooting from various, perhaps unsteady field positions, would hit closer to their intended mark if the bullet were faster and recoil was less, as long as the cartridge had sufficient energy for the "game".

An example would be to compare a .243 Win, at 3,200 fps to, say a .45-70 at 1,400 fps. Rifle movement, using improvised rests or offhand may result in larger deviations from sighting-in POI. As I said, this is only a theory. The differences are probably smaller than those of trajectory flatness or necessary game motion leads.

However, all things considered, I prefer higher velocity rounds for my longer-distance hunting conditions. Your needs may vary.
Picher is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:17 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.12562 seconds with 7 queries