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Old January 7, 2019, 07:47 AM   #1
Mobuck
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Shooting Groups

A misunderstood concept.
Years ago when my blind Son was living at home and we were shooting quite a bit, he/we produced some impressive groups that would have held bragging rights for sighted shooters.
I took a target with a clean 1" 3 shot group in to the coffee club at the village where I worked to show off a bit. The guys who knew about Son's handicap were suitably impressed but one guy made a comment that there was simply no response for.
He looked at the target and said "Those holes are pretty close together, but what were you trying to hit?"
The concept of "shooting groups" vs adjusting POI was totally foreign to him. When I tried to explain that the point of impact was mechanical and easily adjusted while the group size was skill, he just shook his head.
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Old January 7, 2019, 08:37 AM   #2
mgulino
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Once you are shooting tight groups, it is easy to move the group to hit where desired for almost any acceptable range.
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Old January 7, 2019, 09:21 AM   #3
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I'm a sucker for tight groups, and agree shooting groups is all about group size, and is a hard recording of how well the shooter executed the fundamentals. Please pass on my kudos to your son for a fine group.

About sight adjustment, though: The point of impact is mechanical, and technically easily adjusted, but the devil's in the details. When you've absolutely got to hit something small, and close doesn't matter, exactly how much to adjust isn't trivial, and it takes a lot of practice. Target range, your position, your load, etc all become important inputs.

When I was shooting High Power rifle, the goal was to put them in the 10-ring, and a great deal of my live-fire practice time was spent recording sight adjustment. Come match day, executing the fundamentals was definitely important, but without also knowing with certainty my sights were adjusted correctly, doing well wouldn't have been possible.
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Old January 7, 2019, 02:36 PM   #4
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Me as well. My brother makes me crazy (not just for this but.....)

He shoots, he is off, then he wastes 3 + shots working his way to the B eye.

I keep telling him, shoot the group! First you don't waste ammo, second, one shot means nothing, find the average then adjust.

You may even find its a waste because its a poor combo and not worth wasting time on let alone adjusting.

As long as its on paper I will shoot 5 (usually)

If its a scope swap I will take some of the ones and two loads left over and get it on paper then shoot the group.
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Old January 7, 2019, 05:29 PM   #5
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"What were you trying to hit?" Isn't the point. How tight a group is the goal.

It took me a while to convince my hunting partner that he was a good shot, but a lousy sight adjuster. He's now shooting out the bullseyes and having more fun even though his group sizes are about the same as they ever were.

For one of my pellet rifles, I often adjust it to shoot 1" right so I can have a clean target to aim at. When I'm having a good day and am getting 1-hole groups, I don't want to aim at a slowly expanding hole. That'll tell me more about my trigger pull, hold and the rifle's capability. Group is everything. I can adjust the scope later.
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Old January 7, 2019, 06:52 PM   #6
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RC20 I have a couple of shooting buddies that do the same thing. They're coming around now but for a while there I would just shake my head and shoot my groups. We would go and retrieve targets and I had nice looking clusters and they had shotgun patterns. For a time one would shoot once, adjust, shoot, adjust etc. Took him a while to realize that most rifles aren't going to do the one hole group and you had to adjust to an average.
seanc I also have a couple of rifles that are purposely adjusted off center so the aiming point doesn't get shot out. Occasionally someone else will run a few rounds through and I will always get the "hey it's off to the right an inch." To which I will usually respond, "yep, how did it shoot?"
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Old January 7, 2019, 07:41 PM   #7
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When checking out a rifle or loads I never care about sighting in and tearing up the point of
aim. I use 5 shot groups it's more to average from than 3. Not only will some rifles not shoot into one hole at 100yds, they might not group at all. Some can be worked with and
they will group, others won't ever. Reasons are various and many. I have some good rifles but I'm a hunter not a match shooter. A good rifle to me is one that shoots under a 1" at 100yds. I have a few that will do a dime at 100yds, but I'm not capable of doing it consistently. I generally don't move sights for windage once sighted in. I have several hunting rifles that I do jack the reciever sights for elevation. I don't have to keep a book I
can return to 0 on the witness plate. On a couple I use for silos at known ranges I have the plate marked for the different ranges. I wing it for Kentucky windage.
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Old January 7, 2019, 07:56 PM   #8
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For me hitting the target regardless of distance is no big deal. Now getting a tight group, well that is a whole new level of challenge that get my juices flowing. For your son to get such a tight group is quite an achievement that many experience shooters can not get.
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Old January 7, 2019, 08:58 PM   #9
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"For your son to get such a tight group is quite an achievement that many experience shooters can not get."

One of his most satisfying shooting accomplishments was putting 3 of 5 shots on the 10" x 10" plate @ 300 meters from a typical hunting position--sitting with a bipod. Pretty darned good for a teenager who couldn't see as far as the muzzle of his rifle.
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Old January 7, 2019, 10:16 PM   #10
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He is doing what a lot of grown men are trying to do.

Success stories such as this are nice to read about.

Congratulations to him and give him a big Texas handshake and pat on the back for me.

Screw that guy at the range that doesn't have the faintest idea of what it's all about.
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Old January 8, 2019, 02:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
One of his most satisfying shooting accomplishments was putting 3 of 5 shots on the 10" x 10" plate @ 300 meters from a typical hunting position--sitting with a bipod. Pretty darned good for a teenager who couldn't see as far as the muzzle of his rifle.
I think that is something more than pretty darned good, very impressive. He has my deepest admiration as do you.
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Old January 8, 2019, 03:01 PM   #12
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I too will shoot offset, as it allows me to see better where they are falling.

My younger brother who is a sharp feller could not understand why we wanted his hunting rifle to shoot a couple inches high at 100. Took a bit.

But he can shoot some good groups and he is not a target shooter.

I could make a fortune on teaching people how to dial in if I could figure out how to get to them!

I won't say I arrived at any of it overnight, but some things became obvious even to me.
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Old January 10, 2019, 03:56 PM   #13
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Quote:
When I tried to explain that the point of impact was mechanical and easily adjusted while the group size was skill, he just shook his head.
Pretty much sums it up.

Quote:
The concept of "shooting groups" vs adjusting POI was totally foreign to him. When I tried to explain that the point of impact was mechanical and easily adjusted while the group size was skill, he just shook his head.
It is even worse on the internet. Plenty of "experts" and those willing to follow.

So do not lose any sleep over it.
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Old January 10, 2019, 05:45 PM   #14
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Mobuck, I have to ask: What adaptive technologies or assistance is your son using? Obviously, I'm not diminishing his accomplishments, but without being able to see the target, how does he make his shots? I know it's hard enough with my aging eyes.

As part of my job, I'm occasionally working with the visually impaired and those that assist the visually impaired. I'm impressed with the added skills that need to be brought to bear, not just on the task at hand, but the added adaptive skill needed to accomplish the same goal(s).
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Old January 10, 2019, 07:07 PM   #15
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"As part of my job, I'm occasionally working with the visually impaired and those that assist the visually impaired. I'm impressed with the added skills that need to be brought to bear, not just on the task at hand, but the added adaptive skill needed to accomplish the same goal(s)."

From a person with experience, you're doing something many can't.
The "adaptive technology" is my own design and involves an offset optic allowing an assistant to maneuver the firearm onto the target. The blind person is in full control of the physical firing of the gun so shooting skill is the same as a sighted person.
Son has married, moved away, and has a job so his shooting has mostly ceased. I'm working with some local cooperators to provide hunting opportunities for blind veterans these days.
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Old January 11, 2019, 08:28 AM   #16
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Point of 'technical' clarification here ...

Only 5-shots count as a 'group' for assessing the baseline accuracy of a given load in a given rifle.

5-shots is the minimum number. 10-shots is even better.

3-shots, no matter how tightly they impact, only serve to establish a point of aim on paper.

3-shots is not a valid 'group,' no matter what your buddies down at the bar say.
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Old January 11, 2019, 10:14 AM   #17
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Quote:
one shot means nothing
I'm not sure I agree with that statement. One shot, the first shot is the most important.

Shooting groups is fun, but the first shot out of the barrel is the most critical.

You can of course get the best of both theories.

Set up a target and leave it up. Go out in the morning, shoot one bullet. Then midday shoot another, a third late afternoon.

Next day, on the same target repeat the process. Do this for 3-4 days. Check the group and move it if necessary then repeat.

You get your multi-round group, yet each shot is the critical first shot.
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Old January 11, 2019, 10:47 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kraigwy View Post
Next day, on the same target repeat the process. Do this for 3-4 days. Check the group and move it if necessary then repeat.
That is a 9- to 12-round cold bore group. Point is you can't fire the first shot on the first day and be done.

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Last edited by tangolima; January 11, 2019 at 10:58 PM.
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Old January 12, 2019, 10:03 AM   #19
Mobuck
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"3-shots, no matter how tightly they impact, only serve to establish a point of aim on paper.

3-shots is not a valid 'group,' no matter what your buddies down at the bar say."

THAT is a matter of opinion. For a HUNTING rifle, a 3 shot group provides all the information the user needs to have. Even better is a 3 shot group taken over a period of time(such as one shot per day for 3 days) which confirms where THAT FIRST SHOT IS GOING TO HIT.
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Old January 12, 2019, 12:49 PM   #20
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I am with Mobuck on this one - except I don't put it as matter of opinion, I put it as fact that 3 shots are the right number for a hunting rifle.

3 shot groups are valid. If you shoot a couple and they all fall in the same average center spot (be it 1/2 inch group of 1/5 inch group) then for hunting it is valid.

If its average centered and the distance above the aim point you want, that is good.

I have yet to see a target on an animal. I got all but one I shot at. All but one were one shot.

More than 3 shots from many hunting guns tells you nothing as the barrel gets wild (old Sako aside)

For target, 5 shots is the minimum, but I am happy with that and if I get good enough to hold well for 10 shots I will move to that.
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Old January 12, 2019, 12:53 PM   #21
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Quote:
I'm not sure I agree with that statement. One shot, the first shot is the most important.

Shooting groups is fun, but the first shot out of the barrel is the most critical.

You can of course get the best of both theories.

Set up a target and leave it up. Go out in the morning, shoot one bullet. Then midday shoot another, a third late afternoon.

Next day, on the same target repeat the process. Do this for 3-4 days. Check the group and move it if necessary then repeat.

You get your multi-round group, yet each shot is the critical first shot.
I don't know of any matches you shoot one shot a day. Hunting if you do your job yes.

What is relevant is all the shots, good bad or anything.

Also each day is different temp, hold, you, etc.

I think that gets too deep into philosophical and ignores other factors.

At an extreme one day I can shoot at 45, the next day it can be -20.
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Old January 12, 2019, 12:57 PM   #22
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PREACH IT MOBUCK!!!

For the rifle that i want to shoot matches with, i'm concerned with all 20 shots in the string.

For my hunting rifles, only first shots count!

And my hat is off to Mobuck!
Helping to promote safe firearm usage to disabled is very admirable, sir!!
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Old January 14, 2019, 11:27 PM   #23
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I like a tight group, but I gotta have my sights spot on. I don't like repeatedly shooting into one torn up area so ill make multiple groups on a single target paper. After shooting at the bullseye, I'll aim at the ring numbers or whatever else I can focus on on the target. Groups just make sense to me. How else can you know if a good (or bad) shot is legit or just a fluke.
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Old January 15, 2019, 10:14 AM   #24
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* * * Groups just make sense to me. How else can you know if a good (or bad) shot is legit or just a fluke.
That's right, ... which is why, to reliably vet the accuracy of that load in that rifle, your 'group' (or 'groups') needs to contain a minimally sufficient number to distinguish it from merely having made a few 'holes on paper,' sometimes called an 'Elmer group' for the Fuddleys.

Sure, many hunts (maybe most?) are one-to two shot affairs, so there's merit to knowing where your first cold-bore round will hit versus, say, the following four shots, which any inherently accurate rifle should still place within MOA. (And by MOA here, I'm referring to a minimum vetting distance of 100-yds. Except for rimfire rifles, 50-yd 'groups' are an uninformative joke for centerfire work, regardless of the number of shots).

However, when I go hog-hunting with my .308, for example, or engage in an extended afternoon of sniping coyotes or ground hogs with my suppressed 5.56 rifle, I'll be firing more than the typical Fuddley's 1-3 shots, quite a bit more in fact. And not necessarily fast either, except when a second or tertiary shot is needed.

But knowing what to expect accuracy-wise from a cold-to-warm barrel from firing 5-rds minimum, with a 10-rd vetting group being better for this sort of hunting, is a more reliable indicator of the rifle's inherent accuracy.

And only accurate rifles are interesting, not to mention being the ones that bring home the bacon.

Last edited by agtman; January 15, 2019 at 10:26 AM.
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Old January 15, 2019, 02:46 PM   #25
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Hogs yes, Varmint shooting is not hunting.

So yes the hunting application has to fit the bill.

If you were hunting Cape Town Buff and they came at you in 100s, then you would want a 20 mm (and an fairly accurate one!)

For most hunting, 3 shot groups tell you what you need to know.

Target shooting 10 shots groups separate you from your ego (as often do 5 shot groups for me)
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