Educational Zone #166 – Being Honest About a Rifle and Shooter’s Ability

My old buddy Tman used to just grit his teeth when he would read some guy’s post where he said that he had a stock AR-15 that he could shoot “1 MOA all day long” with military surplus ammo and iron sights

It made Tman mad because he knew that was impossible.

I assured him that most folks just “forget” about their bad groups and only remember the really nice ones.

I told him I didn’t think they were really trying to lie about the issue, but just had a tendency to forget bad groups.

There is an active contest called the “One MOA All Day Long” contest. It is a great way to test rifles and shooters.

It requires the shooter to shoot five, 5-shot groups on one sheet of paper and average the 5 groups for an MOA score. MOA is “Minute Of Angle” and is 1.047 inches at 100 yards.

You measure each 5-shot group from edge to edge and then subtract the bullet diameter from that sum.

Today I went to the range to test some new handloads I loaded this morning.

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I shot them in my Accuracy International AE.

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I was not competing in the contest, as I have already done that.

I was just testing some new loads.

Here's the targets.

Here’s the targets.

Group #1 and #4 were my standard .308 load, with a Sierra 168 grain BTHP #2200M, over some AA-2495 powder. It is a good one.

Loads 2, 3, and 7 were a new load with some AA-2230 and the same bullet. #2 and #3 were “okay”, but #7 shows promise. I will work with that load some more.

But #5 and #6 were some Hornady 175 grain A-Max bullets over some AA-2495. # 5 was “good”, but #6 all went into the same hole.

Now here’s the point: I could have only shown you guys group #6 and said, “I have a rifle that will shoot into 1/10th of an inch at 100 yards.” And it will, occasionally, now and then.

But to give an honest report, I have to average all 7 groups and together, they all average .560 MOA. Still very good, but not 1/10th of an inch.

Conclusions:
  1. To give an honest report, you must include all groups, not just the “best” groups.
  2. We all shoot a great group now and then. But that does not tell us too much about our rifles or our abilities.
  3. Five, 5-shot groups on the same sheet of paper is a good test of a rifle and shooter.
  4. It’s fun to shoot stuff.

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