This topic contains 24 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Rattlesnake Charlie 3 years ago.

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  • #23952
     Sgt. Mike 
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    I have asked this question on the CBF years ago and basically a bunch of mumbo jumbo ensured.
    Never mind looking for the thread I had it and EVERY post I made deleted when I requested to be dis associated with the site, as I found my time there wasted in arguing stupid issues or definitions. To the point like Larry stated in another post here, of ridicule and flat out bull manure seemed to be the norm.

    But the purpose of this thread is not to throw off on that fine forum site, I have no ill will against the members of that site NONE I just felt my time is better suited elsewhere. Rather the purpose is to discuss it (Accuracy), not preach it or shove it down one’s throat. Or to slam another site they have their “norms”.

    But let’s look at it

    In our shooting quest are we seeking accuracy, or are we seeking precision?
    Couple that question with the understanding “we” throw the term out interchangeably in our attempt to answer the question, or express our understanding of it.

    And just what is the difference in the two, the answer actually is so simple and basic that it is hard to answer.

    Accuracy can be defined simply as putting our rounds into the area (or radius) that we desire.

    That area is a subjective in nature , is that Minute of Deer at 100, 200, 300, 400, 500 yards, or more. The vital area of that animal is 5-6″ which means I must keep all my rounds inside that determined value at the furthest range I intend to engage that target.
    Or in the case of a High Power/ Competitive shooter keeping all out rounds into a defined area such as “shooting 9’s” which can be any diameter given a predetermined target and distance. Just like the example of the deer hunter above both seek the same goal shoot x amount of rounds into a pre-determined area. This usually involves the POA (point of Aim) and POI (Point of Impact) to be the same. ( some usually call this Practical Accuracy)

    (this Example was shot with a issue M16 in the unsupported prone at 600yards Iron sights 20 rounds they could not mark each shot as some was touching hence the bigger diameter pasters, my point of aim was center of the chest area)

    Precision however deals more with our equipment (ammo, rifle, sights).. it is the measurement of the group or cluster of x amount of rounds on target regardless of POI or POA. In order to have precision we must fire a quantity sufficient enough to give a good sample, also we must have repeatability it must perform to “X” value or less on demand every time.

    (This example was shot with a 1903A3 at 100 yards benched with rifle rest and sand bags using a Leupold scope, my point of aim was the square slightly below the group)

    Generally we will see some competitions or targets that measure both values, others measure only one when the value is measured in only one it can be called either Practical Accuracy or Precision.
    But if we combine both Practical Accuracy and Precision inside the exact POA/POI we have Accuracy. Example of this would be a 10-10X score ( 10 rounds inside the ten ring all rounds impacting the X ring) that measures .890″ for 10 rounds. Or the group can be measured by MOA example would be 10″ grouping at 1000 yard which would then be expressed as 1 MOA

    Now for your thoughts on the matter. But bear in mind I purposely excluded number of shots for a group that requires it’s OWN thread or discussion

    But which one is more accurate the M16 Target which held inside a 5″ cone of fire or the 30-06 which had a cone of fire of .749 ???

  • #23959
     Harter 
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    Not to nit pick but it is my understanding that 1 MOA is slightly over an inch . When I read what I think I thought I read it stuck with me ,coming from an aviation background, that the MOA value and knot value were the same as the con version from inches and statute miles at 1.15. That would make 1 MOA at 1000 yd 11.5 inches . . I didn’t check a measures conversion page so if that is in error then I digress.

    I believe we all would consider a mathematical group at any given range regardless of unit an accurate arm and better yet if it impacted where it were aimed repeatably .
    The important factor for the individual is that the expected point of impact vs point of hold and group dimensions are practical to the arm . As an example I doubt very much that a thinking man or even a perfectionist would expect the best 94 Winchester to deliver even 3 much less 10 touching at 200 yd even from a concrete sled. At the other extreme 10 touching at 500 is exactly what I would expect if I had a $3000 M40 class rifle .

    If I shoot a rifle with an expectation of 3″ at 100 yd with some random available ammo and it delivers a little over 2″ or right at 2 MOA then I wuld expect to be able to meet or close that with anything I could load . In the case of a recent AR project I was pleased to surpass the the factory ammo groups with only a minor adjustments to the sights closing the groups from the 3″ of 1st rounds of Federal 115 gr FMJ 6.8 Remington and Hornady 120SST factory loads at 2.5″ . Not only did I meet start load jacketed speeds with cast but I believe I have cut the groups in half. Which based on the rifle being a kit from probably among the very lowest bidders I would call it accurate.

    I have been pleasently surprised by a pencil barrel rocket mags well . Who’d expect a 264 WM with a muzzle dia of just .6 to shoot a full case load with 60s vintage soft points into 5 touching at 100. I didn’t. I’d have been thrilled to have had 5 in a dollar but I got 5 all but under a dime with my level of conditional skills the rifle is probably capable of doing that we’ll into the 300 yd range ,just not with me driving.

    I guess I got distracted from the object of the thread .

    Accuracy should be left to the bullets capacity the platforms design and the mechanical fit and function and lastly be defined by calibers per group at a distance appropriate for the platform and cartridge.

    1 last example going to the ridiculous extreme 1 16″ 50 will give easily sub MOA accuracy from a platform that allows the muzzle to wander around feet . Yet in the 90s those guns would fire sisters in a turret and drop 3 shells inside a football field grid at 70 miles which being naval guns are probably knots and closer to 82 odometer miles. We certainly wouldn’t even consider gauging those guns accuracy by the same scale we use for Bubba 270.

  • #23961
     Sgt. Mike 
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    😀
    yes 1 MOA is greater than 1″ (1.047″ for english, or 1/60th degree of arc, metric is 29.7mm or so for 100m) just always expressed at 1 ” for ease by most folks.
    You are on the object the term accuracy can have meaning other than 1 inch or MOA that is a measurement. Your 11.5″ group is spot on math wise.

  • #23962
     Menner 
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    I believe and this is a belief founded only in personal experience. when I started reloading it was for shotguns as De. is a shotgun only state for deer. My first rifle load work up was with Muzzle loaders to get a good hunting load when I found a minute of whitetail I pretty much stopped there. ( store bought bullets and lube w/ goex powder) Accuracy?
    Then a few years later some guys I worked with were into muzzle loaders (one is a member of the Delaware Blues and shoots in skirmisher’s competitions ) and of course discussions turn to rifles and how accurate they are and they were talking about 1″- 2″ accuracy at 100yrds a number I had never chased and they said that with the right bullet sized correctly and the right powder charge my ( pre inline days) T/C St Louis Hawkins 50 cal. would do the same. ( things that make you go HUH ) So I said tell me of this different bullet and sizing them. Well as these things tend to go I started hanging out and picking up information learned about casting pure lead bullets for the ML sizing said bullets and Man did it make a difference I went from minute of whitetail to consistent 1″- 2″ 3 shot groups at 100 yrds. ( Iron Sights Man My Eyes were younger back then ) Precision?
    Well as these things often go we soon had a large group of guys hanging out shooting and soon it became competitive (friendly type) the next thing that happened was we started a monthly competition and club soon we had a good sized group of guys shooting 50yrd bench rest open sights only (no peep sights or optics at all) couple dollars a round in the pot club kept enough to buy targets and backer boards rest payed out we had good times and EVERYBODY improved their shooting. When we started you would have 1 or 3 guys cut the X per round and usually not a problem to pick the winner and a 10 ring you were in the hunt but a few months later the standard had been raised and if you didn’t cut the X you were not even in the running and we were finding the winner with calipers.

    To sum it up (in my case) it appears to me that desire drove accuracy. Kill a Deer Curiosity drove precision New Information and competition drove the accuracy standard and precision was used to compete. Are they one in the same no, but I do not believe they are mutually exclusive either. I believe It is a personal standard that you set with yourself and if you so desire you can compare that to other peoples efforts and see were your standards sit.

    I think this basic approach applies with my cast bullet shooting as I have gotten to the point that I wish to compete and I am working towards that end and the particular aspect that I am working on at the moment is my casting skills and it can be a roller coaster ride have days were everything seems to be easy and others were I have to fight for each good bullet but the bad days are getting fewer consistently consistent is the key.

    Sgt. it is not nice to make my brain work this hard on a Sunday afternoon LOL
    Tony

  • #23963
     Dick 
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    Accuracy, to me, is in the numbers and depends upon the gun I’m shooting. We all have expectations, and even move those expectations around to be in concert with the gun being fired. For my high dollar guns, I expect sub MOA accuracy out to whatever distance I fire. Used to be 1250 yards and in. Now it’s 200 yds because my part of Georgia is ummm…lacking in long ranges.

    For my milsurps, I expect them to group within 3-5 inches using military ball ammo at 100 yds, and hold an echo target out to at least 600 yds. Once again, being in Georgia, I’m a 200 yd ninja master now.

    Hunting rifles…well, I don’t hunt anymore but according to the internet a wal-mart rack rifle should hold .015 inch 10 shot groups at 1,000 yds, lol.

    Accuracy has a lot of wandering meanings on the internet. I think they are all relevant, especially when you take into account the gun being used and the conditions in which the groups are shot.

  • #23968
     Sgt. Mike 
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    I meant to add this earlier there is no nit picking Harter on your end thanks for your input,
    Makes for good discussion

  • #23974
     VANN 
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    To me the answer to your question is, accuracy is the best you can do with your gun and ammo.

  • #23990
     Artful 
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    Oh, this should be fun – Accuracy

    To Me – it is a variable
    – It depends upon the Gun, Load and Target of choice.
    When I started shooting it was at small game with a 22 LR
    – the preferred hit was a head shot so as to not waste meat
    If the rifle from a rest with sights equipped (peep, scope whatever)
    was able to put all the rounds from the magazine into a group that
    would be size of the target it was considered accurate.

    Time passed I started shooting Bullseye competition
    – you had 22LR, and 45 ACP handguns (some used 38 as well)
    – you had three
    cadence you should master – Slow Fire, Timed, Rapid
    – I just learned Slow and Rapid as my timed were about the same as Rapid so
    what the heck.

    On the Target you had a 10 ring and an X ring
    – An accurate load from a pistol rested on the table would able to put all
    30 rounds into the X ring at 50 yards.

    Later I played at IHMSA silhouette handgun shooting – this was out to 200 meters and the smallest targets were the chickens placed at that range for shoot offs, – the chicken is 11×13 inches.
    Actually a little smaller due to the irregular shape – I had targets that were 8 1/2 x 11 (typing paper size) that I used for practice.

    My loads from a rested gun had to be able to place 10 rounds inside my target paper to be considered accurate by me. That meant if I missed a target it was my fault.

    I’ll tell a funny story on me – I went to the state match down in Grants Pass – It started early in the morning for me and some of targets were in shadow – I literally could not define them over the sights of my S&W M29 44mag so got ZERO hits at the closest targets the chickens
    – Was really unhappy

    – we moved to Piggies and I got 10 for 10

    – moved to turkeys – OH NO – the bodies of the turkeys were in shadow, in fact the last turkey was totally in shadow – I knew my gun and took a fine bead on the turkey heads that were not in shadow – all 9 of them went down head shot but I missed the one in shadow

    – the guy next to me couldn’t believe I couldn’t hit a chicken but could hit the turkeys in the head at 150 m – Such is the story of accuracy.

    Moving past some other shooting sports I’ve played in.

    – I’m now going out with other retiree’s and shooting our heavy bolt guns from a table
    at targets at 1,000 yards – our targets are huge in my mind but I’m now happy if I keep all the round on paper.

    look directly above the white humanoid at the end of the road at the base of the mountain for 1k target

    Yep Primitive range out in AZ badlands

    Typical Target for 1000 by me these days.

    So to sum up
    – Accuracy is what you need / strive for to make you competitive / happy with
    your Rifle/Load and your performance with it.

    It is no finite number of MOA or fraction there of unless you choose to define it as such.
    – I have a very nice barrel from a F1 shooter that no longer meets his definition of accurate
    but works fine for me.

  • #23995
     Sgt. Mike 
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    LOVE the range…………… freaking outstanding location Art Looks like a blast good shooting too Sir

  • #23996
     chutesnreloads 
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    I’d say accuracy and precision(and this need not only apply to shooting)has a shadowy definition as defined by the teller of the tale OR the interpreter of the tale.There are some I know who think I’m an “expert” marksman.(golly I even qualified “expert” with every weapon I qualified with in the army) Truth is,I’ve seen some truly expert marksmen at work and I am only above average and that is only because a lot of folk who could,don’t shoot.
    Now I have a couple rifles that on most days I can put 10 shots in a group that you can cover with a dime at 100 yards.Pretty good except I can only do that with proper bench technique.But just suppose one were able to put all 10 shots into the same hole at 100 yards.Not just touching,but into the SAME hole at the spot he was aiming.Now anyone would define that as precise AND accurate.Now lets go out to 500+ yards on a day with blustery wind from 0-20mph and lets say the breeze changes direction here and there too.The same said one hole group is now beyond precise or accurate and has now become closer to……magic.
    Guess what I’m getting at is I think I’m kinda good at this shooting thing but there’s some folk out there can do what I do at twice and then some the distance.Them folk I would define as Expert Marksmen.Is that accurate enough?

  • #23999
     Goodsteel 
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    This is my most accurate rifle. I built it myself.
    Remington 700
    Douglass XX M24 contour 23″ long
    300 Win Mag headspaced to the ammunition.
    Arkansas made Choate stock.
    Vortex Viper 6.5-20X50

    200 yard 3 shot group prone from a bipod

    25 hits on steel from 600 yards shooting from the prone position on top of my truck with a bipod. The group is the size of an orange. I missed the plate slightly to the left twice throughout 27 shots, and the final three missed high I believe due to barrel heat (30 rounds of 300 Win Mag tendes to heat things up). After missing three times in a row, I quit.

    My bench rifle named Felix. She weighs 23lb.
    Mauser 1909 Argentine
    Brux custom barrel. 1.25″ straight contour 30″ long
    30XCB caliber shooting my own 30XCB custom cast bullet at 2650+FPS
    Hand made Arkansas black walnut stock
    Weaver T36 scope

    Four three shot groups back to back.:

    Custom MBT rifle
    Ruger gunsight carbine
    rebuilt on a FN Herstal SPR fluted barrel
    308 Win

    Range officer who witnessed the above group being shot and duplicated it himself. (the other holes in the target are from my 45/70 which I did not build. You’ll notice there are 10 shots on that target, and several of them are fairly close together? The same shooter produced both groups. Once sucks and the other rocks. The quality of the rifle is the difference).

    Bertha:

    Rainbow:

    7 shots at 100 yards with the Rainbow rifle. six went into the ragged hole and I couldn’t believe my eyes so I lowered my POA 1/2″ and fired the seventh. That one outside would have landed in the middle of the group.

    The above is accuracy.
    This are a few examples of INACCURACY:

    In this picture, we see an offhand group made by a rifle that is capable of accuracy such as we see in the start of this post. In this case, the failure is due to operator error:

  • #24006
     Goodsteel 
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    The point I’m making is that accuracy is not a foggy, floating, ethereal, fuzzy, interpretive thing. It’s very simply how likely are your bullets to follow the same path through their flight? One hole is the standard. Less than one hole is a reflection of our incompetence as reloaders, shooters, and in my case, the gunsmith.

    Say what you want, all of our wrangling comes down to how much we want to compromise with accuracy. On certain firearms, I compromise a lot, like my smothbore shotguns shooting round balls. I compromise the distance to 50 yards because that’s where I can keep a reasonable group. Does that make the firearm accurate? NO!!! It means I work within the ability of the firearm to keep things accurate enough for what I need it to do. I make this compromise because the power makes it worth it. That doesn’t mean it’s ever going to be much more than a rapidly dispersing lead hose.
    On the other hand, several members here own the most accurate rifles I have created several of which are listed above. These firearms are capable of maintaining accuracy that is shockingly close to the standard. I believe Dick once demonstrated accuracy of 5″ at 1000 yards from the rifle I built for him.

    However, anybody that knows me knows that I am a total lever action rifle nut. Why is this you might ask? When everybody knows that lever guns are only good for 2MOA average with 3 or 4 being much more common?
    The answer is because I have shot two leverguns that would do sub MOA, and constantly hope to own one, and the pursuit of that goal is addicting! I compromise with the standard to try to find one of these rifles I can bring into the fold, and if I ever succeed, that will be quite a handsome prize!

    The problem arises when people start compromising with their compromises in order to convince themselves they are accurate when in fact, their equipment stinks and so does their shooting, and they will never improve because they refuse to recognize an immovable standard of excellence.
    Many would complain that there is no way a person could have so few limitations that they could meet that standard on any level. To them I would say “see my signature line”.

  • #24014
     Sgt. Mike 
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    Durn lever actions LOL
    Funny story behind that statement that Tim, Glenn and I share LOL….
    Thank ya I’ll stick to my Bolt guns and Semi-autos LMAO

  • #24259
     dverna 
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    Doc nailed it. Too many people think that precision is accuracy.

  • #24276
     Sgt. Mike 
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    However your example of not accurate but precise, with a coupla clicks on the sights, you will then have your example of accuracy and precise.
    With the top two no matter what is done to the sights, they are just inaccurate, because they lack precision.
    One MUST have precision prior to centering the group to have accuracy ( or at least what the masses consider it to be).
    Minute of barn is just lobbing lead, with enough ya might get one or two in the desired area.

    But bear in mind that these are subjective terms and not absolute values the level of precision maybe as much as 1-1/2 in at 100 yards or could be 5 in at 500 yard, 1/4 in at 200 yards. But the platform must deliver a level of precision.
    Just a opinion. You may disagree in my mind set which is perfectly fine.

  • #24313
     Goodsteel 
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    I’ve seen these terms used this way before, and I can get on board with it, but it boils down to semantics. Fact is, anybody can make a sight adjustment. Very few can stick their shots in a small group.

    Here’s one of my latest projects. 10 gauge SXS round ball chucker.

    Here’s a 50 yard group. Based on the definition above, this gun is really darn accurate eh?
    That definition only flies in a conversation like this. The rest of the world grunts and says “hmmmm. You might want to stick to buckshot.” LOL!
    Now, in truth, that was a bunch of shots I took getting the scope dialed in, and the group is much more “precise” than that (say, 4″ at that range) but you get the point.

  • #24348
     Newt 
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    This kind of thinking makes my brain hurt. I think I’ll stick with terms like, “good” and “not very good” 🙂

  • #24357
     Harter 
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    Some how I think this is the only place in the world where we can post 5 touching at 200yd with a scoped 10 ga shooting RB and still be on topic. 🙂

    Accuracy can be reduced down to the tool being able with the operator to produce a consistent result within its absolute limits predictably every time.
    That should clarify the cumulative definition.

  • #24369
     Larry Gibson 
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    “Accuracy” these days, especially as discussed on forums, is often confused with and/or used interchangeably with “precision”. Most of us do that. In a technical sense, with the use of rifled firearms, “accuracy” is defined as the ability/requirement to hit what one is aiming at. Precision, on the other hand, has a different meaning; that being the ability to put a series or “group” of bullets as close together as possible of which said “group” may or may not be what the shooter was aiming at. The confusion comes because the closer together the bullets holes are placed together, even if they have missed the aiming point, with “precision” the more “accurate” the firearm is deemed to be. Therein comes the confusion and technical misuse of the terms.

    Let’s look at some examples. A rifle HP silhouette shooter who has a rifle capable of keeping all it’s shots on the body of a ram at 550 m (that’s the precision) may find that is accurate enough if he can hit the rams consistently. Conversely a new NRA High Power match shooter may find his match rifle capable of hitting the X ring (6″) at 600 yards (the precision) but his ability is such that he is happy to keep 20 shots in “the black” (36″) (that’s the accuracy). A High Master NRA match shooter with the same rifle wouldn’t be satisfied unless most all the 20 shots went into the 10 ring (12″) with half+ going into the X ring (6″) at the same 600 yards. That is combining the “accuracy” with the “precision” so they coincide.

    A deer hunter in the NE who hunts with an open sighted lever action 30-30 carbine usually is quite satisfied if he can hit a gallon can at 100 yards (many times 50 yards using a five gallon can). That is all the “accuracy” and “precision” combined into usually a 1 or may 2 shot “test” to see if ole Betsy is still “accurate”. He’s probably never fired more than one box of shells in several years yet manages to shoot a deer every year. The fact that the distances of the deer shot is usually less than 50 yards lends itself to little need for actual accuracy or precision. Conversely a Coues deer hunter in the SW will be needing both “accuracy” and “precision” for the longer range (300 – 400+ yard) shot he may get. Thus he needs a rifle with a “precision” capability of moa or less. That rifle must also have a quality scope that allows the “precision” capability to be coincided with the point of aim (the “accuracy”) on a defined point of aim on the deer at the longer range.

    In these 2 examples we first have shooters who just need the precision capability to hit a somewhat large target area. As long as the bullet hits the larger target area it is satisfactory even though that was not exactly where the shooter was aiming. In each example we also have the need for more precision because the target area needed to hit is smaller and thus those 2 shooters demanded better precision that coincided much more closely with their point of aim. If all 4 shooters are hitting their intended target they have the required accuracy because they have coincided the precision capability with the accuracy requirement.

    So to add to the confusion, even though I understand the difference, here are two groups out of my 30×60 XCB rifle. While goodsteel did not “build” the rifle entirely he did install the barrel on my VZ24 M98 Mauser and chamber it. The action had already been bedded into a stock so all I needed to do additionally was to open the barrel channel and bed the first 3″ of barrel. Both the groups shown were shot from a cold clean barrel. The 1st shot in both groups is the high one out at 10 – 11 o’clock. The remaining 14 shots in the 1st group and the remaining 19 shots in the second group demonstrate “precision” but in several threads I refer to them as “accuracy” potential because that’s what is commonly done and understood. As to actual “accuracy” testing I have shot 10 and 20 shot groups on the NRA MR63 target (600 yard reduced for use at 300 yards). The 10 ring on the MR63 requires 2 moa “precision”. I have found the Precision demonstrated at 100 yards with the 30 XCB bullet at 2900 fps hold at 300 yards providing the “accuracy” potential for all shots to be 10s. The problem is…….I, the shooter, must do my part…….;)

    Larry Gibson

  • #24380
     gwpercle 
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    My definition is much simpler, I guess it goes along with my simple thinking mind…
    Accuracy is hitting what I’m aiming at.

    Gary

  • #24389
     Anonymous
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    gwpercle;n2556 wrote: My definition is much simpler, I guess it goes along with my simple thinking mind…
    Accuracy is hitting what I’m aiming at.

    Gary

    That has always been my definition.

  • #24391
     Goodsteel 
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    That’s funny. My definition has always been shooting a small group. If my sights are not set correctly, that’s just a twist or a strike away from perfection.
    Reading through this thread, I see the potential fallacy of my point of view though. I think Sarge, Larry, and Doc have the right idea on this one, and Sarge is probably rolling his eyes and thinking “I done told you that five times ya dummy!”.
    I need to reorder my thinking, but it’s dam hard to bend the twig in another direction!

  • #24841
     Sgt. Mike 
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    Harter;n2531 wrote: Some how I think this is the only place in the world where we can post 5 touching at 200yd with a scoped 10 ga shooting RB and still be on topic. 🙂
    .

    LOL great observation Harter .

  • #25017
     popper 
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    Years ago I was enabled to see a movie of the Co. presentation to DOD. Laser dot on front tire of a jeep (WWII version) LGAP (paveway) hit the laser spot. Miss distance ‘defined’. ZERO! POI=POA. period. An y thing else is an error.

  • #27612
     Rattlesnake Charlie 
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    I started thinking about this several months ago when a major gunrag ran an article on the same topic. Based on that spark and the detailed explanations here, I believe I can boil it down to a somewhat simplified pair of definitions:

    Precision
    What the firearm is capable of with the removable of all possible variables. Minimum wind, perfect light, ammo the firearm likes. This includes the “shooter” introduced variables of fatigue, eyesight (I know! what this is), weather, etc.

    Accuracy
    Getting those boolits to land where you want them. Consistently.

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