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Thread: Accuracy is Relative

  1. #1
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    Accuracy is Relative

    G'day, it's been a while.

    Alot of my first posts on this forum related to my Rossi .357 magnum and the trouble I was having in trying to attain a load that grouped well.

    I've been thinking about accuracy. When I first started hunting and target shooting, I didn't really think about hand loading or fine tuning. And scopes didn't really interest me much as they seemed like an expensive 'extra' you had to take special care of and you could never be sure that they hadn't moved (probably because the only centerfires I had much experience with were military Lee-Enfields which weren't simple to mount scopes on).

    As a teenager I went to the range with my Dad... and to compete in secondary school shooting competitions. We mostly used Lee Enfield No4 Mk1 rifles with aperture sights.... shooting at 200 an 300 yards. I was pleased to shoot a 'possible' where all bullets landed inside the 'five' ring. I can't remember for sure how big that five ring was at 200 yards... was it six inches in diameter maybe.... or eight? Perhaps someone here knows for sure what the dimensions were back in the early 1970s.... how about you 6x47?

    But a six or eight inch group at 200 yards would not please a bench rest shooter. In fact it probably wouldn't please the owner of a new hunting rifle which advertised a guaranteed accuracy of 1.5 minutes of angle. But such a group was the standard for accuracy for me, and it was fine for sensible shots on deer and pigs.

    "Ignorance is bliss" can apply to someone like me. Knowing the level of accuracy that is attainable nowadays can be a bit unsettling when your hunting rifle doesn't always group under 3/4 inch at 25 yards.

    Anyway... I've had some serious mental discussions with myself, and I figure that my guns and ammo only have to perform well enough for the job assigned to them. And rather than chase the last few fractions of an inch through cartridge and hardware research and experimentation, I'm probably better off practising thoughtfully with my working firearms and knowing my practical and ethical limits.

    So... for 'rabbit accuracy', my shots need to ideally land inside a 1.5 inch circle at 75 yards. For bush stalking larger animals, I'd like my bullets to stay inside a four inch circle at 100 yards. And for long shots - say 200 yards - consistent grouping of six inches or less is what I'm hoping for.

    I finally got to shoot my Howa .223 at a 200 yard range the other day. When I walked up to the target I was delighted to find a three-shot group of just under an inch. (It was Hornady factory ammo, and I had a nice new scope). So this is accuracy which would have seemed miraculous to me back in the early days.... and I'm still fairly surprised today. I guess it is a bit unfair to compare these results with what I've been doing with my .357 magnum handloads in my open-sighted lever gun ... and my old No4 using aperture sights and 65 year old ammo.

    While what I've found out about accuracy on the internet has made me feel a bit inadequate at times, I'm pleased that there are dedicated shooters out there who are striving for perfection. Guys like me can learn from you.

    Very few of us are totally self-sufficient when it comes to our hunting or shooting equipment. Sure, I cast my own bullets... but I don't have access to a lead mine and I can't make primers. I have hunted successfully with home made bows and arrows, but I mostly used synthetic cord for my string and steel for my points. So I have to decide on what degree of self-sufficiency is right for me.... and how much time and money I want to spend. Near one end of the scale I could mine my own ore and make my own muzzle loader.... or I could (like I have) buy an almost perfect rifle and ammunition from the local gun shop.

    Back to the .357 magnum topic. About nine weeks ago I ordered a Henry single shot .357. They look beautiful and seem to have great open sights. But the danged thing didn't arrive as expected, so I finally cancelled that order and bought a new Bergara break-action single shot .357. It comes with a scope rail, threaded for a suppressor... and open sights. It has a nice heavy (but short) barrel. I figured, fitted with a scope, it was ideal for testing my hand loads. Yesterday I shot a bunch of different loads and I think I've finally found a winner... I'm using my home cast Lee 358-158-RF bullets (158 grain, flat-nosed) with a maximum load of Trail Boss powder (from the ADI data sheet). I can only get about 945 fps from them, but they shoot well. I did try some using a bigger load of AP70N powder.... and while they travelled at the speed that I wanted (around 1060 fps), the ones I shot didn't seem to be as consistent as the full load of Trail Boss.

    It is great to have found a 158 grain hunting load for the Bergara. Now I'm saving up for a barrel-forward suppressor. And once I've loaded up a moderate stock of hunting cartridges (in reality, about 30 should last me a couple of years), I can relax into further reloading research. I'd like to try gas-checked bullets and go for some maximum velocity just to be able to extend my effective point-blank range.

    The Rossi still seems to shoot best with 125 grain cast bullets. But I have years ahead of me to fiddle around trying other recipes. A short while back I wrapped the Rossi in kitchen cling film and pushed the film down over the big buckhorn rear sight. I then cut the horns off the sight using my disc grinder and a 1mm disc. I should have done it right at the start. While I like the idea of a buckhorn, I seem to shoot much better with a flat-topped sight, like I've done all my life.




  2. #2
    Member Micky Duck's Avatar
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    great to hear you have a happy outcome.
    I have different rifles in my cabinet.....some like the .223 /.270/ .308 are nice tack drivers even though they have been used as bush bashers over the years.
    the wee short cheap norinco bisley however might be but Ive never taken time to find out....3" at a hundy is more than enough for her as its only ever a 150 yards cartridge,snotted a boar 2 weekends ago with it,on the run at 50 yards.....did the job with help from the dog to track it down and finish it off.
    the stag I shot same day at 192mtrs with big rifle just fell over after a couple of wobbly steps...relative accuracy. up close not needed,out further vital.
    the .45/70 insert will be a 50 yard proposition and Im happy with that....its what I got it for,bush ranges on wet days.

  3. #3
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    so the Norinco is a 7.62 x 39 is it Micky? And what gun is the 45-70 insert used in?

  4. #4
    Member Micky Duck's Avatar
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    correct....norinco/bisley bolt 7.62x39mm and was using crappy old barnaul most impressed with terminal effect,in ham SMASHED femur and came to rest under skin at last rib on other side perfectly mushroomed.
    insert was a bull barrel bought off this site..chambered and turned down to slide neatly inside my old single barrel .12ga,when I say neatly its a VERY snug fit so no movement at all,it wont go into any of my other .12ga barrels as they slightly tighter in bore diametre....
    rewa likes this.

  5. #5
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    ah. so what sights are you going to use on that shotgun with the insert.... just the single bead?

  6. #6
    Member Micky Duck's Avatar
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    bead up front and a pop rivet head as aperture at rear. can hit 6" square consistantly at 30ish yards.havent fired many rounds as of yet.
    rewa likes this.

  7. #7
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    Mate. When news of this new innovation leaks out on to the 'net, thousands of 'preppers' around the world will be panic buying rivets to serve as makeshift sights if the SHTF

    I will be interested to hear of further developments with the 45-70

  8. #8
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    Gidday Coote - yep you have the right idea. I shoot a bit of FTR class and NRA style (not all that well it has to be said, but I get my share of "possibles") , along with as much hunting as I can scrounge time away from job/home for (and have been for over 40 years now).

    Some of my hunting rifles shoot pretty good (under the very magic 1" mark that is supposed to be the only the sort of accuracy that will guarantee a deer to faint from fright at 500 metres) but my favorites are nowhere near as good - but as long as they are somewhere around 2" or a bit better I'm happy at all practical ranges (for me about 350M max).

    A hell of a lot of the guys who shoot at long range don't admit their first (or second or third) shot misses, but if you look at the video's they post up its usually pretty apparent whats happened - I see this time and time again especially on Tahr shooting vids. Thats cause the Tahr don't know how to judge group size*, so they don't care that the shooter can't read wind across a big gully or basin - shooting itty bitty groups in known wind conditions on a range with a decent flat position and no dead ground out to the target is easy in comparison!

    So - no need to feel inadequet by anything anyone posts on the interweb!

    * The fact that tahr don't care about group sizes was pointed out to me by one of the blokes who went on the early OFTH (old farts tahr hunt) that used to be organised on the other forum - turned out to be very wise advice eh @nor-west (who it has to be said can shoot itty bitty groups from a hell of a lot of his rifles)

  9. #9
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    Thanks Tentman. There are many ways to enjoy shooting. I must look up the styles of shooting you mentioned to see what the target sizes are.

  10. #10
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    Your quite right in that accuracy is relative to the shooter/owner of their guns!

    I like my guns to be as accurate as possible and they shoot well so I know if I something doesn't go according to plan then it's only me to blame.

    I have a mate who bush hunts and as long as he can hit a KFC box at 50 mtrs then he's all good to go and he's shot ALOT of critters!
    Micky Duck likes this.

  11. #11
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    Yep. And when I think back to my primitive bow-hunting phase, that Kentucky box would have to be no further away than 15 metres. My bowhunting experience gave me a whole new appreciation for firearms.
    Bol Tackshin likes this.

  12. #12
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    It's horses for courses. I gave up when they dropped below MOA which was the holy grail for anything less than a benchrest gun way back when. Then hunting rifles started appearing with a 1moa or better guarantee, and now there are nutters ringing steel 4km or more away! There was a point in the late 90s when I realised that as interesting and technically amazing as it is, I actually did not need a. 25moa capable rifle because I'm a 1.5moa capable shooter on a good day. Don't get me wrong - I absolutely love the engineering and artistry involved in accurate long range shooting, but will leave it up to the people that do it well.
    Pengy, Micky Duck, takbok and 2 others like this.

  13. #13
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    I'm glad there are accuracy experts and fanatics out there... I appreciate what they have achieved and what we can learn from them.

    When I was target shooting I did quite well given the standards of the time and the equipment we had, but back then I wasn't a particularly good shot at game. You can't always follow the drill with correct breathing and squeezing the shot. I remember thinking a long time ago, that to be a good shot at game you have to know when to 'pull the trigger'. You can be short of breath and jammed in some awful, uncomfortable position as your sights wander around the 'target'.

    1.5 moa is extremely accurate for someone who hunts and shoots at 200 yards.

  14. #14
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    Another thing people do is only shot/measure 3 shot groups. If they shot 5x 3 shot groups what would the average or combined group be?

    5 shot 1.5 moa used to be good for my hunting rifles, if i can get it tighter that's good, but i'm not going to stress or do another 100 rounds of load development. I'm now shooting further and further so 1 moa 5 shot groups.

    Exactly its horses for courses. For those hunting medium game at practical distances super tight groups is not a necessity.
    The platform might be capable of 0.25 moa accuracy from the bench.
    Add in field conditions.. add a bit more.
    Add in fatigue and higher heart rate.
    That 0.25 moa accuracy is well out the window.

  15. #15
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    how often would you expect to FIRE five shots at animals at once??? yes I will at wallabies but VERY VERY seldom would at deer....cant think when last I fired 3 off top of head....must be a while back thats for sure.
    one of my early reloading manuals....pretty sure its the 1st edition Nosler suggests that for hunting rifles you fire first shot well aimed then next two as fast as you reasonably can....which if you think about it gives you a hunting senario type group which if its a hunting rifle is all that really matters.
    Bernie and rewa like this.

 

 

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