Continued Experimentation in Precision (Part 3)

During today’s shooting I wanted to try a couple odd things to see what, if any, effect they had on my downrange precision.  The testing protocols were the same as my control group, same target, same distance, same time interval between rounds, same loading protocol, same scope magnification, and the same 3 round warm up group, which actually turned out to be a decent group:

point 74
0.74”.  This is the type of group that a normal person might post on the internet… that one in a hundred that actually looks alright.  An easier way to do it would be to crop out all the fliers.

I was expecting that third round to go farther astray, but it only went a little south.

The next group was left handed.  A few years ago I had some strange experiences in which I was shooting some half minute groups left handed and not so well on the right.  One thing I do have problems with is that the reticle is not focused and I see 2 vertical stadia lines sometimes, which may explain this:

1.31”.  The vertical spread is about 0.75”

As a quick aside, and a short detour in the continuation of the lesson in posting good internet groups, take the above group.  I cropped it and resized it again.  Note that it was a 5 round group, but cropping out the left rounds yields this:


Further cropping will increase the impressiveness:

masterful deceit

You’ll outdo all the other internet posters by saying that you shot 5 rounds at the target.  This would be more effective by homing in on a stray flier of a 10 round group.  You might need more resolution for that.  My camera has 18 megapixels.  Back to our scheduled programming…

The last thing I wanted to try for the day was to get up from the rifle and rebuild my position every time after firing a shot.  I dry fired a few times to get my routine down, so that my feet were in the same spot every time, and I could basically fall forward into the waiting and loaded rifle within the 30 seconds between each round that I needed.  I thought that this would ensure that my position was not being altered by the recoil.

1.79”.  I’m not proud of it.

I’m still working my way down the list.  For a refresher on the results so far, here you go:

Control group:                        1.41”
Assisted trigger:                      1.67”
Bag instead of bipod:              1.24”
Sling support:                          2.97” (I’m throwing this out as a
                                                           lackluster performance.)
Alternate sling support:           1.34”
Left handed:                            1.31”
Up and down:                          1.79”

One thing I’m noticing is that each of the 2nd tests of the day are worse than the first.  During the next trip I will repeat one of them to see if it dramatically affects the results.

7 thoughts on “Continued Experimentation in Precision (Part 3)

    • I know Pete, that it may seem as thought I’m chasing some obsession that will not be all that useful. I have a couple of competitions coming up that will involve hitting targets under 2 MOA and likely out to 1200 yards. They will also involve field positions, but I don’t necessarily think those are my weak link at the moment. This post is a few weeks behind real life, and it seems as though I might actually be getting somewhere.

      I see precision rifle as similar to going to the moon. It wasn’t all that useful in and of itself, but the process of getting there trickled down all kinds of neat stuff, like million dollar pens that write upside down and underwater, more consistent cheekwelds, more consistent positions that offer better recoil control, a spotlight on the basics, etc…

  1. You mentioned that you went through a period where you were shooting better off rather than dominant side. The wrench in the works probably caused you to focus more on the fundamentals.

    If you’re having double vision when shooting left handed, put a narrow piece of scotch tape on your shooting glasses in front of your dominant eye. If you position the piece well enough, it will obscure your dominant eye when shooting, but not when you’re doing anything else. Alternately, but a blinder on the right side of your scope, so that it only works when shooting left handed. This will solve the problem.

    • I’ll give it a try. On the Remington I had the scope cap oriented so that it was to the right when open. Maybe I’ll have to get a set of scope caps for the FN. I think there are some Butler Creeks out there now that are made in the US.

  2. ” I keep expecting that one day I’ll get down in prone with the bipod and I will finally begin shooting those magical “sub moa” groups I hunger for.”

    It may not be you, it could some inherent accuracy problem with the ammunition or the rifle. Has some one else with solid experience shot the rifle from a firm bench/Lead Sled or good quality bipod on a calm day?
    You may be beating yourself up when your rifle/optic or ammunition has a mechanical defect. Are you still shooting reloads? You did have a ladder test post last year but there is no load information on the targets.

    simon victoria
    (sling on but no trials as yet, busy with young baby)

    • Apologies, re-reading the comments on the white whale page this was suggested previously. Were you able to get someone else to shoot the rifle with match ammunition and a stable bench for a baseline?

    • I was recently able to procure a small quantity of Federal Gold Medal Match for testing. The posts are about 2 weeks behind real time at this point, so it seems like a lot of shooting has happened since then.

      Congratulations with your new baby. Those are the important things in life.

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