An expectation of accuracy (and where I landed)...

TNBillyEarl

Beginner
Jan 31, 2021
25
41
Until I started reloading 2 years ago, I never thought much about accuracy. If I thought about it at all it went like this: 1) get some some different Hornady loads and a box of Cor-Lokt for the season, 2) find what shot under 1", 3) set my rifle up one inch high at 100 yards, 4) repeat next September. I did this for almost 40 years. Since starting this obsessive hobby I have worried about my cold-bore shot, the ambient temp, precision vs accuracy, accuracy vs precision, extreme spread of velocity, standard deviation, shifting groups, ballistic coefficients, bullet construction, etc... And then of course all the different ways to measure just what is an accurate rifle.

I thought I had settled on Mean Radius to gauge the accuracy of my 2 rifles (and the rifles of my friends), but even then the center of a group might be an inch or two off my POA. So this spring I started averaging the distance of all my shots from the POA. I kinda liked it; I even would give my first shot, my cold-bore shot, two or three times the weight. And then this weekend I found the String Length Method at the bottom of this page: http://ballistipedia.com/index.php?title=Measuring_Precision Boom! For hunting this really resonates with me.

Below are 3 shots at 200 yards from Saturday. All three are under 1" from POA. I now feel settled. (I have decided that for this rifle - not my woods rifle - any load that gives me any shot at more than 1" from POA @200 is not acceptable.) I'm happy with String Length for a couple of reasons, the main one being it measures both accuracy and precision.

I have posted this under the Hunting forum b/c that is all I do. If any of you have other suggestions on hunting accuracy and where I should land - do tell. I don't really believe I am settled, I'm just telling myself that.

Screenshot_20220611-090238_Range Buddy.jpg

Bill
 
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salmonchaser

Handloader
Dec 13, 2013
3,379
596
Looks to me like a 200 yard zero and any way you cut it you're at 1/2 minute of mule deer.
I have a similar philosophy, for every 10rounds from the bench I'll shoot 50 from position on a 10 inch steel plate at 2 or 300 yards. No point in training on the bench for hunting.
Not looking for itty bitty groups, I look for clusters, I only get frustrated if I miss the plate entirely.
Trying to shoot groups with my #1s is an exercise in frustration, they just love to throw a flyer just when I think I've got a new load figured out. Take five shots from prone or kneeling on steel at three 100, dead dings, (my hearing is so bad).
I like your philosophy, Sorta "aim small miss small"
 
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xphunter

Handloader
Sep 15, 2005
324
474
It is a fun rabbit hole to go down.
What is your max hunting distance and from what position(s) do you typically hunt?
 

TNBillyEarl

Beginner
Jan 31, 2021
25
41
It is a fun rabbit hole to go down.
What is your max hunting distance and from what position(s) do you typically hunt?
Ernie - I never killed a deer at more than 85 yards until 2020. Prior to 2020 I have always hunted the woods in TN. I have a 7mm-08 that I have now developed a 150g Partition load for (43g of Varget). It hits within a half inch at 100, and the second dot down on my Leupold reticle is spot on at 200. I hunt from a tree stand or a ground blind I make of sticks and such.

I have a standing invitation to Oklahoma each year which I finally took up in 2020. Once I decided to go, I thought I might be better off with a bigger gun. I bought a used 7mmRM at an estate sale. Also with the pandemic, I bought some used reloading components. That's when my psychosis started. I worked on the 700 and my loads, preparing to shoot up to 600 yards. I didn't feel comfortable off a bi-pod or sticks past 400, so that's where I practiced enough to feel confident.

In OK that fall in 2020 I shot the smallest buck I saw for the week, but the largest buck I have ever taken. It was the longest I have ever shot a deer - 110 yards. I prepared for longer, but I was fortunate that he snuck up behind me and closed the distance. Gauging distance on the prairie is very difficult for me.

So, I'm hoping to go back out again this fall I am preparing again - this time not using groups but first shot distance from my POA. -B
 

xphunter

Handloader
Sep 15, 2005
324
474
Ernie - I never killed a deer at more than 85 yards until 2020. Prior to 2020 I have always hunted the woods in TN. I have a 7mm-08 that I have now developed a 150g Partition load for (43g of Varget). It hits within a half inch at 100, and the second dot down on my Leupold reticle is spot on at 200. I hunt from a tree stand or a ground blind I make of sticks and such.

I have a standing invitation to Oklahoma each year which I finally took up in 2020. Once I decided to go, I thought I might be better off with a bigger gun. I bought a used 7mmRM at an estate sale. Also with the pandemic, I bought some used reloading components. That's when my psychosis started. I worked on the 700 and my loads, preparing to shoot up to 600 yards. I didn't feel comfortable off a bi-pod or sticks past 400, so that's where I practiced enough to feel confident.

In OK that fall in 2020 I shot the smallest buck I saw for the week, but the largest buck I have ever taken. It was the longest I have ever shot a deer - 110 yards. I prepared for longer, but I was fortunate that he snuck up behind me and closed the distance. Gauging distance on the prairie is very difficult for me.

So, I'm hoping to go back out again this fall I am preparing again - this time not using groups but first shot distance from my POA. -B
Being comfortable out to 400 with a bi-pod or sticks is great progress.
Sorry I didn't see this earlier, as had I been tied up with prep for a comp and also prep for my yearly LR specialty pistol shoot I put on every year. The two matches are side by side (A day apart) but in different towns, so I am usually very tired before it is all said and done.
The more you practice at distance, the more comfortable you will get with it.
I encourage you after you get good at hits in calm or great conditions, intentionally go out and practice in gusty winds or have someone put you under time or shoot against someone for speed and accuracy.
Difficult atmospheric conditions, and the stress of competition and or intentionally getting your heart rate up by running or racing someone for 25 yards, and then back to the gun and then set-up to shoot, will always make you a better shooter, and it helps you figure out we all have different levels of ability, depending on our state of mind, pressure to shoot on demand, trying to beat someone else, and physical weariness.
Case in point. For the comp I attended, myself and one other shooter were way ahead of the rest of the field. My guess is it would only be a couple of points one way or the other. What I didn't count on, was getting something like heat exhaustion, and on the last stage, which was demanding physically, I couldn't stop shaking and did horrid. I figured that one stage would take me all of the way out of the top 5. At the awards ceremony, I still came in second-I was shocked, but still happy. I was cleaning or almost cleaning the stages, and typically with the first shot per target, which was 2-points for 1st shot attempt. Second attempt hit was 1 point. On the last stage of day 2, I only hit 1 or two targets.
On top of everything else, some days we just shoot better than on other days, then just add the luck factor to it as well.
My cold bore 1K+ prairie dog (little yearling pd) kill last week was a combination of skill, a great specialty pistol, a chambeing/bullet up to the task, great atmospheric conditions, and luck.
Glenn and I went out on Monday, and I tried to kill a dog with at 1K+ with my center-grip 15" 223 Remington HSP. I hit one, but his buddy ended up dragging him into the hole (he was still barely alive) at 1058 yards. I shot 92 rounds that morning, with no dead dog topside. If I had been shooting a different chambering with better performance, my odds would have been better, but it also could have ended up being a dry hole.
 
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