Test Rounds For Accuracy

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Norma-USA, Nov 24, 2016.

  1. Norma-USA

    Norma-USA SPONSOR Since 2014 AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2014
    Messages:
    248
    Video/Photo:
    115
    Likes Received:
    99
    Hunters are obsessed with accurate rifles — but often mystified as to why some are and some are not. Gunsmiths and even custom gun makers admit they are often mystified, too. Despite the best barrels and most careful rifle construction — using all of their accurizing tricks, gun makers still find rifles that won't shoot.

    The average hunter doesn't have the time, resources or know-how to "accurize" a rifle, but he can easily conduct a series of tests that reveal the most accurate ammunition a rifle will shoot.

    It's a well known fact that some rifles shoot poorly until fed one specific load. Something about the combination of powder charge and bullet shape/weight/construction combine to maximize accuracy. Finding this load should be every hunter's first step toward hunting and shooting precision. And here's how to do it.

    solid-bench-test.jpg
    Do all your accuracy testing from a solid bench with solid gun support. A critical first step is to tighten all scope mount screws to manufacturer recommended levels — usually about 18 inch pounds.

    1. First, select your three or five favorite loads/bullets and buy a box of each. To save $, just get two at a time and pit the winner against a new load later. Use the excess "inaccurate" loads for field practice. Don't be afraid to get bullets heavier and lighter than you might prefer. Game animals rarely notice the difference between 130, 140, 150 and 160-grain bullets, but your rifle might.
    2. Set up a rock-solid bench/table and enough sand bags or other rifle supports to hold the rifle dead steady as you shoot. It isn't a fair test to shoot from pillows or coats laid over your truck hood.
    3. Adjust the diopter ring on your scope so the reticle appears crisp and sharp against a clear background. If the scope has a parallax adjustment, dial that until the target at 100 yards is as sharp as possible.
    4. Calm yourself, align crosshair on target, note how much the reticle moves against the target as you breathe and squeeze the trigger ON AN EMPTY CHAMBER. When you hear the click of the firing pin falling, note where the reticle was on the target. It should not have moved. Do this dry firing many times until you SEE that you are not flinching or moving the rifle.
    5. Load a single round into the chamber and squeeze off one shot with the same precision you did while dry firing.
    6. Repeat step 4 as necessary to end any flinching. Then repeat step 5 two more times. Do not adjust your scope turrets at any time during this 3-shot test firing (as long as bullets are hitting the target.) You are watching for how closely three bullets land to one another.
    7. Repeat this 3-shot test firing with your next load. Compare the two. To be safe, shoot one or two more 3-shot groups. Select the load that is most accurate. Don't worry if one shoots lower or higher than the other. Final zeroing comes later.
    8. If both loads group within 1/2" of one another, select the winner based on bullet type/weight/construction that matches your hunting needs. You don't want to pit a thin-skinned varmint bullet against a moose or a bonded bullet against a ground hog.
    9. Understand what "hunting accuracy" is. A load that consistently keeps three consecutive shots inside 2 inches (2MOA) sounds horribly inaccurate, but that 2 MOA load will park bullets within 4 inches of your Point-of-Aim at 400 yards. On the 12" to 16" vital zone of a deer's chest, that's a killing hit every time.
    10. If unsatisfied with the accuracy your first two test loads deliver, try a new load or two.
    It will cost you to test drive ammo like this, but wouldn't you rather spend $200 on ammo before the hunt than blow a $4,000 hunting trip by missing that 6x6 elk?
     
    CAustin and James Cook like this.
  2. Pro Hunting Safaris

    Pro Hunting Safaris SPONSOR Since 2015 AH Elite

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2014
    Messages:
    1,318
    Video/Photo:
    101
    Likes Received:
    577
    Location:
    South Africa
    Member of:
    SCI, DCS, PHASA, SA Hunters, Xtreem Archery, Rowland Ward, WRSA
    Hunted:
    South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe
    Thanks for Sharing! Ive explained this to many clients
     
  3. Clayton

    Clayton AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2016
    Messages:
    837
    Likes Received:
    640
    Location:
    Louisiana, USA
    Member of:
    NRA Life Member - S/W LA Rifle & Pistol Club
    Always surprised by hunters that spend a lot on guns and glass, but are so reluctant to use up a little ammo at the range to find what works best for them. And then there's my buddy Levi. He will shoot up a couple of boxes of .300 Win Mag every September just to be sure his gun is still "on". My kind of guy.
     
    James Cook and reedy0312 like this.
  4. reedy0312

    reedy0312 AH Ambassador

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2011
    Messages:
    5,278
    Video/Photo:
    67
    Likes Received:
    3,230
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Member of:
    NRA, SCI
    Hunted:
    US (All over), New Zealand, South Africa(Northern Cape, Northwest), Zimbabwe
    Yes good advice
     
  5. lcq

    lcq AH Elite

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2013
    Messages:
    1,403
    Video/Photo:
    4
    Likes Received:
    1,067
    Member of:
    NRA CSSA
    Hunted:
    Canada, RSA
    2 MOA load will park bullets within 4 inches of your Point-of-Aim at 400 yards

    No that is 1 MOA 2 MOA is 8" at 400 yds
     
  6. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH Elite

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2016
    Messages:
    1,398
    Video/Photo:
    3
    Likes Received:
    1,024
    Location:
    Colorado
    Hunted:
    South Africa: Limpopo, Northwest; USA: Ak, Mt, Wy, Co, Ne, Ks, Nv, NM, Tx
    Icq, I interpreted what was said the same as you until I reread it a couple of times. I think by saying "within 4" he means an overall spread of 8", i.e., 4" in any direction from POA.
    JMO after rereading it.
    Best
     
    lcq likes this.
  7. lcq

    lcq AH Elite

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2013
    Messages:
    1,403
    Video/Photo:
    4
    Likes Received:
    1,067
    Member of:
    NRA CSSA
    Hunted:
    Canada, RSA
    agreed it was confusing mixing inches and MOA
     
  8. johnnyblues

    johnnyblues AH Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2013
    Messages:
    4,159
    Video/Photo:
    30
    Likes Received:
    3,009
    Location:
    Seaford NY
    Hunted:
    USA, ALASKA Canada, New Zealand, Mexico Africa.
    Very good advice. I'm a victim of flinching as when I first started shooting a friends father thought it would be amusing for me to get the Weatherby award on my forehead. Said you'll never do that again! Idiot! I thought dry firing can cause pin damage in the bolt?
     
    lcq likes this.
  9. lcq

    lcq AH Elite

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2013
    Messages:
    1,403
    Video/Photo:
    4
    Likes Received:
    1,067
    Member of:
    NRA CSSA
    Hunted:
    Canada, RSA
    Same experience with an idiot uncle giving me a 12 gauge when I was 13. I use snap caps and prefer those with a spring and brass primer Tipton
     
    johnnyblues likes this.
  10. Scott Slough

    Scott Slough AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    May 6, 2014
    Messages:
    843
    Likes Received:
    780
    Location:
    Nacogdoches, TX
    Member of:
    SCI, Pineywoods SCI, NAHC, TTH
    Hunted:
    USA, South Africa (Eastern Cape)
    Your idiot uncle may have been my next door neighbor ... I got the same treatment at about the same age from my neighbor.

    No, dry firing is not harmful for modern centerfire rifles. It is for most rimfire and some older centerfire rifles.
     
    lcq likes this.
  11. Devin Twitty

    Devin Twitty AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2016
    Messages:
    114
    Video/Photo:
    11
    Likes Received:
    65
    Get advise. I spend lots of time on making the right loads and finding the bullet my guns like. It cost a lot but when it comes time to hunt I know that bullet is going where I'm aiming which give more confident shots and help you relax and make better shots.
     
  12. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman AH Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Messages:
    4,349
    Video/Photo:
    80
    Likes Received:
    1,818
    Member of:
    NRA, NA Hunt Club
    Hunted:
    Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe (2), Namibia (2), South Africa (2)
    The thing about the magic combo is real enough. I have been struggling a bit with an older Ruger 77 in 7x57. Tried several things that all looked promising only to have them scatter next time out. Finally ended up bedding the action and floating the barrel. Still erratic with loads that shot before. Then tried a combo of Hornady 175 gr Spire Points with Re22 and bingo, it all came together. Shoots that combo into sub MOA with repeatability using from 47-51 grs. 51 was max in this rifle though its well over max in most loading books.
     
  13. lcq

    lcq AH Elite

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2013
    Messages:
    1,403
    Video/Photo:
    4
    Likes Received:
    1,067
    Member of:
    NRA CSSA
    Hunted:
    Canada, RSA
    I find the Hornady interlocks are really easy to get to shoot. Really good bread and butter game getter
     
  14. CAustin

    CAustin BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

    Joined:
    May 7, 2013
    Messages:
    10,229
    Video/Photo:
    76
    Likes Received:
    6,596
    Member of:
    Courtney Hunting Club, NRA Life Member, SCI Kansas City Chapter
    Hunted:
    South Africa, Kalahari, Northwest, Limpopo, Gauteng, APNR Kruger Area. USA Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas, New Mexico, North Carolina and Texas
    I haven't always done exactly as described but we all learn over time.
     

Share This Page