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Thread: 3 or 5 shot Groups?

  1. #21
    Boolit Master
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    I usually do 5 shot groups until I think I'm about there then will go to 10 to verify

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lloyd Smale View Post
    One 3 shot or even 5 shot group doesn't show you much. Id like to have a dime for every time I shot a one inch 5 shot 100 yard group and came back the next day shot again and got a 2 inch group. 3 or 5 shot groups for sighting in. To get an idea of what is an accurate load I shoot 3 5 shot groups and do it at least two different days. Usually when its all said and done and I'm calling it a hunting load I shoot a final SLOW 10 shot group. I chuckle at guys who go out and shot a half a box of shells shoot one 3 shot 1in or less group and claim they have a tack driving moa gun. I need to know that when an animal is standing out at 300 yards if the shot is muffed its my fault not the guns.
    thats why i tell everybody what distance and how many. for instance, my 30-40 krag('98 spr armory)and a 165gr ranch dog does a 3/4 - 2" at 100 yards(5 shots). my 444 marlin(tc encore/MGM barrel) and a 280gr lfn gc does a 1/2 - 1" at 100 yards(3 shots).

    the 30-40 krag only had one 3/4" group and one 2 1/4" group. it goes around 1 1/2" at 100 yards(5 shots). i try to tell them it goes 3/4 - 2" groups, not it goes 1 1/2" at 100 yards and with peep sights. although i do like to hear 3/4" group!!!

    the 444 will do a 3/8" group(4 or 5 times i have done them) but it goes around 5/8" at 100 yards(3 shots).

    now my 20 vartarg and a 32gr nosler varmaggedon will do .2 - .3" group at 100 yards(5 shots). 10 shots it will do .3 - .5" at 100 yards.

    for the most part, my groups are cast boolit deer-sized at 100-150 yards. jacketed bullets that are deer-sized (like the 140gr sst in 270 win) go out to 300-325 yards(.3 - .5" at 100 yards :5 shot, soon to be 3 shot). i've been getting away from 5 - 10 shots groups because i hunt deer/black bear not paper. a 5 - 10 group is nice, heck a 2" group at 100 yards(3 shots) makes my day. i'm using a 500 linebaugh(tc encore/ 23"MGM barrel with skinner sights) with a 460gr lfn gc goes approximately 3/4 - 1 1/2" at 50yards. since i am going to use that, my group size should be around 3" at 100 yards(3 shots). it will go no further than 125 yards. i have to check that it does 3" at 100 yards(3 shots) many times, but i don't doubt it will.

    most of the time you only have 1 shot to kill a deer/black bear, maybe two shots in the area i hunt. a 3 shot group should be all i ever need.

  3. #23
    Boolit Master tazman's Avatar
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    When I shoot groups to test accuracy, I usually shoot 5 shot groups. When I am competing with myself, I shoot multiple 3 shot groups with long waits in between to make sure the rifle is cool. I haven't tried formal competition yet. Maybe in the future.
    When checking to see what heating up the barrel does, I shoot a fairly fast 10 shot group then continue to shoot until the groups start to open up. This system changes a bit depending on which rifle/caliber I am testing.
    For hunting rifles, I never shoot more than 5 shot groups. I like to shoot on different days with a cold barrel to make sure the first shots are on target. I may start the session off with a 3-5 shot group and then check it again just before I leave after the rifle has cooled.
    Nearly all my rifle shooting is done at 200 yards. I find that I can see the differences in groups much better at the longer range. The only thing I have to watch out for is the wind and weather effecting group size and location.
    I have found several loads that shoot well at 100 but open up badly at longer ranges. If it groups well at 200, it will group well closer.

  4. #24
    Boolit Master Smk SHoe's Avatar
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    I will usually start with 3 shot groups across the entire powder range for a new load. Just gives me a idea where the node's are. Then I can play around with seating depth's. After those two days the rifle will tell me what it likes or doesn't like. Then on to 5 shot groups to fine tune the load and after I think I have the load dialed in, I work the ten round groups during different temp ranges to see if there is any effect. Once everything is dialed and I am happy, I load up a few hundred rounds and start looking for my next gun/caliber to build. The challenge/passion for me is the load development. I only hunt paper and steel since I retired.
    Retired Redleg
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  5. #25
    Boolit Master
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    I believe I'll be in m-tecs canoe, it depends on the rifle and the use it's going to see. Most of my hunting rifles are multiple barrel combination guns, drillings or double rifles so for those firearms any more than 3 shots fired comparable to a hunting situation is wasting ammo. I know the drillings and combination guns will walk after that. That is the nature of the beasts when you have one or two cold barrels trying to hold in place a barrel that is warming and trying to expand. My double rifles will open the group after more than 3 rounds from each barrel. I have reached the same conclusion with my single shot hunting rifles, 3 rounds is plenty. My bolt action hunting rifles are all fired with 3 shot groups also. With all of them I'll fire 3 rounds several times over a week or two, starting with a cold, clean barrel. It's been more than adequate for several decades. Firing more than 2 rounds in any hunting I've done in 50 years has never happened and the odds of it happening in my remaining time are astronomical.

    When working up the load for my Schuetzen rifle, obviously a lot different from a multiple barrel hunting rifle, I fired two 10 shot groups a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon and did that for a week then compared data. MY BP target rifles were fired with 5 shot groups over the same period of time as the Schuetzen rifle.

    I don't believe anything anyone has said is wrong and am convinced the more data one can have on a rifle and load is a good thing.
    Last edited by sharps4590; 08-07-2017 at 12:18 AM.
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  6. #26
    Boolit Master
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    What is the reason for the shot group? How are you going to use the rifle?

    For hunting I would shoot one round, then clean it. Keep it in the shade until cool. Then shoot another round, then clean it. Keep conditions as they would be when hunting. Clean, cold barrel. Do this with at least 5 rounds, 10 is better.

    Once that gave me good shots on the Xring, then I'd do three shot strings to see if heating and fouling would mess up the point of aim. After three shots, clean and cool. Then three more. This is to test accuracy of follow up shots when hunting. First shot would be at one bull, other two at a second bull.

    For target or range shooting 10 shot strings would be my preference. First shot off target. Then ten on target. This tests the rifle's potential as well as the load. Heating barrel can cause POI changes. If it does you need to be able to 'manage' it.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artful View Post

    I have used multiple targets over the top of each other and with 20 rounds fired this gives you
    1 20 shot group
    2 10 shot groups
    4 5 shot groups
    Gives most info for my money

    This right here.

    I use 3 shot groups during load development after a ladder test.

    Also need to consider other influences such as barrel heating, how the gun is placed on the rest, hand positioning, etc. get everything the same every time.

    One of the biggest things my father taught me was that the gun should be able to sit on the rest without any pressure on it whatsoever and be on target. Only then are you ready to squeeze the trigger. If not, you have the potential of shifted point of impact.

  8. #28
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    Allan Jones- an expert in every sense of the word- put this question to a statistician and got the answer of seven shot groups as a minimum to form an accuracy profile. I accept three shot groups to tell me if this or that load will hunt.
    Best, Thomas.

  9. #29
    Boolit Master tazman's Avatar
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    Statistics raises it's ugly head again.

  10. #30
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    A seven shot group gives statistical validity to the accuracy of the statistics, however, multiple one, three or five shot groups accomplishes the same thing while more accurately reflecting how the firearm may actually be used. The larger the sample size the less likely random chance gives you a fluke very tight group.

  11. #31
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tazman View Post
    Statistics raises it's ugly head again.
    Yep. Lies, damn lies, and statistics! Haha. I was going to shoot a 21 shot group with my 22-250 over the course of a week once but two days in - the cows pulled my target down.....

  12. #32
    Boolit Master tazman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texas by God View Post
    Yep. Lies, damn lies, and statistics! Haha. I was going to shoot a 21 shot group with my 22-250 over the course of a week once but two days in - the cows pulled my target down.....
    That would be the optimum way to test a hunting rifle for both group and point of aim retention. The barrel never really heats up enough to bother and you are always starting with a cold barrel.
    It would also cover some changes in weather and your own body changes over time(good day/bad day).
    I wish my range was closer. I want to go shoot a group or two.

  13. #33
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    I remember the late Bruce Bannister [BruceB here] asking "when did a group become less than 10 shots".
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  14. #34
    Boolit Master
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    It does depend on what you mean by a group. Is it 10 shots within a minute or is it 10 shots spaced out over an hour? 10 shots and gun cleaned between each shot? All depends on what you want to do with the gun/load.

    The three shot came from people who are trying to zero or check a zero. There were quite a few articles written years ago about how to zero your hunting rifle with 5 shots. I think it appealed to those who bought one box of shells a year. Basically it was 1 shot to make the first gross adjustment. 3 shot group to verify center and make the fine adjustment. Last shot to verify you moved the dials in the right direction.

  15. #35
    Boolit Master buckshotshoey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MT Gianni View Post
    I remember the late Bruce Bannister [BruceB here] asking "when did a group become less than 10 shots".
    My guess is when a .243 became over a dollar a shot! Lol

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckshotshoey View Post
    My guess is when a .243 became over a dollar a shot! Lol
    We shoot cast bullets here, so the cost is significantly less!
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
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  17. #37
    Boolit Master 18Bravo's Avatar
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    Very interesting assortment of replies! I probably should have mentioned that I was in the process of working up loads. It seems that many have recommended five shot groups for this application.

  18. #38
    Boolit Master

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    It all goes over the chronograph in 10-20 round strings. I'm looking for a load that will give me numbers of boring regularity so that I can pretty much take as a given that the flyers are most likely me.

    And that's a key part of this - honing technique so you KNOW when the flyers are caused by the Indian, not the arrow. Is your flyer the last round in a five shot string? If so, it could be something with the gun/ammo combo, or it could just be that you're getting lax while you admire your handiwork. If you extend that group to ten shots, how many flyers do you have then? Does the gun do the same thing when you bring your buddy to the range and swap out "the nut on the trigger"?
    WWJMBD?

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  19. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by 18Bravo View Post
    So, what is the consensus? Do you shoot 3 or 5 shot groups for load development accuracy? I was always taught to believe that 5 shot groups were the way to go. The problem for me recently, is that I canít seem to put 5 rounds into anything that would be considered an acceptable group. 3 shots? Yes. 4 shots? Yes. 5 shots? NO. It seems that no matter how hard I concentrate I always end up with one flyer. To work up a new load, the attached target was shot at 100 yards. As you can see in three of the targets one round screwed up decent groups. In most cases it was the last round that messed things up. What are the rest of you shooting; 5 or 3?

    There are two ways a ten-shot group can be larger than a three-shot or five-shot one. One is that something is changing as the gun heats up or fouls, and the group is widening or walking in one particular direction. Depletion of the magazine, especially if it is tubular, can make a difference too. A three-shot group will simply be the beginning of this process, and anything from a little to a lot tighter.

    The other is that that ten-shot group can consist of shots going all over the place. In this case a three-shot group will simply be what any three out of the ten, chosen at random, will give you. They might be from around the edges or close to the middle, so there is no doubt that this gives a much poorer evaluation of the true capabilities of the rifle and load.

    For a full evaluation I would like to start with a warm barrel and fire a few ten-shot groups at a speed so slow that it never gets much hotter on the outside. I would also fire some as rapidly as I felt wouldn't impose excessive bore wear. I would see if a shifting magazine weight made any difference, and if I used a shooting sling I would find out whether its use and non-use made any difference.

    At the same time, the ultimate accuracy of a rifle isn't everything, and neither are ten-shot strings if you never shoot that way. A lot of rifles nowadays are used for nothing but smelling the powder and measuring the group size. I once asked some people whether their extremely small groups were going to the same place they did last time they shot, and they didn't remember, because they had never noticed.

    For the hunter reliability of where the first round goes, from a cold rifle which hasn't been fired in a while, may be more important than what we usually consider to be group size. The best indication of its value may be several hours spent firing one shot, allowing to go dead cold again, and firing from what may not be a quite identical posture and grip. I suppose you could call that a couple of ten-shot groups.

  20. #40
    Boolit Master

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    The more shots you fire, the bigger your group will be. Rifles group in a roughly Gaussian distribution. 3 shot groups tell you nothing. The average of 5 five shot groups is revealing, but really - you will need ten shot groups to tell you what you, the rifle, and the load can do - first time, every time, ALL the time. Shoot 3, 4, or better 5 ten shot groups, and you will then know what to expect. Don't be disappointed if they aren't little bug hole clusters! What are you trying to do? Win at bench rest? Or harvest game? If you can hold an honest 3.5 MOA from a field position, you are a rifleman, and need bow to no one. The sub MOA crew shoots with sandbags fore and aft - not to detract from them, it's a just game, and one I don't know how to play - but in the field, from a hastily assumed position, 3.5 or even 4.0 MOA is about as good as it gets. And that gets the job done.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check