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What the targets are telling us...

I always tell my students - take your targets home and think about them. They want to tell you something so listen to them...

In December there is a competition to end the season at the local shooting range Velvary. We like to go there because there is always a great bunch of people and it's very friendly. However the competition is primarily about the most precision shooting on the paper targets. And we don't have the equipment for that and we are not good at it. So this is the perfect opportunity to torture ourselves and realize your weaker sides... ST8 was represented by three shooters and we ended up in the middle of the scoreboard as expected. Let's listen to these two targets now...

System based on Remington 700 in .223 Remington. 26" Proof Research barrel, Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50 riflescope (we are exploring what you can actually do with this cheap Chinese riflescope). Veronika was shooting this weapon.

The targets had 10 zones on which we fired 3 rounds (two zones only two rounds). Altogether 28 shots in 18 minutes. Two zones were 0.48 MOA, two 0.57 MOA and the remaining 1.15 MOA. The touch of the zone (sport scoring) was also counted as hit. Distance 150 meters, temperature 5° C, pressure 966 hPa and variable gusty wind which intensified during the competition (just after the end target stands fell down).

This is Veronica's target. There are two numbers for each zone. The first is the size of three hits group - a number that everyone invokes as an idol and tells us the precision of the gun in the shooter's hands. But in this case the point is to hit the center zone. So the second number below the line indicates how large a circle centered with the center of the zone would be hit. The practical accuracy that the shooter with the system is able to achieve. And that is a completely different thing...

Furthermore we have the minimum and maximum values of both on the target and also the overall average. The average precision in this case is 0.57 MOA which I consider a nice result. However the average of the "hit area" is 1.1 MOA. So what do these numbers and actually the whole target tell us? That this weapon system has good potential. But the shooter still has to work on it...

Next was a "hunting / reserve competition" gun based on Remington 700 in the caliber 6.5 Creedmoor. 24" Proof Research Carbon barrel, Nightforce NXS 3.5-15x56 riflescope. In this case in the hunting stock to give it a try. Harry was shooting this one.

Since it was zeroed in the ORYX chassis I expected that there could be a shift in the zero so I counted on it and used the first two shots to see the shift and to make a correction (in the yellow circle). With that correction I completed the competition. This weapon has a light barrel and riflescope with less magnification for hunting purposes. So I used an spotting scope to check the hits.

If I don't count the yellow target on which I zeroed the scope the average precision of this gun is 0.64 MOA in my hands. Which I consider a decent result given the stock and the weight of the weapon (5.5 kg with bipod). The average of the "hit area" is 0.98 MOA. Again great room for improvement.

In general the trend is that most people are "chasing for the best group on the target" and thus address the precision of the weapon system. Targets with beautiful groups under 1/2 MOA are then a measure... But the question is how stable you can shoot with this precision and most importantly - if you also hits the center of the target.

This picture describes the essence of the matter. "Precision" is what we can get out of our weapon... Those beautiful groups under 1/2 MOA. But "Accuracy" is whether we are able to hit exactly where we want.

The ideal situation is to combine these two different things together... Which is at the same time the hardest thing to do... And with that can help us to listen to the targets. The targets always want to tell us something (sometimes shouting loud). Let's learn to listen to them 😉

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