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Evaluating and tracking target shooting results

This is a discussion on Evaluating and tracking target shooting results within the Range Reports forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; Dear all, thus far, I've been shooting mostly recreationally for a while. However, I'm now at a point where I would like to take target ...


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Old January 22nd, 2020, 11:26 AM   #1
 
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Evaluating and tracking target shooting results

Dear all,

thus far, I've been shooting mostly recreationally for a while. However, I'm now at a point where I would like to take target shooting more professionally and also engage in some matches down the line at my gunclub. That's why I'm looking for some practical advice on how to track and evaluate results from the range. More importantly, I'm also desperately searching for some "ballpark-values" so that I can realistically judge my results. It would be really cool if you could share some methods or tips that you are using personally. Just some really practical, hands-on advice.

For example, I go out to the range, shoot a .22lr revolver with fixed sights at 25 yards onto paper. Then I could look for group sizes, points scored etc. How do I evaluate these results? Let's say I measure group sizes for 10 shots. What size would be "average". What size would be "exceptional"? Hopefully, this get's the point across well enough.

After that, how do you personally track and document the results?

Thanks a lot in advance!



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Old January 22nd, 2020, 02:21 PM   #2
 
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There are a number of different ways of evaluating group size. Note that group size is a measure of precision, not necessarily accuracy. You could have a very nice, tight group that was many inches off the bullseye or whatever your intended point of impact was. That group would demonstrate good precision, but poor accuracy.

But if you can achieve decent precision, you should be able to achieve accuracy through an adjustment of your sights, or your "hold" (point of aim). So the first order of business is probably to be able to shoot tight groups.

The most common method of measuring group size by far is by measuring the extreme spread. This is simply measuring between the centers of the holes produced by the two most widely spaced shots and can be done with a caliper or ruler. This article describes how to do that in a little more detail:

https://www.ammoland.com/2014/04/mea...#axzz6BnaVXUyN

Many shooters will evaluate group size on the basis of an angular measurement, specifically a measure of the angle formed by lines from the muzzle at the firing position to the center of the two most widely-spaced shots. The angular measurement most often used is the minute of angle (MOA) which is equal to 1/60 of one degree. One MOA subtends 1.047" of linear distance at 100 yards, but that usually gets rounded off to one inch. So at 25 yards one MOA subtends 1/4" (or a little more if you want to be precise). So if you shot a 10 round group at 25 yards with an extreme spread of 5 inches, some might call that a 20 MOA group.

The problem with using extreme spread as a measure of group size and precision is that one "bad shot" can make the group size sound much worse than it really is. Considering that 22 LR ammo can be rather inconsistent in matters such as rim thickness, powder charge, projectile run-out (bullets that are a bit off-axis relative to the long axis of the cartridge), that the soft lead projectiles are rather easily damaged or deformed, and that 22 LR cartridges with their lousy ballistic coefficients are rather easily deflected by wind and you can see that there are a lot of things that might produce a single "flyer" in an otherwise good group that might not be a result of poor shooter technique.

Another more cumbersome method of measuring group size is to measure mean radius. Lets say you shoot a 10 round group. You must first determine the group center. This can be done by measuring the distance of every hole center from a horizontal line drawn above or below the group, and a vertical line drawn to one side of it. Measure the distance off each line for every shot, add the vertical distances together and divide by 10, and do the same for the horizontal differences. Then take those average measurements and mark off the distance from the vertical and horizontal lines to find the group center. Now you have to measure the radial distance of each shot from the group center. Take those ten radial distances and average them to find the mean radius of the group.

As for what is a good group size for any given firearm, caliber, and range, that will really be up to the shooter. There is probably always room for improvement in any shooter no matter how good they are, and you will always find someone better than you no matter how good you are. So the best thing to do initially is probably to compete only against yourself and measure your individual improvement.

If you want something that measures both precision and accuracy and offers a point count that might allow you to compare your performance to that of others, you might try shooting the NRA official 50 foot slow fire pistol target (B-2) or the larger NRA official 25 yard timed and rapid fire pistol target (B-8). You can easily find these available for sale on-line.

Last edited by pblanc; January 22nd, 2020 at 02:31 PM.
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Old January 22nd, 2020, 03:42 PM   #3
 
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Call your shots. By that I mean that you should have a scope trained on the target, of sufficient magnification to see each shot, and each time you take a shot you call out where that shot went. Then look thru the scope to see if you were correct. Bring back the target every ten rounds and cover the holes (or replace the target). Repeat. Repeatedly. Eventually you will know what caused the location of every shot you took, and how to make them all hit the 10-ring. That's how I (with advice from champ shooters) got to achieve Distinguished Expert from the NRA, during competition.
Good luck.
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Old January 22nd, 2020, 04:09 PM   #4
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Shooting competition is all about scores. You can have an exceptionally tight group in the 7 ring and not even come close to winning the match. I used to shoot NRA bullseye matches …. 25 yards with a 1911 45 ACP, 25 yards with a 38 Special DA revolver, and 25 yards with any 22 LR handgun. There were 30 rounds fired per session so if you got all 10's, you got 300 points. I shot with some serious shooters where many matches were tied so the winner was determined by the number of "X" ring hits.

I agree with pblanc …. compete with yourself and try to better your score each time you shoot. You can have someone coach you to help you overcome the normal issues like anticipating recoil, jerking the trigger, pulling the muzzle to the side, etc. It won't take long to determine where your gun is shooting. My suggestion …. adjust the sights for the bullseye when shooting from a bench rest then don't touch the sights again. If you aren't hitting the target while standing, it not the gun, it's you! In other words, don't adjust your sights to compensate for your problems, rather work on fixing your problems.

Keep a notebook and record your scores, no matter how good or bad they are. I even kept track of climate issues (temp, humidity, overcast, raining, etc) and personal notes such as a having a cold or being on meds. As you practice more, chances are your scores will improve. Try to keep your ammunition the same …. any change in ammo will require confirming zero again. This can result in chasing your tail thinking you might find a better load. As noted above, use the load that produces the best group to start with then adjust your sights accordingly.

Be patient …. I thought I was a pretty good shot but when I started shooting NRA competition, I found out I was pretty awful. It took about a year of practice, shooting a couple hundred rounds a week while my scores steadily improved until I was no longer the worst shooter in the club. I kept shooting for 5 years …. shot some good scores but never put them all in the X ring. Once in a while I'd have a good day and the top dogs would have a bad day so I would win the match. Big smiles when that happened!
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Old January 23rd, 2020, 05:46 AM   #5
 
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Thank you all very much for your kind replies. I have a basic idea now on how to get started. During my search, I've also stumbled across a software that allows you to scan in your targets and will automatically evaluate everything and do the statistics on it. I consider getting it since it will allow for tracking and evaluation of the results equally well. Probably, I'm just going to show up at the next match and see where I stand.
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Old January 23rd, 2020, 06:28 AM   #6
 
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I also shoot indoor bullseye weekly in the winter.We shoot against 2 other teams and send the scores in over the computer. We have shooters that shoot 135 to 285 out of 300.
You will probably shoot worse the first few times because it is a little unnerving when you have others watching !!
Keep at it and you will improve,hopefully someone there is a good shot and a capable instructor to help you with any issues you may have with form.
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Old January 23rd, 2020, 06:28 AM   #7
 
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I say keep it simple.
Use a standardized target with scoring rings.
Fire the same number of rounds at that target each time you shoot.
Count up your score and mark it on the target or in a notebook.
Compare results every 5 trips to see how you have or have not improved.
If you keep one target from each visit, you can the evaluate how your shooting has progressed so you will know what to work for.

I agree with others that while group size is nice, for competition (and for defensive use) hitting the center of the target is the real aim. I'll take 8 - 9s and 2 - 7s spread out over 5" over 10 - 8s in a 1" group (86 vs 80). Eliminating flyers, however, is a worthy goal.
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Old January 23rd, 2020, 07:05 AM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P08 View Post
Thank you all very much for your kind replies. I have a basic idea now on how to get started. During my search, I've also stumbled across a software that allows you to scan in your targets and will automatically evaluate everything and do the statistics on it. I consider getting it since it will allow for tracking and evaluation of the results equally well. Probably, I'm just going to show up at the next match and see where I stand.
You might also check to see if there is a rifle/gun club nearby that has either a bowling pin league or 22LR "steel challenge" events if you are looking for something other than slow fire bullseye shooting type events.
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